Monday, August 28, 2006

The Next Part of "The Colors Out of Space"


White Kryptonite. In White K's first appearance, in Adventure #279, we learn that White K has no effect on Kryptonians -- or anyone else! Instead, in Superboy's words, "The rays are deadly to plants of all worlds and will turn them to dust in a few seconds! … It was Green Kryptonite until it met a space cloud and turned into something I never knew existed … White Kryptonite!"
With such odd effects, White K has turned up in some outré tales.
Action #278 describes the advent of "The Super-Powers of Perry White," wherein the Daily Planet editor eats a strange fruit that first gives him super-powers, but soon takes control of his body and will. As Xasnu the Zelmian says through Perry's lips, "I landed as a spore, grew into a mature plant, and developed fruits which an Earthling ate! As the substance spread through his bloodstream, he first acquired super-powers … and then … I finally acquired complete control of his body and mind!" (I thought I just said that.) Yes, Xasnu is the vanguard of an invasion of Earth by plant intelligences.
In only a terrifyingly short time, Xasnu/Perry has tracked Superman down to his Fortress of solitude and beaten him to a standstill. As his enemy approached with Green K, Superman acknowledges to himself, "The fiend … he's won the final round. I have no defense now …" But suddenly, like the proverbial cavalry over the hill, Supergirl bursts through the wall with a chunk of White K that destroys the alien and leaves Perry unharmed. A dramatic ending to a superior story.
Action #362-366 feature the Virus X saga, wherein Superman contracts this deadly Kryptonian plague. After frantically seeking a cure, the Man of Steel bids a last farewell to earth before launching himself in a rocket to destroy his contagion-ridden body in the star "Flammbron, mightiest solar system in the universe, whose incandescent, neutronic flames match the heat of a thousand normal suns" (Action #365). However, but a Strange Twist of Fate, his rocket takes him past Htrae, the Bizarro world, whose inhabitants pay tribute to the universe's mightiest hero thuswise: "It am Superman's flying coffin! Him going to die! Yippee! Us help him die faster by scattering Red and White Kryptonite near him! It make him happy!" And, by golly, Superman is indeed very happy when the White K kills the Virus X infection, curing him.
13 years later, in 1981, Supergirl also contracts Virus X, although Superman quickly cures her with a "White Kryptonite-powered healing ray" in his Fortress (Superman #365).
In Superman #371, the empty display replica of Kandor is taken over by a new race of miniature squatters, space refugees from a dead world. Superman enlarges two of them to try to find a way to enlarge the rest, but common Earth germs cause allergic reactions in his guests. "Once I knew what was afflicting you," says Superman after making them all better, "I exposed you to the sample of White Kryptonite I keep here," thus destroying "the microorganisms that had invaded your bodies!"
Say, come to think of it, why doesn’t the government try a chunk of White K on AIDS -- or the common cold?

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