In part 1 of this article, I described how as a fan of both the Supergirl and Superboy characters and that before reading “Crisis of Infinite Earths” (COIE), I was prepared for the death of Supergirl, having seen the iconic cover of COIE #7. However, I was confused when Superboy suddenly appeared in COIE#10.
He just showed up saying “Please… I’m Superboy from Earth-Prime. You’ve got to bring me, too.”
I clearly was not paying attention to the editor’s direction to see DC Comics Presents #87 (November 1985), for it was in that issue where the origin of Superboy-Prime is explained.
In a story titled In the Year of the Comet, written by Elliott St Maggin, drawn by Curt Swan and Al Williamson, opens with Superman in a state of extreme grief over the death of his cousin Kara, Supergirl. He is on his knees, crying out his heart on the surface of the moon.
Suddenly he is attacked by a spaceship that is orbiting the moon on board the ship is a group known as the Superman Revenge Squad. They blast Superman with a powerful Ray that causes him to be immediately transported to a parallel universe into a planet known as Earth-prime. Flying low over the countryside of this planet, Superman uses his telescopic vision to witness a young couple walking on the beach. The teenage boy is dressed as Superman and the teenage girl wearing a one-piece swimsuit appears to be dressed as Lori Lemaris, a onetime girlfriend of Superman. We later learn that her name is Laurie Lemon.
Looking up the couple witness the appearance of Haley’s comet, establishing the year as 1985. Suddenly the boy, dressed as Superman, lifts off the ground and floats up into the sky. Down below his girlfriend looks up at him in terrified amazement. Up in the sky the young man meets the actual Superman, who asks who he is. To which the young man replies, “I am Clark… I am Superboy!”
Clark believes that this is all the result of his imagination. when he realizes that this is really happening he asks Superman to help him figure it out. Superman says with his trademark smile, “You will figure it all out Clark” and then adds “just remember you are here for a reason! They need you!”
Down below, on the beach, Superboy‘s girlfriend and friends are threatened by a sudden tidal wave that is about to engulf the beach. Recalling how it is done in the comics, Clark uses his heat Ray vision to boil up the tidal wave and as he is doing this he receives a telepathic message from Superman with directions on how to solve this crisis. Once the disaster has been averted Superboy flies back to where Superman is and they proceed on a trek into outer space to chase after the comet. Using comet dust and the backdrop of outer space, the pair communicates as if there were a chalkboard.
Superboy inquires of Superman as to why he came here to Earth-Prime and how he planned to get back to his dimension, Earth-1. Superman tells him that he is very concerned. He then proceeds to teach Superboy how to deal with extraterrestrials who are visiting the earth whether they be friend or foe. In the process, we discover that this Superboy is more powerful than Superman.
The pair then returns to Earth and visit Clark’s parents. His parents and his girlfriend have been worried sick thinking that Clark had been swallowed by the tidal wave. Superman tells Clark’s parents that there have been “sinister goings-on affecting not only this world but scores of others like it” (cryptically referring to COIE). He tells them that he needs their son’s help in containing the crisis. Caressing his girlfriend’s cheek, Clark states, “I will be back Laurie”. As Superman and Superboy depart aloft, Laurie replies “you had better be!”
Working together Superboy and Superman determine that they can utilize the alien technology that they discovered earlier as a way for Superman to return to the Earth-1 universe. Shortly after they returned to Superman’s dimension, Superboy is sucked into a cosmic vortex, and disappears. Superman is captured by the Superman Revenge Squad. The story then chronologically jumps to Superman #414 (Dec 1985). Yet we know from this that wherever Superboy went, it was into the same dimension where Superman wound up after he was taken through the vortex by the revenge squad, and that place was Earth-1.
Upon his arrival in the Earth-1 universe, Superboy joins the assembled team of super-heroes in the cosmic struggle to defeat to the Anti-Monitor. The details of Superboy‘s activities during the “Crisis of Infinite Earths” is outside the scope of this article.
After the rebirth of the universe, all of the surviving superheroes gathered at Titans Tower to discuss what they had witnessed during COIE. They are only ones on Earth that aware of what has occurred – the merging of the five surviving universes into one.
Only one Earth now exists: a new Earth called “New Earth”. The merger combined parts of all the five Earths which came before (Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, Earth-S, and Earth-X).
Those who were aware of what was before, realize that there are certain issues such as the fact that the Superman from Earth-2 and his cousin Kara, Power Girl, came from a planet Krypton which no longer exists.
Superboy asks: “What about my earth? It never existed either! How is that possible?”
To which the Earth-2 Dick Grayson replies: “I am beginning to understand the concept is mind-boggling.” Then Helena Wayne says: “But why are only some of us remembered? Everyone knows Flash and Green Lantern, but nobody knows Earth-2 Superman and nobody, but nobody remembers Huntress.”
A little later, in a tearful scene in the graveyard behind Wayne Manor, Helena says to Dick Grayson: “Dick, there is no gravestone back here nothing to indicate my father ever died, let alone lived. I did some checking. This is not Earth-1 and it is not quite Earth-2. It is a re-formed Earth and only I do not exist any longer. Do you understand me, Dick? I don’t exist!”.
Harbinger explains that there are many paradoxes and not all cannot be explained. That does not bring any cheer to Helena who later dies in COIE #12.
In another scene, Power Girl learns that she is “remembered” unlike her cousin, the Earth-2 Superman. Having these paradoxes presented by those who were the embodiment of the paradox, helped to explain what had just happened to the multiverse. Yet, this salvation of Power Girl becomes a part of another “crisis” that we learn about twenty years later in the 7-issue mini-series event titled “Infinite Crisis“.
At the end of COIE, Lois Lane, Superman, Alexander Luthor, and Superboy ride off into the cosmic sunset and to a heavenly place of ever-lasting peace where there is no fear.