The last survivor of a reality similar to our own, where the heroes of the DC Universe are fictional characters. But as the universe where he’s found refuge has grown darker, so too has this Superboy from another world.
First Appearance: DC COMICS PRESENTS #87, 1985
Aliases: Clark Kent, Kal-El, Superboy, Superman, Superman-Prime, Prime, Time Trapper
Affiliations: Sinestro Corps, Red Lantern Corps, Star Sapphire Corps, Black Lantern Corps, Legion of Super-Villains, Legion of Doom, Monster Society of Evil
In the vast recesses of the infinite multiverse, there was once a world very much like our own. A world where the Justice League, the Teen Titans, the Legion of Super-Heroes and all the heroes we love and villains we hate were no more than characters in comic books. This world was called Earth-Prime, and it was all intents and purposes identical to the “real” world where this article has been published right now.
Identical, that is, except for one notable exception: Earth-Prime had its own last survivor of the planet Krypton, its own alien child adopted by a kindly couple, its own Clark Kent (named, naturally, after the popular fictional character). Its own Superboy.
Not long after this young Clark Kent began manifesting powers of his own, the Earth he knew and loved was consumed by the Anti-Monitor, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He was his world’s only survivor. Alongside the heroes of Earth-One, Superman of Earth-Two, and Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-Three, the young Kryptonian of Earth-Prime defeated the Anti-Monitor before he could wipe out all of existence. In the end, only one world remained, reborn from what had once been Earth-One and its multiversal environs. As consolation for the losses of their worlds, Earth-Prime’s Superboy, Alexander Luthor, Jr., and Earth-Two’s Superman and Lois Lane were awarded a “paradise dimension” in which to live out the rest of their days, happily ever after.
At least, that was the plan. From a viewing platform as the years went by, the survivors of the multiverse bore witness to an Earth that had lost its way. In the years since the Crisis, heroes fell, villains grew darker, and the moral arc of the universe appeared to bend towards injustice. The young Clark Kent, who had grown up on stories of his idealized heroes, would have no more of it. This was not the world his own had died for. With a rage that shook the universe, Clark punched the walls of reality until their vibrations altered its course, and escaped his gilded cage of “paradise” to set things right in the New Earth. The world would only know one Superboy, and it would be him: Superboy-Prime.
With the aid of Alexander Luthor, Jr., the husk of the Anti-Monitor, and a host of survivors of the lost multiverse as living batteries, Superboy-Prime sought to replace the New Earth with the resurrection of his own. In the process, Superboy-Prime ended up killing a number of Teen Titans who dared resist him -- including the New Earth’s own Superboy, Conner Kent. It ultimately took the combined might of New Earth’s Superman, Earth-Two’s Superman, and the Green Lantern Corps to end Superboy-Prime’s rampage, where he was placed deep in a containment cell specially designed for his capture. For all his bluster, Superboy-Prime was once again caged.
But in the DC Universe, Super-Villains rarely stay imprisoned forever. Clark Kent of Earth-Prime was liberated and recruited by Thaal Sinestro for his newly formed Sinestro Corps, where he took the moniker of Superman-Prime. Superman-Prime was one of the most powerful members of the Corps, but he was defeated by the sacrifice of a Guardian of the Universe, who sent him hurtling through a reborn multiverse. Moving from world to world, Prime unleashed his rage upon every Earth he visited until a climactic, world ending battle on Earth-51 -- where The Monarch sent him further still not just through reality, but time.
In the distant future, Prime was revealed to have taken on the mantle of one of the most powerful enemies to the Legion of Super-Heroes: the Time Trapper. It is only the intervention of three different versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes from throughout time and reality which manage to stop him from ending time altogether, by creating a paradox which stranded him once more in Earth-Prime -- a goal he had sought all along, but could no longer enjoy due to the monster he’d become.
Prime was liberated once more by the portal-creating villain Headcase for a final showdown with the Teen Titans, after which he was imprisoned within the Source Wall. But after DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, Prime’s imprisonment was relocated to the Dungeon of Eternity, where he now seeks new allies for his vengeance upon the multiverse which has spurned him: the Monster Society of Evil.