Other pics from Man of Steel arrived, and with them, our first look to young Clark Kent‘s best friend, Pete Ross, portrayed by teen actor Jack Foley. While his role in the movie is yet to be revealed, it’s unlikely that he’ll be something more than the childhood friend who disappears once Clark becomes an adult and moves to the big city, Metropolis. More or less, it’s what happened to the only other live action incarnation of the character, Sam Jones III‘s one in Smallville. After being one of the series’ regular in the first three seasons, Pete (who is actually the first person Clark reveals “his secret” to) is abruptly cut from the show, and he comes back only once in Season 7 with Elongated Man-like powers granted to him by a Kryptonite chewing-gum (…). Now, let’s see together who Pete Ross is in the comics.
Peter Joseph Ross was born somewhere in North America, but he moved with his family in Smallville, Kansas, when he was still very young. He grew up with Clark Kent, a boy his age, son of the old farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, and the two of them soon became best friends. Everything proceeded as normal in the boring and happy life in Smallville, until the day Pete, while in camping with the Kents, saw Clark changing clothes and becoming the teenage superhero Superboy. Pete didn’t tell even Clark that he knew his secret, and decided he would have helped his heroic friend the best he could with his own resources. Every time Clark had to suddenly disappear in order to save the day, Pete invented some story to cover him up with their friend Lana Lang or someone else that was present, and once he even disguised himself as Superboy to protect Clark. Nobody noticed his efforts, apart from the Legion of Super-Heroes, a team of future heroes from the 31st century that knew everything Pete was doing, and made him a honorary member of the team, foreseeing that Pete’s knowledge of Superboy’s identity would have saved the Kryptonian‘s life in the near future. Pete eventually grew to be an adult, got married with an unnamed woman and became widowed shortly after; he had a son from his wife, Jonathan, a sad boy who lost the will to live when he was still very young. Superman himself saved the boy’s life, visiting him by night and revealing his secret identity to him, thus making the boy his friend. Jonathan, however, was a very unlucky boy, and after a short time he got kidnapped by some aliens, the Nrvynians. Pete, clearly worried, went to Clark, and told him that he knew about him being Superman, and asked him to bring his son back. Superman tried, but understood that the Nrvynians had foreseen that Jonathan, under their guidance, would have soon saved the universe, and he could not bring him back to Earth yet. He tried to explain the situation to his friend, but Pete suffered a nervous breakdown, that brought him to use one of Lex Luthor‘s old weapons to come back in time and swap his mind with Superboy’s, then he came back to the present, arrested Superman and put him on trial for his “crimes”, kidnapping Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Perry White, Steve Lombard and Jimmy Olsen and using them as jury. Past Superboy managed to take back control of his body, and Pete was brought to a mental institution. He gain his sanity back only when Superman returned Jonathan to him, and the two became friends once again.
After Crisis on Infinite Earth, Pete’s past, along with the one of almost every character in the DC Universe, was significantly changed (it was revealed that “old” Pete still existed in a Pocket Universe created by Time Trapper, but he was ultimately killed by Kryptonians criminals General Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora when the three of them, freed by Lex Luthor, went on a killing spree decimating their universe). Pete never learnt of Superboy’s true identity as a teenager, nor he helped Clark maintain his secret identity. The two were still friends, but just normal pals spending time together and competing for beautiful Lana Lang’s attentions. As an adult, he eventually married Lana Lang, but he always thought he was just a second choice for her, and that she was still in love with Clark (actually, unknown to Pete, Lana knew that Clark was Superman, so their bond was different from what he thought). They had a son, Clark Peter Ross, but they eventually divorced, since Pete never accepted to live with Clark’s memory between him and his wife. He became a senator, and Vice-President under Lex Luthor’s government. It was Luthor that informed him that his childhood friend Clark Kent was actually Earth’s mightiest hero, Superman. When Luthor was arrested, Pete briefly became President himself, but resigned almost immediately. After informing Clark about his knowledge of his secret identity, Pete came back to Smallville with his son, and opened a General Store, coming back to the calm and peaceful life he missed so much when he was at the White House.
Pete Ross is essentially a next door guy, a normal person often involved in not so normal adventures. Basically honest and good-hearted, he’s ready to do anything for the people he loves, being them his friends or his family. An expert politician and a good man, Pete is maybe the right man in the wrong place under Luthor’s government.