I have a few characters that when I see them I immediately get excited about them being in my comics. Superboy is one of those characters.
Now, I must clarify something, in the mid 90’s Superboy was a kid in a leather jacket, with an earring and a skin-tight, spandex supersuit. (Because it was the 90’s and of course he did.) I’m not a huge fan of that version.
In fact, that version would not have made my top 50 but then a few years later they changed up his look and his backstory a bit and Superboy is awesome.
Superboy was a clone of Superman made in Cadmus Labs. He joins up with Young Justice and after they disband he joins up with the Teen Titans. He wants to be like Superman, he even takes on the name Conner Kent and starts going to Smallville High. Jonathan and Martha Kent raise him and try to teach him the same way they did with Clark.
Everything’s fine for him until he and Tim Drake figure out that he’s only 50% Superman and the 50% is DNA from Lex Luthor. This obviously cause a dichotomy in Conner. He’s either the world’s greatest hero or it’s most intelligent villain. Conner worries about this for a long time and he even worries about if he has a soul while being a clone until Raven explains to him that he had a different kind of Soul, one that grew while he was among his family and friends.
Conner is the epitome of a solid redemption story. He starts out annoying and petulant but then he discovers what it means to be a hero and to work with a team.
Conner is also featured heavily in the show “Young Justice” and was one of the best characters on the show. He went through the exact same kind of emotional changes because he starts out as a jerk and then he becomes a true hero.
Connor’s true shining moment was like that of many heroes : A moment of true self sacrifice and a willingness to save as many people as he can.
Infinite Crisis was an event where Superboy Prime(From Earth Prime, I know it’s weird just stay with me here) and Alexander Luthor JR.(From Earth 3, Please don’t leave yet.) Decide that the modern day heroes are terrible heroes cause they’re killing people, they’re letting others die, their teams are falling apart. So their goal is to take parts from all the different earths and make them into one perfect earth. In the midst of all of this is the war between Superboy Prime and Conner. Conner has quit the Teen Titans and is just living on the Farm right now. Prime comes and calls him out and says that once he removes Conner then he’ll be the new Superboy. Naturally, he and Conner have a huge fight and the titans all get involved and then Superboy Prime goes insane and starts killing people.
But I told you all of that to tell you this. Conner has been wondering the entire time what it means to be a true hero. He hurt his teammates recently by being under Luthor’s control and quit the team because he felt terrible after the fact. When Conner realizes that he has to stop Superboy Prime he steps up and stops him from killing anyone else and he destroys The machine that would destroy the Earth. He does all of this while sacrificing his own life. He asked his girlfriend, Wonder Girl if everyone was alright and told her not to let the real heroes forget who and what they are, she assured him that everyone was saved because of him and she held him until he was gone.
In the end, Conner was just like Superman. Truly selfless and willing to sacrifice himself to save everyone. That’s why he makes my top 50.