I got into comics 3 years ago. When I first heard and read about Superboy-Prime and his history, I at first despised him for the stuff he did. Over time, I began to see him in a different light-he's essentially DC's Danny Bonaduce (or Lief Garrett, take your pick). After seeing the final scene of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds (where he sees the DC forum thread "Can Superboy-Prime be redeemed?") and reading the summary of Adventure Comics #4 (the tie-in to Blackest Night), an idea dawned upon me. I know there are probably threads like mine about ways the guy could either get redeemed or his commuppance, but this is WAY different. But read this. This is something I think even Geoff Johns, Elliot S! Maggin and Stan Lee would appreciate......
It is 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon on Earth. But this is not our Earth, but one of 52 in the multiverse. This is a unique one, as it is Earth-Prime....or rather, a recreated Earth-Prime, based on the original one destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. This world is essentially our Earth, where the heroes and heroines of the DC Universe are merely fictional characters. It is home to one Clark Kent-the Superboy of this world.
One would automatically assume that he, like his counterpart on New Earth (the current version of the main DCU) is a hero to all-but this is not the case with him. He WAS a hero, once.....having become Superboy during the Crisis, he helped save existence even when his world was destroyed, and, along with three other Multiverse survivors-the Superman and Lois Lane Kent of Earth-Two, and Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-Three-exiled themselves to a paradise dimension, where they remained for years. All those years of isolation, and watching the Earth they helped save turn darker with each turn, turned him into a bitter young man, angry at his fate, pining for his lost world. Another cosmic upheaval-one he and Luthor caused-restored the Multiverse, but turned him into a murderer. He killed many valiant heroes and members of the Green Lantern Corps, and turned on Luthor (who had been manipulating him the entire time), all in the pursuit of bringing back his precious Earth-Prime, before finally being weakened and imprisoned. This did not last long, for he was soon broken free, and joined the then-newly formed Sinestro Corps, only for the purpose of getting revenge on the Corps' guardian-the Anti-Monitor, the one who destroyed his universe and the main enemy of the Crisis. This he did, as he killed the entity, but also inadvertently shunted himself into the new Multiverse. Once he discovered its existence, he begins to seek out Earth-Prime, killing anyone in his way, including all the heroes of Earth-15. He eventually found it, in ruins after being invaded by the forces of the being known as Monarch. A fight with him caused him to be lost in time, until he was rescued by the entity known as the Time Trapper and set loose upon 30th century Earth, where he sought to destroy the Legion of Super-Heroes and Superman's influence.
He was defeated only through the combined efforts of Superman, 3 different Legions, and two people he greatly despised-Conner Kent, the current Superboy, and Bart Allen, alias Kid Flash. He sealed his fate after being brought face-to-face with the Time Trapper-revealed to be an older version of himself. His arrogance cost him greatly, for when he punched himself, the resulting time paradox seemingly destroying him. This was not the case, for it had actually transported him back to his home, the recreated Earth-Prime. There, he discovered that his parents and girlfriend, having read everything he has done from Infinite Crisis to the present, now fear him. Essentially under "house arrest", he consigned himself to living in his parents' basement, collecting comics and scanning the DC message boards, believing that he cannot be gotten rid of that easily.
Over time, Clark, thanks to this "cooling off period", became regretful of his actions, and aware of his new 'joke-character' reputation on his Earth. His life takes another turn when the Blackest Night reached his world, in the form of an undead Alexander Luthor, Jr. and all of his victims. Attempting to accept his fate, Clark tried to end his life by placing a Black Lantern ring on his finger, only to unleash a burst of mixed light that destroys the Black Lanterns. Overcome by the emotions, he lamented his fate at the hands of the DC writers, believing they had made him into a monster, only for his girlfriend, with a broken arm and a black ring on her finger (similar to the Black Lanterns'), to comfort him. It was though that his future would remain unknown after this.
"They" thought wrong. This is his future.
It is 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon on Earth-Prime. Clark had been out on the porch, reading the recently released "Superman: Earth-One" graphic novel. He had just gotten back from a part-time job he started at the local comic shop, where he had gotten the book with his employee discount. After closing the book, he looked up at the clouds, awed by the calm of the June sky. It had been a week since the Black Lantern incident, and things had just gotten back to normal. Things were beginning to look different for his personal life. His parents feared him less, as did Laurie, whom he helped prevent a Black Lantern ring attempting to take control of her that same week. He fully regretted the actions he took during the Infinite Crisis and all that followed. One such action he felt grave remorse for was his beating to death the Earth-Two Superman, robbing Power Girl, another survivor of the old Multiverse, of the only family she had. Worst of all, he felt extreme guilt over letting Alex Luthor use him in his plans. All this inspired him to work towards becoming a better person, in the eyes of everyone on Earth-Prime, without his powers. Despite all he was doing, from volunteering to helping his parents around the house, to taking classes at the local community college, he still felt he wasn't doing enough. "If there was just one thing, ONE THING, I could do to make up for everything I did...." he thought. Suddenly, without warning, he was transported from his parents' front porch to a place of total darkness, but not nothingness. "What?!? Where am I? And...how did I get into my costume?" He looked down and saw himself clad in the familiar red and blue suit. He could feel substance around him, but outside his perception. Then, all of a sudden, the darkness dissapated, and he could feel the cold, metallic ground beneath him. He looked around, and saw he was in a completely white chamber. What he then saw completely astonished him.
Ahead of him was a multi-faceted, golden sphere hovering over a small dais, radiating a shimmering glow. In front of the dais were four towering robots, each with a red symbol resembling a face. One was magenta with purple highlights, with a face that had what looked like a white beard and mustached and blue eyes, and what resembled a cape coming from his back. The second robot was faded-white and rust-red, the design of his exostructure ancient, with hints of cogwheels visible between gaps in ceremonial armor, and crystalline solar panels on his back that gave the impression of a cape, or angel's wings. The third robot was blue, with red and white highlights, and a black helmet-like head with a red faceplate and green eyes. It appeared to have the front end of a military truck portruding from its chest. The fourth one was more techno-organic, and had white fur and feathers, with a face that looked more canine than his avian features.
"Who are you?" asked Superboy-Prime, "and where am I?" "Welcome, young Superboy-Prime" greeted the bearded robot, "you should be honored, for you are the first organic being to visit the Allspark." "Allspark?" the Earth-Prime Kryptonian asked. Suddenly, a realization came to him. "Wait a minute-you're all Transformers! I'd recognize that symbol anywhere! But...I've never seen any toys of you guys before." "Toys?" asked the white and rust-red one. "On my world, the Transformers are a series of toy robots. They're super-popular with kids AND collectors. I know a few." "Hmmm...I see" said the truck-chested one. "Allow us then to introduce ourselves, young one." said the bearded robot. "I am Alpha Trion. To my left are Vector Prime, Sentinel Maximus, and Windrazor. We are the guardians of, and guides to, the Allspark. It is to Transformers what you humans would see as a heaven. Here, the sparks of fallen Cybertronians come to recieve a peaceful rest, administered by Vector Sigma, who you see behind us." Superboy-Prime was stunned. "Why am I here? I know I'm not dead, and I'm not a Transformer. Why would I be here?" "We were the ones who brought you here," replied Vector Prime, "for we have been observing you for some time. You are here for a purpose. One that will cause you to decide your ultimate fate." Superboy-Prime didn't know what to say. "Why me? I...don't exactly have what you'd call a 'decent track record' as of late." "We know all about your actions and transgressions," said Sentinel Maximus, "and of your attempts to redeem yourself in the eyes of your loved ones and your world." "But it is not only they who you should make amends towards" Windrazor explained. "Your atonement must go beyond that of Earth-Prime, and onto another earth in your multiverse." A panel on Vector Sigma then lit up, and began playing back all that Superboy-Prime had done since his assistance during the Crisis on Infinite Earths and his exile in the paradise dimension. Superboy-Prime's face became saddened at the sight of this. "I know, I know. I became the very thing that a Superman ISN'T supposed to be. I let my bitterness, my jealousy, and my immaturity get the best of me, and I have blood on my hands because of it. But why are you showing me this?" "We are trying to make a point" replied Sentinel Maximus. "You are aware that Alexander Luthor, Jr. wasn't the only one to rise under Nekron's trall, are you not?" asked Vector Prime. "Yes, I'm aware. Right after my encounter with him, I got the trade paperbacks of Blackest Night and all its tie-ins. I know what happened to Kal-L and Lois, and what it did to Power Girl. I faced all the people I had killed. If I hadn't killed him, he wouldn't have become a Black Lantern in the first place." "We brought you here," began Alpha Trion, "because we wish to show you what needs to be done, so that you may fully reconcile yourself with all you have affected. Your life will not recieve full closure until this is done. We know what you must do, but you must know it as well. Only you can discover it, and once you do, only you can decide if it is worth doing." "We know how regretful you are of what you have done, but we wish only to set you on the path to what you desire" said Windrazor. "We cannot help you any further. The rest must be your doing, and yours alone. Think about this carefully." With that, Vector Sigma began to glow brighter, until finally, a bright flash of light reduced the entire chamber to nothingness. Clark opened his eyes to see himself back on the porch. He looked at his watch. "I've only been gone two minutes here, but it felt like an hour back there. But did it happen?"
He felt something in his pocket, and pulled it out to see that it was a medallion with the Autobot symbol. This was his proof. Remembering the words each robot said to him, he headed to his basement, and pulled out select comic books and TPB's. The three parts of "Thy Kingdom Come" from Justice Society of America, Vol. 3 were chief among them. He also took out a comic that a co-worker at the comic shop had given him-a copy of Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, vol. 1. With these, he sat down and began to go through each of them. By 6 pm, he put them all away, and after having dinner with his parents, went back to his room and began to think. He was about to fall asleep after a couple of hours, until finally, he figured out what the robots were trying to tell him. He knew what he was going to do.
The next day, after gathering the materials he needed, Clark set to work on something crucial to the decision he had made. With his powers, he completed the task in a short amount of time. An hour later, he was ready to tell his family and Laurie what he decided to do. "Mom, dad, Laurie, can I speak to you for a minute?" His parents, Jerry and Naomi Kent, along with his girlfriend Laurie, came down into the basement. Clark was clad in his costume, and behind him was an object covered by a tarp. "You wanted to see us, son?" asked Jerry. "I called you down here" Clark began, "because I have something important I have to tell you."
"You know that, for a while, I pretty much scared all of you with what I had done a few years back. I still terrified you, even as I got readjusted to my life here after so long. In that same amount of time, I became remorseful over those actions. I know that I committed atrocities, and for that, I can never be forgiven. But I can make it up to the people I caused harm to. It took me a while to think about how, and I finally figured it out. Which brings me to this..." He turned and removed the tarp, revealing what he had built-a cosmic treadmill. "I know what that is" said Laurie, "but...what are you going to do with it." "What I should have done in the first place. I'm going to use this to travel to New Earth-and turn myself in to the heroes there." "WHAT?!!?!?" Jerry, Naomi, and Laurie cried. "But why?" asked Naomi, "I thought your being trapped here was punishment enough." "I know", replied Clark, "but I gave this a lot of thought. I hurt a lot of people on that earth, both physically and emotionally. And I still managed to escape justice, even after all I went through during the whole Legion of 3 Worlds thing. I need to do this.....I need to be tried, I need to be held accountable for my actions. These people deserve justice. Most of all...it's time I truly did the mature thing to do. Maybe then....I can finally have a happy ending for once. Think about this." Jerry and Naomi looked at each other, worried looks on their faces. Laurie stared at Superboy-Prime, wondering if he was telling the truth. "I'm serious about this, Laurie. I really am." he said. Jerry and Naomi then looked back at their son, whom they found and raised the same way the real Superman was for 18 years, and witnessed turn from a potential hero to a villain to a teenager filled with remorse over his actions living in their basement. They both realized that he was doing the right thing. "Clark, do whatever you think is best," his father said. "We respect your decision. We also want to let you know that, even though when you returned, and we feared you greatly....deep down, we knew somewhere in there was the boy we raised and loved, and that he'd return as well. He has." The family all gathered around in a group hug. Laurie kissed Clark on the cheek, saying "Goodbye, Clark." "We'll miss you, honey," said Naomi. "Thank you all. I'll miss you too. Goodbye."
Superboy-Prime then got on the treadmill, and, setting its coordinates to New Earth, began to run. The machine began to glow and hum as his speed increased to the point where a portal opened up in front of him. Before he moved in, Laurie called over the noise, "How will we know what happens to you?!?!?" Superboy-Prime responded, "Simple. Check the web for a comic of me doing this, and then pick it up at the shop!" As he waved goodbye, Prime and the treadmill entered the portal, which closed behind him. The Kents and Laurie simply stared at the spot where he had been, until finally, they went back upstairs, Naomi crying into Jerry's shoulder.
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