Dev-Em

MAN OF STEELIn Man of Steel, the army of General Zod‘s followers is a real mine of cameos. For a start, we’ll begin from the one who looks younger among the soldiers exiled in the Phantom Zone, the one who follows the General in his riot on Krypton but is among the ones that never leaves the ship once on Earth: it’s Dev-Em, portrayed on screen by Revard Dufresne. This one is the very first live action appearance of Dev-Em, but maybe the character deserved something more than a little appearance without even a line. Let’s see together who this teenager Kryptonian is in the comics.

One character, many stories, as it always happens for DC Comics characters. The first and most famous Dev-Em was a juvenile delinquent on Krypton, a rogue teenager who was known as the Knave of Krypton. Despite his really bad attitude, Dev-Em was one of the few Kryptonians who actually believed Jor-El‘s warning about the imminent planet destruction, and tried to save himself and his family with suspended animation in a space ship orbiting around Krypton. When the planet exploded, Dev-Em’s ship was blasted through the galaxies, and, while his parents didn’t make it, the boy survived; after some years of drifting away, Dev-Em finally arrived on Earth, where he discovered that another Kryptonian survivor was living. Plus, this Kryptonian was none other than the very son of Jor-El, Kal-El, now a boy around his own age who was called Superboy. Dev-Em befriended Kal-El, but, faithful to his nature, was already planning a way to ruin the hero’s reputation. Dev-Em arrived to the point of locking Kal-El in the Phantom Zone and replacing him as Superboy to achieve hisdevemcomics1 goal, but living as the best hero in the world for a few hours was more than enough to show him that a different life was indeed possible: Dev-Em repented, freed the real Superboy and left the planet. After a very brief galactic exploration, Dev-Em finally decided to let the XX century itself, travelling one thousand years in the future. In the XXX century, Dev-Em finally reformed, and became a member of the Interstellar Counter-Intelligence Corp, space secret agents fighting for the better good. He also became friends with Mon-El, a Daxamite alien who was also one of the most prominent superheroes of this time. Dev-Em fought at Mon-El’s side on several occasions, and he even allied himself with the entire Legion of Super Heroes (the most important and active super group of the XXX century); he also fought the villanous Darkseid, and after a hard victory he was offered a place in the Legion, but he declined in order to stay with the Corp.

Dev-Em suffered major changes during the various continuity reboot, and at certain points he also became a telepath from Titan who obtained Kryptonian-like powers thanks to his mind powers, or even a mad Daxamite powerful enough to beat the whole Legion and Superman, come to their aid. Finally, after the last (at least for now…) crisis, Dev-Em regained his Kryptonian origins, but with a completely different personality. In this version, Dev-Em was a Kryptonian criminal, arrested for murder, perversion and many other violent acts. Extremely dangerous, Dev-Em was sent to Fort Rozz to attend his own trial, and was condemned to be devemcomics2exiled into the Phantom Zone. Just before the Phantom Zone Projector was activated, however, a riot started, and the device got broken, sucking the entire fortress and its occupants in the dimensional prison. Since, being in Fort Rozz, the prisoners weren’t directly exposed to the Phantom Zone’s environment, and could mantain their physical body. Thanks to his strength and his cruelty, Dev-Em became one of the leaders of the prison, and his position allowed him to meet another famous host of the Zone, General Zod: recognizing in the military leader someone stronger than him, Dev-Em agreed to become his follower. When Zod and his officers escaped from the Phantom Zone, Dev-Em chose to stay behind, so that he could have become a leader once again: when Zod, on Earth, battled and defeated Superman, the hero was sent in the Phantom Zone, where Dev-Em was ready to face him. In the Zone, no Kryptonians retained his powers, and Dev-Em was a combatant far stronger than Kal-El: the latter was defeated and almost killed, but another Zoner, Mon-El, intervened, saving Superman and knocking Dev-Em out. When the heroes escaped from the Phantom Zone, Dev-Em was left behind, lingering in his prison.

Arrogant and characterized by an abrasive nature in every incarnation, Dev-Em is both an immature teenager with quite a vocation for troubles, but ready to take some responsibilities and fight for a better good, and a murderous psychopath with no ethics and no compassion at all. As all Kryptonians, if exposed to a yellow sun he develops amazing powers, such as superhuman strength, stamina, speed, durability and reflexes; invulnerability; heat vision; freezing breath; x-ray vision; super breath; flight and more. Depending on the incarnation, Dev-Em is either a formidable force for good, or a remarkable enemy to deal with.

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