Kru-El was "the first stain on the name of El" and sentenced to the Phantom Zone for 35 years for developing forbidden weapons. He vexed his cousin Jor-El on Krypton and would continue to harass his son Superman on Earth.
In the House of El family tree, Kru-El was the son of Zim-El, which made him the cousin of Superman's father, Jor-El. At an early age, Kru-El was technologically adept, but a cruel child. He used his inventions to torment his more studious cousin Jor-El.
As the cousins grew older, both were focused on their work - Jor-El on helping Kryptonians survive the coming cataclysm, while Kru-El built diabolical weapons and supplied them to the criminal element. The two lives would again intersect when Jor-El himself joined the Science Police to bring down Kru-El, and personally exiled him into the Phantom Zone.
Kru-El soon escaped, and returned to being a weapons broker for a brief time. In revenge for his incarceration, Kru-El captured Jor-El and used a Mind-Transfer device to exchange Jor-El and Kal-El's minds. To his surprise, the mind of Kal-El that took up residence in Jor-El's body was from the future, and used Klurkor to subdue Kru-El; thus earning Kru's enmity before either even reached the Earth.
When Kru-El and the other Phantom Zone inmates had used their collective telepathy to will a sickened Jor-El to nearly release them, the Phantom Zone Projector and Kru-El's stockpile of forbidden weapons were sealed in a chest and fired into space. But the exile of the Phantom Zone's sole means of entry meant that Kru-El would be the second last criminal sent into the Zone. Only Quex-Ul would follow, and in the following days, all remaining life on Krypton would die. Kru-El, however, was saved from the cataclysm by his Phantom Zone prison, and followed the path of Kal-El's rocket.
Kru-El's arrival on Earth was preceded by his weapons cache which Jor-El had earlier launched into space, and, from the Phantom Zone, he watched Superboy hide it at the bottom of the ocean. Once the Kandorian criminal Lesla-Lar released Kru-El, Jax-Ur and General Zod as part of her revenge scheme against Supergirl, Kru flew to the ocean bottom to retrieve it.
Lesla-Lar, who ironically freed Kru-El, was chosen as the test subject for his Disintegrator ray, and reduced to ashes before the gun burnt out. Supergirl was subjected to the Plant-Scourge Ray, which caused any being near her to become a plant. After years in the Zone, Kru-El's weapons and improvization with them remained first rate; as he used his temporal force field to trap Superman in the past, and bar the Legion from interfering.
Kru had also built a Mind-over-Matter Machine; akin to a Mento-Helmet; that would create whatever the wearer imagined, such as giant spiders, or even complex machines. Kru-El also wore a belt that could give a human Kryptonian powers — which he used on Lex Luthor to enlist his support. But Kru-El was treacherous, and quickly let slip that he was going to betray Luthor, which was his undoing, as Lex manipulated Kru's machine's to attract fake Gold K. Kru-El was again returned to the Phantom Zone.
Kru-El was a technological genius to a fault. In his first physical encounter with Kal-El, Kru continued to rely on his super-arsenal, despite having super-powers, and was defeated when Superman, Supergirl, and a super-powered Lex Luthor melted his Weaponry Cache. In a rematch in the Vortex Sun dimension, Kru-El did not even realize that he had become super-powered, and was easily knocked out by Superman. A similar physical defeat followed when Faora released the Zoners and they tried to defeat Superman as a group.
When the Phantom Zoners later engineered a mass-breakout by influencing Quex-Ul, Kru-El played to his strengths, and rather than physically confront his remaining super family on Earth, he flung the JLA Satellite into deep space, destroyed Earth's communications satellites, and stole Hal Jordan's Lantern and used it to construct an orbital Phantom Zone projector. But before he could use it, the projector was destroyed.
In the Phantom Zone, Kru-El was always lurking. He foiled Supergirl looking for her parents, and blocked her when she tried to gather evidence to prove her innocence. Kru was also occationally plotting to get other Zoners out, such as Professor Va-Kox or Ak-Var.
Kru-El has escaped from the Phantom Zone a number of times, but never remained free for long. His final escape was very short lived, as Mister Mxyzptlk and Aethyr merged with all the Phantom Zoners and left the universe.
Powers and Abilities
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Kru-El possesses the same potential powers as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of Kru-El's super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. His biological make up includes a number of organs which lack analogues in humans and whose functions are unknown. It is believed that between one or more of these and his bio-cellular matrix, "yellow" solar energy is stored for later use. This allows for the use of these powers to fade when yellow solar radiation is not available instead of immediate failure.
- Heat Vision: Kru-El can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. He can vary the heat and area affected.
- Super-Hearing: Kru-El's hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill and concentration, he can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency.
- Enhanced Vision: Kru-El's vision processes the entire electromagnetic spectrum as well as allowing vast control over selective perception and focus.
This umbrella ability includes the following:
- Electromagnetic Spectrum Vision: Kru-El can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. He can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, he can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows him to see the aura generated by living thing.
- Telescopic Vision: This is the ability to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics. Though limited, the exact extent of the ability is undetermined. In function, it is similar to the zoom lens on a camera.
- X-Ray Vision: This is the ability to see through any volume of matter except lead. Kru-Els can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. He can focus this ability to "peel back" layers of an object, allowing hidden image or inner workings to be observed. The exact type of energy perceived—such as x-rays, cosmic rays, or some other energy invisible to normal humans—is unclear. This ability perceives an ambient energy source though, it does not involve the eye projecting a concentrated, possibly toxic, beam to be reflected back from objects.
- Microscopic Vision: This is the ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level.
- Infrared Vision: Kru-El can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
- Flight: Kru-El is able to manipulate graviton particles to defy the forces of gravity and achieve flight. This ranges from hovering to moving in any posture, in any direction.
- Invulnerability: Due to the interaction of his dense molecular structure and supercharged bio-electric aura, Kru-El is nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, his extends this protection against toxins and diseases.
- Superhuman Stamina: Kru-El is able to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. This based on his body converting yellow solar radiation directly to energy, but is limited by physiological and psychological needs to eat, drink, and sleep.
- Superhuman Strength: Kru-El's strength is augmented by yellow solar radiation interacting with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of his musculature. His strength is more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables him to perform physical feats that are beyond the mere application force, such as moving a mountain top without said rock crumbling under its own mass.
- Superhuman Speed: Kru-El is able to move at incredible speed by sheer force of will. This extends to his perceptions and allows for feats such as catching bullets in mid flight as well as covering vast distances in little or no time.
This also confers:
- Super-Breath: Kru-El is able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from his lungs. He can chill the air as it leaves his lungs to freeze targets. He can also reverse the process to pull large volumes of air or vapor into his lungs.
- Longevity: Kru-El can live longer than regular humans, remaining at his prime as long as he was under the exposure of the "yellow" sun.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Kru-El possesses the same potential weaknesses as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- Mind-Over-Matter Machine: It would create anything that the wearer imagined.
- Superpower Ray
- Temporal Force Field 
- Gold Kryptonite Magnet
- Mind-Transfer Device: A device that would exchange the minds of two subjects through time.
- This version of Kru-El, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
- Kru-El's outward appearance is very much like Dr. Xadu, as Xadu was retroactively written out of the Phantom Zone after Superboy #100 and Kru-El created several months later to take his place. Thus Kru-El's first appearance could be said to be in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #62, where a reprint of the issue in Superman Family #178 changed Xadu's identity to Kru-El.
- 35 Appearances of Kru-El (Earth-One)
- 5 Images featuring Kru-El (Earth-One)
- 2 Quotations by or about Kru-El (Earth-One)
- Character Gallery: Kru-El (Earth-One)
- World of Krypton #3
- World of Krypton #1
- DC Comics Presents #97
- Superman #402
- The Phantom Zone #1
- Adventure Comics #283
- Action Comics #297
- Action Comics #298
- World's Finest #199
- Action Comics #473
- Phantom Zone Projector
- Action Comics #309
- Superman Family #189
- Superboy #121
- Action Comics #336
- Action Comics #473
- Superman Family #190
- The Phantom Zone #3–4
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