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"It was Zeta-Rho, who sought to colonize other worlds, and enslave their inhabitants as hosts."
Jor-El's A.I. recounting Zeta-Rho's ambitions to Kal-El.[src]

Zeta-Rho (died 1979; briefly resurrected 2021) was an ambitious Kryptonian, the ex-husband of the late Lara Lor-Van, and the father of Tal-Rho.

Biography

Early life

Zeta-Rho was once married to Lara Lor-Van through genetic matching and had a son with her, Tal-Rho. Eventually, Lara left him to marry Jor-El, an act that angered him greatly.

Zeta-Rho had ambitions to further spread Kryptonian influence to other worlds, going so far as to plan to colonize and enslave their inhabitants to host Kryptonian consciousnesses using the Eradicator that Lara invented. However, his plans never came to fruition with the destruction of Krypton.[1]

Destruction of Krypton

Before Krypton's destruction, he stole Lara's sunstone crystal from Kal-El's pod as revenge for leaving him. This left only Jor-El's sunstone crystal and A.I. to guide Kal-El. He carried Lara Lor-Van's sunstone crystal in Tal-Rho's pod, so that her A.I. could witness his machinations unfold on Earth.

Zeta-Rho presumably died during the destruction of Krypton. His son, Tal-Rho, would escape to Earth[1], to complete the mission of reviving Krypton by using the Eradicator, furthering the ambitious plan that Zeta-Rho could not complete.[2]

Attacking Earth

"You had one mission. And you veered from it because you are weak. You shall not veer from it any longer. Now go and complete what you were sent here to do. Or know that you are the sole reason Krypton was lost."
—Zeta-Rho's consciousness whispering to Tal-Rho during the Eradication process[src]


Zeta-Rho's plans and ambitions were later adapted by his son, Tal-Rho. Tal-Rho's mistreatment by the British people fueled his hatred and he sought to continue his father's plans and adapted the Eradicator technology to be used against humans. Tal-Rho was able to implant Kryptonian consciousnesses into humans using X-Kryptonite and sought to use it to make a new world of Kryptonians, in his father's image.

Zeta-Rho's AI conversing with Tal-Rho

Tal-Rho set up his fortress in the desert using Zeta-Rho's sunstone crystal. Zeta's A.I. prepared Tal-Rho for the arrival of the Eradicator device, by training him to endure immense pain using a laser ray in the fortress and to develop a tolerance to it, to complete his ultimate purpose.[2] Eventually, Tal learned about his half-brother Kal-El, which motivated him to go against his father's wishes and find another way to resurrect his people, instead of dying and letting the Eradicator take control of his body, though his father argued that this is the only way.[3]

Tal-Rho, witnessing the defeat of his Subjekts by Superman, flew off to space and powers the Eradicator, thus causing it to explode and absorbing its essence. While he was imprisoned in a DOD facility inside a cell with Kryptonite, he realized that his father was right, and allowed the Eradicator to assume control. Now merged with the Eradicator and unaffected by the Kryptonite field, he broke out of the DOD facility, and flew towards the Sun to absorb solar energy, listening to Kryptonian voices whispering to him, until the Eradication process is complete.[4]

Possessing Jordan Kent

Zeta-Rho possessing Jordan Kent.

Zeta's consciousness was being processed into Jordan Kent by his son Tal, now completely turned into the Eradicator, in an abandoned nuclear power plant. [5] He belittled Jordan Kent, calling him the weakest of his kind, thus ensuring that he would not fight back his own consciousness.

He momentarily lost control of Jordan Kent's body when Superman shouted out to his son, allowing Superman to finally find Jordan. However, he regained it soon and attacked Superman, before flying away after hearing Tal-Rho summoning the Kryptonian Defense Council. Along with the Council, he fought with Superman and John Henry Irons to protect the Shuster Mines, where Tal-Rho was generating a force field using the X-Kyptonite to eradicate Smallville residents on a massive scale, thus reviving Krypton in Zeta-Rho's image.

However, Zeta-Rho was knocked out by a red solar flare and quickly transported to the barn at the Kent Farm, where Lois Lane tried to help Jordan fight Zeta-Rho's consciousness using Ter-Loc's device to enter Jordan's mind. Zeta-Rho dismissed her attempts at finding Jordan, saying he was hidden deep.

At this point, he awoke and was attacked by Jonathan Kent using Thaddeus Killgrave's sonic weapon, who was there to protect Lois but he overpowered him. He choked Jonathan and was about to use his heat vision, but suddenly Jordan awoke, after Lois found his consciousness within his memories and encouraged him to resist Zeta's consciousness.[6]

Personality

Zeta-Rho was described as a ambitious individual who believed in Kryptonian superiority and sought to colonize other worlds to be enslaved. This differed from the majority of Kryptonians who were described as peaceful people by Lara. So shameless and single-minded in this goal, he forced it upon his only child Tal. As shown from his A.I. replication, Zeta treated his son as more a vassal and soldier, expecting nothing less than perfection and success from his son. Zeta also believed that seeking family and companionship is weak: his A.I. discouraged Tal-Rho from looking for any other Kryptonians, hid information about Kal-El, Tal's half-brother who was now revered as a hero on Earth and also did not let him access his mother Lara Lor-Van's surviving sunstone crystal.

Powers and abilities

Powers

  • Kryptonian physiology: Normally, like all Kryptonians, Zeta-Rho's capabilities were no greater than a normal human of his physical conditioning. However, if he had been charged by the energy of a yellow sun metabolizing into his body, he would have become able to perform various inhuman feats. Ultimately, this never happened as Zeta-Rho was never exposed to a sun different to the Kryptonians' natural red one.
  • Human-Kryptonian physiology: After capturing Jordan Kent, Tal-Rho transferred the consciousnesses of Zeta-Rho onto him. Due to his unique Human-Kryptonian hybrid physiology, he possibly has similar but heightened powers as before and is now under the control of Zeta-Rho.
    • Heat vision: He could emit red energy beams of intense heat from his eyes.
    • Superhuman strength: He could deliver blows that can rival even Superman's. He was able to drag Superman on lava.
    • Superhuman durability: He was able to withstand and break Superman's hold on him.
    • Superhuman senses: He was able to hear Superman shouting and also Tal-Rho summoning the Kryptonian Defense Council.
    • Flight: He could fly at tremendous speeds. He can also levitate and land without imbalance.

Weaknesses

  • Human-Kryptonian physiology: While controlling Jordan Kent's body and his power, he also possessed his weaknesses.
    • High-frequencies: Due to his super-hearing, he was sensitive to high pitched noises (sonic booms, etc.), which could disorient him and cause him pain. Jonathan Kent was able to counter him by using a modified version of a sonic weapon that Thaddeus Killgrave made to similarly attack Superman.
    • Red solar energy: He was powerless when exposed to the energy of a red sun. He became unconscious after John Henry Irons attacked him with a red solar flare.
    • Kryptonite: He was presumably depowered and weakened by green kryptonite, like all Kryptonians.

Appearances

Superman & Lois

Season 1

Season 2


Behind the scenes

References

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