Just as the El family is a staple among the Scientist guild of Krypton, the Zod family is a staple of the Military. Generations ago Zod's ancestor and namesake, Admiral Dru-Zod, once led the Military Council, in power before the Kryptonian Science Council came to rule, and Krypton to the head of a large empire that scoured galaxies. That dynasty ended when Bav Sor-El's Science Council was able to convince the people of Krypton of the immorality of the Empire and oust Har-Zod and his Military Council during elections. The Kryptonian Navy would be dismantled, with the exception of Dru-Zod's ship which would haunt Superman later. The military was delegated to peace-keeping tasks on Krypton, and the Zods continued to serve.
Months before the destruction of Krypton, Jor-El convinced his friend, mentor and intellectual peer Non that their planet was indeed doomed. The word of two of the most respected scholars of Krypton was not enough to sway the Council, whose only action in the matter was to forbid any further talk on the subject. While Jor-El chose to fight a Sisyphean battle to convince the Kryptonian Council, Non spread the word to the people. Non's actions were considered rebellious, and the council dispatched their most fearsome commander, General Zod, to dispatch of him. Zod, though, was swayed by Non's words and became convinced of the impending destruction of Krypton. His most trusted lieutenant and loyal lover Ursa also joined his cause.
The council quickly reacted to the insurrection by kidnapping Non in his sleep and lobotomizing him. They then arrested the three defectors and sentenced them to the Phantom Zone at the request of Jor-El. Jor-El agreed to desist in his attempts to convince the Council in return for a humane punishment to death for his contemporaries. After the verdict Zod declared that the only way to save Krypton was to overthrow the stubborn Kryptonian Council, and rule Krypton in their place. Their brutal escape attempt was quelled, but not before members of the Council were slaughtered. The verdict still stood though, as the judgment of the Council is final, and Jor-El administered the punishment, banishing them to the Phantom Zone. For his actions, or inaction, Zod regarded Jor-El as a coward. Zod vowed, "..one day we will return, and when we do, I will be Krypton's ruler. And then...I will make you the slave to me that you are to the council. You will kneel before me. Both you and one day... your son!"
General Zod was created by Robert Bernstein and George Papp. Adventure Comics #283 was his first appearance.
A boy crashed onto earth in a Kryptonian vessel, mirroring Superman's own origins. Superman was relieved that yet another survivor of Krypton had surfaced, but the child's origins were not so innocent. The child was the son of Ursa and General Zod, the most dangerous criminals within the Phantom Zone. The boy's appearance on earth triggered the promised return of Zod, Ursa and Non. Upon their escape from the Phantom Zone, Zod and the others went to the Fortress of Solitude to gain information from Jor-El's recordings. They then journeyed to Metropolis.
Arriving in Metropolis, Zod set about making his plans for Earth, or New Krypton, a reality. While his wife Ursa confronted Lois Lane to retrieve their son, he took Non and confronted Kal-El. Zod and Non were able to overpower Kal and trap him in the Phantom Zone, a fitting punishment in Zod's eyes. Zod then freed the other criminals of the Phantom Zone, and set about re-creating Metropolis and Earth in Kypton's image. With the aid of only a few Kryptonians he was able to defeat the Justice League and subjugate the people of Metropolis. While he was attempting to discipline Lois, his son Lor stepped in on her behalf, attacking him. At the same time a newly freed Kal-El teamed with Lex Luthor and his Superman Revenge Squad to defeat him and the other escaped criminals. As Zod battled Kal-El, Luthor managed to use Phantom Zone rockets to blast every being who came into contact with it, including Superman, back. While Kal was spared when Lor willingly took his place, Zod was pulled into the Zone. As he disappeared he mentioned the other "horror" held in the Zone and promised to unleash it when he escaped again. Zod planned to continue with his vow, and personally make Kal-El kneel before him.
Major Story Arcs
Zod was one of the three Kryptonian criminals who took over the Time Trapper's pocket universe after Superboy was killed. When Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora had decimated the entire population of that Earth, Superman was forced to execute them using kryptonite, a deed that would plague his conscience for years.
In the duplicate Krypton created by Brainiac-13, another fascist counterpart of Zod was defeated by Superman.
The son of Russian Cosmonauts, the unborn boy who would be codenamed "Zed" was affected when Kal-El's spacecraft and a chunk of Kryptonite irradiated his parents. He was born terminally weak and getting weaker, but exposure to red sun radiation made him super-powerful. Influenced by the ghost of the Zod from the Time Trapper's world, he plotted to turn the yellow sun red, but was defeated when Lex Luthor unexpectedly allied with Superman. After losing his powers, he attacked Superman with such force that he himself was killed.
When the bottle city of Kandor, the true Kryptonian Kandor, is found by Kal-El and released on Earth there were over 600 soldiers loyal to Zod numbered among them. Two of those soldiers, Commander Gor and Lieutenant Mur, had trouble believing that Zod betrayed Krypton, and felt he was justified in his actions. They also had trouble understanding why Kal-El stopped him. They decided to free him from the Phantom Zone, and entered the Fortress of Solitude only to be stopped by a new Nightwing and Flamebird.
Alura, though, had made a pact with Commander Gor and the rest of his military faction regarding the release of Zod and his followers from the Phantom Zone. At some point during the events following the death of her husband, Alura made good on that promise, releasing Zod, Ursa, and Non from captivity. Unbeknownst to the general populace of Kandor, Zod became the true power behind their forces and as New Krypton settled into its orbit around Sol, Zod prepared to reveal his presence to his people. Superman was eventually pulled into the conflict with Earth. However, General Zod accused Kal-El and Asha Del-Nar of treason when they refused to execute a criminal. As the trial was going on, Dyn-Xe tried to argue that Zod had a personal vendetta against the House of El. Much to the dismay of Dyn-Xe, Kal El pled guilty and had to wait a day to be judged. Zod offered to allow Kal to escape but Kal did not. On the day of judgement, Zod told the judges that Kal should be cleansed from his sins on the account of Nova, by the Religious Guild. Kal was cleared from his charges, and at the next day at the parade, Kal and Zod were joined by Alura and Kara. A Kryptonian by the name of Ral-Dar rushed through the crowd and fired a weapon at Zod. A wounded Zod made Superman the new General in charge of New Krypton's Military Guild.
Zod recoverd just in time to save Superman, Adam Strange, and Tyr-Van from being killed. Zod stopped the execution and together with Kal-el found out who was the last member of the traitors to Krypton and arrested him after getting him to confess to the crimes. As Kal-el and Zod were talking about how Kal-el had changed New Krypton by helping the Labor Guild get on the Council, Brainiac attacked New Krypton.
General Zod is the Superman of Earth-15. A peaceful Earth, he and his wife were expecting a child before Superman-Prime showed up and killed Zod because he was not a maniac. Prime then destroyed that Earth.
Earth-40 JSA Liberty Files
The Zod of this universe was not a general of any kind. He was recast as a sociopath 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, he was the first child cast into the Phantom 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".
Superman & Batman: Generations
General Dru-Zod was one of 3 other Kryptonian criminals, Zaora & Quex-Ul, that were sentenced to the Phantom Zone prior to Krypton's Destruction. In 1997, Zod and his companions were taunting Superman and his willingness to defend the human race as he watched his grandson Clark Wayne, aka Knight-Wing, battle a mind controlled Ransak, under the command of Douglas Manson's daughter Amanda. He along with the two other criminals were also amazed when Superman was able to appear as a visible phantom before Amanda in order to distract her long enough for Knight-Wing to incapacitate her, whereas they were unable to do the same.
Tiny Titans / Superman Family Adventures
General Zod along with Ursa & Non appear as recurring characters in Tiny Titans and its sequel series Superman Family Adventures.
General Dru-Zod when exposed to the yellow rays of Earth's Sun gains the standard Kryptonian Powerset including Superhuman Strength, Agility, Speed, Durability, Mild Regeneration, Heightened Senses, Flight, Invulnerability, Heat Vision, X-Ray Vision, Binocular Vision, Super Breath, & Freeze Breath.
On top of these powers General Zod is head of Krypton's military and is a proficient hand to hand fighter & weapons user. He's also in command of the vast manpower and resources to Krypton's military. Generally compared to Superman, Zod's military training allows him to be abit more efficient when it comes to combat in comparison's to Superman's usual straight up brawling approach.
Superman: The Movie and Superman II
General Zod was responsible for Krypton's defenses, but secretly conspired to overthrow the Kryptonian council and replace it with his own. For his crimes, Zod was sentenced to the Phantom Zone with 2 of his followers, Non and Ursa, and vowed to avenge his imprisonment, assuring Jor-El that if he did not join with Zod, he or his heir would one day kneel before him.
When Zod, Non, and Ursa are freed and arrive on Earth, they battle with Kal-El as a means of settling their vendetta with Jor-El, as well as attempting to take control of Earth. Superman is able to neutralize their powers at the Fortress of Solitude.
In the movie General Zod was played by Terence Stamp.
Man of Steel
General Zod, along with Faora, are the main antagonists for Zack Synder's Man of Steel (2013) movie, a reboot of the Superman film franchise. General Dru-Zod is played by Michael Shannon. Unlike previous depictions, Zod is portrayed as less vengeful toward Superman, rather what Shannon describes is that "He actually has some affection for anybody who's a Kryptonian, including Superman… He doesn't really have any malignant feelings towards him; he just wants him to be patriotic."
General Zod was first mentioned during the fifth season of the show by Brainiac. When Zod was released from the Phantom Zone, it became clear that his true vessel was Lex Luthor. After taking control of his body and 'consuming his essence', Zod tried to take control over Earth by damaging the satellite system but his plan failed to destroy Clark's appearance. The two fought and finally Clark managed to send Zod back to the Phantom Zone by using a Kryptonian artifact his father had given him earlier.
After the Traveler defeating the Beast (Clark vs. Doomsday) from the Orb life emerged. It was revealed that it contained the DNA of Zod and his Kanodrian army. Upon their arrival Zod (as Major Zod) saw that they have no power although the Yellow Sun is shining. The army holds Zod captive together along with Tess Mercer (who is now the acting CEO of LuthorCorp after Lex's apparent death). Zod stands up and with his catchphrase of 'kneel before Zod', swearing his allegiance to his men and that he will find the answers they are looking for or he will die in the quest.
Three weeks later an airborne virus was released by Coats, one of his men which turned people into zombies.The spread of the virus could only be stopped by using Kryptonian blood. Zod acknowledged this and put a picture together that the mysterious 'Blur' of Metropolis who posses supernatural abilities used his blood to stop the madness. This said that 'Blur' is a Kryptonian so Zod thought that the Blur may be none other than Jor-El who is on earth as well and he may be the key to their potential and the zombie cure.
After teaming up with Tess Mercer, Zod created the RAO Corporation, in which his goal was to turn the Yellow Sun into Red Sun, which could potentially give them powers, but what he didn't know is that Jor-El indeed was on Earth but without powers. After torturing him for information ultimately Alia another of Zod's men killed him. Zod finally found out that Kal-El is Jor-El's son and he is the 'Blur'. Clark arrived to Zod's hiding place where to his surprise Zod ordered his men to 'kneel before Kal-El'.
Clark befriends Zod and the two work together to make Earth their second home. The Kandorian army also settles in and accepts their fate (that they will not return) except Zod, who still wants to get his powers, and begins searching for an artifact called 'The Book of Rao' (a possible Kryptonian bible/manual?) which holds the Many Secrets of the Universe.
After being shot by a man who claimed that aliens were experimenting on him, Clark used his blood to heal Zod. Unfortunately, Clark had no idea that by doing this, Zod had gained Clark's powers, begun posing as the Blur, and asked for Lois' help to investigate Tess. After sleeping with her, Tess tells Zod that Kryptonite is the only weakness that Kryptonians have.
After being exposed to Red Kryptonite, Clark teams up with Zod and together they go to the Fortress of Solitude where Clark revealed that it's a 'piece of Krypton on Earth'. Metallo then arrives and defeats them due his kryptonite hearth. Clark's red kryptonite infection is now gone and Zod flies off. After this, Zod brought together his army to the fortress and using his own blood (donated from Clark earlier), he gave his people their powers replying that now is the time to share their birthrights.
After betraying him, Zod killed his wife Faora who was pregnant at the time. Swearing vengeance, he went after Checkmate and burned down the entire castle, returns to the Fortress with his army afterwards. The army under Zod confronts Clark, and Zod said that he will recreate Krypton on Earth and will burn Earth.
Eventually Zod was revealed to Lois as the 'Blur'. Zod then asks Lois to steal the 'Book of Rao' from Clark, then it is discovered that the Book transfers all Kryptonians to another place of existence-- and for this reason, Zod wanted to destroy it now that it wasn't useful to him. After almost killing Lois, Zod orders his men to mark his symbol all over the world including: the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Anthic Museum in Greece, the Great Wall of China and finally in Washington.
Clark arrives and exposes himself as the Blur, Zod then loses the trust of his men and with the book of Rao, are transported to the other dimension which they call New Krypton. At the last minute, Zod takes out a Blue Kryptonite dagger, changing Clark and Zod back to human and without their superpowers, also allowing them not to get sucked into the Book's vortex into New Krypton. Clark faced off against Zod, and ends up letting himself to be stabbed by Zod with the dagger. Clark then falls down the building without his superpowers, apparently falling to his death. Zod is sucked into the vortex, now removed of the Blue Kryptonite dagger, and into New Krypton.
Zod is back in the tenth and final season of Smallville in the episode Dominion, where he has taken over the Phantom Zone and looks even more like his comic book character with facial hair
Superman: Last Stand on Krypton
In this Elseworlds sequel to Superman: Last Son of Earth, the High Council of Krypton asked Im-Zod to be their new general, to fight Jor-El and his movement against the established Kryptonian society. This version of Zod was killed by Lex Luthor.
General Zod, along Faora & Ursa, appear in the episode titled the Hunter. Like in most depictions, Zod and his Kryptonian allies are prisoners within the Phantom Zone, planning on breaking out the use a creature known as the Hunter to escape the Phantom Zone and use it against Superman. After Superman defeats the Creature, Zod and his cohorts are re-imprisoned into the Phantom Zone. His appearance is based on his SIlver Age appearance save for the facet he has short brown hair instead of being bald. He is voiced by Rene Auberjonois.
Legion of Super Heroes
While he doesn't directly appear in the show. General Zod along with numerous other Kryptonian criminals are shown to be in the Phantom Zone. The cameo appearance is based once more on his Silver Age depiction.
While General Zod doesn't appear on-screen in the DCAU, Jax-Ur, another Kryptonian criminal, takes heavy Influence from Zod during the run of Superman: The Animated Series. Zod is also mentioned in the Justice League Unlimited episode "For The Man Who Has Everything", in Superman's dream-like state while he was ensnared by a Black Mercy plant.
In the accompanying DCAU comics line. General Zod makes an appearance. Sporting an updated look for the DCAU. Instead of being from Krypton, this Zod is from the planet Argos, and has been imprisoned in the Phantom Zone for a great while. His reputation is so feared among the citizens of Argos that they tell their children if they don't behave that General Zod would take them away from their homes. He is freed from the Phantom Zone and soon takes Jax-Ur & Mala under his control. He appears in the DCAU Superman & Justice League comic series.
Superman NES Game:
In the Superman NES game from 1988, Zod and his gang are featured as game bosses in order to defeat. The big clash takes place at the Statue of Freedom in Metropolis, obviously based on the statue of Liberty.
DC Universe Online:
In DC Universe Online. General Zod makes an appearance. His is voiced by Alexander Brandon
Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes:
General Zod also makes an appearance in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. He is a boss in open world Gotham City and , after you've defeated him, a playable character in "Free Play" mode.
World of Warcraft:
In World of Warcraft, General Zod is mentioned. There is a weapon called "Zod's Repeating Bow" and it bares the phrase. "Kneel Before Him".
Injustice Gods Among Us
General Zod is briefly seen as one of the prisoners of the Phantom Zone during the scene transion in the Fortress of Solitude stage.
2013 Netherealm Studios put in General Zod as the fourth and final DLC character of the Season Pass, revealing him on The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien. Along with Lobo, Batgirl, and Mortal Kombat's Scorpion.
He also is shown saying his most iconic quote "Kneel Before Zod" in the gameplay.
An American Rock Band called Electric Six, uses the line "Kneel before Zod" in the song titled. "Rip it".
Gamma Bomb, an Irish thrash metal band, in their album Citizen Brain, features a song titled "In the Court of General Zod".
Rapper Tech N9ne, in his song "Sinister Tech" says the line "I'll make you kneel before Zod!".
Rapper RZA, in his song entitled "Gone" includes the line "Kneel to Zod".
Zod bears a remarkable resemblance to U-Ban who along with two other Kryptonians was sentenced to exile in suspended animation for attempting to conquer Krypton, and who later appeared in Metropolis intending to conquer Earth.