Countdown to Final Breakdown #24A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays
Superboy, I mean, Superman Prime. Anyone else befuddled by this guy’s constant change in appearance? He goes from boy to man, from long hair to short, from regular Superman tights to black and white Kryptonian suit.
Anywho, he first appeared back in 1985 on what was known at the time as Earth Prime. Earth Prime was more or less OUR Earth; it had no super-heroes. Instead, it had all the writers and artists who created DC Comics (actually, there had been one Earth Prime hero before Superboy Prime: Ultraa). Every once in a while one of the creators would appear in a DC comic book as one of its characters; therefore, DC decided that our Earth needed to be included in the multiverse. Jerry and Naomi Kent adopted little Clark when they found him in a forest. As a teen, Clark was dressed as Superboy for a costume party, when Halley’s Comet soared past and activated his powers. Shortly thereafter, Earth 1’s Superman found Clark and recruited him to assist with the Crisis on Infinite Earths. So young Clark never really got to enjoy his powers.
As Superboy Prime headed into the Crisis, his Earth was destroyed. While this caused him great grief, it also gave him that much more reason to fight alongside the other heroes. Once the Anti-Monitor was defeated, Alexander Luthor of Earth 3 offered Superboy Prime, along with Superman and Lois of Earth 2, the chance to come with him to live in a paradise instead of being wiped out of existence.
As we know from Infinite Crisis, where they ended up wasn’t exactly paradise. SB Prime became increasingly despondent and angry, longing for his home, while Earth 2’s Superman watched his Lois creep closer to death, and Alexander Luthor slowly manipulated SB Prime, playing on his anger. This, of course, led to the events of Infinite Crisis, which led to SB Prime being stopped and held inside a red sun by the Green Lantern Corps until the Sinestro Corps freed him, and here we are.
Now, all that aside, since most of it’s been covered quite well in the recent Superman Prime special, I would like to take a moment to mention another aspect of SB Prime’s story. That would be Kurt Busiek’s Superman: Secret Identity. This is an Elseworlds tale that essentially takes a “What if the Crisis never occurred” stance. While it is essentially a Superboy Prime story, it’s not technically the same person, so there are some origin differences. In this case, young Clark was the actual birth son of David and Laura Kent on Earth. He eventually discovers that he actually has the powers of Superboy, and he uses them secretly to help out his hometown.
He moves to Manhattan, becoming a writer for The New Yorker and continues to help people while dressed as Superman, knowing that people wouldn’t admit to seeing something so ludicrous. The government, however, keeps track of these events in the hope of catching whoever, or whatever, is behind them. One day at work, his fellow employees set him up to meet a woman by the name of Lois Chaudhari. Of course Lois storms off, annoyed with her friends for setting her up with someone named Clark, but Clark catches her and wins her over. Well, I won’t give away what happens, but it’s truly an excellent story and I highly recommend it to any Superman fan.
That’s all I have for this week! The storyline’s picking up with this latest addition to things, and I can only hope the train keeps going at this speed! Take care!