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Mark Temporis said on August 22nd, 2008 at 8:51 pm

My favorite part of the comic was Prime showing up at the Superman museum and finding out that everyone thought he was a loser.
Also, the LSV might have been inspired by him retroactively through what he does in this series, not necessarily because they had to look a thousand years back to find an emo loser they liked. Being inspired by Prime, still, is kind of silly.

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To me it’s not even that he draws X-Pac heat–it’s that Superboy Prime’s entire method of villainy consists of:

1) snort derisively at everything.
2) destroy things a little too easily.

If I had to compare him to a wrestler, he’d be Loch Ness with all of two moves–elbow drop and get up.

I haven’t read Legion of Three Worlds #1 yet but I’ve seen the preview and he’s flying around 31st century Smallville going “Huh. This is his dumb hometown. Heh.” And I’m like okay, Prime, we get it, you think you’re better than everybody. Now do something else.

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Superboy Prime was pretty hilarious in this issue, and works better here than in any other story he’s appeared in.

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On the one hand I agree that Prime is a bad concept .

On the other hand I find every story he’s in hil-freaking-larious! Just thinking that this is the same character from the original Crisis? The mind boggles. And is it just me or does DC seem incapable of having a story with him in it that doesn’t degenerate into an author tract?

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mygif

I’d actually pay money for a comic comprising 22 pages of Superboy Prime getting kicked in the nuts, over and over again. Ideally by Kon-El.

I’d pay like, fifty fucking dollars for that comic.

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Now Supergirl, there’s a character I wish would just stop existing.

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Actually ideally he’d get kicked in the nuts by like, Kon-El, then Superman, then a five-year-old girl, then the real Superboy Prime from COIE, then Kon-El some more. Then Kon would kick him in the nuts so hard, it would cause him, Supergirl, and Jason Todd to spontaneously cease to exist.

I’m getting hot flashes just thinking about reading that comic.

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Just so I’m clear, is Prime supposed to be DC’s answer to people who lament over characters they’ve grown to love in the past? “Yeah, we’re bringing back somebody we were supposed to close the door on two decades ago, we’ll make him a killer and a whiny little bitch with powers . . . so suck on it, fanboys!”

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You know who else should beat up SB prime?
Superman from “Superman, Secret Identity.”

Now there was a good interpretation of a Superman in our world.

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You know, the very fact that Johns characterizes his OWN STORY about Superboy Prime as insignificant proves how utterly fucked in the head he is.

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My problem with SB Prime- no, two problems- amongst my problems with Superboy Prime are such diverse elements as:

There’s the whole “fanboy baiting” thing. I can’t help but see it as, “Disagree with the decisions we’ve made and the direction of the DCU? Want things to be made better? Well you’re like this guy!” It’s cheap and it’s easy, basically a strawman.

There’s how badly he was introduced as a bad guy in INFINITE CRISIS. I totally bought Anakin’s fall in the STAR WARS prequels, and THIS was too whiny for me.

I kind of liked him in the Sinestro Corps event. BUT I don’t see how you can use him that often. By nature he tends to destroy entire universes when he gets pissy, so if you set him loose too often eventually you don’t have much of a DCU left. He’s like a Dragonball Z character.

And similarly, he’s so insanely powerful that you have to come up with some unique once-in-a-lifetime way of stopping him each time.

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mygif

I like Superboy Prime. But then, he comes off to me as more Andre the Giant (a one dimensional freak show, but a fun one dimensional freak show) than XPac.

That said, I agree that the whole “Superboy Prime inspired the LOSV” idea seems ridiculous to me.

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It’s cheap and it’s easy, basically a strawman.

I’m not well versed in actual argumentation, and I’m the last guy to invoke things like “logic” and “debate” online, but I was under the impression that in order for something to be a strawman, it had to actually be wrong.

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Superboy Prime (IC version)

1. Its stupid
2. It sucks
3. I hate it

Or why even the mildest interest I had in this story is dead…

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Bret Says:
“You know who else should beat up SB prime?
Superman from ‘Superman, Secret Identity.’

Now there was a good interpretation of a Superman in our world.”
====

Wanna hear something funny?

Superboy Prime has that name because he’s the Superboy from Earth Prime. Earth Prime is our Earth. Superman: Secret Identity takes place on our Earth.

COIE Superboy, Secret Identity Superboy, and Superboy Prime are all the same guy.

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Yeah…bit of a continuity error, there. Even if the Legion of Villains somehow knew that the official history of him being a loser was fake, why would they still be inspired by a whiny child from a backwater universe who killed one or two children?

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Oh, and Thok: DO NOT MOCK THE MEMORY OF ANDRE THE GIANT WITH SUCH A SPURIOUS COMPARISON. Andre was, off the ring, a gentleman whod id his best to avoid confrontation.

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I really like the idea of Superboy Prime. A petty, selfish Superman with no moral compass. I even like the idea of the character being as petulant as he is, because that makes him really unpredictable, you never know what’s going to set this guy off. The problem is, as a lot of people have already pointed out, that the character is incredibly whiney, which just kills his credibility. You take away that one aspect to his character and I think Superboy Prime makes for a really great villain – a smug, arrogant version of Superman who thinks the universe owes him, and who’s going to take whatever he wants because nobody else can stop him.

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Prime works for me because Johns writes him as what he is : a teenager. A whiny, horrid, self-absorbed brat who -like most teenagers- can’t understand that the universe doesn’t revolve around him. I work with teenagers who would probably indulge in a bit of genocide if they had the power to do so, therefore I find him quite amusing.

The only thing I didn’t like about this comic was Brainiac Fives’ hairstyle. It was a bit…crazy. But other than that very minor quibble the art was fabulous.

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Deep down, every single comic fan has a Superboy Prime in them. It’s as we suspected: deep down, they hate themselves.

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My problems with Superboy Prime are twofold. One, the no-brainer problem. You should never have the potential situation where someone’s first comic is Superboy killing people in gruesome and horrific ways. Sure, there’s a long, dull, convoluted explanation as to why this isn’t the “real” Superboy, and what that whole “Prime” thing at the end of his name means, and why it’s not like the real, iconic figure whose intellectual property is one of the two things that actually make your company valuable despite the fact that its sales have been in the toilet for decades…but what are the chances that someone’s going to ever pick up another DC book again, if the first one they read features Superboy Prime?

The second problem is that, as others have pointed out, Superboy Prime is basically a gigantic inside joke about how whiny fans hate everything that has happened since the Silver Age, and how much the DC Universe has sucked ever since then. Which, given that the character was created and written by someone who brought back the multiverse, brought back Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, and will soon be writing the new adventures of Barry Allen as the Flash, always makes me feel like I’m getting a window into Geoff Johns’ deeply externalized self-loathing. :)

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Another problem I have with Superboy Prime (most of the aforementioned I agree with): Inconsistency of powers. Apparently he is a) Immune to Kryptonite radiation from our (or any) universe, but he is b) powered up by solar radiation from any universe he goes to. Shouldn’t it be both or neither?

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I really like the idea of Superboy Prime. A petty, selfish Superman with no moral compass.

This is often cited in defense of Superboy Prime, and while “Superman gone wrong” is an interesting concept, there are dozens of variations to choose from, so that alone doesn’t justify the character. For example, Ultraman and Hank Henshaw are petty, selfish Supermen with no moral compass, and I find them far more palatable because they think about when and where to use their powers (for evil) most effectively. In a Prime story, he’s just smug until something sets him off, and then he’s ripping your spine out while he’s atomizing you with his heat vision while he’s tears your eyes out.

Take the CSA arc in Trinity, for example–Ultraman and the Crime Syndicate show up and offer to negotiate with the Justice League because they care more about owing the JLA a favor than about grining their bones to dust. That adds intrigue to the story (well, not much, because things broke down into a fight two issues later, but some), whereas if the Syndicate simply charged in heat vision a-blazing there’d be no story, just a fight. And at least with the CSA it’s established they’re an even match with the JLA–so far Prime has been shown to be vastly superior to everyone in the DC Universe except Sodam Yat, and then they gave Yat lead poisioning so there’s not even that.

Of course, the story in most Superboy Prime stories has been “The heroes are facing an unstoppable, relentless, killer Superman, so what will they do?” But by now the answer has been firmly established to be “nothing, they’ll just die until some deus ex machina character gets rid of Prime.” Which is boring. With Legion of Three Worlds, the onus is on Geoff Johns to show Superman and the Legion (the ostensible stars of the story) actually defeating Prime, and not to have Mordru or one of the Monitors or the Guardians show up to do it for them.

I even like the idea of the character being as petulant as he is, because that makes him really unpredictable, you never know what’s going to set this guy off.

He’s not that unpredictable, because everything sets him off. As soon as you’re standing ten feet from the guy you already know you’re gonna die and he won’t.

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MGK, you should do a whole post just to go into greater detail on why Superboy Prime sucks.

To me, he’s as one-dimensional a character as a one-dimensional character gets. You can’t make him reform, because there’s already a good Superman (and you can’t have him as a whiney teenager learning to be heroic, because you already have Supergirl for that). Unless they’re going to end this with SB-Prime doing the SACRIFICIAL LAMB deal to end FINAL CRISIS, the only way to play him is as a whiney shit with god-like powers (and as the current DC writers’ puppet to tell disgruntled fans to go fuck themselves.)

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You know what I’d love? If some reporter with serious balls actually asked Johns the questions and points we’re raising here. On camera.

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I’ll say this for stories with Prime in them: there’s always the chance that they will end with Rex the Wonderdog showing up and ripping his nuts off.

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“Sure, there’s a long, dull, convoluted explanation as to why this isn’t the “real” Superboy, and what that whole “Prime” thing at the end of his name means, and why it’s not like the real, iconic figure whose intellectual property is one of the two things that actually make your company valuable despite the fact that its sales have been in the toilet for decades…”

He’s an evil alternate Superman; that’s an easily-grasped concept.

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Superboy Prime in this issue, especially with the LSV at the end, reminded me of Ol-vir.

I hated Ol-vir.

But not in the sense of Superboy-Prime being a self-centred narcissistic overly-powered immature pillock.

I hated Ol-vir, because he was utterly nucking futz, a religious fanatic, and completely off the deep end, and he did horrible things because of it. I hated him because in the story I feared him. Someone that young, unhinged, and powerful was SCARY and somehow pathetic at the same time.

The difference being, I suspect Paul Levitz was aiming for that reaction when he wrote him.

I can generate no such similar feeling for Superboy Prime at all.

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Phil Watts, Jr. said:

“You can’t make him reform”

Actually, that was my idea of what to do with him. The Spectre comes along, and is empowered by the energies of the whole universes S-Prime murders. The two of them fight, and in the end, the Spectre’s punishment is to take away all his madness–all the self-delusions, rationalizations, and justifications for his actions are stripped away, all in a single instant, forcing him to confront the truth about himself. And he spends the rest of eternity trying to atone for his sins.

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After much soul-searching, I’ve come to the decision that I love Superboy Prime. Sorry, but that’s how I am.

To me, he isn’t X-Pac because at the end of the day, I love to hate the guy. He’s more like Vin Gerard, who– wait, none of you have any idea who that is. I love how he sacrifices logic for his sense of worth. Not just for the the “You’re ruining me!” thing, but his big backup plan in Infinite Crisis was to blow up Oa and therefore create a new Big Bang. A couple years later, in an alternate present from the recent Booster Gold arc, Guy Gardner basically tells us that Prime blew up Oa and it didn’t do shit. That’s hilarious.

Maybe it’s because I couldn’t care less about him prior to his turn towards evil. I can’t think of anything that the pre-Crisis Prime could have done that would have been nearly as entertaining as tearing off Risk’s arms. Then he appeared in Sinestro Corps, making you realize that, “Oh shit, this is pretty much the most over-powered villain team in fictional history. How are the Green Lanterns going to win? I have to read this.”

And any time he gets chopped down, he whines and cries. Not in an annoying way, but in an entertaining just desserts way. It makes it just that much better when the Flashes abduct him or Superman, Supergirl and Power Girl beat him down.

What separates him from the other evil Supermen is that he isn’t a badass design that you can get behind. He’s a twerp that’s more powerful than he has any right to be and is constantly driven by his innate ability to completely miss the point. They need to start using him more sparingly, but I love the guy.

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Problem is, it’s too damn hard to chop him down. There’s maybe three beings who can do it, and that would unbalance the story. He needs to be made helpless. He needs be made afraid, to be shown he has limitations, or else he IS one-dimensional.

He’s an arrogant whiny brat who can do anything he wants. Who’s he gonna listen to?

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I have no particular feelings about Superboy-Prime, but I think FC:L3W #1 was an excellent job from start to finish, I’m quite looking forward to the rest of the series, and there is some basis for hope that it’s going to set up a status quo that will have the Legion on rails for years to come.

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Then he appeared in Sinestro Corps, making you realize that, “Oh shit, this is pretty much the most over-powered villain team in fictional history. How are the Green Lanterns going to win? I have to read this.”

See I had the exact OPPOSITE reaction. I saw everything they were throwing into the Sinestro Bad Guy Corps and so gave the entire series a pass. I did read scans of the EmoBrat Prime / Sodom fight, but ended up thinking it was just another massive destructive fight that accomplishes nothing except trying to further push a heel I rank slightly below the Great Khali…

And any time he gets chopped down, he whines and cries. Not in an annoying way, but in an entertaining just desserts way.

Nope, just find it vastly, VASTLY annoying. Like a Disco Inferno temper tantrum…

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I fail to see how anything can be compared to Disco Inferno and then be deemed a bad thing.

This conversation has led to the mental image of Alexander Luthor doing the Alex Wright armpit dance. Fantastic.

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I just figured out how this ends, after someone posted “You can’t make him reform because there’s already a Superman.”

Legion Reboot by Geoff Johns. Superboy-Prime in the Superman role, being reformed by the Legion. … I’m pretty sure of this, actually. Oy. And Vey.

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I just figured out how this ends, after someone posted “You can’t make him reform because there’s already a Superman.”

Legion Reboot by Geoff Johns. Superboy-Prime in the Superman role, being reformed by the Legion. … I’m pretty sure of this, actually. Oy. And Vey.

I think that’s definitely a possibility, but I wouldn’t call it a reboot. After all, no continuity needs to be shifted to make it happen. And don’t forget that Bart Allen is also in the mix to maybe join the Legion at the end of all this!

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SBP as strawman wouldn’t even be so bad if Johns would just come out and say whatever point it he’s trying to make, but instead he plays every appearance like your racist uncle making some random-ass remark about watermelon and fried chicken; you can’t figure out what in the goddamn hell it’s actually supposed to mean but you’re still 100% sure that whatever that is it’s fucking stupid and a waste of your time.

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Dan Coyle said on August 25th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

One of the biggest belly laughs I got this week is the quote from Waid in the Flash companion claiming Johns loves the characters as much as he does. Oh, sure he does, Mark; he just made Wally an accomplice to the murder of about a dozen cops in Rogues’ Revenge.

Seriously, when is the rest of the comics professional community going to wake up and perform an intervention on this fucking nerd?

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mygif

Why is Superman Prime a bad villain?

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