Titans United #2 continues to deliver the Superboy content we need.
Titans United #2
Jamal Campbell (cover artist), Rex Lokus (colors), Jose Luis (pencils), Carlos M. Mangual (letters), Cavan Scott (writer), Jonas Trindade (inks)
October 12, 2021
Not only does Conner Kent spend the first pages of the issue shirtless, but he becomes the focus of the issue. It’s revealed that the mysterious superpowers that non-metahumans were manifesting are the direct result of Cadmus Labs and the science that created Kon (through combining the DNA of Superman with that of Lex Luthor). This origin was used in the Titans HBO Max series as well, and it’s a great one, but I have to admit that I’m a little nostalgic for the Cadmus Labs that raised Superboy as a swaggering superteen. In the original Kon-El Superboy run, Kon’s Two Daddies were not revealed until long after his creation. I find it sad that this generation will only get to know this brat through back issues (although they are at least partially available on the DC Infinite app).
Although I am ambivalent about this new, angry Conner, I am gratified to see a comic center on Conner and people (particularly Dick, Kori, and Rachel) being concerned about him. It’s also good to see Dick being the leader that we know he is capable of being. Sometimes people forget that Nightwing isn’t “Batman Lite.” He shouldn’t be angsty and angry. Unlike the other Robins, Dick Grayson also grew up with Superman as a father figure, and the best writers remind us of that through how Dick interacts with people with empathy and care. It’s what makes him a great leader. I always thought that he and Conner should interact and understand each other on that level, and it was nice to see them talking, albeit during a chase sequence that was the result of essentially:
Dick: Conner no
Conner: Conner yes
The story picks up a few more stray plot devices from the Titans television show and will hopefully utilize them in interesting ways. Lady Vic, the British mercenary, makes an appearance assassinating the Cadmus Labs scientist the Titans needed to question. Blackfire, Starfire’s sister, also appears at the very end of the issue, where she may have abducted Conner from space–or possibly rescued him. After falling unconscious, Conner wakes up strapped down to a metal table (so my money is on “abducted”), but I’m just hoping that unlike the TV show, Blackfire and Conner won’t end up in bed together.
Because yes, dear readers, Kon and Jason continue their antagonistic banter, tugging at my shipper heartstrings. As I noted in my review of the first issue, this combination of antagonism and unresolved sexual tension was as unexpected as it is delightful. This issue only makes it worse (or maybe better). Here we see just how much Jason’s taunts have been affecting Kon. For two issues now, Jason has been poking at Kon’s insecurities at every opportunity, leading to the aforementioned punch in the first issue. Here is one of the highlights:
When Dick grounds Kon from a Cadmus mission, he runs away in frustration with Starfire giving chase, but he flies too high in the atmosphere, causing him to suffocate. His last thoughts before he loses consciousness are Jason’s words, repeating over and over in his mind.
Did I expect to be so into Conner obsessing over Jason Todd? No. Can I stop myself from wanting this mutual obsession to turn into the enemies-to-lovers romance we deserve? Also no. I am dying to know what will happen next. Will Jason be part of the team to rescue Kon from Blackfire? Will their banter turn into actual flirting? Will they come to realize how alike they are with their massive daddy issues, anger issues, and rebellious natures and fall in love, thus giving us the Superboy/(Ex-)Robin romance we deserve? Only time will tell.