Tor-An

MAN OF STEELAnother Kryptonian for our collection of Man of Steel cameos, another one with no line, and no particular role at all in the movie. We’re speaking of Tor-An, portrayed on screen by Richard Cetrone. In the movie, he’s one of General Zod‘s followers, who participates to the riot on Krypton with him and is subsequently condemned to an eternity in the Phantom Zone. On Earth, he’s only briefly seen, and appearantly never leaves the ship. This is the first live action appearance of the character, and it’s likely to be the last one, since even in the comics he’s quite a secondary character, re-introduced after Crisis on Infinite Earths only four years ago and without much a backstory. Let’s see together.

The positive thing about Tor-An is that, being such a “young” character (in terms of publication history, of course), he doesn’t have all the different versions spawned during the continuity reboots of DC Comics. There’s only two Tor-An(s) in the comics, and both of them are almost unknown characters, minor villains who didn’t receive much an attention from the writers. The first Tor-An was a young Kryptonian scientist (there weren’t so many “good” scientists on Krypton apart from Jor-El, it seems…), a specialist in neurology from Argo City who disposed of groundbreaking technology…and, overall, ideas. Unfortunately, Tor-An was a power-seeker, and almost immediately started to use his knowledge to perform forbidden mind-control experiments: he managed to transfer his mind into other people, controlling their actions and will, something far too dangerous to be allowed. The Supreme Council had Tor-An arrested, and sentenced him to an eternity of imprisonment in the Phantom Zone. Tor-An’s work was discovered by another Kryptonian scientist, Jor-El, who exposed his research and put a stop to his work denouncing him to the authorities. Tor-An didn’t like Jor-El’s idea of professional courtesy, and, in the Phantom Zone, he kept thinking on an effective way to get his revenge. Unfortunately, torancomics1during the time he spent in the dimensional prison, Krypton was destroyed, and Jor-El died with it: when Tor-An finally found a way to escape the Zone (not such a hard task, it seems), his jailer was dead…but his son lived on. Finding about Kal-El, Tor-An travelled the galaxies, planning to get his revenge on his enemy’s son. Using his mind-control machines, Tor-An seduced Kara Zor-El, Kal-El’s cousin, planning to hurt her in order to damage an adversary that, as he had discovered, was absolutely invulnerable and unbeatable…at least with common means. Superman blessed their union, and brought Kara and the groom to a pastor from Kandor, the shrunk Kryptonian city he kept in his Fortress of Solitude. At the very last moment, however, Kal-El discovered Tor-An’s true identity, and interrupted the ceremony, sending the criminal into the Phantom Zone once again…and this time for good.

The second incarnation of Tor-An is once again a Kryptonian criminal, but not a scientist; above all, he’s a much different character from the first one under many aspects. This Tor-An was a soldier, who served under General Zod on Krypton and who followed him during his attempted coup d’etat. When Zod lost, Tor-An was imprisoned with all his comrades in arms in the Phantom Zone. Faithful to his leader even in the middle of nothing, Tor-An confirmed himself to be one of the General’s most faithful allies and followers, and, when the Kryptonians finally escaped the Phantom Zone, he was chosen to be one of the six dormant agents pretending to be Earthlings, part of a plan that Zod was conceiving to come back on Earth as a true savior torancomics2for all the Kryptonians living there. Tor-An assumed the identity of David Carter, an Australian businessman who became CEO of Empire Communication Network, one of the biggest companies in Sydney. When Superman managed to bring Kandor back to its original dimensions, Tor-An followed his instructions, and used his networking company to exacerbate the tensions between Earthlings and Kryptonians. After eighteen months of undercover “work”, Tor-An was unexpectedly attacked by two Kryptonians superheroes, Nightwing and Flamebird: after a fierce battle on the skies of Sydney, Tor-An was subdued and imprisoned in the Fortress of Solitude, shrunk using Brainiac‘s technology. When Ursa, Zod’s second in comand, came to Earth looking for her son Lor-Zod, she found Tor-An and brought him to his normal dimensions. The man thought to be free at last, but Ursa didn’t tolerate his failure, and slit his throat, killing him.

Tor-An, depending on the incarnation, is an extremely smart scientist, able to temporary transfer his mind into other bodies using his technology, or a well trained soldier, ready to kill and die for his leader. As a Kryptonian, when exposed to a yellow sun he gains the same powers as Superman (superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, reflexes and senses; heat vision; freezing breath; flight; x-ray vision and many more), made even more lethal by his military training. Considering Earthlings as mere insects, Tor-An is ready to annihilate any race in order to serve Zod and the Kryptonian people.

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