- "I am Kal-El of Krypton."
- — Kal-El to Martha. Crusade
Kal-El is the Kryptonian birth-name of Clark Kent as well as his alternate personality after he was reconditioned by Jor-El. The son of esteemed scientists Jor-El and Lara, Kal-El was spared Krypton's fate by being rocketed to Earth as an infant in hopes of becoming a great hero.
Physical AppearanceClark's reprogramming by Jor-El didn't change his appearance in any way beyond ruffling up his hair as well as it being noticeably longer and thicker due to growing naturally over the span of three months in the cave walls. He spoke with a more assertive, deeper voice than Clark.
Upon being returned to Smallville completely naked, Kal-El was provided by Lois with a bright-red blanket for covering. Upon being found by Martha, he was given proper clothes in the form of a black button-up t-shirt, grayish bluejeans with a black belt, and black worker's boots.
- "Your humanity has made you weak."
- — Kal-El to Clark. Crusade
Despite his articulate and fluent speech, Kal-El is cold, unfeeling and void of any emotions and attachments, as he has no memories or recollections of Clark's family and friends because of his reprogramming by Jor-El. He sees humanity as a weakness.
Kal-El is strongly driven to pursue his Kryptonian calling and hone the Stones of Power. He has some of Clark's latest memories before his assimilation into the wall, as he was able to remember both Jonathan Kent and his time in the wall, which he claimed "felt like home." He is curious and observing, and was able to tell that Lois talked too much.
It is also worth mentioning that Kal-El is more confident with his powers than Clark, which is possibly why he can fly and Clark couldn't at the time.
- "Kal-El, my son. Now you shall be reborn."
- — Jor-El to Clark. Covenant
During the 1989 meteor shower, Jor-El saved a teenage girl named Lindsey Harrison after her mother's car was struck by a meteor. Sealing her inside the Kawatche Caves, he transformed her into a Kryptonian vessel - giving her new memories, Kryptonian-like abilities, and longevity.
Emerging from the caves sixteen years later, Lindsey - with no memory of her former life - made her way to the Kents' property where she introduced herself as Kara from Krypton, claiming to have come to recollect Clark as punishment for Jonathan breaking his covenant with Jor-El.
Eventually, Chloe learns "Kara's" true identity through fingerprint records. Jonathan confronts the two just as they are about to enter the cave wall. Jor-El seemingly destroys Lindsey - now useless - and begins strangling Jonathan, threatening to kill him if Clark doesn't enter.
Resigning to his fate, and hoping to spare his Earth father, Clark cooperates and begrudgingly enters the glowing fissure - disappearing into the cave wall. Inside the void, a naked Clark wakes up in a fetal position enclosed in energy, with Jor-El proclaiming he is to be reborn.
- "It is time to fulfill my destiny."
- — Kal-El after hearing the Air Element. Crusade
Three months later, Clark returned, re-programmed as Kal-El of Krypton, a more obedient version of Clark who fully embraced his destiny. He was found in a cornfield by Lois Lane, where she took him to Smallville Medical Center. It was here that Martha Kent discovered Clark and volunteered to help him find a sign he was waiting for. Kal-El agreed to follow her, and the two returned to the Kent Farm.
After becoming aware of his whereabouts and mission, Kal-El set out to find the Stones of Power. Accepting his destiny, he used his powers to find the Crystal of Fire, but his quest was interrupted when Martha used black kryptonite to free Clark from Kal-El.
Powers and Abilities
- "He has completely embraced his Kryptonian destiny."
- — Bridgette Crosby after learning of Kal-El. Crusade
- Solar Battery: As a Kryptonian, Kal-El's abilities are rooted in his body's reaction to the yellow sun of Earth - his cells deriving nourishment and energy by metabolizing the radiation from the younger, stronger star. This endows him with momentum and overwhelming levels of strength and power.
- Super-Strength: Kal-El wielded impressive super-strength - easily ripping off the pressurized door of Lex Luthor's jet with one hand. Without any of the doubt or humanity of Clark Kent, Kal-El was willing to use the full measure of his might. In his last moments, he single-handedly choked Clark.
- Super-Speed: Like his super-strength, Kal-El could have pushed his body to velocities surpassing what Clark was capable of at the time. While he didn't rely on his running speed, it was his flight speed that showcased his full power - reaching terminal velocities that broke the sound barrier.
- Super-Breathing: Kal-El was able to seamlessly hold his breath and survive both while flying at over twenty thousand feet in the air as well as outside of Earth's atmosphere, all without showing any sign of breathlessness or discomfort over the span of several dozen minutes or even up to an hour.
- Flight: While Clark at the time was held back by insecurity as well as various other psychological barriers, Jor-El wholly purged Kal-El of these weaknesses. Liberated as such, Kal-El could harness his energy to suspend gravity's pull on him at will - breaking through Earth's atmosphere.
- Technopathy: This was exclusive to technology from the planet Krypton, as they were engineered to respond to Kryptonian DNA signatures. With this, Kal-El was able to summon the Air Element to him just by raising his hand, and later he interfaced the coding in the Kawatche Caves just by touch.
As a Kryptonian, Kal-El possesses the same weaknesses as Clark Kent. He is susceptible to any variant of Kryptonite, is rendered powerless by the radiation of a red sun, and can be affected by arcane spells like any man. Kryptonian steel as well as powerful aliens can injure him.
- Black Kryptonite: Of all the variants, black Kryptonite affects Kal-El in a particular way. As it purifies Kryptonians of the darker aspects of their personality, it can separate Kal-El's personality from Clark's - giving him control again, while also losing any additional powers Kal-El may wield.
Kal means "child" and El means "star" in the Kryptonian language. In Kryptonian dialect, the family name is spoken first and the given name next when the meaning of the name is expressed. Hence, Kal-El means "star child." The name was suggested to Lara by Kara while they were visiting the Kent Farm before the first meteor shower.
With the help of Dr. Virgil Swann, Clark learned that his birth name was "Kal-El." He has been referred to as "Kal-El" by Dr. Swann, Lionel Luthor, Jonathan Kent, Jor-El, Zor-El, Lara, Kara, the Disciples of Zod, Brainiac, General Zod, Raya, Bizarro, Baern, Titan, Martian Manhunter, Chloe Sullivan, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Faora, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Tess Mercer, Alia, Major Zod, Carter Hall and Lois Lane.
- Dr. Swann: (reads the Kryptonian transmission) "This is Kal-El of Krypton, our infant son, our last hope. Please protect him and deliver him from evil."
- Season Two, Rosetta
- Jor-El: Fear not, Kal-El... I am Jor-El, your father... I am his memory, his will. I am to fulfill his promise and guide you all the days of your life. You are the last son of Krypton. When you traveled through the cosmos, you carried the hopes and dreams of your people. They now live through you, Kal-El... It is time for you to accept your destiny... By the setting of the star Sol, you will return to me. Your destiny will be fulfilled. Your thoughts are not a mystery to me, Kal-El. But these people have served their purpose. It is time to leave them... You must let go of your past. I will guide you to your future... You have no choice, Kal-El.
- Season Two, Exodus
- Kal-El: "I am Kal-El of Krypton. It is time to fufill my destiny."
- Clark: You don't know anything about this race. Yeah, they can be petty and dishonest and betray each other over nothing. But they can also be honest and loyal. And they would give up everything to protect someone they love...even if they were from another planet.
- Professor Fine: Kal-El...
- Clark: My name is Clark. And I'll always believe in my friends and my family.
- Season Five, Splinter
- Raya: Where are you from?! Where?!
- Clark: I was born on Krypton and raised on Earth.
- Raya: Earth? Kal-El?
- Clark: How do you know my Kryptonian name?
- Season Six, Zod
- Clark: I know who I am!
- Dr. Hudson: I'm not sure you do. Your name is Clark Kent, not Kal-El. And Jor-El isn't your father.
- Season Six, Labyrinth
- Lara-El: Jor-El? Is that you?
- Clark: I'm Kal-El.
- Lara-El: Kal-El? My son? My beautiful boy.
- Season Seven, Blue
- Clark: I'm looking for someone.
- Dax-Ur: Well... If they live all the way out here, I probably know him.
- Clark: Dax-Ur?
- Dax-Ur: Dexter? No... no... nobody around here on that name.
- Clark: Actually he's not from around here. He is from Krypton. So am I. (he tosses the beacon to Dax-Ur) I'm Kal-El.
- Dax-Ur: The House of El. You always were survivors.
- Season Seven, Persona
- Clark: Kara, listen to me.
- Kara: How do you know that name?
- Clark: Because I'm from Krypton. I'm your cousin. I'm Kal-El.
- Season Seven, Apocalypse
- Orb: Is Kal-El ready to fulfill the prophecy?
- Tess: I did as you asked. The crystal has been destroyed.
- Orb: Then you shall be the savior of Kandor.
- Season Eight, Injustice
- Clark: I understand you've been looking for me.
- Zod: (to his soldiers) My brother and sister Kandorians, he has come. Kneel before Kal-El.
- Season Nine, Pandora
- Clark Kent is the first person on the show to be split by black kryptonite.
- Kal-El has the same mark on his chest that Clark had in season 2.