At Cadmus Labs in Metropolis, a naked man with the Superman symbol tattooed on his arm walks past the unconscious scientists and goes to a cell containing a white-furred dog. As the man kneels before the cell, the dog's eyes glow red.
A few minutes later, the man knocks out the guards in his path as he walks out of Cadmus, the dog following him. The man looks at the dog tag, which has the name "Krypto" on it. He looks at the uniform he took from a guard, sees the nametag "Conner" on it, and adopts that as his name. Conner goes to the outside door and pushes it down with his super-strength, and looks at Metropolis beyond. He smiles and continues outside with Krypto.
The next morning, VP of Special Projects Walter Hawn summons Dr. Eve Watson to Cadmus. Hung over, Eve tells him that where she was is none of his business. Walter shows her the lab and the cylinder that Conner escaped from, and he explains that "Subject 13" put eleven guards and staff in the hospital. Eve insists that it couldn't have happened, and security specialist Mercy Graves comes in and says that they want Eve to explain. Walter introduces himself to Mercy, and Mercy tells Eve that she has a problem on her hands and Luthor wants answers... and the experiment back. She figures that Subject 13 was trigged by something and asks Eve what, and where Conner would have gone. Eve suggests that he's scared and hiding, with the emotional development of a 2-year-old. She figures that Conner is feeling curiosity and confusion as well as fear.
Conner and Krypto walk down the street.
Eve tells Mercy that psychological and emotionally, Conner is a child, and is absorbing the sights and sounds of the world.
Conner stops as he crosses the street, and the drivers he's blocking honk at him. He glares at them for a moment, and then smiles and keeps going. Conner stops in the middle of a ped mall, spreads his arms, and basks in the sunshine. He comes to a series of kiosks and sees a t-shirt with the S symbol on it. As Conner takes it, the t-shirt guy comes over and angrily asks what's the matter with him. Conner remembers a house and an older man saying the same thing to him before slapping him. He cowers, saying that it was an accident, and the t-shirt guy tells him to take it easy. The guy explains that the t-shirt costs money, and Conner says that they don't have any money. Grabbing the shirt back, the guy tells Conner to come back when he does.
Eve suggests that Conner might have genetic memories from the DNA of the two men that "created" him in the cloning process. She warns that a flood of emotion could make Conner unstable and even dangerous.
Conner and Krypto continue walking, and he sees a man grab a woman, shove her into an alley, and mug her. After telling Krypto to stay, Conner goes into the alley and asks what the matter is with the mugger. When the mugger aims his gun at Conner, Conner grabs it, twists it, pulls it out of the mugger's hand, and picks him up with one hand. He asks the woman if she's okay, and she thanks Conner. When she says the mugger was trying to take her money, Conner tosses the man down the alley and asks if he can have it. When he walks toward the woman, she begs him not to hurt her and gives him her purse. Conner thanks her and leaves.
Walter asks Eve what they'll be facing, and Eve says that she didn't have enough time after incubation to study Conner and learn from him. Mercy notes that they have a potential murderer walking around with Cadmus' technological fingerprints all over him, and Eve reminds her that their boss initiated the project without her knowledge. When Eve found out, she warned him about the potential dangers and he ignored her. Walter asks what they need needs from him to bring Subject 13 in, and Eve tells Mercy that they'll need her team. Mercy says that they'll need briefing and advises Eve to change out of the dress she's still wearing from the previous night.
Soon, Eve is telling Mercy's team that they'll be hunting the world's most dangerous infant. Mercy warns that not all of them are coming back, and Eve says that the goal is to subdue Conner despite Mercy's saying they may need to kill her. Eve tells them that they're talking about millions in science and they have a lot more to learn from Conner, so she needs him back in one piece. As the men get into their hummers, Mercy tells Eve that she's going with them because they need her expertise. When Eve refuses, Mercy points out that the project has been Eve's one true love and she figures Eve will want to look into Conner's lives and know what she gave her life up for.
After buying the S t-shirt, Conner walks down the street and sees the hummers coming. He ducks out of sight with Krypto as the hummers go by, and warns the dog that the soldiers are coming for them. A van pulls over nearby, and has a wheat field painted on the side. Conner has a memory-flash of a field and a woman calling "Clark". He tells Krypto that they're going home.
Conner takes a passenger bus to Smallville and looks out over the wheat fields. He and Krypto walk down the road and come to a house that Conner recognizes from him memories. Krypto refuses to go with Conner first, but finally follows him up the road to the house. The mailbox says "Luthor" on it.
The pair come to the house and see the old man from Conner's memories sitting on the porch. Blind, he greets them when he hears them come up, and Conner tells him that he thinks that he used to live there. The man says that he never knew a Conner, but he's glad that he does now. He invites Conner and Krypto in, and Conner accepts the offer.
The trio go inside and Conner says that the interior is different than it used to be. He describes his memories, and the man says that it sounds like the old Kent place a few miles down the road. When Conner says the name "Clark", the man says that Clark was a friend of his son Alexander: Lex. The man tells Conner that Lex never had many friends, while Conner looks at a photo of a young Lex with his father and sister. Suddenly angry, Conner cracks the photo glass with his hand, and when the man knocks over a bottle, Conner has a memory-flash of the man knocking over a brandy bottle and then hitting him. Furious, Conner almost hits his host, and the man apologizes.
Conner and the man have dinner, and the man says that he's going to be there while Lex moved to Metropolis because he believed that he had a calling. The man invites Conner to have some brandy with him, and when Conner pours the drinks, the man offers a toast to new friends. Conner hesitantly drinks, and the man points out a cabinet with all of Lex's awards. He says that his son was a brilliant child, and admits that he's very proud of him. Lex is a scientist like the man was, but Lex was far beyond what he could ever hope to him. Conner asks why he beat Lex, and the man wonders if that's what Lex told him. He insists that it's a lie, and Conner says that it isn't.
Angry, the man tells Conner to leave. He then says that Lex was a stubborn and arrogant child. Lex was missing a moral compass, and he wouldn't be taught. The man figures that Lex knew what he was doing and resisted him. Conner suggests that Lex was scared, and the man tells him that Lex wouldn't cry no matter what he did to him. Despite that, Conner tells him that Lex would have done anything for his approval, and yells that he cared about the man's. The man wonders who he is.
The soldiers burst in and order everyone down. Conner drops to his knees and the man asks what's going on. Eve is watching and listening the via the soldiers' helmet-cams in the van outside, and one of the soldiers hits the man with a rifle butt. When Conner protests, another one hits him but the rifle butt glances harmless off. Eve warns them to stop, but Conner knocks over the soldier who attacked him. He attacks the others soldiers, and when they shoot at him the bullets bounce off of Conner. Conner moves at super-speed, knocking a kitchen divider at them, and then moves to stop two stray bullets from hitting the man.
More soldiers enter the house, and Krypto uses his heat vision to destroy one man's rifle. Conner shoves the soldier through a wall, and Krypto attacks another soldier. Two more soldiers toss a gas grenade at Conner, and he inhales the gas and then blows it out at the soldiers, knocking them back. A soldier fires a missile into the house, and Krypto snags it and sends it back. The missile slams into the soldier, killing him.
Eve realizes via her monitors that all of the soldiers are dead. Conner sees her in the van using his x-ray vision and goes out. Eve gets into the driver's seat and starts up the van, and Conner destroys the wheels with his heat vision. He then rips open the rear doors and Eve begs him not to kill her. Conner asks if Eve is with the soldiers, and she says that she's with Cadmus and she didn't want them to shoot at him. She explains that they shot because they were afraid, and they were afraid because they'd never seen anything like Conner before. Conner asks what he is, and Eve tells him that he's a genetic clone, designed to see if she could create a person. She explains that he was created from the genetic material of two different people blended together: a man and a superman.
Eve says that the superman was Superman, and Conner looks at the S symbol. He realizes that people love Superman, and Eve says that his other father is Lex. Conner figures that people don’t love him, and asks what Cadmus will do if they get him. Eve says that she thought they'd keep him alive, but now she isn't so sure. She warns that Superman doesn't know that Conner exists, and Conner doesn't want to meet Lex. Conner insists that he has to meet him and learn who he is, and Eve says that they should hit the road rather than let Cadmus take Conner.
The next day, Eve drives Conner and Krypto to her cabin at Lake Kipling. Conner wonders whose idea it was to create him, and Eve says that Cadmus hired her to explore cross-species cloning. She insists that making Conner wasn't wrong, and compares him to nuclear fission. Conner recites what he knows about nuclear fission, and Eve realizes that Conner has the genetic knowledge that his fathers had. Eve explains that she stayed at Cadmus when she could have left, deciding to be the one decent human still involved. She insists that she didn't abandon Conner, and Conner asks if he can call her "mom".
Walter and Mercy arrive at the Luthor house with more soldiers and clean up the bodies of the original team. Mercy calls Lex to report that Eve and Conner are in the wind, but they're tracking them.
Eve stops at a diner and goes in to get food while Conner and Krypto wait in her SUV. Conner sees a man grabbing a woman and goes over to intervene. Eve comes out and sees Conner, and tells him to let it go. The man gets his girlfriend into the car and they drive off. She tells Conner that if Conner makes a scene, they'll find them faster. Eve explains "consequences", and tells Conner that he doesn't have the maturity to do what's in his best interests. Angry, Conner says that he's leaving and Eve orders him not to go. When Conner stops, Eve asks him what he was going to do to the man. Conner angrily yells that he doesn't know, and might have killed him. The noise sets off car alarms, and Eve says that he should come with her if he wants to know who he is.
Eve drives to San Francisco and they wait outside a gated and abandoned facility. As they wait, Eve drinks alcohol and Conner asks why she drinks it. Eve says that it's what adults do when they don't like how they're feeling. She explains that they're at Cadmus Industries, welcomes Conner "home", and takes him and Krypto inside. Eve says that there was a butane explosion there and the facility as condemned. It was a chemical factory and lab, and everyone was evacuated. When Conner wonders why they're there when he wanted to meet Lex, Eve says that the place is Lex.
The trio go inside and Conner says that he wants to leave. Eve tells him that there are bad science experiments, and Cadmus was one of them. She says that Lex wanted to clone Superman but couldn't figure out how, and Eve told him that he needed to use human genes to stabilize the alien ones. Eve gave Lex the idea to use his DNA to create Conner. She tells Conner that she's bad because she didn't try to stop Cadmus, and she just wanted to see if they could do it. When Conner tells her that he just wants to leave, Eve tells him that all of the answers are on the other side of a nearby door and Conner is the only one who can open it... but she suggests that he don't.
Conner goes to the door and stares at it. Krypto barks in protests, and Conner tells him that he has to. The dog moves away and Conner rips the door open. On the other side are cylinders containing subjects 1-12. They're half-grown and twisted, each one closer to a full humanoid. The last one has Conner's face. Conner tells Eve that he knows what he is now, grabs her by the throat and lifts her into the air, and asks what the hell is the matter with her.
After a moment, Conner drops Eve and figures that she brought him there to see that he's a monster. Eve insists that she brought him there to warn him that he's not Lex and he's not Superman: he's both. She tells him that he has to be very careful, and Conner apologizes for getting mad. Eve warns that sometimes the anger will be Conner's and sometimes it'll be Lex's, and Conner has to learn to control it. She asks why he attacked the scientists, and Conner says that he heard Krypto howling in pain as they experimented on him. Conner explains that he killed the soldiers because they came after the old man, and Eve tells him that he's a person rather than a monster. It means that Conner's life is going to be difficult, complicated, and painful... and sometimes full of joy. She tells him to remember that people are what they do, not what they say they're going to do. Eve advises Conner to run and not use his powers because that will draw attention to him. Above all, he shouldn't be a hero.
Mercy and her soldiers enter the facility, and Eve and Conner hear them. She tells Conner that it's time to start running, and admits that they didn't make her bad. Eve says that Conner has a chance to be better than she is, and tells him to go. When Mercy and the soldiers enter the chamber, Eve is alone. She tells Mercy that Conner tried to kill her. Mercy doesn't believe her, reveals that she has Kryptonite bullets, and says that now they're going to do it her way before leading her soldiers off.
Superman and Krypto walk down the street, and Conner walks past one man beating another. He hears an explosion and sees the window washer platform slam into the street. Looking up, Conner sees Dick trying to keep Robin from falling. Robin falls and Conner leaps up, catching him and dropping onto a parked car. Robin asks who Conner is, and Conner says that he isn't sure yet.
The two men get up and Robin thanks Conner for saving his life. Mercy fires two shots into Conner's chest, and Dick and Kory arrive. Robin tells them what happened, and Mercy watches them for a second before leading a Kryptonite-collared Krypto off.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 12, 2019