Kenneth Braverman (Conduit)

Kenny BravermanThe last heads-up of this year brings us back to 2013 and to Man of Steel: writing about tons of Kryptonians, I ended up missing one of the human characters. In Clark Kent‘s flashbacks, we see the boy bullied by some high school athletes in Smallville, and the group is led by a guy credited as Kenny Braverman, portrayed by Rowen Kahn…definitely someone from the comics. He’s the one mocking and teasing young Clark, only to flee when he sees an angry Jonathan advancing towards him. In the comics, the relation between Kenny and Clark was not so hostile…not as it would become as in their adulthood, at least. Let’s see together.

The night Kenneth Braverman was born was surely and eventful one: a snowstorm forced Mr. Braverman to drive his wife to the hospital on a difficult road, and when his truck slid on the ice, stopping the couple, the baby was born in the car. That same night, however, the ship of alien Kal-El arrived on Earth, bringing along the fragments of his lost planet Krypton: the meteor shower of that night had unforseen consequences on the child, who grew up sickly because of the radiation exposure. Despite a frail constitution, Kenny always did his best not to be second to any of the other children, and when he attended Smallville High School he was already one of the most promising young athletes of the town. Kenny excelled in most sports, and played football, baseball and tracks, always distinguishing himself…but never as the first one, always the second: there was another guy, born on his same day, conduitcomics1who was the best in whatever he did, and stood out over Kenny as well. The guy was Clark Kent. As one would expect, Kenny became quite competitive with Clark, and formed a friendly rivalry that with years became less and less friendly. Their rivalry reached its apex on the night of the senior prom, when Kenny asked the most beautiful girl of the school, Lana Lang, out: she lied, telling him that Clark had asked her first, and when Clark actually took a step forward, she immediately said yes. Clark and Lana were named prom King and Queen, and Kenny was left behind, as always. If this wasn’t enough, Kenny’s father, who had always treated badly his son, and always remarked how Clark Kent was better than he was, named him a total failure that night, wishing Clark was his son instead of him. This was the final drop for Kenny, who solemnly swore he would have taken his revenge one day on his loathed rival. The occasion arrived soon after high school, when Kenny agreed to have his body, still under the effects of unknown radiation, examined by the CIA.

The CIA did more than that, and made some experiments on him trying to put his radioactive organism to the test, but they ultimately deemed Kenny unusable for the field because of his poor health. Willing to prove his superiors wrong, Braverman volunteered for a dangerous mission in Paris, a covert op against a terrorist group. The mission was a success, but only because Clark Kent, who was in Paris studying journalism, intervened, thus making Kenny get the “second place” once again. In “revenge”, Kenny “stole” Clark’s girlfriend Ruby (who was actually only a friend to him), and he even proposed to her, only to threat her life when she realised something was very wrong with Kenny’s body, glowing in green light. Back to the US, Kenny Braverman distinguished himself in several highly dangerous missions, becoming more and more reckless…and more and more unstable. His body instability conduitcomics2was treated with a power suit containing the flowing radiations, but his mind was far too gone in his obsessions: believing he was becoming too dangerous to handle, the CIA decided to have him killed…but no agent was at his league, and Kenny defeated them all, quitting with the agency. After that, he renamed himself Conduit, and founded his own intelligence and spec ops unit, Pipeline, which in years became powerful and influent. Despite having reached quite a goal, Braverman was still obsessed with his high school rival, and when years later Clark Kent became an important journalist for the Daily Planet, Conduit reached him in Metropolis, and used his Pipeline to tried to have him killed more than once. The attacks ended up involving also Clark’s colleague Lois Lane, and they eventually failed because of the intervention of Superman, who forced Conduit and his men to flee. When Conduit tried to take the hero head on with a Kryptonite rifle, he was defeated nevertheless, and this time he was arrested. In prison, however, another criminal, Shadowdragon, brought him some secret files from STAR Labs: studying them, Braverman was able to deduce that his old enemy Clark Kent and his new one Superman were one and the same. Now, Conduit had the opportunity to exact the revenge he had been waiting for his entire life…

Kenny Braverman is a fragile and unbalanced man, who even as an adult lives as if he has to make his dispassionate father love and approve him as when he was in high school. Obsessed with high school times, Kenny still sees his schoolmate Clark Kent as a rival, becoming a lethal stalker for him, believing him to be the cause of everything wrong in his life. As Conduit, his body is a living conduit of Kryptonite-based energy, which he directs thanks to a power suit in destructive blasts; the suit also allows him to fly and to withstand substantial damage, and it has two extendable cables he can charge with his energy and use as whips. Conduit, trained in espionage and in advanced combat, is also able to focus the energy he produces on his own body in order to increase his strength, durability and speed, rivalring Superman’s ones. Completely mad, incredibly dangerous, Conduit is a “Ghost of Christmas Past” come to haunt Clark Kent’s life, an obsessed maniac who would stop only in front of his rival’s grave.


1 Comment

  1. […] and owner of a security agency, but he had no known history with Superman. When the supervillain Conduit was arrested, Draper was hired by S.T.A.R. Labs to create a cell able to contain him, something […]

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