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Zor-El was the younger brother of Jor-El and the father of Kara Zor-El. Just as Jor-El he too was a scientist for the planet of Krypton. Although as a younger sibling, professed an immense hatred towards his older brother Jor-El's passive nature, dubbing him weak and fool-minded for it, and blamed him directly responsible for Krypton's destruction, seeing the passive traits of his older brother as weaknesses and flaws.
Zor-El was a very cold, manipulative, controlling scientist, who was constantly disagreeing with his older brother Jor-El, dubbing him a "fool-minded pacifist", but he also believed in maintaining the House of El dynasty. He was attracted to Jor-El's wife Lara, and spared Clark Kent's life while he was de-powered by Blue Kryptonite saying, "If you weren't Lara's son, I'd end your life right now". He also went as far as trying to kill his own daughter Kara.
Zor-El was born in 1940, the second-born son of Seyg-El and Nimda An-Dor, and raised on the planet Krypton alongside his older brother Jor-El. As an adult, he became a scientist like his brother, and married and had a daughter named Kara.
Zor-El and Jor-El never really talked a lot. Kara once described the House of El as a "dysfunctional family." Years later, Jor-El told Clark that he never trusted Zor-El, and Martian Manhunter later told Clark that Zor-El tried to kill Jor-El and was a traitor. Sometime after that, Jor-El told his son that Zor-El's experiments were motivated by greed and power
Before the first meteor shower that befell Smallville, Zor-El traveled to Earth on several occasions. He first went to study the effects of kryptonite on Kryptonians and the effects of the yellow sun on Kryptonians, so when he later went to Earth to fulfill Rao's prophecy, he would have advanced knowledge of its effects. He later went to retrieve Kara, who had followed Jor-El's wife Lara there. After chastising his daughter for leaving Kandor and ordering her outside the Kents' house, Zor-El professed his love for Lara and suggested that they stay on Earth and rule the planet together, revealing that he tried to assassinate Jor-El so he could have Lara all to himself. Lara rejected Zor-El and his advances, revealing that she was pregnant with Jor-El's son. Zor-El vowed that one day he would have Lara through his science, revealing that he had stored Lara's DNA in a crystal. When he saw that Kara had witnessed the whole thing, Zor-El used a Crystal of El to erase the events of that day in his daughter's mind.
Sometime just before his attempt on Jor-El's life, Zor-El went into the Phantom Zone and built an escape route out so that he could escape if he was put there for his crime and also told Kara about it so if she was ever imprisoned, she would be able to escape.
After his attempt to kill Jor-El, Zor-El was disgraced as a scientist, and so became the mining operator for Kandor's mine. He also became associated with General Zod.
Zor-El was a strong believer in destiny, and devoutly believed in Rao's prophecy. The prophecy, foretold years ago on Krypton, detailed the creation of the Brain InterActive Construct, the war with Zod, Krypton's destruction, Zor-El's resurrection, and Kal-El's journey and destiny on Earth. Zor-El believed in the prophecy so much that he fulfilled it by igniting Krypton's already unstable core, thus starting Krypton's apocalypse.
Zod and his army took over all other mines on Krypton, with Kandor's mine the only one supplying defenses against Zod's forces with the mine working at full capacity. When Krypton started suffering from seismic disturbances, Jor-El suspected they were being caused by Kandor's mine and informed the Science Council about it. The Science Council confronted Zor-El, who denied that it was Kandor's mine and told them it was Zod who was causing the tremors. Zor-El then ordered for Kara's school to be attacked, and sent his disciple Augo to make sure Kara wasn't there to stop her from getting hurt. He also planned for several other key buildings to be attacked, the Council's military headquarters and the government building among them.
Kara unknowingly went to see Zor-El about it and went to his office while he was conversing via hologram with Aethyr and Nam-Ek, revealing both his association with Zod's campaign and that he had advance knowledge of the recent attacks to Kara. Nam-Ek and Aethyr planned to begin their final assault on Kandor once the city's defenses had been weakened. When confronted by Kara, who asked him why he would try and kill his own daughter, Zor-El said he made sure that she never got hurt and told her that Augo is his disciple and that she was never in danger. He then explained that he did it all for Rao's prophecy, that the end is near and that she should fulfill her destiny. After Kara ran away and hid in the mine, Zor-El and Augo chased after her and eventually found her.
More than twenty years later, Zor-El tricked his nephew Kal-El, now known as Clark Kent, into inserting the blue crystal into the Fortress of Solitude's console, re-creating himself and Lara as clones. After his rebirth, he approached Kara and convinced her to trust him, claiming he had changed his ways.
Zor-El then went to LuthorCorp and threatened Lionel Luthor, Jor-El's Kryptonian vessel, to convince Clark to follow him in dominating Earth. Before Zor-El could kill Lionel, Clark arrived and punched Zor-El, sending him flying out the window of Lionel's office, but Zor-El flew away.
Shortly after Clark had been rendered powerless after putting on Jor-El's victory ring (which contained blue kryptonite), Zor-El confronted his nephew and beseeched him to join him in his quest to conquer Earth. When Clark refused, Zor-El attacked him and then abducted Lara. He took her to the Fortress, which he planned to use to cause an eclipse that would wipe out all of humanity, allowing him to take over Earth. However, Zor-El's plan was thwarted when Clark arrived at the Fortress and subdued his uncle with green kryptonite. Zor-El managed to get the kryptonite away from him and grabbed Kara. He was about to impale her on some crystals when Clark destroyed the blue crystal, eliminating Zor-El, Lara, and the victory ring.
His eclipse on Earth cause the wrath (Bizarro) to escape from Mars where he was send after taking a piece of Kal-El's DNA. Creating a different body where is weakness is the sun and strength is Green Kryptonite and for causing a ruckus in Smallville. This order was carried out by the Martian Manhunter
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Zor-El possesses the same potential powers as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of Zor-El's super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. His biological make up includes a number of organs which lack analogues in humans and whose functions are unknown. It is believed that between one or more of these and his bio-cellular matrix, "yellow" solar energy is stored for later use. This allows for the use of these powers to fade when yellow solar radiation is not available instead of immediate failure.
- Heat Vision: Zor-El can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. He can vary the heat and area affected.
- Super-Hearing: Zor-El's hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill and concentration, he can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency.
- Enhanced Vision Zor-El's vision processes the entire electromagnetic spectrum as well as allowing vast control over selective perception and focus.
This umbrella ability includes the following:
- Electromagnetic Spectrum Vision: Zor-El can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. He can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, he can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows him to see the aura generated by living thing.
- Telescopic Vision: This is the ability to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics. Though limited, the exact extent of the ability is undetermined. In function, it is similar to the zoom lens on a camera.
- X-Ray Vision: This is the ability to see through any volume of matter except lead. Zor-Els can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. He can focus this ability to "peel back" layers of an object, allowing hidden image or inner workings to be observed. The exact type of energy perceived - such as x-rays, cosmic rays, or some other energy invisible to normal humans - is unclear. This ability perceives an ambient energy source though, it does not involve the eye projecting a concentrated, possibly toxic, beam to be reflected back from objects.
- Microscopic Vision: This is the ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level.
- Infrared Vision: Zor-El can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
- Flight: Zor-El is able to manipulate graviton particles to defy the forces of gravity and achieve flight. This ranges from hovering to moving in any posture, in any direction.
- Invulnerability: Due to the interaction of his dense molecular structure and supercharged bio-electric aura, Zor-El is nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, his extends this protection against toxins and diseases.
- Superhuman Stamina: Zor-El is able to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. This based on his body converting yellow solar radiation directly to energy, but is limited by physiological and psychological needs to eat, drink, and sleep.
- Superhuman Strength: Zor-El's strength is augmented by yellow solar radiation interacting with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of his musculature. His strength is more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables him to perform physical feats that are beyond the mere application force, such as moving a mountain top without said rock crumbling under its own mass.
- Superhuman Speed: Zor-El is able to move at incredible speed by sheer force of will. This extends to his perceptions and allows for feats such as catching bullets in mid flight as well as covering vast distances in little or no time.
This also confers:
- Super-Breath: Zor-El is able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from his lungs. He can chill the air as it leaves his lungs to freeze targets. He can also reverse the process to pull large volumes of air or vapor into his lungs.
- Gemology: Zor-El operated a mine facility on the planet Krypton thus he possessed a very wide spectrum knowledge on minerals, including radioactive, as he knew that Blue kryptonite, under a yellow sun, would strip Kryptonians of their abilities.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Zor-El possesses the same potential weaknesses as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- Zor-El was portrayed by Christopher Heyerdahl.
- 2 Appearances of Zor-El (Smallville)
- 3 Images featuring Zor-El (Smallville)
- Quotations by or about Zor-El (Smallville)
- Character Gallery: Zor-El (Smallville)
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