Prometheus (DC Comics)
Prometheus from New Year's Evil: Prometheus (February 1998)
Art by Arnie Jorgensen.
|First appearance||(Unnamed version)|
New Year's Evil: Prometheus #1 (February 1998)
Blue Beetle #3 (August 1986)
Batman: Gotham Knights #52 (June 2004)
|Created by||(Unnamed version)|
|Alter ego||Curt Calhoun|
|Team affiliations||(Unnamed version)|
|Notable aliases||(Unnamed version)|
Retro, Shazam, Matt Dell
Peak human physical and mental conditioning
Highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist
Expert in the use of various weapons
Cybernetic implants, helmet and armor further augment physical attributes
Prometheus is a name used by multiple fictional supervillains appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Grant Morrison (writer) and Arnie Jorgensen (pencils), the most recognized version made his first appearance in New Year's Evil: Prometheus (February 1998). Commonly as an adversary of the Justice League, Prometheus would serve as an enemy of the superheroes Batman, Green Arrow and Midnighter.
In 2009, Prometheus was ranked as IGN's 80th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. On The CW's live-action TV series Arrow, the character was portrayed by Josh Segarra and voiced by Michael Dorn.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Curt Calhoun debuted in Blue Beetle #3 (Aug. 1986). A new version of Prometheus debuted in New Year's Evil: Prometheus (Feb. 1998) and returned in JLA #16–17 (March–April 1998) and #36–41 (Dec. 1999 – May 2000). The character was then impersonated for a time by Chad Graham, but returned in Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 (March 2009). Prometheus starred as the villain in the limited series Justice League: Cry for Justice #1–7 (Sept. 2009 – April 2010), and was killed at the conclusion of the story.
Writer Mike Conroy noted "...with his technologically advanced armor and weapons arsenal, which can download the fighting techniques of the world's top martial artists...he (Prometheus) turned out to be a formidable foe, as the JLA found out".
Fictional character biography
The original version, Curt Calhoun, debuted in Blue Beetle #3 (Aug. 1986), followed by appearances in issues #4 (Sept. 1986); #6 (Nov. 1986); #8–9 (Jan.–Feb. 1987) and #11–13 (April–June 1987). Calhoun is a small-time criminal working for supervillain Doctor Alchemy and is hired to steal a quantity of the metal promethium from KORD Inc., an organization owned by Ted Kord. Although successful, both Calhoun and Dr. Alchemy are captured by the Blue Beetle. On release from prison, Calhoun aids the Blue Beetle against the Calculator and is offered a position as a foreman at KORD Inc. by Kord. While saving Kord from an industrial accident, Calhoun is covered with metals laced with promethium. En route to the hospital, Calhoun's ambulance is attacked by members of the supervillain team known as Hybrid. The leader, Mento, transforms the metal covering Calhoun into a permanent metallic shell. Assuming the "Prometheus" alias, the reluctant Calhoun fights alongside Hybrid in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the New Teen Titans. Although Mento eventually directs Hybrid against the Titans once again, they rebel and Mento is apparently cured of his insanity by Titan member Raven. Calhoun is never seen again, until the superhero JSA team learns that Hybrid died in the gladiatorial games staged by villainess Roulette. The original version possesses a metal epidermis, which confers superior strength and durability. Calhoun is also capable of raising the temperature of his armored form to several hundred degrees Celsius.
The most well-known version is the unnamed son of two hippie spree killers, who traveled across the United States with them until they were cornered by local law enforcement and were gunned down after opening fire on the surrounding police. This traumatic experience causes his hair to turn white, and he vows to "annihilate the forces of justice" in order to get revenge for his slain parents.
Using his parents' hidden caches of money, the son travels the world and develops his skills, becoming an underground pit-fighter in Brazil and a mercenary in Africa, and joining terrorist groups in the Middle East. After avenging his parents' deaths by murdering the police officer who shot them, he locates the Himalayan city of Shambhala, inhabited by a sect of monks that worshiped the concept of evil. Prometheus discovers the monastery has been built on an alien spaceship, and the leader of the sect is one of the creatures from the vessel. He kills the alien and obtains the "Ghost Key", which opens a portal to the "Ghost Zone".
Prometheus builds a house in the void as his headquarters, which is warped by the dimensional effects to become "crooked". He relates his origin to a young man, with the alias "Retro", who has won a competition to be part of the JLA for a day. Prometheus kills Retro, copies the young man's mannerisms (courtesy of his advanced helmet), and joins the tour group at the JLA transporters, intending to masquerade as Retro to gain access to the JLA Watchtower.
Initially, the plan appears to be successful, with Prometheus infecting Steel's armor with a virus, hitting the Martian Manhunter with a dart containing a toxin that destabilizes his ability to control his shape, knocking out Huntress, trapping Zauriel in the Ghost Zone, beating Batman senseless using downloaded skills, using neural chaff to disrupt Green Lantern's will, and informing Flash that the tower is rigged with bombs that will detonate if he moves too fast. He then tries to force Superman to kill himself so that Prometheus will allow civilians to leave, on the grounds that Superman was too powerful for him to devise a means of killing. Prometheus is then caught off guard by the anti-hero Catwoman, who had also infiltrated the tour group, allowing the heroes time to recover. Steel infects Prometheus's systems with a virus. Admitting he lied about the bombs, Prometheus escapes to the Ghost Zone before he can be captured.
Prometheus returns as a member of Lex Luthor's second Injustice Gang. During the confusion caused by the arrival of the weapon Mageddon, Prometheus is able to use a White Martian space vessel abandoned in the Ghost Zone to infiltrate the Watchtower and attack Oracle. Oracle escapes, with Prometheus's helmet being damaged in the process. The villain retrieves his original helmet (lost during the first battle with the JLA) and battles Batman once again. Prometheus is neutralized when Batman sabotages his helmet, overriding the information on the disc Prometheus uses to upload his combat skills and replacing the data with the physical skills and coordination of Professor Stephen Hawking. Batman prevents fellow member Huntress from killing Prometheus. Batman and Martian Manhunter take Prometheus into custody and arrange to reduce Prometheus's brain to a mentally disabled state in order to permanently end his threat, reasoning that his skills and training mean that no jail could hold him under conventional circumstances. Upon Martian Manhunter's death at Libra's hands, Prometheus's mind was restored and he tracked down Chad Graham, killing his would-be protege and maiming/murdering members of the Blood Pack super-hero team.
Cry for Justice
A spate of superhero deaths (Freedom Beast, Gloss, and Tasmanian Devil) and attacks on others (Barry Allen, Batwoman, and Crimson Avenger) is revealed to be the work of the true Prometheus. The villain impersonates Freddy Freeman and gains access to the JLA satellite, which in turn allows Prometheus to place teleportation devices in the home cities of various heroes which will "strand" them in various places in the past and future, as revenge for the years that he spent with his mind damaged. Prometheus also maims Roy Harper after Harper realizes his foe is not Freddy Freeman. After defeating the JLA and the Teen Titans by reading files on them, Prometheus is captured by Donna Troy and beaten brutally, until being stopped by the Shade. Prometheus offers to reveal the location of the devices in exchange for his release, after they malfunction and begin destroying the cities. With Star City suffering massive casualties (including Roy's daughter), Prometheus's ultimatum is met and he returns to his lair, but he is murdered by Green Arrow shooting an arrow through his head.
The New 52
Prometheus shows up to torment Midnighter using stolen technology from the God Garden that he sells to various individuals around the world. In addition, he acquires the Gardener's secret files on Midnighter's true identity and origin. When confronted by Midnighter, Prometheus uses God Garden technology to block Midnighter's tactical computer, eliminating the edge Midnighter has in analyzing an opponent's fighting techniques. Prometheus also reveals that he has downloaded all of Midnighter's own skills into his brain to use against his enemy.
Pretending to be an ordinary man, he uses the alias Matt Dell to seduce and have a romantic relationship with Midnighter to achieve his goals.
The third version, Chad Graham, debuted in Batman: Gotham Knights #52 (June 2004), as part of the "Pushback" storyline from issues #50–55 (April–Sept. 2004). The villain reappeared in Batman: Gotham Knights #66 (Aug. 2005); Villains United #1–6 (July–Sept. 2005); Infinite Crisis #1–7 (Dec. 2005 – June 2006); Birds of Prey #94 (June–Aug. 2006); Teen Titans vol. 3, #51–54 (Nov. 2007 – Feb. 2008) and Final Crisis #1–7 (July 2008 – March 2009). He was not initially established as a different Prometheus from the second version until the "Faces of Evil" issue that featured the second version's return. It was later revealed that after the second Prometheus went into a mentally disabled state, his former apprentice assumed his identity; Graham had been taken in by Prometheus to serve as an evil sidekick years earlier, but proved too impulsive and ended up leaving Prometheus (under unknown circumstances). Graham appears in Star City, battling Green Arrow and local law enforcement. Almost killed by Green Arrow, Graham is saved by Hush. Hush forms an alliance with the impostor but abandons him due to his incompetence. Talia al Ghul leads Kobra in search of Prometheus in a bid to secure his Ghost Key. Graham, poisoned by Poison Ivy, is saved once again by Hush. Graham is then recruited to join another version of the Secret Society of Super Villains and participates in a massive attack by the Society on Metropolis. During the battle, Graham kills Peacemaker. Graham also has an encounter with the Birds of Prey and defeats Lady Shiva in seconds. He eventually falls under the alien Starro's control but is freed once Starro is defeated. Graham is later murdered when the true Prometheus regains himself; he expresses contempt for Graham's impersonation but is satisfied that the damage Graham has done to Prometheus's reputation would lead to the heroes underestimating him in the future. The third version relies on the use of two pistols, although he also possesses his mentor's helmet and artificial skills, giving him the training to defeat even Lady Shiva in a matter of seconds.
Powers and abilities
Prometheus possesses no superhuman abilities, but has undergone intense physical and mental training and utilizes an extensive range of equipment and technology like the hero Batman. Common tools include body armor, gauntlets that fire various projectiles, a side-handle baton with several technological features, and a helmet that in addition to emitting strobe lighting capable of disorientation and hypnotism, can download the knowledge and physical skills of others directly into his brain via a compact disc, his default disc including the skills of thirty of the world's greatest martial artists. Where Prometheus obtains this information is not known, but his combat skills include the duplicated abilities of Batman and Lady Shiva, although it is unclear how much combat training he would possess if he had to fight without the helmet. The 'battlesuit'/helmet combination is also equipped with an artificial Intelligence that can rapidly calculate and deploy a variety of strategies and countermeasures that have allowed Prometheus at various times to incapacitate entire groups of the Justice League singlehandedly and simultaneously.
Finally, the unnamed version possesses the "Ghost Key" which allows the villain to teleport himself and other objects and persons to and from a dimension called the "Ghost Zone". It can also be used to inflict total molecular disintegration on a target, but Prometheus only employed this function once, when he eliminated the unsuspecting Retro. The helmet can be hacked by external sources, but Batman had to study the helmet for a month to learn how to hack it in that manner, and it is unclear if this would allow him to hack other versions of the helmet.
In JLA/Avengers, Prometheus is seen among the enthralled villains defending Krona's stronghold in issue #4. He is seen being seized by Green Lantern. Later, he confronts Captain America, having downloaded Batman's fighting skills. However, using his shield, Captain America defeats Prometheus.
Prometheus is featured in Smallville Season 11, a comic book continuation of the TV series. At Daily Planet, Lois Lane and Oliver Queen hold a video-conference with Steve Trevor and Diana Prince of D.E.O. about the theft on their premises by a man in advanced weaponry. The Green Arrow joins D.E.O.'s team, led by agent Cameron Chase in their search for the man who stole from its facilities. When they find Prometheus, the mercenary attacks them with all kinds of weapons making them temporarily lose their hearing and sight. As he goes through D.E.O.'s soldiers he leaves Oliver for the end and after he takes him out, he says "Game on" and passes through a Boom Tube.
Prometheus and his men arrive at Fort Knox via Boom Tube, intending to steal the gold that is kept there, but Green Arrow is waiting for them, with help from Zatanna. After taking out his men, an one-on-one battle ensues between Arrow and Prometheus. Prometheus wonders if Green Arrow cares about his real identity but Oliver says that if he is not his counterpart from a parallel Earth he doesn't really care about it. During the fight, Oliver succeeds to get the upper hand and start beating Prometheus, raging over what he had done to Agent Chase's team and the fact that he almost took him away from his child, finishing him off with a massive headbutt. 
Power Rangers/Justice League
When Lord Zedd and Brainiac form an alliance to steal the Power Rangers' Power Coins and attack their world, the League permit the Rangers to access their archives to provide them with equipment and resources to battle their enemies' forces until they can regain their powers, with Billy Cranston using Prometheus's helmet and armour.
In other media
Two heavily adapted versions of Prometheus appear in The CW's live-action Arrowverse, both of which are voiced by Michael Dorn when masked. A dark mirror to Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, the character's depiction is a dark hooded individual who wields a sword, a bow, and shurikens.
- Josh Segarra portrays Earth-1's version who was born Simon Morrison and serves as season five's main antagonist of Arrow. After his criminal father is killed by the hooded Arrow vigilante, he trained under former League of Assassins member Talia al Ghul to acquire similar fighting techniques, and learns Oliver's secret identity. Five years later, Simon adopts the alias of "Adrian Chase" to be Star City's District Attorney to get close to Oliver, while simultaneously terrorizing Oliver's vigilante team as the serial killer Prometheus (dubbed as the Throwing Star Killer by the media). As both Prometheus and Adrian, Simon embarks on a crusade to destroy Oliver's reputation as both the Green Arrow and Mayor in City Hall, deals with the other individuals (crime lord Tobias Church and the Vigilante) making attempts on Oliver, plants evidence to frame Quentin Lance for his own murders, convinces Evelyn Sharp to betray Team Arrow, manipulates Green Arrow into killing police detective Billy Malone (dressed with the Prometheus costume) and leaks his cover up to the press to trigger an impeachment hearing that forces Oliver to publicly disown Green Arrow as a cop killer, has Black Siren (Earth-2) infiltrate Team Arrow by impersonating Laurel Lance (Earth-1), and tricks John Diggle into being detained by the authorities before exonerating the man. At the cost of his own wife's life, Morrison captures Oliver with Talia's help as both seek revenge on Queen for killing their respective fathers. Being certain that Oliver's heroic identity and crusade are merely a pretext, Morrison proceeds to torture Oliver (physically and psychologically) into confessing that he enjoyed killing targets, before setting his nemesis free. His Chase alias is exposed and Morrison forced to go into hiding, when Felicity Smoak and Curtis Holt reverse-engineer the technology he uses to blur his face from surveillance cameras when unmasked in the Prometheus outfit. He teams up with Derek Sampson to release his father's weaponized tuberculosis on Star City while also trying to destroy Robert Queen's legacy, before being captured by Green Arrow. While in A.R.G.U.S. custody, Morrison has his team kidnap Team Arrow and William Clayton, forcing Oliver to release him. No longer using his Prometheus alias at this point, Morrison and his associates go to Lian Yu, chased by Oliver's allies. The two sides clash with Oliver's allies emerging victorious. Incapacitated and unwilling to accept defeat, Morrison commits suicide which triggers his dead man's switch and blows up the C4 planted on Lian Yu, resulting in Samantha Clayton's death and Thea Queen being left in a coma.
- Colin Donnell portrays Tommy Merlyn, the Earth-X version during the four-part crossover "Crisis on Earth-X".
- The unnamed iteration of Prometheus appears in the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions of Justice League Heroes.
- The unnamed iteration of Prometheus is mentioned in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Batman scanning a wanted poster featuring Prometheus in the Penitentiary's Guard Room will serve as an answer to one of the Riddler's riddles and will unlock Prometheus's profile.
- The unnamed iteration of Prometheus is mentioned in Batman: Arkham City. He's referenced in several newspapers detailing two criminals being gunned down in an alley while their son (Prometheus) watches. There's also a psych report which regards Prometheus's release approval from Arkham Island on the GCPD forensics lab's wall.
- The Simon Morrison version of Prometheus from Arrow appears as a playable character in the DC TV Super-Villains DLC pack in Lego DC Super-Villains.
- Prometheus is number 80 Archived 2009-05-09 at the Wayback Machine, IGN. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- Conroy, Mike. 500 Comicbook Villains, Collins & Brown, 2004.
- Blue Beetle #4 (Sept. 1986); #6 (Nov. 1986); #8–9 (Jan.–Feb. 1987) and #11–13 (April–June 1987)
- New Teen Titans #34 (Aug. 1987)
- JSA #28 (Nov. 2001)
- New Year's Evil: Prometheus (Feb. 1998)
- JLA #16–17 (March–April 1998)
- JLA/Avengers #1 – 4 (Sept. 2003 – May 2004)
- JLA #36–41 (Dec. 1999 – May 2000)
- Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 (March 2009)
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #1–7 (Sept. 2009 – April 2010)
- Midnighter #7 (July 2016)
- Batman: Gotham Knights #50–55 (April–Sept. 2004)
- Batman: Gotham Knights #66 (Aug. 2005)
- Villains United #1 – 6 (July–Sept. 2005)
- Infinite Crisis #1 – 7 (Dec. 2005 – June 2006)
- Birds of Prey #94 (June–Aug. 2006)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #51 – 54 (Nov. 2007 – Feb. 2008)
- Smallville: Lantern #2
- Power Rangers/Justice League #4
- Guggenheim, Marc (April 5, 2017). "marcguggenheim". "tumblr". Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- "Comic-Con 2016: Arrow reveals big bad, Katie Cassidy's return". Entertainment Weekly. July 23, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- Schedeen, Jesse (5 October 2016). "Arrow: Who Is the Season 5 Villain Prometheus?".
- "Arrow: How Prometheus Differs From the Comics". Screen Rant. February 23, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Bryant, Jacob (March 2, 2017). "'Arrow' Finally Reveals Prometheus' Identity (spoilers)". Variety. Retrieved May 19, 2018.