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 grown into a teenage boy in less than a week, and given implanted memories and originally meant to match the age of the original Superman. But he 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 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 at this time, helping Ma Kent fill the hole in her life after the recent passing of her husband Jonathan. He resumed his membership in the Teen Titans, as well as his romantic relationship 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 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. 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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. Eventually he switched sides, and joined the Teen Titans. 

 

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:

  • • Smallville

 

Animation:

  • • Young Justice

 

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

Animation:

  • • Teen Titans Go!

 

 

Film

Main Character Appearances

  • • Reign of the Supermen

 

 

Video Games

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