Article by Rennie Cowan
In an interview with Gerard Christopher (Superboy) in Spectrum Magazine #32 he stated that the two-part "Roads Not Taken" episodes were the best of the series (and his own personal favorite). The webmaster agrees; indeed, these were two very good episodes and they have, unintentionally, inspired other later incarnations in DC comic books. But first, who is Sovereign and what is it about the Superboy episodes "Roads Not Taken" part 1 and 2 (from the third season)?
Sovereign was an alternate Superboy in the TV Series (Sovereign is in the photos above). And he was from an alternate reality of Superboy's life. As scientifically explained in the episode, whenever we make a decision or don't make a decision, a whole antoher world is created. Thus, an alternate reality is created. To make more sense of this, watch the clip below that introduces this episode ("Roads Not Taken" Part 2):
When Superboy met Sovereign face to face, Sovereign asked him, "Who are you?" And Superboy replied, "I am you I am ashamed to say." Superboy had traveled through a portal where history was totally different. Where his alternate self didn't fight for truth, justice and the American way - but for oppression and power, he was the ruler of the planet. "Roads Not Taken" Part 2 actually inspired the Mark Millar 3-issue limited Elsewords 2003 storyline in DC comic books titled "Superman: Red Son". In this Elseworld's tale, Superman actually landed in the Soveit Union (Ukrainian) and was raised to be a cold ruler.
In the photo above, Superboy confronts his alternate self, and the ruler of the planet: Sovereign.
The 3 issue-limited series/graphic novel ("Superman: Red Son") that was inspired by the Superboy third season episode "Roads Not Taken" Part 2. Notice on the left it states "He's Watching You". If you watch the Sovereiegn clips on this page, you'll hear Sovereign announce: "The Sovereign can't be watching all the time, but sooner or later, he will see you!" Sound familiar?
Watch the clip to scene below:
Sovereign was not raised by Ma and Pa Kent, but by a close neighbor who was crippled and insane. He trained Sovereign to rule the world by fear and intimidation. Ironically, the Lana Lang of that alternate history had nothing but hate for Sovereign but loved Lex Luthor. And not too surprising, in "Superman: Red Son" Lois Lane loved Lex Luthor, not Superman. Sound familiar? In short, this alternate world was a complete nightmare for Superboy. Lana hated him but loved Lex Luthor and Superboy was not a hero in this world at all; and he was not one who had vowed to fight for Truth, Justice and the America Way. So Superboy had to fight himself - he had to fight Sovereign to free the world of his injustice.
Sovereign tries to use his heat vision against Superboy.
Sovereign was an evil version of Superboy, ruler the world, and one who ruled by fear, intimidation and supreme might. Sovereign was even a murderer (he would kill his military leaders if they failed him...no, not with a Vaderish death-choke like in Star Wars, but with his heat vision and then he would melt them down to a fleshy mush. Watch the clip below:
"Roads Not Taken" Part 1 also inspired the DC comics incarnation of Kon-El (otherwise known as Superman's clone, Superboy aka Conner Kent)who made his first appearance in the issue Adventures of Superman #500 (June, 1993). Kon-El however didn't like being called "Superboy" and sported a black leather jacket and cool sunglasses. In "Roads Not Taken" Part 1 there is an alternate version of Superboy who flies around wearing cool dark sunglasses and a sporty black leather jacket. Sound familiar? However, he wore black jeans unlike Kon-El. But they both had the black leather jacket and the sunglasses.
Above is a photo of Gerard Christopher (left) in "Roads Not Taken" Part 1 sporting a black leather jacket and cool sunglasses as the good Superboy gone bad - and opposite (right) is Kon-El (Superboy), a clone of Superman clad in a black leather jacket and cool sunglasses.
Below, watch the good Superboy gone bad while sporting a black leather jacket and cool dark sunglasses just like Kon-El (or rather, like Gerard Christopher):
The brother episodes that followed the two-parter "Roads Not Taken" Part 1 and 2 was yet another two-part continuation called "The Road to Hell" (part 1 and 2) and they both aired at the end of the third season. In "The Road to Hell" part 1 and 2 Superboy came upon his older self (played by Ron Ely), with the grey hair and wisdom of a middle-aged Superman.
In the photo above, Superboy meets an older version of himself played by Ron Ely.
Superboy also came upon a child version of himself of whom Lex Luthor was hoping to brew as his own personal Superman; but those plans fell through when Superboy uncovered Luthor's plot. Luthor wanted his own personal Superboy, one who would do his evil bidding in the future - but nice try, Luthor.
"The Roads Not Taken" episodes and the "The Road to Hell" two-part continuation episodes are considered some of the most creative and probably the best episodes of the enitre series. Sovereign's world is not a place where Superboy can be found; not even truth, justice and the American way. Sovereign's world is the way, and certainly the most intriguing Superman character spin-off to date. You can actually watch "Roads Not Taken" part 1 and 2 on youtube. Part 1 is in two parts here and here. Part 2 where we see Sovereign is also in two parts on youtube, here and here. "The Road to Hell" episode 1 (part 1 and 2) and episode 2 (part 1 and 2) can also viewed on youtube (just click on the links I have provided). Enjoy!
Long live Sovereign! Long live his Empire! Enter the portal; into an alternate-timeline not like our own. You will believe a boy can kill (and fly). This is the story of Sovereign (so watch "Roads Not Taken" part 1 and 2).
Rocketed from a distant planet to an evil destiny on Earth. Found by a crazy, old cripple in Kansas who is angry at the world, the man is now bent on raising the super-infant that he found to become a world dictator. He named the super-infant...Sovereign.
Sovereign learned that he possessed the strength of steel; the speed of light; the lust for power (to please his old man); and the power to kill and the desire to rule all of mankind.
He is Sovereign. Master of the Earth. Master of your life. There is no fight, no truth, and no justice. There is only Sovereign. And he will see you. He is always watching you.