Kal-El/Superman has been sent to Earth by his parents to protect him from Krypton's destrucion. On Earth, he develops superpowers and become the Eath's protector. Kryptonians don't have superpowers on her native world (Krypton would be a complete mess otherwise). This is explained by the fact that radiations affect Kryptonians; in particular, our yellow Sun is the source of Superman's powers whereas Krypton's red sun has no effect on Kryptonians.

In the recently leaked pilot of the new TV show Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, Kal-El's cousin, is sent to Earth by her mother with the explicit mission of

protecting her cousin, at that time a baby. She explicitly tells Kara that she will have super-powers on the Earth due to the yellow Sun.

In the comics, do Kryptonians know about the effects that yellow suns have on them? Do they use this information in any way (building an empire of yellow sun powered planets for example)?

Note that, although my question originated from it, I am not interested about answers about Supergirl TV show (I want to see how the show will develop its own storyline), but from comics answers. Informations about Man of Steel and the DC movieverse would be a nice bonus.

  • 2
    Russel Crowe seemed to know – calccrypto May 29 '15 at 13:32
  • @calccrypto So did Brando – Michael Itzoe May 29 '15 at 15:07
  • It was in the original superman movie: his mother did not like the idea that he would be so strange and have super-powers due to the yellow sun. – EngrStudent May 29 '15 at 16:05
  • @MichaelItzoe Darn. Forgot about that. It's been too long. – calccrypto May 29 '15 at 22:51
  • @calccrypto: thank you. I was reluctant to the idea of watching the beginning of the movie again. I just have thought of the trailer. – Taladris May 30 '15 at 2:17

Various versions of the El family, at least, have been aware of the effects of yellow sun light on Kryptonian physiology. As for taking advantage of it, most versions of Krypton in Jor-El's time have no means of doing so. Kal-El's and Kara Zor-El's craft are usually prototypes; most versions of Krypton at the time of its destruction are only just discovering or re-discovering interstellar travel.

The denizens of some versions of Krytpon have a biological attachment to the planet which prevents them from leaving; in these, overcoming this attachment is Jor-El's major advance.

Some versions have a long-lost age of space exploration; however the greatest impact of this travel is the dispersion of the occasional artifact or interbreeding with the indigenous population of the odd planet.

In the New Krypton storyline, the bottle city of Kandor was restored in Earth's solar orbit, on the other size of the sun. While Earth orbit may simply have been the most convenient choice at the time, knowlege of the effects of yellow sunlight seem to have quashed any thoughts of relocation.

In the many limited variations of the Superman story related through "imaginary", what-if, Elseworlds, etc stories, Kryptonians have come to Earth with plans beyond survival. An El ancestor comes to Earth in the 18th Century and assumes the throne of (an invincible) British Empire. Several stories have had members of Jor-El's generation arriving on Earth with plans ranging from benevolent meddling through conquest.

  • Nice answer. I was not sure about Krypton's capabilities in terms of space travel. – Taladris May 30 '15 at 2:16

In many versions of Superman, Kryptonians are an interstellar race, having several colonies. This is why Kara Zor-El and her family survive Krypton's destruction, because they are living on a colony world. So, Kryptonians likely do know the effects of Yellow sunlight, with any colonists living in star systems with yellow or blue suns developing powers. And, in many versions, Lara (Superman's birth mother) mentions that he won't fit in with humans, and will have powers and abilities. In Man of Steel, Jor-El replies to this, saying that he will "be a god to them", referring to humans. So his parents at least knew about the effects of the yellow sun.

In Man of Steel, it seems most of the colonies rely on Krypton for regular supplies, and are not self sufficient, seeing as when Zod and his soldiers arrive, they are all destroyed, and everoyne is dead.

In some versions of Supergirl, her parents send her to earth to avoid death. In the original version of Supergirl, they do not live on a colony, but on a peice of Krpton that survived the explosion, in a major Kryptonian city called Argo, and she is sent to earth because Argo drifts into a yellow sun's range, and turns into a giant peice of green kryptonite, and begins to kill everyone. In later versions, her family live on a colony, which begins to fail following krypton's destruction, and is sent to earth, again, because her parents know they are going to die. In every version, she is sent to earth because her parents know Kal-El was sent there, and will take care of her.

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