Pete Ross: Wikis


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Pete Ross
Pete ross teen.jpg
Pete Ross, as a teenager. From New Adventures of Superboy #9, September 1980. Art by Kurt Schaffenberger
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Superboy #86 (Jan. 1961)
Created by Robert Bernstein
George Papp
In-story information
Full name Peter Joseph Ross
Team affiliations Legion of Super-Heroes
Supporting character of Superboy

Peter "Pete" Joseph Ross is a fictional character who appears in the Superman comic books published by DC Comics. Pete Ross was introduced in Superboy #86 in January 1961.


Original version

In the original comics, Pete was the childhood best friend of Clark Kent in Smallville. One night when they were camping together, Pete secretly saw Clark changing into Superboy to attend to an emergency. Pete kept his knowledge of the superhero's secret identity to himself, not even telling Clark. Furthermore, Pete resolved to use this knowledge to help his friend, such as creating distractions to allow Clark to slip away without raising suspicion.

The Legion of Super-Heroes were aware of Pete's assistance to Clark and made him an honorary member during his teenage years (as shown in Superboy #98). During the Legion's battle with Mordru in Adventure Comics #370 ("The Devil's Jury"), it was stated that Pete Ross's knowledge of Superboy's secret identity would one day end up saving Superman's life (explaining why the Legion allowed Pete to retain that knowledge); however, no Superman story ever followed up on this detail until the very end of this continuity.

As an adult, Pete was established as a widower who had a son named Jonathan, who also learned the secret of Superman's dual identity (as shown in Action Comics #457). When Pete's son was kidnapped by an alien race (DC Comics Presents #13), Pete revealed to Clark his knowledge of his friend's dual identity, imploring Superman's help. When Clark was unable to provide this help, Pete suffered a nervous breakdown and attempted to discredit his former friend. Pete resided in a mental institution until his son was eventually saved, at which point the Ross family faded into anonymity. The breach in the childhood friendship apparently never fully recovered.

In Alan Moore's non-canon story Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Pete was captured by the Toyman and the Prankster and tortured into revealing Superman's true identity before being killed and stuffed in a toychest for Superman to find. Eventually, Superman discovered they were being manipulated by Mister Mxyzptlk.

Death of the original Pete Ross

Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, mainstream DC continuity was altered, such that Superman no longer had a teenage career as Superboy.[1] However, the Legion of Super-Heroes was dependent upon the existence of Superboy as its primary inspiration. In an attempt to resolve the paradox, a Superman/Legion story was crafted, explaining that Superboy (and all his supporting characters, including Pete Ross) actually inhabited a "pocket universe" created by the Time Trapper, and that the Trapper had protected this universe from being destroyed in the Crisis. Later, the villain decided to destroy the pocket universe Earth. Superboy saved his homeworld, but at the cost of his own life.[2]

Following Superboy's disappearance from the pocket universe Earth, the Lex Luthor of that world is tricked into releasing Kryptonian criminals General Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora from the Phantom Zone. They proceed to lay waste to the planet, eventually killing its entire population -- including Pete Ross. Having been summoned from the regular universe by Luthor and Supergirl, Superman executes the genocidal killers using green kryptonite, and brings Supergirl (a protoplasmic duplicate of Lana Lang) with him back to his own Earth.[3]

Modern version

The modern version of Pete is a far more minor character in the Superman comics, who eventually married Lana Lang, with the two having a son, Clark Peter Ross. The two are presently divorced, even after briefly reuniting following the Ruin storyline (see below). Pete was Vice-President of the United States under Lex Luthor and briefly served as President following Luthor's impeachment but quickly resigned.

In the modern comic book continuity, Pete was not initially aware of Clark's secret. However, the secret was known by the villainous Manchester Black, who informed then-President Luthor of the secret, only later to wipe his memory of it. Prior to losing the knowledge of Clark's secret, Lex informed Pete that his close friend Clark Kent is in fact Superman. While Pete initially refrained from telling Clark about his knowledge he did eventually tell him in Adventures of Superman #641.

Recently it appeared that Ross had become a villain named "Ruin", but it was later revealed that he had instead been kidnapped by the real Ruin, Professor Emil Hamilton. Hamilton also kidnapped Pete's wife and child. Superman defeated the insane Professor Hamilton, rescued Pete, Lana, and their child, and exonerated Pete of the charges against him.

Pete has returned to Smallville without Lana to raise their son. He was last seen attending the funeral of Jonathan Kent.

Pete appears in Blackest Night: Superman #1, he works at the general store.

In other media

Pete Ross was shown in a brief, non-speaking cameo in part two of the three-part opening episode of the 1990s television cartoon Superman: The Animated Series, titled "The Last Son of Krypton." He was also mentioned in the comic book based on the series when Kara Kent is being raised as the adoptive daughter of the Kents. Ma Kent emails Clark to say it is a small world to see Kara become the classmate of Susan Ross, Pete Ross' little sister.


Pete Ross, played by Sam Jones III, appears in the first three seasons of the 2000s television series Smallville. Along with Chloe Sullivan, he is one of Clark Kent's best friends. Pete hates the Luthors for what he sees as their thievery of his family's creamed corn business, and resents Clark's relationship with Lex Luthor, and later relationship with Lex's father.

Pete is the first person outside of the Kent family with whom Clark shares the secret of his powers. Although Pete is usually supportive of Clark and keeps this secret, their friendship is challenged when he occasionally gets into trouble and relies on Clark to resolve his difficulties. The character was written out of the series at the end of the third season, when Pete is brutally interrogated about Clark by an FBI agent. To protect the both of them, he moves to Wichita to live with his mother.

Pete returns in the seventh season episode "Hero", having temporarily gained Elastic Lad-like powers after chewing gum imbued with Kryptonite, and he saves Kara and aids Chloe from a manipulating Lex.[4]

In the comics, Pete Ross is Caucasian , while in Smallville he is African American.

Other versions

He appears in Superman: Red Son, though his name is changed to Pyotr Roslov. In this story, he is an illegitimate son of Joseph Stalin and is head of the KGB. He executes the alternate versions of Thomas and Martha Wayne (in that world, anti-communist protesters), leading to Batman vowing to overthrow the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.


  1. ^ The Man of Steel #1 (July 1986)
  2. ^ "The Greatest Hero of Them All", presented in Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 3) #37, Superman (vol. 2) #8, Action Comics #591 and Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 3) #38 (August-September 1987).
  3. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #21-22 and Adventures of Superman #444 (September-October 1988).
  4. ^

External links

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