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Phantom Zone Criminals

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/phantom_zone_crop_6.jpg

Krypton had no system of capital punishment, so instead of execution, the most heinous criminals were imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, a dimension without time or physical substance — which, ironically, allowed the very worst members of Krypton's civilization to be among the few survivors of the planet's destruction. Over the years, numerous super-powered Kryptonian criminals have escaped the Zone to bedevil Superman. In addition to the ne'er-do-wells below, there areas least a few dozen less prominent Phantom Zone criminals, including Kru-El (Superman's distant cousin), Car-Vex, and Cha-Mel.

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    In General 

  • Adaptation Species Change: In the Smallville, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Supergirl series, the Phantom Zone has other types of alien criminals as well as Kryptonians.
    • The LEGO Batman Movie has them as various human, wizard, dinosaur and monster villains from other franchises that Lego makes toys for.
  • Aliens Speaking English: You could justify them talking to each other as Translation Convention but no reason is ever given as to why they can understand humans after they leave the zone.
  • And I Must Scream: This is the whole idea behind using the Phantom Zone as a punishment in the first place; the prisoners are trapped in an endless void, unable to age or die but perfectly aware of the passage of time.
    • The Pre-Crisis version is probably worse, you are actually able to see and hear everything that's happening outside the Phantom Zone but unable to interact with it in any way, like a living ghost.
  • Astral Projection: Thought they bring their bodies into the zone with them, they're essentially floating around the universe as invisible, intangible ghosts.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Most of them are criminals who have committed crimes along with other things so they get sent to the Phantom Zone as punishment for these crimes.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: As a precursor to the Phantom Zone, Kryptonian criminals were put in sleeper starships in orbit that usually ended up on Earth. Escaping Krypton's destruction by being in the Phantom Zone would count as well.
  • Complete Immortality: Inmates are effectively both ageless and immortal in the Zone — you can actually save a critically ill person's life by sending him there (e.g., Mon-El); the rub is that, like any prison, there's nothing to do there — and since you don't age, you could be stuck there for centuries if there's no one to let you out. The Pre-Crisis The Phantom Zone miniseries proved you can die there, though — by attracting the attention of the Eldritch Abomination whose mind the Zone is part of.
    • Nam-Ek is this after injecting himself with Rondor DNA. He's the only kryptonian to survive without leaving the planet. Superman found him floating in space where Krypton used to be and put him in the zone.
  • Drop Pod: They use a variation of these to escape to Earth in Last Son.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Pre-crisis Superman used to release them when their sentences were up, but they always ended up re-offending and going back in. The only one who didn't return to crime, Quex-Ul, lost his powers and memories then ended up working at The Daily Planet, thinking he was human. Eventually, Superman becomes savvy enough to release paroled convicts to Kandor instead of Earth, and those ones tend to stay out of trouble.
  • Genius Loci: According to Steve Gerber's Pre-Crisis limited series The Phantom Zone, the whole place is the physical manifestation of the mind of an Eldritch Abomination (Jor-El, its discoverer, didn't realize this). It really is perfectly safe, albeit very barren... unless you actually start poking at the entity and make it take notice of you.
  • I Gave My Word: If you can get them to swear a Sacred Kryptonian Oathnote  or the Colossus of Hadradnote  then you can take them by their word.
  • Intangibility: They float around the universe as intangible ghosts and are incapable of touching each other.
  • Mad Scientist: A large number of the Pre-Crisis Phantom Zone prisoners are scientists who got people hurt or caused environmental harm while testing various new inventions (a rocket system, new chemical processes, a cyrosleep device, an immortality potion, labor robots, etc.).
  • Mass Teleportation: Fort Rozz was a Kryptonian prison that got pulled into the Phantom Zone after after an explosion. Normal kryptonian laws of physics apply inside it so Zod and Ursa were able to conceive a son.
    • In Supergirl it was a Space Station built in the Phantom Zome that crash landed on Earth, releasing all the criminals.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: There are probably better uses for an alternate dimension that lets you view anywhere in the universe and makes you immortal other than trapping criminals in it.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The Novelization to Man of Steel names most of Zod's mooks after Kryptonian criminals from the comics.
  • The Needless: Don't need to eat or drink while in the Phantom Zone.
  • New Super Power: Most of them have never had any powers until they were released on Earth.
  • One-Man Army: Every Kryptonian is an army level threat on Earth. During the 100 Minute War thousands of humans died for every Kryptonian brought down.
  • Phantom Zone: The Trope Namer, a barren, harsh dimension absent of any physical material and located outside of the normal space/time continuum to which Kryptonian criminals are banished.
  • Phantom-Zone Picture: The portrayal of the Phantom zone in the movies is the Trope Namer. Though Supergirl (1984) and Smallville imply that the picture is just transportation to the Phantom Zone.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Nam-Ek became immortal after killing a Rondornote .
  • Prison Dimension: The Phantom Zone.
  • Prison Ship: Before Jor-El discovered the Phantom Zone, kryptonian criminals were placed in rockets and put into stasis, then launched into space, never to return home. A Superboy story had him fighting three of these criminals after one of the ships landed on Earth.
    • In Man of Steel, the Zone is accessed by launching criminals into space and through a portal on an orbital space station. When they escape, Zod converts it into a spaceship and explores Krypton's abandoned outposts before finding Earth.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Both Jax-Ur and one-shot inmate Gor-Nu are released from the Phantom Zone on probation to use their scientific expertise to stop a dangerous threat (threats to Kandor and Atlantis respectively), with the possibility of being pardoned if they behave honorably. Both perform their jobs, but then try to betray Superman and are sent back to the Phantom Zone.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Mon-El, Bar-El and Lilo were put in to stop them dying. Chris Kent was conceived in the zone then ended up getting trapped in there again.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: All of them. Fortunately, it's one of the only prisons imaginable that can actually hold a super-powered Kryptonian.
  • Secret-Keeper: Not by choice. They'd tell people that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person if they could.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: They tend to blame Superman for Jor-El putting them in the zone.
  • The Smurfette Principle: There's rarely more than one female in each continuity, with Ursa and Faora usually being treated as interchangeable.
  • Superpower Lottery: Being Kryptonian all have the same of Superman:
  • Telepathy: How they communicate in the Zone. If they all concentrate at once, they can sometimes influence or control people outside the zone.
  • There Is Another: They're among the various Kryptonian survivors that prove Superman isn't the Last of His Kind.
  • Token Good Teammate: The Phantom Zone is filled with dozens of mass murderers, Mad Scientists, and surly career criminals, but there are some decent inmates, although they rarely if ever show up at the same time.
    • Mon-El is a noble ally of Superman but he's only in the Phantom Zone because he's dying rather than being a criminal.
    • Quex-Ul is an innocent man who got sent to the Phantom Zone due to a miscarriage of justice. Even when an amnesiac Quex-Ul has a short-lived Then Let Me Be Evil moment and tries to de-power Superman, he still forms a brief truce with Superman to save an innocent bystander.
    • Thul-Kar, like Mon-El, is a complete innocent who enters the Phantom Zone voluntarily (to escape the destruction of Krypton) rather than being sentenced there for a crime. He is very helpful to Superman when they meet in The Phantom Zone miniseries.
    • Ak-Var gets sentenced to the Phantom Zone for 30 cycles for stealing a sacred jewel, but he claims it was just a prank and becomes a superhero inside Kandor and friend of Superman after his sentence is up.
    • Tra-Gob is a former professional criminal but feels obligated to Jor-El for saving his life and saves Superman from a monster during their one encounter.
    • Vorb-Un experimented on forbidden technology but never hurt anyone with it, promises to never do it again during his parole hearing (his only scene), and never gives Superman any trouble after being paroled.
    • Orn-Zu was sent to the Phantom Zone for attempting to kidnap children, but he was only trying to kidnap them to save them from the destruction of Krypton and he gets a Heroic Sacrifice after being released during his sole appearance.
  • Unishment: Although the Zone is implied to be unpleasant, they did get to survive Krypton's destruction and their youth will still be there if they ever get to leave.
  • Unwanted Revival: Normally, the prisoners who get paroled are happy about this, but in one comic, Kur-Dul and Vax-Nor, two one-shot inmates who are being released into Kandor because their sentences are up, actually beg to stay in the Phantom Zone because everyone in the city is in danger of being killed by an approaching threat. Superman releases them anyway, to their unhappiness, and then stops the threat.

    General Zod I 

General Zod

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dru-zod_15.bmp
Click here to see his post-Flashpoint version 

Species: Kryptonian

First Appearance: Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961)

AKA: Dru-Zod II
"Come to me, son of Jor-El! Kneel Before Zod!"

The archenemy of Jor-El, and a sworn enemy of his family, Zod was a Kryptonian general imprisoned after trying to stage a coup against the Council of Elders on his home world. Trapped in the Phantom Zone prior to Krypton's destruction, Zod is eventually freed and proceeds to take out his anger with Jor-El on Superman. Made famous by Terence Stamp in Superman II, Zod was absent from the comics for years, due to the ban on Kryptonian characters; during this time various alternate universe doppelgangers and Earth-born substitutes danced in his shoes. In Last Son, DC decided to reintroduce the original Zod, bringing in a version of the character heavily modeled on Stamp's portrayal.

In his current incarnation, Zod is a more complex character, regarded as a hero by many on Krypton. His coup was staged because he believed Non and Jor-El's findings about Krypton's imminent demise and wished to get the planet ready by means of rebuilding their space fleet. Defeated when Jor-El refused to support a violent revolution, Zod holds the House of El responsible for the destruction of the Kryptonian race, and seeks to punish Kal-El for his father's sins and build a new Krypton. During the New Krypton arc he served as head of Kandor's military, and maneuvered for war with Earth, aiming to achieve his goals.

Now has his own character page which can be found here.

    Ursa 

Ursa

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aa63116090109fb17419eaec54c0e878.jpg

"The killing. That's my favorite part. Zod — strong, sure, brilliant Zod — doesn't understand that. He finds victory in planning, in preparation, in the discovery of every little detail. He calls that strategy. He calls that tactics. There's a better word for it. Anticipation. And that's why he is the general... and I am the weapon."

Originally created for Superman II, Ursa entered the DCU in the pages of Last Son, alongside the modern General Dru-Zod. Second-in-command and wife to the traitorous general, Colonel Ursa was a loyal soldier in Krypton's elite Black Zero unit, but her failure to stop Brainiac from stealing the city of Kandor and massacring innocent Kryptonians broke her mind, making her dangerously unpredictable. Ursa aided her beloved in his attempt to overthrow the Science Council, but like Zod and their co-conspirator Non, they were stopped by Jor-El and sentenced to eternity in the Phantom Zone. There, Ursa bore a son, Lor-Zod, who would later become the hero Nightwing.


  • Abusive Mom: Uses her son as a tool, giving no affection, and expecting total obedience in return.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: The comics version isn't much of a man-hater as her counterpart in the Christopher Reeve movies.
  • Ax-Crazy: Even among the Phantom Zoners, Ursa is not the poster girl for mental health week, regularly flying into rages, and sparing no one but Zod from her wrath.
  • Badass Longcoat: In her first appearance Post-Crisis.
  • Battle Couple: With Zod, Post-Crisis.
  • Battle Trophy: Steals badges of various people (mostly men) in Superman II.
  • Bling of War: Wears all the said badges.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Her hair is close-cropped, military style in most comic book portrayals.
  • Canon Immigrant: She first appeared in the 1977 Superman movie, and was not added to the comics until Last Son where she took the place normally held by Faora.
  • Colonel Badass: Held this rank in the Kryptonian military, acting as Zod's second-in-command.
  • Colonel Kilgore: Despite her comparatively lofty rank she thoroughly enjoys meting out violence and is always eager to get her hands bloody.
  • Cool Shades: Her glasses protect her eyes from exposure to sunlight, to which she is hypersensitive.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Strongly resembles Sarah Douglas, who played her in Superman II.
  • Dark Action Girl: The most prominent female among the Phantom Zoners Post-Crisis, and easily one of the deadliest. In the end it takes Supergirl, Superboy, Steel, and Krypto to subdue her.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Takes on Supergirl while Superman is facing down General Zod.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In response to an attack on New Krypton by a rogue general from one country, Ursa tries to slaughter the leaders of almost every country on Earth.
  • The Dragon: To General Zod Post-Crisis, acting as his second-in-command, bodyguard, and wife.
  • Expy: Loose one of Faora Hu-Ul, described below. In fact, Faora was erased from continuity due to the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Ursa essentially replaced her when the Phantom Zone criminals were brought back (though Faora still appeared in a pocket universe).
  • Evil Matriarch: Towards Lor-Zod following his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fantastic Racism: Towards humans, whom she views as animals.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The only Kryptonian to need eye wear. One of the most flatout immoral.
  • Fragile Speedster: By Kryptonian standards, with her illness and light build making her comparatively easy to beat down. She's still a Lightning Bruiser when compared to anyone else, of course.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Of General Zod.
  • Handicapped Badass: Ursa's light sensitivity doesn't stop her from being one of Zod's deadliest assets, and in the end it requires a four to one advantage to bring her down.
  • Happily Married: To Zod.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Whether intentional or otherwise, Ursa does mean "bear".
  • Offing the Offspring: Like Zod she's perfectly willing to kill their son, Lor-Zod.
  • Only One Name: No family name or patrynomic (as is usual for female Kryptonians) has been provided for Ursa.
  • Psycho Supporter: Ursa's support for Zod stems at least in part from her own mental instability.
  • Sinister Shades: Ursa's the only Kryptonian who has to permanently wear goggles, and is one of the most evil.
  • Slasher Smile: Sports a really deranged one
  • Superior Species: Her view on her race.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Zod. It's part love, part hero worship.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Zod Post-Crisis.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: In addition to weaknesses against kryptonite, red sunlight, and magic, Ursa's eyes are incredibly sensitive to light, forcing her to wear protective goggles at all times.
  • Would Hurt a Child: If the child was male. In a deleted scene of Superman II she killed a boy on Earth.

    Non 

Non

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fd66b633dca81a94e9f02e87a083d95d.jpg
General Zod's loyal left-hand man, Non is a hulking Kryptonian with all of Superman's powers but none of the intelligence and morality. In fact, the only thing that separates Non from Bizarro is Non's unwavering loyalty. Non was once a brilliant scientist, but when he tried to speak out against the Science Council on behalf of Jor-El, the Council's agents lobotomized him, leaving him a dumb brute. Adopted as a soldier by General Zod, Non shared his master's fate in the Phantom Zone.
  • Beard of Evil: He sports a fairly heavy beard.
  • The Brute: Big, dumb, and thuggish. During the Last Son arc he fights Luthor's Brute, Bizarro, one on one.
  • Canon Immigrant: From the 1977 movie.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Non's crazed, one man assault on the JLA Watchtower left Atom, Cyborg, Doctor Light II, Golden Gorilla, Indigo, and Starfire in varying states of consciousness and severe debilitation, while Non himself escaped without a scratch.
  • Dumb Muscle: Exaggerated. Non is huge and strong even for a Kryptonian, but is brain-damaged to the point of not being able to speak or think rationally.
  • Lobotomy: The comics explain this is why he can't talk or think for himself.
  • Meaningful Name: He's a personality-less lobotomy patient whose name means "nothing".
  • Mental Handicap, Moral Deficiency: Non in the films was a mentally handicapped thug who could only interact with the world through violence. This remains true in the comics, though it is better justified by his lobotomy. Some appearances show him with a stitched scar across his forehead implying a lobotomy.
  • The Mentor: Was this to Jor-El, pre-lobotomy.
  • Mighty Glacier: By Kryptonian standards being vastly stronger and vastly slower than most members of the race. By the standards of the DCU as a whole, he's a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Only One Name: One of the few Kryptonians with no last name.
  • Pet the Dog: He cared for Lor-Zod whenever his parents weren't looking, at least inasmuch as his ruined mental state allowed.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Zod drafted him into the army after his lobotomization.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In other universes and continuities, there'll be a different Kryptonian taking his role as the strongman of the Zod trio. Notably Quex-Ul (Pocket Universe), Jax-Ur (The Superman Adventures #21), Kru-El (Brainiac 13-created Krypton), and Nam-Ek (The Last Days of Krypton novel and Man of Steel film).
  • The Speechless: Non cannot speak beyond grunts or laughs.
  • Tragic Monster: Poor guy was lobotomized into being evil.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He and Jor-El were friends prior to his lobotomization.

    Faora Hu-Ul 

Faora Hu-Ul

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/d7a6e5f3abf65d1247b7a3df5862c560.JPG
Click here to see her post-Flashpoint 

"That I am the master of Horu-Kanu— the deadliest form of physical combat on Krypton! With my expert knowledge of the secret reflex points on a Kryptonian's body— your body— each blow I strike— at precisely the right spot— results in an automatic violent reflex-action!"

An evil Kryptonian martial artist, and raving misandrist. Pre-Crisis she was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone for murdering every man she encountered, and during her early encounters with Superman was able to throughly outfight him. Post-Crisis this version of Faora was erased from continuity, though several alternate universe doppelgangers and one Eastern European mutant did take up her identity, typically acting as henchwomen to whichever take on Zod was currently active. In 2006, when Last Son reintroduced the real Zod, these incarnations of Faora were forgotten, replaced with Canon Immigrant Ursa.

It was not until the New 52 reboot, that Faora returned to mainstream continuity. Retooled to closely resemble her expy, Ursa (more on that below), and the versions of Faora from Smallville and Man of Steel both, she was presented as a Kryptonian military officer who was utterly devoted to General Dru-Zod, acting as his Number Two, his bodyguard, and his girlfriend. Escaping the Phantom Zone with him, the two Kryptonian criminals engaged Superman and Wonder Woman in a brutal tag-team brawl before being returned to their prison.


  • The Dragon: To Zod in the New 52.
  • Expy:
    • Oh boy. The character of Ursa from The Movie was loosely based on Faora, sharing her look and misandry, but adding a relationship with Zod. Post-Crisis, early versions of Faora — as well as adaptations like Smallville — would then follow Ursa's lead, and be in love with Zod (whom she had not been close to Pre-Crisis). In 2006, she was removed from continuity and replaced with a comics version of Ursa... only to reenter the comics in the New 52, after Man of Steel's version of her — which was closely based on the film version of Ursa from Superman II — proved a success.
    • In the novel The Last Days of Krypton, a similar character goes by the name of Aethyr-Ka (sharing the name of a godlike being also named Aethyr from the Phantom Zone in Pre-Crisis).
  • Foil: The New 52 version is set up as something of one to Wonder Woman, with her slavish loyalty to Zod, and arrogant belief in her martial arts skills contrasting Diana's genuine relationship with Clark and respect for her adversaries.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: In the New 52, Zod is the only man she respects, and the only one she's willing to be in a relationship with.
  • The Jailer: Pre-Crisis. On Krypton, she was arrested for kidnapping 23 men and putting them in a concentration camp she had built in her home.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: A deadly martial artist whose skill enables her to walk all over even the likes of Superman.
  • Lady of War: Faora's martial training gives her a degree of grace that's pretty alien to the average Kryptonian.
  • Pressure Point: Thanks to her Kryptonian powers, her nerve pinches work on Superman. Ouch!
  • Ret-Canon: Her appearance in the New 52 takes after her Man of Steel look (which in turn borrows heavily from Ursa's look in Superman II).
  • Ret-Gone: Erased from existence post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, and essentially replaced by Ursa, a Canon Immigrant loosely based on her (though a version of Faora appeared in the Pocket Universe and another was Pokolistan metahuman). She's also appeared in adaptations like Smallville and Man of Steel). However, she's back as of Krypton Returns.
  • Serial Killer: Of men, Pre-Crisis.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Zod, New 52.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Zod in the New 52.
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    Jax-Ur 

Jax-Ur

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/347eb8323aa43726574f9db555a721f7.png
Click here to see his pre-Crisis version 

"I am here to do what your father could not. I am here to save our world. Farewell, Kal-El. "

A doctor and scientist who thought nothing of dissecting living people and whose experiments inadvertently destroyed Krypton's moon colony — which attracted the attention of Brainiac and led to the loss of Kandor. While in the Phantom Zone, Jax-Ur became the host of the Kryptonian deity Vohc-the-Breaker, god of creation and destruction. He was recruited by General Zod to be one of his sleeper agents, but had plans of his own — the destruction of Earth.


  • Acrofatic: Has the standard kryptonian powers but is usually fat and unfit compared to other kryptonians.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Nightwing and Flamebird, themselves avatars of Kryptonian gods.
  • Bald of Evil: Pre-Crisis he looked rather like Lex Luthor with a moustache (well, early Lex who was kinda chubby; canonically, Lex lost the weight in the Bronze Age years, but Jax stayed portly).
  • Befriending the Enemy: When Jimmy Olsen visits the Phantom Zone, Jax-Ur says they might as well be friends because they can't hurt each other there. He ends up trying to show Jimmy Superman's secret identity but Jimmy deliberately doesn't look because he thinks Superman probably has a good reason for hiding it.
  • Demoted to Extra: Up until the release of Superman II, Jax-Ur was usually depicted as the de facto leader of the Phantom Zoners. Since then, it's always Zod shown to be in charge.
  • Enemy Mine: The pre-crisis Jax-Ur worked with Superman to defeat Black Zero, the true culprit behind Krypton's destruction.
  • Fat Bastard: Pre-Cris Jax-Ur was a fairly rotund archvillain. These days he's portrayed as either fit or outright skinny.
  • Genius Bruiser: What happens when your Mad Doctor is a Kryptonian.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Pre-Crisis, he was exiled to the Zone for accidentally destroying Krypton's moon, Wegthor, including its inhabited moon colony. He might have gotten some slack for it being an accident, except that it happened when he was trying to test a new kind of missile he planned to use to conquer Krypton. Unfortunately, the whole business soured the Kryptonian public so much on space travel that they scuttled their newborn space program, later crippling Jor-El's plans to build an escape fleet.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Modelled on Josef Mengele.

    Xa-Du the Phantom King 

Xa-Du the Phantom King

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/image_2021_10_27_202736.png

"A whole world. A world of people made of brittle glass and splinters. I am free! And you! You, Jor-El, are dead! Krypton is dead, and Xa-Du lives! Do you hear me, Jor-El? Xa-Du lives!"

Prior to mastering the Phantom Zone, Krypton imprisoned its criminals using suspended animation. However, one scientist, Xa-Du, invented technology that allowed him to control those stuck in it, creating what became known as the Living Death. As a result of his cruel actions, Krypton banned the practice, and created the Phantom Zone projector as a substitute, with Xa-Du being the first person ever sent there. Undaunted by this, Xa-Du constructed an "ecto-suit" that allows him to affect the physical world while remaining in the Phantom Zone, and seeks vengeance on the son of the man who imprisoned him, followed by using his technology to resume his plans for galactic-scale domination.


  • Ascended Extra: Xa-Du takes his name and a few traits of his origin from Xadu, a prisoner who made a few brief appearances in the Silver Age.
  • Breakout Villain: Of the various New 52 Superman villains, he's proven to be by far the most durable, appearing in Escape from the Phantom Zone and several other runs since then long after the era came to a close.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's a Kryptonian with all the strength that comes with it, on top of his skills as a mad scientist.
  • The Ghost King: As the first Phantom Zone prisoner, he considers himself the ruler of the place (hence his name of the Phantom King), and though many others there would contest his claim (especially given that he has no plans to free anyone but himself), he does possess a decent number of followers.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Though he doesn't seem to have been a good man prior to his sentencing, decades of time in the Phantom Zone have driven him into the role of full-on world conqueror.
  • Large Ham: Every line of dialogue he gives out tends to be delivered in the most operatic manner possible.
    "I can bathe in the stars! Drink in the spectrum! I will rise above all living!"
  • Logical Weakness: Since his suit is the only thing that ties him to the physical world, damaging or destroying it reduces him to an incorporeal ghost. Additionally, since he's technically still in the Phantom Zone while wearing it, he can be affected by people there.
  • Mad Scientist: Well, any scientist who invents something called "Living Death" is probably not in their right mind, and that was before fifty-plus years of Phantom Zone imprisonment.
  • Mummy: Though not a true mummy, his ecto-suit is certainly designed to invoke the look, given that he debuted in a Halloween Episode. He seems to consider himself to be "undead" to a degree as well.
  • Necromancer: Or the Kryptonian superscience equivalent, anyway. His initial plan upon escaping was to convert the residents of Kandor into a zombified army, which certainly suggests he can do this.
  • Power Fist: His suit includes a set of gauntlets, covered in claws and spikes and capable of poisoning others.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: All Phantom Zone prisoners are this by nature, but Xa-Du stands out for having been the one so bad that the can was invented to seal him, specifically.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Xa-Du's main reason for hating Superman is that he blames Jor-El for his sentencing, and he's perfectly happy to carry out vengeance on his son instead.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: It's noted that while he does have Kryptonian strength, he's a relatively untrained combatant, due to having been a scientist and scholar in life.

    Quex-Ul 

Quex-Ul

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/86334b7de737316f965248ddd5f36f10.png
AKA: Charlie Kweskill (Pre-Crisis), Edward Robertson (Post-Infinte Crisis)

" Superman, you're a fool to have freed me! I'm going to destroy you forever with an amazing secret weapon — Gold Kryptonite!"

A Kryptonian wrongly convicted of killing rondors, an endangered species, to use their healing horns for the purpose of profit.


  • The Brute: In later versions, he's usually the 'strongman' of a trio of Phantom Zone criminals (see Expy).
  • Expy: His later incarnations resemble Non, especially the Pocket Universe version.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pre-Crisis. He threw himself into his own Gold Kryptonite trap he set up for Superman (which he had set while being controlled by Rog-Ar), losing both his powers and memory. Still later in The Phantom Zone, he ended up sacrificing his life to save Superman when they were both trapped in the Zone while the Zone's evil inmates were running rampant on Earth.
  • Killed Off for Real: Pre-Crisis, he sacrficed his life to save Superman — inside the Phantom Zone, no less, where death was thought to be impossible. He's killed of in Post-Infinite Crisis continuity, too.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Pre-Crisis, after Quex-Ul loses his powers and his memory, Superman sets him up with an Earthling identity as "Charlie Kweskill" and gets him a job at the Daily Planet. It works out well for him for a while, but Zod and the other Zoners eventually ruin it for him.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: After learning the truth, Superman realizes Quex-Ul never belonged in the Zone alongside a bunch of hardened criminals.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Pre-Crisis. Superman learns he actually acted under the mental control of another Kryptonian, Rog-Ar, the true rondor killer.
  • The Woobie: Poor guy never deserved to be imprisoned, and even after getting released, the other Zoners kept finding ways to mind control him.

    Kru-El 

Kru-El

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kru_el_earth_one_0001.jpg

" Tedious, is she not? A family trait, I'm afraid General. I alone among the Els seem to have been unafflicted."

Kru-El was "the first stain on the name of El" and sentenced to the Phantom Zone for 35 years for developing forbidden weapons. He vexed his cousin Jor-El on Krypton and would continue to harass his son Superman on Earth.


  • Arms Dealer: Kru-El built diabolical weapons and supplied them to the criminal element of Krypton.
  • Beard of Evil: Sports a pointed goatee and moustache.
  • Black Sheep: Kru-El is described "the first stain on the name of El" and is the only member of the House of El to become a criminal.
  • Evil Genius: Regarded as being Jor-El's intellectual equal.
  • Forced Transformation: Supergirl was once subjected to his Plant-Scourge Ray, which caused any being near her to become a plant.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Kru-El is so focused on using his arsenal of super-weapons that he sometimes forgets that he has superpowers under a yellow sun, allowing Superman to take him down easily.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Kru-El is a technological genius and in certain fields, such as weapons design, surpasses even Jor-El.
  • Meaningful Name: His name very much sounds like "cruel." He is a stain on the House of El, having become a criminal Arms Dealer.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: After being freed from the Phantom Zone by Lesla-Lar, he uses her as test subject for his disintegrator ray and reduces her to ashes.
  • Tested on Humans: Has no compunctions against testing his weapons on humans or Kryptonians.

    Nam-Ek 

Nam-Ek

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/namekcomics2.jpg
AKA: The Antibiotic Man

"There is much you fail to understand, Kal-El... And— Like your ancestors who opposed me, you would sooner lash out at me... Than try to understand! "

Nam-Ek was a Kryptonian scientist obsessed with quantifying the healing power of the Rondor horn, but got too involved in his own research and became a human-Rondor.


  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Nam-Ek gained a purple leathery skin (and a horn sprouting from his forehead) following an experiment Gone Horribly Right.
  • Complete Immortality: So far nothing has been found that can kill Nam-Ek. He does not age, is immune to all diseases and poisons, heals all injuries instantly, cannot starve or die of dehydration, and can survive in the vacuum of space even under a red sun.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Even in the light of a red sun, Nam-Ek could survive in the vacuum of space indefinitely.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Nam-Ek killed a Rondor and removed its horn, and studied it until he had concocted a serum from the horn that would, he anticipated, produce the same effect. He then foolishly tested the serum on himself, drinking it to see what would happen. The result was a mutagenic change within Nam-Ek's entire body. His skin became purple in color and leathery, like the Rondor, and he grew a Rondor-like horn from the middle of his forehead. This horn had the same healing properties as those in the Rondors themselves.
  • Healing Factor: Nam-Ek is able to repair his body from almost any injury. Though Superman thought that he'd killed Nam-Ek with Green Kryptonite it has never actually been proven whether Nam-Ek is resistant to Kryptonite.
  • Healing Hands: The radiation from Nam-Ek's horn appears to heal all injuries and diseases in the bodies of others in close proximity.
  • The Hermit: Following his transformation, the now-monstrous and foul-smelling Nam-Ek self-isolated in the ancient Kryptonian city of Xan for 500 years.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Nam-Ek tested his Rondor horn serum on himself, with tragic consequences.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: During a mass from the Phantom Zone, Nam-Ek remembered his previous burning and defeat, so was content to sit with Thul-Kar and wait out the conflict.
  • Space Pirate: Years after Krypton's destruction, Nam-Ek was found floating in space by the space pirate Amalak. Amalak was responsible for transporting Nam-Ek to Earth.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Nam-Ek's goal of eradicating all disease and injury was noble. His methods for achieving this more questionable.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Nam-Ek regards his immortality as a curse rather than a blessing, as it turned him monstrous and isolated him from the rest of humanity.

    Professor Va-Kox 

Professor Va-Kox

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/va_kox.jpg

"You can see and hear me, Superman! I, Vakox outwitted you! Now the belt will create a hyper-explosion that will blow the whole Phantom Zone into a remote universe, never to return!"

Va-Kox was sentenced to the Phantom Zone for mutating the marine life in a lake on Krypton with his forbidden experiments. The lingering effects would pollute the lake for 50 cycles, which was also the sentence that the Science Council gave him, making him the second Phantom Zone inmate.


  • Empty Quiver: Once masterminded the theft of a nuclear warhead from the US Army and detonated under a Pacific atoll so the vast release of radioactive particle emissions would tear a gap into the dimensional barrier and allow his release back to physical reality.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Va-Kox was sentenced to the Phantom Zone for mutating the marine life in a lake on Krypton with his forbidden experiments.
  • Master of Disguise: Va-Kox aped Clark Kent's form well enough to temporarily fool Superman.
  • Mind Control: From within the Phantom Zone; Va-Kox has repeatedly dominated the minds of those in the outside world.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He is both an Evilutionary Biologist and a Robot Master.
  • Robot Master: Built an army of robots capable of moving at ultra-light speeds called Anachronids.
  • Utility Belt: Constructed a utility belt equipped with several useful crime-fighting gadgets, but booby-trapped with a miniature Phantom Zone Projector that would send the wearer of the belt to the Zone at the press of the wrong button, followed by the displacement of the Phantom Zone into another dimension of space more distant from the physical plane. Ostensibly intended for Superman to wear to achieve the desired effect.

    The Zone Child 

The Zone Child

A creature that was created by the Phantom Zone, the Zone Child suffered as its home was used as a jail for another dimension's worst criminals. The creature attempted to break free of the Phantom Zone in order to destroy the reality that spawned its pain, leading to the events of the The Black Ring story arc.


  • Eldritch Abomination: A being native to the hellish prison dimension, with enough power to potentially destroy the universe.
  • The Empath: A godlike being that suffered pain at sharing its world with a bunch of horrible sociopaths.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Attempted to break free of the phantom zone to destroy the reality which was the source of its pain, and was the last and greatest of the villians Lex Luthor fought in the Black Ring story line.
  • Fusion Dance: Undergoes an unwilling one with Lex Luthor.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After being co-opted by Lex Luthor and experiencing the emotions Luthor was trying to wring from Superman, the Zone Child manages to reassert enough control to offer Luthor a choice—use his powers to end the suffering of his universe for everyone, with the caveat that he could not harm anyone; or lose them. Luthor chose the latter.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Apparently sacrifices itself to alter the powers it shared with Luthor to the point he could use them only to better the universe. Lex instead attempted to murder Superman again, and lost both the powers and his mind. It is suggested a fragment of the Child survived, but it has not appeared since.

    Lor-Zod 

Lor Zod

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/6246636_lzrco005.jpg

Species: Kryptonian

First Appearance: Action Comics #984 (September 2017)

The son of General Zod and Ursa, Lor-Zod is a Kryptonian who was born in the Phantom Zone, long after Planet Krypton had already died out and his species became endangered. He is one of his father's most recurring and loyal followers and is looking up to being his successor for the House of Zod.

This version of Lor-Zod is specifically centered on Post-Flashpoint, namely in the New 52 and DC Rebirth continuities. To learn about his Post-Crisis iteration, Christopher Kent, see his character sheet here.


  • Accidental Murder: Zig-Zagged in Future State where he's on the receiving end. While Lor-Zod was killed by Bolt, the circumstances of his death were engineered by Amanda Waller, who wanted to weed out the weaker, more problematic members, of which Lor-Zod was one. Bolt shot him with a K-Spray, an aerosol Kryptonite pistol and she was aghast at what she did, claiming that she thought the shot was supposed to neutralize Lor-Zod. Waller, on the other hand affirms that "he is neutralized. Permanently".
  • Adaptational Villainy: In stark contrast to his Post-Crisis version, Lor-Zod is completely subservient towards his father and actively seeks to become his successor in the future.
  • Beard of Evil: In the Booster Shot Future Future, he ends up sporting quite the goatee, like his dear old dad.
  • Blood Knight: He shows signs of enjoying a good fight and pounding his enemies when he engages in battle against Guy Gardner and even notes that "it's no fun when it ends quick".
  • The Brute: He serves as this to Peacemaker in his Suicide Squad team in Future State being its most physically strong member.
  • Co-Dragons: Serves as one of his father's right-hand men alongside Ursa and the Eradicator during his reign in Jekuul.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: A son variant, but the basic principle is still there. Lor-Zod is very much like his father in some aspects, such as their ambition, desire to conquer, and their penchant for being skilled combatants.
  • Dark Is Evil: Much like his father and his compatriots, Lor-Zod wears a dark-grey uniform and is in line with upholding Zod's militant rule in Jekuul his grand ambitions for the universe.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Straight-up respects his father and is more than willing to fight for his cause, and Zod reciprocates this with fatherly pride and generally gets along with his mother. This is a really jarring comparison to his Post-Crisis version where his relationship with Zod is anything but.
  • The Evil Prince: In a sense. While not royalty, the House of Zod is a governing empire in Jekuul and Lor-Zod is expected to succeed his father once he comes of age. This is further enforced when Zod and Ursa make attempts in mentoring and teaching their son politics and diplomacy in their own turns, shaping Lor-Zod into being the sort of leader his father was.
  • Fantastic Racism: He seems to share his father's opinion of expressing disdain and contempt towards anything non-Kryptonian, particularly humans. Best shown in Future State when he wails on Connor Kent for choosing to "kneel before Waller" and for being "an abomination".
  • In the Back: His time in Peacemaker's Suicide Squad didn't last long, considering he's killed by Bolt, who shot him in the back with a K-Spray.
  • Mirror Character: He's one for Jon Kent, being sons of two of the most notable Kryptonians in the DC Universe and who are being raised by their fathers to be the best possible successors they can be. The key difference, however, is that Jon was bought up with an ordinary lifestyle on Earth and is being raised by Superman and Lois Lane to be the former's successor whereas Lor-Zod lives in a privileged setting with Zod and Ursa and is taught diplomacy and leadership to prepare for the occasion he becomes a Galactic Conquerer like his father is.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Despite being knocked out by Connor Kent in Future State: Suicide Squad, he rebounds and starts to beat the snot out of Connor for siding with Humanity over the Kryptonians. Unfortunately for him, he and his team were set up by Amanda Waller to be offed, which leads to him being "permanently neutralized" by Bolt.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Despite being a pre-teen, his Kryptonian physiology means he gains a vast array of superhuman abilities and can easily go up against other superpowered beings, best shown when he fights against the Green Lanterns in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.
  • Sadist: His Booster Shot Future version is a merciless and arrogant foe who likes to toy with and mock his opponents whilst beating them down.
  • Smug Snake: Powerful as he may be in a bad alternate future, however, he is pretty self-absorbed and a little too confident about himself.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Despite his precocious age, Lor-Zod is surprisingly casual when it comes to making comments about tearing off his opponent's flesh and open to the idea of going up-front and beating someone up. Considering his parentage and upbringing, it's not a surprise that Lor-Zod turned out to be vicious and cold during his childhood.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: In the Booster Shot Future where despite his large variety of abilities and possessing superhuman strength, his fighting abilities were rather unrefined, unlike his father, mainly because he was content being an enforcer for Jekuul, he mainly had to rely on raw strength.

     Nadira Va-Dim and Az-Rel 

Two thieves with psychic powers. Post-Crisis, they are sleeper agents mingling with the people of Earth on behalf of General Zod.


  • Jerkass: The two are aloof and disdainful to anyone who talks to them.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Az-Rel can make people and things burn with his mind and Nadira can use her mind to make people feel pain, but their powers are treated as being a regional mutation and the more overtly mystical Thul-Kar is still viewed as an anomaly by Kryptonians.
  • Retired Monster: The two rob and injure lots of people on Krypton. Once they get out of the Phantom Zone, they are among the few escapees not to help Zod in his plans of conquest, preferring to walk the streets and experience the pleasures of Earth. They still care only about themselves and will kill anyone who thinks Bullying the Dragon is a good idea, but they try to mind their own business.
  • Unholy Matrimony: They are a couple and are extremely callous and dangerous.

    Jer-Em 

A religious zealot who survives the destruction of his planet due to a force field surrounding his hometown, Argo City. He is the first person sent to the Phantom Zone after the destruction of Krypton after he accidentally dooms most of the city's population to Kryptonite poisoning while moving the floating city away from a yellow sun due to viewing their powers as unnatural.


  • Driven to Suicide: He kills himself with Kryptonite.
  • Fantastic Racism: He goes berserk when a human touches him.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: He caused thousands of deaths, but it was an accident, he is deeply remorseful about it, and he only wants to be left alone after being freed from the Phantom Zone.

    Shyla Kor-Onn 

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