Superboy II

Created by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummet

NAME + ALIASES:
Connor Kent, aka Kon-El, of Earth

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Kal-El (Superman, genetic donor), Lex Luthor (genetic donor), Martha Kent (adoptive mother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Ravers, Young Justice, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Adventures of Superman #500 (Early June 1993)
Joined (honorary member): Legionnaires #31 (Nov. 1995)

+ History

Pinup from Adventures of Superman #501 (1993). Art by Tom Grummett.
From Superboy v.3 #45 (1997). Art by Georges Jeanty.
Mark Waid: "I wound up having no place for Superman's heir in the ... story. … Placing him in the far future … proved to be a most econonimcal solution." Superboy card from Kingdom Come Xtra (1996). Art by Alex Ross.

Conner Kent is the second hero to call himself Superboy. The first was the Man of Stell himself, Superman, who went by the name during his adventures as a boy, and with the Legion of Super-Heroes.

After Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday, (Superman #75) Project Cadmus—a high tech lab devoted to the study of genetics and cloning—fast-tracked the development of a Superman clone. Kryptonian DNA, however, proved impossible to stabilize for the purposes of cloning, and Cadmus created twelve iterations before finding the solution. For "Experiment Thirteen," the lead scientist, Paul Westfield, decided to try to stabilize the DNA by adding human strains to it.

At that time, Westfield and other Cadmus scientists were secretly on the payroll of Lex Luthor, who had his own plans for a clone—naturally, to strike at Superman's heart. (Teen Titans v.3 #25) When Luthor learned that Cadmus had finally succeeded in transforming human DNA into Kryptonian-like DNA, he forced Westfield to graft Luthor's own DNA onto Superman's. Luthor then had the clone programmed with a posthypnotic suggestion which would bring it under his control. But the clone escaped too early for Luthor's plan (T.T. Annual #1)

Scientists had hoped to grow this clone to full maturity, but he began to assert his own free will. As the clone grew more, he was ultimately freed by the Newsboy Legion (other residents of Cadmus). He quickly entered the public spotlight and insisted upon being called "Superman." (Adventures of Superman #500-501) Superboy's original powers were based on "tactile telekineses," by which the clone could affect anything with which he was in physical contact.

But this clone wasn't the only Super-wannabe. Three other super-powered pretenders rose in the wake of Superman's death, all claiming to be the real Superman.

It wasn't long before Luthor moved to meet his "son" for the first time, and bring him under control. Superboy accepted Luthor's invitation to work for WLEX—but forgot that he'd already signed an exclusive contract with its competitor, Morgan Edge's WGBS. At WGBS, Superboy worked alongside local reporter (and sometimes girlfriend), Tana Moon. (#502)

Superboy carried on as though he were a true clone of Superman and was a key player in taking down another one of the pretenders: the Cyborg Superman.

The Cyborg intended to destroy Earth and transform it into a Warworld. When Superboy learned of these plans, he gathered together of Steel (a third pretender), Supergirl, and the Superman himself (who had returned to life). These four spearheaded the attack on the Cyborg, a battle which included in the destruction of Coast City, California.

When the real Superman returned to duty, Superman helped Superboy gain his independence from Cadmus. Both parties agreed, however, that Superboy should be "chaperoned" by Cadmus' chief scientist, the DNAlien called Dubbilex. One thing remained to be resolved: during his absence, Superboy had trademarked the name "Superman." Superboy was happy to sell it back to Superman, but when it was suggested that he now go by the name "Superboy," the clone threw a tantrum. After talking, though, Superboy realized that he had yet to truly prove himself, and accepted his new sobriquet. (#506)

It would be a while before Superboy adopted an alter ego. Superman eventually honored him with the Kryptonian name Kon-El. (Superboy v.3 #59)

Team Work

When Tana decided to return to her home in Hawaii, where Superboy soon joined her, along with Dubbilex and his friends Rex and Roxy Leach. (Adv. of Superman #505, Superboy v.3 #1) Naturally, he drew the attentions of a coterie of foes including Sidearm, Scavenger, King Shark, Silver Sword and Copperhead.

For the first year after escaping from Cadmus, Superboy was relatively oblivious to his true origins. He went on to make a life for himself in Hawaii where some remaining Cadmus scientists ultimately discovered the twelve original failed clones. (Superboy Annual #1) Clone number one escaped and its form deteriorated rapidly, giving it the appearance of Bizarro. Its form deteriorated rapidly and it perished. On that same day, they also discovered a video recorded by Westfield before his death. In it, he claimed to have been Superboy's "DNA father." Presumably this lie was told in order to distance Superboy from Luthor's treacherous plans. (Superboy Annual #2) For many years, Superboy believed Westfield's claim, until Luthor finally told him the truth. Lex also told Superboy that he had wanted him named Lionel Luthor, after his father. (#26)

Superboy was first visited by members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (of Earth-247) on their mission to free the hero Valorfrom the so-called "Stasis Zone." (Superboy v.3 #21) They took Superboy back to the 30th century with them, where he helped them retrieve a necessary component of the Stasis-Zone projector from Superboy's old foe, the Scavenger. (Legion v.4 #74) For his services, Superboy was initiated into the Legion as an honorary member before returning to the 20th century. (Legionnaires #31)

Later, a group of Legionnaires were stranded in the twentieth century, and to their dismay discovered that Superboy had given his Legion flight ring to his best friend Roxy Leech. They revoked his membership for this perceived offense. (Legion v.4 #94) He was soon re-entrusted with the flight ring, and warned not to give it away again. At this time they also gave him an official Legion costume (which he never wore). (Superboy #45) Shortly before they returned home, the Legion later summoned him to help them fight C.O.M.P.U.T.O. (Legion #99)

During this time, Superboy participated in a funloving super-group called the Ravers. He and his friend Sparx joined the group after attending an intergalactive rave called the Event Horizon. (Superboy and the Ravers #1) That team was short lived, and he then went on to form a new group—and friendships—that would form the cornerstone of his youth...

Along with Robin and Impulse, Superboy was a founding member of Young Justice. (JLA: World Without Grownups #1-2, Young Justice #1) That team soon grew to include Wonder Girl II, Cassandra Sandsmark. (YJ #4) Together, Young Justice found their footing in the super-hero community and proved their worth on numerous occasions. During that time, Cassie harbored a considerable crush on the Boy of Stell, which he never reciprocated.

Original art from The Legion #28 (2004); art by Chris Batista.

Eventually, they went on to form a new team of Teen Titans. During this time, Conner developed feelings for Wonder Girl, and the two became a serious item. During a visit to Smallville, Conner and Cassie were intimate for the first time, and exchanged "I love yous." (T.T. Annual #1)

Superboy returned to aid the Legion one more time when he was snatched by the 31st century servants of Darkseid. These minions were actually after Superman, and once they realized their error, they discarded Connor. His body was found by the United Planets and the Legion, who discovered that Connor had no memory of his abduction. And even though Brainiac 5 could have returned him home via time travel, it was uncertain presicely from whence Superboy had been taken. Until they could ascertain it, the Legion took Superboy under its wing. (The Legion #25)

Superboy's devil-may-care attitude instantly annoyed Cosmic Boy, who was a devoted follower of Superman's principles. Cos felt that Superboy was an embarrassment to the Superman name and sidelined Connor during the Legion's battle with Darkseid. In this mission, the Legion rescued the 15-year-old real Clark Kent, whom the minions had successfully retrieved. Both "Superboys" went on to help the Legion beat Darkseid back. (#30)

Superboy stayed with the Legion for a while longer until they were able to pinpoint his time of deaprture. Matters were urgent by then, as a horde of Fatal Fives from many universes had gathered to attack Earth. (Teen Titans #16) Their combined forces sent most of the villains away, but they had unleashed a maelstrom in time/space. Superboy was returned to his home in the 21st century, while the Legion was cast outside of space, between dimensions. (Teen Titans/Legion Special)

Connor Kent lost his life during the second "Crisis" while battling his evil counterpart from a parallel universe, Superboy Prime. (Infinite Crisis #6)

Despite his close ties with the Legion and his honorary status, Superboy was never awarded full membership.

Superboy Returns

Conner Kent's own return from the dead was engineered by Brainiac 5, in the 31st century. Brainy realized that the Legion's best chance to defeat the evil Superboy Prime lay in the restoration not only of Superboy, but his friend Bart Allen (Impulse/Kid Flash). The plan included two components: the recreation of his original cloning, and the use of the Kryptonian regeneration chrysalis that once brought Superman back to life.

Brainiac 5 sent several Legionnaires back in time to exhume Superboy's corpse and gather the most viable DNA from Lex Luthor. They placed Superboy's body inside the chamber and buried near the Fortress of Solitude. Because Superboy had been truly dead for so long, the regeneration would take a thousand years to complete. Then in the 31st century, the Legion woke the Boy of Steel, who emerged full of power and helped them defeat Superboy Prime. (Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #4-5)

The all-new Superboy now had true Kryptonian super-powers as well, though still developing. Soon Conner and Bart were reunited with their friends and family in the 21st century. (#5)

Since then he has returned to the Teen Titans (T.T. #81) and now lives with Martha Kent in Smallville, Kansas. (Adventure v.2 #1)

Superboys

Over the millenia, many other Superboys were cloned from this original Superboy's DNA, by the year 85,271, the one millionth actual clone was produced. Many of these Superboys were associated with the Legions of their era, especially Cris Kend, the Superboy of the 843rd century, who, with Wildfire, saved Earth from being destroyed by a bomb in his own era, and was summoned by the Justice Legion L of the year 85,271 to help save the United Planets Cluster from dissolving into its seperate planets before it was discovered that the threat of dissolution was an illusion.

Notes

It is speculated that Superboy's death in Infinite Crisis coincided with litigation against DC by the heirs of Superman's co-creator, Jerry Siegel. Siegel had always maintained that he was not properly compensated for the creation of Superboy (let alone Superman himself). During this time, there were several noticeable absences of the name "Superboy" from the mythos of Superman himself. Ironically, although the Infinite Crisis had restored Superman's childhood adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes, it was maintained (on television and in comics) that he was always called "Superman" during those adventures.

+ Powers

Superboy's original powers were connected to the experiments involving Superman's DNA. From Superman's "aura," scientists at Cadmus gave him tactile telekinesis, which allowed him to simulate many of of Superman's powers. Technically this was his only power. (Adv. of Superman #506)

For example, when in contact with a heavy objects, he could lift them, simulating super-strength. Using it on himself, the ability to fly. When solid objects made contact with him, it had the effect of invulnerability (which is why he was more vulnerable to energy-based or gaseous attacks). With practice, his abilities improved greatly. In terms of super-speed, he was much faster in the air than on land. When unconscious, Superboy's telekinetic field dropped, and he could be affected like any normal human.

Whether because of the tactile telekinesis or his unique DNA, Superboy has demonstrated a super-healing factor.

For a time Superboy also wore a visor made by professor Emil Hammilton that gave him an array of "super-visions": infared, microscopic, telescopic, x-ray and heat. The visor was lost, then used against him, so he destroyed it to prevent from being used for evil again.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • ...

» SERIES:

  • Superboy v.3, 100 issues (1994-2002)
  • Superboy and the Ravers, 19 issues (1996-98)
  • JLA: World Without Grownups, 2-issue limited series (1998)
  • Young Justice, 55 issues (1998-2003)
  • Sins of Youth, 2-issue limited series & event books (2000)
  • Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, 3-issue limited series (2003)
  • Teen Titans v.3, 100 issues (2003–11)
  • Superboy v.4, 11 issues (2011)