Chris Kent (comics)
Chris Kent as Nightwing.
|First appearance||Action Comics #844 (December 2006)|
|Created by||Richard Donner
|Full name||Lor-Zod/Christopher Kent|
|Place of origin||Phantom Zone|
|Team affiliations||Future League|
|Partnerships||Flamebird (Thara Ak-Var), Batman (Terry McGinnis)|
|Supporting character of||Superman|
|Notable aliases||Christopher Kent, Nightwing, K'Riss|
Shadow Energy Constructs
Christopher Kent (Lor-Zod) is a fictional character, a Kryptonian in the DC Comics Universe, who first appeared in Action Comics #844 (2006), the first part of the Action Comics story arc Superman: Last Son. Created by Richard Donner, Geoff Johns and Adam Kubert, he is the biological son of General Zod and Ursa, and the foster son of Clark Kent (Superman) and his wife Lois Lane. Recently, this character had assumed the role of Nightwing after abnormal spurts of aging due to his birth in the Phantom Zone.
Following Flashpoint, DC has brought the character back named as Val-Zod in the Earth 2 series, where he will take over the Superman role starting in Earth 2 #25 and throughout the Earth 2: World's End weekly mini-series.
Fictional character biography
When a spacecraft fell towards Metropolis, it was diverted to a relatively safe landing by Superman. After its landing, Superman was very surprised to discover a young boy inside. Echoing his own arrival in his youth years before, Superman saw that the boy was completely unharmed. The Kryptonian writings on his ship stated that his Kryptonian name was "Lor-Zod," which was later confirmed in Action Comics #851. He was taken to the east coast lab of the Department of Metahuman Affairs (under supervision of Sarge Steel) for observation.
The boy exhibited superhuman strength and could only speak Kryptonian. He did not know his name or where he came from. As with Supergirl, Superman instinctively knew the boy was Kryptonian before the tests were completed. After he was confirmed as a Kryptonian, he was immediately taken to the Department of Metahuman Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C. without Superman's knowledge. He removed the boy from their custody, and decided, with Lois Lane, to raise the boy. Clark then contacted Batman, who used his resources to create the identity Christopher Kent.
Chris remained in the custody of Lois and Clark as their foster son. He attended the Ellsworth School, an elite private school, where he had some trouble concealing his powers, particularly during P.E. To aid him, Superman worked with Batman to develop an implant, concealed within a wristwatch, that used red sun radiation to block Chris' powers while in school until he learned how to control them. While the watch was being created, Chris made friends with Tim Drake, the current Robin, who treated him like a younger brother and offered to show him some gymnastics. Eventually, the wristwatch failed, due to it being calibrated on the metabolism of an adult Kryptonian, and the built-up energies exploded, wrecking Clark and Lois' apartment. Clark reassured the young boy that he wouldn't be sent away, and that they would find a way to cope with his growing powers.
Afterwards, Superman held a press conference to inform the world that the Kryptonian child was under his care. At that time, Bizarro, sent by Lex Luthor, attempted unsuccessfully to kidnap Chris. Later, it was revealed that Chris is the biological son of General Zod and Ursa. His arrival released Zod, Non, and Ursa from the Phantom Zone. He was apparently conceived and raised there within a prison structure that is immune to the "timeless" effects of the zone, and Christopher himself was specially immune as well. It was insinuated by Phantom Zone resident Mon-El that Zod and Ursa were abusive towards their son before sending him out of the Zone. In a battle with Superman, Zod and Ursa reclaimed their son and captured Lois. After sending Superman to the Phantom Zone, General Zod's army invaded Earth. Superman escaped with Mon-El's aid, and then sought an alliance with Lex Luthor to defeat Zod, who had captured a large portion of Earth's superhero population. In Zod's custody, Chris used his powers to prevent Lois from being harmed.
Following the events of Action Comics Annual #11, Zod and his army were defeated and Chris pursued them into the Phantom Zone in order to ensure that the passage between the Phantom Zone and the rest of the universe is closed properly, since it would remain weak for as long as he remained on Earth. He was aware of the cost of this action, and as he left he thanked Superman and Lois for giving him a proper family. Afterward, Mon-El, asked by Superman to look for the child in the Zone, reported that he was unsuccessful so far although he knows that Zod does not have him, but vowed to continue searching.
After returning to the Phantom Zone, Chris entered the Kryptonian prison where his parents had made shelter. There he found a piece of Brainiac's technology; Chris' mind interfaced with the device, expanding his consciousness, and forging a connection with the mind of Thara Ak-Var, security chief of Kandor, which had recently been freed from Brainiac's ship by Superman. Thara used the connection between their minds to stage a successful rescue attempt with the added help of Non. When the citizens of Kandor created New Krypton, which was placed in orbit around the Sun opposite Earth, Chris and Thara tasked themselves with the mission of bringing in the Phantom Zone Kryptonian criminals hiding on Earth as sleeper agents. Since the belligerent government of Alura Zor-El and Zod had tarnished all Kryptonians' reputations on Earth, Chris and Thara decided to act as a new Nightwing and Flamebird duo (since Dick Grayson, the previous Nightwing, became the new Batman), at first with simple cloth masks, then with fake power suits, to obscure the origins of their powers.
However Chris, due to his birth in the Phantom Zone, exhibits strange and uncontrollable growth spurts: when Thara saved him he was still the young boy raised by Lois and Clark, as Nightwing he is shown as roughly 15 or 16, and after another growth spurt of about seven years, he ages to 23 years old.
His mother, Ursa, begins stalking him to exact revenge. Chris had been shown denying his heritage and insisting Thara address him with his "human" name, despising her attempts to transliterate it as a Kryptonian name, and never going by his true Kryptonian name of Lor-Zod. After a brutal attack by Ursa, Thara is left gravely wounded by a frangible Kryptonite knife and Chris is forced to bring her to Lois for medical assistance.
Upon bringing Thara to Lois, Chris and Lois have a tearful reunion. Lois is happy to see him again but is concerned about his advanced aging. Lois calls Doctor Light for medical assistance while Chris goes back to the fortress and is again confronted by Ursa. Their conflict is cut short as UAVs sent by General Lane arrived at the scene, forcing both to flee.
While Chris returns home to Lois, he finds that Thara has recovered and is being quizzed by Lois about their relationship. Before Lois is able to learn anything, the two fly away to confront a Kryptonian couple on a crime spree. The four battle, with Chris and Thara quickly gaining the upper hand; however their fight is interrupted by Codename: Assassin and what seems to be a gang of "ogres". The sleeper couple use the distraction to escape. Chris as Nightwing pursues them, but is forced to let them go in order to save some innocents from a falling bridge.
After the two receive a hero's thank you from a crowd in Hollywood, Thara notices that one of the girls gave her phone number to Chris. Chris asks if she is jealous. Thara lies saying that she does not care if he goes around with hundreds of girls. Reacting on an impulse the two share a kiss. Before either of the two actually manages to respond they are attacked by Metallo and Reactron and captured.
Framed for murder
Fortunately Chris and Thara are teleported away, along with Supergirl. Kara as Supergirl attacks Thara, for killing her father and trying to kill her. However, Chris stops her and tells her he is her cousin. The three are attacked by Guardian and the Science Police, for apparently killing Mon-El. Chris tries to tell Guardian that they did not murder Mon-El, but Guardian ignores him. The three manage to escape to Paris. Chris, Thara, and Kara talk about what has happened. They then discover that the two sleepers they were fighting were Metallo and Reactron. However, they are attacked by Squad K.
Framed for the murder of Mon-El, the two along with Kara, manage to escape from Squad K, and go to Lana Lang's apartment. They enlist Lois' help in clearing their names. Chris and Lana go to find Lois while Kara and Thara stay in Lana's apartment.
Chris and Thara are discovered, and once more forced to flee. During the attempt to flee they once more encounter Squad K however the three opt to surrender in order to clear their names. While they manage to persuade the Squad K commander, Reactron quickly murders his team-mates and attempts to kill the three.
During their conflict Thara is injured while attempting to protect Supergirl. As Reactron is about to kill Chris and Kara, Thara manifests her Flamebird powers and personality, and easily overpowers Reactron. The Flamebird decides to kill Reactron but is swayed to show mercy after Reactron reveals that Mon-El is alive and is talked down by Supergirl. The Flamebird is once more submerged after sharing a kiss with Chris.
Donning new costumes, Chris and Thara continue to save lives, despite their actions being twisted by the anti-Kryptonian media. Not long after, Chris experiences another aging spurt, becoming an old man. Doctor Light brings Chris to her colleague, Doctor Pillings, who, unbeknownst to any of them, is the Kryptonian sleeper agent Jax-Ur. Jax-Ur cures Chris, reverting him to his young adult form and takes a sample of his DNA.
Jax-Ur's theft of Chris' DNA and its purpose is soon revealed as he unleashes a replica of the Kryptonian deity Rao to trample and rampage across Earth. Thara attempts to subdue Jax-Ur and the false deity but even in her Flamebird form is overpowered. Meanwhile Chris is helpless once more stuck in the Phantom Zone, banished there by Jax-Ur. While he is there he can only observe as Thara, Lois, and other heroes battle against Rao but fail to inflict any actual damage, only Wonder Woman managing to hold her own. Saddened and frustrated, he is contacted by the Nightwing, another Kryptonian entity, opposite and lover of Flamebird. Nightwing reveals that while Thara is truly the host of Flamebird, so is he Nightwing's. For some reason, however, the two are unable to connect. Seeing that Thara and the others won't hold out much longer, Chris and Nightwing merge properly and are able to free themselves.
Now a fully fledged avatar of the Nightwing entity Chris is able to fight Jax-Ur (revealed to be the Kryptonian deity the Builder as well) along with Flamebird on even terms. Furious that Nightwing escaped, Jax-Ur flees into the heart of his construct, Rao and triggers a self-destruct located in Rao's heart which would engulf the Earth into a black hole and rip the universe apart. Nightwing and Flamebird together are able to overpower him and Nightwing absorbs Rao's heart into the Phantom Zone where it is rendered harmless and destroys the Rao construct.
Once the Rao crises is dealt with both Thara and Chris regroup with the other heroes; they kiss and flee in order to avoid any more hostilities with the locals.
During the War of the Supermen event, the solar system's sun was turned red by the combined efforts of General Lane and Lex Luthor. Thara sacrifices herself to restore it to its yellow coloration, becoming a charred skeleton. Chris attempted to join her, but the Nightwing entity spirited him away.
In the final confrontation between Superman and Zod, Chris pushes Zod back into the Phantom Zone. Once back in the Zone, Chris returns to being a young boy, and encounters Mon-El once again.
Due to the pronounced scheduling problems with the release of the "Superman: Last Son" storyline, a line of dialogue in Action Comics Annual #11 is incorporated ("I even got to meet Robin.") which insinuates that the invasion of Zod's army takes place after Chris receives his red-sun watch, which places the events of Superman #664, 668, and 673 and all of Christopher Kent's other appearances chronologically between panels of Action Comics #846 (despite the fact that the latter was released earlier).
To explain the discrepancy, editor Matt Idelson theorized in an interview that "after the last panel of Issue #846, Page 9, Clark, Lois, and Chris stepped out for lunch. Several weeks passed by, during which Clark and Lois struggled with raising Chris, Chris went to school, met Robin, helped the third Kryptonian, etc., and then, on an off-day from school, Chris, Clark, and Lois happened to all wear the same outfits they were wearing on Page 9 of #846 (they're extremely organized, methodical people, and Chris imitated his "parents") and took another trip to mom and dad's office, wherein Zod attacked."
Powers and abilities
Chris has developed some of Superman's powers. His abilities are less powerful than the ones of the average Kryptonian, but the limits have not been measured. He has exhibited eight Kryptonian abilities so far:
- Flight: He flies in the Fortress of Solitude and at the Kent farm.
- Heat Vision: He burns General Zod's hand when he attempts to harm Lois Lane.
- Telescopic Vision: He is able to combine this power with his x-ray vision to watch the main screens in the Batcave from afar.
- X-Ray Vision: He is able to combine this power with his super vision to watch the main screens in the Batcave from afar.
- Invulnerability: He arrives on Earth unharmed, and a bus falls on him during the Bizarro attack. However he has stated that he isn't as invulnerable as other Kryptonians.
- Superhuman Strength: He is able to lift objects hundreds of times his own weight, including a heavy, old style, console television in the Metahuman Affairs lab as a child. He then, later, exhibited a greater degree of strength when he caught the Daily Planet globe as it fell during the Bizarro attack. He has stated that he is not as strong as other Kryptonians.
- Superhuman Mentality: He is able to memorize a dictionary within an hour and learn the English language.
- Vortex Breath: He is able to use this power to slow the falls of several cars, allowing Superman to catch them.
- Tactile Telekinesis: He is able to dismantle objects similarly to Conner Kent. He also displays the skill in a more traditional sense, such as moving objects without actually touching them. While this is considered base telekinesis, he seems to manifest this power through hand gestures instead of this ability emanating from pure thought. Also, while he is moderately powerful in this area, he lacks any fine skill; generally using it as a "blunt instrument" of destructive power. The use of his power is usually accompanied by a dark purple display of lighted bands emanating from his hands.
- Resistance to Kryptonite: He does not feel the effects of Kryptonite exposure as severely as other Kryptonians and can withstand its effects for much longer periods of time, an ability he has used offensively and defensively in combat. It is not known if prolonged exposure to Kryptonite would eventually kill him or not.
He is also immune to the effects of the Phantom Zone, because he was born there. He has a solid body within the zone and apparently ages normally while all other inhabitants are timeless and phantoms. For the same reason however, while living outside the Zone, he ages in sudden, debilitating, growth spurts, in which several years pass to him in mere minutes. Jax-Ur, in his guise of Dr. Pillings, attached a device to Chris' arm that keep the growth spurts at bay.
His recent merging with the Nightwing entity has granted him further abilities which include:
- Teleportation: he is able to merge with shadows and cross distances. The exact distance he can teleport remains unknown, but he was able to teleport or absorb a faulty artificial sun into the Phantom Zone
- Creation of Shadow Constructs: Chris displays this ability in the most rudimentary form, creating dark creatures, shadow shields, etc. His exact limitations are also unknown.
- Omniscience: The Nightwing has stated that he sees and knows everything that occurs in shadows or darkness. So far he was able to detect his sibling deity who was hiding in his own shadow and sense that Jay Garrick was in danger of being killed.
An alternate universe counterpart of Chris Kent (from Earth-16) appears in the Countdown: Arena mini-series, where he is depicted as a highly evolved (both physically and spiritually) individual with access to vast powers beyond those of standard Kryptonians. Sacrificing himself in an attempt to kill Monarch (Nathaniel Adam), he is ultimately the first to fall in his battle against the Supermen of Earth-30 and Earth-31. 
A previous/similar version of Chris Kent/Nightwing was devised in the Elseworlds series Superman & Batman: Generations in issue #4, "1999: Beginnings and Endings", where a descendant of Superman named "Clark Wayne" adopts the heroic identity of "Knightwing". 
In the 2012 Earth 2 series, Lor-Zod is reimagined as a nubian Kryptonian and the son of scientist Zod (rather than the standard military General Zod incarnation) and renamed to Val-Zod. As such, he is a pacifist refusing to openly fight against the forces of Darkseid occupying his source Earth. The current Earth 2 Batman (Thomas Wayne) blames Val's pacifist attitude for the death of Red Arrow (Connor Hawke). Val is protected by the Earth 2 Red Tornado (who has the memories and personality of deceased Lois Lane) from the brainwashed Superman. Val reveals he wears a silver S shield underneath his hoodie/sweatshirt to Jimmy Olsen.
The New 52 version of Earth-16 is visited in The Multiversity: The Just #1, where Chris Kent is Superman and his best friend is Damian Wayne, Batman, with Conner Kent as Superboy. Chris and his friends, including Offspring, Kyle Rayner and Connor Hawke, though they've inherited the superhero mantles of their parents and predecessors, are deeply bored as the world is effectively policed by Superman robots, and many of the Justice League's villains were defeated by the previous generation of heroes. They resort to a celebrity lifestyle of partying and affairs, as well as occasional battle re-enactments, to pass the time.
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #844 (December 2006)
- Superman (vol. 1) #664 (August 2007)
- Superman (vol. 1) #668 (December 2007)
- Superman (vol. 1) #673 (April 2008)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #845 (January 2007)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #846 (February 2007)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #851 (August 2007)
- Action Comics Annual #12 (August 2009)
- Greg Rucka: Man of "Action"
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #875 (May 2009)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #876 (June 2009)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #879 (September 2009)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #880 (October 2009)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #881 (November 2009)
- Supergirl (vol. 5) #45 (November 2009)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #882 (December 2009)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #883 (January 2010)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #884 (February 2010)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #885-889 (March-June 2010)
- Superman: War of the Supermen #3 (July 2010)
- Superman: War of the Supermen #4 (July 2010)
- Superman Homepage
- Supergirl (vol. 5) #46 (December 2009)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #885 (March 2010)
- Countdown: Arena #3-4
- Superman & Batman: Generations #3
- Earth-2 #23
- Earth 2 #24