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Characters / Superman – Superboy-Prime
aka: Superboy Prime

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AKA: Clark Kent / Kal-El of Earth-Prime
"They'll never get rid of me. I always survive."

A younger version of Superman from the Alternate Universe of Earth-Prime, where (other than him) the only super-powered beings existed in comic books. Prime's world was destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths and he took refuge in an extradimensional space with the Earth-2 Superman, Earth-2 Lois Lane, and Earth-3 Alexander Luthor Jr. Originally a noble and optimistic young hero, years of isolation and Alexander's manipulations turned Prime into a hateful monster who despised the "inferior" heroes of New Earth for being allowed to live while his world died.

After a murderous rampage in Infinite Crisis, Prime participated in the Sinestro Corps War before being sent back, powerless, to the reconstituted Earth-Prime by the Legion of Super-Heroes following Legion of 3 Worlds (in which his future self was revealed to have become the Time-Trapper).

Once thought to have been erased by the events of Flashpoint, Superboy-Prime returned in 2018's Shazam, where he was revealed to be trapped in the Monsterlands, where Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind discovered him. During the Batman Who Laughs' invasion of the multiverse, Superboy-Prime sided with the heroes of the multiverse in their war against him. Despite being unwelcome among most of the heroes for his past deeds, Prime is instrumental in defeating the villain in the end.

Tropes associated with Superboy-Prime:

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    A - H 
  • Accidental Murder: His first confirmed kill, Pantha, came during the middle of a pitched battle. Superboy-Prime accidentally punched her head off.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When it looks like a Guardian of the Universe is about to destroy him, he desperately begs for help.
  • Arch-Enemy: Conner Kent (who he consider a "fake" Superboy) and the Speedsters like Bart Allen.
  • Arc Villain: Infinite Crisis, Sinestro Corps War, and Legion of 3 Worlds, all end up focusing on Prime in one way or another, despite the fact that in every single one of them he is supposedly subordinate to the real Big Bad.
  • Ascended Fanboy: What he started out as, being a huge fan of DC Comics superheroes and eventually having a chance to use his powers to help out during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Too bad the loss of his home universe and loved ones messed him up big time.
  • Audience Surrogate: Rather humorously, he's taken this role for fans who were having Continuity Lockout at the time.
    • In Infinite Crisis, this is a plot point. He and the other Multiverse survivors watched the affairs of the universe as a comic book reader would and were not happy with what was going on.
    • During Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, he expresses confusion as Time Trapper at the many different variations of the Legion of Superheroes that came to stomp his face in.
    • Finally, during Dark Nights: Death Metal Clark claims that he has no idea what's going on at this point and doesn't even care anymore.
  • Ax-Crazy: Prime is known to be completely demented, and dangerously so.
  • Badass Cape: Especially with the Anti-Monitor armor.
  • Beard of Evil: As the Time-Trapper, he has a beard.
  • Berserk Button: There are a few things that tend to enrage him to the point of becoming violent.
    • Mentioning Superboy.
    • Being considered a minor villain in Superman's life.
    • Being afraid around him or treating him like a ticking time bomb.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: His usual insults are a bit on the childish side and frequently lack any argument other than "you're lame". "Stupid" and "dumb" are pretty common.
  • Blood Knight: Actually enjoys taking on various heavy hitters like Black Adam or Ion, because he knows he is the heaviest of them all and wants to show it.
  • Book Ends: Krypto was the one that showed he went bad in Infinite Crisis and was the one to show he had become good again in Dark Nights: Death Metal.
  • Broken Pedestal: He became disillusioned with the DC heroes after witnessing The Dark Age of Comic Books.
  • The Bus Came Back: After apparently having been erased following Flashpoint and getting no kind of acknowledgement at all during New 52, he returned in the tenth issue of Shazam! (2018)
  • The Cameo: Appears in 1, maybe 2, panels in the Convergence series
  • Canon Discontinuity: Near-everything about him in Countdown to Final Crisis that wasn't related to the Sinestro Corps War was ignored not long after the 52-issue weekly series ended. His destruction of Earth-15 stuck, according to The Multiversity.
  • Chest Insignia: He's sported the "S"-shield on his uniform, his power armor, and cut into his chest with heat vision. Conner Kent burned a bar sinister through that last one with his heat vision in order to make a point.
  • Comic Books Are Real: He read Superman comics before getting to meet him. He's even named Clark because of Superman. His city-dwelling young adult parents, the Kents, thought it was appropriate since they found him in a basket (unlike Superman, he was teleported to Earth without a rocket ship.)
  • The Corruptible: He was just a naive, hopeful teenager before Alex Luthor Jr. got a hold of him in their stay outside of the universe.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Driven to the absolute brink after years of chronic villainy in vain attempts to claim the Superman legacy, he finds the one evil he's not willing to stomach an alliance with, the Batman Who Laughs. Even when the monster offers him a world to mold to his liking, an utterly exhausted Prime, realizing he could never get what he really wants that way, deals him a massive blow against by using one of his super-punches to destroy the Dark Multiverse at the cost of his life, giving up all hope and just wanting to destroy the mad Batman. Reality shatters around him... and then he blinks, finding himself back a young teenager in Earth Prime, given one last chance to truly become Superman.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During the events of Infinite Crisis, he attacks Kon-El solely because he's pissed off that someone besides himself is using the name Superboy.
  • Ditzy Genius: Prime built a set of armor that converts red sunlight into yellow and then feeds it to his cells virtually from scratch, based off the design of the Anti-Monitor, whom he only scanned with Super-Vision.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: During Infinite Crisis, despite knowing he had the ability to move and break planets, when he got into a fight with the Titans, the Justice Society and Doom Patrol, he kept proclaiming he didn't want to hurt anyone, despite it being pointed out he was breaking bones with his wild swinging. Then he punched Pantha's head off by accident.
  • The Dragon: He's been The Dragon to both Alexander Luthor Jr., and The Time-Trapper; in the case of the Time-Trapper, he was completely unaware of it until the end of the arc.
    • Dragon with an Agenda: During the Sinestro Corps War, when he worked for Sinestro while plotting against him and his corps.
    • Dragon-in-Chief: He's never the Big Bad, but he's so much more powerful than Alexander Luthor Jr., Sinestro, or even the Time-Trapper, that inevitably ends up as the main threat in their respective storylines.
  • The Dreaded: Following the events of Infinite Crisis, Prime is a feared enough figure that Sinestro had him recruited into the Sinestro Corps for his ability to inspire fear. 1,000 years into the future, he's remembered only as a dark being and an inspiration for the Legion of Super-Villains. And Green Lantern rings themselves seem to be afraid of him.
  • Dumb Muscle: Though he sees himself as a Chessmaster, he's actually very, very bad at understanding other people or anticipating what they'll do. He's a threat because of his sheer, raw power. Not his brain, as Alexander Luthor Jr. used to his advantage.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After helping to defeat The Batman Who Laughs by being the only one that was actually able to hurt him, Prime was rewarded with this. He was transported back to his own Earth where everything was how he remembered. He has his girlfriend Laurie Lemmon who loves him, his home, his parents, and he has a dog now too. He also has his powers too which he used to save a kid from being run over in a homage to Action Comics #1.
  • Emo Teen: All Prime does is complain about how life has treated him badly. While it honestly has, his self-pity eventually reaches the point where he blots out his self-awareness, and that's when he becomes truly dangerous.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Averted. When Superboy-Prime finally comes home, he is shocked to discover that his parents and girlfriend read "Infinite Crisis," "Sinestro Corps War," "Countdown to Final Crisis," and "Final Crisis" - Legion of 3 Worlds, and are now terrified of him. It is implied that he killed Laurie Lemmon, and his parents let him live with them out of fear. While he becomes more possessive and controlling of his parents, he still wants them to love him. However, it is clear that all the love they had for him has been replaced by fear. This is best shown in Adventure Comics #4 when Superboy-Prime demands that his parents take him to Jet's Comics, as it is a matter of life and death. They do as he commands, and along the way, his father, Jerry Kent, begs Prime not to hurt them. Prime asks why in the world they would think that he would hurt them. His father points out what he had done to Laurie, to which Prime responds that he had done it because she didn't like him anymore. Prime then asks Naomi, his mother, if she loves him, to which she replies that she is terrified of him. Upon arriving at Jet's Comics, Prime tells Naomi he loves her, apparently ignoring her previous comment. When Prime leaves the car, Naomi tells Jerry to drive away to anywhere. Jerry refuses, pointing out that he would just find them like he did last time. This was ultimately averted in his final appearance when he was sent home and had his girlfriend happy to see him, with it being implied that his home world has been reset with his previous actions being unknown to his girlfriend, meaning it's likely that his parents have also forgotten about his previous actions and love him like they previously did.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He still very much loves his parents Jerry and Naomi Kent and his girlfriend Laurie Lemmon. Deconstruction, as the love he has for them becomes dark and twisted and they live in constant fear of him. Averted in his final appearance where he had a happy ending.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When not in an Ax-Crazy state, Prime has some morality left, as shown during Countdown to Infinite Crisis when he used an evil version of Zatanna for his plans. He stated "She was using her powers to torment children, so I tormented her". He did kill a pregnant woman before blowing up Earth 15 which more likely than not had children on it, and that was in the previous issue, but he was in an Ax-Crazy state. More notably he considers the Darkest Knight the one villain even he can't stomach working with.
  • Evil Counterpart: Played as one to our Superboy, Kon-El, on occasion, courtesy of their contrasting attitudes.
  • Evil Twin: To Superman, being an alternate universe version of him from his younger days who eventually becomes a violent lunatic.
  • Evil Wears Black: He wears a black costume as Superman Prime.
  • Face–Heel Turn: From hero in the first "Crisis" to crazy villain. In Infinite Crisis, Alexander Luthor convinces Prime to help him with the idea that he could revive Earth-Prime and save his family. Prime ends up fully turning after he knocks Pantha's head off.
  • Fallen Hero: Once upon a time, this kid was a genuinely heroic character, believe it or not.
  • Fantastic Racism: He hates clones.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Got imprisoned into the Source Wall. He got out.
  • Final Boss: In both Infinite Crisis and the Sinestro Corps War, where he outlasts the actual Big Bad and becomes the final, physical threat the heroes must take down.
  • Flanderization: Since Infinite Crisis he became progressively more and more Wangsty.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: His home world is our world!
  • Freudian Excuse: His/our world was destroyed (it's/we're better now), he's been stuck in a pocket dimension for years with a Manipulative Bastard forced to see the DC Universe go through the worst of times and no-one remembers him. Clearly, this combined with his teenage mentality is the root of his insanity. But at the latest when he got back to his world and hurt his girlfriend, it becomes clear that it doesn't hold water. It ultimately true in his final appearence where he goes back to his true universe and his girlfriend loved him. Further proven when he saved a kid from a car not knowing he still had his powers yet.
  • Future Self Reveal: In Legion of 3 Worlds, his future self was revealed to be the Time Trapper.
  • Genius Bruiser: While certainly not a social genius, and lacking in common sense. Prime did build a complete replica of the Anti-Monitor's armor while imprisoned by the Flashes.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He cut a "S" into his chest with heat vision. Then Conner Kent burned a bar sinister through it with his heat vision in order to make a point.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He hates Superboy because of how he believes he took his place as the heroic Superman that Prime always wanted to be. The fact he's a clone of Superman only makes Prime hate him more for being fabricated instead of born like Prime was.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Prime will explode at the drop of a pin, descending into Unstoppable Rage more often than not.
  • Hated by All: Because Superboy-Prime killed so many of his fellow heroes he is pretty much despised by all of the DC superheroes. The villain community likewise has no love for him either, given his role in nearly getting them all killed during Infinite Crisis and Sinestro Corps War.
  • Hate Sink: Whether it’s being a selfish mass murdering, hypocritical, child murderer, Omnicidal Maniac who butchers heroes and/or their loved ones every time he returns or being the ultimate on panel strawman of a unhealthy rabid fan for comics, Prime has become one of the most absolutely reviled characters in comic books period, making everyone villains and heroes alike to anyone who know who he is loathe him making him a Love to Hate example at the utmost stretch at best, to cringing in irritation and horror at worst. It’s almost impressive. Dark Nights: Death Metal, however, reverses this big-time, with him, though still a player in the Darkest Knight's scheme, having matured and mellowed out greatly and he eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn that actually sticks once he's returned home.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After so many years, he was successfully talked down from evil by Wonder Woman in Dark Nights: Death Metal, finally letting go of his rage and resentment and joining the heroes to fight the Batman Who Laughs. While he nearly relapses into villainy he ultimately gives his life to weaken the Darkest Knight, even thought almost nobody knows he did so. This gets carried over when he is returned to his own Earth and starts saving people.
  • Heel Realization:
    • During Blackest Night when Prime puts on a Black Lantern ring, he channels every color of the emotional spectrum except blue. Each color forces him to realize his faults and own up to his failings. Green showed him he's only fighting at all for a delusional demand for the respect he never got in life. Orange showed him that he was envious of the lives everyone else got to live while he was trapped between dimensions and helped him realize his just wanted everyone to love him as they would the real Superman. Yellow showed him that he feared the heroes he once admired. Indigo showed him that he felt sorry for the people he hurt, especially his girlfriend Laurie. Violet showed him that he still loved his family and especially Laurie. The biggest one was Red, rage and hate. When controlled by Red, Superboy-Prime admitted that he hated himself for what he had become, everything he had done, and screamed the truth that he had suppressed for so long when confronting the Black Lantern Lex Luthor Jr. of Earth 3. This was subverted later, as he would later cast that away and return to being an evil jerk in Teen Titans.
    Prime: YOU thought YOU were better than everybody! I NEVER wanted to be better than everybody. I just wanted to fit in! I wanted to be worth SOMETHING. I wanted to MATTER. I wanted to be HEARD! But you never LISTENED to me!
    • Ultimately played straight in Dark Nights: Death Metal. Firstly, he encounters someone so utterly evil even he can't justify working with him (the Darkest Knight); secondly, the person he offers advice is someone he has no grudge with and is thus willing to listen to (Wonder Woman). While he nearly relapses, his friendship with Krypto keeps him from slipping and he was willing to sacrifice his life to weaken the Darkest Knight.
  • Hero Killer: Prime has proven time and again, that anytime he shows up, people you care about are going to hurt or die. He's killed over fifty Green Lanterns, Kal-L, Connor Kent, several members of the Teen Titans, and numerous members of three Legions of Super Heroes, and yet the death toll just keeps on growing.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Does it in Sinestro Corps War, taking over from Sinestro and the Anti-Monitor.
  • Hypocrite: He hates the modernisation of the DC Universe for being gratuitously dark and edgy. Infinite Crisis ends with him carving the Superman logo into his bare skin while sporting a Slasher Smile and Glowing Eyes of Doom.

    I - N 
  • Ignored Expert: Unusually, his father wasn't. The government of Krypton believed him and gave him their full support... only to somehow still completely bungle the evacuation.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Part of the problem. He wants to be loved unconditionally, on his terms, and if people don't do that, which they almost certainly won't, he lashes out. Ends up getting this in his final appearance.
  • I Lied: He promises to take the villain Dummy out of the Monsterlands if he removes the miniature red sun neutralizing his powers and keeping him imprisoned. Prime goes back on his word the instant he breaks free, incinerating Dummy with his heat vision.
  • I'll Kill You!: His infamously redundant "I'll kill you! I'll kill you to death!" in Countdown to Final Crisis.
  • In-Series Nickname: Superheroes know him just as "Prime" instead of calling him Superman or Superboy.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: He gets very annoyed when people treat him like he's violently unstable or someone to be afraid of despite the rest of the tropes here showing that's exactly what he is.
  • Ironic Hell: His fate at the end of Legion of Three Worlds, trapped on the very world he wanted to get to the whole time, powerless, and with his parents and former lover utterly terrified of him because of the monstrous actions he committed to get there in the first place.
  • It's All About Me: As far as Prime is concerned, the entire multiverse can die if he can't have his world.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: When he accidentally kills several Titans in Infinite Crisis he seems to regret it, but he later calls them stupid and sadistically says he wasn't even trying then. Also despite having something of a Heel Realization in Blackest Night, he is still just as bad as ever in later events. Averted in the final stages of the Dark Knights Metal event
  • Joker Immunity: He's never going to die permanently and he knows it.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Initially played with but ultimately played straight. In the Post-Crisis canon he was usually portrayed as a serious threat whenever he shows up due to how powerful he is and his status as a Hero Killer. One the other hand, his childishness and Narm-riddled lines (such as the one under I'll Kill You! above) can made him difficult to take seriously or even unintentionally comedic. In the New 52 canon he was always a serious threat.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Defied. With his home universe dead, there was no Kryptonite left that could hurt him—at least until his encounter with the Threeboot!Legion, who were revealed to be from a new version of Earth-Prime. The closest thing to an exploitable weakness that he has is darkness, as his powers apparently burn out very quickly if he doesn't have ready access to a yellow sun. Good luck actually enshrouding him long enough to sufficiently deplete him, however.
  • Last Disrespects: During the Sinestro Corps War, he vandalizes Bart Allen's tombstone by using his heat vision to cross out "Fastest Man Alive" and write "Stupidest Boy Dead" in its place.
  • Laughably Evil: At least when his behavior isn't horrifying, he can be hilarious at times. It helps that he's essentially lashing out on the superheroes for not being to his liking while taunting them in an exceptionally immature manner. Special mention goes to a particular quote in Countdown to Final Crisis while fighting Monarch.
    Superboy Prime: I'll kill you! I'll kill you to death!
  • Lightning Bruiser: As Superman and whenever he has his armor.
  • Malicious Misnaming: During the events of Countdown to Final Crisis, he insists on pronouncing Mxyzptlk's name as "Mix-ill-plick", the way it was pronounced on Superfriends, in spite of Mxyzptlk correcting him that the proper pronunciation is "Mix-yes-pittle-lick".
  • Mood-Swinger: Prime's moods change from second to second.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Happened a few times, last time in Blackest Night. Subverted in the end though, as he doesn't really regret it because of the misery he has caused to others, but because he thinks that it was the fault of his victims and that they have ruined his reputation.
    • Played straight when he confronted the Black Lanterns during Blackest Night while possessed by the black ring. See Heel Realization above.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: In Infinite Crisis.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: When the Kents found a baby, they thought it'd be fun to name him "Clark" after the comic book hero with similar origins.
  • Narcissist: Prime is all about Prime. He's unable to look past his own pain to identify with the struggles of others, views his lost world and family more as possessions than anything else, thinks the entire multiverse should conform to his view of how things ought to be, and worst of all, will snap if anything damages his ego, or his delusional notions of heroism.
  • Never My Fault: Technically true in a unique way. Prime blames his victims for making him attack them, because he doesn't want to have to deal with what he's become. Prime being from our world and being used by writers as a insult to fans, means he's technically right when he says this.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In Infinite Crisis, he was revealed to be magic-proof. It was never really explained why.
  • No Social Skills: Prime has no ability to deal with other people, and spends most of his time just screaming at them, expecting them to do what he says.

    O - Z 
  • Obliviously Evil: Prime is in deep denial about his evil nature and honestly believes he's still Superman and deserves to be treated as such even as he slaughters people left and right and genuinely can't understand why he's seen as a villain.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Out to end the multiverse as a whole.
  • One-Man Army: Prime has fought the entire DC Universe to a standstill.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: At the end of Legion of Three Worlds, Prime comes face to face with an older version of himself who's become the Time Trapper. Prime's only concern is yelling about his future self's "stupid beard", before trying to punch him in the face for telling him what to do. Can't blame Braniac 5 for muttering "what an idiot" when this goes badly for him.
  • Pet the Dog: He pets Krypto The Superdog in Dark Nights: Death Metal The Secret Origin, the only being that isn't afraid of him of all the heroes and villains that are trying to save the Multiverse, while telling him that the first story he read had him. Krypto later and acts as a Morality Pet and prevents him from robbing The Darkest Knight of his powers and use them to reshape the multiverse as he wanted.
  • Physical God: Has all the power of Pre-Crisis Superman. He can take on the entire DC Universe by himself.
  • The Power of Hate: Hates the other heroes, the multiverse itself, and himself, and seems to draw power from that.
  • Powered Armor: Wore power armor in both Infinite Crisis and the Sinestro Corps War. Both outfits were modeled on the armor sported by the Anti-Monitor, and were designed to feed solar energy into Prime's body.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: A rather tragic example. While a petulant maniac who has little tolerance for not getting his way and lashes out violently at the drop of a hat for what are frequently flimsy reasons (to the extent that his actions in Infinite Crisis are largely throwing a tantrum over the heroes rightly seeing him as a villain and attacking Kon-El for the affront of being another person using the name Superboy), a lot of the horrible things Prime has done is because, for all of his raw power and abilities, Prime is still only a teenage boy unable to cope with the loss of his homeworld and loved ones.
  • Rage Against the Author: Once he learns he might die, the reaction is flying to DC's office enraged.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Up to eleven in Legion of Three Worlds where his eyes are constantly blood-red, even when he isn't about to use his Eye Beams.
  • Redemption Rejection: In Final Crisis - Legion of 3 Worlds, Superman tries to redeem Superboy-Prime by reminding him of his loved ones, like his girlfriend and parents. By then, he has accepted they are gone and is trying to be a villain, so he rejects Superman's words.
  • The Resenter: Towards the survivors of the Crisis and anybody else he thinks has got it better than him.
  • Revenge Before Reason: In his return in Shazam, he's determined to get "revenge" on Billy Batson... who he's never even met before.
  • Ring of Power: Gained a Yellow Power Ring as a member of the Sinestro Corps. Never used it though.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: He joined the Sinestro Corps and menaced Green Lantern, the Legion of Super-Heroes, then the Flash Family and Shazam. In a way, he's graduated from any single character's Rogues Gallery and become the DC Universe's enemy.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In order, his cans have been the Speed Force, an Oan Sciencell near a Red Sun Eater, the Source Wall, and inside the Magiclands.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Of a sort when he was trapped outside of the universe in the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths, at least until he was corrupted by Alex Luthor Jr. of Earth-3.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: What he wanted to do during Infinite Crisis by bringing back his earth and his other attempts to get back Earth-Prime. Ironically, he ended up succeeding with Infinite Crisis as Earth-Prime ended up reborn. Unfortunately, everyone there knows what he did via comic books tuned into the multiverse and his parents and girlfriend end up being terrified of him.
  • Smug Snake: He may be a self-hating Emo Teen, but he is still smug as they get.
  • Smug Super: As only a villain with Pre-Crisis Superman's powers could be.
  • The Starscream: To Sinestro and the Anti-Monitor, whom he always intended to betray.
  • Stopped Caring: In Dark Nights: Death Metal: The Secret Origin he claims that, after being in a lot of Crisis Crossovers where villains have tried to "Remake the entire Multiverse in their vision" and having no idea of what is happening anymore, he stops caring. The fact that, barring Superman and Wonder Woman, none of the heroes or villains that are trying to save the Multiverse trust him doesn't make things better for him. Nor does how he realizes some of the people he personally killed are there, meaning they got rebooted and his efforts did not matter.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Has the power of a Pre-Crisis Superman, making him magnitudes of power stronger than almost any other being in the DCU. So naturally, he rarely shows up.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: When he gets sent back to Earth-Prime, only to discover that everybody knows what he's done and that he's the most loathed being on his world.
  • Straw Fan: Is a particularly mean-spirited depiction of annoying comic-book elitist fanboys, embracing every stereotype thereof. To the point that in Blackest Night, Black Lantern Alex Luthor Jr. outright called him "an in-joke".
  • Superpower Lottery: A colossal winner. He's got all the powers and abilities of the Pre-Crisis Superman, making him one of the most powerful beings in the DCU, capable of fighting the combined might of almost every hero on Earth at once. No matter how stupid or whiny Prime gets, his sheer level of power makes him a constant threat to everyone alive. On top of that, Superboy-Prime is immune to Kryptonite thanks to being from another universe, and immune to magic for no explained reason at all. Meaning that in addition to having Superman's powers on a scale that dwarfs his, he has only one of his three weaknesses.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: During Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, when Superman suggests that they try to redeem Superboy-Prime, his Legion of Super-Heroes teammates think he is crazy for even suggesting it. And there was a problem with his idea, because one, Superboy-Prime was psychotic, and two, he was trying to be a villain. All the other times, Superboy-Prime was trying to get back home. By this story, he accepts his world is gone, and is trying to be a villain because he found out he is regarded as merely a footnote in Superman's history and ultimately has no impact on history, so he resolved to be a villain with more of an impact than any other enemy of Superman. Superman trying to redeem him goes as well as you might expect it to.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: He's from Earth-Prime. Our world. That's right, he's on this planet right now.note  This works against him in Blackest Night.
  • Tautological Templar: Prime is quite simply, a psychopath struggling to justify himself. Up until he decides to be "the greatest villain ever", he believes that since he is Superman, he can't be insane or villainous, because Superman wouldn't be those things. This is especially prominent when he murders Zod of Earth-15, the Superman of that world, for not being a villain like most other Zods, along with his family, responding to a cry of him being a maniac.
    Superboy-Prime: I'm not a maniac! I'm Superman, and you're supposed to be the maniac. Why aren't you listening to me?
  • Teens Are Monsters: Prime is every adult's nightmares about teenagers combined in one whiny, petulant package.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After much trauma from the death of his world and loved ones and violent rejections from his former heroic idols, Prime decided he'd become the worst villain the DC Verse has ever known since he couldn't be the hero he originally wanted to be. Made even more apparent after Prime went to the future and found out history described him as an annoying footnote instead of anyone notable.
  • This Loser Is You: He'll throw a tantrum over any creative liberty taken, wears the Superman logo despite lacking the strength of character inherent to the Man of Steel and he's especially hostile towards new guard heroes like Connor Kent and Bart Allen. He's a deliberately unsubtle jab at gatekeepers who cry about their childhoods being destroyed because they witnessed change.
  • Time Master: As the Time Trapper.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • His future self becomes the Time Trapper. His current self didn't like this, so he tried to punch him.
    • He takes a giant one in Dark Nights: Death Metal: Secret Origin when he goes against the Darkest Knight, who at this point has the power of Doctor Manhattan, and manages to fight him to a standstill.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: From Infinite Crisis, he starts off disparaging Conner Kent for being wangsty (a not, at the time, unreasonable critique, given Conner was paralyzed by Clone Angst). Then he picks a fight with Conner, starts killing Titans. After getting sealed in another dimension and escaping again, all bets are off - Superboy-Prime becomes a volatile jerkass who incinerates people without a second (or even first) thought, and just generally rampages around in a perpetual tantrum.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Believe it or not, he goes through a major one of these upon his return in DC Rebirth, finally letting go of his anger, hatred and obsessive desire to have his world back and showing the bravery and sacrifice Superman is known for by defeating The Batman Who Laughs by being willing to sacrifice his own life.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Inverted. As it's not Prime himself, but everyone who's seen the things he can do and still stupidly decide to mock and taunt him. These people usually end up dead.
    • Although punching his future self Time-Trapper wasn't a very smart move to make, to say the least.
  • Tragic Villain: Initially at least, despite the monster he would become, Superboy-Prime started out as an innocent kid who just wanted to help people and be like Superman. If the Crisis on Infinite Earths hadn't happened, he probably would have been a great hero. It's hit on very hard when he's imprisoned in the Speed Force by the Flashes and he screams "Don't you understand?! I'm a hero! When I grow up I'm going to be SUPERMAN!!". However as time went on, his atrocities became severe enough that all sympathy that could be given to him was destroyed, especially when he grew to accept the role of a villain.
  • Uncertain Doom: At the end of Adventure Comics #5, after Superboy-Prime's battle with the Black Lanterns and admitting to himself that he hates what he has become and only wanting a happy ending. Laurie Lemmon enters the basement, sporting a broken arm. She comforts Prime, telling him that "they" heard him, and that they sent her to tell him that they are sorry for what they did to him, and are going to leave him alone—"they" being previously mentioned as being the writers at DC Comics. As they embrace, a Black Lantern ring on Laurie's hand detects the hope within Prime's heart. However, he soon reappeared anyway.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Superboy-Prime has limited real experience acting as a 'hero', considering that he manifested his abilities shortly before the Crisis and was then trapped in a paradise dimension, but his sheer raw power makes up for the fact that he's basically an amateur.
  • Unusual Pop Culture Name: In-Universe. In his Alternate Universe, Earth-Prime, Superman is a fictional character, so his parents (surnamed Kent) named him Clark after Superman as a joke. Coincidently, he later discovered that he was Superman's counterpart on this Earth during Crisis on Infinite Earths, so it all worked out.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Of Alex Luthor Jr., and subsequently, of the Time-Trapper. Who is his own future self.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: In his first appearances, in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Prime was an ordinary teenaged boy, eager to try and help out with the total end of all existence. Then he got stuck in another dimension, watching the Dark Age of Comic Books, which started him down a very long fall.
  • Villain Decay: In his last Post-Crisis appearance Prime was taken down by a group of Teen Titans despite the support of their other enemies and three clones of Kon-El. Compare this to Infinite Crisis where he single-handedly beat up not only the much larger group of the Titans, but the JSA and the Doom Patrol as well, or Legions of Three Worlds when he took three versions of the Legion of Superheroes, or the Sinestro Corps War when he killed the Anti-Monitor and was tackled by almost every hero on Earth.
  • Villain Team-Up: Has teamed with Alexander Luthor Jr., the Sinestro Corps, the Legion of Supervillains, and numerous other major players in the supervillain world.
  • Villainous Breakdown: All of the time. In the classic villain style, he remains smug up until the point where he no longer has the upperhand. And he's scared to death of Bart Allen.
  • Villainous Friendship: Actually does seem to have been friends with Alexander Luthor Jr. of Earth 3.
  • Villain Protagonist: He's had a few times when he's been in the limelight.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He develops a fear of Bart Allen after he traps him in the Speed Force for a while. Bart is the only character that he'll run from. He's also afraid of the dark, since he hates being cut off from sunlight and losing his powers.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Consistently blames his victims for his crimes, usually accusing them of making him do it.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: When he goes to DC HQ to find Dan DiDio before the Black Lanterns kill him, you can see how truly terrified Dan is that the character he treated so badly is real and coming after him. It may be the reason why at the end of the comic, the writers decide to stop treating Prime so poorly. Although the "revived" Laurie who tells him about the writers deciding to treat him better was a Black Lantern looking for hope.
  • World's Strongest Man: He was the most powerful being on Earth-Prime. Post-Crisis he is one of the most powerful beings, if not the most powerful being in the universe as he retains his Pre-Crisis powerlevel.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Has struck many female superheroes, has been implied to have killed his girlfriend, Laurie when she rejected him, and threatens to kill Wonder Girl just to spite Superboy.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: He was horrified at an evil Zatanna torturing children, implying that consciously hurting kids is one of the few lines he won't cross.
  • Written by the Winners: When he arrives in the future, he is outraged to see that history depicts him as an even bigger loser than he really is. The records claim that he was easily beaten in all his major battles, and that Neutron had a bigger impact on Superman than he ever did.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Up until Final Crisis, he was convinced that he was the hero and everyone else was corrupt and stupid villains. In Blackest Night, he's convinced being the star of Action Comics makes him the hero automatically. Then he tries to murder the writers at DC anyway.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Double Subversion. At the end of Adventure Comics #5, where Superboy-Prime admits that he hates what he has become and just wants a happy ending. Laurie Lemmon enters the basement and comforts him, telling him that they are sorry for what they did to him and are going to leave him alone—"they" being previously mentioned as being the writers at DC Comics. As they embrace, a Black Lantern ring is shown on Laurie's hand that detects the hope within Prime's heart, implying she is really a Black Lantern and is manipulating him into feeling hope before she kills him. However, when Superboy-Prime is accidentally transported back to New Earth, a flashback shows him reconnecting with Laurie Lemmon and his parents, implying she is the real Laurie Lemmon and they are happy together. Sadly for Prime, he is separated from his loved ones again. He blames the Teen Titans and battles them. When he loses, they imprison him within the Source Wall.

Alternative Title(s): Superboy Prime