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One Forgotten Version of Superman Almost Killed DC Comics For Good

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 9/22/2022 Justin Epps
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He may be one of DC Comics' most popular characters, but one twisted variant of Superman quite literally almost killed the company. A journey to Manhattan almost gave Superboy-Prime the best opportunity he's ever had to get payback against the publisher for making his life a living hell.

While Superman remains a paragon of virtue in the multiverse, the truth is he has copies of him that are nowhere near as principled or heroic as he is. There are versions of him that are outright killers or leaders of fascist movements. But the darkest variant of Superman has to be Superboy-Prime, a variant of the character who often hails from Earth-Prime, aka a fictionalized version of the 'real' world. Though initially presented as a hero, Superboy-Prime became a warped version of Superman who believed he was the only being worthy of the name.

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The rage of Superboy-Prime grew to so much that the villain decided to take his anger out on those responsible for his suffering in Adventure Comics #5 by Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, and Jerry Ordway. Set during the events of the Blackest Night event, Superboy-Prime is confronted by his deceased ally Alexander Luthor, Jr. Superboy-Prime fights for his life against a swarm of Black Lanterns led by Luthor. Prime recognizes that he’s overwhelmed by the Black Lantern forces and is likely not to survive the onslaught. Deciding if he's going to die, he's going to take the people who have made him suffer down with him. With Black Lanterns in pursuit, Superboy-Prime hightails it to Manhattan and crashes into the offices of DC Comics. Consumed with fury, Superboy-Prime destroys the office while admonishing the fleeing staff on how their actions have consequences for people like him.

And yes, that’s former co-publisher of DC Comics Dan Didio being threatened by Superboy-Prime. As the villain tears through the office fighting his Black Lantern enemies, cameos from various real-life staffers are shown running for their lives. Fortunately, Prime's temper tantrum was confined to the pages of Adventure Comics and no one from DC was actually hurt. And while the moment works as a funny fourth wall break, the near-destruction of DC Comics showed that the company was highly aware of how far they let Superboy-Prime fall.

Superboy-Prime was a hero once, and showed what he was capable of when the DC Universe was threatened by the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths. However, for the sake of storytelling, he was turned into a villain and a thinly veiled criticism on toxic fanboyism. Within the span of a few years, Superboy-Prime had basically become a joke that was reviled among fans. But DC knew that the unfortunate changes of a once heroic figure was ultimately on them. Having the malcontent variant of Superman come in and knock the offices around was DC acknowledging that they were responsible for putting Prime on the wrong track.

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