The latest episode of DC Universe's Titans took Superboy and Krypto off the leash - and raises a lot of questions for the rest of season 2. Titans Tower is becoming pretty crowded right now; it was originally designed for a team of six, but Dick Grayson keeps inviting more strays in. Titans season 2, episode 6 introduced potentially the most powerful stray to date.
Appropriately bearing the name "Conner", Titans season 2, episode 6 introduced viewers to the DC Universe version of Superboy. Created by Lex Luthor's CADMUS labs, Conner is a Superman clone who seems to possess most of the Man of Steel's powerset. The episode sees Conner learn his twisted history, and he winds up on the run from Luthor's agents in San Francisco. Naturally, that means he crossed paths with the Titans, when he happens to walk past just as Jason Todd is falling to his death.
Unfortunately, Superboy's intervention makes him a target for Mercy Graves, who shoots him down with a Kryptonite bullet. It's yet another fake death, with the gunshot injury serving more as a convenient plot device to ensure Conner stays at Titans Tower. So let's explore all the key questions from Titans season 2, episode 6.
10. Who Is Superboy?
There have been several different incarnations of Superboy in the comics, but Conner is probably the most famous. Created by CADMUS Labs, Conner was intended to serve as Earth's champion after Superman had been killed. According to Titans season 2, episode 6, the DC Universe version was created under Lex Luthor's orders, which likely means Superman's greatest nemesis had a very different goal in mind. Conner is something of an innocent, having just been alive for a few days; that means he's experiencing the world for the first time.
9. How Was Conner Created?
In the comics, Conner was created using genetic editing because CADMUS couldn't acquire Superman's DNA. The Titans version is a little more complicated; it seems that CADMUS used Lex Luthor's own DNA, and grafted Kryptonian strands on to it. This perhaps explains why Conner's powerset appears less potent than Superman's while he's still a physical powerhouse, he's yet to demonstrate flight, and in Titans season 2, episode 6 he proves unable to leap a tall building in a single bound.
8. How Does Conner's Genetic Memory Work?
Conner appears to demonstrate a "genetic memory," allowing him flashes of memory from both the donors of his genetic code - Clark Kent and Lex Luthor. He's unable to differentiate between these two sets of memory, leading to a bewildering experience when he heads to Smallville and meets Lex's father, Lionel Luthor. This concept is fairly common in science-fiction where clones are concerned, simply because it makes for quite an interesting plot device and generates some standard identity tropes. It also means that Conner could accidentally give away Superman's secret identity by referencing his memories of Clark Kent, though.
7. How Was Krypto Created?
Superboy isn't the only CADMUS subject, though; he's accompanied by Krypto the Superdog. In the comics, Krypto is a Kryptonian animal, and has similar super-powers to Superman on Earth. It's reasonable to assume that the Titans version was artificially created by blending Kryptonian DNA on to a canine's. Krypto appears to possess all Superman's powers, and he's also clearly pretty intelligent given his cool trick with the rocket.
6. Who Is Mercy Graves?
Titans season 2, episode 6 introduces the DC Universe version of Mercy Graves, Lex Luthor's personal aide. She was introduced in the 1996 Superman: The Animated Series, where she was portrayed as a thief who'd attempted to steal from Luthor. Impressed at her nerve, Lex gave Mercy a chance, and she developed into Lex's most loyal employees. The character has transitioned into several other mediums since, even making a brief appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - albeit briefly.
The DC Universe version of Mercy Graves appears to be Luthor's best field operative, assigned to clear up when a situation has gone badly wrong. She's tasked with recapturing Superboy, but ultimately chooses to take Conner down with a Kryptonite bullet instead.
5. Why Did Conner Go To The Luthor Farm?
Conner's genetic memory guides him to Smallville, but he heads to the wrong farmstead - finding Lionel Luthor rather than Ma and Pa Kent. The clone is confused at the conflicting memories within his mind, unable to differentiate between the Kent farm and Luthor's. The conversation between Lionel and Conner becomes pretty intense, when Conner remembers Lionel striking his son. Lionel's attitude towards Lex is fascinating and complex; there's a combination of pride and disdain, with Lionel celebrating his son's achievements but despising his vanity.
4. Are Ma And Pa Kent Dead In The DC Universe World?
One line of dialogue in Titans season 2, episode 6 suggests that Ma and Pa Kent are no longer alive in the DC Universe world. When Conner describes the farmyard from his memories, Lionel reflects that it sounds like "the old Kent place a few miles down the road." The implication is that the farm has closed - and that in turn carries sad implications, given no version of Jonathan Kent would ever have been happy leaving his farm.
3. What Is Project Rakshasa?
Conner's quest of self-discovery takes him to CADMUS' old lab in San Francisco; while raiding it, he stumbles across paperwork referencing "Project Rakshasa." There's no comic book precedent for Project Rakshasa, but in Hindu lore these were female creatures who had a ferocious bloodlust. The Rakshasa possessed the ability to shapeshift, and they used this power to fit in with the normal world, usually finding their way on to the front lines of various wars. It's possible this is just a throwaway reference, but frankly it's more likely that CADMUS created other tools for Lex Luthor at San Francisco.
2. What Happened To Deathstroke?
Titans season 2, episode 6 ends with Conner saving Jason Todd, and Starfire and Dick Grayson run out of Titans Tower moments later. The clear implication is that Deathstroke has taken advantage of the distraction afforded by Jason's fall to escape; this is, however, an assumption. The truth is that, for all they've just watched Jason fall apparently to his death, Dick and Starfire have made a serious tactical error. They have no way of knowing whether or not Deathstroke left the building - or, indeed, whether he left anything behind.
1. How Many Enemies Will The Titans Take On In Season 2?
Titans Tower is definitely a dangerous place to live right now, because there are no less than three groups who are targeting its residents. Deathstroke wants to destroy Dick Grayson by making him suffer, and he also wants his daughter Rose back; the Tamareans are certain to come looking for Starfire; and there's no way Lex Luthor will allow a group of superheroes to keep a person he will no doubt consider his intellectual property. Frankly, the Titans look to be seriously out of their depth right now.