I refer to Superboy in the New 52. It is my understanding that Superboy was a clone, half human and half kryptonian.

In the reboot, they make reference to other alien races being spliced in.

Still, Superboy doesn't have his central nervous system spread thorughout his body, he has immense telepathic and telekinetic abilities and a whole host of features that are not in line with humans or kryptonians.

Why would Superboy differ so significantly form Kryptonians and Humans?


Superboy is different from Superman for many reasons, some legal and stemming from decisions based in the real world and some from the origin of his abilities. We will deal primarily with his comic-based issues. Superboy is a hybrid construct whose source DNA in the New 52 are Kal-El, Lois Lane and Jon Lane Kent, a hybrid Kryptonian/Human from an alternate timeline.

It has been revealed that Kon-El's third unknown DNA strand came from the future alternate timeline son of Lois and Clark, Jon Lane Kent. The Human strand is also revealed to have come from Lois Lane and the Kryptonian strand from Superman. Lois and Clark's DNA was used to counteract the genetic disorder found in Jon's trans alien DNA. Superboy's telekinetic power stems from Jon Kent's DNA who also possesses this power due to being a Human/Kryptonian hybrid born under a yellow sun. Kon's power was temporarily shown to dwarf Jon's which may be the result of the fusion of Lois and Clark's DNA in addition to Jon's.

As to why his powers seem so drastically different from Superman's I would expect any agency capable of recombining Kryptonian DNA is likely to have either fudged when they didn't know what to do, or were bold and attempted to create something different. Since the agency N.O.W.H.E.R.E's goal was to create a metahuman slave controllable by them, there are likely other modifications which may have affected the genetic capabilities of their weapon.

  • The organization N.O.W.H.E.R.E (seems to be the New 52 version of Project Cadmus) which created Kon-El (Superboy of the New 52 Earth) were forced to utilize DNA from the alternative hybrid to stabilize Kon-El's DNA and at the same time, Kon-El's DNA somehow prevented a flaw from manifesting from Jon's DNA.

  • It would seem they required two samples of Hybrid Kryptonian DNA to make one successful and optimal metahuman and the DNA from the alternative universe was close enough to match and use.

  • New 52 Superboy's powers resemble the previous continuity's Superboy with his main abilities still being tactile telekinesis which acts as superhuman strength and resistance to injury. It also appears he has not acquired the rest of his kryptonian abilities but it is suspected they will develop in time. These include the more advanced sensory powers and possibly heat vision.

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  • The New 52 Superboy needs to think about the use of his powers to utilize them effectively. He is still vulnerable to energy based attacks if he does not focus his concentration. He is also not nearly as strong physically as in his previous continuities, lifting less than ten tons. When he is concentrating and aware, he is resistant to all forms of attack including unusual attack such as Wildfire's anti-energy.

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  • His telekinetic abilities in the New 52 are enhanced to the point he appears to be able to utilize his telekinetic abilities like Jean Grey (of X-men fame) to affect objects without touching them.

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  • He is even able to use his telekinetic powers as a sense, detecting things by their structure like a form of telekinetic sonar.

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  • He is able to detect objects hidden beneath the skin of his opponent and use his powers like a scalpel to remove them.

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  • It is possible to distract or surprise Kon-El which makes him more vulnerable to attacks such as when he was fighting one of the Ravagers. Both of his forearms are broken. (see below)

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  • One of his latent Kryptonian abilities allows him a superfast healing factor, repairing his previously broken forearms in a matter of hours.

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Superboy of the New 52 continuity has been written with a completely different style than the previous Post-Crisis Superboy.

  • His powers are weaponized and he is both tactically-aware, strategic in his planning and versatile in his power usage. His mind is sharper with a sense of scientific knowledge and technological understanding.

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  • His telekinetic powers appear to be able to make up for his lack of superhuman strength, but he lacks precision, control and his raw potential allowed him to destroy an entire underground facility. However, he does not have sufficient control of his powers yet to use that level of ability effectively.

Even before the "New 52", Superboy (Kon-El) had different powers from Superman. Most pointedly, as mentioned in the original question, was/is his "tactile telekinesis".

The current (and pre-"New 52") incarnation of Superboy is a genetically engineered being. ("Clone" is not really accurate, because that would imply a genetic "copy", rather than a genetic "blend"). We don't yet know where all the genetic material came from (although we are pretty sure that at least Superman and Lex Luthor are "donors"), and it really doesn't matter. Genetic engineering changes the normal rules of "inherited traits" enough such that the fact that Superboy is genetically engineered is sufficient to explain any difference (and ironically, similarities) in powers he has from Superman.


Well, the best we can do at this point is guess, right? There hasn't yet been a clear explanation within continuity. This is a question about an ongoing mystery, so any answer would be purely speculative.

  • It depends, did Superboy have the same powers before the new 52? – m3tron0me Feb 11 '12 at 0:29

There have been a lot of storylines over the years that have implied that Superman's power profile is only a small part of the total potential of the Kryptonian genome, so remixing could account for a lot. When you throw in a vague "other alien species", though, you pretty much have a deck made of wild cards. That said, heavy psionics and a distributed central nervous system scream "Martian" to me.

  • Wouldn't a distributed nervous system contradict a central nervous system, such as humans and kryptonians have? – m3tron0me Feb 11 '12 at 0:30
  • @m3tron0me Yup. Can't really have it both ways. – chaos Feb 11 '12 at 16:32

i think that the fact that he is a hybrid is answer enough but in my opinion his powers probably come from the fact that kryptonians use more than 10 % of their brain and when that was spliced with human DNA the human brain is said to be able to develop psionic abilities when more than 10% is in use plus the fact that superman's flight and invulnerability stem from what is called self telekinesis plus that by human potential and that seems likely to be where his powers come from


Kon-El is simply a pseudo of Kal to me. How else does one explain the multiple DNA's? At best, he's neither human nor Kryptonian — because he's something less (or more maybe) than both; and this is because part of his DNA is Kal-El's. So, half a truth is no truth at all.

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