While imprisoned inside the Phantom Zone, the Kryptonian known as General Zod and his mate Ursa gave birth to a child named Lor-Zod while living inside of a transported Kryptonian prison called Fort Rozz. The circumstances leading to his birth meant that Lor-Zod was immune to the effects of the Phantom Zone, never turning into a phantom like his parents did when they exited the prison and he aged at a normal rate. His early life was harsh, as both Zod and Ursa were very abusive parents and eventually found a way to use their own son to free themselves from the Phantom Zone.
Building rockets and manipulating the Phantom Zone technology inside the prison, Zod was able to send Lor-Zod to Earth where he was found by Superman who quickly learnt the boy was Kryptonian. After substantial interest in the boy from both the government and Bizarro, who was working on the orders of Lex Luthor, Superman and Lois Lane decided to adopt him to protect the Kryptonian child from the government, naming him Christopher Kent and introducing him as Lois's cousin's son.
Chris spent a lot time on earth, acting as normal kid and attending school with the aid of a miniature red-sun generator developed by Superman and Batman, which was intended to keep his abilities to a normal child's standards for PE Class. He developed a friendship with Tim Drake, as both of them were adopted and Chris had his share of adventures, as his watch gave him too much red-sun radiation, which made him sick and caused him to spew fire-balls. He also helped Team Superman with their fight against Amalak.
Not long after his arrival on Earth however, Chris's real father General Zod escaped the Phantom Zone with Ursa and Non, using the ship that had transported Chris to keep the doorway out of the Zone open. Attacking the Daily Planet, Zod and Ursa reclaimed their terrified son, wounded Lois and banished Superman to the Phantom Zone whilst freeing many of Krypton's most violent offenders, unleashing a Kryptonian army on Earth. Chris's loyalties however clearly laid with his new foster parents, as he used his heat vision on Zod to protect Lois from him and when Superman returned from the Phantom Zone with reinforcements in the form of Lex Luthor and the Superman Revenge Squad, Chris happily cheered on his adoptive father. When Luthor managed to reverse the effects of the technology that opened the doorway to the Phantom Zone, all of the escaped prisoners were sucked back into the Zone and Chris, realising that he was the key that was keeping the doorway open, sacrificed himself to prevent Superman from being trapped as well.
Chris was later honoured by the Daily Planet with the headline 'Kryptonian Boy Saves Metropolis', a headline that caused great frustration for Luthor, who had been returned to jail. Superman asked Mon-El, who was also trapped inside the Phantom Zone, to search for Chris.
With the arrival of Kandor on earth, Chris had served as the new Nightwing of Kandor along with Thara Ak-Var, using the identity of Flamebird. Both were secretly acting unbeknownst to either government to protect the Earth during the "New Krypton" arc.
When the populace of Kandor was released on Earth, among them were 600 soldiers loyal to General Zod. Two of those soldiers, Lieutenant Mur and Commander Gor, after traveling to Earth for a time, decide that it was in Kandor's best interests to free General Zod. They were stopped by a new duo of Nightwing and Flamebird. The two heroes had apparently been waiting in Kal-El's Fortress of Solitude for Zod loyalists to attempt to free him.
When the Commander and his companion drew weapons on the two caped crusaders, Nightwing was unfazed. Using "Natural
Tactile Telekinesis" he dismantled their weapons. He then laid the Lieutenant out with one punch. He and Flamebird then made it clear that if any of Zod's other followers attempted to free him, they would suffer the same fate.
Soon after, Nightwing and Flamebird departed from Kandor to explore Earth. They traveled to Gotham where they saw the Bat signal in the sky. Nightwing was surprised to find that Batman wasn't responding to the signal. Flamebird then admonished him, saying Batman wouldn't know how to deal with Gotham's newest problems, and to land. Nightwing didn't understand why she wanted him to land, and she admonished him that they had secrets of their own to keep.
As Chris and Thara prepared for their mission they reached out to others in the superhero community. Using his time and position as Kal's son, Nightwing and Flamebird reached out to Jay Garrick and others. Setting up their base in the Fortress of Solitude, they put the final touches on their mission. Due to the new International laws banning Kryptonians from earth, Chris and Thara created power-suits to give a reasonable excuse for their powers.
World Without Superman
Knowing that there were Kryptonian sleeper agents operating on Earth, they prepared to capture them and return them to the Zone. Their first target was the criminal
, operating as the leader of a major media company in Australia. Moving in to capture them, Flamebird made it clear that they'd need to "soften him up". Moving in to do just that, Nightwing attacked Tor, managing to punch him through the building into the basement.
Surprised by Flamebird's apparent disapproval, he was caught off guard by a blast of Heat Vision. Coming to Thara's defense and re-entering the fight he launched an attack against him. Tor ripped out part of his suit, believing it to be the source of his powers, and was surprised when Nightwing was still able to land a powerful blow. As Tor attacked him, wanting to know how they managed to uncover him, Chris gave his origin away by speaking to him in Kryptonian. Working with Thara, they were able to capture Tor and retreat.
Returning to the Fortress, Chris questioned Thara about their new power suits. When she tried to take his power-suit off of him, he retreated in embarrassment to take it off himself. He also managed to give her a short lesson in English, explaining the pronunciation of his name and also defending the humans' views of their people. As he prepared to change, Chris began suffering a severe growth spurt. His cries of pain caused Thara to rush to his side, though he explained it had happened before. Having grown from a pre-teen to an actual teenager, Chris passed out just as his mother Ursa entered the Fortress.
Chris awakened to find Ursa kicking Thara across the Fortress. Ursa refered to Chris as Lor-Zod and he corrected her. Disgusted by his back talk, Ursa kicked Christopher, which causes him to once again lose consciousness. While Chris was unconscious, a fierce battle ensued between Ursa and Thara. With the use of a kryptonite knife which had a frangible edge, Ursa critically wounded Thara. Christopher arrived just in time, and punched Ursa, separating her from Thara.
Ursa and Christopher began trading blows but Ursa appeared to have the upper hand as she revealed that Christopher only had a fraction of a true Kryptonian's power. Christopher then used one of the other powers he learned in the Phantom Zone (telekinesis) to dismantle Ursa's protective eye wear. This exposed Ursa's sensitive eyes to the light and virtually blinded her. While Ursa struggled to find Christopher he picked up the kryptonite knife that she dropped during her previous battle with Thara. Ursa, immediately weakened by the presence of the kryptonite, began to back away from Chris. Thara encouraged Chris to use the blade to end Ursa's life. Instead, Christopher dropped the blade stating that it was not something that Superman would do. As Thara passed out, Chris grabbed her and began to fly towards the roof of the Fortress.
Ursa grabbed the Kryptonite knife and attempted to follow Chris. As Chris passed through the roof of the Fortress, shards of the building begin to rain down on Ursa. Once outside, Chris used his telekinesis to collapse the roof leaving Ursa buried beneath the rubble. After his encounter with Ursa, Christopher
brought the unconscious body of Thara to the residence of his adoptive mother Lois Lane.
Lois Lane brought in
to help Thara, and Dr. Light was able to urge her powers to purge the Kryptonite poisoning that was preventing Thara from healing her stab wounds. Now on the road to recovery, Thara remained unconscious and hidden in Lois Lane's apartment for a short time. She awoke confused and in the presence of Lois, who explained how she was acting as Chris' mother. In return, Thara explained what she and Chris were up to and how she saved him from the Phantom Zone.
When they publicly battled against the renegade Kryptonian sleepers Az-Rel and Nadira Va-Dim, Chris and Thara became celebrity heroes with an adoring public. Chris began to get much attention from women which made Thara uncomfortable. He responded to her apparent jealousy by kissing her, the first the two shared and his first kiss. Rather than talk about what had just happened, they decided to continue to search for Az-Rel and Nadira. However, the two sleepers found them first and attacked. Things turned out to be not what they seemed, and Chris and Thara were ambushed by Metallo and Reactron, who had been magically disguised. The trap was sprung, and the two Kryptonian heroes were brought down by Project 7734.
While Chris and Thara were unconscious, Mirabai used her magic once again. This time Reactron and Metallo were made to appear as Nightwing and Flamebird, and the two criminals went on a rampage. Thara and Chris were exposed as Kryptonians, made to look like terrorists and framed for the alleged murder of Mon-El. When Chris and Thara regained consciousness, Thara was attacked by Supergirl before the two could figure out what had happened. The public began reacting in fear of her and news reports on surrounding televisions filled her in on what had happened. Guardian appeared with the Science Police, looking for justice for Mon-El. Thara was rendered unconscious only to be spirited away by Chris and Supergirl. They sought refuge in a safe-house of Supergirl's in Paris, only for the two girls to come to blows once again. This time their fighting brought on the attention of Squad K. Superman was also made aware that his son was back on Earth.
After the battle with Squad K, the trio hid in
's apartment. Kara and thara were left in the apartment while Lana and Chris went into the Metropolis museum to meet with Lois. However, Lois was being tracked by project 7734, and a battle between Squad K, Reactron, and the Kryptonians soon ensued. Reactron soon killed off Squad K and unleashed his powers against the three. Just as he was about to kill Lois, who was present at the site, he was finally subdued by Thara transforming into the mythical Flamebird and burning him. However, Flamebird was threatening to go out of control, and it took a kiss from Chris to subdue her and have her revert to Thara again.
Thara and Chris continued their mission to apprehend Kryptonian sleeper agents, but in the meantime they managed to set up a secret hideout/love nest in an apartment in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, Chris went through another growth spurt, this time finding himself in a body of a 80 year old. Thara was forced to take him to Doctor Light for help, and Doctor Light called upon a renowned geneticist Dr. Phillings for assistance. Dr. Phillings would later be revealed as
, one of the Kryptonians they wanted to apprehend.
Jax-Ur was capable of reversing Chris' condition, but was unwilling to do so without a price. Jax-Ur, still disguised as a human doctor, induced so much pain in Chris that Thara, out of empathy for him, unleashed the Flamebird. Jax-Ur said that he would save Chris only if Flamebird gives him a sample of her infused blood for him to study. The mythical creature accepts. Jax-Ur saves Chris and Flamebird reverts to an unsuspecting Thara. All seemed well but now Jax-Ur had Flamebird's blood sample to experiment on.
Chris got in touch with the Nightwing entity inside of him and alongside Thara and other earth heroes, battled a cloned body of the Kryptonian god Rao. In the War of the Supermen, Lex Luthor used this Rao clone to turn the earth's sun red. Along with Flamebird, Chris flew to the sun in order to stop it, but the Nightwing entity prevented Chris from saving Thara when she ultimately sacrificed herself to destroy the false god.
Chris interrupted Superman's attempt to imprison himself in the Phantom Zone with Zod going in Superman's place so that Superman could continue to protect earth and Chris could make sure that Zod would remain in the Phantom Zone. While in the Phantom Zone Chris reverts to a young boy, meets up with Mon-El, and journeys with him in the Zone.