Welcome back to our weekly installment of the Young Justice blog series Kylie and I are doing. So glad to have you here! Today, I get to talk about…Conner Kent.
Conner, also known as Superboy and Con-El, has had many origin stories throughout his stint in the comics and visual appearance as a main character on Young Justice…
However, in each of these origins, facets of Conner’s story remain consistent:
- Conner is not a natural being—he is actually a clone of a powerful Kryptonian. In Young Justice and the earlier comics, this blend of DNA comes from Superman and Lex Luthor. An interesting merger of villain and hero. In later comics, that DNA is actually taken from Superman’s future psycho biological son, Jon Lane Kent.
- Those who cloned Conner have always done so with insidious intent to use him as their own weapon—yet he always chooses a different path. Chooses to rebel against his bloodline and stand with the heroes.
- Conner is determined to make Superman proud and feels broken when the Man of Steel does not take to the young man as he hoped. At least, not at first. In Young Justice (tv show) this results in Conner being a gloomy, brooding teenager who just desperately wants to belong. Eventually, Superman adjusts to and even views his young protégée as a son—but that takes some time.
- In each version of Conner’s story, the young man is slowly unearthing his Kryptonite abilities, and doesn’t share many of the powers that his red-and-blue caped “father” does. In fact, in Young Justice, Conner cannot even fly. At least, not yet J
Okay, so now that you kind of have an idea of who Conner is—you may be wondering how on Krypton he came to be a part of the team, and a major player in Young Justice…
We meet Conner in the very first episode of the show—when Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin decide that they must look into some interesting developments at a Cadmus lab. Developments that are so small they fly under the radar of the rest of the Justice League. Instead of a minor fire, what the teens end up finding is a large facility with aliens, hybrids, and clones. Namely, Superboy. They recognize the symbol for Krypton on his pod, and decide to free the super-powered clone. When Conner eventually realizes that the team are his friends, and helps them escape Cadmus, he bursts into the real world—and finds out everything is a lie.
His short life in the pod has consisted of memories pumped into his head, informing him he is Superman—or at least related. Realizing this isn’t true, and that Superman himself is uncertain about the boy, Conner decides to join Robin, KF and Aqualad when they form their own team. His overwhelming strength is the brawn to Robin’s intellect, Kid Flash’s speed and Aqualad’s leadership. Together, they fight crime in their own way and continue to prove their worth to the Justice League. Yet, that idea of proving his worth runs far deeper for Conner. He feels as though he must fight daily for the right to live. To prove he can do good, and not be a tool in the hands of Cadmus.
Over time, as Conner grows to trust the team, he finds a safe haven unlike anything he’s known. Because these people do not expect anything from him. These teens do not want to use him. They do not see him as an abnormality—but as a person. As one of them. Here, surrounded by others trying to master their abilities and juggle their personal lives, Conner realizes that he has nothing to prove. Here, he simply belongs.