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Superboy’s Friend and Ally

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Dubbilex was the first and foremost of the DNAliens, created by Project Cadmus at the order of mad scientist Dabney Donovan. Dubbilex, like many other products of Donovan’s lab, was an experiment in human cloning whose altered DNA gave him an alien appearance and super-powers such as telepathy and telekinesis. He also had the ability to emit what he called brain blasts, psionically inflicting violent headaches in his enemies. Despite his monstrous appearance and paranormal abilities, however, he was among the gentlest and most peaceful beings.

ABOVE: Superboy’s first meeting with Dubbilex – as retold in SUPERBOY #100 [2002].

Cadmus’ cloning experiments also led to the creation of a teenaged clone of Superman, whose identity was made public. When this so-called Superboy planned to embark on a world tour, Dubbilex was tasked to monitor him on Cadmus’ behalf. The tour stopped in Hawaii, where Superboy and his entourage – including unscrupulous manager, Rex Leech, and his teenaged daughter, Roxy – made their home.

The the introspective Dubbilex grew close to the Metropolis Kid, although their initial association was not without its tensions. But Dubbilex had led a sheltered life within the confines of  Project Cadmus, and the Kid introduced the DNAlien to the wonders of the modern world. Indeed, Dubbilex became more than a watchful eye to Superboy –  he became the hero’s trusted tutor and true friend.

Superboy, Dubbilex, Rex and Roxy Leech are Hawaii-bound in SUPERBOY #1 [1994].

When Superboy left Hawaii, Dubbilex returned to Cadmus and became their head of genetics. Superboy eventually returned to Cadmus as well, but tragedy struck when Dubbilex was manipulated by the sinister gene gnome. This dreadful development led to the horrendous death of reporter Tana Moon, Superboy’s first love, at the hands of the vengeful Amanda Spence. After attending Tana’s funeral, Dubbilex partly blamed himself for her demise. The gentle DNAlien left Cadmus to find solace at a monastery, where his spriritual introspection told him that Superboy needed to walk a new path without his aid.

Eventually, Project Cadmus was shut down by the United States Army, who confiscated all of their equipment and cloning technology. Only Dubbilex was left to mind the empty caverns of the once sprawling science center. In that capacity, Dubbilex emerged to assist Jimmy Olsen in managing his temporary super-powers.

When Jimmy Olsen investigated the mystery surrounding a meta-human mercenary, it led him directly to the doors of Project Cadmus. Unfortunately for Dubbilex, the mercenary known as Codename: Assassin had reached the DNAlien before the Daily Planet’s star photographer arrived. Dubbilex was able to share some of Cadmus’ darkest secrets with Jimmy before dying.

ABOVE: Dubbilex and Superboy say goodbye in SUPERBOY #100 [2002].
BELOW: Dubbilex recalls his fondness for Superboy in SUPERBOY #100 [2002].

 Powers & Abilities

Gifted with telepathy and telekinesis, Dubbilex is a formidable opponent. The DNAlien is also capable of brain-blasts, which induce powerful pain inside an adversary’s head.

 Cadmus Project Personnel

Dubbilex: Dubbilex the DNAlien – a Cadmus-created paranormal creature incubated from a human DNA strand – was gifted with telepathy and telekineses. Tasked with monitoring Superboy on behalf of Cadmus,  the isolated and introspective Dubbilex learned the benefits of friendship and humanity. Tragically, he was later murdered by the mercenary known as Codename: Assassin.
(see separate entry)

Guardian: Originally a Metropolis beat cop during World War II, Jim Harper became the shield-weilding Guardian to protect the residents of Suicide Slum. After his death, Cadmus used Harper’s cell tissue to produce a series of clones, all who continued his heroic legacy while protecting the security of Cadmus Labs. Guardian later discover he was great-uncle to Roy Harper, aka Arsenal.

Director Paul Westfield: The double-dealing director of Project Cadmus during its darker days, Westfield approved many dubious projects, including the cloning experiment that resulted in the creation of Superboy. It was believed that Westfield’s DNA was used in creating Superboy, but the Teen of Steel’s DNA donor was later revealed to be the nefarious Lex Luthor.

Dabney Donovan: One of the first Cadmus scientists, the deranged Dabney Donovan was responsible for creating countless beasts and monsters that terrorized the tunnels of Cadmus as well as Metropolis. Having cloned himself multiple times, Donovan has been reportedly killed on numerous occasions only to reappear later.

Serling Roquette: The youngest member of the Cadmus team, child prodigy Serling Roquette found a niche for herself in Cadmus’ recombinant genetics labs. The brilliant yet sheltered teenaged scientist nursed an unrequited crush on Guardian, but began to see Superboy in a new light after witnessing his bravery and courage.

Mickey “the Mechanic” Cannon: Active in covert operations since the late 1940s, Mickey Cannon’s reputation as “the fixer” is well founded. Complex problems — mechanical, organizational, or personal — all are worked out with Cannon’s magic touch. The government asked Cannon to head up Cadmus when it went public.

Colonel Adam Winterbourne: Cadmus’ government-appointed military liaison, Winterbourne returned to active duty after being rescued by Superboy from the “Wild Lands,” an island populated with human/animal hybrids. In that capacity, the ever-efficient Winterbourne was responsible for assuring the safety of Cadmus field operations.

Dr. Helen Angelico [Doc Angel]: Formerly romantically linked to Mickey Cannon, Dr. Helen Angelico made a name for herself as the world’s foremost expert in meta-human medicine. Known to her grateful patients as “Doc Angel,” she joined Cadmus at the behest of Mickey Cannon. Doc Angel has an ongoing rivalry with Dr. Sarah Charles of S.T.A.R. Labs.



 Essential Reading

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #136 [1971]: First appearance of Dubbilex.
Superman Annual (second series) #2 [1988]: First modern appearance Cadmus and of Dubbilex.
Adventures of Superman #506 [1993]: Superman rescues Superboy from some Cadmus DNAliens and the two, along with the Guardian, decide to return and confront the Cadmus brass to get some answers on Superboy’s origins and powers. Superboy relinquishes the “Superman” trademark back to the Man of Steel. Dubbilex is tasked with monitoring Superboy.
Superboy #1 [1994]: Superboy’s “Supertour USA” ends in Hawaii, where the Teen of Steel relocates along with Dubbilex, Rex Leech and Roxy Leech.
Superboy #57-56 [1998]: Cadmus is put under new management, led by Mickey “the Mechanic” Cannon, a former Suicide Slum resident with a reputation for being able to “fix” anything. The new head of genetics is Dr. Serling Roquette, a teenaged genius with a crush on the Guardian and Superboy. Dabney Donovan is also brought back, under armed guard. Superboy is also reunited with friend Dubbilex, who is now head of genetics. Cannon makes Cadmus more open to the public.
Superboy #70-75 [2000]: Dubbilex is manipulated by the gene gnome. This dreadful development leads to the horrendous death of reporter Tana Moon, Superboy’s first love, at the hands of the vengeful Amanda Spence.
Superboy #100 [2002]: Dubbilex reflects on his time with Superboy.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen Special [2008]: Jimmy Olsen, would-be star reporter, doggedly investigates the mystery surrounding Superman’s newest foe, Atlas! But the secrets behind the titan of yore lead Olsen across the country and into great danger as he must survive attacks by none other than Codename: Assassin! True origin of Guardian revealed. Death of Dubbilex.


Project Cadmus


Karl Kesel on Cadmus

Unpublished Karl Kesel Interview
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: So what brought you back to the series with # 50?

KK: Somewhere in there I’d been talking with Ron Marz on the phone, and Ron had been doing, I think, some really great stuff on Superboy. I was very impressed that he would take teenage problems like acne and give it a super-hero spin. I really was impressed by that, because it seems really obvious, but I never did that with Superboy, and he was doing it really well. But for whatever reason, Ron told me that he was thinking of moving on.

I wasn’t thinking, “Oh! This is my chance to come back on the book!” That really was not my intention, but I’m telling the honest truth when I say I actually woke up one morning, and I said, “My God, I know what I would do if I was back on the book! I would do ‘Jack Kirby does Jonny Quest!'” And as soon as I thought of that, I just could see the book so clearly in my head. Luckily, that transition between Ron and I could be worked out, because we had enough time to work it out, and it was, I think, a very smooth transition.


TTC: When Superboy returned from the Wild Lands, you brought him back to Cadmus, and you brought in different supporting characters. What were your goals there?

KK: Like I said, it was “Jack Kirby does Jonny Quest.” What I wanted was a young kid who traveled the world and met all sorts of weird monsters, and stuff like that. That’s what I wanted. I love Jonny Quest; I love Jack Kirby; let’s put ’em together and see what we get.

TTC: And Cadmus gave Superboy a platform to do that.

KK: Exactly.

ABOVE: Mickey Cannon’s Cadmus goes public in SUPERBOY #56 [1998].
BELOW: Serling “Doc Rocket” Roquette, Guardian
and the devious Dabney Donovan – from SUPERBOY #58 [1998].

TTC: I want to run through some of those supporting characters one by one, and get your impressions on them. First of all, Guardian.

KK: I’ve always loved the Guardian, and I’ve always thought that he’s an underused character that has a lot more potential than we’ve seen, so I enjoyed having a chance to play with him, to some degree. I think in many ways he becomes a father figure, [or] an older brother figure, for Superboy. He certainly becomes a mentor character, and I think that’s a very important role in Superboy’s life at this time in the book.

TTC: Mickey Cannon, “The Mechanic.”

KK: Yeah, I always loved him. I just loved his really clunky leg brace. I always liked him because he was gutsy and he wasn’t a wallflower. Really, the thing about Mickey Cannon is he wanted to be a super-hero, but because of his leg, he never would be able to, and I liked that angle to him. I enjoyed that character tremendously, actually.

TTC: Did you see him as the everyman in the group?

KK: I don’t know. Did I? Maybe. It’s hard for me to say. I can’t say that I ever really thought that, but maybe that’s how he came across. I do see him as a very grounded character, and in that way he would be very everyman. He is not the scientific genius, you know what I mean?

TTC: He’s blue-collar.

KK: He’s very blue-collar. There’s the word I’m looking for. He’s definitely blue-collar.

TTC: Dr. Serling Roquette

KK: She’s the wacky, colorful gal, the young genius that gave us some interesting colors to play off of Superboy, and set up a semi little triangle between Superboy and Guardian and her. It just was some interesting paces to put the character through, and she was a fun character. She was a lot of fun.

TTC: Dabney Donovan.

KK: Dabney’s a great character. Dabney’s great because you can’t trust him as far as you can throw him, but sometimes you need him. Obviously, we played a certain Hannibal Lector role with him for a while. I just loved that Dabney was totally, totally irredeemable, and you just never knew what he was going to do next because he was really crazy.

TTC: Colonel Adam Winterbourne.

KK: I will say he was the least developed of the characters, and I never really quite got a grasp on him. I felt we needed a military presence, and quite honestly, I thought it would be nice to have someone who wasn’t lily white in the cast. But I will be the first to admit, I never really got a handle on him, and that’s one of the reasons we wrote him out of the book.

TTC: Did you keep Dubbliex around to establish some continuity between Superboy’s old life and his new one?

KK: Well, yes and no. Certainly, there was that connection, but obviously, Dubbliex has a longer, stronger connection to Cadmus than Superboy does, and Dubbliex is just a great character. He’s great because he’s the Alfred sort of character. He isn’t an action-oriented character, thank God, because he’s so damn powerful Superboy wouldn’t even need to be in his own book if Dubbliex actually was a heroic character. He’s just visually great.


Sources for this entry: The Essential Superman Encyclopedia, DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by  Special thanks to Scott Redding for the information on this entry!

End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author

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