Seyg-El

With most of the series coming to the end of season, we start to see the trailers for the new ones coming next Autumn, and the first among these is Krypton, set on the doomed planet Krypton a couple of centuries before Superman arrives on Earth. The protagonist of the series will be Superman’s grandfather, Seyg-El (in this version mispelled Seg-El), who’s introduced as a young member of the disgraced and ostracized House of El who fights to reconquer the lost honor of his family. The series will be part of the DC Extended Universe, acting as a prequel to Man of Steel, and as we see from the trailer it will all be told in a message Seg-El leaves to his future grandson Kal-El. Now, waiting to meet Superman’s grandpa in flesh and blood, let’s take a look at his paper version…who surely doesn’t start as a disgraced nobelman at all.

Seyg-El was born in Kryptonopolis, one of the richest and most populated cities on planet Krypton, second only to the capital Kandor; he was the son of Ter-El, and he was a member of the renowned House of El, one of the most important noble families on the planet. Since his birth, Seyg-El was genetically destined to the Kryptonian Science Council, and his formation was programmed so that he could excell in it and lead it. He grew up along with his brother Zim-El, but the relationship between the two wasn’t exactly a siblings’ one, as relations were in general pretty cold within the House. As all the nobles on Krypton, Seyg-El didn’t chose his mate, as she was selected by the Master of the Gestation Chambers to preserve the purity of his blood: he was introduced to a girl named Nimda An-Dor, who became his wife. From her, Seyg-El had two children: a son, Jor-El, and a daughter, Kara Seyg-El. Just as sibling relationship, even the father and son one wasn’t exactly a passionate and warm bond on Krypton, and Seyg-El, who took care of Jor-El’s education personally, treated him with cold interest, making sure that he learnt Kryptonian traditions and science, but with the same attention a particularly detached teacher could have for a promising student. Jor-El, however, wasn’t like his father at all: albeit he properly studied Kryptonian etiquette and history, and he proved to be a versatile scientist and a curious researcher, he didn’t like the strictness of Krypton’s traditions, and dreamed of something more in his life than genetic perfection and oppressively organised society. Seyg-El didn’t understand his son’s ambitions, quite the opposite, he came to consider him a public embarassment, an apple that had fallen far distant from its tree. The greatest dishonor that Jor-El ever brought to his father came when the boy was about fifteen years old, and a great opportunity came to him and to the House of El in general, albeit in one of the harshest times ever for planet Krypton, as the Green Plague was claiming thousands of lives.

Among the ones who fell victim to the plague was Zon-Em, a respected nobleman, and his mate-to-be, Lara, was left without her future husband. The Master of the Gestation Chambers selected Jor-El as a replacement for Zon-Em, finding his genetic template worthy of mixing with Lara’s one. Seyg-El, understanding the honor this represented, prompted his son to accept, informing him of the privilege the Lords had granted him (Jor-El had not yet participated to the rite of passage to adulthood, and it was unheard of that a “child” was chosen as a mate for a noblewoman). Much to Seyg-El’s relief, Jor-El accepted the offer…but he managed to put him in great embarassment the moment he demanded to actually meet the woman he was supposed to marry and to conceive children with, a request that nobody, in centuries of genetic perfection-oriented combinations, had ever promoted. Father and son argued harshly about this, with Seyg-El seeing this request just another sign of Jor-El’s disrespect for Kryptonian traditions, a meaningless whim of a maverick; Jor-El, however, was unmovable, and when the Master of the Gestation Chambers actually granted his request and allowed him to meet Lara, Seyg-El rushed away, not wanting to have anything else to do with his rebellious son ever again. Seyg-El completely focused on leading the Kryptonian Science Council, and he did so with total respect of Kryptonian traditions, becoming a renowned conservative judge of any Kryptonian matter. To make things worse, soon Jor-El, who had in the meanwhile fallen in love with Lara and had married her nevertheless, became a scientist himself, subject to the Council as a result. Even more, in the moment when all Krypton’s greatest minds were trying to find a cure to the Green Plague without success, letting it destroy millions of lives, Jor-El started exposing theories about a destabilization of the planet’s nucleus that would have brought to the destruction of Krypton. Seyg-El refused to listen to his own son, and ordered him to keep quite about this not to spread panic among the population: this last act of pride, however, would have costed him much…

Seyg-El is a serious and proud member of the House of El, the heir of a long legacy of rules and traditions who consecrates his entire life to respecting and protecting them. A brilliant scientist and a deep connoisseur of Kryptonian history and customs, he’s the leader of the Science Council, a perfect man shaped by eugenics who doesn’t accept the slightest flaw in himself or in others. Severe and inflexible, Seyg-El represents everything that made Krypton great…and everything that marked its downfall as well.

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.