Rao

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Rao is a sun in the DC Comics Universe. It is the red dwarf that the planet Krypton orbited. Before Krypton exploded, Rao's red sun radiation suppressed the superhuman abilities of Kryptonians, as their powers only worked in the radiation of a yellow sun.

References to Rao began to creep into Superman's lingo in the 1970s under the editorship and policy of Julie Schwartz, with Superman occasionally exclaiming "Great Rao!" instead of his standard "Great Krypton!"

In Super Friends #47 (August 1981), Superman reveals that "Rao" is also the Kryptonian name for God. This was subsequently confirmed in "mainstream" DC continuity of the time in the 1982 miniseries Phantom Zone.

Contents

Sandman: Endless Nights

In the Sandman graphic novel Endless Nights, there is a story with Rao as the personification of the Kryptonian sun. The story hints that the Kryptonian race and Kal-El's survival was no coincidence, but a making of Rao.

In that story, Despair of the Endless speaks with Rao some billion years ago:


"Think about it, Rao. Wouldn't bringing life onto a planet that is inherently unstable add to the beauty of the life? If at any moment, it could explode...Truly it would only be perfectly beautiful, a perfect piece of art, if one single life-form escaped. To remember, to mourn, to despair."


The Last God Of Krypton

In "Superman: The Last God Of Krypton", when Krypton was a primitive planet, Rao held a war against Cythonna, Goddess Of Ice. This was later referred to as "The Wars Of Fire and Ice". Cythonna lost, and was imprisoned by Rao in another dimension. She managed to escape, and started to look for Kal-El, the last Kryptonian and a direct descendant of Rao himself. She sought to kill Kal-El and have her ultimate revenge on Rao, who had abandoned Krypton millennia before it exploded.

Superman and Cythonna held a final battle in the sun, resulting in Superman's victory, imprisoning Cythonna in the sun's core, due to its gravity.

Krypton Chronicles

It is described in detail in E Nelson Bridwell's Krypton Chronicles that later on in Kryptonian history, Rao went from being the sun to a much more cosmic, monotheistic concept, which is "he who ignited the sun."

Infinite Crisis

In Infinite Crisis #6, Superman and Kal-L carry Superboy-Prime through Rao to remove his powers, which enables his defeat. In the same issue, Krypton's sun is called Eldirao - (El being the Kryptonian word for "Star"). DC comics writer Kurt Busiek, who coined the name, said, "See, I always interpreted "EL" to be "Star". Kal-El means "Starchild" but it might be more directly 'Child of the Star' by my reckoning. And that would make Eldirao "Star of Rao" or something similar."

Superman Returns

In the 2006 film Superman Returns, Rao becomes a supernova, destroying Krypton.

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