At least for now, we’re at the last Kryptonian villains of our list of cameos from Man of Steel (there’s another one, and I’ll write a post about her as soon as I gain some picture), and this one is a character a little bit more relevant than the others: the hulkling Nam-Ek, portrayed by an unknwon (at least so far) stuntman. He’s the one who fights Superman at Faora‘s side, and that abruptly interrupts the battle crushing the hero under a train. This is the second live action appearance of Nam-Ek, who was featured in Smallville portrayed by Leonard Roberts. He appeared in Season Five as one of General Zod‘s disciples, wrecking havoc with his companion Aethyr and preparing the way of return for his master. He was defeated and sent back to the Phantom Zone, where he was killed by Raya. In the comics, Nam-Ek is quite a different character. As a beginning, he’s nothing to do with Zod.
It seems that on Krypton, in the last days at least, there was quite a huge number of mad scientists experimenting in wicked ways. Nam-Ek was among them: a genius healer specialized in biology, truly committed in making life for his fellow Kryptonians better. During his studies, Nam-Ek found out that most of Kryptonian medicine was based on the radiations emitted by the Rondor, a sacred beast of the planet whose horn could cure any known disease. Nam-Ek thought that a deeper study of the Rondor’s horn could have opened new frontiers for medicine and research, but he had a single, huge obstacle: Kryptonian law. According to the law, in fact, the Rondor was a sacred beast, and its killing and the removal of its horn were considered as an unforgivable sin and a grave crime, punished in ancient times with death. Nam-Ek considered that the potential benefits surpassed by far the risks, and decided to try all the same: he secretly captured a Rondor, and surgically removed its horn; the beast didn’t survived the operation. The healer studied the horn for days, until he was able to create a serum out of it. Sure that the serum would have granted immunity to any disease, Nam-Ek drank the serum, that had some unforseen side effects: his skin turned purple and leathery, his nails became claws and a big horn, just like a Rondor’s one, grew in the middle of his forehead. Transformed into a Rondor-Kryptonian hybrid, Nam-Ek was unable to conceal his crime, and was arrested and sent to the Phantom Zone.
Nam-Ek was to be considered lucky being imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, since Krypton exploded shortly after; also in the dimensional prison, however, the other Zoners saw him as a wicked creature, because both his hideous appearance and his past (even the worst Kryptonian criminals knew better than to kill a Rondor, and considered it a shame). Feared and distanced, Nam-Ek spent years in complete solitude, an isolation that affected badly his mental health. With the days, the sharp intellect and the scientific genius were replaced by paranoia and an incredible need for company. At last, Nam-Ek was freed by Amalak, a space pirate who hated everything that was Kryptonian, and was searching for an ally in his long time battle against Superman. Having become naive and gullible, Nam-Ek was more than happy to become Amalak’s “friend”, and joined his crusade against the Last Son of Krypton. Thanks to the serum, Nam-Ek had gained also the Rondor’s powers, not just his appearance, and was able to cure anything with his horn: for this reason, Amalak renamed him Antibiotic Man, something that the Kryptonian took as a compliment and was proud of. The two, together, attacked Superman with a series of physical and psychic attacks, with the Antibiotic Man healing both himself and Amalak everytime Superman managed to land a blow on them. Ultimately, Superman managed to defeat both of them, and while Amalak (appearantly) died by accidentally stabbing himself, Nam-Ek was closed in the Phantom Zone once again. He was freed again years after, when the space-time continuum was torn apart, and on Earth he managed to subdue many heroes, vanquishing with no effort even the powerful Wonder Woman. He was imprisoned once again when Aethyr, the physical embodiment of the Phantom Zone, was convinced by Mr. Mxyzptlk that torturing Kryptonians was fun, and brought him to collect his former prisoners.
Nam-Ek is an extremely brilliant man, who has a deep knowledge in medicine and biology, but the years spent in total isolation in the Phantom Zone made his mind weaken, to the point that he is now a deranged individual, with a desperate need for affection and company. As the Antibiotic Man, he’s invulnerable and immortal, immune from any disease and any arm or wound; plus, being a Kryptonian, he possesses all of Superman’s powers under a yellow sun: superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, reflexes and senses; flight; freezing breath; heat vision; x-ray vision; super breath and maybe something more. Broken and extremely powerful, Nam-Ek is a remarkable foe to face, even for the Man of Steel.