Superman Comic Books

Who is Ruin?

Ruin By Neal Bailey

January 24, 2005

A Speculative Meandering

Because really, that's what we're wondering right now. He took off his mask two issues back in the shadows, he's working for Luthor, he's insanely powerful, and let's face it, he's a viable, credible, well honed threat to the Man of Steel.

Most writers create a villain every month. Rucka has chosen a very specific path, a very dangerous villain, and honed him as a mystery which has people as captivated as when they wanted to know who murdered Sue Dibny.

Curse you for killing her, Beppo! Your super ooks haunt my nightmares.

At any rate, I figured it would be productive to rate, by odds, who it may be, because we now know it is someone close to the Man of Steel.

By my reckoning, here are my guesses with some logic to go with it...

Lex Luthor - Odds: 2 to 1


There's a lot FOR this one, and this is my logical choice, while Pete was my gut. The reason Luthor's a logical choice is because he has the devious mind that would allow him to carry such a ruse.

There's the wardrobe, which, if you take the mask off, is surprisingly early post-crisis Luthor. There's the bald head.

There's the passionate, illogical hatred of Superman despite cool and cold outward control of every other situation.

And hey, who's to say that the reason Ruin can't see Luthor on the screen isn't because it's Luthor projecting himself through holograms to fool whoever is around him? Luthor's more than capable of that much deception.

And he really, honestly thinks (insanely) that Superman is out to enslave and control the world... and that he can save the world from him while getting the fringe benefit of controlling said world.

It could also be a LATER Luthor from the future, back with technology, power, that would make the narrative coherent and sensible.


It's WAY too obvious.

There's also the power situation. Luthor is a brain villain, and making him a powers villain rarely works. Loeb pulled it off once, I doubt he could do it again in the next few years.

And hey, he KNEW the secret, yes, but he doesn't anymore. But a quick mental scan from a bunch of villains recovering some memories (see Identity Crisis) could reveal the worst to the worst.

Then again, maybe it's just so obvious that it just might work.

Pete Ross - Odds: 3 to 1


I don't know why, but Pete nags me as a potential Ruin. We don't know anything about Ruin's real character, to be sure. Remember Xorn and Magneto? If you do, you'll know that a character can be quite good at playing possum, lying, espousing a false philosophy. I mean, sure, he spouted about Superman being the destruction of the planet before he slaughtered the SCU, and there's no reason for him to be lying there, because he killed them all mercilessly, but hey, maybe he was just in character.

The reason I suggest Pete Ross is simply the motive. This is my gut. Who knows Superman, wants to hurt him for a perceived slight, and probably knows the secret? Pete Ross. And there is that suspicious visit in this last issue (Adventures of Superman #636).


Pete Ross is Clark's best friend. If he IS Ruin, he doesn't like Luthor, so why would he work under him?

Why murder? I mean, I know it's Lana Lang, but it's not angering enough to turn one into a total murderer. Or is it?

Emil Hamilton - Odds: 5 to 1


Emil is evil, he disappears for about two years, and then he's suddenly back, and technological, and working with Xlim under the guise of STAR Labs. Think about it.

He's smart enough to deduce Superman's secret. He has the technology to make a red sun ray.

He's also brainy enough, having projected the infinite earths during Our Worlds At War, to project Superman's long term impact on the world and how it will cause its destruction in a few bazillion millennia.

And also, long ago, as some of you non yung-uns might remember, he was originally an adversary to Superman working under Luthor. Sound familiar?


Size. He's just too small to be Ruin, and where would he hide that beard? Only Caesar Romero can hide his moustache with makeup, Emil!

Also working against his case, outside of the plot, is the fact that he's been off the fan radar for years, and it would be a big risk, like with Ron Troupe, to bring him to the fray.

John Henry Irons - Odds: 10 to 1


Well, he's bald, just like Ruin. He has a way with technology, just like Ruin, and he knows all of Superman's secrets. Heck, he's Superman's best friend, essentially. Who better to become a worst enemy? It worked for Chuck Xavier. The real question is where Superman's gonna get a snazzy glass wheelchair. No, wait. Wrong company.

He's also lost, adrift, with little to do, after his powers were taken from him by the Aegis. He's also been controlled before, making him a likely candidate for malevolent manipulation, especially by someone familiar with the tech, like Luthor.


Just about everything. I mean, Steel is such an important character, it would be hard to sacrifice his family and his legacy. Plus, there's no real motive, which is essential.

Ron Troupe - Odds: 15 to 1


He's always under the shadow of Clark Kent, and were he to realize the fact that he were Superman, he might be driven mad with rage. Not likely, but hey, it's a possibility.


Just about everything we know about Ron. He's a nice guy, he's family oriented, and he's just not enough of a blip on the minds of most fans to be turned into that kind of villain.

Arclight - Odds: 50 to 1


Arclight is included because he is the most prominent Superman villain who illogically believes Superman to be near an anti-christ and in need of death. He was a flash in the pan, but he's just so out there that he might have adopted Ruin's modus.


He's not close to Superman, he doesn't know the secret, and he wasn't technological, but rather faith based.

Magneto - Odds: 100 to 1


Imagine the potentiality of not once, but TWICE fooling a bunch of good guys by pretending to be someone he isn't for a long time.

He's got insane going for him, too, and a history as Xorn.

It would also be an incredibly sly marketing feat, having a Marvel/DC crossover that no one knew about. Watch the issue prices rise!


It's total mental retardation (heck, I thought of it), and the fact that said gimmicks only worked in the 90s, when people still thought Spawn ruled the world and that by the year 2000 Todd McFarlane would rule the world, when all it took was a cover with a hologram on it (could even be a picture of Clark Kent eating a sandwich) to sell 100,000 copies.

Ah, youth.

Skeeter - Odds: 1 to 1


I can't really think of anything, I just really miss Skeeter. It was just his name, and in two issues, he had me at hello. Obviously, because I want him to still be around and not Skeeter-B-Q, he orchestrated his own faked death, somehow can be two people at once, and is insane.

Just imagine an insane dude named Skeeter. How cool would that be.

Oh, come on, you know that idea rules.



Dang. Thought I was on to something.


I refuse to believe it's not Skeeter. Uh-uh.

All joking aside, feel free to speculate in the comments. This has been an interesting run thusfar, it'll be cool to see the culmination.

See you all there!