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.

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Vril Dox (Brainiac)

brainiacfilmSecond DC character from casualgamer‘s list is another big bad from Superman‘s rogues gallery: Brainiac, the cybernetic alien. Despite having been rumored to appear in pretty much every live action adaptation of his nemesis, Brainiac has had only one portrayal so far, as the main villain of Smallville‘s Season 5. Arrived on Earth after the destruction of Krypton, the Brain InterActive Construct built by Jor-El disguises himself as Professor Milton Fine and becomes a mentor for young Clark Kent, only to reveal his true, malicious nature after. He’s behind many of the series’ misfortunes, including the return of General Zod and Doomsday, but he’s eventually sent to the XXXI Century to be reprogrammed in a more hero-friendly way. There are countless versions of Brainiac in the comics, but we’ll focus on the main one from New Earth, who’s not a Kryptonian sentient computer like his live action counterpart, but rather an evil alien conqueror with limitless intelligence. Let’s see together.

Vril Dox was born on planet Colu, a remote world near the Magellanic Clouds; Colu was known as one of the most technologically advanced planets in the universe, and in fact its entire surface was covered with futuristic machines and semi-sentient computers. Vril Dox himself was one of the most gifted scientists there, a genius even for Coluan standards. Obsessed with knowledge, he decided that theoretical research wasn’t enough for him anymore, and built a giant spaceship in order to continue and complete his studies throughout the galaxy. Studying from afar wasn’t exactly his style, and he arrived to the point of kidnapping living beings to put them in a zoo of sort inside his ship, so that he could study them thoroughly. Even single organisms weren’t enough to sate his hunger for knowledge, and he resolved to observe more complex and dynamic subjects: entire cities. He deviced a ray capable of miniaturizing matter without destroying it, and used it on many worlds, shrinking down the most relevant and representative cities of those planets and keeping them along with their inhabitants in bottle-like canisters, in a brainiaccomics1personal, perverse collection. Eventually he arrived also on the dying planet Krypton, since he didn’t want to lose the opportunity to study Kryptonian society and people before their extinction: he attacked the cultural capital, Kandor, and all the efforts of the planet’s army were simply useless against his technologically superior ship. The Kryptonian forces were repelled, and Kandor was shrunk, embarked and added to the collection, just months before Krypton was destroyed. That single appearance was more than enough to make all the surviving Kryptonians shiver in fear at the simple mention of Vril Dox’s name. With his researches growing in number, Vril Dox eventually came in need of help, but he didn’t trust anybody with an intellect inferior to his own…so he eventually cloned himself, first in an organic copy he named Vril Dox II, who acted as his lab assistant, and later in entirely robotic copies in which he infused his conscience, and that were sent in any corner of the galaxy as probes to find other research material for Dox. Apparently, nothing could stop his destructive thirst for knowledge.

Although for Coluans science and research were almost sacred, they couldn’t stand by as one of their best minds committed one genocide after the other, so Vril Dox was eventually arrested by his peers and sentenced to death. After putting his collection in a safe hiding place, Dox let himself being brought to Colu for the execution…but projecting his conscience in other “vessels” was a long-learnt trick by then, and he escaped death by transferring himself in open space, looking for a mind powerful enough to contain him; the right opportunity arrived on a remote planet, Earth, where a mentalist named Milton Fine was performing in a sideshow. Unwillingly, Fine (whose stage name was “Brainiac”, a moniker Vril Dox quite enjoyed) opened his mind enough for Vril Dox to enter it, and the alien took control of his body and erased his previous persona as a virus on a computer. He even got access to all brainiaccomics2of Fine’s memories and knowledge, as well as to his latent psychic abilities. Since the alien needed cranial fluid to mantain his connection with Milton Fine’s brain, he eventually went on a murder spree, and he was stopped by a local hero, Superman, who turned out to be one of the last living Kryptonians. The alien was intrigued, but he had to postpone all his projects involving Superman, as his human body was captured by Lex Luthor, somewhat his equivalent on Earth: brought in one of Lexcorp‘s secret labs to be studied, Brainiac used his superior intellect and his psychic abilities to take control of the entire corporation from the inside. Under Brainiac’s orders (which appeared to be Luthor’s), the scientists followed unknown specifics and rebuilt a fully-functioning cyber-organic Coluan body, that Brainiac eventually took possession of. Now free from the limitations the human body imposed to him, Brainiac recovered his ship, as well as his entire collection of shrunken cities…but now he wanted to add some more from Earth, specifically MetropolisParisRome and New York. He sent another drone, just to challenge Superman: the hero, who defeated the drone without problems, was warned just in time by his cousin Supergirl of what kind of nightmare their adoptive planet would have soon faced…

Vril Dox is an absolute genius, but also a cold-minded and rational conqueror, a genocidal megalomaniac who sacrifices entire worlds and races to his thirst for knowledge. As Brainiac, he possesses numerous superpowers, which however can vary depending on the body his conscience is inhabiting; usually, he displays superhuman strength and durability, vast psychokinetic powers, telepathy, the ability to interface with any technological or digital device, and of course the capability of projecting his conscience into other bodies, being them organic or mechanical (sometimes, he’s also been able to duplicate the powers of a Kryptonian under a yellow sun). With an unlimited intellect and a just as wide knowledge, now the head of a “bloodline” of clones and descendants who refer to him as the “great ancestor” Brainiac 1, Brainiac is the ultimate conqueror, an alien genius who aims to seize the entire universe to work out its secrets…even if that means destroying a big part of it in the process.

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.

Doomsday

doomsdayfilmStill following casualgamer‘s request, we speak today of the second character confirmed in these days for the videogame Injustice: Gods Among Us, the hulkling Doomsday. Despite the character being quite important in the comics, he received a single live action appearance so far, in the tv show Smallville. In here, he was a Kryptonian genetic experiment, born from Zod‘s and Faora‘s DNA, sent on Earth and disguised as the human Davis Bloome. He was portrayed by Sam Witwer in his human form, and by Dario Delacio in his real, monstrous form. In the comics, Doomsday has nothing to do with General Zod nor Faora, and never took a human appearance, but displayed from the very beginning his famous, bony aspect. Let’s see who, in the comics, the creature known as The One Who Killed Superman is…

Everything began in a very remote time, on the Prehistoric Krypton, an incredibly hostile environment, a hellish world on which only the strongest creatures could survive. The humanoid Kryptonians weren’t the dominant species yet, and many monstruosities walked on the surface and beneath it, aliens renowned in the whole universe as the most lethal creatures ever born. An alien scientist, Bertron, wanted to create the ultimate life-form, and decided to use Krypton as a natural environment for it to evolve into. He created in vitro a humanoid infant, and sent him on the planet, watching as he was killed by the native creatures. After the baby’s death, Bertron and his team collected his remains and used them to create a better version of the infant, a stronger one whose genetical pattern had been modified to survive the previous death cause. The process was repeated again and again, and The Ultimate, so he was called by Bertron, became able to survive the planet’s extreme heat, started feeding on solar energy without the necessity of breathing, eating or drinking, was toughened by the searing atmosphere, and in time became more powerful than any natural predator on Krypton. The creature, who remembered the doomsdaycomics1agony of any single death he suffered, grew stronger and stronger, and developed a deep hatred against every kind of life because of his cycle of death and rebirth; eventually, The Ultimate identified Bertron and his team as enemies because of the role they had in his multiple deaths, and slaughtered them all, using their supply ship to escape Krypton. From that moment, The Ultimate started a killing spree throughout the universe. He battled the lord of Apokolips, deadly Darkseid, while he was about to wed a princess in order to obtain her planet’s chemical deposits; their fight ultimately destroyed the planet’s atmosphere and Darkseid, not interested anymore, flew away. With an escaping shuttle, The Ultimate reached the planet of Khundia, where he battled for days the elite warriors; the aliens, borught to desperation by the monster’s unstoppable power, forged an armor for Kobald, the most valiant among them, and he sacrificed his life to trap the creature on a rocket and to send him away. The destroyer’s path wasn’t yet to be ended, and he met Zharan Pel, a Green Lantern; in the battled that followed, Pel was killed, and the monster took his Power Ring, following its energy source up to Oa, wanting to destroy the Guardians of the Universe. Many Green Lanterns were slaughtered trying to protect their homeplanet, and eventually one of the Guardians sacrificed himself to open a massive tear in space, in which The Ultimate fell. While the remaining Guardians started to rebuild the Corps, the monster arrived on Calaton, a planet on which he wreaked avoc for three years. When the inhabitants fused into the collective being known as The Radiant, they were powerful enough to kill the creature with a massive energy beam, and following their burial procedures, the beast’s body was shackled and masked, so that his soul couldn’t reach afterlife, and the corpse was sent into open space. After years in the void, the body landed on Earth, crashing deep in the ground.

The Ultimate, anyway, was programmed to raise again after every death, stronger than before, in a painful and neverending evolution. doomsdaycomics2Still tied in Calaton’s robes, the creature dug his way to the surface, managing to free an arm from the containment. With a hand tied behind his back, he faced the Justice League of America, the superhero team formed, at that time, by Booster Gold (who gave the monster the name he became famous with, Doomsday), MaximaIce, Green Lantern Guy GardnerFire and Bloodwynd. Using only his right arm, he vanquished Earth’s most powerful heroes, thus attracting Superman‘s attention. When the Man of Steel joined the battle, anyway, his attempts of stopping the monster ended up freeing him from his bonds, making him absolutely unstoppable. Driven by an insatiable thirst for destruction, Doomsday arrived in Metropolis, followed by Superman, who wanted to avoid the death of millions of innocent people. Doomsday, who was able to sense the presence of a Kryptonian from his days with Bertron, immediately perceived the hero as a treat for his life, and concentrated all of his energies in killing him. The two engaged each other in a titanic battle, during which Superman found out that the monster’s power was equal to his own, and that its attacks could actually damage his otherwise indestructible body. Despite being severly injured, Superman kept fighting Doomsday, and Lois Lane‘s presence on the battlefield (near Daily Planet) only strenghtened his resolution in stopping a monster that would have continued to attack, without pity, without weariness, without esitation. The battle ended with a terrifying final blow, and each of the fighters punched the other to the face, breaking his neck and killing him. Superman’s body was taken into custody by Metropolis’ security forces, and received a hero’s funeral; Doomsday’s corpse, instead, was taken into custody by Cyborg Superman, one of the four superhumans who took the Man of Steel’s place after his death. The Cyborg tied the monster’s body to an asteroid, and sent him in open space, following a trajectory that would have never crossed a planet’s orbit. Doomsday, anyway, would have soon found a way to come back, eager to end the job he left undone on Earth.

Doomsday is a mindless, unstoppable beast, whose only desire is to destroy any life form in the universe, seen as a potential treat for his survival. He hates his own life, which is an agony for him, and thus wants to eradicate life itself from the universe. Driven by a deep hatred, Doomsday possesses nearly unlimited strength and durability, with an incredible speed and an accelerated healing factor that allows him to revive after any death, stronger than before thanks to his adaptive evolution. He possesses mimicry-cells that allow him to copy the powers of some particular beings he enters in contact with, and, since his first appearance, he has used this power to gain the ability of flight and a steel-like armour for his skin and bone protrusions. With nothing resembling a feeling but hate, driven mad by his continuous deaths and rebirths, Doomsday is an unstoppable force of nature, in front of which even Superman feels fear.