After Crisis on Infinite Earths, it was decreed that Superman needed to be the sole survivor of Krypton: no Supergirl, no Superpets, no Kandor, nothing. The writers found workarounds for most of these concepts, but there was still something missing: the Phantom Zone criminals Non, Ursa and Zod.
As if siccing his and Ursa's son on Superman is not enough, Superman's archenemy Zod goes after the Man of Steel himself in his effort to gain control of the Earth.
There have been a few replacement Zods in recent years, but they were all... ill-conceived. And they were also written out of existence after Infinite Crisis, thank goodness. That cleared the plate for the real guy, when Superman director Richard Donner teamed with Geoff Johns for "Last Son," a story which re-introduced the Phantom Zone criminals in a grand manner. No more fakes, no more stand-ins... this was the villain made famous by Superman II. Come on now, say it with us: "son of Jor-El, kneel before Zod!"
General Zod looks quite a bit like his movie counterpart,
just with modern sensibilities. Rather than Terrence Stamp's disco-tastic slicked-back hair and full beard, he has a poofier hairdo and a goatee. And rather than a black vinyl catsuit with a V-neck designed to show off his decolletage, he's in a two-tone grey jumpsuit and a long coat. The redesign was handled by Adam Kubert, who did a great job of creating something that manages to look like both a costume and a prison uniform at once. The outfit is baggy, rather than the kind of fitted suit typically seen in comics, and the coat is seemingly being blown by the wind.
In the Phantom Zone, you have to wear special goggles, or the unreality of the place will drive you mad - that's why Zod is rocking the stylin' Ray-Bans. They're a separate piece glued on his face, which means his eyes really look like they're behind the glasses, not just painted that way. The hair is sculpted well, and the pointy little devil-beard is true to the comics. Now, he doesn't quite look like the movies' Zod at first glance, but if you know to look for it, the parallel is there.
The edges between the colors on the prison uniform are sculpted in, so getting a fine line between the different shades isn't too much of an accomplishment. His hair is glossy black, and the different greys chosen for the clothes work well. He has a Kryptonian symbol printed on his jumpsuit and tattooed on his throat, but unless it's supposed to be pointing the way to the Men's Room, I don't know what it represents.
Just about 6½" tall, General Zod moves at 13 points: swivel neck, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, peg hips and hinged knees. That's sadly typical for a DCD figure - and he's yet another flying character who doesn't get the courtesy of a balljointed neck. We can even overlook the lack of a waist in this case (there's nothing even resembling a break in the costume there), but it's 2007 - a figure that doesn't have a balljointed neck is a complete joke.
General Zod doesn't have any accessories, but he doesn't need any: he arrived on Earth in an escape pod, and has been using his Kryptonian powers ever since. The figures in this "Last Son" series all come with a large S-shield base,
though you have to wonder: why did DCD design a new base rather than just re-using the ones that came with the previous Superman lines? It would have added a nice visual tie to bring the various releases together.
In his first foray into comics, Richard Donner opted to use the characters made famous by his movies. Some may see that as taking the easy way out (retelling a story he already told), but this isn't a straight re-hash. "Last Son" is an excellent story wth great art, and smoothly introduces some new villains to the modern mythos - and though an unexpected combination of fast action on DC Direct's part and production delays on the comic's part, the figures are in your hands while the story is still going on. If you're tired of having your Superman fight everyone else's villains, General Zod is a good choice to give him some trouble.