Prometheus (comics)

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250px Prometheshock Prometheus
Art by Arnie Jorgensen
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance (1) New Teen Titans vol. 2 #24 (October 1986)
(2) New Year’s Evil: Prometheus #1
(February 1998)
Created by (1) Marv Wolfman (writer)
Eduardo Barreto (artist)
(2) Grant Morrison (writer)
Arnie Jorgensen (artist)
In story information
Alter ego (1) Curt Calhoun
(2) Unknown
Team affiliations (1) Hybrid
(2) The Society
Injustice Gang
Notable aliases Retro
Abilities (1) Invulnerable metal skin, superhuman strength
(2) Genius-level intellect, Skilled armed/unarmed combatant, Cybernetic implant allows him to download data into his brain.

Prometheus is the name of two fictional supervillains published by DC Comics. The first Prometheus debuted in New Teen Titans vol. 2 #24, (October 1986), and was created by Marv Wolfman and Eduardo Barreto. The second Prometheus debuted in New Year’s Evil: “Prometheus”, (February 1998), and was created by Grant Morrison and Arnie Jorgensen.



  • 1 Fictional character biography
    • 1.1 Curt Calhoun
    • 1.2 Morrison’s Prometheus
      • 1.2.1 Training
      • 1.2.2 JLA
      • 1.2.3 Injustice Gang
      • 1.2.4 The Society
  • 2 Powers and abilities
  • 3 Other media
  • 4 Notes
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Fictional character biography

Curt Calhoun

The first Prometheus was a Texan named Curt Calhoun who belonged to a supervillain team called the Hybrid; the team was the creation of Steve Dayton, a mentally unstable occasional ally of the Teen Titans. He was virtually invulnerable due to his metal skin, possessed great super strength, and was capable of raising the temperature of his armored form to several hundred degrees Celsius, easily capable of melting most other metals. Supposedly, Prometheus and most of his teammates in the Hybrid died under the control of Roulette. He and other members of his team appear on the “Fallen Players of the House” remembrance wall.[1]

Morrison’s Prometheus

Grant Morrison created the second Prometheus during his tenure as the writer of JLA. Morrison described him as “the anti-Batman.” According to his origin story, he was the son of two loving, hippie criminals who traveled across the United States with him. They committed indiscriminate murders and thefts, often of a brutal nature (similar to Bonnie and Clyde). Eventually they were cornered and forced the police to gun them down in front of their son, whose hair turned white from the shock. That night, he swore an oath to “annihilate the forces of justice”. His true name has not been revealed. There are indications that this character may have been inspired by another similar character called The Wrath.[2]


Prometheus obtained large sums of money both from his parents’ hidden stashes of money and by extorting local mob bosses using his knowledge of their criminal activities. Leaving home at the age of 16, he used his money to travel the world in order to develop the skills he would need. His activities during this period included training as an underground pit-fighter in Brazil, working as a mercenary in Africa, joining terrorist groups in the Middle East, studying silat in Malaysia, associating with the wealthy social elite in order to learn their secrets (‘I learned to kill in a dozen different Languages’), and attending only the finest in legitimate academic schools and universities. Eventually he found the legendary Himalayan city of Shambhala, inhabited by a sect of monks who worshipped evil itself. Studying with them, he eventually became a favorite of their leader, who showed him their greatest treasure: an alien spaceship upon which their ancient monastery had been built. The leader then transmuted into one of the aliens who’d first landed there, and Prometheus was forced to kill him to obtain the Key to the ‘Ghost Zone’.

Along with the ship was a key that opened into what Prometheus dubbed “The Ghost Zone,” an infinite expanse of white nothingness. (JLA member and angel Zauriel referred to this zone as limbo; it was also used by the White Martians as a form of Hyperspace to effect interstellar travel; the people of Krypton knew it as the Phantom Zone). Prometheus would eventually build himself a small, lopsided wooden house in The Ghost Zone (‘Nothing builds straight here. But that’s fine with me. A crooked house for a crooked man’). Here, he was free to build up a resistance to the JLA, unhindered by Earth’s authorities or heroes.


See also: Justice League

Prometheus first appeared in “New Year’s Evil: Prometheus“, one of a number of New Year’s Evil one-shot issues from DC Comics that featured various supervillains. In this, his origin is explained and Prometheus kills a young man calling himself “Retro”. Retro was just a normal young man who had won a competition to be a member of the new Justice League of America for a day by designing his own costume and fictitious “origin story.”

In issues of JLA, Prometheus took the place of Retro at the Justice League Watchtower on the Moon and almost singlehandedly took down the League: he shot the Martian Manhunter with a dart that turned his shapechanging power against him, infected Steel’s armor with a computer virus which commanded the suit to damage the Watchtower, hypnotized the Huntress into unconsciousness, attacked Green Lantern with a “Neural Chaff” that rendered his ring useless, trapped the angel Zauriel in the Ghost Zone, and tricked the Flash into believing that he had planted motion sensitive bombs that would explode if the Flash used his powers. He defeated Batman in hand-to-hand combat with the aid of a device that downloaded the skills of the thirty greatest martial arts masters in the world (including Batman) into his brain and a pair of lights on his shoulder that blinked in an erratic pattern to cause disorientation. At the time, the Watchtower was filled with innocent civilians that the League had invited for a tour. With the Watchtower under his control, Prometheus then demanded that Superman–the only hero he could not defeat–commit suicide in exchange for the lives of the hostages, sacrificing the two things which he presumed would matter to Superman; his image and his reputation. He also expressed his pleasure at the fact that “Superman said ‘Prometheus’ and he didn’t sound scared.”

However, Prometheus’ best laid plans were laid to waste by an unforeseen variable: the anti-hero Catwoman, who incapacitated him with a simple whip crack to the groin. Having sneaked onto the Watchtower disguised as Cat Grant looking for things to steal, Catwoman’s intervention bought Steel the time he needed to beat the virus (although it was only thanks to the lucky arrival of Plastic Man that Steel’s hammer failed to do any damage to the Watchtower walls) and, in turn, override Prometheus’ helmet. Prometheus then escaped to the Ghost Zone.

Injustice Gang

See also: Injustice Gang

Prometheus later returned as a part of the second Injustice Gang created by Lex Luthor. He was able to use the Ghost Zone and a White Martian spaceship left from the Martian Invasion within it to get into the Watchtower. He almost killed Oracle by defenestrating her when she refused his deal. He wanted her to betray the JLA in return for being able to walk again. Oracle manages to survive by grabbing the hand on the face of the Clocktower.

He then had a final rematch with Batman who had, in the intervening time, managed to unlock the secrets of Prometheus’ helmet. Batman replaced the martial arts skills Prometheus had downloaded into his mind with the physical skills and coordination of Professor Stephen Hawking, a famed scientist who can barely move. Huntress, who witnessed the latter half of the battle, described this as “cheating.” Batman retorted with “Not cheating. Winning.” Batman later commented that it was the “first time [he] ever hit a man with motor neuron disease”. Later, Batman was forced to intervene in order to prevent Huntress from killing the helpless Prometheus, firing her from the JLA in the process.

The Society

See also: Secret Society of Super Villains

Prometheus was later seen in Star City, fighting Green Arrow and the police, where he escaped with the help of Batman villain Hush. Prometheus later formed a partnership with Hush, but was abandoned for his complicity in the murder of Poison Ivy. Infected with a terminal disease by one of Ivy’s mutated foster children, Prometheus is powerless to defend himself from kidnapping. He is taken by The Society, of which he had previously been a member. The Society wanted to steal the key to the Ghost Zone, which Prometheus had already hidden in the museum of the Justice Society of America. He is later seen in the Battle of Metropolis, killing Peacemaker (Mitchell Black).

Most recently, Prometheus appeared in Birds of Prey #94 defeating Lady Shiva, because his helmet allows him to copy the skills of 30 of the world’s greatest martial artists, which would include Shiva (rated among the top seven in the DC Universe). Shiva believed that his files on her would be out of date, and that she would be able to defeat her “old self”. She seemed unconcerned about the skills of the other 29 fighters, and apparently decided to attack Prometheus head-on. Prometheus, however had more up-to-date files than Shiva suspected, and in a mere three seconds knocked her to the ground.

Prometheus recaptured the Society defector Crime Doctor from under the Huntress’ nose. He then fought the Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and Black Canary before the Crime Doctor’s suicide removed their reason for fighting. Prometheus departed unopposed, commenting sardonically that on two occasions Huntress had given him more trouble than Superman.

In Teen Titans #51, Prometheus is shown to be under the control of Starro.

Powers and abilities

These details refer solely to the second Prometheus.

  • Previously possessed the key to The Ghost Zone, allowing him teleportation abilities via another dimension as well as a hidden extra-dimensional base.
  • Prometheus carries a high tech tonfa (known as ‘The Nightstick’) that allows him to deliver superhuman blows despite its light weight, as well as various other gadgets.
  • His greatest accomplishment is the invention of a helmet which allows him to download the knowledge of others, stored on a Compact Disc, directly into his brain (this information is not, however, retained indefinitely, and Prometheus must change disks in the helmet to access different knowledge). This helmet also transmits certain reflexive abilities enabling him to access physical skills as well as knowledge. The helmet can also emit strobe lighting to disorient or hypnotize an opponent.
  • Even without his helmet, Prometheus is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and strategic genius.
  • Prometheus wears body armor, the gauntlets of which can fire various projectiles including bullets, chemical and poison darts, and “neural chaff” that affects opponents’ concentration.
  • Prometheus claims to have developed plans to defeat every DC superhero.

Other media

Prometheus also appears as a villain working for Brainiac in the Nintendo DS version of the video game Justice League Heroes. He goes to Gotham City and implants one of Brainiac’s mind control devices on Batman. He is then defeated by Wonder Woman and The Flash, who then rescue Batman.


  1. ^ Titans Tower: Hybrid & Vanguard
  2. ^ As seen in Batman Special #1 (1984)

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