Countdown Breakdown: #30A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays
Kneel before Zod! The cry rang out in 1981 and people loved it. Terrence Stamp indelibly etched his version of Zod into our minds, and every incarnation since has been some derivation thereof.
Zod actually dates back to 1961 in Action Comics when he created a robotic clone army to take over Krypton and was banished to the Phantom Zone for his troubles. Zod was released years later by Superboy once his term was up, but of course he tried to take over the Earth so he was sent back.
After the Crisis, the first Zod to show up was from a pocket universe created by the Legion of Superheroes' enemy, the Time Trapper. This was DC’s attempt to explain the presence of Superboy in Legion time when Superboy no longer existed in the present. In the pocket universe, Superboy was killed and a Lana Lang cloned Supergirl escaped the pocket universe to find Superman in order to ask for his assistance in dealing with Zod and his followers. Superman removed their powers with gold kryptonite, but after hearing their vows to regain their powers and decimate his world as they had the pocket universe’s, he executed them with green kryptonite.
In 2001, Superman went to a fake Krypton created by Brainiac 13 and defeated a Zod there with the assistance of Jor-El. Some time later, another Zod appeared on the scene. This one started out as a great concept. Shrouded not only in mystery, but also in red armor and cape, this Zod was the spitting image of Superman. However, he only had powers under a red sun, the opposite case as Superman. While I’m not sure exactly what the true story is, I believe it was a case of changing writers, because by the time his origin was revealed, it was a major disappointment. As it turns out, this Zod was nothing more than a Russian orphan whose cosmonaut parents had been infected with radiation from being too close to Superman’s rocketship when it had crashed to Earth. On top of that, he had apparently spoken to the spirit of the pocket universe Zod. He did succeed in temporarily turning the sun red, but Superman, with the help of Lex Luthor, turned it back to yellow and defeated Zod. Under the once again yellow sun, Zod attempted to attack Superman with all his might, and died in the process.
The next Zod appeared in a storyline I never read, Brian Azzarello’s "For Tomorrow." He apparently resided alone in a Phantom Zone created by Superman. After Infinite Crisis, another Zod has appeared, having been freed from the Phantom Zone along with his accomplices, Non and Ursa (sound familiar?). This time they were preceded by their son, who has been adopted by Clark and Lois as their own. The story is has yet to be resolved.
That’s all for this week! Have a good weekend while I turn 30, root on my Gators against LSU, and visit the Texas State Fair! (Remember my "All the Rage" column a year ago with fair pictures?) Take care!