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An alien ship approaches Earth, searching for Superman.

Quote1 A third Kryptonian. He-- or she-- could be lost, alone, in need of help. Or a deadly threat to Earth. We had to know. And aside from that, I wanted to know. Another survivor of my long-shattered home. Like me, like Kara... Quote2
Superman src

The Third Kryptonian is a 2007 storyline by Kurt Busiek, published in Superman (Volume 1). It reimagines the Silver Age Superwoman Kristin Wells as the Kryptonial refugee Karsta Wor-Ul.


An alien ship approaches Earth, searching for Superman.

Down on Earth, Superman and Batman have just torn down a Dominator nest while looking for a Kryptonian. Several months ago, an alien called the Auctioneer claimed there was a third Kryptonian on Earth.[1] It is neither Superman nor his cousin, Power Girl is from another dimension, and Krypto was off-world. Superman and Batman have been searching for weeks, but although they have put down several threats, they haven't found anything so far.

As flying over America, Superman spots Chris Kent cavorting around the clouds when he was supposed to be in school. Superman confronts his foster son, and Chris tells him that all the kids laugh at him because he doesn't know how to pretend to be human.

Superman takes Chris to the Batcave to meet Batman and Robin. Superman asks Batman if he has made some new breakthrough in his research to find ways to counteract his powers. Annoyed that Superman knows about that, Batman explains he has discovered red-sun radiation shuts off Superman's powers instead of robbing them as previously assumed. Superman assumes Batman has already designed a projector and asks him to make one tiny enough to fit inside a children's wristwatch.

Both men set to work, and one hour later, Superman gives his son the modified watch, stating it'll help him blend in and learn what to be human is like until he doesn't need the watch.

As Chris and Tim play around, Superman and Batman talk about their ongoing investigation when they receive news of a bridge collapse. Superman and Chris -keeping himself out of sight- save the people.

Unbeknownst to Superman and Chris, they're being watched by an alien crew. Their leader is surprised. He paid the Auctioneer a fortune for the location of the world where the last Kryptonian dwelled, and he has found a man, a girl, a young woman, a little boy, and apparently one another whom the man is seeking. He intends to find and kill them all, stripping Earth from life if necessary.

His men search for broadcast news displaying the Kryptonian girl. They catch Supergirl mentioning Kandor II in passing,[2] which they mistake for the real Kandor. Feeling amazed and eager at once, the crew leader will wait until Superman finds the lost Kryptonian and then he will slay them all to avenge his people.

Superman has just repaired the brige when Batman warns he has found something: the last night, several teenagers went on a rampage, exhibiting superhuman strength before losing consciousness suddenly. The kids had inhaled some kind of alien compound whose atomic structure is eerily similar to the blue dye coloring Superman's costume. Batman thinks they have found a lead at last.

Batman ascertains the alien molecular compound must come from Northern California. Superman comes upon a farm, ran by a woman called Kristen Wells, and notes she is growing alien plants in her garden. She may appear sixty but she's definitely not human. Superman starts to politely introduce himself, and she punches him into Tokyo. Superman heads back, telling Batman to shut down the speaker in his earpiece. Batman does so, maintaining the microphone open so she can't hear him, but he can listen to both.

Superman returns to find Wells armed with an anti-Kryptonian blaster, threatening him out of her property. He says he's there to talk, and she lowers her weapon and ushers him in.

As offering a drink, Kristen asks how he found her. Superman tells her about local teens smoking something that made them super-strong and mad, and him tracing the substance back to her garden. Kristen tells she didn't realize her herbal remedy would affect humans.

Kristen says that her real name is Karsta Wor-Ul and that she was a commander under Admiral Dru-Zod I several generations ago, at the height of the Kryptonian Empire. The Empire came to an end when the Military Council was replaced by the Kryptonian Science Council, that decided to shut down the Empire and recall the army. Refusing to yield and lose her powers forever, she and others fled.

Unfortunately, she and her group soon discovered Kryptonians weren't welcome out of their own world. They became outlaws hunted by everybody. Often they had to kill those who were chasing them, which Kristen isn't proud of. Eventually the group split and fractured, some returning to Krypton, others becoming mercenaries. Kristen and her group went rogue and joined different pirate bands. She eventually met Ro-Kul, another former stellar navy gone rogue, and fell in love. After a while they left piracy behind and travelled the universe together before building a home and settling down. The lived for a century, entirely undisturbed except for three months where they dreamed the people from Kandor was calling them.

Superman and Kirsten's conversation is being monitored by Amalak's crewmen. When Superman mentions finding Kandor and bringing it to Earth, Amalak believes he is refering to the original Kryptonian city, and his eagerness to find it and destroy it becomes increased.

Kristen continues her history. They heard about Krypton's destruction years after the fact. In time, anti-Kryptonian feeling had waned, and she and other survivors dared to go back to friendly words and gather from time to time. Then they were ambushed by Amalak, a Kryptonian-hating space pirate. Amalak slew dozens of non-Kryptonians just because they were there, but Kristen and her lover managed to slip away.

In the following years, Amalak systematically hunted down and killed every Kryptonian survivor until only Kristen was left. Kristen spent decades hiding in backwater worlds until she heard of Superman. Thinking of using her showy, noticeable countryman as an early warning system should Amalak return, Kristen fled to Earth. She secured funds, forged a new identity and led a quiet life, following news of Superman, and later of his family. Since time passed and Amalak never came, possibly due to being haunting other space sectors, she grew complacent, failed to maintain her sensor shields correctly, and was detected by the Auctioneer.

After finishing her story, Karsta prepares to leave. Superman tries to talk her out of it, but they are suddenly attacked by Amalak and his men. Amalak declares he'll find and kill every Kryptonian, and then the vengeance of his people will be complete. Superman faces up to Amalak while Karsta decides to escape. As dodging Amalak's anti-Kryptonian weaponry, Superman checks on his family:

On Metropolis, Supergirl is ambushed by Amalak's minions. She instantly suits up and engages them.

On Manhattan, Power Girl is finishing Vulcan off when she is attacked by more Amalak's minions.

On Bakerline, Amalak's minions are trying real hard to not get mauled by Krypto.

Superman also checks on Batman. His friend heard everything through their audio gear and is already moving. Superman then ricochets a beam of heat vision off a satellite to signal Lois to hide out somewhere with Chris Kent, lest Amalak tracks them too. Chris wants to remove his watch and help but his foster mother forbids it.

Battered by Amalak's weapons, Superman flies away, shouting he needs to protect Kandor. Amalak bites the bait and follows him. Karsta, meanwhile, retrieves an escape craft from the ocean and flies off the planet.

Superman reaches his abandoned Amazonian Fortress before being blasted down. Amalak places a red sun-powered inhibitor called Enervator on him and then realizes he has been led on a wild goose chase. Infuriated, Amalak activates the Brain Ripper, a device capable of ripping memories from one brain to implant them into another, in order to obtain Kandor's location from Superman's mind. However, Superman manages to resist the process and use the Brain Ripper to read Amalak's mind instead. Superman discovers that Amalak's planet was conquered by the Kryptonian Empire and its inhabitants wiped out by Admiral Dru-Zod after a failed rebellion. When Amalak returned home fifty years later, the souls of the dead told him who was responsible. Enraged, Amalak swore vengeance on all Kryptonians.

Right when Amalak's minions are managing to retrieve Superman's mental data, Supergirl, Power Girl and Krypto storm the Fortress and rescue Superman. Superman tries to reason with Amalak, but Amalak will not be talked out. Amalak's minion Talam-Sa manages to find out about Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Amalak heads towards the Arctic Circle as the Superman Family fights his forces. Meanwhile, Karsta is about to get in her getaway spaceship. Still she can't help but hesitate.

Amalak arrives at the Fortress but he finds Batman clad in a Kryptonian battlesuit and blocking the entrance. Batman battles Amalak all over the fortress while the Superman Family take his soldiers down. Superman, Supergirl, Power Girl and Krypto triumph and fly towards the Fortress, disregarding their injuries and fatigue.

When they arrive at the place, Batman has been defeated after holding Amalak back for so long as possible. Unfortunately, Amalak has found Kandor. But Amalak realizes that Kandor isn't the Kryptonian city he was looking for. Superman tries to reason with Amalak, but Amalak furiously shatters the city. The Kryptonians engage Amalak as Superman reminds himself Kandor was in reality in a dimensional warp, and the "Bottle" was the interface between the pocket dimension and the real world. He heard the warp collapsing, but he doesn't know if the Kandorians are alive, dead or needing help because he can't reach them anymore thanks to Amalak's insanity.

The four Kryptonians fight Amalak. He isn't Kryptonian-level powerful but he is strong, and they are exhausted. They fight hard, but Amalak is brutal and relentless. Suddenly, Batman remotely deactivates Chris's red-sun watch, granting him access to his powers. Chris streaks to the Fortress and defends his father. Amalak senses that Chris is a descendant of Admiral Zod and tries to kill him. However, Superman uses the last of his strength to throw Amalak to the edge of the Atomic Cauldron, power source of the Fortress. While Superman and Amalak teether on the edge, Power Girl and Supergirl try to activate a Phantom Zone Projector.

Suddenly, Karsta appears and activates yellow sun grenades that restore the Kryptonians's powers. Together, the Kryptonians defeat Amalak.

After the battle, the group is introduced to Karsta. While Supergirl and Power Girl repair the Batplane, Superman tells Batman he understands why Batman called Chris in, but he isn't happy about it. Supergirl mentions she had visions of the future showing that woman, as well as her parents and the people of Kandor alive, and wonders whether they are real after all.[3]

Power Girl suggests to throw Amalak in the Phantom Zone, but Karsta chooses to deliver Amalak and his henchmen to the space authorities, and she will also turn herself in for her own crimes. She is tired of running away.

Superman bids her farewell and hopes they might meet again now that she's reformed. He is also happy he has been able to see Krypton from another perspective and wonders if he'll ever be able to save Kandor again... and if Amalak is right there is a twin city, a real Kryptonian city full of other survivors and a new generation of Kryptonians might be out there.




Recommended Reading

Links and References

Superman Our Worlds at War Vol 1 TP
Superman Family Storyline
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This event or storyline is specifically related to Superman, or to members of the Superman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Superman Storylines category.