Derived from the cover of Superman vol. 5 #5 (November 2018)
Art by Ivan Reis (penciller), Joe Prado (inker), and Alex Sinclair (colorist)
|First appearance||Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961)|
|Created by||Robert Bernstein|
|Place of origin||Krypton|
|Team affiliations||Kryptonian Military Guild |
Superman Revenge Squad
General Zod is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Superman. The character, who first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961), was created by Robert Bernstein and initially designed by George Papp. As a Kryptonian, he exhibits the same powers and abilities as Superman and is consequently viewed as one of his greatest enemies alongside Lex Luthor and Brainiac.
Originally depicted as bald and clean-shaven, Zod's look in popular culture was defined by the character's depiction by Terence Stamp in the films Superman and Superman II starring Christopher Reeve. Eventually, the character was reintroduced to the DC Multiverse with black hair and a goatee beard. This character was portrayed by Michael Shannon as the main villain in Zack Snyder's film, Man of Steel, set in the DC Extended Universe.
Dru-Zod is a megalomaniacal Kryptonian, in charge of the military forces on Krypton. He knew Jor-El, Superman's father, when Jor-El was an aspiring scientist. When the space program was abolished after the destruction of the inhabited moon Wegthor (engineered by renegade scientist Jax-Ur), Zod attempted to take over Krypton. Zod created an army of robotic duplicates of himself, all bearing a resemblance to Bizarro. He was sentenced to exile in the Phantom Zone for 40 years for his crimes. Zod was eventually released by Superman when his term of imprisonment was up. However, he attempted to conquer Earth with the superpowers his Kryptonian body acquired under the yellow sun (the source of Superman's own super-powers). With Zod's threat now obvious, Superman was forced to oppose him and ultimately returned him to the Zone.
During the remaining years before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zod and other Zone inmates such as Jax-Ur, Faora Hu-Ul and others, escaped from the Phantom Zone and battled Superman and Supergirl numerous times, always being defeated in the end and returned to the Zone.
Interim Zods: 1985–2005
After DC's continuity altering crossover special Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985), DC editorial maintained for a number of years that no Kryptonians were to be depicted in comics aside from Superman, to reinforce his status as the last Kryptonian. This meant that characters like Supergirl and Power Girl were reimagined and Superman's Kryptonian canine Krypto became an ordinary house pet. However, writers of DC Comics still attempted to get around the no-Kryptonians rule by introducing "new" versions of Zod. Many of these were Zods of alternate universes. None persisted in DC continuity. After publishing its sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis (2005), DC reintroduced the real General Zod in its 2006-2008 storyline Superman: Last Son. For this, it brought on board writer Richard Donner, director of Superman, the film which introduced Zod to the moviegoing public.
The first Zod to be introduced following Crisis on Infinite Earths was the Zod of a so-called "pocket universe" resembling the universe in which the comics took place; this allowed for a "Kryptonian" Zod to be introduced while maintaining Superman's status as the last of his race in the universe proper. This Zod came from a Krypton in a pocket universe, the universe itself having been created by the Time Trapper. Zod (along with companions Quex-Ul and Zaora) devastated the Earth of that universe following the death of its Superboy, despite the best efforts of a Supergirl created by that world's heroic Lex Luthor. Eventually, the survivors of this world managed to contact the Superman of the main universe to help them, and he was able to take away the powers of the three super-criminals with only Gold Kryptonite (since he was not from that universe, the Kryptonite of that reality would have no effect on him).
However, the three vowed to some day regain their powers and return to Superman's world to kill him. Acknowledging that he could neither afford to leave them on the now-dead pocket Earth to let them die on their own nor imprison them on his world, Superman was forced to execute them with Green Kryptonite.
A second incarnation of General Zod was introduced in the 2001 storyline "Return to Krypton"; this Zod was portrayed as that of an alternate reality that was created by the character Brainiac 13. He was the head of the Kryptonian military in the alternate reality. Like the Pre-Crisis version, Zod held the Kryptonian equivalent of fascist beliefs. He sent aliens to the bottle city of Kandor and planned a military coup. Zod was defeated by Superman and the Jor-El of Zod's alternate reality Krypton.
The third attempt to bring Zod to Modern Age comics was the "Russian" Zod, a Zod of human origin whose origin story was connected to Superman's. This General Zod (born Avruiskin) is a Russian who was affected before his birth by Kryptonite radiation, since he was the son of two cosmonauts whose ship was too close to Kal-El's rocketship. This Zod is unnaturally weak under a yellow sun, but superpowered under a red sun (the opposite of Superman). After his parents died from radiation, he grew up in a KGB laboratory under the name "Zed". Apparently spoken to by the spirit of the Pocket Universe Zod, Russian Zod created a suit of red armor which filtered the sunlight, and declared himself ruler of the fictional former Soviet state of Pokolistan. After several inconclusive encounters with Superman, he revealed his long-range plan to turn the sun red and take 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. When the sun turned yellow again the now-vulnerable Zod struck Superman with all his power at super-speed, but was killed due to Superman's invulnerability.
The final Zod before the character was finally reintroduced, the Zod of an alternate Phantom Zone appeared in the twelve-issue For Tomorrow storyline, written by Brian Azzarello and penciled by Jim Lee. This Zod lives alone in an alternate Phantom Zone and resents Superman for tampering with it. By his own account he comes from the same Krypton as Superman and was exiled to the Phantom Zone by Superman's father, Jor-El. This Zod wears large, spiked black armor and when unmasked, is a bald, white-bearded old man. This incarnation also uses a variation of "Kneel before Zod". He appeared in Metropia, a version of the Phantom Zone created by Superman to resemble a living world (including apparently-living beings). After this storyline, he has been superseded by the present storyline (which features a new Zod, freed from the Phantom Zone).
General Zod returns: 2006–2011
General Zod appeared in the Superman: Last Son storyline (written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, the director of Superman: The Movie and most of Superman II). In a similar story to that of Superman II, Zod, Ursa, and Non escape from the Phantom Zone and come to Earth to try to turn it into a "New Krypton". This incarnation is the first Post-Crisis Zod who came from Superman's Krypton, and not from an alternate reality.
The backstory for the three Kryptonians was recounted in Action Comics Annual #10 (April 2007), and Zod's origin was revealed in Countdown #30 (October 2007). Prior to the destruction of Krypton, Zod, his wife Ursa, and accomplice Non rebelled against their planet's oppressive government, but soon became lawless would-be tyrants who lusted for power. After an ill-fated insurrection led by Zod, the government sentenced the trio to death. However, Superman's father Jor-El pleaded for the government to mitigate their sentence to imprisonment in the Phantom Zone, accepted on the condition that he would assume responsibility as their jailer. While in the Phantom Zone, Zod and Ursa were able to have a child who was born immune to the Phantom Zone's effects, ultimately facilitating their escape, and named him Lor-Zod. On Earth, the boy was discovered by Superman and his wife Lois Lane, who adopted him as their own son and named him Christopher Kent. For the duration of 2007's "Last Son" storyline in Action Comics, Chris Kent is depicted as an adopted son of Superman and his wife Lois across DC titles.
Alongside Zod, Ursa and Non, 25 other Kryptonian criminals also escape the Zone and defeat a number of Earth's heroes, beginning their quest to conquer the planet. Zod ambushes Superman in revenge for Jor-El's actions and traps him in the Phantom Zone, which he later escapes with the help of the heroic Phantom Zone prisoner Mon-El. With assistance from his traditional enemies Lex Luthor, Metallo, Parasite and Bizarro, Superman takes on Zod's army. Out of nearly thirty Kryptonians, Superman's temporary allies successfully kill several, driving the rest back into the Phantom Zone alongside Zod and Ursa, who take Chris Kent with them.
In the later "New Krypton" arc storyline however, Zod is freed from the Phantom Zone once again by Supergirl's mother Alura. The "bottled city of Kandor" is transformed into a populated Kryptonian planet ("New Krypton"), and Zod is appointed the leader of its army. In the "World of New Krypton" Action Comics storyline, when Superman decides to see what life is like on New Krypton, he is drafted into the Military Guild under General Zod. Zod and Superman maintain a mistrustful professional relationship. Despite their past, neither seems prepared to behave with marked aggression toward the other. Later, during a Kryptonian ceremony, Zod is shot by the Kryptonian Ral-Dar (who is working with Lois's father General Sam Lane), leading Zod to appoint Superman as temporary General until his recovery. The two are involved in a Kryptonian political plot, but ultimately apprehend the planet's traitor and see a reform of New Krypton's Council.
Peace is short-lived, however, due to an attack by the alien Brainiac, who had been responsible for the bottling of Kandor in the first place. In "Last Stand of New Krypton", New Krypton comes under attack by Brainiac, and Zod engineers a plan to defeat him; Zod is driven by an urge to avenge his prior defeat at the hands of the Coluan Brainiac, when Kandor was bottled from Old Krypton. The storyline ends with the planet's destruction, leading Zod to declare war on Earth, sparking the "War of the Supermen" storyline. After a fierce conflict between Superman and Zod in defence of Earth, Zod is pushed back into the Phantom Zone by his son, Chris Kent, who had freed himself from the Phantom Zone and became active as an adult superhero on planet Earth.
The New 52: 2011–2016
In 2011, DC chose to revamp its continuity, rebooting many characters while retaining the histories for some others, as part of its The New 52 publishing event. Following this, Zod is hinted at several times. A character resembling Zod made a cameo in Action Comics #5 (March 2012), as a prisoner in the Phantom Zone; in Action Comics #13 (December 2012) a ghost in the Phantom Zone says "Kneel before..." multiple times while attacking Superman, a reference to Zod's iconic saying. Zod makes his first full appearance in Action Comics #23.2: General Zod (September 2013), written by Greg Pak, with art by Ken Lashley.
A new origin for Zod was introduced. Zod was born to scientist parents. When he was a young boy, Zod and his parents traveled to Krypton's wilderness in order to discover new creatures. Their ship was attacked by creatures, leaving the family stranded in the jungle. While his parents were killed by the animals, Zod managed to survive for one year until Jor-El and his older brother Zor-El saved him. After reaching adulthood, Zod became one of Krypton's best soldiers, attaining the rank of general. Zod developed a hatred towards an alien species called the Char and secretly ordered the creation of a Char-looking creature, unleashing it on Krypton's population, so he could justify a war against the Char. Jor-El discovered the deception and turned Zod over to the authorities. The council found Zod guilty of treason and banished him and his closest followers, Faora and Non, to the Phantom Zone.
Many years later, a mysterious event caused the Phantom Zone to weaken, allowing some of its prisoners to escape into normal space. Zod traveled to Earth, landing in the Sahara Desert. There, Zod's Kryptonian powers began to manifest for the first time, brutally slaughtering a group of travelers. Zod was soon attacked by the Justice League of America until Superman and Wonder Woman arrived, the latter restraining him with her magic lasso. Zod recognized Superman as Kal-El, the son of Jor-El. Superman decided to keep Zod in the Fortress of Solitude's alien zoo. While there, he reveals to Superman that Faora also traveled to Earth with him, and vows to track her down.
In June 2016, the DC Rebirth event relaunched DC Comics' entire line of comic book titles, in which General Zod continues to appear within DC titles. In December 2017, DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding, opting to include everything under a larger DC Universe banner and naming. As part of the DC Rebirth relaunch, General Zod is once again imprisoned within the Phantom Zone. Zod was trapped within the boundaries of the Black Vault, a secret facility hidden in the Laptev Sea. Amanda Waller sent the Suicide Squad to steal the contents of the Black Vault and bring them back to her; however, in unlocking the previously hermetically sealed area, they unwittingly allowed Zod to tear open the now unstable link between Earth and the Phantom Zone and once again break free. She attempts to 'recruit' Zod by implanting a kryptonite explosive in his head, but he finally proves too dangerous, forcing Rick Flag to sacrifice himself to force Zod back into the Zone. Zod later escapes and establishes himself as a dictator on another planet with his family, nearly killing Hal Jordan when the Green Lantern Corps discover his presence on the planet before both sides are forced to withdraw and recuperate.
Powers and abilities
Like all Kryptonians under a yellow sun, General Zod possesses high-level superhuman strength, speed and endurance sufficient to stand against Superman and other Kryptonians; super hearing; x-ray vision; telescopic, microscopic and heat vision; super-breath and freeze-breath; virtual invulnerability; accelerated healing and flight. Due to his background as a Kryptonian general, Zod possesses a detailed knowledge of military tactics, battle strategy, and is a relatively competent military leader. Because he was trained in fighting arts long before receiving his abilities, he typically has an edge over Superman's brawling skills, over-reliance on superhuman strength, and basic knowledge of advanced human and Kryptonian hand-to-hand combat. However, Zod's powers are often inferior to those of Superman, due to the latter being exposed to the yellow sun over the course of his entire life, while Zod typically only gets exposed for a short period of time before being defeated and returned to the Phantom Zone. This greater power combined with his superior control and experience with it gives Superman an edge over Zod's superior fighting skills. Additionally, similar to Superman, his strength is inferior to the likes of Doomsday and his speed is inferior to Speedsters such as the Flash. Like all Kryptonians, he is vulnerable to Kryptonite and red solar radiation; his durability does not provide protection from mind control and magic; and his strength and durability both have limits in that he cannot survive an atomic explosion without nearly fatal injuries and there are weights he cannot lift due to natural bodily limitation even under the empowering environment of a yellow sun as well as normal limits of adult Kryptonian superhuman strength.
The General Zod of Earth-15 is this world's Superman, here as a semi-retired champion of this peaceful Earth. This version is later killed by the psychotic Superman Prime, who was angry because Zod was "not a manic", as well as killing Zod's wife and unborn child. 
JSA: The Liberty Files
The Zod of JSA: The Liberty Files was not a general of any kind. He was recast as a sociopathic 11-year-old, who created a deadly synthetic virus on Krypton for no reason other than fun. Zod was banished to the Phantom Zone because of his actions (the first child ever sent to the Zone) until American scientists breached the Zone and discovered him. Taken in by the government and named "Clark Kent", Zod would fool most of his adult superiors by playing the role of a scared child until he grew up and became the adult "Super-Man". In the sequel series JSA: The Unholy Three, Super-Man is sent into Eastern Europe with the Bat and the Clock. He fought Parasite and Steelwolf, while investigating his sole weakness: a nuclear device the Russians had created. Finding his information, he incapacitated or killed several agents and headed into Russia to destroy the device. However, he was ultimately killed before he could finish the job. 
Superman: Earth One
Zod appears in Superman: Earth One in which he is called Zod-El, brother to Jor-El and thus Superman's uncle. Zod-El was a Kryptonian soldier who waged a six-month civil war against the Science Council, and the one responsible for Krypton's destruction by striking a deal with the Krypton's neighbor Dheronians. After Tyrell's defeat and absorbing energy from a yellow star, Zod went to Earth to deal with Superman. He is later depowered by the Luthors after Alexander shot him with a radiation beam, but not before killing him and thus driving his wife Lex to hate Superman.
Zod appears in the prequel to the Injustice 2 video game. When Batman and the Insurgency rescue the Teen Titans from their imprisonment by Superman in the Phantom Zone, Zod uses the opportunity to escape the prison and murders Tim Drake in the process. An enraged Batman activates his Endgame protocol and combats Zod with a heavily armored suit. He takes Zod down with kryptonite infused fear gas, which Batman himself swore he'd never use given to what it did to Superman in this reality. He gets the upper hand on Zod with the kryptonite gas making it appear like Superman is defeating him, but when it wears off, Ra's Al Ghul (knowing Zod's kryptonian purist ideals wouldn't match with his own) sends Amazo to combat the general. Amazo kills Zod by twisting his head off. His heart is then surgically removed by the retired Doctor Mid-Nite Charles McNider and placed inside Superboy's body so he can live outside the Phantom Zone.
DC Animated Universe
While not appearing in the DC animated universe television shows, General Zod (depicted as an Argosian mad criminal) appears in Superman Adventures #21 and Justice League Unlimited #34 where he teams with Jax-Ur and Mala.
A version of Zod appears in the 2013 digital-first series Justice League Beyond 2.0, taking place in the DC Animated Universe, specifically in the futuristic setting of the Batman Beyond animated series. In this series, Zod is revealed to be the son of Jax-Ur, marking the first appearance of General Zod in the continuity of the Bruce Timm's Superman: The Animated Series, albeit a younger, innocent version of the megalomaniacal General who, in fact, helps the new Justice League. He is later revealed to be the son of Justice Lord Superman and Wonder Woman.
In other media
- General Zod appears in the 1988 animated series Superman episode "The Hunter", voiced by René Auberjonois. This version is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone with two Kryptonian women (Ursa and Faora) whereas most portrayals of the conspiracy show the Zod trio composed of two men and one woman. While in the Phantom Zone, Zod and his followers create The Hunter (a creature which can transmute itself into any substance that it touches) and send it to Earth. After the Hunter's fight with Superman, Zod introduces it to Kryptonite where the Hunter ends up seeking a piece of Kryptonite that is in Lex Luthor's possession. During the fight with the Hunter, Superman plays dead by going into a suspended animation thanks to a device he gave to Lois Lane. After being awoken from his suspended animation, Superman destroys the Hunter and uses the Phantom Zone Projector to ensure that Zod stays in the Phantom Zone.
- General Zod does not appear in Superman: The Animated Series, but an amalgamation of him and Jax-Ur appears, called General Jax-Ur. He first appeared in the episode 'Blasts From the Past', where he was voiced by Ron Perlman. He was portrayed as similar to General Zod; a military genius who had attempted to overthrow the Science Council. His co-conspirator, and possible lover, is a beautiful Kryptonian female with long white hair named Mala (based on Ursa and Faora but named for a male Kryptonian from the comics). His proper title is High General Jax-Ur. During Jax-Ur and Mala's last appearance on Superman: The Animated Series, Jax-Ur reveals to Superman that a rift into the Phantom Zone had been torn open, releasing them into space. They were saved by nearby voyagers and soon took control over their planet. Upon seizing control of the planet, they had the inhabitants rebuild everything so that it was very reminiscent of Krypton, even going so far as to make the inhabitants wear clothes similar to that of Kryptonians. After meeting with a rebel, Superman found out that Jax-Ur and Mala intended to invade Earth. After Superman battled in space with the pair, Jax-Ur and Mala were sucked into a black hole.
- The Silver Age version of Zod makes a cameo appearance in the Legion of Super Heroes episode "Phantoms". He is one of the many Phantom Zone prisoners attacking the Legion of Super-Heroes, his son Drax-Zod appears in this episode, voiced by Greg Ellis.
- General Zod appears in the Justice League Action episode "Field Trip", voiced by Jason J. Lewis. As Superman gives Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and Stargirl a tour of the Fortress of Solitude and are shown the Phantom Zone Projector, General Zod, Faora, and Quex-Ul are released and Superman is accidentally sent to the Phantom Zone. Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and Stargirl attempt to use a Green Kryptonite fragment on them only for it to be too small for them. Under the yellow sun, General Zod and his two followers gain superpowers and end up in a fight with Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and Stargirl. As Blue Beetle and Stargirl hold off the Kryptonian villains, Firestorm uses Martin Stein's guidance to learn how to transmutate anything to Kryptonite. Testing on the ice, Firestorm transmutates it to Green Kryptonite which weakens General Zod and his two followers. Afterwards, Superman is freed from the Phantom Zone and General Zod and his followers are thrown into the Phantom Zone.
- General Zod appears in The Looney Tunes Show episode "SuperRabbit" where he is modeled after Daffy Duck (voiced by Jeff Bergman). Here, he is Faora's boyfriend, but is inattentive and neglectful of her, as well as immature. Zod, Faora, and the robot Thunkian are first prosecuted for their crimes on Krypton by Jor-El and sentenced to the Phantom Zone, swearing revenge. After escaping several years later, they travel to Metropolis and battle SuperRabbit, defeating him and forcing him to retreat. Zod then becomes the city's ruler and renames himself King Zod, ordering a massive statue of himself built. SuperRabbit returns and convinces Faora and Thunkian to stop helping Zod by pointing out how much he mistreats them. Zod and SuperRabbit have a massive battle throughout the city where Zod is eventually knocked out by having his own statue knocked onto him. Zod and his followers are then sent back to the Phantom Zone. The entire adventure was actually a false story Bugs Bunny was telling Daffy Duck; the naive Daffy believes every word of it.
- General Zod appears in DC Super Hero Girls episode "#DCSuperHeroBoys" (voiced by Liam O'Brien). Here, he is based on his film appearance from Superman: The Movie and Superman II. A rift is opened to the Phantom Zone and he is released, along with Ursa and Non, because long ago on Krypton, Zod and his minions were locked in the Phantom Zone by Alura Zor-El. Zod and crew battle the DC Super Hero Girls and the "Invicibros" (a team consisting of Green Lantern, Hawkman, Aqualad, the Flash, and Green Arrow) in Metropolis. At the end of the battle, Zod and his minions are thrown back into the Phantom Zone. He later reappeared in the episode "#BackInAFlash" when Batgirl and Flash trying to fix a mistake, they ended up in the nearby present where Zod rules Earth. When Zod said “all will kneel before Zod”, Flash ended up saying about the “Classic Kneel, Hate That Guy” just before a guard electrify him and end up saying “I mean, I love that guy”, he and Batgirl go back in time and set things right and Zod’s timeline is eventually erased.
- In Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, a Zod pastiche appeared in the Season 4 premiere "Lord of the Flys" as Lord Nor, played by Simon Templeman. He was later killed along with his cohorts by a corrupt Colonel named Cash with a kryptonite warhead outside the Daily Planet brawling Superman.
- Zod appears in the television series Smallville with references to the character start in the fifth season premiere, in which Zod's Kryptonian disciples Aethyr and Nam-Ek search for Clark Kent (a.k.a. Kal-El). The season finale concludes with BrainIAC, a corrupted humanoid Kryptonian artificial intelligence, turning Lex Luthor into a superpowered vessel for General Zod, who was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone as a powerless disembodied wraith. In the sixth season premiere, Clark sends Zod's spirit once again in the Phantom Zone. Season eight introduces a version of Doomsday named Davis Bloome (portrayed by Sam Witwer), a creature/"son" with hybrid DNA of Zod, Faora and several aggressive Kryptonian lifeforms. The season finale concludes with the Kryptonian Orb bringing to life a version of Zod (portrayed by an uncredited Sam Witwer). Witwer's contract gave him the option to return in Season 9 as Zod in the event the show was renewed. Though he considered his time on the show enjoyable and was flattered by the offer to stay on, he ultimately passed on the role as he felt it would be difficult for both the characters and audience to accept.
- Season nine introduces the character as a younger version of Zod known as Major Zod (portrayed by Callum Blue); he and other Kryptonian soldiers from the Kryptonian city of Kandor are resurrected on Earth as powerless clones. Despite Clark's attempts to help the Kandorians live in peace and prevent him from becoming evil, Major Zod's powers are eventually restored and he reactivates the powers of the Kandorian soldiers to earn their loyalty. He ultimately chooses to fulfill the destiny of the original Zod by embarking on a plan to rule Earth. In the season finale, Clark turns the Kandorian soldiers on Zod by exposing his murder of Faora and uses the Book of Rao to send the Kandorians to "New Krypton", an uninhabited planet discovered by Jor-El where they can establish a Kryptonian colony. In the tenth season episode "Dominion", it is revealed that the Kandorians sent Major Zod to the Phantom Zone as punishment, where he and the original Zod's wraith united as one with memories of both. He lured Clark and Oliver Queen into the Phantom Zone, but they managed to escape and destroy the exit, sealing Zod and his minions inside forever.
- General Zod appears in the season 2 finale of Supergirl, portrayed by Mark Gibbon. Under a Silver Kryptonite-induced hallucination, Superman believes Supergirl is General Zod, his worst enemy, leading to a massive battle between the two until he is defeated and cured of the Silver Kryptonite. In the episode "For Good", Winn mentions that General Zod was killed by Superman, while Mon-El mentioned that The Legion battled him in the future, therefore implying that Zod will be resurrected at some point later.
- A time-traveling General Dru-Zod appears in Krypton, portrayed by Colin Salmon. This version of the character is the son of Lyta-Zod and Seg-El, who is the father and grandfather to Jor-El and Kal-El respectively. Therefore, Zod and Jor-El are half-brothers, and Zod would be Kal-El's uncle, as in the Superman: Earth One canon.
Original series (1978-2006)
- General Zod appears in Superman: The Movie (1978) and Superman II (1980), portrayed by actor Terence Stamp. Zod first appears in the flashback to Krypton where he, Ursa and Non are sentenced by Jor-El of the Science Council to isolation in the Phantom Zone. He is eventually freed in the sequel where they begin a takeover of Earth and meet a newly escaped Lex Luthor, that guides them to the Daily Planet. He is eventually defeated when Superman lures Zod and his henchmen to the Fortress of Solitude and tricks them into a chamber designed to remove Kryptonian powers. This portrayal is rated #58 on Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list. Zod is notably the only other villain to appear in the film series originating from the comics beyond Lex Luthor.
- During the early development of Superman Returns, film director Brett Ratner wanted Zod to appear. He wanted English actor Jude Law for the role, but Law turned down the role when Bryan Singer entered to direct the project after Ratner's departure to direct X-Men: The Last Stand. As a result, Zod was omitted from the final script.
DC Extended Universe
- General Zod appears in the Zack Snyder film Man of Steel (2013) as the main antagonist of the film, played by Michael Shannon. This version is from Kandor and is the head of Krypton's Military Guild, who becomes so dissatisfied with the Law Council's decisions that he initiates a rebellion, for which he and his forces (called "The Sword of Rao") are captured and sentenced to the Phantom Zone, only to escape due to the destruction of Krypton also resulting in the destruction of their prison. Thirty-three years later, after the destruction of Krypton, Zod arrives on the planet Earth and extorts its people into handing over Kal-El (now going by the name Clark Kent) by threatening Earth's destruction. He reveals his plan to terraform Earth and repopulate the world with genetically-engineered Kryptonians, which will kill all of Earth's indigenous life in the process. Clark Kent (now dubbed "Superman"), with the help of the United States Military, thwarts his plan by creating a singularity that sucks all Kryptonians (save for Zod and Superman) back into the Phantom Zone. Zod then engages Superman in a lengthy, catastrophic fight throughout Metropolis and despite holding an upper hand throughout most of it, Superman ultimately subdues Zod. Furious, the General prepares to murder a trapped family and claims he will never stop, forcing Superman to reluctantly snap Zod's neck to save the family, killing him.
- In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, LexCorp has possession of Zod's corpse, ostensibly to study Kryptonian anatomy and origins. Lex Luthor discovers Kryptonians' vulnerability to kryptonite and uses this knowledge and Zod's fingerprints to access the ancient Kryptonian scout ship. Using Zod's body and his own blood, Luthor creates a "Kryptonian Deformity".
- In the alternate world of Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Zod (voiced by Bruce Thomas) causes the destruction of Krypton by drilling the planet for its core in order to have the energy needed for his war machine and stops Jor-El from implanting his genetic code onto the egg created by Lara. Knowing the planet is about to blow up, Zod touches it to implant his genetic code, leading that world's version of Superman to grow up to look and behave more like Zod. Growing up, Superman is under the impression that his father was a good man due to having limited knowledge about Krypton. After being told about Zod, Superman calls his father a madman.
- General Zod appears in The Lego Batman Movie. He makes a brief cameo on CNN News in a clip showing Superman fighting him and then projecting him up into the Phantom Zone. However, he is not present in the Phantom Zone scenes afterwards.
- The 1988 Superman NES game has Zod, Ursa, and Non as the final bosses whom Superman must defeat in order to win the game. The fight takes place at the fictional Statue of Freedom in Metropolis, based on the Statue of Liberty.
- General Zod appears in the DC Universe Online video game, voiced by Alexander Brandon.
- General Zod appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Townsend Coleman.
- General Zod appears as a downloadable character in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, voiced by Nolan North. Michael Shannon's character in Man of Steel is available as an alternate costume. In General Zod's ending, his prolonged time in the Phantom Zone allowed him to find out that he can create small Phantom Zone portals from one of the Phantom Zone inhabitants. Once he escaped, he trapped the One-Earth High Councilor Superman in the Phantom Zone and took his place in the One-Earth government planning to remake Earth into Krypton's image.
- The Man of Steel incarnation of General Zod appears via DLC as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- General Zod appears in Lego Dimensions, voiced again by Nolan North. He appears as a minion of Lord Vortech and is the boss of the level, "The Phantom Zone", which takes place in the Ghostbusters universe.
- General Zod is mentioned by Supergirl in Injustice 2 when she compares Superman's tyrannical methods to his. Superman later responds that Krypton would be alive if Jor-El were more like Zod to which Supergirl asks if Superman is the son of Jor-El or Zod. He makes a cameo in Sub-Zero's character ending, as the League accidentally opens a portal to the Phantom Zone and unleashes Zod, Ursa, Non, and Superman when they tried to send Sub-Zero back to his home dimension.
- General Zod appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains.
In the novel The Last Days of Krypton (by Kevin J. Anderson, ISBN 0-06-134074-X), General Zod (also known as Commissioner Dru-Zod) is the son of Cor-Zod (former head of the Kryptonian Council). Initially a middle-level bureaucrat, he takes advantage of a major planetary cataclysm and the apparent decapitation of the government to seize absolute power as a military despot. He is ultimately overthrown by a resistance movement led by scientist Jor-El and his brother, civic leader Zor-El. They had formerly worked with Zod until his ambitions and misuse of Jor-El's Rao Beam and the Phantom Zone showed them his true nature and turned them against him. He and his two henchmen are banished forever to the Phantom Zone. The reactionary Council, however, decide to make sure Zod can never be released and, in doing so, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What the comet, pressures building up within Krypton and Rao's increasing instability fail to accomplish, is ironically achieved by the actions of Krypton's Council out of an irrational fear that Jor-El might free Zod and his minions.
Total Film ranked Zod #32 on their "Top 50 Greatest Villains of All Time" list in 2007. Pop-culture website IGN.com ranked General Zod as #30 on their list of the "Top 100 Comic Book Villains".
- Wallace, Dan (2008). "General Zod". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 136. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 141. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
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- General Zod at the Grand Comics Database
- General Zod at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
- DCComics.com - Origin of General Zod
- Zod on DC Database, an external wiki, a DC Comics wiki
- GeneralZod.net - a humor website featuring General Zod
- Alan Kistler's Profile On: ZOD! - Comic book historian Alan Kistler does an in-depth article reviewing the long history of Zod from 1961 all the way to 2005, going into detail on the various incarnations and changes in the character. Includes several artwork scans of the different versions of Zod and a discussion of the show Smallville.