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Holy anachronisms, Batman!
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Kryptonite is the name given to shards of matter cast off from the planet Krypton after its destruction.
A proto version of the material appeared in the rejected 1940 Jerry Siegel story "The K-Metal from Krypton". In that story the material drained Superman of his powers while given normal humans superhuman powers.
The actual term "kryptonite" first appeared in The Adventures of Superman radio show in June 1943 and was used as a way for Collyer to have a vacation and keep the show going (another voice actor would simply moan to present Superman helpless in the kryptonite trap)
The substance formally appeared in the comics in 1949 with Superman Vol 1 61 but was red not green in color.
In Pre-Crisis Continuity, depending on the particular dimension such as Earth-One, there were many forms and shades of Kryptonite, while others showed only one form such as Earth-Two and Earth-Three. As far as Earth-One and related alternate realties were concerned Kryptonite was a transuranium element that decayed to iron and didn't chemically react with oxygen (which was used to explain why small rocks of Kryptonite didn't burn up when entering Earth's atmosphere).
All others forms of Kryptonite in the New Earth dimension are artificially created from Green through certain techniques to produce these other forms, such as radiation bombardment to accelerate Green's half-cycle into Red. Luthor has successfully recreated Gold in the New Earth dimension, which strips all power processing of Kryptonians' bodies, though seemingly it is only temporary in its effect and not permanent, unlike the Pre-Crisis Earth-One Gold Kryptonite.
Other existing realities, such as the Time Trapper's pocket dimension, have naturally occurring alternate forms of Kryptonite. With the exception of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (where Ultraman is affected by blue Kryptonite from another reality), this Kryptonite only affects Kryptonians who originate from the same source dimension.
Exposure to Kryptonite can have a wide variety of effects depending upon its color and present form, the majority of them detrimental if not outright deadly.
- Pre and Post-Crisis Green Kryptonite is the most common form of Kryptonite and occurred both as a metallic ore and crystalline forms. Pre-Crisis Green Kryptonite would quickly strip a Kryptonian of their superpowers and if exposed long enough kill them turning their corpse green. However, Green Kryptonite was harmless to non superpowered Kryptonians and humans. Post-Crisis Green Kryptonite was deadly to all Kryptonian life and would drive out the the solar energy stored in a Kryptonian's cells. Also, Post-Crisis long term exposure to Green Kryptonite produced cancer in humans as demonstrated by Lex Luthor who put a piece into a ring he wore to ward off Superman. After several months the radiation produced cancer that forced Luthor to amputate the limb and eventually transplant his brain into a clone body.
- In the continuity of the Smallville television series, Green Kryptonite has the same effects on Clark Kent as it does on his comic book counterpart. Its effects on normal Earth humans are wildly more unpredictable. A regular human exposed to Green Kryptonite may suffer from any number of genetic mutations. Some develop temporary superpowers, others go insane, and some demonstrate no side effects whatsoever.
- NOTE: In Post-Crisis continuity, Kryptonite was formed because natural elements in Krypton fused together to form a new, radioactive element. The ONLY natural form of Kryptonite was green.
"Yellow Kryptonite" was part of a hoax masterminded by Lex Luthor. It was not actually Kryptonite, but a harmless yellow sphere (as were the other types of Kryptonite he used). He hoped the that Superman would think that it was Kryptonite and thus hold back - which he did. Luthor later learned it was not actually Superman he faced, but a Superman Robot.
- First seen on TV's Smallville, the only time it was ever used on Clark was in the Season Four episode "Crusade", when he was reprogrammed as Kal-El. Martha Kent placed a chunk of Black Kryptonite (given to her by Dr. Swann's assistant, Bridgette Crosby) on his chest and the two personalities physically split. Clark then used the Black Kryptonite to eliminate Kal-El.
- In the Season Eight episode "Doomsday" Chloe used Black Kryptonite to split Doomsday from Davis Bloome turning them into two different entities.
During certain circumstances, perhaps only at the time of creation, Black Kryptonite can also affect humans, causing them to split into two different beings, one manifesting a good and pure personality, and the other an evil personality. The only case of it ever affecting humans occurred in the episode "Onyx" when an experiment with Green Kryptonite went awry and caused Lex Luthor to split in two.
- In Post-Crisis continuity, Black Kryptonite was recently used by Lex Luthor at the behest of Darkseid to expose Supergirl's true "nature".
- In Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #70, Silver Kryptonite is part of a joke played by Jimmy to celebrate Superman's silver anniversary. It does not have any powers; it is just a prop.
- In Smallville, Silver Kryptonite is an artificial form of Kryptonite created by Professor Milton Fine (the human alias of the Kryptonian artificial intelligence known as Brainiac, using ordinary rock and the liquid metal that his body is made of. When Clark is pricked by this artificial form of Kryptonite, he begins having paranoid delusions and becomes convinced that his friends and family are out to destroy him. Silver Kryptonite causes hallucinations, such as an imagined conversation between Clark and Professor Fine, and delusions that what is actually occurring is, in fact, something much more sinister.
- In Post-Crisis continuity, Silver Kryptonite demonstrates certain mystical properties that are of great value to the supernatural community. Two known samples of this "magic Kryptonite" have been forged into a pair of twin medallions known as the Ach-om Rashay - the Amulet of Mindfulness. One-half of the amulet was located inside of a volcano on Dinosaur Island while its twin was forged into a stone tablet found at the Oblivion Bar. For Kryptonians, exposure to Silver Kryptonite yields effects similar to that of Cannabis on a human being. Those affected by it experience a loss of inhibition, altered perceptions, extreme hunger cravings, and some psychotropic hallucinations.
- In the Supergirl TV series, Silver Kryptonite induces hallucinations. After coming into contact with it, Superman believes his cousin to be Zod.
In Supergirl (Volume 4) #79, when Linda Danvers takes the original Kara Zor-El's place and arrives in the Pre-Crisis era, there is a comical scene where Superman is apparently exposed to Pink Kryptonite, with the implication that it temporarily turned him gay.
In an early appearance of Kryptonite (Adventure Comics #171), the Kryptonite that appeared was purple, but it acted like green. Some speculate that purple may have been an incredibly rare version of Kryptonite that disappeared, but the chances of this are unlikely and it is most likely because of the writer's indecision over color, or a coloring error.
Kryptonite-X or Kryptisium
Professor Hamilton coined this term to refer to the change that occurred to the Kryptonite that the Cyborg Superman blasted the Eradicator with when it passed through the latter and struck Superman. Instead of being lethal, it restored Superman's powers. Unfortunately, it also apparently clung to him and caused him to absorb solar energy at a rapidly accelerated rate, eventually causing his powers to go out of control and his body to build more mass. Superman was purged of it after battling the Parasite. Not to be confused with X-Kryptonite.
Slow Kryptonite is a variety of Kryptonite produced by Metallo that affects humans. Why it is called "Slow Kryptonite" is because the rays sent out by normal Kryptonite are "fast" (high in frequency) and synced with the accelerated Kryptonian body. Slow Kryptonite, which releases "slow" rays, is synced with a slow human body, allowing it to affect it.
Kryptonite Plus was a batch of 30 or so multi-colored stones that were left behind by aliens, who said that they were "Kryptonite Plus" or Ultra-Kryptonite. They were actually Tikron stones.
Magno-Kryptonite is a variation of Kryptonite that tracks objects from Krypton. It apparently affects people from Krypton as well, and not even the strength of Superman or Bizarro can escape.
Jewel Kryptonite possesses the ability to amplify the psychic powers of people in the Phantom Zone.
- Jewel Kryptonite was introduced in season 9 of Smallville. It enabled Clark to make someone do whatever he asked of them but the process worked only once on each person, he could even effect himself.
Pre-Crisis: Anti-Kryptonite does nothing to harm super-powered Kryptonians, but has the same effects of normal Green K on non-superpowered Kryptonians.
Post-Crisis, this is the formal name of the Kryptonite source of the first antimatter universe that the reformatted Clark Kent of the Crime Syndicate of AmeriKa is powered by. This is very different from the second Antimatter Ultraman and long dead Earth-Three Ultraman who are both powered by the same Kryptonite that harms Superman.
Anti-Kryptonite from the first antimatter universe of Crime Syndicate of AmeriKa has no effect on matter-based Kryptonians.
Bizarro Red Kryptonite
This variety affects humans the same way Red Kryptonite affects Kryptonians.
In 52, the Cult of Conner - a religious sect dedicated to resurrecting Superboy, employed "Blood Kryptonite" in a preliminary ritual to resurrect Sue Dibny. While physically resembling Green Kryptonite, the "Blood" variant drains a portion of life force from present attendees, intended to direct this energy towards an effigy of the deceased as part of a Kryptonian resurrection ceremony. It is later revealed that this was a manipulation of Felix Faust and the rock was either regular Green Kryptonite or not Kryptonite at all.
Purple Spotted Kryptonite
A fake Kryptonite in the Krypto the Superdog cartoon, this variety made Krypto chase his tail.
Seen in an episode of Superboy, Superboy's friends are selling crystals which are labeled as "fake Kryptonite" to raise money for charity. These crystals are clearly false and the vendors make no dispute about it. However, they use humorous references such as "Buy one and have nothing to fear; even Superboy will run away from you!"
Bizarro White Kryptonite
Also seen in an episode of Superboy: In order to stop Bizarro's rampage, Superboy ran green Kryptonite through the same duplication process that created Bizarro from him in the first place. To Superboy's surprise, the resulting mineral had the effect of healing Bizarro, curing the instability that threatened to make him violently explode.
A synthetic Kryptonite created by Brainiac that mutated Superman, this variety made him grow a third eye on the back of his head. Superman tricked Brainiac with his mutation, however, as he waited for his return (he went into space to monitor the change) and allowed everyone on Earth to believe the K made him go mad, as he would never appear without a hat, and he would act out a hat's properties to solve crimes. He also used this to cover his eye. Brainiac attacked Superman with a dunce cap, but Superman used the force of heat vision from all three eyes to dissolve Brainiac's force field. He then took Brainiac into custody. It appears the Green K in Red/Green Kryptonite does nothing, although the mutation did last longer than 24 hours, perhaps indicating the Green K amplified the effects.
A synthetic version of Green Kryptonite was developed by Gus Gorman in the movie Superman III where he substituted the "unknown element" in Green Kryptonite with tar. The result of the exposure to the Synthetic Kryptonite was that it caused Superman's moral behaviors to change to the point of being evil and destructive, both to himself and to others. It also eventually caused Superman to split into two separate selves, the evil self, and the heroic self, battling for dominance until his heroic self-prevailed, restoring his normal moral behaviors.
Appearing only in the Challenge of the Super Friends episode "Super Friends, Rest in Peace", Krypton Steel was described by Lex Luthor as a "harmless form of Kryptonite" that only Superman could break. It is, presumably, a refined metal with similar properties to the iron alloy steel. Superman forged a box made of this material to store a weapon they confiscated from the Legion of Doom at some point. The Legion figured out how to trick Superman into opening the box for them.
Opal Kryptonite is a synthesized version of Kryptonite that was created by Terrence Sloan on Earth 2, which can apparently drive Kryptonians temporarily insane. Opal Kryptonite can only work for a short time, however, and will eventually burn out and turn into an ordinary stone after a certain amount of time.
In Post-Crisis continuity, Krimson Kryptonite appeared as an artificial construct of Mr. Mxyzptlk that eliminated Superman's powers. The effect of this Kryptonite could be everlasting until Luthor confessed to Clark Kent that the fifth-dimensional elf gave him the rock, without knowing Superman's alter ego. Unlike other Kryptonite, that one was not radioactive.
- The Kryptonite concept was first developed by Superman co-creator, Jerry Siegel for an unpublished Superman story. In Siegel's original vision, the deadly mineral was known as K-Metal.
- The first use of Kryptonite was actually in an unaired episode of the radio dramatization the Adventures of Superman titled "The Meteor From Krypton". The first comic book appearance of Kryptonite was in Superman #61.