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ZOD : The General We Need To Kneel Before

"Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter."--Winston Churchill
With the announcement of Michael Shannon as ZOD in the new Superman movie. Let us learn more about the history of the character he is playing.

Who is General ZOD?
In the DC Universe there are several characters who bears this name. This feature will talk about two (2) of these characters that is most significant and is part of the mainstream continuity,

1. Silver Age (Earth 1)
General ZOD, Full name is Dru-ZOD, is a megalomaniacal Kryptonian, in charge of the military forces on Krypton. He met a young Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian father, while he was an only an aspiring scientist. With power lust he attempted to take over Krypton with an army of robotic duplicates of himself. He was captured and sentenced to exile in the Phantom Zone for his crimes.

General ZOD first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 (April, 1961) and was created by Robert Bernstein and George Papp.

What are his powers and abilities?
Kryptonian Physiology: If ZOD is functioning within a yellow sun star system, he will develop superhuman powers similar to those of Superman.

Leadership: ZOD has demonstrated his ability to lead others in the capacity of a military commander. Even after being sent into exile, ZOD commanded the obedience and respect of his fellow Phantom Zone criminals.

Strength Level
Average: By Kryptonian standards, ZOD possessed the strength level of a man his age, size and weight who engaged in moderate regular exercise. If exposed to yellow sun radiation, ZOD's strength capacity would increase to superhuman levels.

This General ZOD wears a traditional looking military outfit.

Let us now move on the next character bearing the name of General ZOD. But before we do that I think this is a good time for our new geeks to learn something new about the DC Universe. If you have read my previous article about Marvel's Nick Fury about him being both white and black, you already know a little about multiverses. DC also have their own multiverses, actually there was a time that they possibly had infinite number of multiverses. For now let us concentrate on Earth 1 where the above general came from. Earth 1 started during the DC's silver age of comics which is around 1960s, the golden age is around 1940s (their numerical designation is Earth 2). So, like I said before, there where other earths, infinite number of them. Which enters the story Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985), which combined all of these realities into one cohesive universe.

What happened after the event, well, some of the characters adjusted fine into this one new universe. Others had their history became so twisted and convulated (read my article on Hawkman, you will see how messed up he became). And then there are some like our good general who got his story and his history deleted as though he did not exist before.

One thing about that event is, it became a timeline marker for DC continuity (much like how we use B.C. and A.D.). So, we say pre-crisis and post-crisis. The General ZOD we stated above is from a pre-crisis DC and it will be years after that event that we'll meet another General ZOD.

2. New Earth
I hope you did not get a headache on my explanation above. We are now on the present timeline, very further along on post crisis (should I say post-crises because after the Crisis on Infinite Earths DC had undergone to several more crises - but that is a story for another time). The new status quo is after the merging of the universes, DC is back to several multiverses but a finite number, the exact number is 52. Their main continuity right now is no longer Earth 1 but New Earth. This is where we will meet the current General ZOD.

This General ZOD whose real name is also Dru-ZOD, suffered the same fate as his post-crisis counterpart. He was a Kryptonian, that came from a long line of distinguished Military Guild members, who was later exiled to the Phantom Zone for acts of sedition by Superman's biological father, Jor-El.

This version of the character was created by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner and Adam Kubert. He first appeared in Action Comics #845 (January, 2007).

What are his powers and abilities?
Note: Due to the nature of comicbooks being an on-going tale, the character's powers along with his appearance, is in a constant state of flux.

Kryptonian Physiology: ZOD's cellular structure is more dense, resilient and biologically more effective than human tissue. Strangely enough, he does not seem to possess superhuman strength levels despite his enhanced cellular ability without constant exposure to yellow solar energy. Without such charging, his strength seems on par for a human of his height and weight who engages in regular physical activity.

Solar Energy Absorption: ZOD, like all Kryptonians, obtains his superhuman powers and abilities by absorbing the radiation emitted from Earth's yellow sun, and then converts its energy to his abilities, as his body acts a solar battery for such energy.

Superhuman Strength: he can bend and break through reinforced steel, crush wood panels, and can lift extremely heavy objects and uproot and even decimate full-sized buildings and other structures with his might.

Invulnerability: ZOD is resistant to all forms of physical and mental types of harm, and as such, humans can't hurt him, bullets bounce off him, rockets, bombs and lasers can't even leave a mark on him, high-voltage energy emissions (beams) can't penetrate through him, and is immune to all earthly diseases and viruses, and he can only be harmed by other high-tier cosmic beings.

Superhuman Stamina: ZOD can maintain continuous movement and can exercise for unlimited periods of time without ever getting weary or tired in the process.

Flight: ZOD possesses the ability to defy the forces of gravity and fly at speeds in excess to the speed of sound. The mechanism by which he flies is unknown, but some suggestions include the use of a field of energy which allows unconscious manipulation of gravity or diffraction/reflection of gravity due to unidentified Kryptonian organs affected by a yellow sun. Alternately, this power could be explained as a psionic manipulation of a personal anti-gravitational aura, which is also caused by his Kryptonian cells and exposure to a yellow sun.

Superhuman Speed: ZOD can exercise and or move at incredible speeds that greatly exceeds the sound barrier, and has the potential to move at speeds greater than the speed of light.

Enhanced Senses: The acuity of ZOD's five senses are many times greater than that of the standard Earth human.

Telescopic Vision: ZOD can, using the muscles in his eyes, see objects and people from vast distances away, more specifically, from at least 20 yards away, without damaging or straining his eyes.

X-Ray Vision: ZOD can mentally break down the polymers in objects and even organisms, allowing him to see right through the object or person, and as such, he can see through anything besides lead.

Microscopic Vision: ZOD can, by using the the tight, firm muscles composed in his eyes, see residues, small marks, bacterias and structures of viruses, and even cells that are inside interior complexion bodies, without causing any damage to his eyes.

Electro-magnetic Spectrum Vision: ZOD can perceive various patterns within the electromagnetic spectrum. He can see and identify radio/television waves as well as any and all broadcast/transmitted frequencies, allowing him to avoid detection through radar or satellite monitoring methods.

Infrared Vision: In combination with his other extraordinary vision-based powers, ZOD can also see into the infrared spectrum.

Heat Vision: Through a conscious act of will, ZOD has the ability to fire beams of intense thermal energy at a target simply by looking at it. Visually, the power is typically depicted as two beams of red light firing from his eyes.

Superhuman Hearing: ZOD possesses the ability to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. He has enough control to block out ambient sounds in order to focus on a specific source/frequency. He can identify a person by their heartbeat, or pick out a single voice in an entire city.

Super-Breath: ZOD possesses the ability to create hurricane force winds by blowing, and to chill his breath in order to freeze a target. ZOD can also inhale large volumes of air, an ability used when dealing with and disposing things like clouds of poison gas.

AbilitiesLeadership: General ZOD is an expert in military tactics and strategic planning.

Here are the few costumes the General has worn during his appearances in Action Comics

Gray suit with long coat and goggles

Trading the goggles for a beret

The general as he appears in the retelling of his origins

In New Krypton (a whole planet grown in the opposite orbit of Earth - you know you love comics because of statements like that), populated by Kryptonians who were previously trapped in the bottle city of Kandor, ZOD was named leader of the military guild.

ZOD in live media
1. Terence Stamp
General ZOD appears in Superman: The Movie and Superman II, portrayed by actor Terence Stamp as a pathologically arrogant and pompous aristocrat, almost bored with his incredible powers and disappointed with the ease of overtaking Earth. Terence Stamp's portrayal has led to ZOD becoming one of Superman's best-known villains, and fans have come to view his portrayal as the definitive version of the character.

2. Michael Rosenbaum
General ZOD appeared In season 5 of Smallville. First as computer generated phantom who looks like a young terence stamp, then later on possessed the body of Lex Luthor.

522 Vessel Promo by supernatural66

3. Callum Blue
Still on Smallville we meet a younger ZOD, only having the rank major. Later on we discover that this is only a clone recalling his original self's memories believing they were his own.

Smallville Season 9 ZOD Promo by RJUSTIN

4. Michael Shannon
That brings us back to Michael Shannon the newly casted actor for the role of ZOD. We will be seeing him in 2 years time, shouting to Superman to kneel before him.

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Article requested by:

Pollmaster, time for a ZOD profile! I know ZOD originated in the comics but come on...out of the thousands of villians in the DC universe why pick one that wears a pirates of penzance costume tells everyone to kneel. Yes haters gone hate.

This is the 22nd article in my Know Your CBM Character series. Any requests and suggestions for an article for this series write it down in the comment section BELOW.

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