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Kandor is the name of the former capital city of the planet Krypton in the DC Universe. It is best known for being stolen and miniaturized by the supervillain Brainiac. Upon its recovery by Superman, it has been traditionally kept and monitored in the Fortress of Solitude.
Silver Age version
Kandor was once the capital of Krypton until it was shrunken 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, Jul 1958) and rescued it, keeping it in his Fortress of Solitude while looking for a way to restore it to full size. In return, the Kandorians provided the superhero with a place where he was an honoured guest, various professionals to assist him when asked and even occasionally assisted him in the outside with the Superman Emergency Squad.
Eventually (Superman #338, Aug 1979), Superman was able to restore the population to normal size and they settled on another planet that revolved around a red sun. The Kandorians decided to name their new homeworld Rokyn, which is the Kryptonian word for "gift from God" (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 but was surprised when thousands of tiny aliens, fleeing the destruction of their home planet, moved into it (Superman #371, Aug 1982). When told the city's original name was Kandor, the aliens decided to call it that as well.
In Showcase #97, Kara Zor-L (Power Girl) was revealed to have been born in Kandor, as shown in one of her dreams. This version of Kandor was never shrunken, 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 non-descript Kryptonians whom she interacted with 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)
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 sieged 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 up heaved the city from Krypton's surface. A force field was then erected around the city which contracted, shrinking the city and its inhabitants. Brainiac departed without causing further destruction or seizing other Kryptonian cities.
Post-Man of Steel/Crisis on Infinite Earths
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.
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 more 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 Thirty-Seven 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 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.
Kandor has 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."Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes" #23
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 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 Kara 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.
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.
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 fate of both Kandors is still unknown.
Superman: Red Son
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.
All Star Superman
In All-Star Superman #10 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, the series basically being a return to 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 pose neither a threat to them, 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.
- The most significant appearance outside of comics is 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. This is of course not the real Brainiac, this is actually just Superman's dream world created by the alien creature known as Black Mercy.
- Kandor also appears in Superman's Fortress of Solitude in the animated movie Superman: Doomsday.
- In a Season 7 episode of the television series Smallville, Clark's cousin Kara identifies Kandor as her hometown on Krypton. In another episode, a flashback depicting Kara being sent to earth by her father Zor-El. He then explains that he will not go to earth with Kara because he must stay behind to protect Kandor.
- 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 crystaline 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 (aka 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.