Krypto (Superdog)

To see the last character appearing in Titans season finale Dick Grayson we have to wait until after the credits: in a tasty bonus scene, we’re brought nearby Metropolis, where someone is wreaking havoc in a Cadmus Lab facility. The rogue experiment, Subject 13, kills all the scientists, and before leaving frees a white dog who’s been kept in what appears to be a Kryptonite-powered cage: as soon as it’s freed, the dog watches his savior with sparkling red eyes. That’s Krypto the Superdog, a classic character who’s been around for more than fifty years in the comics, and who makes here his live action debut (if you don’t count Shelby from Smallville, who is given Kryptonian powers for a while, and who Clark wanted to name Krypto at first). Now, let’s take a look at one of the best known animal mascots from the superhero world!

Despite his appearance, Krypto wasn’t exactly a dog, just like Superman wasn’t exactly a human. He was born on Krypton, several decades ago, a canine alien who was trained by Jor-El as his family house dog. Krypto was very fond of the family’s toddler, baby Kal-El, and he often played with him, until the day his master put him on a space rocket for a test flight, an experiment that would have ensured a safe flight for Kal-El, later. Jor-El’s idea to use the dog for a first test launch proved to be well motivated, as the calculated trajectory wasn’t precise: Krypto’s rocket was knocked off course, and it drifted in space for several years. Finally, after being in suspended animation for so long, Krypto’s rocket picked up the signal from Kal-El’s one, and corrected its course, moving to Earth. Here, Krypto immediately found his master thanks to his incredible sense of smell, despite he had already grown up to a teenager by the time the second rocket arrived. Despite all evidence, Kal-El recognized in Krypto a “Kryptonian dog”, and accepted to take care of him… something that turned out to be incredibly difficult. Just like him, in fact, Krypto was greatly empowered by the Earth’s yellow sun, but unlike him he had no idea on how to restrain himself. Every time he scratched the door to go out for a walk, for example, he destroyed much of it, and if he barked at a cat he risked to cause supersonic hurricanes; most of all, when Krypto accompanied Kal-El in his adventures as Superman, he severely risked to kill whatever villain his master was fighting, as his bite was strong enough to break even steel. Superman tried to train him properly for years, and he succeeded in a certain way… but once, as the dog was simply defending Lois Lane from Mongul, he nearly decapitated the alien overlord with a bite. Despite acknowledging the fact that Krypto was merely defending his masters, Superman decided he couldn’t risk his dog to kill someone ever again.

In order to protect the world from Krypto, and not to make Krypto feel too lonely in the process, Superman brought him to the Fortress of Solitude, where he programmed one of the robots to emit his same smell to make the dog feel comfortable. In the Fortress, Krypto continued his training under the supervision of both artificial intelligence and Superman, when he had time to dedicate to him, and he grew into a “more responsible” canine hero. He even acted autonomously during Imperiex‘s invasion, saving a number of people without his master around telling him what to do. His existence wasn’t a public fact, but some of Superman’s closest friends and allies knew about him. Thanks to this, when Poison Ivy used her Kryptonite lipstick to bend Superman’s will, Batman took Krypto from the Fortress of Solitude and used his unmatched sense of smell to retrieve his master and help Batman break him out of Ivy’s mind-control (quite unexpectedly, the dog also took an instant liking in Catwoman, something that she didn’t exactly appreciate…). Also Superboy made use of Krypto to “distract” some CIA agents during his rescue mission at the White House, believing that Superman and Batman were hostages of President Luthor: this mission wasn’t exactly a success, and Krypto alone destroyed much of the White House’s upper floor. When he wasn’t out for a mission, Krypto loyally stayed at the Fortress, mainly acting as a guard dog… something that he did even a bit too efficiently: when Kara Zor-El came visiting the Fortress of Solitude, Krypto violently attacked her, and even used some of his Kryptonian powers on her. Batman used the incident to point out that maybe the girl wasn’t who she said she was, but Superman shrugged it off as a minor incident, as Krypto was merely doing what he had been trained to do. The Fortress, however, was clearly not a healthy environment for the dog, and Superman finally came to the conclusion that the open spaces in Smallville would have been better for him: he entrusted his dog to Superboy, not so difficult considering that the clone had his same smell. Both Krypto and Superboy needed a friend, and maybe this was the best solution… if the two got along, of course.

Krypto is as loyal and obedient as he can be, fiercely protective of his master(s), fairly aggressive towards strangers and possible threats. As the Superdog, though, solar radiation makes it hard for him to control his immense power: he possesses an incredible strength, speed, stamina, durability and agility, he can fly, he has heat vision and super breath, and he possesses the keenest senses on the entire planet, far greater than the ones of his master Superman. Basically, Krypto is a good dog… unfortunately, a good dog that can level a mountain whenever he’s upset.

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  1. Pingback: Amalak | Who's Who

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