‘Man Of Steel’s’ General Zod: Required Reading

by Ryan Rigley

Earlier this week, General Zod himself took to our nation’s airwaves in a new TV spot for the upcoming “Man of Steel.” In the aforementioned ad, Zod demands that Kal-El (a.k.a. Superman) be returned to him or else the good people of Earth will suffer. Although the commercial is super static-y, you can just barely make out the distorted image of Zod sporting his terrifying new mask.

As any Superman fan could tell you, General Zod is one of the Man of Steel’s biggest and most well known adversaries, other than Lex Luthor of course. In fact, he’s already played a key part in both “Superman” and “Superman II” as portrayed by Terence Stamp. But if you’re looking to brush up on your Zod knowledge before “Man of Steel” hit theaters, then look no further! MTV Splash Page has just the thing for you! Here are five General Zod stories from DC Comics that will help you get into the mind of this summer’s biggest villain.

“Adventure Comics” #283 (1961)
In Zod’s earliest appearance, the disgruntled Kryptonian is depicted as an ex-military leader turned megalomaniac. After the destruction of one of Krypton’s moons, General Zod raises an entire army of robotic clones in an attempt to take over the entire planet. Eventually, Zod is banished to the Phantom Zone with a 40 year sentence but that doesn’t stop him from escaping every now and again to mess with the Man of Steel.

“Action Comics” #779-782 (2001)
Growing up in a KGB laboratory, this story arc features a different version of General Zod that sports red armor and a Russian accent. Russian Zod, a.k.a. Avruiskin of Pokolistan, is actually the child of two cosmonauts whose ship just happened to fly a little too close to Kal-El’s escape pod, irradiating their child whilst still in the womb. Unlike Superman, Russian Zod is weaker under the Earth’s yellow sun and made more powerful by the rays of a red sun.

“Superman: Last Son” – “Action Comics” #844–847, #851 (2006)
After a mysterious, young Kryptonian boy crash lands on Earth, Clark Kent is tasked with figuring out the child’s true origins as well as protecting him from the evil men that want to abuse his immense power. General Zod, who once again manages to escape the Phantom Zone, bombards Superman with hundreds of other Phantom Zone prisoners, resulting in a huge showdown as Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Parasite and Metallo take on Zod and his fellow Kryptonian fugitives.

“Superman: World of New Krypton” (2009)
Taking place after the events of “New Krypton,” in which Superman saves 100,000 Kryptonians and their city of Kandor from imprisonment at the hands of Brainiac, “World of New Krypton” sees a different side of General Zod as he is appointed leader of the Kryptonian army once more. This story also sees both Zod and Superman working together to protect their new-found home planet.

“War of the Supermen” (2010)
After the epic conclusion of the “New Krypton” saga, Zod plans on taking over the entirety of Earth after the destruction of New Krypton. It’s up to Superman to stop the 100,000 angry Kryptonians from destroying everything and everyone that he holds so dear. But will he be able to stop the people of his homeworld from annihilating the people of his adopted homeworld? It all comes down to one final battle between Superman and General Zod, in which Superman may or may not sacrifice himself to ensure that Zod is put back in the Phantom Zone once and for all.