Faora in Action Comics #472 (June 1977)
Action Comics #471, May 1977
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Faora is the name of several fictional female supervillains appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Superman. All of them have some connection to Superman's home planet of Krypton. The character was created by Cary Bates and Curt Swan, and first appeared in Action Comics #471 (May 1977). Most commonly, Faora is an ally and sometimes the wife and/or lover of Superman's Kryptonian nemesis General Zod.
Fictional character biography
The first Faora, Faora Hu-Ul, was introduced in Action Comics #471. She was a beautiful Kryptonian woman whose unexplained hatred for men led her to torture and kill 23 men in a secret concentration camp. For this, she was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone to complete a sentence of 300 Kryptonian years, the second longest term after Jax-Ur. This allowed her to survive her homeworld's destruction, along with the other Phantom Zone prisoners, albeit in an invisible ghostlike form. While imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, she was often depicted plotting against Superman with General Zod and Jax-Ur. Her hatred of men was not limited to Kryptonians, as demonstrated by her pointless murder of a young Frenchman who was attracted by her beauty.
Faora was an expert at the Kryptonian martial art of Horo-Kanu, which utilized the pressure points on the Kryptonian body. This made her an extremely dangerous foe for Superman to face in hand-to-hand combat-—he was forced to flee from their first encounter. During one of her first appearances, Faora could manifest some sort of "mental lightning" to physically attack other Kryptonians, but did not exhibit this additional power during later appearances.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, another Faora (renamed Zaora) appeared in the Pocket Universe created by the Time Trapper, along with General Zod and Quex-Ul. The three tricked the Pocket Universe's Lex Luthor into releasing them from the Phantom Zone. After the Pocket Earth's population continued to resist their conquest of it, the three villains destroyed the atmosphere, killing almost all life. Superman defeated them by permanently stripping the three of their super powers with gold kryptonite. He then executed them with kryptonite in punishment for their crimes, and to protect the real Earth after they threatened to somehow regain their powers and destroy it as well. Zaora pleaded with Superman for her life, offering him "all sorts of favors", before she succumbed to the kryptonite.
Phantom Zone entity
In the Eradicator mini-series, the Eradicator was pressured into embracing his programming by another construct of Kem-L's. This artifact, which was trapped in the Phantom Zone, claimed to be called Faora, after Kem-L's grandmother, and to be the ultimate repository of Kryptonian mythology. However it is unclear how much of this is true.
The Eradicator rejected Faora, "downloading" all the aspects of Kem-L's programming that contradicted Dr. David Conner's morality into the Faora program. Unknown to him, this gave it a new, monstrous form and the ability to leave the Zone, and it targeted Conner's family. The Eradicator destroyed it, but not before it killed Conner's wife.
Another Faora was introduced as one of the aides of General Zod of the fictional nation of Pokolistan. This character, who debuted in Action Comics #779 (July 2001), was an orphan metahuman. Faora has the ability to disrupt molecular bonds. She was the creator of the mutagenic virus which was the linchpin of Zod's plan. Her whereabouts following the General's defeat are unknown.
"Return to Krypton"
In a 2001–2002 storyline, Superman and Lois Lane visit a version of Krypton which is later revealed to have been created by the villainous Brainiac 13 and based on Jor-El's favorite period in Kryptonian history. In this Krypton, Lois and Clark become fugitives and are pursued by Faora and Kru-El, romantically linked manhunters known as "the Hounds of Zod." This version of Faora, calling herself "the Tigress of Zod", later returns as an ally of Jor-El. She and Kru-El are both killed in a struggle against Kryptonian religious zealots.
Powers and abilities
Like all Kryptonians, Faora possesses superhuman abilities derived from the yellow solar radiation of the sun of Earth's solar system. Her basic abilities are superhuman strength, superhuman speed and superhuman stamina sufficient to bend steel in her bare hands, overpower a locomotive, leap over a tall building in a single bound and outrun a speeding bullet. She possesses heightened senses of hearing and sight including X-ray vision as well as telescopic and microscopic vision; virtual invulnerability; accelerated healing; longevity; powerful freezing breath; heat vision; and flight.
In the DC Bombshells continuity, Faora led a coup on Krypton during its final days which consisted of herself, Lara Lor-Van, and Alura In-Ze, who weren't considered "clean" enough by Kryptonians for fertility. The three conceived a daughter that they believed would be the strongest of Krypton, as she had a balance of "clean" and "unclean" Kryptonian genes. When Lara and Alura discovered Faora was willing to kill to achieve her vision, they banished her to the Phantom Zone. Her pod is discovered and broken open by the Thanagarians, who provided her with a ship that could allow her to travel anywhere. She travels to Earth, where she waits decades for the baby's escape pod to crash into the planet. When the baby's pod would land in Russia and the girl would become adopted by the Starikov's and named Kara, Faora took samples of Kara's blood from the pod, which allowed her ally scientist Hugo Strange to create clones of Kara who would become known as Power Girl and Superman. She also allied herself with other villains who wanted to take over the world such as Paula von Gunther, the Joker's Daughter, and Killer Frost. She monitor's Kara's progress in the Soviet Army and as Supegirl under the disguise of General Khulun. She invites Supergirl to join her in conquering the world, but the girl refuses as she views Faora's methods as no better than the dying Krypton's. When Trigon's daughter Raven briefly transforms into an unstable demonic being after her father's death, Faora takes some of Raven's blood and injects herself with it, transforming into this dimension's version of Doomsday. The heroes stop her by trapping her inside of Swamp Thing and casting a spell that required the sacrifice of Kara's adoptive parents and Stargirl's father.
In other media
- Faora appeared in the 1988 animated Superman episode "The Hunter" voiced by Ginny McSwain. She appeared alongside General Zod and Ursa as a Phantom Zone prisoner and helped General Zod to create The Hunter (a creature that can transmute itself into any substance that it touches).
- A Kryptonian villainess named Mala (voiced by Leslie Easterbrook and Sarah Douglas) appears in three episodes of Superman: The Animated Series; her character appears to be a blend of Faora and Ursa, the female antagonist of the live-action film Superman II. She is the second-in-command (and possible lover) of High General Jax-Ur, and is exiled into the Phantom Zone for her complicity in Jax-Ur's attempted coup d'etat against the Kryptonian government. Believing that she has fulfilled her original sentence, Superman releases her and recruits her as an ally in his fight against crime, but she quickly proves too brutal, and, impatient with his methods, releases Jax-Ur and joins his attempt to take over the Earth.
- In the Legion of Super-Heroes animated TV series, the pre-Crisis version of Faora can be seen in a cameo in the episode "Phantoms" as one of the many Phantom Zone villains attacking the Legion members when they were temporarily trapped there.
- Faora made her live action debut appearance on Smallville, portrayed by Sharon Taylor (original likeness) and Erica Durance (possessing Lois Lane). In the season eight episode "Bloodline", Faora escapes the Phantom Zone in her immaterial Phantom-Zone form and possesses Lois Lane. Faora/Lois reveals to Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) and Davis Bloome (Sam Witwer) that she is General Zod's wife, and that Davis is Zod and Faora's genetically engineered son (the Smallville incarnation of Doomsday). After a fight with Clark Kent (Tom Welling), Faora's spirit is removed from Lois's body by Kara Kent (Laura Vandervoort). Faora becomes a recurring character in season nine. Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman), in the possession of the Orb, releases the Kandorian duplicates, including a younger clone of Faora. Faora is both a loyal soldier and lover of Major Zod (Callum Blue). The episode "Pandora" shows an alternate future where Faora gains her Kryptonian abilities through Zod's solar tower and serves Zod, wearing the Mark of Zod on her chest. The episode "Conspiracy" reveals that Faora has a younger sister Vala (Crystal Lowe). In the episode "Sacrifice", Amanda Waller (Pam Grier) takes Faora and Vala from the Kandorians. Faora offers to work with Checkmate when Zod attacks. Zod strangles Faora, realizing too late that she is pregnant with their baby. In the season finale "Salvation", Faora is avenged by Clark and the Kandorians once Zod's deception comes out.
- Faora appeared in The Looney Tunes Show episode "SuperRabbit", voiced by Sonya Walger.
- Faora appears in Justice League Action episode "Field Trip," voiced by Fryda Wolff. As Superman gives Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and Stargirl a tour of the Fortress of Solitude and are shown the Phantom Zone Projector, General Zod, Faora, and Quex-Ul are released and Superman is accidentally sent to the Phantom Zone. Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and Stargirl attempt to use a Green Kryptonite fragment on them only for it to be too small for them. Under the yellow sun, General Zod and his two followers gain superpowers and end up in a fight with Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and Stargirl. As Blue Beetle and Stargirl hold off the Kryptonian villains, Firestorm uses Martin Stein's guidance to learn how to transmutate anything to Kryptonite. Testing on the ice, Firestorm transmutates it to Green Kryptonite which weakens General Zod and his two followers. Afterwards, Superman is freed from the Phantom Zone and General Zod and his followers are thrown into the Phantom Zone.
- In the movies Superman and Superman II, the Kryptonian villainess Ursa is based on Faora. She has a hatred of all men, except for Zod. She fights Superman alongside General Zod and Non.
- In the 2013 feature film Man of Steel, Sub-Commander Faora-Ul is portrayed by actress Antje Traue. In the film, she is Zod's lieutenant, and is sentenced to 300 cycles in the Phantom Zone along with Zod and his forces. After Krypton's destruction, Faora and the other prisoners are freed from the Phantom Zone, and search for Kal-El and the Codex, a device containing the genetic code for all future Kryptonians, which were able to escape the planet's destruction due to Jor-El's last-minute actions. After finding him on Earth, Faora is responsible for bringing Kal-El and Lois Lane aboard Zod's ship upon Zod altering the deal with the U.S. Military. She was present when Zod explains to Superman about Krypton and its failed colonies. After Superman and Lois Lane escape, Faora and another powerful Kryptonian grunt named Nam-Ek confront Kal-El and the U.S. Military in Smallville, but are defeated when Kal-El manages to break her helmet. After Zod begins terraforming the Earth with a world engine retrieved from a Kryptonian Colony that they visited before arriving to Earth, Faora and all the other Kryptonians (except Zod) are sent back to the Phantom Zone. As in the comics, Faora is a major threat to Kal-El in hand-to-hand combat, easily outfighting him at first. Kal-El is able to hold his own against her and Nam-Ek, since the two Kryptonians have yet to attain heat vision and flight and he is stronger than they are due to his longer exposure to solar radiation. Faora is taken out of the fight when Colonel Hardy crashes the airplane they are on into Zod's ship, sending them back into the Phantom Zone. Gal Gadot, who portrays Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, revealed in an interview that she was offered the part of Faora in the film, but turned it down due to her pregnancy at the time.
- The Man of Steel version of Faora appears via DLC as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- Faora makes a cameo in Sub-Zero's ending in Injustice 2.
- Pocket Universe duplicate of the pre-Crisis character
- The Pokolistanian character's true name has yet to be revealed.
- Jimenez, Phil (2008). "Faora". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 118. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- Action Comics #471 (May 1977)
- Action Comics #472 (June 1977)
- Phantom Zone #1 (January 1982)
- Phantom Zone #3 (March 1982)
- Action Comics #473 (July 1977)
- Superman (2nd series) #22 (October 1988)
- Kelly, Joe (w), Ferry, Pascual (p), Smith, Cam (i). "Return to Krypton II, Part Four: Dream's End" Action Comics 793: 20 (September 2002), New York: DC Comics
- Schultz, Mark (w), Mahnke, Doug (p), Nguyen, Tom (i). "Return to Krypton Part Three: The Most Dangerous Kryptonian Game" Superman: The Man of Steel 111 (April 2001), New York: DC Comics
- Schultz, Mark (w), Kerschl, Karl (a). "Return to Krypton II Part Three: Blood and Heresy" Superman: The Man of Steel 128 (September 2002), New York: DC Comics
- Brownfield, Troy; Matt Brady (2008-10-18). "New Krypton Countdown: When Kryptonians Walk the Earth". Newsarama.com. Imaginova Corporation. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Bugley, Chris (September 17, 2015). "Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman because she turned down a major 'Man of Steel' role". Batman News.