General Zod
First Appearance
Action Comics #242 (July 1958)
Otto Binder
Super strength, super speed, flight, super breathe, arctic breathe, super stamina, heat vision, x-ray vision, super hearing, longevity, invulnerability, microscopic vision, telescopic vision
Played by
Terence Stamp

General Zod is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961), and was created by Robert Bernstein and George Papp.

Comic HistoryEdit

Silver AgeEdit

Dru-Zod is a megalomaniacal Kryptonian, in charge of the military forces on Krypton. He had known Jor-El, Superman's father, when he was an aspiring scientist. When the space program was abolished after the destruction of the inhabited moon Wegthor, which had been caused 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 his crimes. Zod was eventually released by Superboy when his term of imprisonment was up. However, he attempts to conquer Earth with the super powers gained under the yellow sun. Zod was sent back into the Phantom Zone, occasionally escaping to target Superman.

Modern AgeEdit

Pocket Universe Zod This Zod came from a Krypton in a pocket universe created by the Time Trapper. He, along with companions Quex-Ul and Faora, 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 gold kryptonite (As he was not from that universe, the Kryptonite of that reality would have no effect on him). However, as the three vowed to some day regain their powers and return to Superman's world to kill him, Superman was forced to execute them with Kryptonite, and it was this action that caused him to question his powers and how to deal with evil doers. This version of Zod is based closely on the Pre-Crisis version, the significant difference is he has killed everyone on the pocket Earth rather than conquering them with ease since there's no Superboy/Superman to stop him.

"Return to Krypton" Zod This incarnation of General Zod was introduced in the 2001 storyline "Return to Krypton." 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.

Russian Zod

This General Zod is a Russian who was affected prior to his birth by Kryptonite radiation because 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 of the radiation, he grew up from birth in a KGB laboratory under the name "Zed."

Apparently spoken to by the spirit of the Pocket Universe Zod, Zod created a suit of red armor that filtered the sunlight and declared himself ruler of the 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 still struck Superman with all his power, but was killed.

Phantom Zod Introduced in the twelve-issue For Tomorrow (Superman #204-#215) storyline, written by Brian Azzarello and penciled by Jim Lee, this Zod resides in an alternate Phantom Zone alone and resents Superman for tampering with it. According to him, he comes from the same Krypton as Superman, and was exiled to the Phantom Zone by Superman's father Jor-El. This Zod wears black armor, and when unmasked, slightly resembles an older version of the film Zod. This interpretation also uses a variation of 'Kneel before Zod'. It is possible that this Zod is not a real Kryptonian, however. He appeared in Metropia, a version of the Phantom Zone created by Superman to resemble a living world, including seemingly living beings. Since Superman created the world of Metropia to bear similarities with Krypton, it has been revealed that this, yet again, is not the real Zod.

One Year Later

One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Lex Luthor used a shard of sunstone, which had the word "doomsday" engraved upon it in the Kryptonian language, along with a stockpile of Kryptonite to reactivate the Kryptonian battle cruiser, Doomsday, which had been dormant within the earth for an unknown period of time. Luthor revealed that the vessel was in fact the flagship of the Kryptonian fleet, had belonged to an Admiral Dru-Zod and scoured entire planets clean of life.

In October 2006, film director Richard Donner, noted for his work on the first two Superman movies, became co-writer of Action Comics along with Geoff Johns. At the end of Action Comics #845, Zod, Ursa, and Non have apparently been freed from the Phantom Zone by someone he refers to as his and Ursa's son, implying that the Kryptonian boy that landed on Earth in the story is his son. Somehow owing their freedom to the landing on Earth of Dru-Zod and Ursa's son, after a brief stop to the newly restored Fortress of Solitude to gain information from Jor-El's projection they fly to Metropolis, where Ursa confronts Lois to win her unwilling son back and Zod sends Kal-El to the Phantom Zone after freeing the other Kryptonian inmates. Zod's forces face resistance when Superman teams up with Lex Luthor and his Superman Revenge Squad. Luthor uses the Phantom Zone rockets to catapult every being that has ever been in contact with the Zone back there, including Superman. Superman is spared when Zod's son takes his place. As Zod is pulled into the Zone, he speaks of "the other horror" inside the Phantom Zone, and promises to unleash it the next time he breaks free.

The back-story for the three Kryptonians was revealed in Action Comics Annual #10; Non had once been a brilliant scientist on par with Jor-El. Both were researching the event that would ultimately destroy Krypton. Zod entered their lab with troops (at this point Zod was still working for Krypton's Council). Both Jor-El and Non were arrested by Zod and given a warning by the High Council to halt their research, then released. Jor-El set to work creating the rocket that would send his son Kal-El to Earth, while Non began to spread the word of the planet's impending doom. Non's message swayed both Zod and Ursa that Krypton was soon to be destroyed. Non then disappeared from public life, only to return with a mutilated brain. The council had transformed him into a mindless brute and this act inspired Zod and Ursa to rebel against the Kryptonian government. Without any sense of right and wrong, Non now fought alongside Zod and Ursa. Zod attempted to recruit Jor-El to their cause; however Jor-El saw the plans were fueled by greed, a lust for power and violence.

This rebellion was short-lived and the rebels were again arrested and set to be executed. Not wishing to resort to execution, Jor-El appealed on their behalf, to exile them instead. The council accepted this on the condition that Jor-El would be the jailer. Thus Zod, Ursa, and Non were imprisoned, and embittered against Jor-El for years to come. In addition, it is hinted that the revolution and war they attempted resulted in instability of Krypton's core.

The origins of Zod, Ursa, and Non are similar to the events shown in Superman II. Zod now closely resembles his movie counterpart, with the addition of a black trenchcoat.

Played ByEdit

Terence StampEdit

Michael RosenbaumEdit