Prometheus (DC) (02 - JLA Villain)
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Although he possesses no "superpowers" in the technical sense of the term, Prometheus is incredibly intelligent, and has invented a variety of pieces of technology far more advanced than anything existing in reality.
The most prominent device in his arsenal is his helmet, which contains a sophisticated computer wired directly into his central nervous system. This allows him to download any information -- from blueprints to files to another person's mannerisms to the fighting prowess of the world's 30 greatest martial artists -- directly into his brain.
Other devices in his arsenal include a tonfa (dubbed "the nightstick"), which contains an onboard computer of its own and which can generate an energy field allowing it to split anvils with a tap, and his gauntlets, which allow him to fire a variety of projectiles, from mundane bullets to darts containing any number of exotic chemicals.
Prometheus also possesses the Cosmic Key, a device of alien origin which allows him to teleport to the interdimensional void known as the Phantom Zone (which he refers to as "the Ghost Zone"). The Key also allows him to teleport others to the Ghost Zone against their will, and was once seen to disintegrate a man.
Prometheus' helmet, which provides him with his superior fighting skills and also serves as a repository of data on every superhero on the planet, is wired directly into his brain and nervous system. This leaves him vulnerable to attacks which tamper with the helmet. On at least two occasions, this has left him either partially or totally incapacitated.
Prometheus (his true name has never been revealed) was the only child of a pair of ruthless bank robbers and killers, and grew up accompanying them on their crime sprees. After one such spree, the two were cornered by police and chose to commit suicide by cop, dying before their son's eyes. Vowing to destroy "the forces of justice," he left home at 16, using both his parents' hidden stashes of money and the proceeds of a blackmail scheme targeting a local crime boss to finance his travels. Under a series of false identities, he studied at prestigious universities, trained as a pitfighter in Brazil, studied silat in Malaysia, joined a terrorist group in the Middle East, and worked as a mercenary in Africa.
Eventually, he made his way to Tibet, where he discovered the mythical hidden city of Shambhala. There, he studied with a group of monks who worshiped evil, and eventually was taken into the bowels of the temple by their lama, where he learned the truth: the temple had been constructed atop a crashed alien spaceship many centuries before, and the monks were actually the aliens who had occupied it. Slaying the lama, he escaped Shambhala with the Cosmic Key, which allowed him to transport himself and others into an extra-dimensional realm he dubbed the "Ghost Zone." There, he made his base and began designing his costume and other weapons. After returning to America and slaying the police officers who had killed his parents, he decided he was ready to begin his crusade to destroy "justice." Although he had at first planned to blow up the Supreme Court, he instead decided to kill the Justice League.
The newly-minted Prometheus' first opportunity came when the JLA, as a publicity stunt, created a contest to become "hero for a day," which was won by a naive young man called Retro. Slaying him, Prometheus used his helmet to download all of Retro's knowledge and mannerisms into his own head, using it to take his place and sneak aboard the JLA Watchtower on the Moon alongside a group of reporters. Once aboard the Watchtower, he put his plan into action. Using a computer virus programmed into his tonfa, he took control of Steel's armor, ordering it to walk to the far end of the base and then throw his hammer, which would breach the tower's walls. Next, he commandeered the Watchtower's computer, downloading its blueprints into his helmet and tampering with the air supply to increase the oxygen content. Confronted by the Martian Manhunter, he first shot him with a phosphorous dart to weaken him, then shot him with a second dart containing a "molecular toxin," which induced "spastic paralysis" in the shapeshifter and left him a puddle of goo. After stopping to set the forest used to create the tower's air supply on fire, he used the Cosmic Key to teleport the angel Zauriel to the Ghost Zone and used a series of strobing lights on his helmet and his own voice to hypnotize the Huntress. Finally, he used the enhanced combat skills provided by his helmet to best Batman in hand-to-hand combat, poisoned Green Lantern with a "neural chaff" that prevented him from using his ring, told the Flash that he had installed bombs throughout the base that would be triggered if he used his super-speed, then shot both Green Lantern and the Flash, non-fatally wounding them.
Confronting Superman (who, at the time, was in his "Superman Blue" phase and used electricity-based powers which rendered him effectively invulnerable) outside the shuttle bays, he informed him that he had sabotaged the shuttles, and would only allow the civilians to leave the tower alive if Superman committed suicide. If he refused, Steel's hammer would breach the tower's walls and kill everyone except Superman. This part of his plan was foiled, however, by Plastic Man, who had found Steel and absorbed the impact of his hammer before it could cause any damage. This proved to be Prometheus' downfall. The antihero Catwoman, who had snuck aboard the tower disguised as a reporter, distracted him by cracking her whip into his groin. While he was incapacitated, Steel, who had regained control of his armor, hacked into Prometheus' armor and disabled his helmet. Realizing he was beaten, Prometheus used the Cosmic Key to escape, pausing only to admit that he had been lying to the Flash about the bombs and return Zauriel to his place of origin.
Over the next several months, he took to exploring the Ghost Zone, and soon discovered that he was not alone there: also present was a spaceship, used by the White Martians who had threatened the world at the time of the JLA's most recent reorganization, which was itself connected to the Watchtower. Realizing that this gave him a secret backdoor into the JLA's base, Prometheus contacted the billionaire supervillain Lex Luthor, and together the two became the nucleus for a revitalized Injustice Gang. Also invited to join were the alien Queen Bee and General Wade Eiling, now ensconsced in the invulnerable android body of the Shaggy Man. Unbeknownst to any of them, however, their minds were no longer their own. They had actually become the pawns of the sentient superweapon Mageddon, which hoped to use them to help spark the end of the world. Over the course of several weeks, they weakened and distracted the JLA by fomenting conflict all over the world, touched-off a supervillain riot at Belle Reve Penitentiary as a diversion to steal and sabotage the Green Lantern's ring, and planted bombs throughout the Watchtower. Once the Queen Bee's space fleet had assembled in the asteroid belt, the team put their plan into action.
Prometheus' assignment was to disrupt the team's technological link, which was coordinated by Oracle from her base in the Gotham clocktower, and download all the team's secrets into his helmet. Infiltrating Oracle's base via the Watchtower, Prometheus offered her a deal: in exchange for willingly going along with the Gang's plans, he would use the same techniques that allowed his helmet to interface with his nervous system and improve his physical prowess to fix her paralysis and allow her to walk again. When she refused, he engaged her in a supremely brief fight, tossing her straight through the face of the clocktower (she survived by hanging onto a hand), although not before she managed to lightly damage his helmet. Disabling the League's communications, he returned to the Watchtower, where he switched out his damaged helmet for the slightly outdated model he'd left behind during his first appearance, and made short work of the Huntress. Confronting Batman in single combat once again, he quickly gained the upper hand. This time, however, Batman played his trump card: he had studied and dissected the outdated helmet Prometheus was wearing, and had cracked its secrets. He then proceeded to overwrite the program Prometheus was using to power his martial arts skills, replacing them with the physical characteristics of Dr. Stephen Hawking, the eminent physicist afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease, leaving him completely paralyzed.
Although this confrontation resulted in Prometheus' capture, he resurfaced again a few months later, with no explanation as to his escape. Unbeknownst to anyone outside the JLA, however, this Prometheus was not the genuine article at all. He was, in fact, Chad Graham, the psychopathic son of one of the policemen who had killed Prometheus' parents. After murdering his own parents before Prometheus could get to them, Graham had been taken under the villain's wing and trained in the hopes that he would become a sidekick to him, much as Robin is to Batman. With the real Prometheus disabled and left in a catatonic state by the telepathic powers of the Martian Manhunter, Graham adopted his costume and weapons and began working under his name. This faux Prometheus, over the course of several real-life years, served as bodyguard to the Batman villain Hush, was press-ganged into the Secret Society of Super-Villains, battled Captain America as part of an inter-company crossover, and was mind-controlled by Starro the Conqueror. Through it all, he proved himself unable to live up to the standards set by the actual Prometheus, and by the end of his run had been defeated in hand-to-hand combat by both the Huntress and Robin.
Recently, with the death of the Martian Manhunter, the true Prometheus has reawakened. Escaping from the mental institution where he had been housed, he tracked down Graham and found him being pursued by the members of the superhero team Blood Pack. Casually slaying one member of the Pack and crippling another, he abducted Graham to his base in the Ghost Zone. Outraged at the damage done to his reputation by Graham's performance, he lit him on fire. As his former sidekick burned, Prometheus vowed to soon reclaim his rightful place as a figure of fear and respect, both in the underworld and without.
Prometheus was originally created by Grant Morrison as a foil to Batman, whose origin story he mirrors, and as a major threat capable of giving the entire Justice League trouble. After his second appearance in the title, however, Morrison left, and the character went missing for three years, eventually being revived as a henchman to the villain Hush in the pages of Batman: Gotham Knights. This marked the beginning of an inexorable slide in the character's power level, to the point where he would be rather easily defeated by the Teen Titans. In early 2009, writer Sterling Gates chose to return the character to his roots as a JLA-level danger, resulting in the retcon which declared all post-Morrison appearances by the character to have actually been an imposter. The "true" Prometheus reappeared in the one-shot Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1.
First Appearance: Prometheus (Villains) (1998) #1
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
#4 Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins 2005 (2005)
- 'The Brave...and the Bold'
Batman: War Crimes (2006)
Batman: War Games (2015)
DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection [GER] (2015)
#99 DC Universe: Origins (2009)
- 'Justice League: Rise and Fall'
TPB Faces of Evil: Prometheus (2009)
- 'DC Universe: Origins'
#1 Green Arrow [I] (2010)
- 'The Man Who Murdered Prometheus'
Green Arrow [II] (2010)
#3 JLA (1997)
- 'Character Assassination'#5
- 'Growing Pains'
#16 JLA - Die neue Gerechtigkeitsliga Special (1998)
- 'Prometheus Unbound'#34
- 'The Ant and the Avalanche'#36
- 'World War Three, Part One'#37
- 'World War Three, Part Two'#38
- 'World War Three, Part Three'#39
- 'World War Three, Part Four'
#4 JLA Secret Files (1997)
- 'Green Lantern/Green Arrow'
JLA: The Ultimate Guide to The Justice League of America (2002)
Justice League of America (2006)
Justice League of America (2017)
Justice League: Cry for Justice (2009)
Justice League: The Rise & Fall Special (2010)
#1 Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal (2010)
- 'Green Arrow Unbound'
Justice Society of America (2007)
#25 Prometheus (Villains) (1998)
- 'Black Adam & Isis Part Three: Family Feuds'
#1 Trinity (2008)
- 'There Was a Crooked Man'
Injustice Gang (DC)
Famous Quotes: - Add a Famous Quote
"You know, it's weird hearing you say it. It's like I've actually made it. Superman said 'Prometheus' and he didn't sound scared. He should be. I'm here to take my rightful place in this gallery as the greatest super-criminal of all time. The one who killed the Justice League."
"Well...guess I'll put this one down to experience. And next time you won't even hear me coming."
"The Ghost Zone...that's what I like to call it anyway. I built my crooked house here, under the foundations of reality, where I can nibble away at the roots..."
"I have no morals. I have no pity, no compassion. ...Well, I suppose I have. Nobody's all bad, after all. But you know what I mean: I just don't get much use out of 'em."
"my beef is with the kid in the dumpster
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