Superman has a deadly new foe.
The newly DC-exclusive Brian Michael Bendis has just begun his ambitious Superman saga. Currently, Bendis is writing the weekly series Man of Steel, one that will set the stage for him to take over the monthly Superman and Action Comics titles in July. So far, Bendis has made at least one significant contribution to the franchise with the introduction of a villain named Rogol Zaar.
While this villain’s background and true nature are still shrouded in mystery, each new issue of Man of Steel sheds a little bit more light on Rogol Zaar. Here’s a breakdown of everything we know about the character so far. Keep checking back, as we’ll update this article when new issues of Man of Steel his the stands.
It’s unclear what alien race Rogol Zaar hails from. He could even be a mutated Kryptonian for all we know. It is clear, though, that he’s strong enough to easily go toe-to-toe with Superman. Zaar has super-strength, invulnerability and some degree of super-speed. He was able to defeat Superman in his first appearance in Action Comics #1000, and Man of Steel #3 ends with Zaar confronting Superman and Supergirl together.
Zaar also wields a battle-axe capable of cutting Superman and deflecting energy attacks. From what DC has revealed about the future direction of Supergirl’s monthly series, Kara will be claiming this axe for herself in the aftermath of Man of Steel as she seeks more information about this new foe.
Despite all of this, Zaar is clearly far from indestructible. The villain appears to have been heavily scarred after being caught in the blast that destroyed Krypton, to the point where he now has difficulty speaking properly.
The one thing we know about Rogol Zaar right now is that he has a deep, long-standing hatred against Krypton and its people. The source of that vendetta ins unknown, but an early flashback sequence in Man of Steel shows that Zaar considered Krypton a plague upon the galaxy, one that needed to be eliminated by any means necessary.
The flashback established that Zaar once worked alongside the Galactic Circle, a group of powerful aliens and gods who help maintain order in the galaxy. Zaar implored the Council to grant him permission to destroy Krypton. And though they refused, he appears to have taken matters into his own hands anyway.
If Zaar is to be believed, he was responsible for the explosion that destroyed Krypton and rendered Superman and Supergirl among the last surviving members of their race. It remains to be seen if he’s telling the truth, but it appears that Man of Steel will shed light on the full, untold story behind Krypton’s destruction.
The Bottle City of Kandor
Issue #3 further established Zaar as a clear and present danger to the Superman family, with the villain storming into the Fortress of Solitude and laying waste to the relics within. Superman was especially distraught to learn that Zaar stole the Bottle City of Kandor, a shrunken remnant of Krypton created by Brainiac.
Based on Zaar’s general attitude toward Krypton and its people, it seems likely that he’ll seek to destroy the Bottle City and ensure that Krypton can never rise again. This adds an added sense of urgency to Superman’s quest, as he and Kara have to defeat Rogol Zarr before Kandor is obliterated.
The Fate of Superman’s Family
The rise of Rogol Zaar has coincided with another big development in Superman’s life. His wife and son are currently missing. Lois has taken a mysterious leave of absence from the Daily Planet, and Clark himself is unusually tight-lipped as to their whereabouts. However, a series of brief flashbacks in Man of Steel indicate that some unknown person arrived to take Lois and Jon away in a ship. That person was obscured by shadow, with only their bald head offering a clue to their identity.
It’s still unclear whether Lois and Jon were forcibly kidnapped or if they left of their own free will. It could be that Zaar or one of his associates kidnapped Lois and Jon as a way of further weakening and distracting Superman. But it’s equally possible that Superman asked his family to leave in order to protect them from Zaar’s wrath. Whatever the case, Superman is facing this new enemy as alone as he’s ever been.