JSA Classified #3
Action Comics #845
|Created by||Mario Puzo|
|Place of origin||Krypton|
|Team affiliations||Kryptonian Military Guild|
Ursa is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. She first appeared in the 1978 film Superman: The Movie portrayed by actress Sarah Douglas. The character made her comic book debut in Action Comics #845 (January 2007). An adversary of the superhero Superman and accomplice of General Zod, she is typically depicted as having been imprisoned in the Phantom Zone along with Zod and Non.
Ursa is depicted in both films as a hater of any member of the male sex anywhere. The only exceptions to this prejudice appear to be Non and General Zod. In the first film, this aspect of her character is emphasized by Jor-El in his speech as he sentences them to the Phantom Zone. In the second film, as directed by Richard Lester, Ursa's male hating tendencies survive, but the reprise of Jor-El's speech emphasizes a different aspect of her character. In Lester's Superman II, Jor-El says "Ursa, the only feeling you showed was for your vicious general. Your only wish, to rule at his side." Lester's inclusion of this material (shot by Donner) alters the character slightly, making her softer and, at least to a degree, in love with General Zod. In Superman II footage shot by Richard Donner, Ursa is more vicious and expresses her desire to kill as many men as she can in one scene from an extended TV version. During the moon scene, Ursa meets an astronaut. Ursa tears off his NASA patch, killing him. She then kicks him between the legs, sending him off into space. This one scene showcases how cruel and powerful Ursa is. In Donner's footage, Ursa does not necessarily appear to be in love with General Zod, but is with him because they share common goals.
Throughout Superman II, Ursa collects symbols and badges as she encounters law enforcement and military officers on Earth, and she keeps these badges on her costume as symbols of those she has conquered or killed. She takes a NASA patch from an astronaut, a Sheriff's badge, a badge from a military officer's uniform at the White House, and several more badges and symbols that can be seen attached to her uniform as the film progresses.
Until 2006, the character of Ursa had never appeared in the Superman comic books, but a similar character, named Faora, made several appearances in the Pre-Crisis Superman comics. Faora was a Phantom Zone villain who first appeared in Action Comics #471 (May, 1977). Like Ursa, Faora hates all members of the male sex and was in fact sentenced to the Phantom Zone for "wantonly causing the death of 23 Kryptonian men in her own male concentration camp."
In JSA Classified #3, Power Girl (who was unsure about her true origins, at the time) was confronted by an escaped prisoner, from the Phantom Zone. He claimed that Power Girl's true identity, is Ursa, who had escaped the Zone with their help and promised to help the others escape. However, the prisoner was later revealed to be an illusion, created by the Psycho-Pirate.
Action Comics #845 (January 2007), which is the second part of the "Last Son" arc by Geoff Johns & Richard Donner, finally introduced Ursa to the Superman comic book canon. This version of her contains elements similar to the originally released version of Superman II (even though Donner is co-writing this arc) where she is in love with Zod. Zod and Ursa are the parents of the Kryptonian boy that Superman and Lois Lane adopted.
In a flashback in Action Comic Annual #10 a fleshed out retelling of the story told in Superman II partly aligned her story to her movie counterpart. Lover of General Zod, and part of the Kryptonian guard, she believed that Non and Jor-El were right about Krypton's final fate, and sought to rebel against the Council. When Non was kidnapped, lobotomized and turned into a brute with minimal intelligence and unable to speak, Zod and Ursa snapped, instigating open rebellion, while Jor-El surrendered to the Council, eventually using the Phantom Zone projector upon the trio during the trial seen in at has been the movie. Ursa stayed loyal to Zod, even in their "exile", and believing that Jor-El should have been able to save Krypton, or at least his lineage, agreed with Zod in pursuing and taking vengeance over the House of El.
Ursa appears in another flashback alongside Zod in Action Comics #866. Here, she and Zod encounter Brainiac, who shrinks Kandor. During this encounter Brainiac killed the whole unit under Ursa's command. This paralyzes her with fear, changes her into the more vindictive person she is now. She runs a Black Ops squad that has been living on earth in secret. After Zod's attack on New Krypton she seem to be unable focus on her work and goes to Zod's side. Superman and even Non, lobotomized, seem to know her pain and seems to want to comfort her at this time. She is along with Superman or Commander El and Commander Gor now the leader of the Kryptonian military.
Despite her initial, brief joy in motherhood, she still shows the brunt of her misandric belief on her son, Lor-Zod, who was abused on a regular basis on the account of his perceived weakness (due to his conception in the Phantom Zone, Lor ages in uncontrollable grow spurts and exhibits weaker powers than the rest of his race under a yellow sun). As a result, Ursa is now completely estranged from Lor, who arrived on Earth and was raised as Chris Kent—the foster son of Clark Kent and his wife Lois Lane. Chris, upon returning to Earth one more time, openly defied his own legacy, mercilessly beating Ursa to save Thara Ak-Var, his current paramour. Ursa no longer considers Chris part of her family, and still resents Lois Lane for her bond with her estranged son.
This version has developed a weakness to bright light and wears goggles. This apparently came about as a side-effect of being imprisoned in the Phantom Zone repeatedly.
Following DC Rebirth, Ursa has been reintroduced in the new continuity as Zod's wife, along with their son Lor-Zod. After joining Henshaw's Superman Revenge Squad and making believe them to free his army, General Zod used the Phantom Zone projector to free them. Along with the Eradicator II, they fled to another planet, planning to create a New Krypton.
As a Kryptonian, Ursa derives her superhuman abilities from the yellow sun of Earth's solar system. Her basic abilities are high levels of superhuman strength, superhuman speed and superhuman stamina sufficient to bend steel in her bare hands, overpower a locomotive, outrun a speeding bullet and leap over a tall building in a single bound as well as heightened senses of hearing and sight including X-ray vision as well as telescopic and microscopic visions; virtual invulnerability; accelerated healing; longevity; heat vision; powerful freezing breath; and flight. Being female, her power levels are more akin to Supergirl and Wonder Woman.
Similar to other Phantom Zone escapees, Ursa typically never experiences the full measure of her abilities as she is never given enough time to absorb and metabolite the yellow solar energy of Earth's sun before she is defeated and banished back to the Zone. As such, Ursa could prove more powerful than even Supergirl and possibly Wonder Woman as well due to her being a fully matured Kryptonian female while Supergirl is a later adolescent Kryptonian female and Wonder Woman is an Amazon. Her full strength would also make her a sufficient threat to Superman due to her combat prowess.
Beyond just her superhuman strength and experienced hand-to-hand combat skills, Ursa is a ruthless killer who will do anything immoral to achieve her ends. She is fiercely loyal to General Zod and is willing to fight and die for his loyalty. Ursa is also a misandrist with an extreme sociopathic hatred of males, the only apparent exceptions being General Zod and her Phantom Zone cohorts. This sentiment seems to extend to a lesser degree to her own son, Lor-Zod, as she willingly and gleefully stood by while Zod violently and physically abused the young boy.
Like all Kryptonians, Ursa is vulnerable to Kryptonite and red solar radiation. Her virtual invulnerability does not provide protection from mind control or magic and can be overpowered and cause her to experience significant and even fatal injuries with significant force such as that of several atomic explosions or strikes from an opponent with superior strength and durability such as Doomsday. Her superhuman strength is inferior to the likes of Doomsday and her superhuman speed is inferior to Speedsters like the Flash. Her superhuman strength is limited due to her natural limits even while within the empowering light of Sol.