In keeping with following the major crossovers, I want to take a small interlude today to look at a character whom it seems only has a place within a major crossover. He was introduced in one, played the villain in another, and after becoming increasingly depraved has only recently glimpsed the dim light of redemption on the horizon. Even though we all know it will not last.
I am talking of course, of Superboy-Prime.
DC Comics #87 where the character first appeared was one of my earliest DC comics, right in the middle of the Crisis On Infinite Earths. I was not then aware that Earth-Prime, our home, had been visited by the JLA in the past, as it was the home of Ultraa (now there’s a character who deserves a relaunch), and was the tale of a young boy discovering that he was that, er this earth’s version of his favourite hero. In fact the back-up strip that told his origin was the better story of the two, certainly for me, not even in my teens at that point.
So part of me was horrified at what Geoff Johns did with the character. His innocence, his hope, the fact that he was the ultimate in teenage comic fan-boy self-identification was all torn away, and for me, it didn’t really make sense. Surely a Superman couldn’t sink to such depths?
Now, since that point Earth-Prime has been re-introduced to the DC Multiverse, and somehow it avoids the cheesiness of the previous visits. Having young Clarks’ parents follow his exploits by buying the comics was a masterful touch.
In the recent Adventure Comics #5, Prime is forced to face his demons by donning a Black Ring. The Ring attempts to bring him to death, but when it initially fails, he is confronted with each aspect of the emotional spectrum.
Green willpower – his demand for respect unearned. Blue compassion, his regret for what he did to Laurie, not that we have seen what he did, but let’s face it, we all assume the worst. His desire for approval creates the orange light of avarice. His own personal kryptonite, his comics collection and the heroes that it contains are the yellow fear he refuses to acknowledge. And the red rage that consumes his soul? That rage he holds for himself, for the atrocities he has commited.
Why a Black Ring should mutate into the rings of other colours is not even touched upon here. Considering that with the Black Rings, it is they that wear the body and not vice versa, this does not make a lot of sense. However, here we see Clark transforming eventually into a Red Lantern (vomiting blood and all), which I think is another clue as to just how many of the dead will be resurrected. The obvious choice being Batman.
Even if the conclusion of Final Crisis did rather intimate that Bruce was alive and well on the new Earth 51, now the alleged home of Kamandi and the reborn New Gods, not that we have seen them yet. Now there is a story I am eagerly awaiting,
I really hope that this is the first step in redeeming Superboy-Prime, although I’m not so sure about his undead girl-friend. Then again, in Outsiders, the zombie-Terra seems on the up-and-up. So far. Not that we are all waiting for that axe to fall.
However, the thought of a wholescale resurrection of everyone does not fill me with enthusiasm. One thought though – if Nekron’s reign over the dead is toppled, but the Black Rings keep working, without the need to empower themselves by eating hearts, now that might be cool. Anybody up for a Zombie-Lantern ongoing series? Or a zombie-Batman in Blackest Knight?