Superboy Prime is a character that’s polarised DC fandom since his re-introduction in Infinite Crisis. When Legion of 3 Worlds finished, it seemed like a line had been drawn under the character for the time being, but then to everyone’s surprise, he immediately turned up again in the solicits for Adventure Comics #4 and #5 as these Blackest Night tie-in issues shifted their focus from Conner Kent.
To quickly lay my cards on the table, I definitely enjoyed these issues. However, given that the Superboy storyline is being ended with issue 6 (which most people are putting down to some rapid reshuffling which will see Paul Levitz take over the book as a Legion-only title), I think a lot of people have been put out by losing two more issues of what has been an (and I don’t use this word lightly) outstanding Superboy storyline. To be honest, I’m quite sad that we’re not seeing a spin-off Superboy or Legion book from this title, allowing Geoff to continue the Superboy run as its just been fantastic. From that point of view, the Superboy second-feature in issue 5 continuing the storyline was very welcome.
However, that aside, what about Superboy Prime’s storyline?
So, we’re back on Earth-Prime where Superboy Prime is living in his parents basement, reading his comics and posting on the internet. However, when he sees the Blackest Night tie-ins coming out from DC and realises he’s in them, he’s not happy. And then the Black Lanterns, led by Black Lantern Alex Luthor turn up to claim Prime.
Geoff Johns has made no bones about the fact he really enjoys writing Superboy Prime. And here he’s clearly having a lot of fun playing with the “real world” setting, as Prime heads to comic shops trying to find the next issue to see if he survives, before finally crashing the DC offices, blaming them for making him the bad guy and never giving him a happy ending. Of course, if Prime’s right, and its ultimately the fault of the DC writers that have made him turn evil, then does this mean that the villain behind Infinite Crisis was actually Geoff Johns? Or is Superboy Prime simply holding onto excuses, and in some ways he’s actually the only character in DC with true free will?
Over-thinking things aside, there’s a lot of fun to be had here as Johns has always enjoyed using Superboy Prime as a commentary on online fandom (, although I can’t help but think that if we’re now going to be moving the character of Superboy Prime to the side for a while, then Legion of 3 Worlds probably had a stronger “ending” for the character than this one. And from the point of view of Adventure Comics as a title, I think I’d rather have had two more issues of Conner Kent’s storyline. Blackest Night and Superboy Prime are probably big enough draws that having a 2-issue Blackest Night: Superboy Prime tie-in mini-series would’ve sold well enough, without having to interrupt the superb ongoing story in Adventure Comics. I know I’d have happily picked it up.