DC Universe’s Titans finally introduced Superboy, but he’s not what quite what we had expected.
Following a surprising post-credits cameo in season one, Titans season two introduces Conner/ Superboy (Joshua Orpin) in episode six, aptly titled ‘Conner’.
The segue to a new character’s origins will seem strangely-timed for viewers—on the previous episode of Titans, Jason Todd/ Robin (Curran Walters) was falling to his death, and there has been speculation as to whether the character will live or die, considering his arc in the comics.
But Titans: Conner manages to tie everything together, as it did with Aqualad’s origins.
So, who is Conner and how does he fit into the Titans universe?
We breakdown the character’s arc below and what more we can expect from him on the show. Major spoilers ahead.
DC Universe hasn’t shied away from blood, gore, and nudity, and it definitely doesn’t hold back in Titans: Conner.
Not only is Orpin’s Conner introduced to us in his birthday suit, but he makes quite a gory entrance, brutally killing numerous Cadmus guards.
Later, on the Luthor farm, when the Cadmus special ops team finds Conner, he channels Superman’s powers to cause just as much damage and mayhem.
Though it would be unfair to call Conner’s violent actions bloodlust, it is clear that he has a healthy dose of Lex Luthor in him if the sea of blood he leaves in his wake is anything to go by.
The body count in this episode is high, but somehow Superboy manages to make it look quite stylish, so we can’t complain.
The action scenes in Titans season two have been spectacular, but most of what we have seen—aside from Aqualad and Dr Light—has been hand-to-hand combat.
In Superboy, Titans have a veritable superpowered alien-human hybrid, and with that comes some stunning shots including the mandatory ‘faster than a speeding bullet’ moment.
One can only hope we get to see more of Superboy because his scenes were breathtaking.
Krypto the Sidekick
Alongside Conner’s appearance at the end of Titans season one, fans were also thrilled to meet another essential member of the Super-family—Krypto the dog.
Krypto is practically Conner’s family even though they’ve only just met—in fact, we learn later that Conner’s violent actions were a result of his desire to save Krypto from Cadmus’ experiments.
The two make a great team, especially on the Luthor farm, when Krypto more than holds his own against the Cadmus agents, even taking down a fair few with his heat vision.
That’s a super-dog if ever you were looking for one, but Krypto is also surprisingly violent. He eviscerates his enemies with little thought to the consequences, which makes me wonder where his violent tendencies stem from.
We know the human side of Conner—from Lex Luthor—is something he will always have to struggle to control, but what’s happening with Krypto? Why is he killing with aplomb instead of just stopping the bad guys?
We may never know because, by the end of the episode, Krypto is back in Cadmus’ hands, and presumably will be sent for further experiments.
Can the Titans save him from a fate worse than death?
There’s a war raging in Conner, except he doesn’t really know it. When Conner is eventually found by his maker—geneticist Dr Eve Watson (Genevieve Angelson)—she explains to him how he has two fathers, Lex Luthor and Superman.
But it isn’t just DNA that ties Conner to his fathers—he also has their memories. He distinctly remembers Lex’s father’s abuse, as well as his desire to be appreciated by his father.
He also remembers happier times at the Kent farm and Clark’s mother, Martha, calling out to him.
However, in Conner’s two-day old mind, he conflates the two experiences, even assuming that the houses in his memory are one and the same.
I found this to be a fascinating way to discuss genetics, especially as Conner essentially has only two biological dads, and one foster mother, if one could call Dr Watson that.
Because of his genetics and memories, Conner does terrible things—like kill Cadmus guards—for the right reasons—to save Krypto and Luthor Sr.
However, the question remains—does Conner know the difference between good and evil?
At one point he ‘steals’ a woman’s purse because he wants to buy a Superman t-shirt but doesn’t have the money to do so.
Conner assumes because the woman has money, she can give him some to buy his t-shirt. He doesn’t realise that when she does hand her bag over to him, it is because she is terrified of him—he had just dispatched a thief moments ago.
The scene is played for laughs—and it certainly is amusing—but it does beg the question whether Conner really has the moral centre he needs to be a good person, let alone a hero.
Will we ever get an answer to that question?
Titans season two has been all about the cliffhangers. We’ve already had two featuring Jason, and Titans: Conner ends with yet another one. And it’s a doozy.
Having followed Conner’s story throughout the episode, it is only at the very end that we see how Conner is connected to the main plot.
After learning about his true identity from Dr Watson, Conner is sent on the run, with the explicit instruction to not be a hero.
He tries to listen, even ignoring a man beating up another one. But then he sees Jason hanging on for dear life to Dick Grayson’s (Brenton Thwaites) arm before falling to what would be his death.
Would Superman have done nothing? No. So, Superboy jumps into the fray and saves a very grateful Jason from certain death.
Unfortunately, Conner may not be able to celebrate this victory with his new friend. Moments later, he is shot with Kryptonite bullets.
The last we see of Conner, he is surrounded by the Titans as he bleeds out. In the distance, Krypto mourns his only family as a Kryptonite collar is placed on him and he is dragged back to Cadmus.
You’d think we’d be tired of Titans cliffhangers by now, but honestly, we aren’t. This is another great ending to an episode and makes us even more excited for what’s in store next week.
Conner showed us that he is a hero, albeit a slightly gray one. He leapt to Jason’s rescue—quite literally—without a thought for himself. And now he’s dying, all because he did the right thing.
Could Conner go the way of Aqualad and end up dead after one episode? Or will he be miraculously rescued in the next episode and live on to join the Titans?
One can assume the latter is a better option. Krypto still needs to be rescued and it seems like there is more to the Cadmus storyline than we have seen here.
Plus, surely Batman has a way to extract Kryptonite bullets? He must have had to do so for Superman before. One can only hope!
Whatever Superboy’s fate, his introduction and his arc in just this one episode was a delight to watch. I do hope we see more of him and his unique perspective of the world. But we’ll have to wait till next week to find out what happens next.