Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths
The original version of Zod made various escapes and attempted escapes from the Phantom Zone over the years. In all of these cases, Zod joined forces with other Phantom Zone criminals. One such attempt involved Zod and other prisoners projecting their thoughts to Jor-El, hoping to influence him into releasing them. But Jor-El’s wife, Lara Lor-Van, thwarted this plan (DC COMICS PRESENTS vol. 1 #97, 1986).
At one point the Green Lantern named Guy Gardner was accidentally exiled into the Zone. General Zod and the Phantom Zoners then tortured and brainwashed him (GREEN LANTERN vol. 2 #122-123, 1979).
In 1982’s PHANTOM ZONE limited series, Zod and the other Phantom Zone prisoners escaped and waged attacks across the Earth. They fought the Justice League to a standstill before Superman joined the battle (PHANTOM ZONE vol. 1 #1-4, 1982). Later the Phantom Zone was destroyed, releasing all its prisoners on Earth. Zod unleashed destruction on Washington, D.C. before Superman again defeated him (DC COMICS PRESENTS vol. 1 #97, 1986).
This version of Zod’s history was removed from DC continuity in 1985’s CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.
Last Son (ACTION COMICS vol. 1 #844-846, #851, ACTION COMICS ANNUAL vol. 1 #11, 2006-2008)
After encountering a Zod from a parallel “pocket” universe and a dictator named Avruiskin, who ruled the country of Pokolistan and modeled himself after Zod, Superman finally met the real post-Crisis General Zod, a native of the planet Krypton. It was revealed that when Krypton exploded, the blast somehow caused a piece of the military fortress Fort Rozz to shift into the Phantom Zone. Within the walls of Fort Rozz, prisoners could become fully tangible again. Thanks to this, Zod and Ursa were able to interact and comfort each other during their long exile, and eventually they had a child, Lor-Zod. They eventually found a way to send Lor-Zod to Earth, using him as a catalyst to release all the Phantom Zone prisoners (ACTION COMICS vol. 1 #844-846, 2006-2007).
Clark Kent and Lois Lane looked after Lor, naming him Christopher, before General Zod led the Phantom Zone villains on an attack against Earth. With help from several heroes and villains, Superman sent the terrorists back into the Phantom Zone (ACTION COMICS ANNUAL vol. 1 #11, 2008).
World of New Krypton (2009-2010)
When the bottle city of Kandor was released from Brainiac’s imprisonment and restored, the newly freed Kryptonians only knew Zod as a hero and thus freed him from the Phantom Zone. To keep an eye on Zod, Superman joined the military guild (SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #1-12, 2009-2010). After a 90-minute war erupted between Earth and the Kryptonians, Zod and his followers were sent back to the Phantom Zone (SUPERMAN: WAR OF THE SUPERMEN #0-4, 2010).
New 52 (2011-2016)
In 2011 much of DC’s history was reimagined as the New 52. In this new version of events, Dru-Zod was the son of two Kryptonian scientists. When maddened animals attacked him and his father during an expedition, Zod’s father was killed. Zod himself escaped, and then spent a year in the wilderness before being found.
This Dru-Zod became a colonel in the Kryptonian military. To justify war against an alien race called the Char, he faked attacks on Krypton. But his plan was exposed by Jor-El. He and his conspirators Faora and Non were then sent to the Phantom Zone, only to later escape and attack Earth, killing many before being defeated by Wonder Woman and Superman (SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN vol. 1 #3, 2014). Zod and Faora then escaped again, but a nuclear explosion sent them back into the Zone (SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN vol. 1 #4-6, 2014).
Since 2016’s DC Rebirth, Zod seems to have regained his Post-Crisis origin. Though he has still fathered Lor-Zod with Ursa, his later history is different.
After escaping the Phantom Zone and fighting Superman, Zod wound up imprisoned on Earth for many years in a Phantom Zone sphere known as the Black Vault, a device that could act as a portal to the Zone (ACTION COMICS vol. 1 #981-984, 2017). The Russian government held the Black Vault in a lab, and the U.S. black-ops unit Task Force X (a.k.a. the Suicide Squad) later stole it. When the Squad accidentally released Zod, he was insane with rage and stood at nearly 10 feet tall due to the Vault’s energies (SUICIDE SQUAD vol. 5 #2-4, 2017).
After Zod’s body returned to normal, Task Force X director Amanda Waller attempted to make him her latest recruit to the Squad by implanting a Kryptonite bomb in his brain (SUICIDE SQUAD vol. 5 #16, 2017). After one mission with the Squad, Zod used his X-ray and heat vision to surgically remove the bomb (SUICIDE SQUAD vol. 5 #17, 2017).
Zod was then recruited into the new Superman Revenge Squad. On this team, he worked alongside the Kryptonian artificial intelligence known as the Eradicator, who hoped Zod would remold Earth into a copy of Krypton (SUICIDE SQUAD vol. 5 #17-19, 2017).
While the new Superman Revenge Squad made an attack on Superman, Zod freed Ursa and Lor-Zod from the Zone, evidently now meeting his son for the first time. With the Eradicator, the House of Zod then left Earth (ACTION COMICS vol. 1 #981-984, 2017). They found their way to Jekuul, another planet orbiting a yellow sun, and appointed themselves its new rulers after convincing the natives that they were gods (HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS Vol. 1 #37-38, 2018).