A Missing DC Character Returns In DETECTIVE COMICS (But He's From The Future) - SPOILERS

"Detectice Comics #966" preview
Credit: Eddy Barrows/Eber Ferreira/Adriano Lucas (DC Comics)
Credit: Eddy Barrows/Eber Ferreira/Adriano Lucas (DC Comics)

Spoilers ahead.

The return of Wally West and the teased return of the Justice Society have heightened fan hopes for the return of another character - the post-Crisis version of Superboy, Kon-El/Conner Kent.

A couple recent events have given the probability of the character's return even more credence.

First, a version of the character appears to be showing up in tomorrow's Detective Comics #966, although it's Conner from the "Titans Tomorrow" future.

And then this past weekend, during DC's Batman Spotlight panel at New York Comic Con, Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV said people keep asking him where Conner Kent is. Tynion told the audience that the answer to that question will be found in upcoming issues of Detective Comics.

Could future-Conner's brief appearance in this week's Detective Comics be the appearance Tynion promised? Or is there more coming, and this is just the first tease?

The "Titans Tomorrow" version of Conner - who first appeared in the Geoff Johns/Mike McKone run of Teen Titans - can be spotted in a preview of this week's Detective Comics issue at Multiversity. His appearance is only in a recording, only in one panel, and the character isn't actually called Conner - only referred to as "Superman." However, this Superman is talking to the "Tomorrow" version of Batman, and he uses the word "touchdown" to refer to one of his tactics, a word also used by future Conner Kent to describe his actions.

Credit: Eddy Barrows/Eber Ferreira/Adriano Lucas (DC Comics)

Although a version of Kon-El appeared in the "New 52" version of the DCU, the character's origin and personality were altered from his original incarnation. And the "New 52" version of Kon-El hasn't been seen since the beginning of "Rebirth," with DC now giving the name 'Superboy' to Superman's son Jonathan Kent.

The current storyline in Detective Comics, titled "A Lonely Place of Living," has already restored Tim Drake's original origin story – something that was greatly altered during the "New 52." Might it also restore the original origin of Kon-El, and the previous version of the character?

Credit: Eddy Barrows/Eber Ferreira/Adriano Lucas (DC Comics)

Besides the appearance of Conner Kent, there are a couple other things that are notable about the preview for this week's Detective Comics. One is the similarity between this future and the one shown in Batwoman #6 - they appear to be the same future, or at least closely related.

The other is that this "Tomorrow Batman" version of Tim Drake appears to have been stolen from his reality at the end of the preview - in the familiar blue light that has been shown when other characters have been teleported or vaporized in post-"Rebirth" stories.

The present version of Tim Drake was also stolen from his reality in a blue light, and the future Tim from Batman Beyond was stolen from his reality. Now we find out that a future version of Tim from Teen Titans' "Titans Tomorrow" was also taken.

Readers have been hoping the original Kon-El might return in the ongoing "Rebirth" story, not only because other post-Crisis characters and continuity have been showing up, but also because "Rebirth" architect and Doomsday Clock writer Geoff Johns has frequently called Conner Kent one of his favorite characters - and he resurrected the character after his death once before.

Conner/Superboy is also often guessed as a possible identity of the unknown inmates from Mr. Oz's prison, where Tim Drake is currently located. "A Lonely Place of Living" promises to show what happens when Tim Drake escapes from that prison, and solicitation copy for upcoming issues tease surprises from the inmates he finds there.

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