Artist: Ken Lashley
With both my favourite Superman villain in General Zod appearing in this story, as well as it being written by one of my favourite writers Greg Pak I was really looking forward to this. I was however also hoping that it was better than Pak's last villains month issue (Darkseid), which although interesting was slightly disappointing.
Growing up watching his family die at the hands of a monster life seemed hard for Zod, but after being found by Zor-El, and Jor-El he would have a new life in Krypton becoming it's millitary's general.
This was a phenomenal issue, and is one of the best issues that Villains Month has produced so far, along with the Riddler issue. Greg Pak simply did a wonderful job, and more than made up for the slightly disappointing Darkseid issue. The tone, and style of this story was simply amazing, and Pak did a brilliant job at telling Zod's origin, changing it slightly whilst not completely butchering it. There was also plenty of drama in this issue, but the best thing had to be the excitement, as Pak managed to give us some explosive action sequences, that also showed what type of character Zod is. I also loved how Pak paced this issue, as the transitions through time were much smoother than they were in Darkseid.
The art in this issue was very good, and although not spectacular, Ken Lashley overall did an amazing job. The detail to Lashley's art was overall very impressive, but there was the odd imperfection that let it down slightly. I did however enjoy his style, as although it's not my favourite style for a Superman story, it really helped with this one, as it worked perfectly with the younger Zod, as well as his older self. I also loved how Lashley handled all the creatures, or rather, "monsters," that were in this issue, as with a lot going on it'd be understandable for slightly less than perfection, but most of the time it was just that, adding a lot of excitement to the issue.
Zod was perfectly portrayed in this story, as although I was slightly sceptical about the changes to his origin, as I said it was very well handled, and the perfect characteristic made up for any small quibbles. I especially loved how this story showed a slightly different side to Zod at the very beginning, whilst ultimately showing him as the determined war general that he is, wanting to make Krypton as he envisions it, no matter what the cost. I was however in two minds about changing Zod's father to a scientist, as I liked the idea that every Zod was a warrior, whilst all El's were scientists.
Talking about the House of El, both Zor, and Jor-El would also feature in this story, being the people who found Zod. I liked the way that both characters were portrayed in this issue, as although I'm not full aware of the changes made to Zor-El since the start of the New 52 these younger versions were fairly close to the characters I know. I also loved seeing the connection that Zod would make with both these characters, as well as the differences between Zod, and them.
This issue would also show Zod's abilities as a general, as it would see the Kryptonian army face the Char in a very explosive fight. I also enjoyed seeing how Krypton saw Zod following this fight, and how it was in a much different light than he'd ultimately be seen in. I also loved that we also got to see Zod's lieutenants, Non, and Faora Hu-Ul, and how they interacted with Zod, having similar goals as him. I also feel that Zod is always much better with his lieutenants, and I especially enjoyed seeing Faora again following her appearance in Man of Steel.
This was a truly amazing story, and one of the best that Villains Month has produced so far. Pak did a fantastic job of showing the characteristics of Zod, whilst also showing a slightly different side to him. The story itself was also filled with some brilliant drama, and amazing action, and I'd highly recommend this, and hope that Pak does just as good a job when he takes over Action Comics.