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The Orb.

Tess Mercer: "Lois, where is the orb?"
Lois Lane: "What orb?"
Tess Mercer: "The alien technology from my vault."
Lois Lane: "Oh! that orb..."
Tess Mercer and Lois Lane in Doomsday

The Orb is a Kryptonian spherical device created by Jor-El at the insistence of the Ruling Council, to ensure that Krypton would persist or be preserved if the planet was ever destroyed.[1]

The Orb contained or stored the DNA-strands and memories of Krypton's army along with Krypton's two greatest heroes: Jor-El and Major Zod. It possessed the power to generate clones of these Kandorians in the event that the Orb was opened. Along with the Stones of Power, which stored all the knowledge of the known 28 galaxies, these Kryptonian crystals ensured that the people and knowledge of Krypton would always have a chance of surviving.

Because of its immense power and importance, the Orb had certain safeguards built in: hints of its existence were left around the world, like maps of its location were hidden by a secret society, and pieces of it were hidden around Earth. It also possessed the ability to "control" the Traveler in the event that he turned against humanity, by stripping him of his powers and destroying the Fortress of Solitude and turning it back into the Crystal of Knowledge.

Physical Appearance

The Orb itself is a geodesic-like Kryptonian crystal, appearing in colors ranging from metallic blue to purple.[2]

The Orb has a detachable piece with a distinctive symbol on it: Four diamond-shaped figures opposite of each other, 2 by 2. Tess Mercer used the symbol as an emblem for her team of meteor freaks. (Injustice) When Major Zod arrived at the Luthor Mansion, the symbol could be seen shining on his back. (Doomsday) Several banners of the Kandorian army also have the Orb symbol, implying that it is a military crest of some sort.

Powers and Abilities

The Orb was embedded with several power functions including to "control" Clark Kent and producing the Kandorian clones.

As a safeguard to allow only humans to use the Orb for its functions, the Orb is protected so that Kryptonians and even Brainiac are not able to use it as it seems to have some kind of a kryptonite-like effect. (Arctic)

Controlling Clark Kent

The Orb inserted in the console of the Fortress by Lex.

After the small piece of the Orb is inserted in it, the Orb creates a hologram depicting the current location of the Fortress of Solitude (or probably the Crystal of Knowledge). When inserted into the Fortress' console, the Orb is able to strip Clark of his powers and causes the Fortress to collapse and turn back into the Crystal of Knowledge.

Creation of the clones

The Orb burns a crest in the ground and frees Zod.

The Orb is also able to communicate with its bearer in order to get the person to "open" it. It's unclear what exactly triggers or enables this communication application, but it is probably a delayed effect after inserting the missing piece in the Orb.

Once its bearer has followed the commands from the Orb and it is ready to "open" following the Ultimate Destroyer being defeated, the Orb can create clones of the individuals whose DNA has been stored inside of it (somewhat similar to Zor-El's blue crystal). Twenty years before Krypton's destruction, Jor-El stored the blood of several Kryptonians (including himself, Major Zod, and several soldiers from their army) inside. These clones have the memories of their original counterparts at the time that the blood was drawn from them. Because of Jor-El's corruption of the Orb using blue kryptonite, these clones don't have the abilities that regular Kryptonians would get under a yellow sun.

When the Orb was opened, the clones appeared throughout the Earth on top of their designated house symbol which gets scorched into the ground. Zod appeared at the Luthor Mansion (where the Orb was opened) and Jor-El's clone appeared in the Turkish desert. When the clones were created via the Orb on Earth, they were without garments.

Early History

Jor-El creating the Orb.

Jor-El created the technology of the Orb before it was used by the Ruling Council as a means to heal those afflicted by war and disease. The Ruling Council insisted that Jor-El use this technology to preserve the Kryptonian race if Rao's prophecy should ever come true. They took blood samples of the best soldiers and placed their DNA in the Orb, which could later create clones of them which would be sent to Earth. When Jor-El was forced to complete the experiment, he radiated the Orb with blue kryptonite, meaning the clones would not get their natural powers under a yellow sun. Jor-El's and Major Zod's DNA were also added to the Orb.

Jor-El also added another function to the Orb: The ability to destroy the Fortress of Solitude and remove the powers of a Kryptonian.

Jor-El makes sure that the clones did not get superpowers.

The device was sent to Earth and hidden away in the Luthor Mansion, which originally was on a small island in Scotland. The device was concealed in the fireplace of the castle. When Lionel Luthor had the castle moved stone-by-stone to Smallville, Kansas, the Orb went with it. A small piece of the Orb, which was needed to activate it, was separated from the Orb and hidden inside a clock in St. Christopher's Cathedral in Montreal, Canada.

Season Seven

The Orb when it is activated.

The Orb and its missing piece were found in 2008 by Lex Luthor after several struggles. He activated the device by inserting the missing piece. Once activated, the Orb showed Lex the location of the Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic Circle via a holographic projection.

Brainiac (posing as Kara) approaches the Orb.

Lex then stored the Orb in a safe in the mansion. Brainiac (disguised as Kara Kent) tried to take the Orb so he could control Clark Kent. However, the Orb was built so Kryptonians couldn't touch it so even "Kara" wasn't able to use it. Later, Lex took the device to the Fortress to use it against Clark, believing Clark was sent to Earth to destroy all of mankind. After a confrontation with Clark, he placed the Orb into the console, which stripped Clark of his powers and caused the Fortress to collapse, with both Clark and Lex still inside.

Season Eight

The Orb in Tess' possession.

Tess Mercer managed to salvage the Orb after the events that occurred earlier involving Clark and Lex and the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude. It still remained whole, intact, and apparently undamaged. However, it had altered in coloration, turning from a purple-black to a metallic-blue. She took it to the Luthor Mansion and stored it in a vault in her room.

The Orb speaks to Tess and envelops her.

Tess tried to investigate the functioning of the Orb, with no apparent success. At an unspecified moment in time, the Orb started communicating with Tess, manifesting as a bright light around the Orb and talking to her with a mysterious voice. The Orb gave orders to Tess, one of which was to destroy the black crystal that could open a portal to the Phantom Zone through the Fortress so Clark couldn't trap Davis Bloome (Doomsday) and would be left with no choice but to destroy him. After Tess had completed this task, the Orb asked her if Kal-El was ready to fulfill the prophecy and told her that she would be the savior of Kandor after everything she has done. It later enveloped her with its bright glow.

A humanoid form appeared holding the Orb.

Later, the vault was somehow breached and Tess found the Orb missing from the vault. There were indications that the breach had been from inside the vault, thus suggesting that the Orb itself had left the vault for unknown reasons. After Clark imprisoned Doomsday with the help of the Justice League, the Orb re-appeared outside the Luthor Mansion, glowing brighter, and shot a ray into the ground. After a burst of light, a naked man with the Orb symbol on his back appeared, holding the Orb. Zod's symbol also appeared, burned on the ground. At the same time, several voices could be heard chanting Zod's name.

Season Nine

The Orb and the Stones of Power on Krypton.

The Orb created clones of soldiers from Kandor who had their blood samples taken, including Jor-El and Major Zod, and made them appear all over Earth. In a flashback from Jor-El, it is shown how the Orb was created along with the Stones of Power.

It is unknown where the Orb currently resides.


The Orb's Final Piece

  • As of now, how the Orb was able to permanently remove Clark's powers remains unknown, although it had something to do with the device being laced with Blue kryptonite, although, unlike Blue k which only takes his abilities away while in direct contact with him, the Orb took them away and weren't restored even under Earth's yellow sun (similar to Gold K), until John Jones, his proclaimed protector, stepped in and flew him into the Sun's core. This also applies to the Kryptonian clones.
  • The voice from the Orb contained two voices, man and woman, speaking simultaneously, but in the Salvation recap only hear the male one.[3]
  • The Orb is intended to be a throwback to the Omegahedron from the 1984 Supergirl film. Interestingly enough, it was introduced to us by the same director, Jeannot Szwarc.[citation needed]
  • A similar Orb was seen in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (the Kryptonian Globus), Superman: The Animated Series (Brainiac's memory ball), and the Supergirl movie (Zaltar's Omegahedron).
  • Although Clark has X-rayed the fireplace in the Luthor Mansion, he might not have been able to see it. The Orb seems to have a kryptonite-like effect which negates his abilities. Since the fireplace was not covered in lead the effects of the Orb could have negated Clark's x-ray vision. This still begs the question 'how did he not notice it?', This could be that unlike kryptonite it is unnoticeable while in a certain proximity to the orb.
  • On the commentary for Kandor, the Orb is identified as Smallville's version of the Bottle City of Kandor.



Jor-El: Welcome home, my son.
Clark: Home? I wanted to see it that way, Jor-El. I wanted to learn more about my family, about my destiny. Then you tore it all away.
Jor-El: I programmed the Fortress to remove your powers and self-destruct if you became a danger to the planet.
Season Eight, Abyss

The Orb: Is Kal-El ready to fulfill the prophecy?
Tess: I did as you asked. The crystal has been destroyed.
The Orb: Then you shall be the savior of Kandor.
Season Eight, Injustice

1st Elder: It is agreed. Jor-El, the council will spare your life. But you are ordered to complete the orb. You must include Major Zod's DNA and your own. If that fateful day of judgement ever comes to Krypton, our survivors on Earth will be led by two of our planet's greatest heroes.
Season Nine, Kandor

See also

Kryptonian artifacts in Smallville
Major Stones of Power (Crystal of Fire, Crystal of Air, Crystal of Water) • Book of RaoOrb
Fortress Crystal of KnowledgeFortress of Solitude (console, dagger)
Ships Kal-El's shipBlack Ship (Black box) • Kara's ship
Kawatche Kawatche CavesMemory pendantAltarKeyPalak
Other Phantom Zone crystalBlack crystalBlue crystalCrystal of ElDax-Ur's shieldMirror box


  1. The Ruling Council stated this in Kandor.
  2. The orb was blue in Season Seven and was purple in subsequent seasons.
  3. It was clearly heard in Injustice.