Kryptonite Man as seen in Action Comics Annual (vol. 2) #1 (December 2012) as part of The New 52.
|First appearance||Superboy #83 (September 1960)
Superman #650 (May 2006)
|Alter ego||K. Russell Abernathy (2006 version)
Clay Ramsay (The New 52)
|Abilities||Enhanced strength and endurance, Kryptonite radiation control|
The Kryptonite Man is the name of several supervillains who appear in stories published by DC Comics. The character first appeared as Kryptonite Kid in Superboy #83, and as Kryptonite Man in Superman #299.
The original Kryptonite Man started out as a teen-age alien criminal called the Kryptonite Kid, who flew in space through a green kryptonite cloud and became imbued with the properties of Kryptonite. This incarnation is most well known pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths from his appearance and death in the non-continuity story Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?.
Alien Kryptonite Man
A second Kryptonite Man appeared in Superman #397. He had been the ruler of a race of humanoids who inhabited Krypton eons before Superman's ancestors. When a nearby cosmic body threatens life on Krypton, the second Kryptonite Man, whose real name is never given, sends all of his people into stasis deep underground, while he himself remains on the highest mountain peak, to act as guardian. He is then placed in suspended animation for what is to be 20 years, at which time, he will awaken to determine if the planet is habitable once again. For some reason, the machinery fails, and the unnamed ruler slept for over a thousand years. Unfortunately, the very day he awoke is the day Krypton exploded. The mountain that the unnamed ruler's observatory was on is sent into space. Somehow, the king is able to feed off of the Kryptonite radiation the mountain produced. He eventually became dependent upon these energies to sustain his life at all times, weakening outside of its influence. This second Kryptonite Man blames the pink-skinned humanoid inhabitants (Superman's race) with the death of Krypton, never realizing it was a natural disaster. Eventually, after the Kryptonite radiation of the mountain began to fade, the Kryptonite Man encounters a race known as the Seeders. For unknown reasons, the ships of this race produce radiation similar enough to Kryptonite radiation, that Kryptonite Man could feed off of it, and survive. Kryptonite Man discovers the existence of Kryptonians on Earth, and stealing a Seeder ship, travels there to confront and kill them. Kryptonite Man attacks Superman, but their battle was interrupted by the Seeders, who took offense to Kryptonite Man's theft.
Living Radiation version
A character in the ongoing series Superman/Batman also uses the name Kryptonite Man. This version of the character is created when Captain Atom absorbed the explosive energy from Major Force, then went out to destroy the Kryptonite meteor. The Kryptonite energy somehow combined with the remaining energy from Major Force in Captain Atom to create a sentient energy force. After being siphoned from Captain Atom by Toyman, the energy was able to jump from body to body, taking over the personality and causing the body to release Kryptonite radiation.
K. Russell Abernathy
Most recently, soon after DC Comics' One Year Later jump, a scientist named K. Russell Abernathy was working on an experiment to use Kryptonite to develop a new energy source. The experiment explodes, infusing Abernathy's body with radiation. Clark Kent, powerless, summons the current Supergirl. Abernathy, in a misguided attempt to prove his energy theories, goes on a violent rampage; this includes deliberately attempting to injure Kryptonians. He is soon subdued and imprisoned.
He is taken to Stryker's Island, Metropolis' local prison. Lex Luthor sends insectile warriors who free Abernathy. The man is used in conjunction with large amounts of Kryptonite to free an ancient Kryptonian spaceship.
The New 52
The origin of the Kryptonite Man that debuted in The New 52 is told in Action Comics Annual #1 (Dec. 2012) (penned by Sholly Fisch). However, he first appeared in Action Comics #5, by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert.
Clay Ramsay was an abusive husband in Metropolis. One night, Superman broke into his house while he was beating his wife and threw him into Hob's Bay. His wife subsequently left him and no-one in the justice system could help him. Seeking revenge, he joined the mysterious "Project K-Man" (a private super-soldier project). Gaining superhuman powers, he attacked Superman but was defeated and arrested. He was released shortly afterwards by General Lane who believed he was needed as a countermeasure to keep Superman in check. K-Man agreed under the condition that the General help him locate his wife. It was revealed that Lex Luthor had played a major role in the K-Man's creation. Also (as revealed in flashback), he had stolen Kryptonite crystals from the government while being employed by them.
His subsequent activities are unknown, but a version of him from the near future was a member of the Anti-Superman Army. He was seen alongside two people with similar powers as part of a group called the "K-Men".
Powers and abilities
The original Kryptonite Man was an alien with natural powers of telepathy. After passing through the Kryptonite cloud, he gained enhanced strength and endurance.
The second Kryptonite Man could absorb Kryptonite energy, which gave him increased strength and abilities.
The third Kryptonite Man was a duplicate of Superman, with all the basic Kryptonian powers.
The fourth Kryptonite Man was a living cloud of kryptonite radiation that could possess others and could also heal the injuries of those it possessed (as evidenced when it took over a wounded Batman).
The fifth Kryptonite Man possesses a Kryptonite-enhanced physiology, the ability to see radiation spectrums, and the power to fire Kryptonite beams from his eyes. When he becomes angry, however, he loses his ability to think rationally, becoming a raging maniac.
The sixth Kryptonite Man can absorb radiation to fuel his superhuman abilities. This grants him flight and super-strength to rival Superman's abilities. If properly powered he has the ability to expel a large amount of radiation as a blast. This radiation can be detrimental or fatal to organisms based on what they are.
In other media
- The Kryptonite Kid appeared in the Superboy episode "Kryptonite Kid," played by Jay Underwood. A young man named Mike Walker, working at a military research base, was caught in a Kryptonite explosion while trying to find a way to make Superboy immune to Kryptonite radiation. The Kryptonite entered his bloodstream, as well as his nervous system, turning his skin green and affecting his mind in vicious ways. Walker became "living, breathing Kryptonite," able to fire Kryptonite radiation from his hands. Superboy was able to defeat him through enlisting the aid of a human man who had been arrested for fraud in taking advantage of his resemblance to Superboy in order to make money and attract girls. In exchange for getting the charges dropped, Superboy convinced the man to stand up to Walker, whereby Walker's Kryptonite beams had no effect on him. With Mike Walker distracted as to why he was not harming the Superboy impersonator, Superboy then wrapped up Walker in a lead tarp, where eventually the Kryptonite would be cleansed from Walker's body.
- Superboy (vol. 1) #83 (September 1960)
- Superman (vol. 1) #299 (May 1976)
- Superman (vol. 1) #397 (July 1984)
- Superman (vol. 2) #43 (May 1990)
- Superman (vol. 1) #650 (May 2006)
- Superman (vol. 1) #651 (June 2006)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #838 (June 2006)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #853 (October 2007)
- Action Comics Annual (vol. 2) #1 (December 2012)
- Action Comics (vol. 2) #13 (December 2012)
- Action Comics (vol. 2) #15 (February 2013)