Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 4

June 13th, 2013 by | Tags: , ,

While E3 is mostly remembered for the shellacking Sony is giving to Microsoft (oh my God!), they’ve also shown off the fourth DLC character for Injustice: Gods Among Us. Then Conan O’Brien got to feature the reveal on his show, making it official. This will be the last character for the season pass, but there are strong hints that we’ll be getting more in the future. Martian Manhunter, definitely.


Alias: Dru-Zod
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #283 (1961)
Powers: You know all that crap Superman does? He does that.
Other media: Other than his obvious movie appearances, he’s sort-of-but-not-quite appeared in the cartoons, Smallville and was in both a novel the Last Days of Krypton and a choose-your-own adventure book I remember owning when I was 8

I can’t think of a comic character who owes more to an actor’s portrayal than General Zod. It’s not like all the other memorable villain portrayals like Lex Luthor, Bane and Joker. If it wasn’t for Terence Stamp, not a single person would give a damn about Zod except for writers who love tossing in obscure supervillains that only the hardcore have heard of before.

Zod appeared in the early days of the Silver Age where he looked like M. Bison dressed in green while forgetting to wear pants. He was charged with trying to take over Krypton with his army of Bizarro soldiers and got sentenced to 40 years in the Phantom Zone, the dimensional prison of no escape (except when someone escapes). Superboy found out about that and released Zod once his time was up. Zod tried to take over Earth a handful of times and constantly got tossed back into the Phantom Zone. Since he was a soldier, he had an edge over Superman and was one of the few Silver Age characters who was stronger than the Man of Steel.

Superman II came out in 1980 and led to more appearances by Zod. Nothing memorable to mention, really. The Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot kicked in and DC practically took Zod off the table. With continuity made simple, there were some ground rules to Post-Crisis DC. For one, Superman had to be the ONLY Kryptonian. He was the Last Son of Krypton. That was his thing! So of course, within two years of this change, writer John Byrne decided to introduce Zod and Supergirl. Luckily, he had an out. They were from an alternate universe! …Except DC mandated that there could be no more alternate universes. That was the problem that got them into having to write Crisis in the first place. Byrne instead claimed they were from a “pocket dimension”. How that makes it right, I have no idea.

In this “pocket dimension”, Zod’s basic storyline still happened, only he killed Superboy with the help of his lieutenants Quex-Ul (essentially Non) and Faora (essentially Ursa) and annihilated much of the planet. Superman was asked to help out and defeated the three via exposing them to gold kryptonite, which permanently removed their powers. Zod warned Superman that they’d get their powers back, find out where he lived and kill his planet. Superman decided he had a point and killed the three with green kryptonite just to be sure. Then he moped around for a while because of it. Also, Supergirl came back with him, but she was manmade, so it didn’t step on the “no Kryptonians” edict.

DC Comics tried so, so hard to make Zod relevant again over the years. After all, he was the villain from the last good Superman movie. They had to make him a big deal in the comics. They came up with certain weird ideas. Or should I say other weird ideas.

In the early 00’s, well over a decade after Superman committed his murder, Zod was brought back in another alternate reality (DC calmed down off that rule) that was created by Brainiac. In this world, Krypton never exploded, so Zod was still focused on taking it over. Superman and that world’s Jor-El defeated Zod. This was also an excuse to introduce Krypto the dog into Post-Crisis continuity by making him part of this reality’s Krypton.

Then there was a story called Emperor Joker where the Joker became omnipotent and changed reality completely to suit his ego. One of the villains on his side was a big, armored guy by the name of Ignition. Joker strangely didn’t remember creating him and it was established that he was from the regular world with memories of how the world was supposed to be, while claiming to be working for a higher power. After the story, Ignition’s higher power was revealed to be a Soviet guy in big, red armor and a cape named – you guessed it – General Zod.

Zod was a little boy whose parents were killed by kryptonite radiation, as they were in space as cosmonauts when baby Superman’s rocket was on its way to Earth. Zod was still in the womb at this time, which means that his fictional-not-Russia-but-let’s-just-call-it-Russia country was pretty fucked up because why would you send a pregnant woman into space? The radiation affected Zod, as the yellow sun made him incredibly weak. At the same time, red star radiation made him strong like Superman. He wanted to turn the sun red permanently and was ultimately defeated by the teamwork of Superman and Lex Luthor. This Zod died when flying into Superman when not realizing that the returning yellow sun had removed his invulnerability.

During a by Brian Azzarello called For Tomorrow, another Zod was introduced. This one had the movie origin in that he was from Krypton and Jor-El tossed him into the Phantom Zone. This Zod looked absolutely fucking ridiculous. He was so overly 90’s it hurt. Black armor. Spikes everywhere. A big, red Z on his chest in the style of Superman’s S. He was defeated and never mentioned again.

In the mid-to-late-00’s, Richard Donner (director of the first two Superman movies) joined DC’s top scribe Geoff Johns in doing a storyline called Last Son. In it, another rocket crashed to Earth and out came a Kryptonian boy. Superman took the boy in and adopted him as Chris Kent (get it?). The shocking reveal was that Chris was really the son of Zod and Ursa. Zod was recreated with a new look that made him more like Terence Stamp and this would be the first appearances of Ursa and Non in DC continuity. Same crap about Jor-El and the Phantom Zone, but giving birth to a son while in the Phantom Zone was their ticket to escape due to comic book science.

They, along with an army of evil Kryptonians tried to take over the planet, but they were ultimately thwarted and shoved back into the Phantom Zone. In the midst of that we did get a brief Non vs. Bizarro throwdown, which was cool. Chris (otherwise known as Lor-Zod) got pulled back into the Phantom Zone and he somehow grew into an adult and went on to be a superhero for a stretch.

Zod’s backstory was given a stronger explanation. He, Ursa and Non were against Krypton’s cold police state, especially when they responded to Non’s speaking out by giving him a lobotomy. Becoming something of a freedom fighter, Zod and friends gradually became corrupt and tyrannical, ruining his good friendship with Jor-El.

After the Last Son storyline, Zod was released from the Phantom Zone in a storyline called New Krypton. For decades, there’s been a part of the Superman lore where Brainiac had shrunken down a city of Krypton called Candor and stuck it in a bottle. Superman could never figure out how to unshrink it and just kept it around in his Fortress of Solitude. Finally, they did a story that depicted what would happen had they fixed it and suddenly had thousands of Kryptonians around. They started their own separate planet civilization called New Krypton and Zod was their general. While he and Superman were uneasy towards each other, Zod wasn’t really up to anything and was more of a cold politician, dedicated to his people.

Some corrupt politicians and military personal (ie. Lois Lane’s father) ended up starting a big war with New Krypton and blew it up. Zod survived and waged war on Earth. He fought Superman and got sucked back into the Phantom Zone by Chris Kent.

Then Flashpoint happened, erasing all that from continuity. Zod has shown up as a Phantom Zone prisoner, but that’s about it. For those keeping score, he’s the seventh iteration of Zod.

The Superman cartoon had a character named Jax-Ur. Jax-Ur is another evil Kryptonian character from the comics, but the cartoon version is meant to be pretty Zoddish. Regardless, the comic series Superman Adventures, which expands on the animated universe, did have its own Zod.

I’m hoping movie Zod will be different enough that they can finally branch out and stop using the character as a one-hit wonder doing a reunion concert. Woo! Play, “Kneel before Zod!”

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3 comments to “Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 4”

  1. No talk of the inclusion of Flaming C?

  2. Won’t go into details since it doesn’t seem fair to spoil the new movie this soon, so I’ll just say that they did justice by Zod.

  3. Sorry to do this again, but it’s Terence Stamp.