Prometheus (DC Comics)

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Prometheus from New Year's Evil: Prometheus (Feb. 1998)
Art by Arnie Jorgensen.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance (Unnamed version)
New Year's Evil: Prometheus #1 (February 1998)
(Curt Calhoun)
Blue Beetle #3 (August 1986)
(Chad Graham)
Batman: Gotham Knights #52 (June 2004)
Created by (Unnamed version)
Grant Morrison
Arnie Jorgensen
(Curt Calhoun)
Len Wein
Paris Cullins
(Chad Graham)
A.J. Lieberman
In-story information
Alter ego Curt Calhoun
Chad Graham
Simon Morrison (Arrow)
Team affiliations (Unnamed version)
The Society
Injustice Gang
(Curt Calhoun)
(Chad Graham)
The Society
Notable aliases (Unnamed version)
Retro, Shazam, Matt Dell
Abilities Genius-level intellect
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, commonly as an adversary of the Justice League. Created by Grant Morrison (writer) and Arnie Jorgensen (pencils), he made his first appearance in New Year's Evil: Prometheus (Feb. 1998). Later stories would also use Prometheus as an enemy of the superheroes Green Arrow and Midnighter. In 2009, Prometheus was ranked as IGN's 80th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[1] Josh Segarra portrays the character on The CW's live-action TV series Arrow.

Publication history

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."[2]

Fictional character biography

Unnamed version

Prometheus relates his origin to a young man who has won a competition to be part of the JLA for a day, with the alias Retro. The unnamed son of two hippie criminals who committed murder and theft, Prometheus traveled across the United States with them until they were cornered by local law enforcement and were gunned down after they opened fire on the surrounding police. This causes Prometheus's hair to turn white from the traumatic experience, and he vows to "annihilate the forces of justice" in order to get revenge for his dead parents.

Using his parents' hidden caches of money, Prometheus travels the world and develops his skills, becoming an underground pit-fighter in Brazil, 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, Prometheus 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 was one of the creatures from the vessel. He kills the alien and obtains the "Ghost Key", which opens a portal to the "Ghost Zone", a hyperspace void that allows interstellar travel.

Prometheus builds a house in the void as his headquarters, which is warped by the dimensional effects to become "crooked", and it is revealed that this is the setting for the story he now relates to Retro. Prometheus kills Retro, and courtesy of his advanced helmet copies the young man's mannerisms, intending to masquerade as Retro to gain access to the JLA Watchtower.[3]

Initially, the plan appears to be successful, with Prometheus infecting Steel's armour with a virus, hitting the Martian Manhunter with a dart containing a toxin that destabilises his ability to control his shape, knocks out Huntress, traps Zauriel in the 'Ghost Zone', beats Batman senseless using downloaded skills, uses a neural chaff to disrupt Green Lantern's will and informs Flash that the tower is rigged with bombs that will detonate if he moves too fast. While trying 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 him, Prometheus was caught off guard by the anti-hero Catwoman, 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.[4]

Prometheus appears briefly during an encounter between the JLA and alternate universe superhero team the Avengers, and skirmishes with Captain America while using Batman's skills, but Captain America easily defeats him.[5]

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 Justice League Watchtower and attack team aide Oracle. Oracle escapes, with Prometheus' helmet 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, before firing her from the JLA.[6] Batman and Martian Manhunter take Prometheus into custody and arrange to reduce Prometheus' 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 the hands of Libra, Prometheus' mind was restored and he began tracking down his would-be protege,[7] resulting in him killing Graham[8] and maiming/murdering members of the Blood Pack super-hero team.[9]

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" the city 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 he realizes his foe is not Freddy Freeman. While defeating the JLA and their allies the Teen Titans by files on them, Prometheus is captured by Donna Troy and beaten brutally, until she is stopped by Shade. The villain offers to reveal the location of the devices in exchange for his release, after his devices malfunction and begin destroying the cities. With Star City suffering massive casualties (including the daughter of Roy Harper), Prometheus' ultimatum is met and he returns to his lair, but is murdered by Green Arrow, who shoots an arrow through the villain's head.[10]

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 has got hold of 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 him.[volume & issue needed]

Pretending to be an ordinary man, he uses the alias Matt Dell to seduce and have a romantic relationship with Midnighter to achieve their goals.[11]

Curt Calhoun

The original Prometheus, 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). The character returned in New Teen Titans #34 (Aug. 1987), and was apparently referenced as being deceased in JSA #28 (Nov. 2001). 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 Hybrid. The leader Mento transformed the metal covering Calhoun into a permanent metallic shell. Assuming the alias "Prometheus", the reluctant Calhoun fights alongside Hybrid in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the New Teen Titans.[12] Although Mento eventually directs Hybrid against the Titans once again, they rebel and Mento is apparently cured of his insanity by Titans member Raven.[13] Calhoun is never seen again, until superhero team the JSA learn that Hybrid died in the gladiatorial games staged by villainess Roulette.[14] The original Prometheus 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.

Chad Graham

The third Prometheus, Chad Graham, debuted in Batman: Gotham Knights #52 (June 2004), being 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) before being killed in Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 (March 2009). He was not established as being a different character from the second Prometheus until that same issue. After Prometheus went into a mentally disabled state, an impostor took his mantle. Chad Graham had been taken in by Prometheus to serve as his evil sidekick years earlier, but Graham proved too impulsive and ended up (under unknown circumstances) leaving Prometheus, only to return years later to assume the identity once the original went missing following his second battle with the Justice League. The villain appears in Star City, battling hero 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 apparent incompetence.[15] Talia al Ghul leads the evil Cobra Cult in search of Prometheus in a bid to secure his Ghost Key. Graham, poisoned by one of the creations of villainess Poison Ivy, is saved once again by Hush.[16] Graham is then recruited to join another version (numbering in the hundreds) of the Secret Society of Super Villains[17] as Prometheus and participates in a massive attack by the Society on the city of Metropolis. During the battle Graham kills the hero Peacemaker.[18] Graham also has an encounter with the superheroine group Birds of Prey, and defeats the mercenary Lady Shiva in seconds.[19] The villain eventually falls under the control of the alien Starro, and is used as a foot soldier, but is defeated by an alternate future version of Robin and freed once Starro is defeated.[20] Graham is later murdered when the real Prometheus regains his mind and kills him, expressing contempt for Graham's impersonation but still satisfied that the damage Graham had done to Prometheus' reputation would lead to the heroes underestimating the villain in the future. The third Prometheus 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 like the hero Batman has undergone intense physical and mental training and utilizes an extensive range of equipment and technology. 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 Justice Leaguers singlehandedly and simultaneously. Finally, the second Prometheus 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 an 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.

Other versions


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 uploaded Batman's fighting skills. However, using his shield, Captain America defeats Prometheus.

Smallville: Lantern

Prometheus is featured in Smallville Season 11, a comic book continuation of the TV series.

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.[21]

In other media


Prometheus on Arrow.
Josh Segarra as Adrian Chase /Prometheus on Arrow.
Prometheus as seen in Arrow (left) and Josh Segarra as Simon Morrison (right).

Two versions of Prometheus appear on The CW's live-action Arrowverse; Michael Dorn provides the character's scrambled voice when masked.[22]

Josh Segarra portrays a heavily adapted version who serves as season five's main antagonist of The CW's live-action TV series Arrow.[23] Though Arrow co-creator Marc Guggenheim has stated that this version is not based on any one character from the comics,[24] he serves as a dark mirror of his archenemy Oliver Queen/Green Arrow much like his comic book counterpart.[25] This iteration's true identity is Simon Morrison, the illegitimate son of corrupt pharmaceutical owner Justin Clayborne whom Oliver killed during season one's timeframe, resulting in his grudge against the vigilante. He adopts the alias of "Adrian Chase", Star City's District Attorney, Doris Chase's husband, and ally to Oliver as the Mayor in City Hall to spy on Team Arrow. Having trained under Talia al Ghul in order to acquire similar combat tactics and fighting techniques, Prometheus is depicted as a serial killer in a dark-hooded suit (dubbed the Throwing Star Killer by the press) and wields a sword and bow but primarily kills his victims using shurikens forged from Oliver's discarded arrows. As Prometheus and Adrian, Simon embarks on a crusade to destroy Oliver's reputation and break his nemesis's mind to prove that the man is a killer, not a hero. Under his two aliases, he 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 Artemis 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, forces Earth-2's Black Siren to impersonate Earth-1's Laurel Lance to trick Team Arrow, and tricked John Diggle/Spartan into being detained by the authorities then exonerated the man. Simon captures Oliver with Talia's help as both seek revenge on Queen for killing their respective fathers. Simon proceeds to physically and psychologically torture Oliver to confess enjoying killing targets; Oliver's heroic identity and crusade are merely a pretext and subsequently burns off Oliver's Bratva tattoo before setting the man free. Simon uses a Kord Industries device that can blur his face from surveillance cameras when unmasked, which was reverse-engineered by Felicity Smoak and Mr. Terrific using a stolen device to decrypt surveillance footage involving his unmasking, allowing Team Arrow to give the SCPD evidence. Realizing this through his two protective custody agents, he kills both and escapes Star City by car whilst whistling to "A Beautiful Morning". He hides in Team Arrow's headquarters and triggers an EMP, allowing him to escape. Morrison later 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 he is captured by Green Arrow. While in A.R.G.U.S. custody, he orders his team to capture Team Arrow and forces Oliver to free him after revealing he captured William Clayton (Oliver's son). Simon goes to Lian Yu after his team captures Team Arrow, however, Oliver later frees Team Arrow as well as William and Samantha Clayton. Incapacitated and unwilling to accept defeat, Simon commits suicide, triggering C4 bombs on the island which presumably kills several people. Prometheus returns in season six as a hallucination from Vertigo, trying to deceive Oliver.

An Earth-X equivalent of Prometheus (known informally as Prometheus-X) appears in 2017 four-part crossover event "Crisis on Earth-X" as the alter ego of the Earth-X doppelgänger of Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell).[26][27]

Video games

  • The unnamed version of Prometheus appears in the Nintendo DS version of Justice League Heroes.
  • The unnamed version of Prometheus is alluded 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 version of Prometheus is again alluded in Batman: Arkham City. Several newspapers detailing two criminals being gunned down in an alley while their son watches can be found, referencing his character. There is also a psych report regarding Prometheus's release approval from Arkham Island on the GCPD forensics lab's wall.


  1. ^ Prometheus is number 80 Archived 2009-05-09 at the Wayback Machine., IGN. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  2. ^ Conroy, Mike. 500 Comicbook Villains, Collins & Brown, 2004.
  3. ^ New Year's Evil: Prometheus (Feb. 1998)
  4. ^ JLA #16–17 (March–April 1998)
  5. ^ JLA/Avengers #1 – 4 (Sept. 2003 – May 2004)
  6. ^ JLA #36–41 (Dec. 1999 – May 2000)
  7. ^ Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 (March 2009)
  8. ^ Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 (March 2009)
  9. ^ Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 (March 2009)
  10. ^ Justice League: Cry for Justice #1–7 (Sept. 2009 – April 2010)
  11. ^ Midnighter #7 (July 2016)
  12. ^ Blue Beetle #4 (Sept. 1986); #6 (Nov. 1986); #8–9 (Jan.–Feb. 1987) and #11–13 (April–June 1987)
  13. ^ New Teen Titans #34 (Aug. 1987)
  14. ^ JSA #28 (Nov. 2001)
  15. ^ Batman: Gotham Knights #50–55 (April–Sept. 2004)
  16. ^ Batman: Gotham Knights #66 (Aug. 2005)
  17. ^ Villains United #1 – 6 (July–Sept. 2005)
  18. ^ Infinite Crisis #1 – 7 (Dec. 2005 – June 2006)
  19. ^ Birds of Prey #94 (June–Aug. 2006)
  20. ^ Teen Titans vol. 3, #51 – 54 (Nov. 2007 – Feb. 2008)
  21. ^ Power Rangers/Justice League #4
  22. ^ Guggenheim, Marc (April 5, 2017). "marcguggenheim". "tumblr". Retrieved August 8, 2017. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Comic-Con 2016: Arrow reveals big bad, Katie Cassidy's return". Entertainment Weekly. July 23, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Arrow: How Prometheus Differs From the Comics". Screen Rant. February 23, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2017. 
  26. ^
  27. ^

External links

  • Prometheus (Curt Calhoun) at the Comic Book DB
  • Prometheus (Morrison) at the Comic Book DB
  • Prometheus (Curt Calhoun) at the DCU Guide
  • Prometheus (Morrison) at the DCU Guide
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