General Zod

From Academic Kids

General Zod is the name of several supervillains in different Superman continuities.


Silver Age

The pre-Crisis Zod was one of a number of Kryptonian villains trapped in the Phantom Zone, who would occasionally escape and target Superman. He first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961). His full Kryptonian name was Dru-Zod.

He was often portrayed as a megalomaniacal bald man, and some think he was based on Nazi fanatics, espousing purity and aggression for Kryptonians.

In one adventure, Zod and a number of Kryptonian criminals escaped the zone and came to Earth, disguising themselves like Superman (whom they had observed) and using their powers to benefit mankind, like him. The reason for this was that they had a common enemy with the Man of Steel. Superman tricked them into going back into the Phantom Zone by travelling there with them and using a fragment of Jewel Kryptonite to escape in the nick of time.


After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, there were no Kryptonian survivors other than Superman. However, three different General Zods have existed.

The first came from a Krypton in a pocket universe created by the Time Trapper. He, with his companions Quex-Ul and Faora, devastated the Earth of that universe following the death of its Superboy, eventually forcing the Superman of the main universe to execute them.

The second was the head of the Kryptonian military in an artificial Krypton created by Brainiac-13. Like the original, he held the Kryptonian equivalent of fascist beliefs, and sent aliens to the ghetto city of Kandor. He planned a military coup, but was defeated by Superman and the Jor-El of that Krypton.

The third General Zod to exist in current continuity is a Russian who was affected, before birth, by Kryptonite radiation, being the son of two cosmonauts whose ship was too close to Kal-El's rocket. As a result, he is unnaturally weak, but has superpowers under a red sun (which leads Superman to lose his). He grew up in a KGB laboratory, under the name Zed. Apparently spoken to by the spirit of the Pocket Universe Zod, he created a suit of red armour 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: turning the sun red and taking 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. However, when the sun reverted to yellow, Zod still struck Superman with all his power, and was killed.

Other Media

Zod was featured in the first and second Superman movies. He was portrayed by Terence Stamp.

In the first movie, Zod is introduced at the beginning of the movie as one of three criminals on trial. Zod was originally a member of the Krypton military, who was entrusted with the defense of Krypton by the governing council. With co-conspirators Non and Ursa, Zod was planning to overthrow the Kryptonian government and replace it with his own government. The three were captured. The council unanimously agreed to cast Zod, Ursa, and Non into the Phantom Zone, which took the three criminals into space, shortly before Krypton's destruction.

In the second movie, Zod and his cohorts arrive on Earth and conquer it, shortly after Superman has stripped himself of his powers to be with Lois. Superman must regain his powers to fight them.

Stamp portrayed Zod as a pathologically arrogant aristocrat, almost bored with his incredible power. It is almost certainly his portrayal that has led to Zod becoming one of Superman's best-known villains.

Zod was not featured in Superman: The Animated Series, although a similar Phantom Zone villain named Jax-Ur did, along with a new character called Mala, seemingly based on Faora/Ursa. In the accompanying Superman Adventures comic book, Zod was portrayed as an Argonian (like the animated Supergirl), who co-opted Jax-Ur and Mara as his lieutenants (esentially giving Jax-Ur the Non/Quex-Ul role).

In Smallville, the voice that claims to be Jor-El, and tells Clark it is his destiny to rule, is Terence Stamp. This, combined with the difference in character from other Jor-Els, has led to some fan-speculation that it is really Zod. Series creators Miles Millar and Al Gough deny this rumor.

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