Comic Book / Superboy

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/superboys_zero_hour.jpg
Don't worry, the two become friends later.note 

"The adventures of Superman when he was a boy!"
—The original Superboy comic series' tagline.

Clark Kent/Kal-El

Originally, when Superman was created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, he was shown as having made his superhero debut as a full-grown adult. Eventually, after rejecting a few proposals for such from Siegel and Shuster, someone at DC decided to create the character of Superboy, Superman's adventures as a youth before becoming Superman. This came without input or approval from Siegel (which helped strain the relations between DC and Siegel and Shuster even further). Superboy's first appearance was in More Fun Comics #101 (January-February, 1945).

As shown, Superboy fought crime in and around his small home town of Smallville, and was raised by his foster parents, Ma and Pa Kent. Like his adult self, he also had a secret identity as Clark Kent. Other supporting characters included his best friend, Pete Ross, who had accidentally found Clark's secret and aided him without his knowledge; his female friend next door, Lana Lang, who, like Lois Lane years later, tried to become Superboy's girlfriend and/or find out his secret identity; Smallville's chief of police, Chief Parker; and Krypto, Superboy's pet dog from Krypton.

While some of Smallville's threats came from a rather high number of gangsters and bank robbers, some actual supervillains would also show up, including the Kryptonite Kid and most famously, young Lex Luthor (who was initially friends with Superboy; however, a laboratory accident [one that rendered him bald] and a series of disastrous, humiliating attempts to improve Smallville's life with his inventions—requiring Superboy to intervene each time—made him vow that the only way he'd be able to prove his intellectual prowess to the world would be to destroy Superboy... and later, Superman).

In 1958, Superboy was invited by three youths from the 30th century to join their superhero group, the Legion of Super-Heroes, whose stories became a recurring feature (before graduating to their own comic) in Superboy and Superman comics.

Various stories would show how Ma and Pa Kent eventually died shortly after Clark's graduation from high school, an event that affected him greatly, along with Superboy attending college and how he changed his name to Superman.

Then came Crisis on Infinite Earths and the subsequent Post-Crisis Byrne revamp in 1986, which after 40+ years of existence retconned Superboy out of existence. Under Byrne's origin, Superman was once again shown as having started his career as an adult. This caused a Continuity Snarl with the Legion comics, which was fixed by stating that a separate Superboy character was created in a "pocket universe" by the Legion villain known as the Time Trapper just to preserve the Legion's history; the Legion was redirected there everytime they traveled to what they thought was Superboy's time. The Pocket Universe became a major recurring storyline for both the Legion and for the Post-Crisis Superman. Pocket Superboy sacrificed himself to save both his universe and the Legion from the Time Trapper. Superman eventually violated Thou Shalt Not Kill to execute the Pocket Universe equivalents of General Zod and his henchmen for killing everyone on their Earth except for the "Matrix" Supergirl. Finally, the editors decreed that the Pocket Universe and its Superboy be written out of continuity altogether (in yet another Cosmic Retcon).

Conner Kent/Kon-El

After the early 1990s' The Death of Superman storyline, a new version of Superboy came into existence—this one an artificially created teenage clone. The character first appeared in The Adventures of Superman #500 (June, 1993), created by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett. Exactly who he is a clone of was retconned, but he is currently a combination of Superman and Lex Luthor. This version eventually was befriended by Superman, who gave him an honorary Kryptonian name, "Kon-El." Kon also met and stayed briefly with Ma and Pa Kent (who no longer were dead in Superman's adult years post-Crisis), where he gained an identity of "Conner Kent".

Several alternate versions of Superboy were also seen over the years (including the aforementioned "Pocket Universe" version). The most prominent one is Superboy-Prime, a formerly heroic alternate-Earth Superboy seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths who reappeared in modern continuity as an Evil Twin of Superman/Superboy. The original Superman-as-a-boy has also been restored to continuity.

In the late 2000s, DC Comics fought a legal battle with the surviving family of Superman's creators over the rights to Superboy, which due to a quirk of copyright law can be reclaimed by them (though a subsequent ruling has stated that DC can claim rights to the concept of Superboy, the teenage clone of Superman even if the Siegel/Shuster estates have rights to the Superman-as-a-boy version of Superboy). The effect of this lawsuit has been that DC refused to use the name "Superboy", so Kon-El died, Superboy-Prime was called "Superman-Prime", and the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon stars a "young Superman" rather than Superboy. The lawsuit is not yet over, but currently DC feels it can use the name again, so Kon-El is back, and Superboy-Prime gets to be called that again.

The most recent change in Superboy's status quo came in the aftermath of the Crisis Crossover Flashpoint, as part of the line-wide reboot known as either "The New 52" or "The DCnU". Right now, "Superboy" is a biological experiment of the conspiracy known as N.O.W.H.E.R.E, made from Superman's DNA and that of several others, both human and alien. Or so we were told. He is eventually revealed to be a clone of Superman and Lois Lane's child, Jon, from the same future the leader of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. comes from. He is currently being used by them as a living weapon, under the supervision of both "Red", a.k.a. Dr. Caitlin Fairchild (the last survivor of the team of scientists working on him) and Rose Wilson, a young mercenary hired to make sure that he stays under control. This Superboy has Kon-El's tactile telekinesis, but virtually none of the empathy of his earlier incarnation; he just wants to escape N.O.W.H.E.R.E., and he's not picky about what he has to do until he can.

After succeeding in his escape, a stint with the Teen Titans, being attacked by H'el, a jaunt or two through time and fighting his original, Jon Lane-Kent the future son of Lois and Clark, then teaming up with Jon after the latter pulled a Heel–Face Turn to fight a version of Jon that had yet to perform the Heel–Face Turn in a pocket universe that the two of them accidentally created, he's become considerably more heroic.

Jonathan Samuel Kent/Jonathan White

The son of the Pre-New 52 Superman and Lois Lane, born during the Convergence event. Jon is named after the fathers of both his parents (Jonathan Kent and General Samuel Lane). After the trio escape to the New 52 universe, Jon is raised as a normal boy, unaware of his parents' history or their secret activities (Clark carried on as Superman in secret, while Lois became an author known as "Author X"). Eventually, Jon's Kryptonian powers manifest, just in time for the death of the New 52 Superman. This eventually forces Jon's father back into action as Superman, and Jon is taken along for the experience. As part of the DC Rebirth line, Jon features in Superman (Rebirth) regularly along with his parents and will appear alongside Bruce Wayne's son and current Robin, Damian Wayne, in Super Sons.

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    Superboy comic series 

Kal-El version:

  • More Fun Comics (1945-1946)
  • Adventure Comics (1946-1962) (as the lead feature), 1962-1969 (as part of the Legion of Super-Heroes feature)
  • Superboy (1949-1973), becomes Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes in 1973; Superboy leaves the Legion in 1979
  • Adventure Comics (1977-1978)
  • Superman Family (1978-1979)
  • The New Adventures of Superboy (1980-1984)
  • Superboy: The Comic Book (based on the live-action Superboy series)

Kon-El version:

  • The Adventures of Superman (1993 - 1994, during Reign of the Supermen)
  • Superboy (vol. 4) (1994-2002)
  • Superboy and the Ravers (1996-1998)
  • Adventure Comics (2009 - 2010)
  • Superboy (vol. 5): (2010 - 2011)
  • Superboy (vol. 6): (2011 - 2014)

Jon Kent version:

  • Action Comics: (2016-)
  • Superman (vol. 4): (2016-)
  • Super Sons: (2017-)

    Media spinoffs featuring Superboy 

Kal-El:

  • The 1960s Filmation animated Superman series featured Superboy cartoon segments.
  • The Adventures of Superboy (1988-1992 live-action series)
  • Smallville (though this centers around a costumeless teenage Clark Kent)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes features a teenage Clark wearing the Super-costume, but because of the legal issues mentioned above he was called Superman instead of Superboy, as was originally intended.

Kon-El:

  • Young Justice (2011 animated series)
  • Season 10 of Smallville
  • While not a direct adaptation, Legion of Super-Heroes has a similar teenage Superman clone called Superman X/Kell-El, who wears a costume similar to Kon-El's.


Tropes associated with Superboy

    Clark Kent/Kal-El 
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  • Already Met Everyone: Superboy met the teenaged versions of Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen, Bruce Wayne, Aquaman, and Lois Lane. Thanks to time travel, he also met the first Robin and Jimmy Olsen.
  • Alternate Universe: The post-Crisis Pocket Universe and pre-Crisis Earth-Prime versions of Superboy (both young Clark Kents).
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Lois Lane and Lana Lang are 2/3rds of this.
  • Comic-Book Time: The pre-Crisis Superboy's time-era varied over the decades as taking place in the relative past of Superman, and thus the Boy of Steel was shown as operating in The Thirties, The '50s (largely skipping The '40s), The '60s, and even The '70s (by the end of Superboy's pre-Crisis run/the 1985 "Superman: The Secret Years" miniseries), until being retconned out of existence in the Byrne Superman revamp.
    • Following several 2000s storylines that saw his restoration to Post-Crisis continuity (though with Superboy now operating mainly in the Legion's era), Superboy/teenage Clark Kent's time-era became The '90s (skipping The '80s).
  • Continuity Snarl: Inverted; while removing Superboy from canon after Crisis didn't affect Superman, it did affect the Legion of the Super-Heroes big time.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Legion of Super-Heroes was the cause of this for him. They originally appeared as supporting characters in a 1958 Superboy story, then starting in 1962 they appeared as the backup feature in Adventure Comics where Superboy had been the star since 1946. Within a year they had taken over the comic, reducing Superboy to the back up in what had been his title, and not long after solo Superboy stories stopped appearing altogether (though he continued to appear as a member of the Legion.) A decade later they repeated the feat when they started appearing in Superboy as a backup feature, which was renamed Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and eventually just Legion of Super-Heroes as they again took over the comic and Superboy got Put on a Bus.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: This happened once due to Superbaby's desire for a pet, as shown on the cover of Superboy #130 on Superdickery here.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Pete Ross, and (until his turn to villainy) Lex Luthor all attended Smallville High.
  • Expy: Lana Lang essentially served as a teenaged Expy of Lois Lane.
    • Bash Bashford was an expy of Spider-Man character Flash Thompson.
  • Incest Subtext: In Superboy #80, Kara travels to the past to meet Superboy, and Clark looks a tad smitten of his cousin. And then you have this scene. In the words of a reviewer "The rather phallic look of the alien ships added a little bit to my 'Clark hopes they could be kissing cousins' theory. I mean ... those ships could have been drawn any shape in the world."
  • The Interregnum: Superboy first appeared late in The Golden Age of Comic Books but really hit his peak in The '50s where he was one of the few superheroes to thrive, holding down two titles when the superhero market generally was at its lowest ebb. Ironically he actually suffered in popularity once the Silver Age dawned and he got Demoted to Extra in the early Seventies thanks to the surge in popularity of The Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Jerk Jock: Bradley "Bash" Bashford.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: The reason for his creation.
  • Kid Hero: Of course.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: Superboy does this in order to remove Luthor's fifth dimensional powers (siphoned off of Mr. Mxyzptlk) in Superboy #131.
  • Meaningful Rename: Superboy changed his name to Superman at some point during his college years, with several different stories published explaining how this happened. However, all the versions agree that Clark realized he's not a kid anymore, and felt it was time he had a more adult name.
  • Multilayer Façade: In #107, Red Kryptonite makes Clark jealous of himself as Superboy. He proceeds to reveal his superpowers and starts doing his fantastic feats openly. Some out-of-town criminals who arrived in Smallville to kill Superboy with Green Kryptonite learn of this and make plans to strike Clark at his home. Eventually the Red K's effect wears off and Clark proceeds to extricate himself from the crisis via the trope. He makes up a story explaining that he knew that the criminals wanted to kill Superboy but didn't know when they'd strike, so he posed as Clark in cooperation with the Kents to force their hand.
  • Put on a Bus/Ret Gone: He was written out of Superman's backstory as of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Silicon-Based Life: Superboy had to save a race of silicon-based aliens called the Vulxans in The New Adventures of Superboy #7 (1980).
  • Spinoff Babies: Probably the first example of this, with Superboy first appearing in 1945's More Fun Comics #101.
  • Stern Teacher: The "Super-Teacher from Krypton", a robot designed by Jor-El to teach Superboy how to use his powers responsibly.
  • Super Dickery: A staple. Adventures ranged from Lana Lang constantly getting powers, trying to find out Superboy's identity, or something along the lines of Smallville going through an obesity epidemic due to radioactive milk.
  • The Multiverse: An early 80s story (1981's New Adventures of Superboy #15-16) saw Superboy accidentally end up on Earth-2 in its early 1930s, where he met the teenaged Clark Kent of Earth-2. Since the Golden Age/Earth-2 Superman didn't have a Superboy career, Clark was merely a youth living on his adoptive parents' farm outside Smallville, though he was still learning about his developing powers.
  • The Only One: Superboy was not only Earth-1's first prominent superhero, but also largely its only one during his day, with other superheroes not appearing until (at earliest) sometime during his college years, when he became Superman. The only other major hero operating during Superboy's time-era was the teenaged Aquaman (or "Aquaboy").
  • Time Travel:
    • A constant for all Superboys, since the character is closely connected to the Legion of Super-Heroes.
    • In a story (based on a script from the Superboy live action TV series that wasn't, apparently) Superboy flies out into space in order to make a home movie type film to show his friend that the friend's father was a hero during the war. Superboy goes faster than light so he can film the light coming from earth which shows what happened in the past.

    Conner Kent/Kon-El 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/conner_kent_1.jpg

  • Adaptational Badass: During Convergence, Superboy is placed against three heroes from the Kingdom Come universe: Red Robin, The Flash, and Superman. He takes out the former two easily, and all three are arguably superior to their modern versions.
  • All for Nothing: Amanda Spence, like most at first, thought that Superboy was the enhanced clone of her father, Dr. Paul Westfield, one of the scientists in charge of the cloning. She then decided to make Superboy's life miserable, feeling he was a disgrace to her father and his memory. This includes creating the more powerful and unstable second clone Match and gruesomely killing Superboy's love interest Tana Moon, a death her family blamed him for. Her vengeance was already badly misguided and hugely disproportionate, but when you add in that Westfield was retconned out as being the clone donor, it makes it this trope big time.
  • Alternate Universe: Kon-El meets and teams up with the Kal-El version Superboy in several post-Crisis storylines, including "Zero Hour" and "Hypertension."
  • Ambiguously Brown: Tana Moon, before it was revealed that she's native Hawaiian.
  • Appropriated Appellation: In his early appearances, he insisted on being called Superman. It wasn't until Superman returned from the dead and told Kon that he'd be honored to let Kon use the name "Superboy" that he started to take to it. And even then, the new Superboy told Big Blue, "When I turn 21... watch out."
  • Back from the Dead: Killed off in Infinite Crisis, resurrected in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds.
  • Blond Brunette Redhead: He once had a Love Dodecahedron between Tana Moon (brunette), Roxy Leech (blond) and Knockout (redhead).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: As with his "dad", he's a prime target for this trope. Happened to him when he was with the Young Justice as well as another time when Poison Ivy used him for this purpose. His entire purpose for being created by Lex Luthor was to act as a sleeper agent in the superhero community, and the Black Lanterns attempted to take control of him again. Fortunately, by this time, Superboy had become Genre Savvy, and trained himself to retain some measure of control even while brainwashed.
  • Broad Strokes: The version of Superboy we see in Convergence is largely based on the late-90s version where he lived at Cadmus. However, there are a few alterations. Namely, he possesses a smattering of Kryptonian powers that he never possessed during that era (namely, Super Speed, X-Ray Vision and Freeze Breath. The latter of which was notably the last Kryptonian power he awakened during the Teen Titans era (which itself came much later). The Info Dump at the end of the book also glosses over exactly whom Superboy is cloned from. While Paul Westfield is mentioned, it's simply stated that he mixed Kryptonian DNA was mixed with human, which is quite different than the original story.
  • The Bus Came Back: During 2015's Convergence event, this version of Superboy (from the era in which he lived at Cadmus and still wore the original costume, earring and shaved fade) returned as part of a multiversal crossover.
  • Chest Insignia: During one storyarc, Supergirl (Matrix) telekinetically ripped it from his chest (without damaging the costume) because he wasn't behaving like someone who deserved to wear it.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Just some examples in Superman/Batman. Once he and Supergirl (Cir-El) are caught in a "walls closing in" Death Trap and Conner compain that would have preferred if there was Power Girl with him. Another occasion, he find some sexbots of the female Teen Titans, belonging to the teenage Toyman (not the original villainous version); Conner clearly enjoys...until Tim Drake (Robin) destroy them!.
    Superboy: I hate you. I hate you more than anyone i ever known.
  • Civvie Spandex: Currently the trope poster boy.
  • Clark Kenting: As Conner Kent.
  • Cloning Blues: He falls into this occasionally, after several years of being Totally Radical.
  • Comic-Book Time: One story during Reign of the Supermen specifically references Bill Clinton as POTUS. Furthermore, in the time since he was created, babies born within the same month have grown up and become legal.
  • Costume Copycat: Kal-El Superboy initially accuses Kon-El Superboy of such in their Zero Hour crossover meeting in Superboy #8, before learning the truth about what's going on.
  • Darker and Edgier: Once he learned that he was made with Lex Luthor's DNA, the cocky, brash hero got much angstier.
  • Evil Knockoff: Match
  • Fad Super: He was created to be a Totally Radical reimagining of the "kid Superman" concept.
    • In his debut, he had a buzzcut fade, a hoop earring, a leather jacket (which nearly every hero had at the time), sunglasses, and a costume that invoked Too Many Belts. He of course, used hip slang and made constant references to pop culture.
    • His next costume kept the jacket, earring and shades (although with a new design and color scheme), but his hairstyle was radically changed since a fade had been way past dated by that point. His slang got slightly toned down as well, but was still in use.
    • The third costume (which he kept up until the reboot of the New 52) was an extensive overhaul. It ditched the jacket, skintight costume, earring, shades and Totally Radical attitude (the Civvie Spandex look took a heavy turn toward "civvie", with a t-shirt and jeans). Instead, he became more dark, brooding, and angsty, which became popular following the late 2000s.
  • Fun Personified: Before going Darker and Edgier as Conner Kent.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Retconned into this during the Teen Titans run. Originally, it was stated that he was a human clone modified to mimic Kryptonian genes.
  • Hate at First Sight: In Convergence, this is how the Kingdom Come heroes see him. Where they come from, brash, arrogant young punks are the blight of the world.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: The comics version is the biological mix of Superman and Lex Luthor. Yeah.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: After Luthor brainwashes him just before Infinite Crisis.
  • Hot-Blooded: He is described as what happens when you take the power of Superman and give it to someone far less reserved.
  • Hypocrite: In Teen Titans #100, he came to the conclusion that the only way to deal with the three clones of himself created by Superboy-Prime was to murder them with kryptonite he'd been keeping in his room as a fail safe, despite all the heartache and angst he'd been going through ever since he learned he was cloned from Lex Luthor and fearing that he may have been evil all along.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Bart to Conner, just before Infinite Crisis, and then Cassie to Conner, during Blackest Night.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: At the peak of his popularity, Conner was one of the Main Events of Marvel Vs DC. He lost to Spider-man (Ben Reilly).
  • Kid A Nova: Girls whom he's dated or have been attracted to him include: Tana Moon, Roxy Leech, Knockout, Sparxx, all THREE of Triad/Triplicate Girl's split selves, Cassandra Cain, Dr. Sterling Roquette, Wonder Girl, Kara-Zor-El (Pre-Crisis), Lori Luthor, and Poison Ivy. Especially when you consider that he's, born few years ago.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: His adventures were largely designed to be a cooler, hipper, Hotter and Sexier version of Clark Kent's.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • This one is complicated. Back when they first met, Kon-El and Supergirl II/(Matrix) were not related, and Superboy used to hit on Matrix with impunity. He also later enjoyed mutual flirtation with the Pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El when she was torn from time and space. Most subtext between the two was dropped when it was realized that Superboy is Superman's "offspring", but in the Blackest Night crossover, a Black-Lantern-ring-possessed Superboy taunts Wonder Girl (his girlfriend at the time) by saying that when he's alone, it's his "cousin" he fantasizes about.
    • Later on, there was Lori Luthor, who was actually disappointed that he saw her as a cousin.
  • The Law of Power Proportionate to Effort: He has Psychic Powers that work both subconsciously and with effort.
    • His original abilities were "programmed" to mimic Superman's as closely as possible, including deflecting bullets and mimicking Super Strength through Telekinesis. They turn "off" completely when he's asleep or unconscious, making him as vulnerable as a normal human.
    • He eventually takes effort to break the subconscious "rules' for his power so that he can use them in other ways, such as moving something as large a ship or as light as air vapor with his mind.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: between Kal-El Superboy and Kon-El Superboy in the "Zero Hour" crossover (as this page's picture indicates).
  • Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: Hey, has Kon-El mentioned that he has tactile telekinesis? Because he does.
  • Manchurian Agent: Part of the arc where he discovers Lex Luthor shares half of his DNA which enabled Lex to use him via this trope as well as the Brainwashed and Crazy trope.
  • Mind over Matter: At first, Superboy's only superpower was "tactile telekinesis", a telekinetic force field that surrounds his body as a protective shield and allows him to simulate Superman-level speed, strength, flight and invulnerability. The tactile "tactile telekinesis" field also lets Superboy break free of an opponent's grip by pushing the field outward to force the opponent away.
    • The powers of the his version from the Bad Future of the Titans Tomorrow story arc are upgraded from tactile telekinesis to full-blown telekinesis in the interim, which pretty much gives him the combined power of Superman and Phoenix.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Conner is a clone of both Superman and Lex Luthor.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: Conner and Cassandra's last night together before the conclusion of Infinite Crisis. Also counts as Their First Time.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: During his Darker and Edgier years, he's all about this trope. In the earliest years, his "daddy" was Paul Westfield and later, it was retconned to be Lex Luthor instead. Neither of them are very nice people. So, Superboy constantly questions whether he was destined to become good or evil based on the genes provided by Superman or his human father.
  • Only Sane Man: In Convergence: Superboy #1, Dubbilex narrates that Superboy is the only person in the domed Metropolis who hasn't moved on and accepted their new life.
  • Pretender Diss: Constantly on the receiving end of this from anyone who knows or knew of Superman. The worry of not living up to the name is Conner's biggest fear.
  • Retcon: Superboy was initially depicted as a genetically-engineered metahuman clone of human origin designed by Project Cadmus as a duplicate and closest genetic equivalent of Superman. The character was retconned in Teen Titans as a Kryptonian/human hybrid of Superman and Lex Luthor.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Supporting character Roxy Leech had a friend with the appropriate name of The Poet.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Tana Moon during the Sins of Youth storyline.
  • Super Powered Date: He's done this numerous times. Most notably for Cassandra Cain (where he built a castle in the sky made out of clouds), and Cassie Sandsmark, where he levitated a picnic bench during a romantic dinner.
  • Totally Radical: He started out like this, before he was retooled to becoming Mr. Cloning Blues
  • Temporal Mutability: Continuity seems to place it somewhere between Types I - IV. The modern Superboy technically became a time traveler, every bit as out of place in this era as Booster Gold. His "current" self is still a corpse, slowly recovering within the Fortress of Solitude. Kon-El is careful not to disturb the body resting there, as he isn't quite sure what will happen to himself if he does. Other than that, though, the DC universe's rules on time travel are malleable enough to allow Conner to exist in the present without worrying too much about screwing up the timestream.
  • Time Travel: Like Kal-El, Conner has had many adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: He once tussled with Spider-man (Ben Reilly) during the Marvel Vs DC event.
  • You Are Number 6: Conner Kent was designated "S-13" at Cadmus, in relation to being the thirteenth (and only successful) clone of Superman.

    Superboy, New 52 
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  • Amazonian Beauty:
    • Dr. Caitlin Fairchild, who is drawn with far more muscular frame than back in her Gen¹³ days.
    • The unnamed female antagonist in Issue #3 also counts.
  • Anti-Hero: Of the Nominal Hero kind. This version of Superboy has no interest in heroics beyond what it takes to survive/gain his freedom. Between the first and second issues, he kills many of his captors by reflex and feels no remorse or guilt, tortures a group of soldiers who hold him at gunpoint, and flat out threatens to kill anyone who stands in his way.
    • Issue #4 seems to be steering him towards being a Knight in Sour Armor.
    • While he still has his issues, he quickly becomes a full blown hero.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: He taught himself to talk and communicate by watching others do it.
  • Bald of Evil: Depending on how you view his "anti-hero" antics, Superboy is this when fresh out of the test tube.
  • Become a Real Boy: His character development seems to be headed in this direction. In fact, he uses these exact words in issue #6.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Superboy and Rose Wilson
    • The fight between Superboy and Wonder Girl in Teen Titans is even more blatant. All the two talk about is how cute they find each other while trying to smear their faces into the sidewalk.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: In addition to the Kryptonian side of his DNA, Superboy states that his "brain" is, in fact, every single atom of his body.
  • Blood Knight: Rose Wilson
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Superboy sometimes has trouble understanding moral issues, as he hasn't really had much time to learn about it. He honestly doesn't understand why robbing a bank gets him complaints.
    • He's been getting better about it.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Superboy, definitely. Rose Wilson even moreso.
  • Bullying a Dragon: How most N.O.W.H.E.R.E. staff and mooks treat Superboy.
  • Cloning Blues: The New 52 version of Superboy. Even more so than his pre-Flashpoint incarnation. Supergirl and H'el treat him like a monster at first because of a clone rebellion in Krypton's past. The name "Kon-El" is Kryptonian for "abomination of the house of El". The only reason he even exists is because Harvest wanted a guinea pig he could experiment on to find a cure for his "son's" (Jonathan Kent, the future son of Superman and Lois Lane) genetic problems. Having apparently done so, Harvest now wants Superboy dead.
    • Unlike H'El, Supergirl got over her hatred, and she even defended him during the storyline "Crucible".
  • Consummate Liar: Zaniel Templar. Superboy acknowledges it, but knows he has to play along.
  • Didn't See That Coming: See "Neck Lift" below.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Becomes a source of angst when he realizes that he can't be around ordinary people without killing them.
  • Expy: While not technically an expy, this version of Superboy has attitudes more in line and a temperament much closer to the Conner Kent shown in Young Justice, especially in his willingness to use overwhelming force and temper control issues, though his tendency to kill and torture is unique (and in any case it goes away fairly quickly).
  • Faking Amnesia: Superboy's cover story in the "small town" simulation.
  • False Flag Operation: Templar arranged for one of N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s own bases to be attacked in order to set up his agenda.
  • Fiery Redhead: Dr. Caitlin Fairchild. Aka, "Red".
  • Fun with Acronyms: There has been no indication as to what N.O.W.H.E.R.E. stands for.
  • Future Spandex: N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s uniforms, and Superboy's "Containment Suit".
  • Hired Guns: Rose Wilson
  • In the Blood: Superboy's instinctual affection for farms in rural Kansas.
  • Lack of Empathy: Superboy, at first. Although in issue #6, he suspects that he's starting to feel a spark of it. By the time his series gets into the twenties, he's got it.
  • Mind Screw: the series is perfectly straight forward at first, but the introduction of Jon Lane Kent, the two Superboys switching costumes and being mistaken for one another and a considerable amount of time travel has led to even other characters being confused.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: It's implied that this version of Superboy isn't just Kryptonian and human, but a mix of other alien species.
    • He's eventually revealed to be a clone of Superman and Lois Lane's future child, Jon.
  • Morality Chain: Fairchild acts as this for Superboy early on. In fact, she insists on it.
  • Mythology Gag: Jon Lane Kent, the son of Superman and Lois from a possible future and template for Superboy, wears a costume that looks a lot like the 90s Superboy costume.
    • Adding on to that, Superboy's status as an opposite morality clone of another Superboy makes him the Nu 52 version of Match. Jon Kent and the Post-Crisis Superboy were emotional and extroverted teenagers, while Match and Nu 52 Superboy are their stoic and technically superior clones. Jon Kent was even mentioned as having genetic issues, a common problem for the first version of Kon-El.
  • The Needless: Superboy states that he doesn't need to eat or sleep.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
  • Outlaw Couple: The young couple that appear in issue 3.
  • Neck Lift: Fairchild surprises Superboy with on of these when she Reveals her powers for the first time.
  • Only Sane Woman: Dr. Caitlin Fairchild, the only one who bothers trying to treat Superboy like he's not a thing.
  • Psychic Powers
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Used at first to help differentiate him from Superman. In the new DC universe it was intended to make him look sinister in comparison to the Teen Titans, but since they also wore a lot of red and black - to the point where if you take away the wings and domino mask and S-shield respectively, it can be quite hard to tell Superboy and Red Robin apart - it didn't really work.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When using his telekinetic abilities.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Dr. Caitlin Fairchild
  • Reverse Mole: Umber, who is a spy for Lois Lane.
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: Where Superboy spends the majority of his time after being released from the tank.
  • The Stoic: Superboy. He's largely introspective and calmly rationalizes everything around him.
    • Not So Stoic: When he starts getting a no-holds-barred beatdown in issue #2.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Thanks to this, Kon's pretty much become a one man Grey-Summers family. After sort-of dying, he teamed up with the original he's cloned from, who had pulled a Heel–Face Turn, after accidentally merging with that original in order to fight a past version of his original who hasn't yet pulled a Heel–Face Turn, then that original seemed to die, which altered the fight with his past self, somehow bringing Kon back to life.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: though it takes him a while, he becomes much, much nicer as time goes by and much more heroic.
    • The same thing happens to Jon.
  • Vitriolic Best Friends: Turns out that Rose and Fairchild are this, to the point that Fairchild left something behind for Rose to find if anything happened to her.
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: A superpowered variation occurs in Superboy #10: Superboy calls out that he's started their campfire, but when she doesn't answer, he searches and is stunned to walk in on Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) bathing in a lake. Wonder Girl angrily calls him a pervert and tells him to turn around. Superboy turns around, but puts his hand on the ground and smiles. Wonder Girl remembers that he can "see" through what he is touching and angrily throws a rock at the back of his head to get him to cut it out.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Only "Red" thinks of Superboy (who is half-alien and a clone) as a human. (Although Rose may have a soft spot for him, too.)
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Rose Wilson has beautiful white hair, but is an unrepentant Professional Killer and Blood Knight.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Harvest wants him dead for this reason.

    Jonathan Kent 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/superboy_jonathan_kent.png
The New Kid on the Block
"Up until a couple days ago I thought I was a normal kid—with normal parents livin' a normal life. But that was a lie! Now I'm hearing about other planets and aliens and dad bein' Superman even though there's another Superman and I just... I mean, what I really want to know is... what does all this mean?"
Jon before learning about his heritage

  • The All-American Boy: A Middle Example, being a small-town boy who's sweet, polite, and more than a bit naive. However, he does have a cheeky side and he tends to be somewhat rebellious when no one's looking.
  • Apologetic Attacker: After accidentally using his freeze breath on Maya and Goliath, sending them all plummeting towards the ground.
    Jon: I'msorry-I'msorry-I'msorry!
  • Audience Surrogate: Due to being conceived during the events of Convergence, he serves as one for readers who aren't quite caught up with the events of Superman: Lois and Clark as well as the events of the Post-Crisis timeline.
  • Badass Adorable: Being the youngest incarnation of the titleholder, this shouldn't come as a surprise. He helped his dad punch out the Eradicator and fought alongside his Mom when Clark was sucked in.
  • Berserk Button: Taunting him over The death of his beloved cat.
  • Big Eater: Less explicit than most examples, but in Superman #7 he's shown eating a burger while slurping soda with his Dad holding an armful of snacks in tow. The snacks are nowhere to be seen a few panels later. He then helps himself to cotton candy and all-you-can-drink milk. Later on, he's seen enjoying several tubs of ice cream, at least two boxes of pizza, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cherries, and numerous liter bottles of soda with his friend Kathy and his first dog Ranger. In Action Comics #966, Jon also expresses a particular fondness for his Dad's deluxe "Blow Your Guts Out" Meatballs.
    Kathy: [adding condiments to her ice cream] Want any cherries?
    Jon: Thanks Kathy! All the cherries!
  • The Big Guy: He has this relationship with Damian, being noticeably taller despite being several years younger, as this picture shows. He's also much stronger physically and has superpowers to support him, but this is counterbalanced by his lack of proper combat training and general naivety, putting him at odds with Damian.
    Jon: [after getting insulted by Damian] Aren't you forgetting something? I'm much taller.
  • Brains and Brawn: Has this relationship with Damian Wayne (Robin) as the Brawn to his Brains, being the superpowered newcomer vs Damian's experience and lack of superpowers.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite being portrayed as the Dumb Muscle of the Super Sons (not helped by the fact that Damian is an Insufferable Genius and a Child Prodigy), Jon is surprisingly intelligent for his age when he puts his mind to it, solving fifth-grade math problems nearly instantly after not listening to the question, tinkering with Kryptonian technology under his father's supervision, and already knows how to drive a tractor and subsequently a truck, which he rams into the guy who was starting to overpower his dad. His foolishness comes more out of naivety, inexperience, and immaturity than any stupidity on his part. It also helps that he's around ten-years old and is thus not particularly invested in academia or otherwise using that brain of his to its full potential. As his teacher describes him:
    Tony Martinez: [To Clark and Lois] You've got a great boy here. Quick thinking, always a few steps ahead, little bit of a daydreamer, but always respectful of me and his classmates. A real pleasure to have in class.
  • Broken Pedestal: His father's bedtime stories made Mr. Mxyzptlk out to be a pretty swell guy that Jon always called "Ruppletat". However, with the five-dimensional imp seething with hatred and resentment for Superman's inability to rescue him from Mr. Oz, "Ruppletat" is far less jolly and nice in person.
    Jon: Dad was wrong, you are a bad guy!
  • Characterization Marches On: While he's still the same cheerful kid he started as, his diction, which was extremely childish to the point of using "hafta" instead of "have to" and pronouncing many of his "to's" as "tas" in Superman: Lois and Clark, improved dramatically by the time of Superman (Rebirth), which heavily toned this down. In addition, while Jon was able to at least hover at the end of Lois and Clark, he's completely unable to do so in the more recent comics.
  • Cheerful Child: Much like any other child raised in a loving household at his age.
  • Car Fu: Drives a truck into a guy who began beating his Dad.
  • Civvie Spandex: Like his Post-Crisis counterpart, Jon doesn't have a super-advanced suit, instead opting for a jacket with the Superman logo and a cape he soldered on with heat vision, otherwise wearing what he normally wears to school, torn jeans and all.
  • Clark Kenting: At the end of the first Superman storyline, Jonathan is given glasses like his father. Jon isn't happy that he has to wear them, but Clark tells him that they work surprisingly well. That said, he's possibly an even more egregious example than his father, as he makes no attempt to modify his voice and wears the exact same jeans and sneakers that he does in his daily life. Of course, he hasn't really been revealed to the world at large at the time of this writing.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Is named after his paternal (adoptive in this case) and maternal grandfathers, both of whom died in the Post-Crisis continuity.
  • Emotional Bruiser: He gets really emotional whenever his parents are in danger and he's prone to crying in such situations. He also freaks out upon seeing a murdered family for the first time.
  • Farm Boy: Runs in the family.
  • Foil: To Damian Wayne in Super Sons. Jon has superpowers, but can't control them and is generally a pleasant person to be around due to his normal and happy upbringing. Damian is a (comparatively) Weak, but Skilled Badass Normal and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with absolutely atrocious social skills due to his upbringing in the League of Assassins.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Downplayed. Like most other kids his age, Jon loves animals and regularly cares for the many on his family farm, even offering to take Damian's pets there so they can get some clean air and sunshine. He is also devastated when he accidentally kills Goldie and when Krypto seemingly dies. However, it's nowhere near Damian's levels, as he shows visible disgust at the notion of being at a cow-raising contest as he dislikes the smell of their manure.
  • Generation Xerox: Jon looks exactly as his father did at his age and is also a generally sweet and respectful boy who always tries to take the moral high ground. He even has a childhood friend who happens to be his Secret Keeper much like his dad's relationship with Lana Lang. That said, he has his natural bursts of childish unruliness, and his moral code doesn't always stop him from intentionally getting on Damian's nerves in their petty arguments.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Jon is the first naturally-born mainstream Human-Kryptonian hybrid with the exception of his villainous predecessor from the New 52 continuity. It should also be noted that Jon is the first stable and complete hybrid of his kind, as Jon Lane Kent suffered constant agony from his unique genome, and none of the other Superboys used the standard Kryptonian powers at first, instead mimicking superhuman strength, speed, and flight with telekinesis.
  • Headbutting Heroes: To put it bluntly, he and Damian do not get along well at all.
    Damian: [after making fun of each other over getting a Christmas tree] I'll have your miserable, mutated head, ALIEN!
    Jon: Come and get it, TWERP-ZILLA!
  • I Am Who?: It takes Jon a while to come to terms with the fact that he's Half-Kryptonian along with the fact that his ordinary, constantly tired and busy father is Superman, but not the Superman he grew up watching on television.
  • In a Single Bound: Necessary to get around since he hasn't developed flight yet.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Shares his father's icy blue eyes and remains cheerful as ever amidst things that would traumatize any other child.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Jon hates the fact that he has to hide everything about him and wants to tell the world everything. Lois and Clark have to keep him tempered from this sort of idea. He also has to make up excuses during Superman #17, during his little escapade with Kathy. He even does this to an extent with his parents, as he makes it seem as though he was in bed all night due to staying up to watch a horror film and again when Damian took him out to Metropolis.
    Kathy: [After Jon busts a door down] How did you-
  • Legacy Character: As of Superman Rebirth #6, Jonathan has officially claimed the "Superboy" title and the S-shield worn by his father and his cousin Kara (better known as Supergirl).
  • Mundane Utility: Jon was tempted to use his heat vision after he saw that his friends were getting hit by rock-filled snowballs from the local bullies. He also uses his super speed to quickly get home, shower, and dry his hair before slipping under the covers as his parents come back from work to check on him.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: He has the build of an active, but average boy his age, leading Damian to say that Jon has "narrow shoulders". Nevertheless, Jon is strong enough to casually toss Damian aside and hold him up by the collar when angered.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: After being empowered by the spirits of the New 52 Superman and Lois, he delivers this trope to override the influence of Mr. Mxyzptlk, who was slowly stripping away his parents' memories of him.
    Jon: My name is Jonathan Samuel Kent. I'm your son!
  • Naughty Is Good: Zig-zagged. While he's sweet and polite and needs to be coaxed out of sticking to his bedtime, he's also a bit of a rebel who loves running off to do things he's not supposed to when no one is looking (such as watch a scary movie late at night) and starts a snowball fight right after school.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified. Jon's powers are still growing in and thus he is slowly gaining his Dad's powers. While he's initially limited to limited Super Strength and Heat Vision, he later gets Freeze Breath after having an allergic reaction to Goliath while being kidnapped by Damian and Maya.
  • Nice Guy: Jon is generally upbeat and cheerful and is generally pretty upstanding and polite, though he does have to vent his childish impulses from time to time and he loosens up while at home and with friends.
  • Nice Hat: Frequently wears numerous baseball caps to help hide his identity as Superboy.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Not as pronounced as his dad, but when this power does work, knives and giant porcupine quills shatter against his skin and clothing without a scratch.
  • No Body Left Behind: Is subject to this in Superman #18 after mysterious white flames consume everything the Kents own, seemingly fading from existence bit by bit until there's nothing left of him. Luckily, he's currently only stuck in Mr. Mxyzptlk's domain, but the imp plans on erasing him for real if he's not careful.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction with Damian after their fight as their dads look down at them in disappointment.
    Jon and Damian: Uh oh.
    • Again after he accidentally runs into the non-powered Clark Kent while trying to get the door for Chinese takeout delivery.
      Jon: [eyes slowly widening] How much do I—owe—you...
    • Yet again after being confronted by Lex Luthor.
      Jon: Oh god... Oh god... I'm in so much trouble...
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: His powers are slowly growing over the course of his appearances, punching dinosaurs in the face and easily tackling doors down. While he could initially get a concussion by falling off a tree, knives shatter against his skin as of Superman #17, and he fell down a well none the worse for wear.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Begs his parents not to let him go as he seemingly fades from existence.
  • Power Incontinence: Jon is still growing in his powers, so they tend to fluctuate in and out in how strong they are and if they work at all. One moment he can lift a car above his head, the next he's scraping his knee on the sidewalk. They seem to work better when he's emotionally charged, such as when he's angry, determined, scared, or surprised.
  • Primary-Color Champion: Like Dad, Red, Blue, and Yellow characterize his super outfit.
  • Reality Ensues: Although Jon is quite brave for his age, he's much more easily shaken in the face of mortal danger, fleeing from the Eradicator after it absorbed his father and tossed his mother aside like a ragdoll and is brought to tears whenever something bad happens to someone he deeply cares about. He also worries about never seeing his mom again while stranded on Dinosaur Island and constantly bickers with Damian despite his father's attempts to raise him on the same morals his own parents did.
    • Of course Clark was never exposed to other superheroes at such a young age (at best meeting the Legion of Superheroes during his teenage years depending on the canon), and certainly not one who is as misanthropic as Damian.
    • Later, when left to his own devices at home as his parents deal with Lex Luthor being kidnapped for execution, he and his friend Kathy raid the fridge for ice cream, soda, and whipped cream on top of making at least three boxes of frozen pizza. Having never made frozen pizza by himself before, he puts the pizza in with the box and plastic wrap still on. The next issue of Action Comics has his Mom complaining about the mess he made.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Completely averted. Jon peppers his dialogue with all sorts of likes, gonnas, wouldas, comin's and other forms of realistic diction. This only highlights Jon's differences with Damian, who speaks with polished prose much of the time due to Damian's classical education under Talia.
  • Reconstruction: Of the classic young superhero sidekick. After years of Deconstruction and cynical depictions, Jon is among the first in recent DC comics to return to the cheerful, naive, and somewhat bumbling child superheroes that drew many children to comics in the first place. Granted, his appearances also showcase the hardships and implications of having powers at his age, but he still remains true to this core concept.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: They're a sign that he's about to blast your face off with heat vision.
  • Rude Awakening: The Super Sons preview shows Jon ready to blast Damian with heat vision after he snuck in right before Jon was about to go to sleep.
  • Secret Legacy: Is completely unaware of his father's superhero activities until he's around ten years old and his powers begin manifesting.
  • Signature Attack: Heat Vision, which he uses more than any of his other powers thus far. It's simultaneously the power he has the most control over, being able to activate it at will, and the least control over, often having it go off accidentally and has difficulty turning it off at times.
  • Tagalong Kid: Due to the instability of his powers, his dad and mom are reluctant to let Jon get into the thick of the fight, forcing him to stay on the sidelines most of the time.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Complains to Damian in Super Sons that they were going to get in a lot of trouble for their unauthorized escapade.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ice cream. He's always eating scoops or tubs of it whenever he has the chance.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Played with. Jon's powers are most likely to work when he's emotionally charged, but they continue to fluctuate in and out when he least expects it and he has yet to achieve full control over it despite being kidnapped by Intergang, accidentally frying his pet cat Goldie to death with heat vision, nearly having half his genome sucked out by the Eradicator, watching his Dad and Krypto get sucked into the Eradicator.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Jon's powers are unstable, making him above average at best and a liability at worst. This is further exacerbated by his inexperience and naivety. Nevertheless, when they do kick in, he's powerful enough to burn his father with his heat vision and even outrace him.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Jon naivete makes it easy for Damian to manipulate him, a fact the young Superboy doesn't appreciate.
  • Vitriolic Best Friends: Heavy on the Vitriolic towards Damian Wayne. One minute, they could be saving the world, the next they're slugging each other silly. That said, by the events of the annual holiday special (which is heavily implied to take place a good deal of time after their last encounter) they're close enough to have each other on speed dial and to buy gifts for each other (with Damian buying the two of them a video game they both wanted). Heck, they even have Christmas dinner together! Of course, the front cover of the same comic has Damian kicking a Heat Vision-ready Jon in the face while stealing a present from him, so they aren't that chummy yet.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Jon is always fighting the temptation to avoid using his powers in school and seems to enjoy letting loose as Superboy, given his eagerness to help.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/Superboy