Zor-El is an alien character that features in DC Comics.
Zor-El was a male Kryptonian who was a member of the House of El and brother to Jor-El. He lived on Krypton until its final days when it exploded but the city Zor-El resided on was blasted into space where it managed to survive the calamity. The inhabitants were sustained by a food machine that provided sustenance but the explosion of their homeworld had converted the bedrock into Kryptonite whose radiation was killing the population. This was until Zor-El made use of lead present in the city as a form of shielding against the radiation. As a result, the people were saved and continued their lives with Zor-El marrying with him and his wife having a daughter named Kara. When Kara was a young girl, their city was struck by a meteor shower that damaged the lead shielding thus exposing the population to the Kryponite radiation. With their city doomed, Zor-El decided that he needed to send his daughter to safety and through a telescope he discovered that his brother Jor-El had sent his own son to the planet Earth. On that world, the conditions allowed him to gain superhuman abilities where he served as its protector Superman. Thus, Zor-El and his wife decided to send Kara there with them preparing a rocket that launched her to that world just before the radiation affected the remaining Kryptonians with them being killed in the process. (Action Comics v1 #252) In an effort to find a means to survive, Zor-El managed to discover a dimension similar to the Phantom Zone that operated on a separate wavelength. This realm he called the Survival Zone and intended to use it as a safe haven for himself along with his family. The plan seemingly failed when nothing happened following the rays exposure on himself and his wife. Thus, the pair decided to send their daughter Kara to Earth on a rocket just as the populace of Argo City began to die from Kryptonite exposure. However, at that moment, Zor-El and Allura faded into the Survival Zone as the rays had suffered from a delayed reaction allowing the pair to survive in that dimension. (Action Comics v1 #309)
Following the discovery of the Phantom Zone, Zor-El had many ethical discussions with his brother Jor-El on the use of that other worldly dimension as a prison as he found such practice of sending criminals there distasteful. At the time, a great deal of unrest had impacted Argo City and during an attack by a pair of Kryptonians Zor-El had discovered that their world had become infested by bodiless entities from the Phantom Zone. Zor-El tried to get the Zone's use close to prevent more arrival of these 'Phantoms' but the Kryptonian Science Council refused to listen and instead banned him from meeting them. Thus, Zor-El continued to develop a means to combat the Phantoms in secret from the Science Council and used Sunstone that he implanted in his own daughter Kara Zor-El. This led to the pair actively going to stop the Phantoms which led to the death of their hosts and Zor-El's arrest. However, he was freed on the final days of Krypton before the world exploded by his brother Jor-El who required his Sunstone technology to build a rocket ship to send his son Kal-El off world to safety. At the time, a Phantom infected Allura In-Ze with Kara forced to kill her mother to free her from the parasite possessing her. (Supergirl v5 #16).
The New 52
Following the Flashpoint, a new version of reality was created with a different history of events. Zor-El was a member of the House of El who was the older brother of Jor-El with him also becoming a scientist. At some point, he married Allura In-Ze and the pair had a daughter named Kara Zor-El. Zor-El became aware of the fact that their doom faced an impending doom with the two debating on how to save their people. Jor-El sought to build an escape craft whilst Zor-El intended to encapsulate Argo City in a protective dome using untested Brainiac technology. (Action Comics v2 #23.1)
After Lar-On suffered from Red Kryptonite exposure, he was transformed into a werewolf-like creature with Zor-El along with Argo City's Science Council being forced to banish him into the Phantom Zone. (Supergirl: Rebirth v1 #1)
Personality and attributes
Powers and abilities
- Zor-El was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino where he made his first appearance in Action Comics v1 #252 (May 1959).
In other media
- In Supergirl, Zor-El made a brief appearance in the premiere episode of the live-action television series where he was portrayed by actor Robert Gant. He later returned in the episode "For the Girl Who Has Everything" where Zor-El featured in a mental hallucination created by the Black Mercy that had attached itself to Kara Zor-El. In the episode "The Adventures of Supergirl", it was revealed that he once took his daughter Kara to the Segara Beyal or the The Well of Stars where time stood still. The episode "Medusa" revealed that he was part of a joint program called Project: Medusa between the Science Guild and Military Guild. This was to create a bio-engineered virus to be used in the defence of Krypton that was meant to be deployed and attack non-Kryptonian DNA to kill any invaders. Details of Project: Medusa along with an AI copy of Zor-El were present within the computers of the Fortress of Solitude.
- In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Kara Zor-El's father was shown briefly in a flashback in the animated film adaptation of the comic storyline but was not named. He was seen putting his teenage daughter Kara into an escape ship prior to Krypton's destruction and died when his homeworld exploded.
- In Superman: Unbound, the character made an appearance in the animated film where he was voiced by Stephen Root. He along with his wife Allura were the parents of Kara Zor-El where they used to live on Krypton long ago. Around 30 years ago, they were visiting relatives in the capital city of Kandor when Brainiac attacked with his probes. The El family managed to escape on a vehicle where they managed to get outside the city before it was turned into a Bottle City by Brainiac who departed with his newly acquired specimen city. In fear for their daughter's future, they constructed a ship to take her away from Krypton prior to its explosion. At some point afterwards, Zor-El had begun to study the alien probes that attacked Kandor and learnt of their master with him attempting to find a weakness in Brainiac in order to reclaim Kandor. The actions of Zor-El, however, simply attracted the attention of Brainiac who captured the city they resided in with both him along and his wife Allura being integrated into the Bottle City of Kandor. There they remained un-aging for decades until Superman was captured by Brainiac after he had attempted to confront the entity before he could make his way to Earth. The El's recognized their nephew and greeted him to their house with Zor-El explaining how they had ended up being captured with Brainiac using his robotic enforcers to prevent any sedition. Through Zor-El, Kal-El learnt that Brainiac's cyborg brain operated by intending to learn everything about living beings and that he could not tolerate not being in control. Armed with this knowledge, Superman orchestrated his escape from Kandor and took the Bottle City from Brainiac.
- Action Comics v1: