Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, November 30, 2007

A Strange Confession: I like Superboy Prime

As my title says, my strange confession today is that I love Superboy Prime. Don't get me wrong, he's a whiny, angsty, over-used, over-powered, emo teenaged tool. But oddly, that's why I like him.

Okay, see, I'm one of those people that honestly, well, villains never really do much for me. Don't get me wrong. I cheer seeing Sinestro and I'm more than happy to see Lex Luthor scheme and the like. But I like seeing villains in relation to the heroes, I don't have a whole lot of interest in the villains in their own right.

And I think sometimes creators get a little too over-enamored with their villains. Which to be fair is often somewhat inevitable. Villains have to be complex and interesting since that's what makes it fun to see them battle the heroes. But there's a way to take it too far. And then its on and on about how cool the villain is, his tragic backstory, how utterly badass he is...

Take, for example, Deathstroke. I don't mean to offend any Deathstroke fans, but I tend to think he's completely overused. (And don't get me started on the stupidity of the Deathstroke vs. Kyle fight in Identity Crisis. Even assuming Deathstroke CAN take advantage of Kyle's distraction to force the ring to very briefly react, Kyle Rayner, who is the Lantern most famous for deranged conjurations, is not about to PUNCH DEATHSTROKE to begin with. Hell, even Hal or Alan at their most by the book would CONJURE a giant fist rather than punch him. But I digress.) I won't deny that he's got a complex backstory or that he can be interesting or compelling, but I don't find him nearly as interesting as certain writers appear to. Honestly, I find him a little annoying. (Not to mention pretentious, yeesh.)

Superboy Prime is probably a bit overused right now, but not quite on level with Deathstroke, I think. He did spend a year or so real time in a giant green cube at least, as opposed to showing up everywhere. But I think the real draw for me is that know that annoyance I feel whenever Superboy Prime opens his big mouth?

I'm SUPPOSED to feel that way. I'm supposed to find him annoying, whiny, emo, and all those other things. I'm supposed to enjoy Guy Gardner calling him a crybaby and cheer for Power Girl to kick his ass. And as powerful as he is, I never get the sense that we're supposed to appreciate his utter badassery.

He's a whiny teenager with way too much power, sure, a badass? AS IF. And that's how we're supposed to feel.

He's kind of like one of the annoying villains that normally would be relegated to cannon fodder or comic relief underling status, but they actually gave him POWER. That's oddly interesting to me.

That said, I do hope they table him for a while after Sinestro Corps. He's a villain that can be overused real fast. At the same time, I kind of like him.

I hope he gets one hell of a beatdown first. <3


  • At November 30, 2007 5:06 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Well so far he's beaten, well every hero on hero. Including the entrie Superman Family. And now a Daxamite with the power of Ion. And even though it shows the rest of the Corps coming after him, thanks to Countdown WE KNOW he gets away from that. So he can go on a cross-dimensional murder spree. And then kidnap and torture Mr. Myxtplik (argh I don't feel like looking up the right spelling). And Mitzy doesn't even get to beat him (mock him yes, beat him no). So. Nothing can take him. AND he's annoying. And he's annoying because he's meant to be a mouthpiece for all the overwrought fanboy types...

    Making him a Mary Sue, a Sock Puppet and who knows what else. Putting him in anything is now the quickest way to guarentee I won't touch a book. There are villains I truly loathe (Blaise from Wild Cards springs to mind). But I'll still read what they're in. Because I have faith that EVENTUALLY they'll lose and face some kind of justice. Honestly reading a story with him in it is like trying to read the super-powered adventures of Rational Madman...

    EmoManBoy Prime? I don't have any faith that he'll lose. Or lose in any way that makes even a lick of sense...

    Plus while Golden/Silver Age SuperBoy was a dick? So was damn near everyone else from that time period...

  • At November 30, 2007 5:37 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    We'll just have to agree to disagree here. :-)

    EmoBoy Prime really is no worse, power-wise than Extant or Parallax were previously. Both stuck around a little while after the event and both were soundly defeated.

    And honestly, Ion was never going to succeed in beating down S' because it's not the end of the miniseries.

    Also, finally, your accusations are incompatible. A Mary Sue character can't be called on their imperfections/flaws. A Sock Puppet is defined by their flaws. Personally, I think he's neither. And I don't even think he's meant to represent overwrought fanboys.

    I think he's supposed to be a teenager: self-centered, lost everything, whiny, angsty and with an over simplistic point of view on how to change it.

    And while the fact that Superboy Prime is in Countdown attests to the fact that he's still around after this crossover, the fact that Kyle Rayner as well as Earth, Oa, and the universe are still around would tend to imply that he really did lose. (Also, as I said characters like Parallax and Extant remained around for quite a while after defeats.)

    I'm not saying you have to like him, or even that by this point you'll even find his defeat satisfying, but he's hardly the bubonic plague here. It's pretty silly to assume that this one overpowered villain is going to be the one overpowered villain to never be defeated. It's a superhero comic, beating impossible villains are what they do.

    P.S. Comparison to Pre-Crisis Superboy is inapplicable. S' isn't that Superboy, he was a character created specifically for the crisis from a completely different world. We already know world counterparts can be very different from one another, so the fact that Superboy was a dick among dicks where Superboy Prime is a dick among regular folk is largely immaterial. :-)

  • At November 30, 2007 5:46 AM, Blogger Flidget Jerome said…

    Man, it is so over between us.

    I'll let you have custody of Hotch but I'm taking Ultron with me.

  • At November 30, 2007 5:53 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Hmph, well, the next time he plans world domination or forgets to send his ailing father a birthday card, don't come crying to us!

    (Also I want alimony.)

  • At November 30, 2007 10:12 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Gosh, but Superbrat Prime is annoying. REALLY annoying, but as you say, I guess he's supposed to be. I just know that I want to march right up to him and take away his X-Box AND his I-pod!

    And then I'd make him clean up his room! And get a job...and stop listening to that crappy music...and..and!


    I completely agree with you about Deathstroke however. He's really NOT as fabulous as they'd like him to appear. And I'll bet that Guy could beat him up in about ten seconds.

    So there.

  • At November 30, 2007 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've heard it mentioned by others, and I completely buy the interpretation of Superboy Prime as the embodiment of fanboy entitlement. His demands that his exact specifications for his world and the heroes in it be met, followed by his inevitable, highly destructive tantrums, are great satirical fun, and probably more than a little theraputic for the pros to write his lines.

    On this level, I think the character works the best for me.

  • At November 30, 2007 11:15 AM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    The real sticking point Emoboy Prime has with me is that every single issue he is on has the same plot:

    - Emoboy Prime starts destroying things in a hissy fit;

    - A number N of superheroes try to stop him;

    - They completely fail to do anything of note to him;

    - Emoboy Prime keeps destroying things in a hissy fit.

    And that has happened six times already. If it was a RPG, you'd be packing your stuff and leaving the table after the third. That's what makes him different from, say, Parallax - Parallax had the decency to keel over once you had a decent plan against him.

    Overall, the 'pissed teenager villain' thing was handled much better in Flex Mentallo.

  • At November 30, 2007 11:20 AM, Blogger Evan Waters said…

    My problem with the character is that, at heart, an entitled obsessive annoying fanboy is not threatening. It doesn't matter what kind of power level you give the character, he's still supposed to be a satire of people who don't have much power to start with. There's nothing genuinely scary about him no matter how many limbs he rips off.

  • At November 30, 2007 3:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    The reasons people list for not liking Superman-Prime are the same reasons why I like him.

  • At November 30, 2007 6:02 PM, Blogger CalvinPitt said…

    Well, he definitely feels annoying to me, but it feels off for the level of threat he's supposed to represent. Annoyance is a feeling I associate with villains who aren't real threats to the hero's well-being, but are able to keep the hero occupied, and away from more pressing duties. Like the Prankster, or some of Spider-Man's lamer enemies, like the Gibbon. And that's cool, because I like some of those less dire hero/villain confrontations.

    I feel like I should want to see S-Prime get beat, but it seems too painfully obvious it won't happen until the exact moment Editorial says it will, and until then, everything attempt is just filler.

    Really, I'd like to see S-Prime trouncing some heroes, spouting his usual garbage, when a hole opens of in space, he falls through it, the hole closes, and he's never heard from again. The End. And the hole isn't the result of some brilliant plan by the heroes, it was just a weird fluke that happened to save the day. For some reason, I would really enjoy seeing him go out like that.

    But that's me. And seeing as I'm not buying much DC these days, they probably shouldn't be listening to me. Not that they should listen to me if I were buying more of their comics, but... well, whatever.

  • At November 30, 2007 8:38 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I want to see him go down to Arrowette's shampoo arrow. Or get beat by G'nort. Or the Heckler. Or Cluemaster. Really, the only pay-off that would leave me satisfied is if his defeat is utterly humiliating and comes from someone he should totally outclass.

  • At November 30, 2007 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My personal preference would be for him to retcon-punch himself out of existence. Failing that, Squirrel Girl isn't doing much over at Marvel is she? Sounds like something up right her alley.

  • At November 30, 2007 10:45 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    Read this post about the REAL LIFE Superboy-Prime.

  • At December 01, 2007 3:48 AM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    I hate the way Deathstroke was portrayed as super awesome and Kyle as super n00b in Identity Crisis, it made NO sense and was just "writer's fiat" that gave us it. :\

    I agree with you tho. I like Superboy Prime, tho I hope that they're not gonna use him after Final Crisis, or they come up with a different thing for him to do. XD He's kinda verging into "okay I get it" territory.

    But for now I think he's a fun little mayhem creator with lots of angst. xD

  • At December 01, 2007 10:53 AM, Blogger Anthony Strand said…

    I liked Superboy Prime better the first time. In fact, I just did a post about that on my rarely-updated blog -

  • At December 03, 2007 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This Superboy Prime makes me sad, though, because the version from "Superman: Secret Identity" was just pure Superman goodness. That Clark Kent was principled and kind, and he had human struggles (magnified by the powers) and was easy to relate to. I would very much like to know someone like him in real life.

    The Superboy Prime who thinks fanboy entitlement justifies a swath of destruction that has harmed god knows how many innocents? Not so much. I already know too many guys like that. And as hateable as he is, it's high time he lost a fight for once.

    Why they couldn't just give the storyline they foisted on Black Adam to him (it would make so much more sense than writing Teth-Adam as Vandal Savage does!) I don't know.

  • At November 07, 2008 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The reason why I dislike Prime is because there's nothing original about the character. I mean come on, do we need another evil version of Superman running around? Don't we already have Bizarro, Zod in his various incarnations, the Cyborg, Ultraman, Preus and the Composite Superman? I think DC's use of him is a sign that they've run out of good ideas.
    What DC should have done is kept Alexander Luthor around instead of Prime, rather than make him get killed off by the Joker( In one of the dumbest deaths ever). I think that a younger, idealistic but more dangerous version of Lex Luthor had more potential storywise than a whiny, obnoxious and more violent version of Superman. Prime, despite his huge bodycount is nothing more than a thug with little character or depth.
    The Legion Of Three World series hit the nail on the head when it stated that Prime will never be a top notch villain in the Superman mythos-That statement pretty much sums up the truth. Prime will never be an a level vilain on par with Lex Luthor, Grodd, Vandal Savage or Ra's Al Ghul.


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