Superboy

superboy-profile-SB_Cv20_ds-1-v1-401x600-masthead.jpg
CHARACTER

Superboy

Cloned from the genetic material of Superman and Lex Luthor, Conner's place in the world is anything but certain. But with the help of his friends, he fights for good.

Introduction

Aliases: Kon-El, Conner Kent, Experiment 13, The Boy of Steel, The Metropolis Kid, Jonathan Lane Kent
First Appearance: ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #500, 1993

 

 

When Superman died fighting the monster Doomsday, the world lost its greatest hero. But in his absence, a new Superman debuted, although one far younger than everyone was used to. A genetic experiment from the scientific research cabal called Project Cadmus, this Superman was clone of the original combined with DNA from a human host. Not entirely Kryptonian nor human, and with all the outward appearance (and immaturity) of a 16 year old, even if he was really far younger than that, this young Superman proved to be a true hero whenever it was time to step up.

 

When the original Superman eventually returned from the grave, this new teenage hero took the name Superboy reluctantly. But he became a proper part of the Superman family, with the Man of Steel giving him the Kryptonian name Kon-El, and the human name of Conner Kent. Distinguishing himself as a member of teams like Young Justice and the Teen Titans, Superboy proved himself worthy of being a hero, even when he discovered that his human DNA came from none other than arch criminal Lex Luthor. Despite all of his youthful bravado, Conner Kent is one of the greatest heroes to ever wear the S-shield of the House of El.

Origin

superboy-origin-AOS_500_04D-v1.jpg

After Superman died in battle protecting Metropolis, four different heroes appeared each claiming to be Kal-El. One of these was someone who looked like a young, brash teenager, wearing a leather jacket instead of a cape. Revealing himself as a clone of the original Superman, this new hero exhibited similar powers to the Man of Steel, but there were several differences as well. The clone revealed his origins to the media, telling the Daily Planet that when Cadmus director Paul Westfield decided to replace the dead Superman, they attempted to make a clone directly from his genetic material. What he didn't know though is that he wasn't a true Kryptonian clone, as Cadmus kept failing to reproduce the alien DNA, so they combined the Kryptonian DNA with that of a regular human being. 

 

 

They then recreated the bio-electric aura surrounding Superman's body, with which they were able to replicate some Kryptonian powers, such as a telekinetic field that gave the clone the ability to simulate powers such as flight, invulnerability, and strength, which they called "tactile telekinesis." This new hybrid clone was initially called "Experiment 13" since there were twelve previous attempts at cloning Superman that were unsuccessful. But with attempt thirteen, this new clone was given implanted memories and was rapidly aged to become a perfect copy of Superman. But by the time he had reached the biological age of a teenager, the clone escaped from his cloning tube early however, entering the world as the equivalent of a teenager.

 

 

After Superman came back to life, the clone hero took on the name Superboy, even though he didn't like being referred to as anything other than a man. Superboy moved to Hawaii, where he became the island's #1 Super Hero. He started working as an agent of his creators at Project Cadmus, and was paired with Cadmus' genetic creation known as Dubbilex as his chaperone. He entered into a relationship with TV reporter Tana Moon during this time as well. It was during this era that he learned that he was in fact Cadmus' 13th attempt at creating a Superman clone, and that the human donor of his DNA was Project Cadmus director Paul Westfield. Superboy briefly joined the cosmic heroes known as the Ravers, and also spent some time in the 31st Century with the Legion of Super-Heroes.

 

Superman formally brought Superboy into the fold when he invited him to his Fortress of Solitude, where he gave him the name Kon-El, making him an official part of his family. He also was given the human name Conner Kent, making him part of his adopted family as well. Superboy also found himself a new group of peers, when he teamed up with other protégé of famous heroes like Robin, Impulse and Wonder Girl in a new team called Young Justice

 

The group had many adventures together, but eventually went their separate ways. It wasn't long before they reformed, although they now went by the name the Teen Titans. Another bombshell dropped on Conner's life when he discovered that the human donor of his DNA was not Dr. Westfield, but Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor. As Conner matured, so did his feelings for his teammate Wonder Girl. Their romance was cut short however during the INFINITE CRISIS event, when the extra dimensional Superboy Prime tried to recreate the multiverse. Superboy stopped him, but paid the ultimate price, as he died during the battle. 

 

 

Post INFINITE CRISIS (2005-2010)

 

After the universe shattering event known as the INFINITE CRISIS, Superboy was dead and buried. Although many of his fans (and even his girlfriend Wonder Girl) believed he would return from the grave just like Superman once did, a whole year passed, and he remained dead. But in the 31st century, the Legion of Super-Heroes, who counted Superboy as an inspiration, along with his friend Impulse, were able to revive him in the future. He then travelled back in time to the present, resuming his career as Superboy. The newly returned Superboy went to live on the Kent farm, helping Ma Kent fill the hole in her life after the recent passing of her husband Jonathan. He also resumed his membership with the Teen Titans, and rekindled his romance with Wonder Girl.

 

 

The New 52 (2011-2016)

superboy-essential7-new52-TT_Cv1_ds-1-v1.jpg

 

After the DC Universe history is once again rebooted due to the events of FLASHPOINT, Superboy reappeared, this time with a new version of the Teen Titans. His entire pre-FLASHPOINT history was erased. This Superboy was still a half-human half-Kryptonian clone, a creation of a shadowy organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E., who were looking to control a new generation of meta-humans. Despite his conditioning as a weapon, he chose to be a Super-Hero instead, and joined the Teen Titans. When he met Supergirl, he learned of his Kryptonian heritage, but when she discovered he was actually a clone, she gave him the name Kon-El, which translated to "an abomination in the House of El" in Kryptonian. 

 

 

Kon-El discovered more about his origins, learning that he is actually a clone of Jon Lane Kent, the future son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, hence the half human/Kryptonian DNA. Kon-El was revealed to have been created by Harvest, the founder of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., so that a cure could be found for the future Jon's illness, which was making him mentally unbalanced and had turned him into a villain. At one point, Superboy is thought to be dead, and the future Jon Lane Kent replaced him in the present timeline.

 

 

Rebirth

 

When the 5th Dimensional Imp Mister Mxyzptlk staged a prolonged physical and emotional attack on Superman, the battle resulted in Superman's timeline changing. In this new reality, the post-FLASHPOINT version of Superboy and all of his adventures never existed.

Powers and Abilities

superboy-powers-Pages-from-SB_13_p21-22-1-v1.jpg When he first appeared in Metropolis after the death of the original Superman, Superboy's superpower were all attributed to something called "tactile telekinesis", which was essentially a telekinetic force field that wrapped around his body as a protective shield. This allowed him to mimic Superman's strength, speed, flight, and invulnerability. The field also allowed Superboy to push his TK field, creating a forceful blast. He could also make any adversary he was fighting immobile by extending the telekinetic field, as long as they were both standing on the same ground. Although he originally did not have Superman's heat vision, he could simulate it with a visor given to him by Dr. Emil Hamilton.

 

 

After several years operating as a Super Hero on Earth, the Kryptonian part of his DNA absorbed enough yellow sun energy to finally exhibit the same powers of Superman and Supergirl. Just like them, he now had super strength, invulnerability, flight, super hearing, X-ray vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, heat vision, super speed, super hearing, and super breath. But just like his real Kryptonian "cousins," he was also now vulnerable to Kryptonite, as well as other weaknesses shared by them, like magic and being under a red sun. Because of the human part of his DNA however, it is unlikely that Superboy will ever be quite as powerful as Superman or Supergirl. The post-FLASHPOINT version of Superboy also had a degree of telepathic powers. Additionally, he exhibited a genius-level intellect. 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Storylines and History

 

superboy-essential1-dontcallmesuperboy-AOS_501_C1B-v1.jpg

“First Sighting: Superboy” (ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #500, 1993)

 

In his first ever appearance, the young clone of Superman, who was then without a true name, demanded that he not be called Superboy, believing himself to have already earned the title Superman. This despite being physically a teenager, and quite literally just days old (youthful arrogance?) The '90s version of Superboy was introduced in this issue which also saw the first appearances of the Cyborg Superman, Steel, and the Eradicator.

 

 

 

"Trouble In Paradise" (SUPERBOY #1, 1994)

superboy-essential2-thehonoluluhero-Superboy_Cover-v1.jpg

 

After the real Superman came back, Superboy gets his own ongoing series, as the former "Metropolis Kid," along with the Cadmus clone Dubbilex and his managers/handlers Rex & Roxy Leech, embark on their PR "Superboy World Tour." After the tour's stop in Hawaii, the cybernetic villain Sidearm arrives on the beach and attacks Superboy, but the Boy of Steel handily defeats him, earning his praise with the locals and TV reporter Tana Moon. Superboy and company decide to stay in Honolulu for some time as he becomes its resident Super-Hero.

 

 

 

The Birth of Young Justice (JLA: WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS #1, 1998)

superboy-essential3-meetingthebffs-JLWWG_01_C4_C1-v1.jpg When petulant teenager uses a magic spell that causes all of the adults on Earth to disappear, including the Justice League, the super-powered teens of the DC universe have to team up and save the day. In this mini-series, Superboy forms a true bond with the Tim Drake version of Robin, along with Impulse, which all eventually leads to their forming the team Young Justice, and also all becoming best friends for life.

 

 

 

Reforming the Teen Titans (TEEN TITANS #1, 2003)

superboy-essential4-graduationday-TitansYJGraduationDay#2_cvr-1-v1.jpg Young Justice disbanded after some time, but the young heroes' time apart from one another would not be for long, as the core members of the team became a new version of the Teen Titans. Superboy, now wearing jeans and an S-shield t-shirt as his costume, became a mainstay of this version of the Titans. It was during his early days as a Titan that he discovered, with the help of his friend Robin, who the true donor of his human DNA was: none other than Lex Luthor. He struggled with the implications of his DNA being that of the megalomaniacal villain's for much of the early run of Teen Titans.

 

 

 

"Touchdown" (INFINITE CRISIS #6, 2006)

superboy-essential5-superboyvssuperboy-CV-DR-ICRI004-1-v1.jpg When the insane Superboy Prime escaped from his interdimensional prison, he sought to remake the universe the way he saw fit alongside Alexander Luthor, leading him to attempt a recreation of the Multiverse that reflected the one that was destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Superboy Prime hated Conner Kent in particular, seeing himself as the only person in the universe worthy of the name. When the heroes of Earth gathered together to stop Luthor and Prime, Superboy died in battle fighting his twisted doppelganger, but also saving billions of lives.

 

 

 

A Triumphant Return (FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF 3 WORLDS #4, 2009)

Superboy was brought back to life in the 31st Century by the Legion of Super-Heroes. Legionnaire Brainiac 5 used the same Kryptonian technology that returned Superman after his death at the hands of Doomsday, combined with a lock of Lex Luthor's hair. Superboy then helped the Legions of three universes defeat Superboy-Prime and his new Legion of Super-Villains. Afterwards, Conner returned to the 21st century along with his friend and teammate Impulse.

 

superboy-essential6-atriumphantreturn-FCLW-4.26-27.450_CMYK-v1.jpg

 

"Teen Spirit" (TEEN TITANS #1, 2011)

In the post-FLASHPOINT universe, Superboy's entire history was erased, but a new version of the Superman/human hybrid clone emerged in the New 52 around the time a new version of the Teen Titans formed. In his first appearance, he wasn't even a member of the team; he was actually sent after the young heroes by the organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E., who created him in a laboratory experiment. Furthermore, we learn tht this iteration of Superboy’s human DNA donor is not Lex Luthor, but Lois Lane. Eventually this version of Superboy switched sides and joined the Teen Titans, ultimately sacrificing himself to protect his teammates from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s attempts to control the metahuman heroes of tomorrow.

 

 

 

Rebirth (Young Justice, 2019)

In Brian Michael Bendis’s YOUNG JUSTICE, a reformed Young Justice team discovers that the original Conner Kent may not have been erased at all, when they discover him alive and well on Gemworld. Superboy revealed to the team that some time in the past, Superboy breached a STAR Labs-controlled gateway to Gemworld. Stranded on a separate plane of existence, Conner started a farm and family with a local single mother named Lophi to protect her from local tyrant Dark Opal. By overthrowing Dark Opal with the newly arrived Young Justice, Superboy was free to rejoin his team and return home… but would have to take a trip through the multiverse first.

Team Affiliations

  • • Project Cadmus
  • • The Ravers
  • • Young Justice
  • • Teen Titans
  • • Legion of Super-Heroes
  • • Supermen of America
  • • White Lantern Corps

Appearances in Other Media

Television

Main Character Appearances

 

Live Action:

 

Animation:

 

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

Animation:

  • • Teen Titans Go!

 

 

Film

Main Character Appearances

 

 

Video Games

  • • The Death and Return of Superman 
  • • DC Universe Online
  • • Injustice 2
  • • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
  • • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

 

YOUNG JUSTICE TV HISTORY

Young Justice begins as the story of a group of young heroes molded from the image of their legendary predecessors. In Superboy’s case, this description can be taken literally. But while Conner Kent may have been cultivated from Kryptonian DNA and grown in a laboratory, his raw emotion often makes him one of the most human members of the Young Justice team.

 

SEASON ONE

 

Superboy is first discovered by the team on their very first unsanctioned mission, while infiltrating the depths of Cadmus Laboratories. There, they uncover “Project Kr,” a secret initiative to genetically clone Superman. Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad liberate the adolescent clone, working with him and his fellow “Genomorphs” to expose Cadmus. Now an official team working in cooperation with the Justice League, the new “Superboy” is the first to join their ranks. And while his powers aren’t as advanced as his genetic forebear, they are more than enough to prove indispensable assets to the team’s operation.

 

Though plagued with complex feelings about his relationship to Superman (or lack thereof), Superboy spends his first year forging deep connections of his own. Though mistrustful at first of the telepathic abilities of M’gann M’orzz, the Team’s “Miss Martian,” Superboy eventually begins a romantic relationship with her, even taking on a human name at her request: “Conner.” (Later, Superboy would discover this was the name of the teen heartthrob on M’gann’s favorite TV show, HELLO MEGAN!) He also picks up a faithful companion in a Kobra-Venom enhanced wolf, whom he named Wolf, and a sentient New Genesis vehicle which balls up into a sphere, whom he names Sphere — as well as Sphere’s original owners, the Forever People.

 

But just when it seems Conner is figuring out his place in the world, he discovers to his horror that his genetic sequence is derived not from one parent, but two: the second none other than Superman’s sworn enemy, Lex Luthor. Luthor offers Conner a gift of power-augmenting patches, which elevate his abilities to those of Superman… as long as he agrees to play ball when called upon by Luthor’s secret super-villain syndicate, the Light. But Lex underestimates Conner’s bond of trust with his team, and Superboy comes clean about Luthor’s offer with his fellow members. Together, they use Conner’s cover as an ally of Luthor to get in close and defeat the Light.

 

INVASION

 

Five years later, while some members of the team have moved on to civilian life or Justice League membership, Superboy remains with Young Justice — though he and M’gann are no longer together. Eventually, it’s revealed that it was Superboy who pushed her away while struggling with new identity issues over his inability to age as those around him grow older. But as the Team is tasked with repelling the invading alien forces of the Kroloteans and the Reach, Conner and M’gann each do their share of emotional maturation, and resolve to face the future together once more.

 

OUTSIDERS

 

Two years later, we find Conner and M’gann living together in a picture of domestic tranquility. Though he now sports a day job as a motorcycle mechanic, it doesn’t hold him back from answering the call when Nightwing -- formerly Robin -- enlists him for his new team of Outsiders. As a sign of his continued commitment to M’gann despite his increasing obligations, Conner proposes to his long-time girlfriend, who joyfully accepts. Now in a far more emotionally stable place than his first year out of his tube, Conner finds himself coaching new team member Geo-Force with his own anger issues.

FUN FACTS

Conner Kent made his television debut in the Season 10 Smallville episode "Scion." He was played by Lucas Grabeel. (Submitted by user Vroom)

 

Superboy was voiced in Reign of the Supermen by Cameron Monaghan, who also played Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska on TV's Gotham. (Submitted by user NYJt3)

 

Geoff Johns's favorite Teen Titan during his run on the comic was Superboy. Still, by offering him as a replacement sacrifice, he was able to reverse the editorial decision to kill off Nightwing in INFINITE CRISIS. (Submitted by user c02goddess.16092)