In Superboy #19, readers finally got some details about the origin of Superboy — especially the "third source" of DNA for his creation.
In a story that involved time travel and the villain Harvest, Superboy #19 by writer Scott Lobdell revealed that Superboy is a clone created from the DNA of Superman, Lois Lane and their son, Jon Kent (from an alternate future).
While the inclusion of DNA from Superman and Lois Lane was revealed on the gatefold cover for the Superboy #19, the "third" source wasn't. So it was a bit of a surprise to see that Harvest is actually from the future, and he had kidnapped a young Jon Kent, the son of Lois and Clark. (And to be clear, the kidnapping succeeded because Lois and Clark already thought Jon was dead.)
Harvest trained Jon Kent in the future to become evil, but the boy had unstable DNA. The villain hoped the new Superboy would provide a cure. And at the end of issue #19, it was revealed that Jon Kent is apparently alive in the present day of the DCU, although in some type of stasis.page from Superboy #19 It helps to conclude some of the subplots that Lobdell originated during his run on Superboy, which he helped launch as part of DC's reboot in 2011. But with Lobdell no longer writing Superboy — and Justin Jordan taking over the series next month — it's possible that Lobdell might be using some of these new characters and concepts during his run on the current Superman, or his future issues of Action Comics this summer.
Like any time travel story, Superboy #19 had lots of threads and "dots" that had to be "connected" by readers, which invariably leaves a few questions behind. We talked to Lobdell to clarify those questions and find out more about this new Jon Kent character that was revealed to still exist in the present.
Newsarama: Scott, there's a lot of talk about this origin story for Superboy, and how it's linked to time travel. Just to clarify, is Superboy a clone, like H'El and Supergirl thought he was? Or is he something else?
Scott Lobdell: As we saw in Superboy #19, he is very much a clone. Harvest needed to take Jon Lane Kent back to a time where Harvest could get the original genetic material of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. He then used that DNA strand of Superman, the DNA strand of Lois Lane and the DNA strand of Jon Lane Kent to create Superboy.pages from Superboy #19 He did this because he felt he could use Superman and Lois' separate DNA to support and counter the effects of the Jon's trans-alien DNA. His results have been successful, for now, which is how we got the clone named Superboy.
Nrama: Does this explain the "third" source of the DNA that makes up Superboy?
Lobdell: Yes, the third source is Jon Lane Kent.
Nrama: Why did Harvest use that third source?
Lobdell: He used it specifically because his entire goal was to find a cure for the genetic disorder that was afflicted his surrogate son, Jon.
Nrama: We were told it wasn't human or Kryptonian. This is why?
Lobdell: Jon is his own species. He is the only Human/Kryptonian in the known universe, so if — for an example — H'El were to examine Superboy on a genetic level, he would see a human strand (Lois), a Kryptonian strand (Superman) and a third and at least unidentifiable strand, the unique Human/Kryptonian strand that was Jon Lane Kent. It would be — as the alien in Superboy #3 called it, something unspeakable?
Nrama: And just to clarify, is Lois Lane and Clark Kent's "birth son" Jon still alive in the present day, and available for future stories, as long as his DNA becomes stabilized, as you hinted?
Lobdell: Hmm... that last page with Harvest looking at Jon Lane Kent in that stasis tube? If he were dead it would seem very creepy to me that Harvest would be leaving Jon's body to float in a canister. This is Harvest, not the Governor. So, without spoiling anything, I'm going to guess that he will some day be available for future stories.
Nrama: Guess? You can't give us anything more definitive than that?
Lobdell: Will Jon Lane Kent ever walk the Earth again, in our time? Of this I am certain! Though whether or not that happens in Superboy, Teen Titans or Action... who is to say?pages from Superboy #19 I haven't been keeping too many tabs on Justin — I'd rather be surprised along with everyone else by his exciting new take on all things Superboy!
Nrama: Let's talk about Harvest's story. It has lots of time travel, which can be tricky. With the introduction of this idea that Lois Lane and Superman have a child in the future, is that canon? Or is that only a "alternate" future timeline?
Lobdell: As I don't exist in the future I don't know that I can answer that question with any definite authority! But as a comic book fan myself, I have learned that in the exciting world of the Superverse... all things are possible.
Nrama: Fair enough. Let's talk about this realization that Harvest has in the story. Toward the end of the story, Harvest is pleased to see Superman and Wonder Woman together. Can you describe how that motivated Harvest's actions after he realized time could be altered?
Lobdell: In his 30th Century future, he was aware that in his past, there was a five year window or so where Superman and Lois Lane had a child together (they were never married, at least as far as Harvest knows).page from Superboy #19 When he came back to this time, and learned that Superman did not hook up with Lois Lane, but instead had hooked up with Wonder Woman... he realized the time stream might be more malleable than he realized: Once there was no chance that a new Jon Lane Kent could be created in this time through the original union of Lois and Superman, Harvest understood that the future could possibly be recreated in his image, specifically in a world where Metas never came to dominance.
Nrama: Then, since you've made it clear that we should ask Justin Jordan about any other "future" Superboy questions, can you tell us if Superboy's story continues to interact with the other Super-characters, since you're writing both Action Comics and Superman this summer?
Lobdell: Without giving anything away... Yep!FACEBOOK and TWITTER!