- For the titular character, see Conner.
Conner escapes from Cadmus Labs and emerge into the world for the first time as a free agent. With Krypto in tow, Conner's search for the truth about his past leads him to Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor's father, and Cadmus geneticist Eve Watson. Eve informs Conner of his true heritage and sends him on a path of self-discovery, examining his own identity and inherent impulses. In a moment of question, Conner chooses to act heroically and finds himself face-to-face with the Titans.
- Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson
- Anna Diop as Koriand'r
- Curran Walters as Jason Todd/Robin
- Joshua Orpin as Subject 13/Conner
- Genevieve Angelson as Dr. Eve Watson
- Raoul Bhaneja as Walter Hawn
- Peter MacNeill as Lionel Luthor
- Natalie Gumede as Mercy Graves
- Payne Novak as Lex Luthor Child/Young Clark Kent
- Janet Land as Mugged Woman
- Sarah Deakins as Martha Kent
- Brock Johnson as T-Shirt Guy
- Oliver Boyle as Infomercial Kid
- Bart Badzioch as Burly Guy
- Ewa Wolniczek as Girlfriend
At Cadmus Labs in Metropolis, a naked man with the Superman symbol tattooed on his arm walks past the unconscious scientists and goes to a cell containing a white-furred dog. As the man kneels before the cell, the dog's eyes glow red.
A few minutes later, the man knocks out the guards in his path as he walks out of Cadmus, the dog following him. The man looks at the dog tag, which has the name "Krypto" on it. He looks at the uniform he took from a guard, sees the name-tag "Conner" on it, and adopts that as his name. Conner goes to the outside door and pushes it down with his super-strength, and looks at Metropolis beyond. He smiles and continues outside with Krypto.
The next morning, VP of Special Projects Walter Hawn summons Dr. Eve Watson to Cadmus. Hung over, Eve tells him that where she was is none of his business. Walter shows her the lab and the cylinder that Conner escaped from, and he explains that "Subject 13" put eleven guards and other staff in the hospital. Eve insists that it shouldn't have happened, and security specialist Mercy Graves comes in and says that they want Eve to explain herself. Walter introduces himself to Mercy, and Mercy tells Eve that she has a problem on her hands and Lex Luthor wants answers, and the experiment back. She figures that Subject 13 was triggered by something and asks Eve what that could have been, and where Conner would have possibly gone. Eve suggests that he's scared and hiding. Especially given that at this stage, his emotional development is that of a 2-year-old. She figures that Conner is feeling a mix of curiosity and confusion as well as fear.
Conner and Krypto walk down the street.
Eve tells Mercy that both psychologically and emotionally, Conner is a child, and is absorbing the sights and sounds of the world.
Conner stops as he crosses the street, and the drivers he's blocking honk at him. He glares at them for a moment, and then smiles and keeps going. Conner stops in the middle of a mall, spreads his arms, and basks in the sunshine. He comes to a series of kiosks and sees a t-shirt with the S symbol on it. As Conner takes it, the t-shirt guy comes over and angrily asks what's the matter with him. Conner remembers a house and an older man saying the same thing to him before slapping him. He cowers, saying that it was an accident, and the t-shirt guy tells him to take it easy. The guy explains that the t-shirt costs money, and Conner says that they don't have any money. Grabbing the shirt back, the guy tells Conner to come back when he does.
Eve suggests that Conner might have genetic memories from the DNA of the two men that "created" him in the cloning process. She warns that a flood of emotion could make Conner unstable and even dangerous.
Conner and Krypto continue walking, and he sees a man grab a woman as shoves her into an alley, and mug her. After telling Krypto to stay, Conner goes into the alley and asks what the matter is with the mugger. When the mugger aims his gun at Conner, Conner grabs it, twists it, pulls it out of the mugger's hand, and picks him up with one hand. He asks the woman if she's okay, and she thanks Conner. When she says the mugger was trying to take her money, Conner tosses the man down the alley and asks if he can have it. When he walks toward the woman, she begs him not to hurt her and gives him her purse. Conner thanks her and leaves.
Walter asks Eve what they'll be facing, and Eve says that she didn't have enough time after incubation to study Conner and learn from him. Mercy notes that they have a potential murderer walking around with Cadmus' technological fingerprints all over him, and Eve reminds her that their boss initiated the project without her knowledge. When Eve found out, she warned him about the potential dangers and he ignored her. Walter asks what they need from him to bring Subject 13 in, and Eve tells Mercy that they'll need her team. Mercy says that they'll need briefing and advises Eve to change out of the dress she's still wearing from the previous night.
Soon, Eve is telling Mercy's team that they'll be hunting the world's most dangerous infant. Mercy warns that not all of them are coming back, and Eve says that the goal is to subdue Conner despite Mercy's saying they may need to kill him. Eve tells them that they're talking about millions in science and they have a lot more to learn from Conner, so she needs him back in one piece. As the men get into their hummers, Mercy tells Eve that she's going with them because they need her expertise. When Eve refuses, Mercy points out that the project has been Eve's one true love and she figures Eve will want to look into Conner's life and know what she gave her life up for.
After buying the House El t-shirt, Conner walks down the street and sees the hummers coming. He ducks out of sight with Krypto as the hummers go by, and warns the dog that the soldiers are coming for them. A van pulls over nearby, and has a wheat field painted on the side. Conner has a memory-flash of a field and a woman calling for "Clark". He tells Krypto that they're going home.
Conner takes a passenger bus to Smallville and looks out over the wheat fields. He and Krypto walk down the road and come to a house that Conner recognizes from him memories. Krypto refuses to go with Conner first, but finally follows him up the road to the house. The mailbox however says "Luthor" on it.
The pair come to the house and see the old man from Conner's memories sitting on the porch. Blind, he greets them when he hears them come up, and Conner tells him that he thinks that he used to live there. The man says that he never knew a Conner, but he's glad that he does now. He invites Conner and Krypto in, and Conner accepts the offer.
The trio go inside and Conner says that the interior is different than it used to be. He describes his memories, and the man says that it sounds like the old Kent place a few miles down the road. When Conner says the name "Clark", the man says that Clark was a friend of his son Alexander. The man tells Conner that Lex never had many friends, while Conner looks at a photo of a young Lex with his father and sister. Suddenly angry, Conner cracks the glass frame with his hand, and when the man knocks over a bottle, Conner has a flash of memory of the man knocking over a brandy bottle and then hitting him. Furious, Conner almost hits his host, and the man apologizes.
Conner and the man have dinner, and the unnamed man says that he's going to be there while Lex moved to Metropolis because he believed that he had a calling. The man invites Conner to have some brandy with him, and when Conner pours the drinks, the man offers a toast to new friends. Conner hesitantly drinks, and the man points out a cabinet with all of Lex's awards. He says that his son was a brilliant child, and admits that he's very proud of him. Lex is a scientist like the man was, but Lex was far beyond what he could ever hope. Conner asks why he beat Lex, and the man wonders if that's what Lex told him. He insists that it's a lie, and Conner says that it isn't.
Angry, the man tells Conner to leave. He then says that Lex was a stubborn and arrogant child. Lex was missing a moral compass, and he wouldn't be taught. The man figures that Lex knew what he was doing and resisted him. Conner suggests that Lex was scared, and the man tells him that Lex wouldn't cry no matter what he did to him. Despite that, Conner tells him that Lex would have done anything for his approval, and yells that he cared about the man's aforementioned approval. The man then wonders who he is.
Some soldiers then burst in and order everyone down. Conner drops to his knees and the man asks what's going on. Eve is watching and listening via the soldiers' helmet-cams in the van outside, and one of the soldiers hits the man with the butt of a rifle. When Conner protests, another one hits him but it doesn't hurt him. Eve warns them to stop, but Conner knocks over the soldier who attacked him. He attacks the others soldiers too, and when they shoot at him the bullets bounce off of Conner. Conner moves at super-speed, knocking a kitchen divider at them, and then moves to stop two stray bullets from hitting the man.
More soldiers enter the house, and Krypto uses his heat vision to destroy one man's rifle. Conner shoves the soldier through a wall, and Krypto attacks another soldier. Two more soldiers toss a gas grenade at Conner, and he inhales the gas and then blows it out at the soldiers, knocking them back. A soldier fires a missile into the house, and Krypto snags it and sends it back. The missile slams into the soldier, killing him.
Eve realizes via her monitors that all of the soldiers are dead. Conner sees her in the van using his x-ray vision and goes out. Eve gets into the driver's seat and starts up the van, and Conner destroys the wheels with his heat vision. He then rips open the rear doors and Eve begs him not to kill her. Conner asks if Eve is with the soldiers, and she says that she's with Cadmus and she didn't want them to shoot at him. She explains that they shot because they were afraid, and they were afraid because they'd never seen anything like Conner before. Conner asks what he is, and Eve tells him that he's a genetic clone, designed to see if she could create a person. She explains that he was created from the genetic material of two different people blended together: a man and a super man.
Eve says that the superman was Superman, and Conner looks at the S symbol. He realizes that people love Superman, and Eve says that his other father is Lex. Conner figures that people don’t love him, and asks what Cadmus will do if they get him. Eve says that she thought they'd keep him alive, but now she isn't so sure. She warns him that Superman doesn't know that Conner exists, and Conner doesn't want to meet Lex. Conner insists that he has to meet him and learn who he is, and Eve says that they should hit the road rather than let Cadmus take Conner.
The next day, Eve drives Conner and Krypto to her cabin at Lake Kipling. Conner wonders whose idea it was to create him, and Eve says that Cadmus hired her to explore cross-species cloning. She insists that making Conner wasn't wrong, and compares him to nuclear fission. Conner recites what he knows about nuclear fission, and Eve realizes that Conner has the genetic knowledge that his fathers had. Eve explains that she stayed at Cadmus when she could have left, deciding to be the one decent human still involved. She insists that she didn't abandon Conner, and Conner asks if he can call her "mom".
Walter and Mercy arrive at the Luthor house with more soldiers and clean up the bodies of the original team. Mercy calls Lex to report that Eve and Conner are in the wind, but they're tracking them.
Eve stops at a diner and goes in to get food while Conner and Krypto wait in her SUV. Conner sees a man grabbing a woman and goes over to intervene. Eve comes out and sees Conner, and tells him to let it go. The man gets his girlfriend into the car and they drive off. She tells Conner that if Conner makes a scene, they'll find them faster. Eve explains what consequences are, and tells Conner that he doesn't have the maturity to do what's in his best interests. Angry, Conner says that he's leaving and Eve orders him not to go. When Conner stops, Eve asks him what he was going to do to the man. Conner angrily yells that he doesn't know, and might have killed him. The noise sets off car alarms, and Eve says that he should come with her if he wants to know who he is.
Eve drives to San Francisco and they wait outside a gated and abandoned facility. As they wait, Eve drinks some alcohol and Conner asks why she drinks it. Eve says that it's what adults do when they don't like how they're feeling. She explains that they're at Cadmus Industries, welcomes Conner "home", and takes him and Krypto inside. Eve says that there was a butane explosion there and the facility was condemned. It was a chemical factory and lab, and everyone was evacuated. When Conner wonders why they're there when he wanted to meet Lex, Eve says that the place is Lex.
The trio go inside and Conner says that he wants to leave. Eve tells him that there are bad science experiments, and Cadmus was one of them. She says that Lex wanted to clone Superman but couldn't figure out how, and Eve told him that he needed to use human genes to stabilize the alien ones. Eve gave Lex the idea to use his DNA to create Conner. She tells Conner that she's bad because she didn't try to stop Cadmus, and she just wanted to see if they could do it. When Conner tells her that he just wants to leave, Eve tells him that all of the answers are on the other side of a nearby door and Conner is the only one who can open it. But she suggests that he don't.
Conner goes to the door and stares at it for a while . Krypto barks in protest, and Conner tells him that he has to. The dog moves away and Conner rips the door open. On the other side are cylinders containing subjects 1-12. They're half-grown and twisted, each one closer to a full humanoid. The last one has Conner's face. Conner tells Eve that he knows what he is now, grabs her by the throat and lifts her into the air, and asks what the hell is the matter with her.
After a moment, Conner drops Eve and figures that she brought him there to see that he's a monster. Eve insists that she brought him there to warn him that he's not Lex and he's not Superman. Instead,he's both. She tells him that he has to be very careful, and Conner apologizes for getting mad. Eve warns that sometimes the anger will be Conner's and sometimes it'll be Lex's, and Conner has to learn to control it. She asks why he attacked the scientists, and Conner says that he heard Krypto howling in pain as they experimented on him. Conner explains that he killed the soldiers because they came after the old man, and Eve tells him that he's a person rather than a monster. It means that Conner's life is going to be difficult, complicated, and painful, but sometimes full of joy. She tells him to remember that people are what they do, not what they say they're going to do. Eve advises Conner to run and not use his powers because that will draw attention to him. Above all, he shouldn't be a hero.
Mercy and her soldiers enter the facility, and Eve and Conner hear them. She tells Conner that it's time to start running, and admits that they didn't make her bad. Eve says that Conner has a chance to be better than she is, and tells him to go. When Mercy and the soldiers enter the chamber, Eve is alone. She tells Mercy that Conner tried to kill her. Mercy doesn't believe her, reveals that she has Kryptonite bullets, and says that now they're going to do it her way before leading her soldiers off.
Superman and Krypto walk down the street, and Conner walks past one man beating another. He hears an explosion and sees the window washer platform slam into the street. Looking up, Conner sees Dick trying to keep Jason from falling. Jason falls and Conner leaps up, catching him and dropping onto a parked car. Robin asks who Conner is, and Conner says that he isn't sure yet.
The two men get up and Robin thanks Conner for saving his life. Mercy fires two shots into Conner's chest, and Dick and Kory arrive. Robin tells them what happened, and Mercy watches them for a second before leading a kryptonite-collared Krypto off.
- Some of this episode's easter eggs include:
- The story of how his comic counterpart first became “Conner” is a lot less simple. For years Superboy didn’t have any name other than Superboy, which got really inconvenient at times, but he didn’t have a secret identity so it wasn’t a concern. It wasn't until 1998’s Superboy #59, Superman gave Superboy the name Kon-El and officially adopted him as a cousin. The news filled Superboy with joy, since he never had his own name, and was constantly struggling with identity issues since he was a clone.
- After Superboy was sent to live with Ma and Pa Kent in Smallville, the name Kon-El was simplified to Conner. The first comic where Superboy was officially identified as Conner was 2003’s Batgirl #41.
- Conner picking the black shirt with the Red "S" pasted on it is a piece of comic lore! In the comics, while walking around Metropolis, Conner’s eyes gravitate to a black Superman shirt with a Red “S” pasted on. Thus, when Conner simplified his superhero look in 2003’s Teen Titans #1, the red- and-black shirt became his signature superhero uniform for the next eight years.
- Usually when there’s trouble with one of Luthor’s projects in the comics, Mercy Graves is not too far behind poking around demanding an explanation. She’s Lex’s valet, assistant, bodyguard, enforcer and all-around girl Friday.
- Ms. Graves first appeared in the 1996 Superman: The Animated Series episode “A Little Piece of Home” before joining mainstream DC Comics continuity a few years later in Detective Comics #735.
- In Doom Patrol, while Cyborg was looking through news headlines in the episode “Donkey Patrol,” an article mentioned the chaos the boy (Conner) and his dog (Krypto) were causing. Based from the headline, Conner didn’t get dressed until he was a few miles into his walkabout.
- While it didn’t take long for the Titans version of Conner to discover he’s a clone of Lex Luthor and Superman. The journey to that revelation had a lot more detours in the comics. When Superboy first appeared in Adventures of Superman #500 he thought he was a clone of Superman, until he learned the secret scientific group Cadmus didn’t have the power to clone Kryptonians in Adventures of Superman #506.
- The mystery of Superboy’s human donor was temporarily solved in 1995’s Superboy Annual #2, when the Teen of Steel was told that he was cloned from Paul Westfield, an evil Cadmus director. In 2003’s Teen Titans #1, Robin and Superboy learned Luthor had switched Westfield’s DNA with his own, a revelation that shocked Conner to his core.
- While Mercy and Eve are speaking to each other at Cadmus Labs, a familiar globe be seen in the background along the Metropolis skyline – that of the Daily Planet.
- During his road trip with Eve, Superboy was horrified to see a man abusing his girlfriend and wanted to intervene. Eve talked him out of it, and asked if his plan was to throw the abuser through a wall. This references something Superman did in his very first story back in 1938’s Action Comics #1.
- The escaped Superboy was referred to as Experiment 13, a moniker that goes all the way back to Conner’s first appearance in Adventures of Superman #500.
- The scene where Conner comes across the first 12 failed experiments was depicted in 1995’s Superboy Annual #2.
|"Trigon" • "Rose" • "Ghosts" • "Aqualad" • "Deathstroke" • "Conner" • "Bruce Wayne" • "Jericho" • "Atonement" • "Fallen" • "E.L._.O." • "Faux-Hawk" • "Nightwing"|