|First appearance||Adventure Comics #289 (October 1961)|
|Created by||Otto Binder|
|Place of origin||Krypton|
|Notable aliases||Dr. Phillings|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, flight, super breath, freeze breath, super hearing, multiple extrasensory and vision powers, and heat vision.|
Post-Crisis: Genius in xenobiology/genetics
Jax-Ur is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, usually as an adversary of Superman. Created by writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp, the character first appeared in Adventure Comics #289 (October 1961).
Fictional character biography
Jax-Ur was an amoral and criminally deviant scientist on the planet Krypton. He was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone for destroying Wegthor, an inhabited moon of Krypton (population: 500), while experimenting with a nuclear warhead-equipped rocket. His sentence for his act of mass murder was imprisonment for eternity. He called himself "the worst criminal in the Phantom Zone".
Jax-Ur's intention was to launch a nuclear missile to destroy a passing space rock. If this test proved successful, Jax-Ur would then commence the build-up of a massive, privately held nuclear arsenal with which he would overthrow the Kryptonian government, and place the entire planet under his dominion. In the World of Krypton miniseries, his missile collided with a spaceship piloted by Superman's father Jor-El and went off-course to destroy Wegthor. Because of this, space travel was banned on Krypton.
In his first appearance, Jax-Ur escaped from the Phantom Zone and posed as a super-powered version of Jonathan Kent. Superboy eventually sent Jax-Ur back to the Phantom Zone. Most of his later Silver Age appearances show him in his ghostly Phantom Zone form, except during rare escapes. He was often depicted plotting against Superman with fellow Phantom Zone inmates General Zod and Faora Hu-Ul. Although he possessed typical Kryptonian super-powers when on Earth, the out-of-shape Jax-Ur was no match for Superman in combat.
Jax-Ur would later redeem himself somewhat by helping Superman defeat Black Zero, the alien saboteur who ensured Krypton's destruction under the orders of the Pirate Empire. It is shown he has a code of honor, as Kryptonian criminals swear by a master criminal who escaped a prison to help each other. Struck by a red kryptonite bullet that Black Zero had created, Jax-Ur began mutating through a series of serpentine forms, until he became a Medusa-like creature, and turned Black Zero to stone with his gaze before the villain could destroy Metropolis in revenge for Superman foiling his plan to destroy Earth. Jax-Ur then shattered Black Zero's body, avenging Krypton, and willingly returned to the Phantom Zone.
Jax-Ur did not appear after the Crisis on Infinite Earths for some time, as until the recent appearance of Supergirl there was a rule that no Kryptonians survived except Superman. On the occasions that a pseudo-Kryptonian villain was required, writers have usually gone for General Zod. At that time however, Jax-Ur's name was referenced in Superman: The Essential Guide to the Man of Steel, suggesting he may have indeed existed but presumably had died either before or during Krypton's destruction since the Phantom Zone was used as storage rather than a prison.
Jax-Ur's first post-Crisis appearance is in Action Comics #846, written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner. He is one of the criminals unleashed from the Phantom Zone by Zod. In the current continuity, Jax-Ur destroyed Krypton's moon during an attempt at interstellar space travel. When the moon was destroyed, a lunar colony of Kandor was lost as well, drawing the attention of the Coluan villain Brainiac to Kandor.
Jax-Ur reappears in Action Comics #875, as one of General Zod's "sleeper Kryptonians", who have adopted human identities to help further Zod's goals on Earth. He is using the cover of Dr. Phillings, and works for S.T.A.R. Labs as one of the world's top xenobiologists, while secretly conducting his own gruesome studies on Earth's lifeforms, as well as researching Kryptonian DNA to find links to the Flamebird and Nightwing entities. While in his "Dr. Phillings" identity he's tasked by the female Doctor Light to investigate Nightwing's accelerated aging. He manages to build a device tailored to regulate Chris's growth and stimulate his solar-powered healing factor to reverse the body damage brought by his condition, but at the cost of some DNA taken from Flamebird.
Recently, it was revealed that, like Chris Kent and Thara Ak-Var are avatars of Nightwing and Flamebird, respectively, so is Jax-Ur an avatar of their enemy, "Vohc the Breaker". Continuing his age old vendetta against the two demi-gods, Jax-Ur/Vohc uses the sample from Flamebird and his own ingenuity to create an artificial avatar-clone of the Kryptonian chief god, Rao, a terrifying weapon which he then unleashes upon the world. The combined entity is defeated by Flamebird and Nightwing burning Jax-Ur out of Vohc, leaving him for the Justice Society while the Rao clone is destroyed by Nightwing.
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Jax-Ur first appears among the Kryptonian criminals seen in the Phantom Zone and he claims to have destroyed a moon. Jax-Ur was fully introduced in the World of Krypton flashback segments, where he is depicted as a young military officer and Lara Lor-Van's partner and fiancé. Lara calls off their engagement when Jax-Ur reveals he supports Colonel Ekar, a commanding officer who deems Krypton's Science Council weak and self-absorbed and plans to overthrow it with a coup d'état. When Lara tries to fight Colonel Ekar and is defeated and caught, Jax-Ur tries to convince her to join their cause in order to save her life, but fails. General Zod intervenes, killing Ekar and smothering the revolution. Jax-Ur is imprisoned with the other surviving insurgents, promising Lara he tried to save her and reaffirming his love for her.
Powers and abilities
Like all Kryptonians, Jax-Ur possesses superhuman abilities derived from the yellow solar radiation of the sun of Earth's solar system. His basic abilities are superhuman strength, superhuman speed and superhuman stamina sufficient to bend steel in his bare hands, overpower a locomotive, leap over a tall building in a single bound and outrun a speeding bullet; he 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. His powers are generally depicted as being on par with General Zod.
Jax-Ur is generally depicted as both a scientist as well as a military warrior. He is exceptionally intelligent in the areas of cloning as well as xenobiology; able to study Kryptonian genetics to determine connections between the respective Nightwing and Flamebird entities as well as how to create synthesized clones of avatars suitable to host the spirit of the red sun god Rao whom the Kryptonians worshiped. As a soldier, Jax-Ur is a competent military leader and hand-to-hand combatant with experience on the field of battle similar to General Zod and other imprisoned Kryptonian military dissidents.
In addition to his inherent Kryptonian abilities while beneath a yellow sun, Jax-Ur also served as a vessel for the alien god Vohc the Breaker. While merged and possessed by Vohc, Jax-Ur possesses increased superhuman strength as well as being vastly more intelligent with wisdom approaching virtual omniscience. Vohc was also immortal with a vastly superior healing factor rendering him effectively indestructible and possessed of divine power sufficient to place him on similar levels of godly power as the Olympians and other pantheons of Earthly deities. However, his powers were beneath Rao as well as Nightwing and Flamebird.
Similar to General Zod and other Phantom Zone escapees, Jax-Ur generally never experiences the full measure of his abilities as he is never allowed to spend any significant portion of time beneath Earth's yellow sun to charge and metabolize his cells with yellow solar radiation before being banished back into the Zone. As such, should he ever be allowed enough time to fully realize his abilities and potential, Jax-Ur's power levels would very likely approach or possibly surpass those of Superman as he is a fully mature Kryptonian male with exceptional natural physical prowess and experience in combat.
Like all Kryptonians, Jax-Ur is vulnerable to Kryptonite and red solar radiation which neutralizes and cancels out the yellow solar radiation flourishing in his cells. His virtual invulnerability offers no protection from mind control or magic, nor can it fully withstand the force of an atomic explosion or the force of opponents with greater strength and durability such as Doomsday. His superhuman strength is inferior to beings such as Doomsday and his superhuman speed is inferior to Speedsters such as the Flash. Jax-Ur's intelligence does give him the advantage of utilizing his strength and speed to optimal performance.
"For the Man Who Has Everything"
Jax-Ur is featured as a symbol and martyr for violent Anti-Phantom Zone protestors who assault Kara Zor-El in the Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything", written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The protesters believe that Jax-Ur was unjustly convicted and consider the Zone to be cruel and unusual punishment, and thus have dedicated themselves to Jax-Ur's release - by any means necessary.
Justice League Beyond 2.0
In the 2013 digital-first series Justice League Beyond 2.0, taking place in the Batman Beyond Universe, Jax-Ur was revealed as the father of a young boy in the Phantom Zone who was using Kryptonian technology against an older Superman. He manipulated his son to crash a derelict Kryptonian ship into the sun using his telekinetic powers. This overexposed Superman's cells to the rays of the sun — the source of his powers —which caused his powers to become unstable. As a protection for humanity, Superman asked Micron to shrink to microscopic size and release a kryptonite solution into his body, removing his superpowers. When Superman decided to enter the Phantom Zone to find the one manipulating the numerous events, he discovered Jax-Ur and his son, Zod-Ur.
Jax-Ur reveals to Superman that he disrupted his powers knowing that Superman would trace the origin of the disruption to the Phantom Zone. Ur's son can control all Kryptonian technology with his telekinetic powers, except for the Phantom Zone Projector because it has too many safeguards. Superman would have been the only one capable of opening the Phantom Zone, except he had made Terry McGinnis, the new Batman, one of the authorized users of the Phantom Zone Projector before Superman went into the Phantom Zone. Jax-Ur wants to use Batman's body to unleash every last inmate of the Phantom Zone which will then pave the way for Jax-Ur to rule Earth. He tells Superman that Earth will "die far more slowly and painfully than Krypton as its enslaved inhabitants spend their short, useless lives building a new Krypton, ruled by me."
Jax-Ur is defeated by Superman and Justice League Beyond.
Jax-Ur's son, Zod-Ur, decides to leave his father and become a citizen of Earth, and a member of the Justice League. It is later revealed that Zod-Ur is actually the son of Wonder Woman and Justice Lord Superman. He was created by the pair to end the worldwide civil war started by Justice Lord Batman and Justice Lord Superman. Zod-Ur was stolen from his gestational pod by Brainiac and given to Jax-Ur to raise. Zod becomes a good friend to Kai-Ro (Green Lantern), Terry McGinnis (Neo Batman), and Billy Batson (Captain Marvel/Shazam). His teammates find 'Zod' to be an unsettling name but Kal-El tells them being named 'Zod' on Krypton is like being named 'Bob' on planet Earth.
In other media
- Although not mentioned by name, Jax-Ur was referenced in the Super Friends episode "The Planet-Splitter" where it was established that he had attempted to exile the Science Council in space. Because of this, space travel was banned on Krypton.
- A differently portrayed version of Jax-Ur named High General Jax-Ur has a more prominent role in the DC Animated Universe where he has a loyal female partner named Mala usually by his side.
- He first appeared in Superman: The Animated Series, where he was voiced by Ron Perlman. He was portrayed as similar to General Zod; a military genius who had attempted to overthrow the Science Council. His co-conspirator, and possible lover, is a beautiful Kryptonian female with long white hair named Mala (based on Ursa and Faora but named for a male Kryptonian from the comics). During Jax-Ur and Mala's last appearance on Superman: The Animated Series, Jax-Ur reveals to Superman that a rift into the Phantom Zone had been torn open, releasing them into space. They were saved by nearby voyagers and soon took control over their planet. Upon seizing control of the planet, they had the inhabitants rebuild everything so that it was very reminiscent of Krypton, even going so far as to make the inhabitants wear clothes similar to that of Kryptonians. After meeting with a rebel, Superman found out that Jax-Ur and Mala intended to invade Earth. After Superman battled in space with the pair, Jax-Ur and Mala were sucked into a black hole.
- Jax-Ur and Mala were featured in a two part story from Superman Adventures #7-8, where they initially had been shrunken down as a new type of imprisonment. However, Jax-Ur managed to steal Hamilton's device and turn himself into a giant and shrink Superman, but in the end they were both shrunken down and captured again. In Superman Adventures #21, he and Mala joined the Argosian criminal General Zod, giving Jax-Ur the position as the 'strongman' of the trio, much like Non and Quex-Ul.
- Jax-Ur and Mala also appeared in the Justice League Unlimited comic book spin-off, in issue #34 as parts of General Zod's army of Phantom Zone criminals placed in the Phantom Zone for insurrection against the Kryptonian council, although neither of the two had any dialogue.
- On the TV series Smallville, a similarly named character called Dax-Ur (portrayed by Marc McClure) appears. He is a Kryptonian scientist who has lived over 100 years by blue kryptonite and is responsible for creating Brainiac. He gives Clark Kent blue kryptonite to help Clark defeat Bizarro. Brainiac uses Dax-Ur to restore his powers, then kills him in the episode "Persona".
- Hannah Waddingham portrays Jax-Ur in Krypton. In a departure from the comics, ex Science Guild member Jax-Ur formally known as Sela-Sonn, is depicted as a woman and the leader of a terrorist organization known as Black Zero. 
Jax-Ur appears in Man of Steel, portrayed by Mackenzie Gray in the DC Extended Universe . He appears as one of General Zod's Sword of Rao crew members and a lead scientist as he is able to get the captive Kryptonians out of the Phantom Zone. When Superman is on Zod's ship, Ur manages to extract the Growth Codex (an ancient Kryptonian artifact that decodes the genetic makeup of the artificially incubated babies on Krypton, stolen by Jor-El who stored the Codex in Kal-El's DNA) from him. Jax-Ur is later sent back to the Phantom Zone, along with the crew, when a black hole is generated by the military.
In the novel "The Last Days of Krypton," by Kevin J. Anderson, Jax-Ur is a historical villain in Krypton's past. He tried to take over the world and destroyed Krypton's moon, Koron, using a nuclear-like weapon called a "Nova javelin" which involved alien technology. In this version Jax-Ur is not sent to the Phantom Zone, not discovered for many years to come, but he is defeated by a coalition called "The Seven Armies," led by Sor-El, ancestor to Jor-El. He is finally assassinated by a former minion, but his actions had dictated Krypton's policy towards alien or innovative science since, a factor in the events in the novel.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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- Action Comics (vol. 1) #866 (August 2008)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #875 (May 2009)
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- Don Whitehead, Holly Henderson (writers) & Todd Slavkin (director) (2008-01-31). "Persona". Smallville. Season 7. Episode 10. The WB.
- "'Man of Steel': Mackenzie Gray playing Jax-Ur". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 October 2014.