On woth Brick89‘s request, today we’re seeing together Superboy! No, not Superman‘s younger self, but rather his clone. As for now, this Superboy only appeared in Smallville Season 10 as the only surviving clone of Lex Luthor from Cadmus Labs: he’s saved by Tess Mercer and raised by her in the hope of creating a “good Lex“, but she fails as Lex’s memories take over the boy. Growing up at accelerated speed, it turns out the clone is made also with Clark Kent‘s DNA, and he starts manifesting Kryptonian powers as a young adult. Rejecting his Luthor legacy, he accepts Tess’ love and choses Clark as his mentor, going to live to Kent Farm in Smallville as Conner Kent and even suggesting to take over one day as a superhero on his own. Also in the comics Conner is a clone of both Superman and Lex Luthor, but his path doesn’t end in Smallville at all. Let’s see together.
When Superman heroically sacrificed himself in a battle with the monstrous Doomsday, Project Cadmus decided to create a perfect clone of the superhero, making sure he would have followed their agenda. Executive Director Paul Westfield even tried to steal Superman’s corpse to obtain his DNA, but he repeatedly failed, thus coming up with a backup plan: he would have created a human clone, and imbued him with the bio-electric aura coming from Superman’s body, thus granting the clone some Kryptonian powers. Using one of the genetic samples at Cadmus’ disposal (which turned out to be Lex Luthor’s blood), Westfield made twelve attempts to create a perfectly functioning clone, but the only one surviving the process was Experiment 13. Making him age artificially, Westfield made a single cell grow into a teenager in less than a week, and implanted him with false memories and a high-school education; just when he was about to make him reach the age of the deceased Superman and to implant some safeguards so that he would have followed Cadmus’ orders in any situation, the Newsboy Legion raided the labs and freed the boy from the cloning tube. Escaping with the Legion, the clone (who referred to himself as “Superman”, despite being a teenager) arrived to Metropolis, where he was left after receiving a simple present, a leather jacket. Along with Steel, Cyborg Superman and Eradicator, the clone turned out to be the fourth “Superman” around, despite he kept telling everybody he was a clone of the original: the only one who listened to him was a reporter, Tana Moon, who presented him to the world. When he casually stopped a super-bank robber, Sidearm, the boy became a hero for everybody…and he pretty much enjoyed it, liking to be a superstar. Becoming some sort of sponsor for Tana Moon’s channel, WBGS, he accepted to go to the Suicide Slums to apprehend notorious gangster Steel Hand, all live on tv, but during his “mission” he met Guardian, who warned him not to underestimate Cadmus, as they wouldn’t have let him go so easily. When his inexperience and carelesness caused the death of a chopper pilot he got scolded by Steel, and after a while he recognised the hero’s wisdom, and changed his ways…more or less.
Branded “Superboy” by WBGS, the hero refused some contracts to work as a private bodyguard (much like Supergirl was doing for LexCorp) and really tried to be a true hero, despite loving the footlights. When Coast City was destroyed, he accepted Cyborg Superman’s offer to investigate…but the Cyborg was the culprit, and he easily defeated Superboy, taking him prisoner. The kid managed to escape thanks to the help of Cyborg Superman’s hateful servant, Mongul, and came back to Metropolis to warn Steel and the others that Cyborg Superman wanted to attack the city next…but in that moment, the real Superman emerged from the waters, back from the dead. Albeit skeptical on the newcomer’s claims, Superboy joined him in the following battle against the cybernetic pretender, At the end of the day, with the villain defeated and Metropolis saved, it became clear that the “man in black” was the one and true Superman: following the revelation, Superboy decided to leave Metropolis to assert his own identity as a superhero (and not to be taken as some sort of “sidekick” to the Man of Steel), and even managed to solve the situation with Cadmus before starting his world tour, making sure that the Labs, not wanting negative publicity, didn’t pursue him anymore. Followed by Rex and Roxy Leech from WBGS and Dubbilex from Cadmus, Superboy decided to follow Tana Moon, who had quit her job, to Hawaii, and established himself as the “Hero of Hawaii“. Despite his carefree attitude, Superboy took his task quite seriously, and over the years he faced and defeated many menaces, including Knockout, King Shark, Copperhead, Scavenger and many others. His fame as a hero grew so much that eventually he was contacted by Superman, who had learnt the boy’s origins from Cadmus: much to the kid’s joy, the Man of Steel invited him to the Fortress of Solitude, where he let him visit Krypton via virtual reality; Superman also told him that, by now, he considered Superboy as part of his family, and he asked him to accept a Kryptonian name, Kon-El. Overjoyed for finally having a true name, Superboy accepted, and shortly after he was introduced to Smallville as Clark Kent’s cousin, Conner. Finally, the young hero had a name, a family, a place he belonged to: he was finally ready to be a part of the world he’d been thrown in.
Kon-El, or Conner Kent, is a somewhat childish and enthusiast kid, loving to be loved, always trying to be under the spotlight and to gain glory from his deeds, albeit with the years he grew up in a more serious and mature hero, quite similar to his adult genetic template. As Superboy, his tactile telekinesis allows him to mimic some Kryptonian powers, such as invulnerability, super strength and flight, while Professor Hamilton‘s visor imitates Kryptonian vision powers; growing up, he developed true Kryptonian powers thanks to Superman’s DNA maturing, so that he doesn’t need tools nor telekinesis to be as powerful as a full Kryptonian. Just as heroic and selfless as the original, Superboy struggles to find his place in the world, away from the testing shadow of Superman but determined to follow the hero’s footsteps: alone or with the Teen Titans, he’ll always be the hero the world requires him to be, using his tremendous power with all the responsibility and the good-heart he inherited from Superman.