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Red Kryptonite.

"If the green meteor rocks affect Clark physically, maybe the red affects him... emotionally."Martha Kent, Red

Red Kryptonite is a mineral from the planet Krypton that removes inhibitions from Kryptonians and humans alike making them reckless, evil, and dangerous. It arrived on Earth during the 1989 meteor shower. The only confirmed source of Red Kryptonite to date has been red meteor rocks found at Hob's Pond.

Red Kryptonite is sometimes referred to as "Red K", to differentiate it from other colored forms of Kryptonite.[1]

Physical Appearance

A meteor with Red Kryptonite seen in the Pilot.

Red Kryptonite's physical appearance can be in the form of a deep ruby-red jewel, normal rock or gas. As a rock it appeared to resemble rubies very closely as a jewelry company saw it as suitable substitutes for more expensive rubies. The mineral glows bright red when in contact/proximity to a Kryptonian.

Red Kryptonite has only ever been seen as small slivers or chunks, as opposed to Green Kryptonite which is often seen in larger pieces (suggesting that it is rarer).

Powers and Abilities

Red Kryptonite brings out the rebellious and immoral personality of Kryptonians and rids them of their inhibitions. The effects of Red Kryptonite are likened to that of being under the influence of too much alcohol or narcotics, without the loss of physical capability. In addition, Red Kryptonite appears to have no detrimental physical effects on health or the functioning of powers.

Clark infected by Red Kryptonite.

Red Kryptonite's powers are usually triggered by extreme physical proximity. In most cases, this means that Red Kryptonite needs to be very close to the skin of the Kryptonian; if it's in a ring or necklace, it must be worn. Once Clark Kent was infected by Red Kryptonite that was in the pocket of a shirt that he was wearing; it is unclear why Red Kryptonite infected him without it being in contact with his skin. It's possible that Red Kryptonite in his shirt pocket was larger or more powerful than the usual Red K fragments, or that Red Kryptonite gives off radiation similar to its green counterpart.

Red Kryptonite infects Clark.

Red Kryptonite does not usually infect humans, but it can infect both humans and Kryptonians by entering the bloodstream as shown when Red Kryptonite entered Lois Lane's body through her lipstick. The lipstick caused her to fall madly in love with the first man she saw: Clark Kent. She then transferred Red Kryptonite to Clark through a kiss. Red Kryptonite was also found to impact humans, when combined with an aphrodisiac. Star, a woman selling New Age novelties such as aphrodisiacs and incense, gave Lois Lane a lipstick containing Red Kryptonite.

Red Kryptonite gas.

It also appears to work much faster on a Kryptonian who has experienced its effects before, rather than one who is experiencing it for the first time. When Clark is first affected, his personality slowly changes, darkening with his amount of exposure. Upon his later encounters with it, the effects are instantaneous; he immediately becomes amoral.

One can presume that the radiation emitted by Red Kryptonite can be harnessed as a power source as Tess Mercer's scientists used it to power the Kryptonite matrix. Indeed the fact that it was used to "upgrade" Metallo, instead of the more available Green K suggests that it may be able to produce more energy than its green counterpart.


John Corben stabs Clark with Green Kryptonite to free him from the Red Kryptonite.

The effects of Red Kryptonite on Kryptonians is immediately countered by distance. If Red Kryptonite is no longer very close to a Kryptonian, it will immediately lose its effect. In this case of jewelry, this usually means that it is no longer being worn, and it seems that Red Kryptonite that is in rock form, it must be in near-physical contact with the Kryptonian for it to have any effect.[2]

Clark destroying Conner's Red Kryptonite ring.

If Red Kryptonite is ingested into the bloodstream, it can usually be countered by Green Kryptonite. In the case of a Kryptonian like Clark Kent, Green Kryptonite exposure will cause Clark to sweat out the Red K. In the case of a human like Lois Lane, Green Kryptonite exposure can take the form of a Kryptonite-infused mist.[3]

If Red Kryptonite is inhaled, it will boost up through time. Stabbing Green Kryptonite in the infected person will free him/her from the infection.

Season Two

Smallville High School ring with Red Kryptonite

The mineral was used in class rings of Smallville High School students. Having bought the ring, Clark began to gradually succumb to its influence, initially simply mouthing off to the principal, trying to invite Pete to a bar, flirting with Lana, talking back to his father, asking Lana out, inviting his friends to a bar, checking out Chloe and Lana with his X-ray vision before running up massive charges on his parents' credit cards, even running away with another student whose father had ties to various crime organizations. He was eventually cornered in a cornfield by Jonathan and Pete, who used a chunk of Kryptonite to weaken him long enough for Jonathan to shatter the ring. After the ring was shattered, Clark admitted that he sometimes resented their hard life on the farm, but noted that the emotional rewards of the life he shared with his parents made them worth it.

Pete Ross put a Red Kryptonite rock in Clark's shirt pocket during Rush to have "fun" while he was infected with a mood-altering parasite, but Clark returned to normal when his shirt was removed inadvertently by similarly infected Chloe..

After he accidentally caused his mother to lose her baby, Clark purposefully put on a class ring to run away.

Season Three

Clark destroys the ring.

Clark wore the ring all summer while living in Metropolis, going by the name 'Kal', robbing banks and spending time in nightclubs, trying to escape his guilt by keeping the ring on so that he could be someone who wouldn't brood over what he had done, even going so far as to commit robberies for a local crime boss Morgan Edge. However, when Jonathan was temporarily given Kryptonian powers and forced Clark into a confrontation, challenging him to reveal whether he had raised a son that could kill, Clark destroyed the ring and returned to Smallville, forcing himself to acknowledge his mistakes and move past them.

Season Four

Alicia Baker created a necklace containing Red Kryptonite and gave it to Clark, wanting to bring out the 'bad boy' in the belief that she was bringing out the real Clark Kent. During this time, Clark and Alicia actually got married, but when she removed the necklace as she wanted all of Clark Kent rather than just the 'bad boy', Clark immediately rejected her and had the marriage annulled.

Season Six

Star sold lipstick made with Red Kryptonite to Lois who unknowingly infected Clark when she kissed him. When Lois was cured of her exposure, she lost all memory of her time under the influence of Red Kryptonite; Clark, as usual, retained all memory once his mother exposed him to Green Kryptonite to make him sweat the red out of his system.

Season Nine

From an explosion that John Corben saved Lois Lane from in the form of red dust. Clark became infected from the dust causing him to side with Major Zod and destroy Chloe's Kryptonite arsenal.

A Red Kryptonite heart was created for John Corben in Upgrade by LuthorCorp so that he would not have any emotions.

Season Ten

Lionel Luthor presented Conner Kent with a Red Kryptonite ring to unleash his "Luthor" (Dark) side, prompting Conner to try and abduct Lois for himself, but Clark was able to destroy the ring and restore Conner to normal.


  • The primary source of Red Kryptonite has been the class rings of Smallville High. The jeweler substituted red meteor rocks from Hob's Pond for the real rubies normally used.
  • Clark uses Red Kryptonite in the Smallville novel story Temptation.
  • Red Kryptonite appears in every season at least once except for Season 1, Season 5, Season 7 and Season 8
  • While Red Kryptonite does not appear in Season Five or Season Seven, it is referenced at least once during those seasons.
    • Season 5 (Splinter): Due to his paranoia (brought on by Silver Kryptonite), Martha assumed that Clark is on Red Kryptonite, and explained to Chloe the effects it usually has on him.
    • Season 5 (Hypnotic): When Clark was under Simone's hypnosis, Chloe dismissed Red Kryptonite as the cause of his bizarre behaviour because he was doing chores.
    • Season 7 (Arctic): Due to Kara's/Brainiac recent murder of Edward Teague, Clark assumed that she had come in contact with some Red Kryptonite.
  • The idea of how Red Kryptonite affects Clark could possibly have come from the series "Lois & Clark." When Clark was near Red Kryptonite he became very apathetic. He didn't care about anything except taking things easy and enjoying life. Which meant he was very leisure and enjoyed the company of ladies. When Clark came out of his Red Kryptonite stupor, he could vaguely remember the naughty things he'd done under the influence of Red Kryptonite.
  • In the comics, Red Kryptonite has unpredictable effects on Kryptonians and lasts for 48 hours (Although a sample of Red Kryptonite created by Mister Mxyzptlk for Lex Luthor deprived Superman of his powers once rubbed until Lex revealed the origin of the Red Kryptonite to Clark Kent, as Mxyzptlk's one restriction was that Superman couldn't learn that he was involved). In the television series, a Kryptonian affected by Red Kryptonite becomes amoral and "unpredictable", as if they were under the influence of alcohol. 48 hours is the amount of time someone should avoid alcohol after getting drunk.
  • The Red K in the series could be a metaphor for sexual and aggressive development in Clark's puberty.


Chloe: I should have known that Clark took a walk down the ruby-red road. That explains his lack of "edit" button.
Tess: I thought Clark was only affected by green meteor. What's the red do?
Chloe: Basically it turns him into the bad boy every girl dreams of... in her nightmares.
Season Nine, Upgrade


In the Comics

Red kryptonite in the comics.

In the comics prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, Red Kryptonite was created when Green Kryptonite passed through a mysterious red cloud on its way to earth. Each stone of Red Kryptonite had a different effect, which always wore off within 48 hours. Superman has suffered the following effects upon exposure to various pieces of Red Kryptonite: transformed into a dragon, a non-powered giant, a dwarf, an ant-headed humanoid, a lunatic, and an amnesiac (being the most common); being unable to see anything green; long hair, nails, and beard; being rendered totally powerless; obesity; telepathy; vulnerability along the left side of his body; being split into an evil Superman and a good Clark Kent; being rendered unable to speak or write anything but the Kryptonian language; growing an extra set of arms; clumsiness; body swapping; rapid aging; and varied personality changes.

Following the Crisis, Red Kryptonite appeared on two occasions in the comics, each one an artificial creation; one version was created by Mister Mxyzptlk as part of a 'joke' and another was created by Batman in the event of him ever needing to stop Superman without killing him. When rubbed by Lex Luthor, Mxyzptlk's Red Kryptonite caused Superman to lose his powers, but the effect wore off when Lex revealed the imp's involvement to Clark Kent; Mxyzptlk had told him that the Kryptonite's effects would wear off if Lex told Superman of his involvement, but Lex had concluded that it wouldn't break the rules if he told Clark and Clark told Superman. Batman's Red Kryptonite, on the other hand, turned Superman's skin transparent, causing him to nearly overload with power as the solar energy that gave him his powers was sent directly into his muscles without being filtered by his skin.

In Superman III, a synthetic Kryptonite made of Earth was created by Gus Gorman. Gus created the synthetic Kryptonite, but replaces an unidentifiable element in the process with tar, and Superman received it at a ceremony in his honor. The Kryptonite made superman much like Kal and a little like Bizarro, causing him to make advances towards Lana Lang, and Lorelei Ambrosia. He also cared less about saving others for example he decided to stay with Lana, instead of saving a car from falling off a bridge and told Lorelei he would not save her if she fell from the Statue of Liberty. He also became vindictive, committing petty acts of vandalism such as blowing out the Olympic torch and straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It also gave him a 5 o'clock shadow and his costume grew darker and he had a craving for alcohol.

In the end the synthetic Kryptonite appears to have similar effect to that of Black Kryptonite in the Smallville series and split him into two beings: an evil Superman and Clark Kent (who still had his powers). After a long battle Clark was able to choke the evil Superman to death causing him to fade away. Clark then removed his suit, revealing Superman's costume underneath. He flies away, his original personality and abilities restored. It is not made clear in this sequence whether Superman has literally split into two physical beings or whether it is simply a hallucination caused by his identity crisis.

In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Red Kryptonite didn't lower Clark's inhibitions, but instead made him apathetic. As the character and then-current head of Intergang, Bill Church Jr, said, "This is almost better. It's like he doesn't even care." On another occasion it caused him to lose fine control of his powers; a possibly psychological effect. In that episode, when he discovered he had accidentally bruised Lois Lane arm's after embracing her, he was overcome with guilt and avoided her until he had control of his powers again. Also, a laser generated with Red Kryptonite caused Superman's powers to be transferred to other people.

See also

Kryptonite in Smallville
Types Natural: GreenRedBlueGold kryptonite • Processed: BlackSilverGemstoneClear kryptonite
Effects Meteor infectionPsychosisMeteor freaks
Objects BulletCageHandcuffsHeartKeyRingNecklaceVictory ring
Other KryptonMeteor showers (1989, 2005) • Lead (box) • Appearances of Green K (usages)


  1. Lois used the phrase in Season Ten's Luthor, when talking to Clark Luthor.
  2. Clark was restored to normal in Red right after a Red K class ring was destroyed and in Rush after removing his shirt with a Red K in the pocket and tossing it to the floor. Also in Unsafe, Clark was restored to normal as soon as Alicia took the necklace off of him.
  3. Both instances are seen in Crimson. Martha remarks that she figured Clark had to sweat out the effects.