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Why does superman become superweak around kryptonite?

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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott Burke

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Posted March 27 2005 - 02:10 PM

I don't know if this is the appropriate forum for this question, but being an avid superman fan for most of my life, I cannot figure this out. If kryptonite is just a rock from his home planet, why doesn't it just take away his "super" abilites and make him a "normal" human? Why does it make hime "super" weak where he cannot do anything? Thanks for the information.

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted March 27 2005 - 02:25 PM

It's based on the principle of radiation. His home planet did nothing to him. But krpytonite is fragments of the post-doomsday planet, so it emits a radiation specific to body-type that causes reactions similar to how normal radiation affects us. The question you should be asking is if it's radiation, why doesn't the first exposure to it mess him up permenantly? Once a human being is exposed to radiation on a level that would cause such a reaction, they're pretty much screwed. Over all, it's a plot conceit to make an invulnerable man vulnerable.

#3 of 29 OFFLINE   James T

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:24 PM

They did that in an episode of Lois & Clark. It was pretty funny when they showed the aftermath of Clark using a razor for the first time "I cut myself...time after time after time after time". And unless they changed something, Kryptonite is radioactive to humans as well, just has a slower reaction. So someone like Lex, who had a ring on his finger got Cancer. I believe they also did a similar episode on the Justice League.

#4 of 29 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted March 27 2005 - 04:52 PM

Might be other types too.

#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted March 28 2005 - 11:35 AM

It does exactly that when Superman is exposed for short periods or to low doses of the radiation, or when the kryptonite is kept some distance away from him. The effects can vary considerably.

Of course the real answer to your question is, "because if he didn't have any weaknesses, he'd be a pretty boring character". In other words kryptonite's effect on Supes is less a by-product of radiation than it is a by-product of plot. Posted Image



#6 of 29 OFFLINE   RobertR


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Posted March 28 2005 - 11:40 AM

Yeah, that's why the writers came up with multiple variations of kryptonite, green (kills him), gold (takes away his powers), red (crazy unpredictable effects), all for the purpose of alleviating the consequences of an "invulnerable" character.

#7 of 29 OFFLINE   DustinLC


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Posted March 28 2005 - 11:42 AM

But you know the real reason. It's not perfect with the kryptonite idea but you got an invincible man here. He has to have some weakness to have any kind of story at all.

#8 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott Thomas

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Posted March 28 2005 - 12:22 PM

From what I read, Kryptonite radition absorbs the yellow rays that superman collects in his body which makes him vurnable. Kryptonite is also harmful to humans, if exposed to long periods of time

#9 of 29 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted March 28 2005 - 12:49 PM

I'm also with the idea that kryptonite is harmful to human's if exposed to long enough. There have been countless charactors on Smallville who got their abilities from kryptonite in one form or another.

I always thought that the reason he get's so weak around the stuff is because our yellow sun is giving him such strength, that when he's exposed to a fragment of his home planet it causes his entire system to "crash", so to speak, so fast that his body cannot recover fast enough.

It's like, if our sun is causing the atoms and molecules in his body to become hyper-active, kryptonite slows them down to a crawl in seconds, then he get's weak. Like he's going into "sun-shock", to coin a new phrase.

That was always my take on it anyway.
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#10 of 29 OFFLINE   CoreyII


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Posted March 28 2005 - 01:04 PM

Also, if you read the 4-part DC Comics mini-series Kingdom Come, you will discover that at the point that the story takes place Superman has been on earth long enough to have grown immune to Kryptonite. By the way Kryptonite isn't his only weakness, there is of course magic or anything to do with the supernatural, and also alien weaponry (depending on the species). I once remember hearing that sufficient nuclear blasts (energy) can also kill Superman, but this has yet to be truly confirmed within the pages of comic books. The Dark Knight, either issue #3 or #4 dealt with this idea.

#11 of 29 OFFLINE   Thomas Newton

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Posted March 28 2005 - 03:14 PM

In some versions, red sunlight, or even red-tinted light, takes away his powers immediately. For instance, in Superman:TAS, where the Preserver told the caged Kal-El that simulated Kryptonian light had cancelled his "unnatural powers" and that "I always strive for complete accuracy in my simulations."

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   Ron Etaylor

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Posted March 29 2005 - 11:25 AM

I think it's cool that a person from Krypton that comes to earth becomes invulnerable, yet an inert mass from Krypton can be lethal to the person. There's a kind of Yin/Yang to it.

#13 of 29 OFFLINE   Joe Szott

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Posted March 30 2005 - 04:39 AM

The problem I have with the whole Superman/Kryptonite thing is this: why the hell didn't the kyptonians ALL move away from krypton at the first opportunity and never return? You'd think that the whole invulnerable superbeing thing would be an attractive reason to move next door. And while they were at it, toss Krypton into the nearest black hole and enjoy your total universal domination henceforth. Obviously super brains wasn't a part of the package.

#14 of 29 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted March 30 2005 - 04:54 AM

Well because a significant amount of the ruling organization didn't believe there actually was a problem and that Jor-El was overstating and exaggerating matters. On a side note, given how the appearance of Superman has evolved over the years, I'm surprised he hasn't been subpoenaed by Congress to answer charges of Krypto-Steroid use. For that matter, doesn't Signourney Weaver look like she's taken some of that stuff too?

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   BrianW



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Posted March 30 2005 - 05:28 AM

In other words, it short-circuits his Mojo. That works for me.
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#16 of 29 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted March 30 2005 - 06:33 AM

Also, I believe something was supposed to have happened to the Kryptonite between Krypton and Earth - that the forces destroying the planet had infused it with some radioactive properties, much like Red K was said to be Green K which had passed through some sort of ionizing storm.
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#17 of 29 OFFLINE   Joe Szott

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Posted March 30 2005 - 07:25 AM

So the kroptonians were all super-people on Krypton before it exploded? Is that why they didn't move away, because they were already super-people at home?

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted March 30 2005 - 08:53 AM

Where did you get this idea?
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#19 of 29 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted March 30 2005 - 04:13 PM

Why from Colorado-Kryptonite of course!

#20 of 29 OFFLINE   Joe Szott

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Posted March 31 2005 - 03:28 AM

Common Sense?

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