11 June 2013

UPDATED: Spotlight on Zod and Other Phantom Zone Villains

Update: Its almost here, but there's still time to brush up on Zod and Co. 

It's official - The Man of Steel will Kneel Before Zod. Believe it or not, a new Superman movie is underway and fresh off of the casting of Ma and Pa Kent and Lois Lane comes word that General Zod will face off against Superman in the upcoming movie simply titled The Man of Steel. Zod first appeared in 1961's Adventure Comics #283, and over the years has made a handful of onscreen appearances. Interestingly, and for reasons I do not completely understand, there have also been a number of other appearances by Zod inspired non-Zod phantom zone escapees as well. Let's take a look.

Before General Zod made the A-list, The Super Friends pitted Superman against a trio of Zoners in the 1978 episode Terror from the Phantom Zone. In the adventure, after escaping from the phantom zone, Hul, Logar, Rom-Lok exposed Superman to red kryponite, making him super old. Superman got better and returned the baddies to the zone, but not before returning the favor of random effects from red kryptonite. One of them shrunk, one turned to metal, and one got really hairy. Defeat!

General Zod first appeared onscreen in Superman: The Movie in 1978. In one of the all time great set-up for a sequel, the film opened with the imprisonment of Zod, along with Non and Ursa in the phantom zone. Although the trio would not bee seen again in the movie, they would return in epic fashion, only to be outsmarted by Superman, in 1980's Superman II. It was in the Superman sequel that the infamous line "Kneel before Zod" was first uttered.

In 1981, the Super Friends episode The Evil From Krypton featured a Zod look-alike named Zy-Kree who was ultimately outsmarted by Superman's sometimes used tunnel drilling power.

In the 1988 Ruby-Spears Superman animated series episode The Hunter, General Zod and two unnamed female Kryptonian phantom zone prisoners (Ursa and Faora?) plot from the zone to take down Superman. They unleash a hunter who of course fails. Although Zod momentarily escaped the zone, Superman returned him in short order.

In 1996, during Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, a multi episode storyline arc featured the building of New Krypton under the direction of Lord Nor. Although there was no mention of Zod, Lord Nor and Zod seemed to share preferences for facial hair styles.

Also absent from Superman: The Animated Series, the Zod-like character was represented by Jax-Ur and his right hand woman Mala in the 1997 two-part episode A Blast From the Past. Although Jax-Ur was in fact a character from the comics, his portrayal in the series was more consistent with everyone's favorite General. In a later episode, the duo attempted to establish a New Krypton, but once again were dealt with by Kal-El.

Beginning in 2005's season 5 premiere episode Arrival, Zod has been a "major" player in Smallville's mythology. During Arrival, two of Zod's followers, Aethyr and Nam-Ek, arrived on Earth to usher in return of the banished villain. They themselves ended up getting sent to the phantom zone, but Brainiac, a servant of Zod in this continuity, remained.

Over the course of the season, the body of Lex Luthor was prepared as a vessel to be possessed by a phantom Zod. Eventually General Zod was exercised and defeated. In season 8, Lois would be possessed by phantomette Faora, wife of Zod, although she didn't seem to require the same extensive preparation. It was revealed that in this continuity Doomsday was Zod and Faora's perverted creation / son. Faora was also defeated without much ado.

Season 9 of the series was centered around the arrival of a host of Kandorian soldiers led by Major Zod. Turns out the Kandorians were clones of the younger versions of Zod, Faora, and their ilk. Pre-General Zod had already established his tradition of making both friends and foes kneel in submission before him. Although Clark made temporary peace with them, they too were eventually banished (to the phantom zone?) Gone but not forgotten, Major Zod will appear one last time during Smallville's final season.

In 2006, the Legion of Super Heroes animated series episode Phantoms introduced yet another Zoner named Drax, who eventually trapped some of the Legionnaires in the phantom zone.

While in the zone, the heroes encountered some nasty phantoms, including a brief encounter with Drax's papa, the always formidable General Zod.

With the announcement that Zod will return in for a rumored December 2012 release date in The Man of Steel, the villain is about to get a boost in exposure and its likely he wont remain a phantom for long. Prepare to kneel...


We are just days away from the sure to be epic clash between Kal-El and evil Kryptonians Zod and Jax-Ur, along with Faora and the crew of the Black Zero.


  1. Nice write-up - I was unaware of so many appearances of Zod and/or Zod analogues in so many cartoons and tv shows!