Kandor (comics)

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Superman location
Kandor Action Comics 866.png
Kandor in Action Comics #866 (August 2008)
Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal
First appearanceAction Comics #242, (July 1958)
Created byOtto Binder, Al Plastino
GenreSuperhero comics
PublisherDC Comics

Kandor (/ˈkændɔːr/) is a fictional city appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.

Kandor is the former capital city of the planet Krypton and is best known for being miniaturized and then stolen by the supervillain Brainiac. Upon its recovery by Superman, it has been kept and monitored in the Fortress of Solitude.

Fictional history[edit]

Silver Age version[edit]

Kandor was once the capital of Krypton until it was shrunk and stolen by the supervillain, Brainiac, several years before the planet was destroyed. Superman discovered the city in Brainiac's possession when the android came to Earth decades later to harvest more cities (Action Comics #242, July 1958) and rescued it, keeping it in his Fortress of Solitude while looking for a way to restore it to full size, it is later revealed the city had 6 million inhabitants when stolen. In return, the Kandorians provided the superhero with a place where he was an honored guest who was occasionally invited to participate in matters of local government such as chairing the parole committee for prisoners of the Phantom Zone. In addition, Superman had access to various professionals to assist him when asked, such as tailors to create copies of his costume with the same Kryptonian hardiness in Earth's yellow sun environment, and opticians to fashion his glasses that replaced his crudely improvised pair made from the wreckage of his rocket ship; the Kandorians also occasionally assisted him in the outside with the Superman Emergency Squad who used an expanding gas that briefly grew them to a few inches tall.

Eventually (Superman #338, Aug 1979), Superman developed a means to restore the city and its population to normal size; the Kandorians opted to settle on another planet that revolved around a red sun. Tragically, once Kandor was enlarged, the buildings began disintegrating; Superman's enlarger apparently worked only on organic materials, with inorganic substance losing molecular cohesion; the Kandorians were not, however, saddened by the catastrophe, but inspired by it. Owing to their captivity in the bottle, they felt that they had been little more than charges for Superman to care for. Now, with a new world to colonize, they could again become self-sufficient, it was then revealed the planet was on a dimensional fault, which meant it would periodically be sent to another dimension; this was a deliberate choice by the Kandorians to aid their quest for independence, by restricting Superman's ability to come to their aid. Later, when researching his family history, Superman and Supergirl return to the planet, which had reappeared in their dimension, they found that not all of the city's infrastructure had been destroyed and the Kandorians had managed to both rebuild and improve upon Kandor. Declining to call their world "New Krypton", the Kandorians decided to name it Rokyn, the Kryptonian word for "gift from God". (The Krypton Chronicles #1, September 1981) (Rokyn had first been revealed as existing in the 30th century in Adventure Comics #356, May 1967).

Superman constructed a replica of the bottle-sized city to keep as a memento inside the Fortress, but was surprised when he later discovered thousands of tiny humanoids living inside it (Superman #371, Aug 1982); the aliens were the last survivors of an extra-dimensional world who had fled the destruction of their home planet and came to settle on Earth. But, upon their arrival, they found that their relative size was minuscule compared to Earth's inhabitants, they retreated to the replicated Kandor (which they knew about from their study of Earth before their migration) for their safety. On a trial basis, Superman restored two inhabitants to comparable size to introduce them to life on Earth, but discovered that the pair had a dangerous reaction to the planet's environment which transformed them into mindless, powerful and rampaging beasts who were difficult for Superman to control; as such, Superman decided that, for the time being, the aliens would need to remain in the bottle city with a carefully filtered atmosphere until the problem was resolved. When told the city's original name was "Kandor", the aliens decided to keep the name in tribute to its predecessor, touching Superman deeply.

Earth-2 version[edit]

In Showcase #97, Kara Zor-L (Power Girl) was revealed to have spent her early years in Kandor, as shown in one of her dreams; this version of Kandor was never shrunk, and thus, the city was destroyed along with Krypton. However, a virtual reality copy of Kandor was developed by Kara's father Zor-L and placed within the symbioship he had constructed; this ship transported Kara during a several-decades-long journey, in which she experienced approximately twenty years of life within this holographic world. This version of Kandor provided duplicates of Kara's parents and various nondescript Kryptonians with whom she interacted throughout various stages of her life. Upon her arrival on Earth, she was removed from this device; however, it had obtained sentience and sought to reclaim her. Kara was reimmersed within Kandorian society for a brief period of real time, although several years of virtual time elapsed wherein Kara married and had a child, she was soon freed with the assistance of newspaper reporter Andrew Vinson, at which point she proceeded to destroy the ship.

The Last Days of Krypton (novel)[edit]

In The Last Days of Krypton novel by Kevin J. Anderson, Kandor is depicted as the capital city of the planet of Krypton, home of the Council and the Temple of Rao. The city was besieged by the Brain Interactive Construct, later renamed Brainiac by Commissioner Zod. Brainiac had admired the beauty and architecture of Kandor and wanted to preserve the city from destruction, should disaster strike Krypton as it did on his home planet of Colu. Commissioner Zod permitted Brainiac's taking of Kandor, stating that Brainiac could have the city, as the rest of Krypton belonged to him. Brainiac's ship fired three lasers that pummeled the surrounding crust around Kandor and literally upheaved the city from Krypton's surface, apparently annihilating it to outside observers. A force field was then erected around the city which contracted, shrinking the city and its inhabitants and leaving only a smoking crater. Brainiac departed without causing further destruction or seizing other Kryptonian cities, it is implied that Zod is the only Kryptonian aware of the fact that Kandor has not been destroyed, but shrunken and abducted by Brainiac.

Modern Kandor(s)[edit]

Post-Man of Steel/Crisis on Infinite Earths[edit]

The Post-Crisis version of the bottle city has a somewhat different history, having been created by an alien wizard named Tolos, who trapped representatives of various races (including Valor's uncle) within, in order to possess their bodies; this city is not literally shrunken, but exists in an extra-dimensional space, occasionally connected to the Phantom Zone. Superman has not, as yet, managed to restore it.

Post-Superman: Birthright[edit]

The Superman: Birthright miniseries reinstated several Silver Age elements of Superman, one of which is Kandor. After the mini-series was completed, its place in canon was shown in Superman (Vol. 2) #200. Superman was thrown out of time and saw both versions of his origin: Man of Steel and Birthright. Entering the Birthright he experienced temporary amnesia. Afterward, he discovered/remembered the new history:

  • The city had been shrunken and was kept in the Fortress of Solitude.
  • When shrunken in Kandor, Superman again has no powers in the Red Sun Krypton-like environment.
  • The city is once again from Krypton (but populated by non-Kryptonian aliens as well as native Kryptonians).
  • The citizens also recall Brainiac stealing their city from Krypton and not the wizard Tolos.
  • It was not explained how Tolos got a hold of the "bottle city" from Brainiac. It had been speculated and later confirmed by Geoff Johns that Brainiac encountered the wizard and he stole one of the bottle cities from Brainiac's collection.
  • Apparently, a hundred years have passed in the city (while the world outside has aged normally). Because of this, Superman (or the ideal of him) had grown to god-like status and is worshiped in Kandor.


In Week 37 of the 52 series, Rip Hunter and Supernova use Kandor as a hiding place, they are using the technology of Kandor, along with several other pieces of super-technology, to find a way to fix the timeline before the villainous Skeets finds them. It is revealed that Kandor is currently inhabiting the undamaged sub-basements of the then-demolished Fortress of Solitude.

Skeets does show up, banging against the glass of the bottle, terrifying the residents and damaging many of the buildings. In an effort to get to his two adversaries, he actually pushes the bottle off its platform, but Supernova/Booster Gold emerges to full size just in time to save the city. Booster is shown carefully placing the city back. Further shots show nothing more than the initial cracks to the buildings. Rip, still inside the city, is unhurt.

One Year Later[edit]

Kandor returned after the 2005-2006 miniseries Infinite Crisis with Power Girl and Supergirl temporarily taking the positions of Kryptonian vigilantes Nightwing and Flamebird. A full understanding of the nature of the Post-Infinite Crisis world of DC Comics has not yet been revealed, but it appears that many aspects of Silver Age continuity have been restored to the storyline, including the Brainiac involvement in the reduction of the city, and its future enlargement and rebuilding as a Kryptonian planet,[1] although the future in which this is seen has since been revealed to be an alternate reality.[2]

The city of Kandor is now apparently ruled by Ultraman, brainwashed by Saturn Queen into a speciesist despot, claiming the Kal-El identity for himself and the center of a religion built around himself; the aliens of the city are a repressed minority, subject to arrest or execution on a whim. Ultraman does not treat his 'own' people any better, he murders several for inadvertently seeing politically sensitive information.

Kandor is shown with many Earth-like elements, such as tattoo parlors, alley-ways, common street muggings and movie theatres.

Claims of another Kryptonian city, Argo City, were also brought to light when Supergirl suggested that the city still existed. After exposing Saturn Queen, Supergirl and Power Girl somehow return to Earth; the final fate of Kandor still unrevealed, Power Girl blames Supergirl for having somehow compromised their mission in exchange for information about Argo City.

Sometime between the events of One Year Later and the 31st century of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Kandor was enlarged and put on the new version of Rokyn, an isolationist world that discourages contacts with aliens and strangers.

In Action Comics #846, it is revealed that in New Earth continuity, Jax-Ur was banished into the Phantom Zone after he destroyed Krypton's moon, including the lunar colony of Kandor, it notes that the true fate of Kandor was never known to Kryptonians, however.[3]

In Action Comics Annual #10, Kandor is shown on a page detailing the Fortress of Solitude, though it describes it as having been inspired by the Kryptonian city, not the original.[4]

In Superman #670, it was revealed that the bottled city residing in the Fortress, and containing various alien races, was not the true Kryptonian City of Kandor after all; this bottled city was said to exist in another dimension, with the bottle simply being the link between dimensions. The bottle was destroyed, eliminating the link between Earth and the false Kandor.

The true Kandor is revealed to be possessed by Brainiac; the post-Infinite Crisis Kandor differs from its Silver Age version as it takes clothing and other aspects from both the Silver and Modern Age of Krypton.

Lex Luthor said that the true Kryptonian city of Kandor was so well-respected throughout the universe, that it inspired other planets to name cities Kandor as well, explaining why Superman has encountered several different cities going by that name.

New Krypton[edit]

In Action Comics #866, a story arc begins focusing on the "true" Brainiac, who has not left his ship in centuries (those that Superman has met to this point were retconned as only manifestations of his programming) and it is shown that the true Brainiac indeed bottled the city of Kandor and has it in his possession all along. In Action Comics #867 Supergirl tells Superman how Brainiac's attention was drawn to Krypton after Jax-Ur destroyed Kandor's lunar colony. Brainiac arrived months before Supergirl left Krypton and stole Kandor. Supergirl describes the city as "the one, true Kandor" establishing that the previous Kandor that vanished in Superman #670 is still in continuity.

After Superman battles and defeats the true Brainiac, Superman takes the stolen Kandor off of Brainiac's ship. However, without Brainiac's control, the field surrounding the city that keeps it miniaturized becomes unstable. Superman takes Kandor to the North Pole, where it expands to its rightful size, freeing all of Kandor's denizens, fifteen years later, his uncle Zor-El and Alura, who had been placed in the city by Brainiac after he destroyed the floating Argo City; this version of Kandor is shown to be more diverse with Kryptonians from Vathlo Island who resemble African-Americans and others from the continent of Twenx with features resembling Hispanics and Asian-Americans. Upon release from the bottle, the Kryptonian residents of Kandor come under Earth's yellow sun, and gain powers just like Superman. After this development becomes public, some members of the Justice League and Justice Society express their concern to Superman about the potential dangers of 100,000 Kryptonians making Earth their home. General Sam Lane recruits Lex Luthor to help address this problem, as part of the covert Project 7734.

After Zor-El is assassinated by Luthor's agents, Alura takes over leadership of Kandor. Spurred by her newfound hatred for humanity and growing anti-Kryptonian sentiment on Earth after the deaths of several police officers, Kandor uses Brainiac's technology to grow an entirely new planet in Earth's solar system, on the opposite side of the sun on Earth's orbit, while the Kryptonians lift the city up and deposit it onto the new world, which they name New Krypton.

Last Stand of New Krypton/War of the Supermen[edit]

Other versions[edit]

Superman: Red Son[edit]

In the alternate history story Superman: Red Son, Superman lands as an infant in Ukraine and becomes a Soviet citizen. Instead of Kandor, Brainiac bottles Stalingrad. Superman's failure to restore its size troubles him greatly.

The Dark Knight Saga[edit]

The Dark Knight Strikes Again[edit]

Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again originally published as a three-issue limited series (November 2001 - July 2002) sequel to The Dark Knight Returns by DC Comics. There, Superman is the puppet of an America run by Lex Luthor who is holding the miniaturized city of Kandor hostage with the aid of Brainiac—using red sun radiation to keep the Kandorians powerless—who destroys a Kryptonian family every time Superman defies him. Pushed on by his daughter Lara and Batman, he finally fights back and breaks his own vow not to take lives. Kandor is rescued when Lara, pretending to submit to Brainiac's authority, sneaks the Atom into the bottle, the Atom shattering the bottle and allowing the imprisoned Kryptonians to grow and incinerate Brainiac with their heat vision.

The Dark Knight III: The Master Race[edit]

In The Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Ray Palmer restores the inhabitants of Kandor to their full size, but a man named Baal and his religious leader Quar promise to subjugate the Earth with Lara's aid beginning with killing Palmer. After destroying Kandor's bottle and absorbing sunlight they go and seek out Lara, thus forcing Batman to seed various clouds above Gotham with synthetic kryptonite so that the humans can stand up to the Kandorians. Superman donning a suit of armor so that he can fight alongside his friend against his people ends with Ray Palmer being revealed to have survive and defeated Baal and Quar's cult. [5]

All-Star Superman[edit]

In All-Star Superman #10 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, the series includes elements of the Silver Age Superman continuity; Kandor has not been enlarged. Facing death from overexposure to solar radiation, Superman releases Kandor from its bottle on Mars, where they all become super-powered, but are far enough removed from Earth to neither pose a threat to, nor be culturally affected by, humanity. The Kandor Emergency Corps, however, do travel to Earth with Superman to battle the diseases afflicting children in a terminal ward. [6]

Other media[edit]

  • Kandor appears in an episode of Super Friends called "Terror At 20,000 Fathoms". When an undersea villain plots to sink various continents to rule over them while Superman and Wonder Woman were off planet, the remaining Super Friends request the aid of the Kandorians who help stop the evil scheme. Like in the comics, Kandor and its inhabitants were reduced in size by Brainiac.
  • Kandor is mentioned by Brainiac in Justice League Unlimited episode "For The Man Who Has Everything" based on that story. This is not the real Brainiac, but a simulacrum created for as part of a dream world for Superman by the alien plant-creature known as the Black Mercy.
  • Kandor also appears in Superman's Fortress of Solitude in the animated movie Superman: Doomsday.
  • In the Season 7 episode of the television series Smallville, Clark's cousin Kara identifies Kandor as her hometown on Krypton. In another episode, in a flashback depicting Kara being sent to Earth by her father Zor-El, he explains that he will not go to Earth with Kara because he must stay behind to protect Kandor. In Season 8, Kara hears a rumor that Kandor still exists and leaves Smallville to search for it. In the Season 8 episode "Injustice", Tess Mercer tells Clark that the fate of an entire civilization rests on his killing Davis Bloome, she is later seen conversing with an unknown voice that emanates from the Kryptonian artifact known as "the Orb" and tells them that she has done everything they have asked, they then refer to her as "the savior of Kandor". In the Season 9 episode "Kandor", the destruction of Kandor is shown in a flashback, with soldiers under the command of Major Zod defending Kandor having their blood samples taken fighting Black Zero, it is then revealed that these Kryptonians who came to Earth in Season 9, led by Major Zod, are actually clones whose blood was put in the Orb by Jor-El, who created it at the request of Krypton's ruling council so that Krypton could live on if the planet was destroyed (although he treated the samples with blue kryptonite radiation so that they would be powerless if sent to a planet such as Earth). Zod later referred to the Orb as "the bottled-up hopes and dreams of Kandor". At the conclusion of Season 9, Clark, faced with the threat of Zod causing a war between Earth and the Kandorians after Zod is able to restore their powers by sharing samples of Clark's blood, used another Kryptonian artifact known as the "Book of Rao" to transport all the Kryptonians on Earth to another planet where they could live and rebuild Krypton in peace, Clark managing to escape relocation due to him being injured by a blue-kryptonite blade that negated his powers until the transportation effect had passed and Lois removed the blade from his side.
  • In the Legion of Super Heroes episode "Message in a Bottle", Imperiex and his army invade the Fortress of Solitude and shrink themselves into Kandor to obtain "The Messenger", a crystalline device originally constructed to prevent Krypton's destruction. The knowledge of who put Kandor in a bottle was said to have been lost in "The Great Crisis", but later Brainiac 5 reveals that it was his ancestor, the original Brainiac (a.k.a. Brainiac 1.0). By accessing a locked portion of his memory containing the knowledge and personality of Brainiac 1.0, Brainiac 5 finds a way to both reconstitute Krypton with The Messenger, and return Kandor to its original size, placing it back on Krypton.
  • In "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization" episode of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard Hofstadter has a model of the bottled city of Kandor in his closet.[7]
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Battle of the Superheroes!", Kandor is shown as one of the items on display in the Fortress of Solitude. After temporarily being turned evil by red kryptonite, Superman grabs the bottle Kandor is contained in and violently shakes it, shouting "Earthquake!" while the screams of the citizens inside can be heard.
  • The lyrics of "Braniac's Daughter" by The Dukes of Stratosphear (a.k.a. XTC) contain a reference to the Bottle City of Kandor.
  • In an episode of Boy Meets World in season four, entitled "Singled Out", John O'Hurley is playing a character who is interviewing Shawn, played by Rider Strong, in a dream Cory is having. Shawn states that, during surgery, Cory disappeared and went, "to the fourth dimension, sometimes known as the bottle city of Kandor."
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the intelligence aboard the crashed Kryptonian Scout Ship (formally the Fortress of Solitude) identifies General Zod's body to Lex Luthor as "General Zod of Kandor".
  • In the 2018 television series Krypton, set approximately 200 years prior to the 'present day', Kandor is depicted as the capital city of Krypton and the home of the main character Seg-El, Kal-El's grandfather. Brainiac is a recurring character in the series, and is sparing of Kandor in the Season 1 finale leads to a time-traveling Dru-Zod becoming leader with hopes of galactic conquests.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #23
  2. ^ Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds
  3. ^ Johns, Geoff, Richard Donner (w), Kubert, Adam (a). "Last Son" Action Comics 846 (February 2007), New York: DC Comics
  4. ^ Johns, Geoff, Richard Donner (w), Jiminez, Phil, Andy Lanning (a). "Secrets of the Fortress of Solitude" Action Comics Annual 10: 22–23 (March 2007), New York: DC Comics
  5. ^ Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4
  6. ^ All Star Superman #10
  7. ^ At time 7:00. The show has many references to DC characters and Leonard's Flash costume can be seen in the background.

External links[edit]