Project Cadmus is a scientific research center located just outside of Metropolis. It is primarily known for its achievements in genetic engineering and it's human cloning capabilities. Its notable creations include the Golden Guardian (a clone of the original Guardian) and Dubbilex, a DNAlien telepath who resembled a tall grey alien with horns.
Dabney Donovan was a "mad scientist" who was ultimately fired from the Project because he felt there should never be limits in understanding the potential of the genetic code. Donovan had largely been accredited for the non-human creations of the Project, commonly referred to as DNAliens (human beings cloned then genetically altered to discover superhuman potential while also giving them a more "alien" appearance). Such experiments resulted in the creation of monsters based on Donovan's favorite horror films (who lived on a small artificial planet on Earth called Transilvane), and step-ups who called themselves "the Hairies," super hippies who had developed an evolved knowledge, and developed transport and defense technology beyond the understanding of modern day humans. The Hairies lived outside the direct control of Cadmus, in a forest of living tree-houses called the Habitat. An offshoot of the Hairies was later introduced as a biker gang called the Outsiders (not to be confused with the super-hero team, the Outsiders).
The Project had an "opposite number" in the form of the Evil Factory, a monster-creating project set up by Darkseid as part of Intergang and run by two of his servants called Simyan and Mokkari. They were originally created at Project Cadmus, but due to the cruelty of the experimentation they experienced at the hands of Dr. Dabney Donovan, they developed a great deal of hatred towards all humanity. They formed a scientific enclave called "Brigadoom" as a means of pleasing Darkseid by creating an army of monstrous genetic constructs they are constantly creating to assist Darkseid in his quest of causing terror and destruction to the people of earth until Darkseid masters the anti-life equation, which would allow Darkseid and his cohorts like Simyan and Mokkari rule over their surroundings as opposed to humanity ruling over them and looking down on them as their creator once had.
In recent years, Project Cadmus gained notoriety for developing a clone human/Kryptonian hybrid. By mixing genetic samples gained by billionaire Lex Luthor, along with those of the Man of Steel Superman, the scientists at Cadmus were able to create their own "Super Boy".  Initially, Superboy despised the youthful nickname attributed to him, preferring instead to be called "Superman". He escaped from the Cadmus labs along with a group of cloned children, which represented the second generation of the Newsboy Legion. The scientists responsible for creating the cloned Legion were actually the living members of the original Newsboy Legion who were active in the mid 1940s.
When Lex Luthor's human body was destroyed following a near-fatal plane crash, Cadmus technology aided in creating a clone duplicate for him. With Luthor's brain inhabitating a younger, stronger body, he passed himself off as his own son, and took control of his "father's" operations at Lexcorp. Initially, this new Luthor seemed to work towards the benefit of mankind, but before long he began to suffer from a debilitating degeneration process that was killing off all of the Cadmus Clones. In true Luthor fashion, he decided that if he were to truly die, then he would take Metropolis with him. In an event known as the Fall of Metropolis, Luthor's goal was nearly realized as he attempted to destroy the city with a barrage of missiles.  Project Cadmus was believed destroyed following the after effects of the "Clone Plague", but in truth, they merely relocated their facilities further underground.
Some time later, the Newsboy Legion members retired, and Project Cadmus was placed under new management.  The new project head was Mickey "the Mechanic" Cannon, a former Suicide Slum resident with a reputation for being able to "fix" anything, a car or a country. The new head of genetics was Dr Serling Roquette, a teenage genius with a crush on the Guardian and Superboy. Dabney Donovan was also brought back, under armed guard. Cannon made Cadmus more open to the public.
Shortly after this the Project temporarily came under the control of the Evil Factory, now revealed to be part of an organization called The Agenda, run by Lex Luthor's ex-wife, Contessa Erica Alexandra del Portenza.
When Luthor became President of the United States, Cannon and the Guardian became uncomfortable with the amount of government pressure on the Project. Following Our Worlds at War, the entire project disappeared.
Its replacement was the OMAC Project, part of the spy group called Checkmate. This project used nanotech to convert otherwise ordinary (and unknowing) individuals into superhumans called OMACs, controlled by a satellite called Brother Eye. The role to of the OMACs was to control and conquer anyone on Earth Checkmate considered a threat.
Bruce Wayne had helped found this Project, but realized just how out of control the Project had become after he discovered heroes like Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) had been killed by OMACs. Wayne as Batman eventually stopped the Project.
Free of OMAC control, the project has once again become known as Project Cadmus.
The DC Universe heavily changed its continuity into the DCnU following the events of Flashpoint in 2011. This was part of an effort to make storylines more accessible to newer readers, beginning with the New 52. This new timeline combines elements from the DCU, Vertigo Universe and Wildstorm Universe while drastically changing the origins and histories of characters.
In this new continuity, Cadmus has only existed for around five years. Founded as a stem cell research center, they grew exponentially to become the worldwide leader in bio-engineering and mapping the human genome. They're officially part of Checkmate.
The rogue sentient satellite Brother Eye begins attacking Cadmus facilities using OMAC to steal technology, as he perceives them to be a threat to his freedom. Checkmate begin investigate the destruction under Maxwell Lord's leadership, attempting to bring OMAC and Brother Eye in under their control. Mokkari is called in to hunt down OMAC with his Cadmus creations, but fails. It is revealed that Mokkari infiltrated Cadmus under Desaad's orders to steal New Genesis technology. He is carrying on secret experiments unbeknownst to his superiors. In Checkmate's final battle against Brother Eye, Checkmate's monsters are called in to help in the fight against OMAC.
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Appearances in Other Media
Project Cadmus has featured as an adversary of the Justice League in the animated series Justice League Unlimited. This version is a combination of the comics version of Cadmus, the Suicide Squad (which appeared in the series as Task Force X, its real name in the comics) and Checkmate.
In the series Cadmus is a government project designed to take precautions against the League going rogue. The project was started when Superman was brainwashed by Darkseid into invading Earth at the end of Superman: The Animated Series where the project was designed to deal with the Man of Steel if he were to attack the Earth again. The project's goals extended to the Justice League as well after the Justice Lords incident.
Members of this version of Cadmus include Amanda Waller, Professor Emil Hamilton, Tala, General Wade Eiling, Dr. Achilles Milo, Maxwell Lord, Hugo Strange, and Doctor Moon. In addition, they had also had access to Task Force X, which is the official name for the organization known in DC Comics as the Suicide Squad, for risky field missions.
Cadmus was later shown to be backed by Lex Luthor, who only financed the project in a grab for superpowers of his own. After taking what he needed from Cadmus, Luthor attempted to destroy it by hacking into an immense laser built into the League's Watchtower, but failed. It was then revealed that Brainiac was living inside him at the time, improving upon his physical health and strength while "subtly influencing [his] actions". After both of them were defeated, Cadmus ceased operations and the Justice League announced the establishment of a planetside base to improve their public relations.
They were responsible for creating Doomsday (a clone of Superman), Galatea (a clone of Supergirl who resembles Power Girl), the Royal Flush Gang, and the Ultimen (a team of genetically engineered heroes who are a Pastiche of several heroes created for the Super Friends series). And ultimately, Terry McGinnis/Batman II.
When the Joker took the Royal Flush Gang from Cadmus, he probably also stole the technology he used to overwrite his DNA into Tim Drake during Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker as explained in Epilogue.
The television series Smallville referenced a company purchased by Lex Luthor called "Cadmus Labs". This Cadmus, however, was just being used by Luthor as part of a larger plan. After it was taken from him in a hostile takeover by a woman pretending to love him and her father, it turned out that the project was a feint. The company was in major financial and legal trouble, and so the "lover" and her father were financially crippled.
- Adventures of Superman
- Guardians of Metropolis
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman: The Man of Steel
- Superboy (Volume 4)
- Appearances of Project Cadmus
- Organization Gallery: Project Cadmus
- Catalogued images featuring Project Cadmus