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Old 06-30-2013, 07:10 PM   #1
rc1980
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Default Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

I though this worthy of its own thread,
Ive had a read through various posts and seen this mentioned but never really addressed.

It seems that there has been a drastic shift in Kryptonian Physiology.

Its no longer a yellow sun that powers them.

Its a that the sun is younger (you could argue that means yellow) but also our atmosphere.

Most evident when Kal is aboard the Black Zero.. after the Krypton atmosphere hurts him.. he is then powerless.
Until Jor-El changes the atmosphere to earths. And instantly he has his powers.

Currently this doesnt make sense... as the atmosphere alone negated Clarks powers
- That means that he doesnt store his power at all.
- That being in any other atmosphere could negate his powers
- The kryptonians on the ship... they didnt gain any powers when it was switched to earths. You may say they needed to build up the power etc.. but why? Clark lost 33 years of build up in an instant.. and regained it in an instant...They should be affected exactly the same.

Plus how can "atmosphere" give you powers?

Also in the battle suits they seemed to have power... it seemed very very messy

can anyone explain it?

Of all the changes.. this one i do not get

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Old 06-30-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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Originally Posted by rc1980 View Post
I though this worthy of its own thread,
Ive had a read through various posts and seen this mentioned but never really addressed.

It seems that there has been a drastic shift in Kryptonian Physiology.

Its no longer a yellow sun that powers them.

Its a that the sun is younger (you could argue that means yellow) but also our atmosphere.

Most evident when Kal is aboard the Black Zero.. after the Krypton atmosphere hurts him.. he is then powerless.
Until Jor-El changes the atmosphere to earths. And instantly he has his powers.

Currently this doesnt make sense... as the atmosphere alone negated Clarks powers
- That means that he doesnt store his power at all.
- That being in any other atmosphere could negate his powers
- The kryptonians on the ship... they didnt gain any powers when it was switched to earths. You may say they needed to build up the power etc.. but why? Clark lost 33 years of build up in an instant.. and regained it in an instant...They should be affected exactly the same.

Plus how can "atmosphere" give you powers?

Also in the battle suits they seemed to have power... it seemed very very messy

can anyone explain it?

Of all the changes.. this one i do not get
A yellow sun is considered a younger star where as a red sun is much older.

The atmosphere twist I took as a subtle nuance that added to the realism of the film. We take it for granted the fact that our atmosphere actually filters out a lot of the harmful radiation that comes from our (yellow) sun (that is why the sky is blue and we don't instantly get skin cancer). Since that is the case then it would make sense that the Kryptonian atomosphere would filther out certain types of sun radiation -- more than likely the kind that does give Kryptoninans their super powers. This makes perfect sense, and is kind of surprising that it was never directly addressed in the comics (although there was a story where somthing like that happened when he traveled to another planet and in an episode of Smallville where they made the sun appear red). I would suspect that the atmosphere of Krypton contains some denser and more toxic elements than on Earth (as to why it is deadly to humans) and that Superman breathing the stuff for the first time after 33 years would be akin to a former smoker walking into a smoke filled room after the same length of time.

As far as his powers going away, I don't think he actually stores it or has reserves like he does in the comics. If you noticed in the film there were scenes where he would look to the sun as if he were recharging.

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Old 06-30-2013, 08:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

It's an interesting thing to think about, sure, but even I have to get to a point where the nitpicking - which is really what this works out to be - has to prompt a reaction similar to "Ok, enough's enough, that's just being ridiculous now."

I'm not dismissing this however because I'm about to point something out that goes along with what you're saying so bear with me as I explain it (or at least how I've explained it to myself):

Kal's been on Earth for 33+ years, he's been exposed to our sun the whole time and breathing in our atmosphere (the two components that give him his powers, as we now understand it from this telling of the Superman tale - nothing that came before this movie matters except maybe the prequel comic but that's something that not enough people have read, I suppose).

Anyway, inside the Black Zero Kal reacts rather violently to being exposed to a Kryptonian atmosphere for the first time in 33+ years - he was born into such an environment so his body does have experience with it (as a baby for a short period of time). Pretty sure the craft that he came to Earth in would have maintained that atmosphere as well (but there's no way to know for certain at this point - it could have actually slowly acclimated Kal to what he was going to be living in once he got to Earth; Jor-El had all the data about Earth necessary including knowing that Kal "would be a god to us" basically and that's because of info provided by the scout ships many years past, this is prequel comic material that I'm hinting at).

The prequel comic makes it clear that Krypton is well aware of Earth and our sun, known as Sol, because Kara is shown (again, in the prequel comic) making the statement that our system, the Sol system, was never an intended destination for her scout ship or any others - it's already inhabited by humanity (even 18,000+ years ago) and the Kryptonian expansion and them spreading their civilization far and wide did not happen by wiping out races and species and planets that were already teaming with life forms as our planet was.

Anyway, the point I'm getting at in this long roundabout way is that we only see one direct instance of a Kryptonian using a "super power" inside the Black Zero. Do you remember what it was?

It was the girl who was trying to stop Lois from escaping when she punched a hole in the wall of the escape pod - at that moment her helm is active (her head is protected and she's breathing a pure Kryptonian atmosphere - she's not exposed to the now altered Earth-like atmosphere Jor-El's consciousness has created inside the Black Zero).

The rest of the time inside the Black Zero everything is somewhat normal: none of them use super-speed to catch Lois when she's out and about - they chase after her slowly, walking even, hoping to shoot her with their Kryptonian ray guns more or less.

That's the only instance of a Kryptonian using a "super power" inside the Black Zero - and it takes a cue of sorts from a panel in the prequel comic as the scout ship comes into range of our sun: Dev-Em (don't ask) throws a punch at Kara and she steps out of the way; Dev-Em suddenly wonders why his punch hits the inside wall and yet his fist seems to have punched itself clean into the material leaving his fist-print. In other words, they're inside a Kryptonian scout ship, it's full of Kryptonian atmosphere because of the Kryptonian life support system (they haven't reached Earth yet), and because they're in range of our sun (prominently featured in several panels of that prequel comic, larger than life to some degrees) Kara and Dev-Em are already experienced alterations but only Dev-Em actually does something to demonstrate it by punching his fist into a wall.

So, here's my take on these situations:

- inside the Black Zero the Kryptonians developed at least super strength from being exposed to our younger yellow sun's radiation

- as for other powers, we simply don't know for sure but we do know that when the Kryptonians come down to our planet they show that they have super strength and super speed (they somewhat go hand in hand, it's not like they'd be able to zip all over the place like Dragonball Z characters if you stripped them of that super strength - the speed is directly linked to the strength) - also, super strength is directly related to gravity as well as yellow sun radiation

- we see Zod as the first to be affected by our atmosphere in terms of other powers in that when Kal basically uses his helm like a punching bag and then face plants him into the 7-11 and then the pavement, it causes his helm to malfunction and Zod is exposed to Earth's atmosphere directly, which causes two powers to manifest in a matter of moments: X-ray vision and super hearing, and that's all we see but there's a third power he displays if you're paying attention: he's invulnerable and undamaged (meaning Zod personally, not his armor/helm) but that's because of the yellow sun not the atmosphere

- Kal, having been raised here, is affected by the Kryptonian atmosphere inside the Black Zero to the point where - from our perspective as viewers - we see him lose two powers directly: first is super strength since he can't manage to break the straps holding him down to that examination table, and second is his invulnerability because Jax-Ur has no issues whatsoever penetrating Kal's skin to take that blood sample. It's assumed at this point that Kal is totally and completely powerless, but it's not a 100% certainty since we only see the direct effects as those two powers not being functional

- Kal's exposure to that Kryptonian atmosphere doesn't last very long, we don't know precisely how long but we can assume that he's in process for adapting to it if he were inside that ship long enough just as those Kryptonians had adapted in the sense that they were currently and had been living in that atmosphere for 33+ years so the powers they were manifesting by being under our yellow sun were invulnerability and super strength/speed, the exact same powers Kal has because of the yellow sun. The other powers demonstrated in the movie - hearing, X-ray vision, and of course everybody's new fave, heat vision - all come from being exposed to our atmosphere, apparently. There's one other power that I believe Kal demonstrates but they don't cover it with a CGI effect: telescopic vision, which Kal uses to see into the escape pod, but this is my assumption because we don't see some telescopic effect, maybe they actually did some CGI work on that and it'll be in the DVD/Blu-ray, who knows but when Jor-El says "Look" it's pretty obvious that Kal looks and then can see who it is - of course he might be making an assumption about "Who would take an escape pod to get off this ship back to Earth, oh yeah, gotta be Lois."

Funny thing is that not every Kryptonian came down to Earth during their time here so there's a very very strong possibility that some of them inside the Black Zero never even realize they have any kind of powers - Zod may not have told them. Of course, again as I noted in the beginning of this post, sometimes we take these nitpicks just a wee bit too far.

tl;dr version:

Kal's powers manifested by yellow sun radiation coupled with Earth's atmosphere: even Jor-El tells him this during the scout ship chat. Kal even asks "Why am I so powerful?" (a lot of people miss this question since it's at a point where the music kicks in but as he's walking outside the scout ship he asks - we're hearing dialogue from the chat which obviously has happened earlier since a) Kal is now wearing the suit and b) he's got a nice clean shave. ) and Jor-El tells him it's a combination of the younger yellow sun's radiation as well as our atmosphere, a one-two punch if you will.

The Kryptonians arriving here have at the bare minimum super strength/speed and invulnerability just from being exposed to our yellow sun's radiation. Couple that with direct atmospheric exposure and other powers manifest (hearing, X-ray vision, heat vision, and potentially telescopic vision as well if my assumption is correct on that one).

Does this cover at least some of your questions?

I do have an issue with one aspect: gravity. The belief is that Kal is strong because of the weaker gravity here on Earth to some degree and I agree with that but but but...

Kal came here as a baby, he's never really been exposed to the much stronger gravity on Krypton except for that brief short period after being born and then sent to Earth (again we don't know how much time that was from birth to launch, days probably, or less). Anyway, it's understandable that's it's used in some respects as part of the explanation for the super strength but but but...

Zod and his crew have lived on Krypton, and now they've been living on a Kryptonian ship for 33+ years which would obviously maintain a Kryptonian atmosphere which we can safely assume would duplicate even the gravity of their home world to some degree which would give them a slight advantage in terms of strength over Kal. Anyone that's seen DBZ knows the part of the series where Goku trains in that device which increases gravity over time and obviously makes him much MUCH stronger because of it so...

Kal = been living here under our weaker gravity for 33+ years, is used to it, shouldn't be a factor in his strength after that period of time

Kryptonians = just show up and are put in a much lighter gravity environment when on Earth, it's surprising they don't just literally float when walking.

Also this truly baffling screw-up (just kidding):

If the Black Zero is providing a truly Kryptonian living environment which again obviously means it's stronger gravity than Earth, that should mean when Kal and Lois come on board at least Lois would have been barely able stand considering the much stronger effect of Kryptonian gravity.

Am I right or am I right?


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Old 06-30-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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Originally Posted by dnno1 View Post
A yellow sun is considered a younger star where as a red sun is much older.

The atmosphere twist I took as a subtle nuance that added to the realism of the film. We take it for granted the fact that our atmosphere actually filters out a lot of the harmful radiation that comes from our (yellow) sun (that is why the sky is blue and we don't instantly get skin cancer). Since that is the case then it would make sense that the Kryptonian atomosphere would filther out certain types of sun radiation -- more than likely the kind that does give Kryptoninans their super powers. This makes perfect sense, and is kind of surprising that it was never directly addressed in the comics (although there was a story where somthing like that happened when he traveled to another planet and in an episode of Smallville where they made the sun appear red). I would suspect that the atmosphere of Krypton contains some denser and more toxic elements than on Earth (as to why it is deadly to humans) and that Superman breathing the stuff for the first time after 33 years would be akin to a former smoker walking into a smoke filled room after the same length of time.

As far as his powers going away, I don't think he actually stores it or has reserves like he does in the comics. If you noticed in the film there were scenes where he would look to the sun as if he were recharging.


You say it makes sense.. how so?
Our protection from radiation comes from the outer layers of our atmosphere (ionosphere, ozone etc).. this couldn't be replicated on a ship- at least in the way we were shown.
These layers of protection dont exist in the air that we breathe..
The same can be said of the Krypton atmosphere..
Also doesnt explain the light switch affect it had on his powers.
And if what your saying is how he has powers on earth.. thats really just an extension of the yellow sun.
And your also implying that Kryptons atmosphere "protects" them from super powers...

I personally dont see any sense of realism to it at all.
Just confusion.

If he has no reserves.. then he is powerless at night, inside, in the ocean etc...


The denser, more toxic atmosphere- yep perfect sense and thats why it made him cough and throw up blood. that i get.
How it strips him of his powers though? makes no sense.

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Old 06-30-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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Originally Posted by br0adband View Post
It's an interesting thing to think about, sure, but even I have to get to a point where the nitpicking - which is really what this works out to be - has to prompt a reaction similar to "Ok, enough's enough, that's just being ridiculous now."

I'm not dismissing this however because I'm about to point something out that goes along with what you're saying so bear with me as I explain it (or at least how I've explained it to myself):

Kal's been on Earth for 33+ years, he's been exposed to our sun the whole time and breathing in our atmosphere (the two components that give him his powers, as we now understand it from this telling of the Superman tale - nothing that came before this movie matters except maybe the prequel comic but that's something that not enough people have read, I suppose).

Anyway, inside the Black Zero Kal reacts rather violently to being exposed to a Kryptonian atmosphere for the first time in 33+ years - he was born into such an environment so his body does have experience with it (as a baby for a short period of time). Pretty sure the craft that he came to Earth in would have maintained that atmosphere as well (but there's no way to know for certain at this point - it could have actually slowly acclimated Kal to what he was going to be living in once he got to Earth; Jor-El had all the data about Earth necessary including knowing that Kal "would be a god to us" basically and that's because of info provided by the scout ships many years past, this is prequel comic material that I'm hinting at).

The prequel comic makes it clear that Krypton is well aware of Earth and our sun, known as Sol, because Kara is shown (again, in the prequel comic) making the statement that our system, the Sol system, was never an intended destination for her scout ship or any others - it's already inhabited by humanity (even 18,000+ years ago) and the Kryptonian expansion and them spreading their civilization far and wide did not happen by wiping out races and species and planets that were already teaming with life forms as our planet was.

Anyway, the point I'm getting at in this long roundabout way is that we only see one direct instance of a Kryptonian using a "super power" inside the Black Zero. Do you remember what it was?

It was the girl who was trying to stop Lois from escaping when she punched a hole in the wall of the escape pod - at that moment her helm is active (her head is protected and she's breathing a pure Kryptonian atmosphere - she's not exposed to the now altered Earth-like atmosphere Jor-El's consciousness has created inside the Black Zero).

The rest of the time inside the Black Zero everything is somewhat normal: none of them use super-speed to catch Lois when she's out and about - they chase after her slowly, walking even, hoping to shoot her with their Kryptonian ray guns more or less.

That's the only instance of a Kryptonian using a "super power" inside the Black Zero - and it takes a cue of sorts from a panel in the prequel comic as the scout ship comes into range of our sun: Dev-Em (don't ask) throws a punch at Kara and she steps out of the way; Dev-Em suddenly wonders why his punch hits the inside wall and yet his fist seems to have punched itself clean into the material leaving his fist-print. In other words, they're inside a Kryptonian scout ship, it's full of Kryptonian atmosphere because of the Kryptonian life support system (they haven't reached Earth yet), and because they're in range of our sun (prominently featured in several panels of that prequel comic, larger than life to some degrees) Kara and Dev-Em are already experienced alterations but only Dev-Em actually does something to demonstrate it by punching his fist into a wall.

So, here's my take on these situations:

- inside the Black Zero the Kryptonians developed at least super strength from being exposed to our younger yellow sun's radiation

- as for other powers, we simply don't know for sure but we do know that when the Kryptonians come down to our planet they show that they have super strength and super speed (they somewhat go hand in hand, it's not like they'd be able to zip all over the place like Dragonball Z characters if you stripped them of that super strength - the speed is directly linked to the strength) - also, super strength is directly related to gravity as well as yellow sun radiation

- we see Zod as the first to be affected by our atmosphere in terms of other powers in that when Kal basically uses his helm like a punching bag and then face plants him into the 7-11 and then the pavement, it causes his helm to malfunction and Zod is exposed to Earth's atmosphere directly, which causes two powers to manifest in a matter of moments: X-ray vision and super hearing, and that's all we see but there's a third power he displays if you're paying attention: he's invulnerable and undamaged (meaning Zod personally, not his armor/helm) but that's because of the yellow sun not the atmosphere

- Kal, having been raised here, is affected by the Kryptonian atmosphere inside the Black Zero to the point where - from our perspective as viewers - we see him lose two powers directly: first is super strength since he can't manage to break the straps holding him down to that examination table, and second is his invulnerability because Jax-Ur has no issues whatsoever penetrating Kal's skin to take that blood sample. It's assumed at this point that Kal is totally and completely powerless, but it's not a 100% certainty since we only see the direct effects as those two powers not being functional

- Kal's exposure to that Kryptonian atmosphere doesn't last very long, we don't know precisely how long but we can assume that he's in process for adapting to it if he were inside that ship long enough just as those Kryptonians had adapted in the sense that they were currently and had been living in that atmosphere for 33+ years so the powers they were manifesting by being under our yellow sun were invulnerability and super strength/speed, the exact same powers Kal has because of the yellow sun. The other powers demonstrated in the movie - hearing, X-ray vision, and of course everybody's new fave, heat vision - all come from being exposed to our atmosphere, apparently. There's one other power that I believe Kal demonstrates but they don't cover it with a CGI effect: telescopic vision, which Kal uses to see into the escape pod, but this is my assumption because we don't see some telescopic effect, maybe they actually did some CGI work on that and it'll be in the DVD/Blu-ray, who knows but when Jor-El says "Look" it's pretty obvious that Kal looks and then can see who it is - of course he might be making an assumption about "Who would take an escape pod to get off this ship back to Earth, oh yeah, gotta be Lois."

Funny thing is that not every Kryptonian came down to Earth during their time here so there's a very very strong possibility that some of them inside the Black Zero never even realize they have any kind of powers - Zod may not have told them. Of course, again as I noted in the beginning of this post, sometimes we take these nitpicks just a wee bit too far.

tl;dr version:

Kal's powers manifested by yellow sun radiation coupled with Earth's atmosphere: even Jor-El tells him this during the scout ship chat. Kal even asks "Why am I so powerful?" (a lot of people miss this question since it's at a point where the music kicks in but as he's walking outside the scout ship he asks - we're hearing dialogue from the chat which obviously has happened earlier since a) Kal is now wearing the suit and b) he's got a nice clean shave. ) and Jor-El tells him it's a combination of the younger yellow sun's radiation as well as our atmosphere, a one-two punch if you will.

The Kryptonians arriving here have at the bare minimum super strength/speed and invulnerability just from being exposed to our yellow sun's radiation. Couple that with direct atmospheric exposure and other powers manifest (hearing, X-ray vision, heat vision, and potentially telescopic vision as well if my assumption is correct on that one).

Does this cover at least some of your questions?

I do have an issue with one aspect: gravity. The belief is that Kal is strong because of the weaker gravity here on Earth to some degree and I agree with that but but but...

Kal came here as a baby, he's never really been exposed to the much stronger gravity on Krypton except for that brief short period after being born and then sent to Earth (again we don't know how much time that was from birth to launch, days probably, or less). Anyway, it's understandable that's it's used in some respects as part of the explanation for the super strength but but but...

Zod and his crew have lived on Krypton, and now they've been living on a Kryptonian ship for 33+ years which would obviously maintain a Kryptonian atmosphere which we can safely assume would duplicate even the gravity of their home world to some degree which would give them a slight advantage in terms of strength over Kal. Anyone that's seen DBZ knows the part of the series where Goku trains in that device which increases gravity over time and obviously makes him much MUCH stronger because of it so...

Kal = been living here under our weaker gravity for 33+ years, is used to it, shouldn't be a factor in his strength after that period of time

Kryptonians = just show up and are put in a much lighter gravity environment when on Earth, it's surprising they don't just literally float when walking.

Also this truly baffling screw-up (just kidding):

If the Black Zero is providing a truly Kryptonian living environment which again obviously means it's stronger gravity than Earth, that should mean when Kal and Lois come on board at least Lois would have been barely able stand considering the much stronger effect of Kryptonian gravity.

Am I right or am I right?
Thank for taking the time.
It covers my questions.. doesnt answer them but i liked it.
How would the atmosphere give you xray vision?

I get the nick picking aspect.. but i feel we had an explanation for his powers that now is iffy.

As to the black zero sequence.. hes actually told that he no longer has his powers by the guy who takes his blood. (or does he say strength?)

And your right with that punch in the pod... i forgot that.

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Old 06-30-2013, 08:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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Plus how can "atmosphere" give you powers?
Speaking from a science major's pov, maybe it's from our Atmosphere's chemical composition?

Dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases, this might help him in someway I guess. While Superman could survive in vacuum maybe there's an element in the Kryptonian atmosphere which could be corrupting his immune system? Maybe that element could be the base material which eventually leads to Kryptonite? As for why Zod and the others weren't affected, they probably have a higher tolerance compared to Clark.

I mean in some continuities didn't Clark slowly build up a tolerance to Kryptonite as he got older?

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Old 06-30-2013, 08:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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Speaking from a science major's pov, maybe it's from our Atmosphere's chemical composition?

Dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases, this might help him in someway I guess. While Superman could survive in vacuum maybe there's an element in the Kryptonian atmosphere which could be corrupting his immune system? Maybe that element could be the base material which eventually leads to Kryptonite? As for why Zod and the others weren't affected, they probably have a higher tolerance compared to Clark.

I mean in some continuities didn't Clark slowly build up a tolerance to Kryptonite as he got older?
thats a damm good answer as to why it took his powers!

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Old 06-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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Thank for taking the time.
It covers my questions.. doesnt answer them but i liked it.
How would the atmosphere give you xray vision?

I get the nick picking aspect.. but i feel we had an explanation for his powers that now is iffy.

As to the black zero sequence.. hes actually told that he no longer has his powers by the guy who takes his blood. (or does he say strength?)

And your right with that punch in the pod... i forgot that.
Jax-Ur tells him "The strength that you have from your exposure to the Earth's atmosphere is neutralized aboard our ship."

And I say this again as I've stated it many times in the past: Krypton has known about Earth for a very very long time, it's composition, atmosphere, makeup, inhabitants, etc - they know exactly what will happen to a Kryptonian exposed not only to our younger yellow sun's radiation but our particular planet's atmosphere.

It's one of the specific reasons the prequel comic makes a very clear point by having Kara say "Sol's system was never our destination."

Krypton knows about Earth but they don't just "move in" on the current inhabitants even if it was 18,000+ years ago and we hadn't even formed a proper civilization of any real sort yet.

Think of this concept - of non-interference to some degree - as Krypton's "Prime Directive" and it'll make more sense. They didn't send out thousands of scout ships over thousands of years for the express purpose of finding planets suitable for terraforming (meaning already capable of supporting live in some respects) only to decide that whenever they found one they'd just up and wipe it clean even if it was teeming with life forms of any and all kinds which is exactly what Earth was.

Here's another step as we go even deeper:

If the prequel comic is canon (and it very well could be for the most part since it was written by Snyder and Goyer) then the fact that Kara states that her scout ship was not destined to come to scout the Sol system is a self-explaining statement: how would she know about the Sol system unless it had already been scouted out previously, even further back in time than her somewhat accidental crash landing here. She or her ship had detailed info about this system, the planet(s), stars in the vicinity, etc. They had to get that info someplace, right?

Anyway, that should cover most of it. Krypton has known about Earth for a very long time indeed.


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Old 06-30-2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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Jax-Ur tells him "The strength that you have from your exposure to the Earth's atmosphere is neutralized aboard our ship."

And I say this again as I've stated it many times in the past: Krypton has known about Earth for a very very long time, it's composition, atmosphere, makeup, inhabitants, etc - they know exactly what will happen to a Kryptonian exposed not only to our younger yellow sun's radiation but our particular planet's atmosphere.

It's one of the specific reasons the prequel comic makes a very clear point by having Kara say "Sol's system was never our destination."

Krypton knows about Earth but they don't just "move in" on the current inhabitants even if it was 18,000+ years ago and we hadn't even formed a proper civilization of any real sort yet.

Think of this concept - of non-interference to some degree - as Krypton's "Prime Directive" and it'll make more sense. They didn't send out thousands of scout ships over thousands of years for the express purpose of finding planets suitable for terraforming (meaning already capable of supporting live in some respects) only to decide that whenever they found one they'd just up and wipe it clean even if it was teeming with life forms of any and all kinds which is exactly what Earth was.

Here's another step as we go even deeper:

If the prequel comic is canon (and it very well could be for the most part since it was written by Snyder and Goyer) then the fact that Kara states that her scout ship was not destined to come to scout the Sol system is a self-explaining statement: how would she know about the Sol system unless it had already been scouted out previously, even further back in time than her somewhat accidental crash landing here. She or her ship had detailed info about this system, the planet(s), stars in the vicinity, etc. They had to get that info someplace, right?

Anyway, that should cover most of it. Krypton has known about Earth for a very long time indeed.

Thats cool and all... but doesn't explain his powers.
Smallville Fan has a great point that an element in the Krypton atmosphere negated his powers.
Although i still find it frustrating that it was like a light switch.

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Old 06-30-2013, 09:19 PM   #10
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Thats cool and all... but doesn't explain his powers.
Smallville Fan has a great point that an element in the Krypton atmosphere negated his powers.
Although i still find it frustrating that it was like a light switch.
You're assuming it's a "light switch" when it's obvious that it's not.

Kal and Lois come on the Black Zero - they're still on that little shuttle craft when Lois gets her helm - and make their way to meet Zod and a period of time passes with Kal being exposed for all of it but he doesn't just collapse the split second he's exposed to their atmosphere: it takes some amount of time but we don't know precisely how MUCH time passes - could be a minute, two minutes, five minutes, etc.

This is part of the reason the movie has people complaining about the pacing, for just this type of issue because it's just not clear how much time has passed from when they leave the shuttle craft (which has Earth atmosphere inside it hence Faora maintaining her helm inside it) and meet Zod face to face and even then it's still a good minute or two before Kal does meet him and says "I take it you're Zod."

Perhaps Kal was holding his breath the whole time and after speaking that one line he breathes in and wham, that's when things go awry. Even so it's a period of time for the effect to manifest, just as it takes a period of time for the reverse of that effect to disappear so he regains his powers.

You're asking us to basically explain why Superman has powers and unfortunately nobody is going to be able to do that.

It's fun to speculate based on the info that we're given but, really, he's an alien from another world, so are the others, who's to say exactly what powers them - of course we know what powers them, for the most part:

Belief in the story, the imagination, and the character of Superman.

Final thing about the "light switch": if it was a rock of Kryptonite, you'd have your answer, right? I get that it's tough to explain because again we're not truly given enough info in this movie to have a concrete answer, we just have to make do with what's provided hence speculation.

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Old 06-30-2013, 09:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

I assumed "atmosphere" potentially meant gravity levels? but then again lois lane wasn't hurt on the ship?

The reason they changed it from being a "red sun" is because a red sun/star isn't truly red just like our sun isn't truly "yellow". A red sun or supergiant is just a star that has massively expanded and its solar output i believe is much lower proportionately.

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Old 06-30-2013, 09:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

I personally assumed that simulating Kryptonian atmosphere was synonymous with the red solar radiation effect in the comics. Takes away powers.

Instead of explaining all that on screen to the new audience, they simply went the route of saying Kryptonian Atmosphere.

That being said I don't get how the powers are explained in the film, they seemingly get their physical powers from being on earth but they get the sensory powers from being exposed to the sun directly..ergo the helmet cracking..
meh. I look to those finer detail in the books, these cbm adaptations are almost never concerned with nailing these things. Especially in the Superman universe.

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Old 06-30-2013, 10:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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I though this worthy of its own thread,
Ive had a read through various posts and seen this mentioned but never really addressed.

It seems that there has been a drastic shift in Kryptonian Physiology.

Its no longer a yellow sun that powers them.

Its a that the sun is younger (you could argue that means yellow) but also our atmosphere.

Most evident when Kal is aboard the Black Zero.. after the Krypton atmosphere hurts him.. he is then powerless.
Until Jor-El changes the atmosphere to earths. And instantly he has his powers.

Currently this doesnt make sense... as the atmosphere alone negated Clarks powers
- That means that he doesnt store his power at all.
- That being in any other atmosphere could negate his powers
- The kryptonians on the ship... they didnt gain any powers when it was switched to earths. You may say they needed to build up the power etc.. but why? Clark lost 33 years of build up in an instant.. and regained it in an instant...They should be affected exactly the same.

Plus how can "atmosphere" give you powers?

Also in the battle suits they seemed to have power... it seemed very very messy

can anyone explain it?

Of all the changes.. this one i do not get


I don't think there's been a drastic shift. They just came up with more science.
A yellow sun still powers them but the go further to say that the atmosphere of earth further boosts their body.
Clark doesn't really lose his powers, more like his body is busy fighting to adapt on the ship. Think of it as a precurser to Kryptonite.
Also the ships shielding is probably keeping out the yellow sun.

So he's basically dying up there and he can't access his powers effectively.

He stores up his power but just can't access it.
Being in Kryptons atmosphere could cause problems. Again more reasons why Kryptonians were flying on Krypton.
Jor-el changed the atmosphere but that doesn't mean he changes potentially the shielding allowing in yellow sun. Worse case scenario those weapons of theirs are pretty damn effective.

Now If I am correct though, Clarks power loss was not really that. He's no longer dying and thus his body is back to working again and so he instantly get's his powers back.

But you know what they pull the same stuff whenever Supermans finds himself on a planet with a red sun or kryptonite.


How can an atmosphere give you powers? Seriously? You buy a yellow sun but not the atmosphere. Think about all those heroes and villains who when exposed to chemicals, gain superpowers. Now imagine there exists an alien who when exposed to the earth atmosphere chemicals, they get powers.

Battle suits? Well um whats the problem? The battle suits are armor that protects and enhances the user. Though their powers on earth far exceed the gains of the suit. If anything it stifles them.



Basically it's the same story but with some more details.

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Old 06-30-2013, 10:17 PM   #14
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The biggest actual reason why they simply didn't use Kryptonite in MoS? Because they had other Kryptonians to deal with, and not only that, but Kryptonians that came to Earth on a Kryptonian ship, breathing Kryptonian air, wearing Kryptonian armor, all of that stuff made from raw materials of the planet Krypton which would obviously mean not only would Zod and his entire crew have serious problems but Kal as well.

Besides, if Kryptonite were introduced in the story as it exists in actual Superman canon and lore, the concept of the command key might not work that well either, or perhaps even the pod craft that brought Kal to Earth as an infant would have issues for him as well - and let's not forget the scout ship too, also made from Kryptonian raw materials which would mean the pilots of those would have had issues, and so on. It just snowballs too much to contain so...

You have to admit it's another really ballsy move on Snyder's and Goyer's parts to dismiss that somewhat fundamental aspect of Superman canon and lore.

Works for me.

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Old 06-30-2013, 11:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

I kind of figure flight can be tied into the actual atmospheric composition mutating parts of the brain into a vaguely Tactile-Telekinetic element; we see some objects float alongside Zod and Clark when they first take flight from the ground, with Zod's gauntlet literally suspended in air. TTK could also explain why sometimes Kal can hit harder than Faora or the brute even though they seem to have proportionally similar strength. TTK originally acted as the catch all for most of Superboy's powers, including his strength and invulnerability.

So maybe it goes like this: the majority of your super-strength, speed and invulnerability are tied to the Yellow sun radiation, supplemented by Earth's gravity but not defined by it. Exposure to the atmosphere immediately begins rapid changes in your brain's chemicals and capabilities, immediately resulting in enhanced senses before finalizing as TTK.

As such, Zod and Sperman were both a little stronger and a little tougher when they had their battle, and than added in the rest of their abilities. It's possible heat vision is a fusion of solar energy with the atmosphere altered brain again manipulating the body, this time as a conduit. Thus, yellow radiation is the fuel for his body, but the air is the catalyst that makes him the Man of Tomorrow.

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Old 06-30-2013, 11:33 PM   #16
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

snyder talks about how feudal japan was an influence
http://www.empireonline.com.au/news/...l-zack-snyder/

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Old 06-30-2013, 11:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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The biggest actual reason why they simply didn't use Kryptonite in MoS? Because they had other Kryptonians to deal with, and not only that, but Kryptonians that came to Earth on a Kryptonian ship, breathing Kryptonian air, wearing Kryptonian armor, all of that stuff made from raw materials of the planet Krypton which would obviously mean not only would Zod and his entire crew have serious problems but Kal as well.

Besides, if Kryptonite were introduced in the story as it exists in actual Superman canon and lore, the concept of the command key might not work that well either, or perhaps even the pod craft that brought Kal to Earth as an infant would have issues for him as well - and let's not forget the scout ship too, also made from Kryptonian raw materials which would mean the pilots of those would have had issues, and so on. It just snowballs too much to contain so...

You have to admit it's another really ballsy move on Snyder's and Goyer's parts to dismiss that somewhat fundamental aspect of Superman canon and lore.

Works for me.
Im not sure what your saying about Kryptonite.. why wouldnt the command key work? or the pod? and scout ship?
Why Not?
Kryptonite is irradiated pieces of Krypton from when it exploded. (Sometimes irradiated pieces of its core)
I dont get your point?
It isnt just anything from Krypton- like the raw matrials you suggest.

But im not asking about Kryptonite?

Look at all these responses and yourself.. we cant make sense of his powers

But we could when it was simply yellow sun=power red sun=no power.

So now if we do not understand his powers or weakness.. how can he?
Obviously they would have a working theory when they made the film... otherwise.. its the equivalent of magic...

and if thats the case.. it takes me out if the movie.


Im trying to figure out the in movie mechanics... nothing else.
Talk of tactile TK ETC is great but thats not what im asking
with the info we are presented.. how do his powers work?

"A yellow sun still powers them but the go further to say that the atmosphere of earth further boosts their body.
Clark doesn't really lose his powers, more like his body is busy fighting to adapt on the ship. Think of it as a precurser to Kryptonite.
Also the ships shielding is probably keeping out the yellow sun.

So he's basically dying up there and he can't access his powers effectively. "
Great reason but its NOT whats presented. we are told the Krypton atmosphere has negated his strength. not that he is dying or fighting off something.

"You're assuming it's a "light switch" when it's obvious that it's not.

Kal and Lois come on the Black Zero - they're still on that little shuttle craft when Lois gets her helm - and make their way to meet Zod and a period of time passes with Kal being exposed for all of it but he doesn't just collapse the split second he's exposed to their atmosphere: it takes some amount of time but we don't know precisely how MUCH time passes - could be a minute, two minutes, five minutes, etc.

This is part of the reason the movie has people complaining about the pacing, for just this type of issue because it's just not clear how much time has passed from when they leave the shuttle craft (which has Earth atmosphere inside it hence Faora maintaining her helm inside it) and meet Zod face to face and even then it's still a good minute or two before Kal does meet him and says "I take it you're Zod."

Perhaps Kal was holding his breath the whole time and after speaking that one line he breathes in and wham, that's when things go awry. Even so it's a period of time for the effect to manifest, just as it takes a period of time for the reverse of that effect to disappear so he regains his powers.

You're asking us to basically explain why Superman has powers and unfortunately nobody is going to be able to do that.

It's fun to speculate based on the info that we're given but, really, he's an alien from another world, so are the others, who's to say exactly what powers them - of course we know what powers them, for the most part:

Belief in the story, the imagination, and the character of Superman.

Final thing about the "light switch": if it was a rock of Kryptonite, you'd have your answer, right? I get that it's tough to explain because again we're not truly given enough info in this movie to have a concrete answer, we just have to make do with what's provided hence speculation."

Your right, we dont have the info.. shouldnt we though? If we are to accept Superman- his existence in that world- our world, they go to great lengths to explain alot of stuff and make it realistic... they even had an ok explanation for his powers previously.. why didnt this get the same thought process..?
Im assuming it did.. and its there in the movie but we just have to figure it out..
As for the light switch.. well it was when Jor changed the black zero to earth atmosphere.. Clark was able to fly out of there- straight away.

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Old 07-01-2013, 09:43 AM   #18
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how do his powers work?
You're gonna have to figure all that out by yourself since it's obvious none of our explanations - as we understand things - are apparently good enough for you to take as your own.

As stated, I and others can nitpick with the best of 'em, but there's a point where this whole practice becomes an exercise in futility... and that's when it just ain't no fun.

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Old 07-01-2013, 11:15 AM   #19
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

Asking how Superman's powers work is like asking how Sauron was able to forge the Evil One Ring: The answer is complex and long, and it probably still won't make any sense. -grin-

I will say that the "lightswitch" worked both ways for the Kryptonians. Zod and Faora were both rather quickly over-come by the changes they felt when their helmets were damaged. It was their training that kept them on their feet as long as it did. Zod used those skills and training to eventually figure out how to overcome the weakness and pain that he was feeling due to Earth's atmosphere, but even without that, he would have adapted and compensated for the changes soon enough.

If Kal-El had been on the Kryptonian ship longer, he would have adapted. He just didn't get the opportunity to learn to adapt.

Since we are talking physiology of Kryptonians, the one aspect of Superman I've always been like, "Heh, how does that work" is his invulnerability. We see that Kryptonians can indeed be injured on Krypton, and it would make sense that Kal-El would have thicker skin and muscles due to the planet he came from, but how is it that he smashes into walls and buildings and mountains, shot at, and all that good stuff, and he's not really injured? Could it be like deflection of gravity in some way? Like, if I threw a piece of popcorn at him, would it stop three inches in front of him and drop to the floor because his body does something wonky to force around him? (This is more of a redundant question, since it's not really explainable...but if someone wants to have a go at an explanation, I would be delighted to read it!)

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Old 07-01-2013, 11:40 AM   #20
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Invulnerability seems more easily explained than flight, heat vision, and x-ray vision. He's just extremely durable. There's also the bioelectric field which closely conforms to his body. This is how they explained for a time how his suit is undamaged after fights and superfeats.

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Old 07-01-2013, 11:41 AM   #21
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

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You say it makes sense.. how so?
Our protection from radiation comes from the outer layers of our atmosphere (ionosphere, ozone etc).. this couldn't be replicated on a ship- at least in the way we were shown. These layers of protection dont exist in the air that we breathe..
The same can be said of the Krypton atmosphere..
Also doesnt explain the light switch affect it had on his powers.
And if what your saying is how he has powers on earth.. thats really just an extension of the yellow sun.
And your also implying that Kryptons atmosphere "protects" them from super powers...
Like I said before, since the Earth's atmosphere can filter out some sun radiation, then it makes sense to say that the Kryptoninan atmosphere can too. Yes, because the atmosphere of Earth contains oxygen, the outer layers become ionized and produce ozone, which absorbs most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. The atmosphere also diffracts the sunlight making the sky blue. We don't know the chemical makeup of the Kryptoninan atmosphere, but it must have properties that absorb and diffract sunlight to the point that Kryptoninans can not get the type of light/radiation they need to get super powers and it may not necessarily have to be ionized to do so (we really don't know, but yes, I am theorizing, based on evidence in the film, that Krypton's atmosphere prevents it's inhabitants from having super powers).

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I personally don't see any sense of realism to it at all.
Just confusion.
Well maybe that's the case for you but the fact that the Earth's atmosphere can filter out certain types of radiation from the sun is proof that the other atmospheres can do the same with different results. It would be improbable to think that the results would be exactly the same and that is the reality of it.


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If he has no reserves.. then he is powerless at night, inside, in the ocean etc...

The denser, more toxic atmosphere- yep perfect sense and that's why it made him cough and throw up blood. that i get.
How it strips him of his powers though? makes no sense.
Well, let me modify my statement. Either this version of Superman has no reserves (as shown in scenes where he is trying to soak up sun light) or he hasn't yet learned to tap into them. And yes it is possible that he could become weaker at night based on that premise. We don't know how long Superman was under that hallucinatory dream sequence. It could have been hours or it could have been days, but whatever length of time, it was enough for him to lose his powers and the Kryptonian atmosphere filtered out any sunlight that would replenish it.

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Old 07-01-2013, 12:17 PM   #22
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Invulnerability seems more easily explained than flight, heat vision, and x-ray vision. He's just extremely durable. There's also the bioelectric field which closely conforms to his body. This is how they explained for a time how his suit is undamaged after fights and superfeats.
See, I didn't know he had the bioelectric field. Obviously, I need to absorb myself into Superman lore. Oh my, what a terrible thing to have to do with my free time...

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Old 07-01-2013, 12:31 PM   #23
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...Most evident when Kal is aboard the Black Zero.. after the Krypton atmosphere hurts him.. he is then powerless.
Until Jor-El changes the atmosphere to earths. And instantly he has his powers.

Currently this doesn't make sense... as the atmosphere alone negated Clarks powers...
Since we’re talking about how aliens get (and lose) their superpowers, it’s all nonsense. Forget about the “science”; this is more to do with the narrative’s “internal rules” and whether or not these “rules” are consistently obeyed.

Basically, the toxic atmosphere on the Black Zero is the functional equivalent of kryptonite. In some fashion, it (temporarily) suppresses most/all of Kal’s powers - which gives Zod the upper hand, allows for the mind-scan, the blood sample, etc.

So why not just use kryptonite instead? Well, they could have. But apparently, Goyer thought the green stuff had been overused as a plot device - and didn’t want it to appear in MOS. In any case, why would Kryptonians keep a supply of their own weakness on hand? Thus, the “atmosphere business” was a more useful and more plausible substitute.

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Old 07-01-2013, 12:37 PM   #24
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Really interesting thread guys!

I have a question:

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The other powers demonstrated in the movie - hearing, X-ray vision, and of course everybody's new fave, heat vision - all come from being exposed to our atmosphere, apparently.
If those other powers come from being exposed to earth's atmosphere, does that mean Superman loses those specific powers while he's in space (flying above the earth's atmosphere)?

That could be an interesting way for him to "get a break" from his super-hearing...

PS: I've seen MOS three times already so far, and it's true, it gets better with each viewing! I've NEVER seen a movie in theaters more than once, so this is quite a new experience for me.

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Old 07-01-2013, 01:59 PM   #25
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Default Re: Kryptonian Physiology in Man of Steel

About Kal's reaction to the Krptonian atmosphere in the ship. In the novel they went into detail about how as a baby he just cried and cried, his parents knew he was adapting to our earth and he would either survive or die.

Zod also exposes himself on purpose to earth's atmosphere because he considers himself Kal's better and if he could adapt and survive then a warrior like him could do it even better.

The novel wasnt bad.

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