5713 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Superboy of Earth-Prime (DC Comics) (Crisis on Infinite Earths)

Superboy

(Clark Kent of Earth-Prime) (Early)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This is a specific version of Superboy, who served during the Crisis on Infinite Earths to patch an arcane continuity issue

This profile was written waaaayyyy before the infelicitous return of Earth-Prime Superboy as a time-puncher.

If you’re not familiar with all the continuity gobbledegook around the Crisis, you should first read our article about the ages and Earths of DC Comics.


Background

  • Real Names: Kal-El (of Krypton-Prime), Clark Kent.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Jor-El (father, deceased), Lara (mother, deceased), Jerome Thorton “Jerry” Kent (adoptive mother), Naomi Clarke Kent (adoptive mother).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: The town of Hampton, along the New England coast.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 150 lbs Age: 16
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Before learning of his powers, Clark was a fairly bright, well-educated, and fairly athletic teenage boy. While quick and agile for a high school student, though, he’s not quite up to par for an action-oriented hero just yet. But this could undoubtedly change, given time (and Hero Points ).

As Superboy, his powers are more or less mistakable for those of his Earth-1 counterpart, though with subtle variants which are suggestive of his origin on the more realistic Earth-Prime. Those manifested include:

  • A relatively weak heat vision.
  • Flight requiring acceleration.
  • Telescopic vision (with which he was clearly able to see Halley’s comet well over a year early).
  • The ability to see through illusions.

During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, he proved to be pretty indestructible, as well.

Interestingly, Superboy does not share all (if any) of his counterparts’ weaknesses. Most notably, he is fully able to function in the presence of red solar radiation.


History

As in many a continuum, “this is no fantasy,” Jor-El explained, “no figment of some distorted imagination, no product of a morbid dream dictating that our great red sun will soon nova. Ladies and gentlemen of the Science Council, Krypton is doomed.”

Unlike many continua, however, the Science Council agreed with Jor-El’s findings. They promptly went to work doing what they do best: study the problem, form committees, and generally bog themselves down with bureaucratic red tape.

When the firebrand of a scientist attempted to rally his fellow leaders, however, they ejected him from the Council chambers while they continued their debate. They would have banned his personal projects, as well, had it not been for the support of Councilor Marya. They did, however, ban Jor-El from speaking in public for a year.

Jor-El was troubled, but not by much, since he was far more troubled knowing that a full year was certainly not his.

Doomed planet

On his own for some time, Jor-El perfected teleportation technology, though only up to a certain size. That was when the Science Council finally, out of desperation, chose to heed his advice and inquire after his plans. His demonstration went well, sending a tiny grundoon to “a little blue-green planet circling a yellow star-sun,” Earth.

However, Krypton’s sun again shuddered, signaling the last moments of that world. Quickly, Jor-El ushered away those of the Science Council, and met with his wife and infant son. With little ceremony, they placed young Kal-El into the chamber, sending him to Earth.

The couple hoped to follow, but was stymied by Councilor Durkin, who attempted to commandeer the miscalibrated device for his own escape. All he did was kill himself and destroy the machine, thus stranding the pair on the doomed planet as it was engulfed by its expanding sun.

Strange visitor

Meanwhile, while hiking through the woods, infertile couple Jerry and Naomi Kent stumbled upon the alien infant. Not giving the child’s origins a second thought, immediately decided to adopt him.

Taking her maiden name for the child’s given name, as she had always planned to do regardless of the name of the man she married, Naomi named their soon-to-be-son Clark Kent. That was despite Jerry’s protests against naming a child after a well-known comic book character.

Mrs. Kent frustrated her husband a tiny bit more by pointing out a childhood friend of hers named Pete Moss, so odd names (and those with a marginal superhero flair) were not unknown to her.

Up in the sky

Growing up, Clark found that, for no reason he could understand, he had absolutely no special abilities. While fairly athletic, he fell far short of his namesake. The other children played on it—all except for one child, that is, his girlfriend Laurie Lemmon.

One night, in the summer of 1985, the two went with some friends to a costume party at Hampton Beach. He wore a Superboy costume, and she was dressed as mermaid Lori Lemaris. After yet more ribbing from his friends, he and Laurie went for a walk to look at the stars. On impulse, he jumped up, up, and, well, back down, landing face down in the sand.

After recovering from his embarrassment, and looking up again, Clark became the first resident of Earth to see Halley’s Comet in many years. That was a year and a half before it would become visible to anyone else. Seeming almost close enough to touch, Clark reached out to the celestial object.

With a tiny nudge from fluctuating magnetic and gravitational fields, he slowly lifted off the ground in time to bump into a dimensionally-displaced Superman of Earth-1.

Man of Tomorrow

The elder hero gave his counterpart some inspiration, based directly on what Jonathan Kent had once told him. He then attempted to return to his own Earth, unintentionally leaving the aspiring hero to deal with a Crisis-induced tidal wave. With some work, the young Kent managed to find the “trigger” for his heat vision, but was insufficiently powerful to save his friends that way.

Fortunately for them, Superman was unable to return home. He managed to pull the water into the air with his speed…exactly as Superboy envisioned it. Working together, the Kryptonian duo managed to evaporate the newly-formed spout, transforming the disastrous wave into a nuisance storm cloud.

Superman then spent some time training the young hero, also bonding with the lad and recovering somewhat from the recent loss of his cousin Kara (Earth-1’s Supergirl).

It’s Superman!

They raced to Halley’s Comet, examined a tourist spaceship from Arcturus (which Superboy mistook for an alien invasion force), and engaged an alien invasion force from Polaris-VI (which Superboy mistook for tourists).

After being captured by the Polarians, he was rescued by Superman. Wanting to head off, he was reminded by the elder hero that there was still work to do, namely stopping the invasion.

By the time the pair had finished their work, they returned to the Kent home to find Clark’s parents and neighbors, along with the police. They were in a confused panic over their now-missing son and Laurie’s reports of his disappearance.

Without fanfare, Superman briefly explained that their son’s abilities were needed in the Crisis. He then took off with the fledgling Teen of Steel, though not before Laurie made him promise to return.

Boy of steel

Alas, young Kal-El was siphoned into a mysterious vortex almost immediately on his visit to Earth-1. This appears to have been caused by the Anti-Monitor in hopes of destroying a potential enemy.

While Clark seems to have watched the wall of antimatter destroy much of his universe, he was rescued (off-panel and, again, apparently) by the Harbinger, in time to join the final strike force against the Anti-Monitor.

In that final battle, Superboy carried himself well. He showed himself to be a worthy addition to the legacy he only recently learned he was a part of, a legacy stretching across both decades and worlds. His power helped to distract the Anti-Monitor while final plans were put into action to ensure his destruction.

After the battle, it was he that protected and carried the unconscious forms of Lady Quark and Superman II, guiding them back to the Positive Matter Universe.

However, once his charges were safe, Superboy doubled back to help the original Superman. He nearly sacrificing his own life so that the Anti-Monitor could be finally, truly defeated.

(Side note: It took the assembled DC Multiverse a whopping six times to kill the Anti-Monitor, in case anyone’s counting, in a 12-issue series).

Up and Away

The universe finally safe, Kal-L of Krypton-2 and Kal-El of Krypton-Prime were proudly resigned to their fates. They watched the shockwave rippling outward from the Anti-Monitor’s destroyed form annihilate everything in its path. However, Alex Luthor, sole survivor of Earth-3, had two final surprises.

The Luthor child revealed that, within him, was a beautiful dimension to which his body served as a portal, thus providing a means of escape to the two great heroes. He also revealed that, prior to the destruction of Earth-2, he saved Lois Lane Kent, wife of the elder hero.

And so, the four retired to that unknown beauty, never to be heard from again. Who’s Who phrases it as Luthor’s “power was eliminated upon opening the final door into that unknown limbo, and that door can never be reopened without the complete and utter destruction of all life everywhere.”

(Actually, in reviewing those panels, it’s unclear. It’s entirely possible that only Superman I, Superboy, and Lois I were saved, and that Luthor, serving as the door, died in when the shockwave destroyed the asteroid on which they stood. That would also, presumably, seal the door.)


The Real Story

A key feature of Crisis on Infinite Earths, as many know, was to have an appearance by all continuing (that is, non irrevocably eliminated) DC characters of the time. Superboy, being a long-time DC staple, couldn’t be ignored. However, Earth-1’s Superman (whose early career was as Superboy) was already centrally featured in the story, making that difficult.

The (elegant, in my opinion) solution was to create a new Superboy to “represent” the Superboy that was being published, but could not logically appear.

This one was from Earth-Prime, our world’s “representation” in DC Comics at the time. Earth-Prime was home to the DC Comics staff (who would occasionally help or hinder our heroes).

It had but one other superhuman, Australia’s Ultraa, who emigrated to Earth-1 upon seeing the devastation left behind by a battle in which he engaged. Presumably he’s considered an urban legend because of his brief career.


Description

Superboy looks like…well…Superboy ; the original, I mean. Black with the bluish highlights hair, blue eyes, strong build, and a square chin ; you know the type.

Being from Earth-Prime, his (off-the-shelf) costume is patterned exactly after that worn by the Superboy/Superman of Earth-1. Of course, the suit is far less resilient than Clark is, meaning that it can usually be found in pretty bad shape after a battle (where he had it repaired between appearances is never specified).


Personality

Young Clark is not unlike the Earth-1 Superman. He is strong and upstanding, and has a great love for his people.

However, not knowing he was adopted, and only recently learning of his special powers, he is very uncertain and confused about his place in the world.

Also, of course, growing up on Earth-Prime, he is well-versed in the otherwise “secret” lore of Earth-1 and Earth-2 via his world’s comic books (of which his father was a fan/collector). He, therefore, tends to feel the need to relate items in his adventures to those comic books, and to extrapolate based on them.

In addition, having grown up wishing for superpowers, he is very excited now to have them.


Quotes

“She was in an old comic book he wouldn’t let me take out of a plastic bag ; it’s dangerous to read comics in a plastic bag…you could suffocate !”

“Like I always say, Laurie. Someday, I’m going to jump and just keep on going.”

“This is just like in the comics… exactly like it ! I’m still not convinced I’m not imagining it all.”

“Yeeeee-Haaaah !”

“A reporter ? Like the other Clark Kent ? I thought about doing that when I grow up, but I decided I’d rather be a test pilot like Hal Jordan !”

“What on God’s Earth…?”

“I’m Earth-Prime’s last survivor. I have a reason to join with you guys. But if you don’t let me, I’ll do it myself.”

“I’m coming, too. Better to go into the unknown than die here alone.”


DC Universe History

Technically, he’s already there, having survived the Crisis on Infinite Earths. That, however, doesn’t put him anywhere interesting in continuity. Especially since he left with Kal-L and Lois to the world inside Alexander Luthor.

Post-Crisis, however, this Superboy could be the prototype of the current “Metropolis Kid” clone. In this early attempt, lessons learned from brief examinations of the Amazo android were integrated into a human fetus, and a Thanagaran Absorbascon was used to feed knowledge into the child.

Unfortunately, the laboratory exploded (as they are prone to do). The child was accidentally teleported to somewhere on the New England coast, where he was found by Jerry and Naomi Kent (no relation to the Smallville Kents, of course), who adopted him.

Growin’ up

The information from the Absorbascon “haunted” the child from time to time, causing him to take the inexplicable nickname of “Clark” growing up. He occasionally insisted that he had superpowers and was an alien from the planet Krypton (tapping into the mind of the other Clark Kent, Kal-El of Krypton).

Not long ago, Superman was patrolling the area, and stumbled on the child, whose ability to fly had just manifested. The hero was even more surprised to find that the child knew all about his civilian life, the Justice League, and most of his friends.

For reasons of safety, both in terms of his special abilities and his special knowledge, young Clark has begun training with the Legion of Superheroes in the far future.


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Superboy of Earth-Prime

Dex: 05 Str: 06 Bod: 11 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure/Upholding the Good
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 06 Occupation: High School Student
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 014 HP: 065

Powers:
Flight: 14, Heat Vision: 10, Telescopic Vision: 09, Truesight: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Flight starts at no more than 4APs, increasing by 1AP per Phase (2APs when Pushing) to the maximum value.
  • Truesight only works against scientific illusions (like vibration-based invisibility), and Clark is actually unaware of the illusion due to the use of this Power.

Skills:
Detective (Law, Police Procedure)*: 04, Scientist: 02

Advantages:
Scholar (Computers, Earth-1 history).

Drawbacks:
Public Identity, Uncertainty, MIA (Outer Space), Misc (If an attack fails to gain RAPs by two or more Columns, Superboy does not even feel the contact).


Previous Statistics

Before his abilities activates, Clark (obviously) had no Powers, his STR was decreased to 02APs, and his BODY to 03-04APs. Athletic, but hardly super.


Design notes

I tried, of course, to keep to just the evidence in his few appearances. It might be assumed—and in fact seems to be assumed by Superman and the writers—that Superboy either has or will soon develop the full spectrum of powers typical of Kryptonians in other universes. Obviously, the reader is entitled to take this assumption more literally than I have.

By John Colagioia.

Source of Character: DC Comics Presents #87, Crisis on Infinite Earths #10-12.

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.