I had six-hour meeting three hours from home today, so this will be brief. When I got home and scanned the unreviewed toy shelf, I wanted to find something I could sum up quickly – probably something I didn’t care too much about, something that had easily gone unreviewed. Oh look, Superboy Prime.
Superboy Prime came out in mid-2012 as part of the “last wave” of DC Classics, but the whole thing was a mess. The C&C line was torpedoed, a new All-Stars line was supposed to launch, the subscription started – and 6” DC Collecting pretty much just came to a screeching, sudden halt. The subscription limped its way into 2012, but the new All-Stars retail line never happened. Instead, this four-figure wave sort of dribbled out containing Nu52 versions of Superman & Batman, Red Robin, & Superboy Prime.
I never saw these at retail. I’m sure plenty of folks did, but no stores here carried the wave and Mattel had handled the DC property so horridly by that point that I wasn’t really inclined to really look for the two I wanted: Prime & Red Robin. I eventually snagged Prime cheap through BBTS (but I still haven’t picked up Red Robin, I need to just eBay it and get it over with).
To be honest, I’m not sure if my lukewarm response to Prime was do the figure, Mattel, or how Geoff Johns altered the character. I’m not a fan of any of it. Superboy Prime started earnestly enough in the 80s as a Clark Kent living in the real world (here, with you & me) that ended up with super powers and chose to emulate Superman from the comics he read. He helped out in Crisis on Infinite Earths before ultimately departing for a paradise dimension with the Golden Age Superman & Lois and an Earth-3 version of Lex Luthor. That was all well & good and I honestly think it would’ve been perfectly fine to never mention him again. That was sort of the point of the ending.
But comic books can never leave well enough alone. Johns brought Prime back, drove him crazy, and turned him into a homicidal hot mess with the convenient ability to retcon out anything anyone didn’t like. I give Johns some credit for crafting such a petulant, whiny character that you hated every scene he was in, but he never made the jump to being a character you love to hate. I could never get him off the page soon enough – but he wouldn’t go away. After he went nuts and killed a bunch of people, he was imprisoned by the Flashes. Then, in the same story, he goes nutzer dons Anti-Monitor armor and kills a bunch more people before being stopped again and imprisoned by the Guardians.
When he escapes from the Guardians, he again dons his Anit-Monitor armor, but to amp things up, he joins the Sinestro Corps. He’s killed and/or imprisoned a few more times, but ultimately ends up back in his home universe (ours) and it turns out they all read the same crappy comics we did and they hate him too. Damn.
Sorry, I wasted three paragraphs on that diatribe, but once I get started on comics… well, y’know. There’s a reason I have a toy site & not a comic site. Continue to Page 2…