Monday, May 01, 2006

Blue Prints 1: Superboy

"Attempt one hundred sixteen unsuccessful."

Robin's quest to resurrect Superboy has not yet been successful. He doesn't know what he's doing wrong, whether it's a matter of technology or knowhow or something else entirely. He studies the various logs he has regarding Superman's deaths and rebirths, and finally stumbles across some reports from the Y2K fiasco, where an Electric Superman, generated from B13 tech by our Brainiac, helped fight the futuristic menace. Robin finds the process detailed in various files that Luthor still had stored from the B13 Tech, and manages to duplicate the effects using Superboy's brainwave pattern. Sure, main power shuts down to the entire west coast for thirty-seven seconds, but Kon-El is reborn.

Being alive again doesn't exactly make life easier for Superboy. He has an easier time adjusting to his new powers than Superman did; his previous abilities derived primarily from telekinesis, using concentration and focus to manipulate energy fields isn't too different. It's the rest of his life that he has problems with. In his superheroic form, he is made of energy, and is generally immaterial or untouchable to some degree. He can become flesh and blood, but the transformation leaves him utterly powerless. So now, the divide between his superhero and civilian life becomes even more distinct, and while he once chafed under a civilian guise, now he needs it to retain some semblance of humanity. His questions about his legitimacy as a person and the existence of his soul are only complicated further by the knowledge that he has died, and his issues with cloning are greatly exacerbated.

Besides all this, he has been gone a year, though it doesn't seem that way to him. Wonder Girl has moved on, and while she still has strong feelings for him, she has already come to terms with his death, and his return only complicates their relationship. Having come back as a result of Robin's efforts have made Conner's friendship with Tim awkward, to say the least.

Despite all this, Conner has rejoined the Teen Titans and continues to fight the good fight, trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Ultimately, he hopes that Robin is successful in cloning his body, and he spends quite a bit of time trying to use his new powers to assist in that cloning process. Until then, he'll do the best he can with what he has.

Advantages: Well, there's the practical advantage that this character, as Jon mentioned, might be different enough from 'Superboy' to avoid any of the legal troubles currently associated with that name. Besides that, it brings back Superboy in an interesting way which isn't just a "reset button" on his death. Coming back in this fashion allows for the team to play him up like a ghost of sorts, since he is immaterial, and even when human he's a shadow of his former self. It develops some of the preexisting conflicts inherent in Conner's character, brings up new questions about the nature of identity, life, death, and cloning in the DCU, and gives a new source of drama for the Teen Titans. Plus, it leaves open, if not necessary, the possibility for a return to his real body. Besides this, it leaves some interesting options for Conner's visual depiction, and makes him very distinct from the rest of the Superman family.

Drawbacks: Bringing Conner back so soon might cheapen his sacrifice, but given the circumstances, I think it would be worth it. Having Robin recreate a process done by Brainiac might be a stretch, but that could be remedied with any number of Macguffins.

Of all my Blue Prints ideas, I think this one probably has the best options for story development. Maybe I should have saved it for last. Or maybe I just miss Superboy.


Your Obedient Serpent said...

Stumbled across this almost four years later -- and, man, I wish DC had gone this route when the courts finally decided that Conner wasn't covered by Siegel's "Superman when he was a boy" copyright.

Verification word: "Spite".

Your Obedient Serpent said...

... did you ever do any other entries in the "Blue Prints" series?