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Krypton

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"As far as I've been able to piece together, I'm the last survivor of a planet called Krypton."
Superman[1]

Krypton was, before its destruction, the home planet of the Kryptonian race, including Kal-El, the future Superman. When Krypton was destroyed, however, fragments from the planet went into outer space, resulting in the creation of a harmful, radioactive substance known as Kryptonite.

History

Krypton2

The Planet Krypton.

Krypton orbited a red star named Rao, which also seemed to be an object of worship for the Kryptonian culture. It shared its solar system with at least one other inhabited planet, Argo, whose inhabitants shared many physiological characteristics with Kryptonians.

Its climate included both temperate regions, where the majority of the population lived, and sub-freezing temperatures at its polar ice caps.

Shortly before its destruction, the planet was administered by the Science Council, with the aid of Brainiac, an artificial intelligence with planet-wide oversight and control of Krypton. The planet's government seemed to have been peaceful, though a small military force was maintained for defense against outside enemies. This force attempted to seize control of the planet under the leadership of High General Jax-Ur, but the attempt failed, thanks to the efforts of Jor-El.

Jor-El also conducted geological surveys of the planet's subterranean layers, and concluded that the planet was unstable and on the verge of a catastrophic explosion. The Science Council found his conclusions outlandish, and considered the matter settled when Brainiac discounted Jor-El's findings.

Unknown to the Council, Brainiac had secretly concurred with Jor-El, but had refrained from informing the Council so that it could successfully download its data into a satellite, rather than be tasked to organize an evacuation of the planet. In creating Brainiac, the Council had programmed it too well: the artificial intelligence considered the survival of Krypton's history and knowledge of ultimately more importance than that of its people.

Mere minutes before the planet exploded, Jor-El and his wife, Lara, launched their infant son, Kal-El, into space, bound for Earth. Kal-El would grow up to be known as Superman, one of Earth's greatest heroes.

Krypton

Baby Kal-El blasting off from Krypton before it erupts.

The explosion culminated in a chemical/geological reaction that imbued the remaining fragments of the planet with a specific radiation level that proved harmful and ultimately fatal to Kryptonians and Argoans. Several of these fragments found their way to Earth, where they would be known as Kryptonite.

The shock waves from Krypton's explosion also ravaged the surface of Argo and tore the planet from its orbit, causing it and its inhabitants to slowly freeze over.

Aftermath of Destruction

Apart from Kal-El, the only known survivors of Krypton's destruction were Jax-Ur and his lieutenant, Mala, both of whom had been imprisoned in the Phantom Zone prior to the planet's destruction. However, because of the Zone's use as a penal dimension, other Kryptonian criminals may have likewise survived.

A more unfortunate legacy than Kal-El/Superman was Brainiac, which installed itself into an android body, in control of a massive warship, and traveled through the galaxy, "fulfilling" its programming by destroying countless worlds after absorbing their history into its library of knowledge. Thanks to the first meeting of Superman and Brainiac, Superman managed to save an orb containing the history of Krypton and its scientific accomplishments, which he preserved in the Fortress of Solitude.

The inhabitants of Argo likewise died out, with the sole exception of Kara In-Ze, the daughter of the planet's chief physician, Kala In-Ze. Several years after arriving on Earth, Superman traveled back to Krypton's solar system and found no remains of the planet except an asteroid belt of Kryptonite fragments. He followed a faint distress signal to Argo, and managed to revive Kara from cryonic stasis, bringing her back to Earth.

As the sole survivor of Krypton, Superman was sought out by the Preserver, an alien conservationist fixated on saving the last members of endangered species.

Bizarro became so carried away by the idea that he was himself Superman that he tried to re-mold Earth's environment to mimic Krypton's appearance.

Under the influence of the Black Mercy, Superman was trapped in a dream world where Krypton had never exploded, but was forced to "recreate" its explosion when he had to leave and decide for himself that the dream was not real.

Notable Kryptonians

Known Wildlife

Other species

  • Kryptonian canine

Appearances and references

Superman: The Animated Series

Justice League

Justice League Unlimited

Notes and references

  1. Burnett, Alan, Dini, Paul (writers) & Riba, Dan, Timm, Bruce (directors) (September 6, 1996). "The Last Son of Krypton, Part III". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 3 (airdate). Episode 3 (production). Kids WB!.

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