The Green Lantern Corps Podcast

Prometheus, here comes injustice

Posted in Profiles by mrread7 on October 20, 2008

Ah, after getting a bit set back the last few days because of my busy schedule. I’m here to talk about one of great Grant Morrison villains. One of the few villains to not only defeat Batman but also Green Lantern and almost half the Justice League and the Birds of Prey, Prometheus. The Anti-Batman if you will, and I’m not talking about Catman. He gets his own profile before we call it a month here. I’ve loved this character from day one but I really hated what they did with him after Morrison left JLA in the late 90s. He was turned into pretty much a punk. Gail Simon finally brought him back to former glory in the pages of Birds of Prey and he got some nice treatment in Teen Titans. Well, Prometheus is set to make a big come back in January after Final Crisis wraps up. So, here he is:

Grant Morrison created the second Prometheus during his tenure as the writer of JLA. Morrison described him as “the anti-Batman.” According to his origin story, he was the son of two loving, hippie criminals who traveled across the United States with him. They committed indiscriminate murders and thefts, often of a brutal nature (similar to Bonnie and Clyde). Eventually they were cornered and forced the police to gun them down in front of their son, whose hair turned white from the shock. That night, he swore an oath to “annihilate the forces of justice”. His true name has not been revealed. There are indications that this character may have been inspired by another similar character called The Wrath. Prometheus obtained large sums of money both from his parents’ hidden stashes of money and by extorting local mob bosses using his knowledge of their criminal activities. Leaving home at the age of 16, he used his money to travel the world in order to develop the skills he would need. His activities during this period included training as an underground pit-fighter in Brazil, working as a mercenary in Africa, joining terrorist groups in the Middle East, studying silat in Malaysia, associating with the wealthy social elite in order to learn their secrets (‘I learned to kill in a dozen different Languages’), and attending only the finest in legitimate academic schools and universities. Eventually he found the legendary Himalayan city of Shambhala, inhabited by a sect of monks who worshipped evil itself. Studying with them, he eventually became a favorite of their leader, who showed him their greatest treasure: an alien spaceship upon which their ancient monastery had been built. The leader then transmuted into one of the aliens who’d first landed there, and Prometheus was forced to kill him to obtain the Key to the ‘Ghost Zone’.
Along with the ship was a key that opened into what Prometheus dubbed “The Ghost Zone,” an infinite expanse of white nothingness. (JLA member and angel Zauriel referred to this zone as limbo; it was also used by the White Martians as a form of Hyperspace to effect interstellar travel; the people of Krypton knew it as the Phantom Zone). Prometheus would eventually build himself a small, lopsided wooden house in The Ghost Zone (‘Nothing builds straight here. But that’s fine with me. A crooked house for a crooked man’). Here, he was free to build up a resistance to the JLA, unhindered by Earth’s authorities or heroes.

Prometheus first appeared in “New Year’s Evil: Prometheus”, one of a number of New Year’s Evil one-shot issues from DC Comics that featured various supervillains. In this, his origin is explained and Prometheus kills a young man calling himself “Retro”. Retro was just a normal young man who had won a competition to be a member of the new Justice League of America for a day by designing his own costume and fictitious “origin story.” Prometheus’ technology allows him to imitate Retro’s natural movements and mannerisms.
In issues of JLA, Prometheus took the place of Retro at the Justice League Watchtower on the Moon and singlehandedly almost took down the League: he shot the Martian Manhunter with a dart that turned his shapechanging power against him, infected Steel’s armor with a computer virus which commanded the suit to damage the Watchtower, hypnotized the Huntress into unconsciousness, attacked Green Lantern with a “Neural Chaff” that rendered his ring useless, trapped the angel Zauriel in the Ghost Zone, and tricked the Flash into believing that he had planted motion sensitive bombs that would explode if the Flash used his powers. He defeated Batman in hand-to-hand combat with the aid of a device that downloaded the skills of the thirty greatest martial arts masters in the world (including Batman) into his brain and a pair of lights on his helmet that strobed in an erratic pattern to cause disorientation. At the time, the Watchtower was filled with innocent civilians that the League had invited for a tour. With the Watchtower under his control, Prometheus then demanded that Superman–the only hero he could not defeat–commit suicide in exchange for the lives of the hostages, sacrificing the two things which he presumed would matter to Superman; his image and his reputation. He also expressed his pleasure at the fact that “Superman said ‘Prometheus’ and he didn’t sound scared.”
However, Prometheus’ best laid plans were laid to waste by an unforeseen variable: the anti-hero Catwoman, who incapacitated him with a simple whip crack to the groin. Having sneaked onto the Watchtower disguised as Cat Grant looking for things to steal, Catwoman’s intervention bought Steel the time he needed to beat the virus (although it was only thanks to the lucky arrival of Plastic Man that Steel’s hammer failed to do any damage to the Watchtower walls when he threw it) and, in turn, override Prometheus’ helmet. Prometheus then escaped to the Ghost Zone.

Prometheus later returned as a part of the second Injustice Gang created by Lex Luthor. He was able to use the Ghost Zone and a White Martian spaceship left from the Martian Invasion within it to get into the Watchtower. He almost killed Oracle by defenestrating her when she refused his deal to betray the JLA in return for being able to walk again. Oracle manages to survive by grabbing the hand on the face of the Clocktower, simultaneously damaging Prometheus’s helmet.
Once again using his original helmet- which he had acquired from the Justice League archives-, Prometheus went on to have a final rematch with Batman who had, in the intervening time, managed to unlock the secrets of Prometheus’ helmet. After the two had fought for a time- Prometheus bragging that he beat Batman senseless the last time they fought just to prove that he could-, Batman replaced the martial arts skills Prometheus had downloaded into his mind with the physical skills and coordination of Professor Stephen Hawking, a famed scientist who can barely move. Huntress, who witnessed the latter half of the battle, described this as “cheating.” Batman retorted with “Not cheating; Winning,” although he later commented that it was the “first time [he] ever hit a man with motor neuron disease”. Later, Batman was forced to intervene in order to prevent Huntress from killing the helpless Prometheus, firing her from the JLA in the process.

Prometheus was later seen in Star City, fighting Green Arrow and the police, where he escaped with the help of Batman villain Hush. Prometheus later formed a partnership with Hush, but was abandoned for his complicity in the murder of Poison Ivy. Infected with a terminal disease by one of Ivy’s mutated foster children, Prometheus is powerless to defend himself from kidnapping. He is taken by The Society, of which he had previously been a member. The Society wanted to steal the key to the Ghost Zone, which Prometheus had already hidden in the museum of the Justice Society of America. He is later seen in the Battle of Metropolis, in which a villain army battles a superhero army. He is seen killing Peacemaker (Mitchell Black).
Most recently, Prometheus appeared in Birds of Prey #94 defeating Lady Shiva, one of the DC universe’s top-rated martial artists. Shiva, despite knowing her own skills were recorded, along with twenty-nine others, attacks and is defeated in three seconds.
Prometheus recaptured the Society defector Crime Doctor from under the Huntress’ nose. He then fought the Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and Black Canary before the Crime Doctor’s suicide removed their reason for fighting. Prometheus departed unopposed, commenting sardonically that on two occasions Huntress had given him more trouble than Superman.
In Teen Titans #51, Prometheus is shown to be under the control of Starro. It appears that while under Starro’s control, he is not as skilled a fighter and Robin is portayed as being nearly a match for Prometheus. However in the end, Prometheus is defeated by an alternate-future version of Tim Drake.

I’m out peeps, see you soon.


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