Az-Rel was created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Gene Colan. He first appeared in 1982's The Phantom Zone #1. Following Infinite Crisis, this version of Az-Rel was effectively erased from existence.
A Post-Crisis version of Az-Rel was later introduced by writer Greg Rucka and artist Sidney Teles in 2009's Action Comics #877. This version had little similarities to his previous incarnation other than his Kryptonian criminal past and relationship with Nadira.
Major Story Arcs
Earth-One - Pre-Crisis
Az-Rel was a Kryptonian anarchist with pyrotic abilities who became a petty criminal mostly because nothing else appealed to him. He was eventually apprehended along with like-minded criminal Nadira for their crimes and they were both sentenced to 15 sun-cycles in the Phantom Zone.
Years later, following the destruction of Krypton, Az-Rel and Nadira were part of a massive escape attempt from the Phantom Zone led by General Zod. Zod and his associates sought to displace Earth into the Phantom Zone as revenge against Superman, but Az-Rel and Nadira instead sought to pursue simple pleasures on Earth. When confronted by a crowd of punks in a disco, the criminal pair used their powers indiscriminately to burn the building down and kill everyone inside. Later however, they encountered the mad prophet, Jer-Em, who intended to send himself to the Kryptonian afterlife by exposing himself to a large chunk of deadly Green Kryptonite. Before they could flee, Jer-Em grabbed Nadira and pulled her onto the Kryptonite, exposing her to a fatal dose of radiation. Az-Rel fled, but was soon caught by Superman who had Az-Rel take him to Nadira in order to help her. In her dying pain, Nadira used her psychokinetic powers to trigger Az-Rel's pyrotic abilities, forcing him to immolate himself for abandoning her.
New Earth - Post-Crisis
Az-Rel is a Kryptonian outlaw and one half of a "Bonnie and Clyde" relationship with his lover, Nadira. He and Nadira agreed to serve as two of General Zod's sleeper agents on Earth. They eventually ignored their mission parameters however, and the two set out on a violent reign of terror, acting on every possible impulse that came to them, and recklessly slaughtering anyone who opposed them. This caught the attention of the Kryptonian heroes, Flamebird and Nightwing, who tracked Az-Rel and Nadira to the deserts of New Mexico where they battled the pair until Assassin of Project 7734 intervened.
Despite attempting to escape in the ensuing confusion, Az-Rel and Nadira were eventually apprehended by Project 7734 and held in their custody.
Powers & Abilities
As a Kryptonian, Az-Rel possesses the same powers as any average Kryptonian while exposed to a yellow sun. These abilities include greatly enhanced strength, speed, durability, stamina, and senses; as well as the ability to fly, expel freezing breath, and heat vision. He also possesses a Kryptonian's inherent weaknesses against Kryptonite and the depowering effects of a red sun.
Prior to Infinite Crisis, Az-Rel was a "pyrotic," and capable of setting things on fire with but a thought. He was shown to be able to reduce a human being to ashes in minutes. These powers were however not retained by his Post-Crisis incarnation.