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General Zod

General Zod
General Zod as seen in Action Comics #845 (January 2007).
Art by Adam Kubert.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Adventure Comics #283
(April 1961)
Created by Robert Bernstein
George Papp
In-story information
Full name Dru-Zod
Place of origin Krypton
Team affiliations Kryptonian Military Guild
Partnerships Non
Abilities Super Strength
Super Speed
Super Agility
Super Endurance
Super Hearing
Vortex Breath
Freezing breath
Enhanced extrasensory
Heat Vision
Healing Factor
X-Ray Vision
Skilled Warrior & Military Tactician

General Zod (full name Dru-Zod) is a

  • General Zod at the Grand Comics Database
  • General Zod at the Comic Book DB
  • - Origin of General Zod
  • Zod on DC Database, an external wiki, a DC Comics wiki
  • General Zod at the Internet Movie Database
  • - a humor website featuring General Zod
  • Alan Kistler's Profile On: ZOD! - Comic book historian Alan Kistler does an in-depth article reviewing the long history of Zod from 1961 all the way to 2005, going into detail on the various incarnations and changes in the character. Includes several artwork scans of the different versions of Zod and a discussion of the show Smallville.

External links

  1. ^ a b c d Wallace, Dan (2008). "General Zod". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York:  
  2. ^ "The Top 50 Greatest Heroes & Villains Of All Time - ‘Total Film’ Compiled List". 2007-11-24. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  3. ^ "General Zod is number 30 - IGN". Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  4. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #22 (October 1988)
  5. ^ Adventures of Superman #589 (April 2001)
  6. ^ Action Comics (vol. 1) #776 (April 2001)
  7. ^ Superman #206
  8. ^ Superman #214
  9. ^ Action Comics #844
  10. ^ Action Comics #845
  11. ^ Action Comics Annual #10
  12. ^ Action Comics #846
  13. ^ Superman: War of the Supermen #4 (July 2010)
  14. ^ Hayer, Chris E (June 4, 2013). "First look: DC's Action Comics Villains month - Zod, Lex Luthor and more plus Michael Alan Nelson talks Cyborg Superman". Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ Pak, Greg (w). Action Comics v2, 23.2 (September 2013), DC Comics
  16. ^ Countdown #24
  17. ^ Countdown to Final Crisis #30
  18. ^ JSA: The Libert Files #2
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ Brian Peterson, Kelly Souders (writers). Kevin Fair (director) (September 25, 2009). "Savior". Smallville. Season 9. The CW. 
  21. ^ Don Whitehead, Holly Henderson (writers). Mairzee Almas (director) (October 2, 2009). "Metallo". Smallville. Season 9. The CW. 
  22. ^ Al Septien, Turi Meyer (writers). Jeannot Szwarc (director) (November 6, 2009). "Kandor". Smallville. Season 9. The CW. 
  23. ^ Drew Landis, Julia Swift (writers). Morgan Beggs (director) (November 20, 2009). "Pandora". Smallville. Season 9. The CW. 
  24. ^ Jordan Hawley (writer). Mairzee Almas (director) (January 29, 2010). "Disciple". Smallville. Season 9. The CW. 
  25. ^ Al Septien, Turi Meyer (writers). Turi Meyer (director) (February 26, 2010). "Conspiracy". Smallville. Season 9. The CW. 
  26. ^ "Superman II Coca Cola sign scene". 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  27. ^ Wizard #177; Jason Mewes also uses the phrase in the 1996 movie Mallrats.
  28. ^ Kilday, Gregg (April 10, 2011). "'"Michael Shannon Set to Play Villain General Zod in 'Superman: Man of Steel.  
  29. ^ "Watch: The 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice' trailer is out and it's epic in every sense of the word".  
  30. ^ "General Zod confirmed as 4th DLC character to Injustice: Gods Among Us, video from E3 and early gameplay information". 
  31. ^ Superman Adventures #21
  32. ^ Justice League Unlimited #34


See also

  • The American rock band Electric Six includes the "Kneel before Zod" line in its song "Rip It".
  • Irish thrash metal band Gama Bomb's Citizen Brain album features a song entitled "In the Court of General Zod".
  • Rapper Tech N9ne says "I'll make you kneel before Zod" in the song "Sinister Tech".
  • Rapper RZA includes the line "Kneel to Zod" in his song "Gone".
  • Rapper Eminem says "Kneel before General Zod, this planet's Krypton" in his song "Rap God".
  • Rapper Esoteric says "General Zod motherf***er, make opponents kneel" in the Army of the Pharaohs song "Luxor Temple".
  • Canadian rock band Billy Talent released a song entitled "Kingdom of Zod" on September 25th, 2014.


  • In the novel The Last Days of Krypton (by Kevin J. Anderson, ISBN 0-06-134074-X), General Zod (also known as Commissioner Dru-Zod) is the son of Cor-Zod (former head of the Kryptonian Council). Initially a middle-level bureaucrat, he takes advantage of a major planetary cataclysm and the apparent decapitation of the government to seize absolute power as a military despot. He is ultimately overthrown by a resistance movement led by scientist Jor-El and his brother, civic leader Zor-El. They had formerly worked with Zod until his ambitions and misuse of Jor-El's Rao Beam and Phantom Zone, showed them his true nature and turned them against him. He and his two henchmen are banished forever to the Phantom Zone. The reactionary Council, however, decide to make sure Zod can never be released, and, in doing so snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What the comet, pressures building up within Krypton and Rao's increasing instability fail to accomplish, is ironically achieved by the actions of Krypton's Council out of an irrational fear that Jor-El might free Zod and his minions.



  • The 1988 Superman NES game has Zod, Ursa, and Non as the final bosses whom Superman must defeat in order to win the game. The fight takes place at the fictional Statue of Freedom in Metropolis, based on the Statue of Liberty.
  • General Zod appears in the DC Universe Online video game, voiced by Alexander Brandon.
  • General Zod appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Townsend Coleman.
  • General Zod appears as a downloadable character in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, voiced by Nolan North.[30] The Man of Steel incarnation is available as an alternate costume. In General Zod's ending, his prolonged time in the Phantom Zone allowed him to find out that he can create small Phantom Zone portals from one of the Phantom Zone inhabitants. Once he escaped, he trapped the One-Earth High Councilor Superman in the Phantom Zone and took his place in the One-Earth government planning to remake Earth into Krypton's image.
  • General Zod appears in Android and IOS game based on the movie Man of Steel.
  • General Zod (and his trademark line) has been referenced in several video games: Such as Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, in League of Legends with the champion Vladimir. When the "Blood Lord Vladimir" skin is picked he uses the phrase: "Kneel before Vlad", and in World of Warcraft with a weapon named "Zod's Repeating Longbow", which bears the phrase "Kneel before him".
  • The Man of Steel incarnation of General Zod appears via DLC as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
  • Zod appears as an enforcer of Lord Vortech in the Ghostbusters world in Lego Dimensions, with Nolan North reprising.

Video games

In the alternate world of Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Zod causes the destruction of Krypton by drilling the planet for its core in order to have the energy needed for his war machine and stops Jor-El from implanting his genetic code onto the egg created by Lara. Knowing the planet is about to blow up, Zod touches it to implant his genetic code, leading that version of Superman to grow up to look and behave more like Zod. However, after being told about Zod, Superman calls his father a madman. He was voiced by Bruce Thomas.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Shannon reprised his role as Zod in a trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) as a corpse.[29]

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Zod releases the world engine on Metropolis and over the Indian Ocean to begin terraformation, but Clark Kent (now dubbed "Superman") destroys the device while the United States Military use Superman's modified ship as an airstrike device against Black Zero, creating a singularity that sucks all Kryptonians (save for Zod and Superman) back into the Phantom Zone, foiling Zod's plans. Enraged at the loss of his people, Zod engages Superman in an even, catastrophic fight throughout Metropolis and briefly in space; Zod's advantages, combat experience and training, are matched by Superman's superior adeptness to his powers and higher solar energy supply (having grown up on Earth and therefore adapted to its atmosphere and conditions). Eventually, Superman gets the upper hand and subdues Zod, driving the General to attempt a murder on a family with his heat vision. Morally torn, Superman is forced to snap Zod's neck, killing him.

Thirty-three years later, Zod arrives on the planet Earth and extorts its people into handing over Kal-El (now going by the name Clark Kent) by threatening Earth's destruction. Zod reveals to Clark Kent how he and his team refit the Phantom Zone projector into the ship "Black Zero", acquired a "world engine" device, scouted unsuccessfully for surviving Kryptonian colonies, and traveled to Earth after Clark Kent triggered the distress signal of the scout ship he found in the Arctic. He then reveals his plan to terraform the planet with the world engine and use the codex (that Jor-El placed within Clark Kent's individual cells as a baby) to repopulate the world with genetically-engineered Kryptonians, which will kill all of Earth's indigenous life in the process. When Zod arrives at the Kent Farm and threatens Martha Kent for the location of the codex, Superman attacks him in a rage and defeats Faora and Nam-Ek in a destructive battle in Smallville, forcing them to retreat.

This version is the head of Krypton's Military Guild and becomes so dissatisfied with the planet's ruling council's decisions that he initiates a rebellion. He discovers that the scientist Jor-El stole the codex, the key to genetically-engineering Kryptonians, and that his son Kal-El was born naturally (which is against Kryptonian Law as all Kryptonians are engineered to be more efficient). Angered, Zod fights Jor-El but loses. Zod manages to kill the scientist before he and his forces, including his second-in-command Faora, are captured and sentenced to 300 cycles of somatic reconditioning within the Phantom Zone. Zod then cryptically warns Jor-El's widow that he will find their son. Krypton's core destroys itself, killing all Kryptonians.

General Zod appears in the Zack Snyder film Man of Steel, played by Michael Shannon.[28] Viggo Mortensen was considered for the role.

Michael Shannon as General Zod in Man of Steel.
Man of Steel

DC Extended Universe

In 2009, issue #7 of the 15-story Superman: World of New Krypton copied this with the phrase "Kneel Before Kal-El" on the cover. Director Richard Lester inspired much of Zod (and company)'s destruction of downtown Metropolis. One scene involved his heat vision being reflected by Superman. Standing in front of a tanning salon billboard, he comically imprints his silhouette over the bikini-clad figure; the rest of the poster is charred. In a later scene, Superman knocks him to the street and grabs him by his hand and foot; he spins Zod violently then throws him miles away where he crashes through a neon Coca Cola billboard.[26] This portrayal is rated #58 on Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list.[27] Zod is notably the only other villain to appear in the film series originating from the comics beyond Lex Luthor.

General Zod appears in Superman: The Movie and Superman II, portrayed by actor Terence Stamp. He is an arrogant, pompous aristocrat, bored with his incredible powers and disappointed with the ease of overtaking Earth. Richard Donner's Director's Cut includes a scene where Zod is shown laughing while using an Armalite AR-10 to shoot soldiers in the White House. He is eventually defeated when Superman lures Zod and his allies to the Fortress after reprogramming a chamber designed to remove Kryptonian powers so that the red sunlight it generates will be reflected outward into the rest of the Fortress rather than into the chamber, allowing Superman to retain his powers while depriving Zod of his. In the Richard Donner cut, it was shown that Superman went backwards in time again to prevent Zod and his followers from escaping from the Phantom Zone.

General Zod, Non (both bearded) and Ursa in the film Superman II.
General Zod (Terence Stamp, center), Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and Non (Jack O'Halloran) in Superman II.

General Zod, Non (both bearded) and Ursa in the film Superman II.

Superman and Superman II


Zod makes a final appearance in the tenth season episode "Dominion". After the Kandorians punish him by sending him to the Phantom Zone, Zod was reunited with the original Zod's disembodied Phantom, resulting in the two combining into a physical form with the memories of the original and clone. Zod was given dominion over the Zone by Darkseid. With his hatred of Clark is further intensified, Zod arranged an elaborate trap to lure Clark into the Phantom Zone by releasing General Slade Wilson. Despite an attempt by Darkseid to use Oliver Queen to kill Clark under Zod's dominon, Clark and Oliver manage to escape while destroying the exit and trapping Zod and his minions in the Phantom Zone forever.

The ninth season introduces the character's return as a younger version, known as Major Zod, as a main character, played by British actor Callum Blue. In the years before Krypton exploded and after the destruction of Kandor and the death of the Major's first wife and son, Zod duplicated his DNA when he was still a Kryptonian Major instead of a Kryptonian General but Jor-El treated the DNA samples with Blue Kryptonite specifically in order to prevent the resulting clones from manifesting abilities on Earth where the yellow sun would give them their Kryptonian superpowers; Zod is consequently a powerless clone of the original who has no memory of turning into the villain Clark knows. Kelly Sounders observes "over the course of the season, the cruel side of Zod rises because he experiences a few key betrayals with our beloved characters starting with Jor-El since he refused to put his son's DNA in the Orb (reasoning that once resurrected the clone could develop horrific mutations or deformities.".[19] The season premiere "Savior" begins with Tess Mercer as Zod's prisoner in the Luthor mansion; he and many other Kandorians live there and at first the Kandorians rebel against Zod about their depowered states; however, the Kryptonian Major manages to get back his soldiers's trust and assure them they will get their lost powers back.[20] In the episode "Metallo", Zod and his soldiers use LuthorCorp equipment to create the supervillain Metallo using Kryptonian scientific knowledge and the bloody body of a human called John Corden.[21] Zod discovers that he is a clone in the episode "Kandor".[22] Due to an inadvertent trip into the future, Lois Lane becomes aware that the Kandorians will eventually regain their powers through the solar towers Tess is creating which will turn the yellow sun into a red sun and block the Blue Kryptonite radiation in their blood and use their abilities to conquer Earth and enslave it under the rule of an alternate Zod. Fearing this eventuality, Clark destroys the towers and contacts the Kandorians to try and help them adjust to life on Earth without powers rather than remaining apart from them so that they can acquire powers without his moral guidance.[23] In the episode "Disciple", Zod introduces himself to Lois as a friend of Clark's,[24] and after Clark uses his blood to heal Zod in the episode "Conspiracy", which has the side effect of giving Zod his lost powers,[25] he begins to masquerade as "the Blur" (Clark's superhero identity) in order to trick Lois into helping him investigate Tess which was in episode "Upgrade". In the episode "Sacrifice", Clark tries to convince Zod's followers to leave him because he killed a clone of Faora that was also pregnant with his child for objecting to his plans of conquest of Earth. In the season finale "Salvation", Zod nearly kills Tess during a fight and almost kills Lois after she uncovers his duplicity. After Zod's murder of Faora is finally revealed and his Kryptonian soldiers are able to learn of his horrific crimes and deceptions, Clark uses the Kryptonian artifact, the Book of Rao, so that the Kandorians are transported to a New Krypton. However Zod reveals a dagger made of blue-Kryptonite which renders him and Clark powerless and keeps him from ascending with the other Kryptonians; until Clark allows himself to be stabbed with the dagger and thrown from a building and Zod, without the effects of the Blue Kryptonite dagger, is unwillingly sent to New Krypton, where the Kandorians await him and are ready to punish the Major for killing Faora's clone and for leading them to war.

In the eighth season, Faora reveals to Davis Bloome that Davis is Zod's (and Faora's) genetically engineered "son" (the Smallville version of Doomsday), created after they discovered they could not have children and sent to destroy Earth. At the end of the season finale where Davis and Doomsday are defeated, Zod's symbol is burnt into the ground by the Kryptonian Orb and a naked man (portrayed by Samuel Witwer albeit uncredited) is released out of the Orb while voices shout "Zod, Zod, Zod, Zod!".

In the fifth season, references to the character began in the season premiere in which his two Kryptonian disciples Aethyr and Nam-Ek search for Clark Kent (aka Kal-El). The season finale concludes with humanoid Kryptonian artificial computer and machine intelligence Brainiac turning Lex Luthor into a superpowered vessel for Zod's Phantom wraith spirit so he would only have his abilities if his vessel already had Kryptonian powers. In the sixth season, Clark is able to escape from the Phantom Zone after being sent there by Zod (in Lex) since Jor-El banished him there and destroys a box of the Black Ship which shuts down the satellites and then evicts Zod's Phantom out of Lex's body and back to the Phantom Zone forever with the Crystal of El.

Zod appears as a recurring villain in the television series Smallville. The Smallville series version is a cruel and ruthless dictator who led a military army of soldiers to take over Krypton and was put into the Phantom Zone along with his second wife Faora. However, Zod's Phantom wraith spirit was depowered and weakened by Jor-El and the Ruling Council.

Zod in the TV program Smallville, wearing a black athletic shirt, camouflage pants and Kryptonian dog-tags
Callum Blue as Major Zod in Smallville.

Zod in the TV program Smallville, wearing a black athletic shirt, camouflage pants and Kryptonian dog-tags


In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, a colony of Krypton is revealed to have survived. Clark is forced to go there as the legal ruler. However, he is opposed by Lord Nor (played by Simon Templeman), a character similar in many ways to Zod. First, Nor hires an assassin to kill Kal-El; when that fails, he attempts to conquer Earth and accuses Kal-El of high treason. While the Tribunal finds Kal-El guilty, Nor makes a mistake by revealing his true motives and intentions immediately afterwards, forcing the Tribunal chief, Lord Trey, to Kal-El's side. An ally of the latter points out a violation of procedure through failure to inform the defendant of the full extent of his rights; namely, an ancient law allowing trial by combat among nobility. The next day, the duel takes place. Superman manages to knock out Nor, but is knocked out in turn by Nor's soldiers (their presence being in direct violation of the rules). At this moment, a grenade full of kryptonite laced poison gas is fired from a nearby building (on a renegade Earth general's order). While Clark survives (due to being unconscious and somewhat resistant to Kryptonite from previous encounters), Nor and his men do not.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

In the 2006 Robot Chicken episode "The Munnery", Zod gets his own workout show "Bod by Zod" and instructs exercising viewers on strengthening aerobics, ending each instruction with "...before Zod."

The The Looney Tunes Show Superman parody episode "Super Rabbit" features Daffy Duck in the part of Zod.

The Silver Age version of Zod makes a cameo appearance in the Legion of Super Heroes episode "Phantoms". He is one of the many Phantom Zone prisoners attacking the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything" contains a depiction Superman's dream world where his Kryptonian wife Loana mentions another Kryptonian named 'Little Zod'.

The Superman: The Animated Series version of Jax-Ur is an amalgamation of the comic book character of the same name and General Zod.

General Zod appears in the 1988 animated series Superman episode "The Hunter", voiced by René Auberjonois. This version is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone with two Kryptonian women (Ursa and Faora) whereas most portrayals of the conspiracy show the Zod trio composed of two men and one woman. While in the Phantom Zone, Zod and his followers create The Hunter (a creature which can transmute itself into any substance that it touches) and send it to Earth. After the Hunter's fight with Superman, Zod introduces it to Kryptonite where the Hunter ends up seeking a piece of Kryptonite that is in Lex Luthor's possession. During the fight with the Hunter, Superman plays dead by going into a suspended animation thanks to a device he gave to Lois Lane. After being awoken from his suspended animation, Superman destroys the Hunter and uses the Phantom Zone Projector to ensure that Zod stays in the Phantom Zone.

In the Super Friends episode "The Evil From Krypton" in 1981, Phantom Zone villain Zy-Kree resembles the Terence Stamp version of Zod.



In other media

Like all Kryptonians under a yellow sun, General Zod possesses vast strength, speed and endurance; super hearing; x-ray vision; telescopic, microscopic and heat vision; super-breath and freeze-breath; invulnerability; healing and flight. In the movie Superman II, he also displayed telekinetic powers, able to levitate a police officer's gun into his hand. Due to his background as a Kryptonian General, Zod possesses a detailed knowledge of military tactics and battle strategy. And because he was trained in fighting arts before receiving his abilities, he has an edge over, depending on the incarnation, Superman's brawling skills or basic knowledge of advanced hand-to-hand combat. Despite these advantages over Superman, Zod's main weakness is shown to be his arrogance. Not only does he underestimate Superman's other allies, but he also lacks the ability to acknowledge his mistakes. When Zod originally escaped the Phantom Zone in the post-Crisis continuity, he proclaimed that he could have saved Krypton if his plan to kill the Council had succeeded; Superman's rational argument was that nobody on Krypton would have followed Zod, also drawing attention to Zod's inability to explain exactly what he would have done to avert Krypton's destruction, with Zod's only response being to reiterate his belief in his own success rather than provide any kind of counter to Superman's claims. In addition, his powers are often inferior to those of Superman, due to the latter being exposed to the yellow sun over the course of his entire life, while Zod typically only gets exposed for a short period of time before being defeated and returned to the Phantom Zone. This greater power combined with his superior control and experience with it gives Superman an edge over Zod's superior fighting skills.

Powers and abilities

  • The General Zod of Earth-15 is this world's Superman.[16] This version is later killed by Superman Prime, who was angry because Zod was "not a maniac".[17]
  • The Zod of JSA: The Liberty Files was not a general of any kind. He was recast as a sociopathic 11-year-old, who created a deadly synthetic virus on Krypton for no reason other than fun. Zod was banished to the Phantom Zone because of his actions (the first child ever sent to the Zone) until American scientists breached the Zone and discovered him. Taken in by the government and named "Clark Kent", Zod would fool most of his adult superiors by playing the role of a scared child until he grew up and became the adult "Super-Man".[18]
  • A version of Zod appears in the 2013 digital-first series Justice League Beyond 2.0, taking place in the DC Animated Universe, specifically in the futuristic setting of the Batman Beyond animated series. In this series, Zod is revealed to be the son of Jax-Ur, marking first appearance of General Zod in the continuity of the Bruce Timm's Superman: The Animated Series, albeit a younger, innocent version of the megalomaniac General who, in fact, helps the new Justice League.
  • Zod appears in Superman: Earth One in which he is called Zod-El, brother to Jor-El and thus Superman's uncle. This version of Zod is also responsible for the destruction of Krypton.

Other versions

Many years later, a mysterious event caused the Phantom Zone to weaken, allowing some of its prisoners to escape into normal space. Zod traveled to Earth, landing in the Sahara Desert. There, Zod's Kryptonian powers began to manifest for the first time, brutally slaughtering a group of travelers. Zod was soon attacked by the Justice League of America until Superman and Wonder Woman arrived, the latter restraining him with her magic lasso. Zod recognized Superman as Kal-El, the son of Jor-El. Superman decided to keep Zod in the Fortress of Solitude's alien zoo. While there, he reveals to Superman that Faora also traveled to Earth with him, and vows to track her down.

A new origin for Zod was introduced. Zod was born to scientist parents. When he was a young boy, Zod and his parents traveled to Krypton's wilderness in order to discover new creatures. Their ship was attacked by creatures, leaving the family stranded in the jungle. While his parents were killed by the animals, Zod managed to survive for one year until Jor-El and his older brother Zor-El saved him. After reaching adulthood, Zod became one of Krypton's best soldiers, attaining the rank of general. Zod developed a hatred towards an alien species called the Char and secretly ordered the creation of a Char-looking creature, unleashing it on Krypton's population, so he could justify a war against the Char. Jor-El discovered the deception and turned Zod over to the authorities. The council found Zod guilty of treason and banished him and his closest followers, Faora and Non, to the Phantom Zone.[15]

In 2011, DC chose to revamp its continuity, rebooting many characters while retaining the histories for some others, as part of its The New 52 publishing event. Following this, Zod is hinted at several times. A character resembling Zod made a cameo in Action Comics #5 (March 2012), as a prisoner in the Phantom Zone; in Action Comics #13 (December 2012) a ghost in the Phantom Zone says "Kneel before..." multiple times while attacking Superman, a reference to Zod's iconic saying. Zod makes his first full appearance in Action Comics #23.2: General Zod (September 2013), written by Greg Pak, with art by Ken Lashley.[14]

The New 52: 2011-present

In the later "New Krypton" arc storyline however, Zod is freed from the Phantom Zone once again by Supergirl's mother Alura. The 'bottled city of Kandor' is transformed into a populated Kryptonian planet ("New Krypton"), and Zod is appointed the leader of its army. In the "World of New Krypton" Action Comics storyline, when Superman decides to see what life is like on New Krypton, he is drafted into the Military Guild under General Zod. Zod and Superman maintain a mistrustful professional relationship. Despite their past, neither seems prepared to behave with marked aggression toward the other. Later, during a Kryptonian ceremony, Zod is shot by the Kryptonian Ral-Dar (who is working with Lois's father General Sam Lane), leading Zod to appoint Superman as temporary General until his recovery. The two are involved in a Kryptonian political plot, but ultimately apprehend the planet's traitor and see a reform of New Krypton's Council. Peace is short-lived however due to an attack by the alien Brainiac, who had been responsible for the bottling of Kandor in the first place. In "Last Stand of New Krypton", New Krypton comes under attack by Brainiac, and Zod engineers a plan to defeat him; Zod is driven by an urge to avenge his prior defeat at the hands of the Coluan Brainiac, when Kandor was bottled from Old Krypton. The storyline ends with the planet's destruction, leading Zod to declare war on Earth, sparking the "War of the Supermen" storyline. After a fierce conflict between Superman and Zod in defence of Earth, Zod is pushed back into the Phantom Zone by his son, Chris Kent, who had freed himself from the Phantom Zone and became active as an adult superhero on planet Earth.[13]

The backstory for the three Kryptonians was revealed in Action Comics Annual #10.[11] Prior to the destruction of Krypton, Zod and his wife Ursa rebelled against their planet's oppressive government, but soon became lawless would-be tyrants who lusted for power. The government sentenced the trio to death, but Superman's father Jor-El pleaded for them to mitigate their sentence to imprisonment in the Phantom Zone, accepted on the condition that he would assume responsibility as their jailer. While in the Phantom Zone, Zod and Ursa were able to have a child who was born immune to the Phantom Zone's effects, ultimately facilitating their escape, and named him Lor-Zod. On Earth, the boy was discovered by Superman and his wife Lois Lane, who adopted him as their own son and named him Christopher Kent. For the duration of the "Last Son" storyline in Action Comics, Chris Kent is depicted as an adopted son of Superman and his wife Lois across DC titles. Alongside Zod, Ursa and Non, 25 other Kryptonian criminals also escape the Zone and defeat a number of Earth's heroes, beginning their quest to conquer the planet. Zod ambushes Superman in revenge for Jor-El's actions and traps him in the Phantom Zone, which he later escapes the help of the heroic Phantom Zone prisoner Mon-El. With assistance from his traditional enemies Lex Luthor, Metallo, Parasite and Bizarro, Superman takes on Zod's army. Out of nearly thirty Kryptonians, Superman's temporary allies successfully kill several, driving the rest back into the Phantom Zone alongside Zod and Ursa, who take Chris Kent with them.[12]

General Zod appeared in the Superman: Last Son storyline (written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, the director of Superman: The Movie and most of Superman II). In a similar story to that of Superman II, Zod, Ursa, and Non escape from the Phantom Zone and come to Earth to try to turn it into a "New Krypton".[9] This incarnation is the first Post-Crisis Zod who came from Superman's Krypton, and not from an alternate reality.[10]

General Zod returns: 2006–2011

The final Zod before the character was finally reintroduced, the Zod of an alternate Phantom Zone appeared in the twelve-issue For Tomorrow (Superman #204-#215) storyline, written by Brian Azzarello and penciled by Jim Lee. This Zod lives alone in an alternate Phantom Zone and resents Superman for tampering with it.[7] By his own account he comes from the same Krypton as Superman and was exiled to the Phantom Zone by Superman's father, Jor-El. This Zod wears large, spiked black armor and when unmasked, is a bald, white-bearded old man. This incarnation also uses a variation of "Kneel before Zod". He appeared in Metropia, a version of the Phantom Zone created by Superman to resemble a living world (including apparently-living beings). However, whether or not this was the real Zod of the pre-Infinite Crisis DC universe he has been superseded by the present storyline (which features a new Zod, freed from the Phantom Zone).[8]

The third attempt to bring Zod to Modern Age comics was the "Russian" Zod, a Zod of human origin whose origin story was connected to Superman's. This General Zod is a Russian who was affected before his birth by Kryptonite radiation, since he was the son of two cosmonauts whose ship was too close to Kal-El's rocketship. This Zod is unnaturally weak under a yellow sun, but superpowered under a red sun (the opposite of Superman). After his parents died from radiation, he grew up in a KGB laboratory under the name "Zed."[1] Apparently spoken to by the spirit of the Pocket Universe Zod, Russian Zod created a suit of red armor which filtered the sunlight, and declared himself ruler of the fictional former Soviet state of Pokolistan. After several inconclusive encounters with Superman, he revealed his long-range plan to turn the sun red and take Superman's place. This was temporarily successful until Lex Luthor rescued Superman, gave him a blast of yellow solar radiation to regain his powers, and worked to restore the sun. Superman returned to battle Zod, but refused to kill him. When the sun turned yellow again the now-vulnerable Zod struck Superman with all his power at super-speed, but was killed due to Superman's invulnerability.[1]

General Zod full-length, with long red cape
Russian General Zod

A second incarnation of General Zod was introduced in the 2001 storyline "Return to Krypton"; this was the Zod of an alternate reality.[5] He was the head of the Kryptonian military in an alternate reality created by Brainiac 13. Like the Pre-Crisis version, Zod held the Kryptonian equivalent of fascist beliefs. He sent aliens to the bottle city of Kandor and planned a military coup. Zod was defeated by Superman and the Jor-El of that Krypton.[6]

General Zod in military-style uniform
"Return to Krypton" Zod from Adventures of Superman #589 (April 2001)

However, the three vowed to some day regain their powers and return to Superman's world to kill him. Acknowledging that he couldn't afford to leave them on the now-dead pocket Earth to let them die on their own neither imprison them on his world, Superman was forced to execute them with Green Kryptonite.[4] This action caused him to question his powers and how to deal with evildoers, to the extent that an encounter with Brainiac caused Superman to manifest a more violent alter-ego in his sleep. Believing that he was becoming too dangerous to remain on Earth, Superman departed the planet for deep space to find somewhere he could live without causing further harm, until meeting with the alien Cleric who helped him accept that he had sinned in the cause of justice and his exile from Earth was doing more harm than good.[1] This version of Zod is based closely on the Pre-Crisis version; the significant difference is he killed everyone on the pocket Earth, rather than conquering them (there is no Superboy/Superman to stop him).

The first Zod to be introduced following Crisis on Infinite Earths was the Zod of a Pocket Universe; this allowed for a "Kryptonian" Zod to be introduced while maintaining Superman's status as the last of his race in the universe proper. This Zod came from a Krypton in a pocket universe created by the Time Trapper. He (along with companions Quex-Ul and Zaora) devastated the Earth of that universe following the death of its Superboy, despite the best efforts of a Supergirl created by this world's heroic Lex Luthor. Eventually, the survivors of this world managed to contact the Superman of the main universe to help them, and he was able to take away the powers of the three super-criminals with only Gold Kryptonite (since he was not from that universe, the Kryptonite of that reality would have no effect on him).

Panel from Superman #22 (October 1988). Superman (left) executing General Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora (center left to right). Art by John Byrne

After DC's continuity altering crossover special Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985), DC editorial held out for a number of years that no Kryptonians were to be depicted in comics aside from Superman, to reinforce his status as the last Kryptonian. This meant that characters like Supergirl and Power Girl were reimagined and Superman's Kryptonian canine Krypto became an ordinary house pet. However, writers of DC Comics still attempted to get around the no-Kryptonians rule by introducing "new" versions of Zod. Many of these were Zods of alternate universes. None persisted in DC continuity. After publishing its sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis (2005), DC reintroduced the real General Zod in its 2006-2008 storyline Superman: Last Son. For this, it brought on board writer Richard Donner, director of Superman, the film which introduced Zod to the moviegoing public.

Interim Zods: 1985–2005

Modern Age

Dru-Zod is a megalomaniacal Kryptonian, in charge of the military forces on Krypton. He knew Jor-El, Superman's father, when Jor-El was an aspiring scientist. When the space program was abolished after the destruction of the inhabited moon Wegthor (engineered by renegade scientist Jax-Ur), he attempted to take over Krypton. Zod created an army of robotic duplicates of himself, all bearing a resemblance to Bizarro. He was sentenced to exile in the Phantom Zone for 40 years for his crimes. Zod was eventually released by Superboy when his term of imprisonment was up. However, he attempted to conquer Earth with his superpowers acquired under the yellow sun. With his threat now obvious, Superboy was forced to oppose him and ultimately returned him to the Zone.

Silver Age

Publication history


  • Publication history 1
    • Silver Age 1.1
    • Modern Age 1.2
      • Interim Zods: 1985–2005 1.2.1
      • General Zod returns: 2006–2011 1.2.2
      • The New 52: 2011-present 1.2.3
  • Other versions 2
  • Powers and abilities 3
  • In other media 4
    • Television 4.1
      • Animation 4.1.1
      • Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman 4.1.2
      • Smallville 4.1.3
    • Film 4.2
      • Superman and Superman II 4.2.1
      • DC Extended Universe 4.2.2
        • Man of Steel
        • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
      • Justice League: Gods and Monsters 4.2.3
    • Video games 4.3
    • Miscellaneous 4.4
    • Novels 4.5
    • Music 4.6
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

In Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), British actor Terence Stamp portrayed the character, which Total Film later ranked as #32 on their "Top 50 Greatest Villains Of All Time" list in 2007.[2] Pop-culture website ranked General Zod as #30 on their list of the "Top 100 Comic Book Villains", asserting that "Stamp is Zod" (emphasis in original).[3] The character was played by Michael Shannon in Zack Snyder's 2013 film Man of Steel, and by Callum Blue in Smallville.

. As a Kryptonian, he exhibits the same powers and abilities as Superman and is consequently viewed as one of his greatest enemies. Krypton from Superman's home planet of warlord Zod is a [1]

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