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Comic Book / The Third Kryptonian

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A third Kryptonian. He— or she— could be lost, alone, in need of help. Or a deadly threat to Earth. We had to know. And aside from that, I wanted to know. Another survivor of my long-shattered home. Like me, like Kara…

The Third Kryptonian was a 2007 Superman storyline, published in Superman (Volume 1) #668-670 and chronologically set during Last Son. Plotted by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by Rick Leonardi, this storyline tells the final fate of the alien ghetto of Kandor, a subplot which had been going on without apparent resolution since 1995, and clears the decks for the return of the real Kryptonian Bottle City in the pages of Superman: Brainiac.

Superman has been told there is an unknown Kryptonian hiding in Earth. Determined to find that person and ascertain whether they are friend or foe and their reasons for hiding, the Man of Steel starts a planet-wide search with help of Batman in order to find the missing Kryptonian.

Meanwhile, the news of Kryptonians living in Earth have reached the ears of someone who has vowed to kill each and every survivor… and is willing to destroy Earth in order to achieve his goal.

Tropes found in this storyline:

  • Adaptation Species Change: Pre-Crisis Kristin Wells was an Earthwoman descendant of Jimmy Olsen. In this story, she's a Kryptonian whose real name is Karsta Wor-Ul.
  • Badass Family: This story features Superman, his best friend, his cousin, his alternate reality cousin, his foster son and his dog fighting together for the first time ever.
  • Bar Brawl: Karsta Wor-Ul and her companions were ambushed by Almeracian soldiers when they stopped by an alien bar right after leaving Krypton.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • When Amalak launches a coordinated attack against Superman and his family, Batman heads towards the Fortress of Solitude right away, knowing instinctively what Superman expects him and wants him to do. They have been fighting together for a long, long time.
    • Superman and his whole family battle Amalak's pirates back-to-back.
  • Batman Gambit: As fighting Amalak's men off, Superman suddenly shouts "I have to protect Kandor" and flies off, knowing Amalak will think him stupid enough to give away the city's location, and chase after him.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Amalak uses a mind-probe to invade Superman's mind and discover Kandor's location. However, Superman's strong-willed enough to fight back, and he's even able to exploit the mind-link to figure out why Amalak hates Kryptonians.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Superman is weakened and cornered by Amalak's pirates when Supergirl, Power Girl and Krypto crash into the place.
    • Shortly afterwards, Superman and his family gang up on Amalak, but they're unable to overwhelm him due to their own injuries and exhaustion... until Karsta comes along and powers them back up with solar grenades.
  • Broken Bird: Karsta Wor-Ul ran away from her home and spent centuries being hunted all across the galaxy, losing her husband and all of her friends in the process.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Amalak's non-powered minions are confident that their weaponry can take several Kryptonians out. It never crosses their minds that their weapons were adequate enough to hunt down desperate stragglers on the run, but now they're going to face several long-experienced heroes accustomed to deal with anti-Kryptonian weapons and enemies more powerful than themselves. The result is a mostly one-sided curbstomp.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Karsta Wor-Ul runs away during Amalak's initial attack, leaving Superman and his family to their own devices. She makes it to her ship, and is on the verge of leaving the Solar System as her Kryptonian kin keep Amalak busy, when she decides to return and help them fight him off.
  • Continuity Nod: Supergirl mentions in passing she and Power girl spent a while in Kandor.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Amalak got anti-Kryptonian weapons manufactured for his pirate crew: Green Kryptonite-powered sniper rifles, knives which give off red sunlight radiation, Kryptonite flechettes...
  • The Empire: Krypton was a star-spanning, pretty brutal Empire several centuries ago.
  • Fantastic Drug: Karsta grows alien medicinal plants in her yard. She smokes a Bolenthi herb for pain relief, but some human teenagers stole and smoked her crops. It made them super-strong... and crazy.
  • Genocide Backfire: Several centuries ago, Amalak's home world was devastated by a Kryptonian army squad while Amalak was off world. When Amalak returned and discovered his people had been wiped out, he swore vengeance on all Kryptonians.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: In the Back Story, Karsta and many of her friends in the Kryptonian Stellar Navy became pirates and mercenaries after the navy was disbanded. Returning home would have cost them the powers they gained under yellow suns, as well as their cherished lifestyles as soldiers. However, many of them eventually returned to Krypton or retired to more peaceful lives.
  • Home Base: Back when this story was written, Superman had just vacated his Amazonian base and rebuilt his iconic Arctic Fortress of Solitude.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Karsta Wor-Ul sometimes killed people to survive during her time as a runaway outlaw. She isn't proud of it, and she wonders whether she could have found another way, but she points out she was trying to keep herself alive.
    Superman: You... killed them? A ship full of law officers, doing their duty?
    Karsta Wor-Ul: They'd have killed us, if they could have. I'm not proud of it. But I've done a lot I'm not proud of. And maybe I had to and maybe I didn't, but it's done, and there's no taking it back.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Amalak murders Karsta Wor-Ul's husband by running an energy spear through his chest.
  • Implacable Man: Amalak spent centuries tracking down and killing Kryptonian survivors. He'll not be satisfied until every last one of them is dead.
  • Instant Costume Change: Supergirl is walking around a market in her civilian clothes when she is ambushed by Amalak's troops. In a blink she changes clothes in the middle of the street and strikes back.
  • Kick the Dog: Amalak sends out his minions to kill all Kryptonians on Earth, including Krypto since his hatred for Kryptonians extends to animals. Subverted in what they get mauled by Krypto.
  • Kryptonite Ring: It's revealed that Batman kept secretly working on Superman-stopping plans after Infinite Crisis...which is because he isn't amused when Superman mentions he is already aware of it.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Amalak's pirates are armed with all kinds of Kryptonite-based weapons to hunt down Kryptonians: Kryptonite-powered laser beams, Kryptonite flechettes... During the fight, Superman guesses Amalak synthesizes his own artificial substitute, too.
  • The Lost Lenore: Karsta's husband was murdered by Amalak several centuries before her meeting with Superman.
  • Mind Probe: Amalak uses a headdress-like device to try to force Kandor's location out of Superman.
  • Moral Myopia: Amalak –a space pirate renowned for his cruelty and blood lust- deems Superman –of all people!-, his family and his dog murderers because of an act of genocide committed centuries before they were born. Notice he has no issue with mass killings orchestrated by him.
  • The Mourning After: Karsta's husband Ro-Kul got murdered several centuries ago. She's remained celibate since then.
  • Noodle Incident: Karsta mentions she heard voices of alleged Kandorians calling for help one night several centuries ago, but she never found out what that incident was about.
  • One-Man Army: Amalak is powerful enough to fight back four mad Kryptonians. Granted, they were injured and exhausted, but still…
  • Power Limiter: Superman has Chris Kent wear a watch much of the time that emits red sunlight to keep him normal as he hasn't learned to control his powers yet.
  • Punched Across the Room: When Superman first arrives at Karsta's lodge, she punches him across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Karsta may look like a fit fifty-years-old woman, but she's several hundreds of years old.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Amalak hates Kryptonians because a group of them wiped his race out several centuries ago. He doesn't care if you were born long after his people's genocide, you were born in another universe or you are a dog. If you are a Kryptonian, he wants you dead.
  • Revenge Myopia: Amalak hates Kryptonians because of how the Stellar Navy slaughtered his planet, but he casually notes that he's willing to kill everyone on Earth to slaughter Superman, Karsta, and Supergirl. Of course, it's implied that he was an Ax-Crazy Space Pirate even before he learned of his home planet's destruction.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Karsta is green-eyed, and she was a redhead before her hair went grey.
  • Skipping School: Superman catches his foster son Chris Kent skipping school. When confronted, Chris excuses himself by telling everybody was mocking him due to his inability to fit in with human kids.
  • Space Pirates:
    • Karsta and her friends joined a pirate band for a while after becoming hunted exiles.
    • Amalak leads a band of blood-thirsty space pirates.
  • There Is Another:
    • Superman thought he and his family were the last Kryptonians until he learned about the existence of another refugee.
    • Karsta thought she was the last survivor until she heard about Superman and later Supergirl, Power Girl and Krypto.
  • Uncertain Doom: Amalak smashes the bottle-shaped interface between Kandor and the real world. Superman can't reach the alien ghetto and he never finds out whether the Kandorians are alive or not; and they aren’t ever mentioned when the real Kandor is found and rescued several months later.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Amalak sends his minions to destroy Supergirl, Power Girl and Krypto, expecting an easy and total victory. Instead, all of his men are defeated.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Karsta's companion Jav-Nur is last seen in a flashback where they ambush a group of cops. He's absent from subsequent flashbacks where she meets her husband and Amalak starts hunting Kryptonians. Presumably he dies at some point, but Karsta isn't quite sure that all of the other deserters from the Kryptonian Stellar Navy and their descendants have been killed by Amalak.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: When Amalak heads towards the Fortress of the Solitude to destroy Kandor, he finds Batman waiting for him at the gate, clad in Kryptonian power armor, and calmly stating Amalak isn’t making it past him.