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Black Zero is a name shared by two supervillains, two terrorist organizations, and a computer virus that have all appeared in various comic book series published by DC Comics. The most recent Black Zero supervillain first appeared in Superboy #63 (May 1999) and was created by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett.

Original Black Zero supervillainEdit

BlackZeroCover

Black Zero as he appeared on the cover to Superman #205.

The original Black Zero appeared pre-Crisis in Superman (vol. 1) #205 (1968), in a story entitled "The Man Who Destroyed Krypton" written by Otto Binder with artwork by Al Plastino. This Black Zero revealed to Superman that he was a space saboteur who destroyed planets. He had been hired to destroy Krypton, and discovered that the internal stresses which would have destroyed it in any case were dying down, necessitating his involvement to ensure it exploded.

This story suggests that were it not for something none of them knew, Jor-El would have been wrong and the Science Council right. E. Nelson Bridwell hypothesizedTemplate:Fact that what Black Zero had noticed was the Green Lantern Tomar Re's attempts to prevent the destruction (as seen in Superman (vol. 1) #257 (1972)), meaning the two sets of interference canceled each other out, and Jor-El was right.

Black Zero organizationsEdit

The first post-Crisis version of Black Zero appeared in the 1988 World of Krypton miniseries written by John Byrne and illustrated by Mike Mignola. Although later described as a "clone liberation movement" in Superboy (vol. 3) #61, Black Zero was described as a "terrorist" organization that was ultimately responsible for the destruction of Krypton: in the Third Age of Krypton, Kryptonians extended their lives by maintaining clones in suspended animation (the Clone Banks), which they then harvested for body parts. Trouble in Kryptonian society concerning this issue emerged after it became publicly known that a prominent citizen raised a copy of herself in order to marry this clone to her own son. The enraged son publicly confronted his mother (after presumably killing the clone wife) and shot her, but was forcibly stopped from killing himself. After widespread public knowledge ensued concerning the fact that a clone was allowed to achieve full sentience as a living being, a new Kryptonian war began. Prominently featured in this war was the Black Zero organization, which acted against this "genetic slavery", prompting the War of Clone Rights, which lasted for ten centuries. In their final act, Black Zero detonated a device that would later become known as the Destroyer. In essence, this device functioned as a giant nuclear gun, that when activated fired a concentrated, sustained burst of nuclear energy directly into Krypton's core. Though subsequently destroyed by an ancestor of Jor-El himself, the Destroyer's effect would only later be fully realized as the chain reaction deep within Krypton that it unleashed would later obliterate the planet.

A second Black Zero group appeared in the 2005 graphic novel, Superman: Infinite City.

Most recently, the name "Black Zero" was used by an elite Kryptonian military force, under the command of Ursa. This unit included Thara Ak-Var's parents. The unit, except for Ursa, was killed attempting to defend Kandor from Brainiac. [1]

The "Black Zero II" computer virusEdit

The Black Zero virus appeared in Superman + the Legion of Super-Heroes. An intelligent computer virus created by the terrorist group, Black Zero II was dormant in the Kryptonian technology used to create the Fortress of Solitude. After being inadvertently activated by Apparition, Black Zero II ran Superman and the Legion through a warped version of Kryptonian history, intending to finish with the destruction of Earth. It was halted when Brainiac 5 inadvertently caused a power outage, and subsequently removed the virus from the Fortress' computers.

Black Zero (Superboy)Edit

Blackzero

Black Zero, art by Tom Grummett.

The second Black Zero supervillain was introduced in Superboy (vol. 3) #62 as part of the '"Hypertension" storyline.

Fictional character biographyEdit

Black Zero was an alternate version of Superboy, from a Hypertime stream in which Superman had not returned to life and his clone had been left to mature fully, developing his full Kryptonian powers in addition to his tactile telekinesis. As a result, he had become Superman II. However, he believed he was resented for not being the original Superman. When his title as Superman II and his own inexperience led to a battle in which his reality's versions of Supergirl and Brainiac died along with 300 civilians, a public backlash began against cloning. After Guardian was killed by a mob, Superman II decided the anti-clone lobby had to be stopped by any means necessary. Since he believed he was fighting for clone rights, he took the name Black Zero after studying Kryptonian history at the Fortress of Solitude.[2]

Turning Project Cadmus into a fortress, and leading an army of Guardian clones, Black Zero began a war in which most of Earth's heroes were destroyed, and then recreated by Cadmus' mad scientist Dabney Donovan as soldiers for the Project.

After conquering his Earth, he was contacted by Metron of the New Gods, who offered him the chance to enter Hypertime and "rescue" other worlds in which clones were being oppressed. To his bafflement, the Superboys of these worlds often stood against him, leading him to store them in stasis chambers similar to the Clone Banks of Krypton. He was eventually defeated by a combined effort from the Challengers of the Unknown and all his other selves, led by the Superboy of the main continuity. Kon-El tries to talk some sense into Black Zero as they are traveling through Hypertime; but Black Zero is struck by a bolt of Hypertime lightning and is never seen again.

Powers, abilities, and equipmentEdit

Tactile-telekinesisEdit

Black Zero's main unique power is "tactile telekinesis". He uses it as a telekinetic force field that surrounds his body as a protective shield and allows him to enhance his already Superman-level speed, strength, flight and invulnerability. Tactile telekinesis also allows him to disassemble machines and other complex constructions by pushing the field between the individual parts; alternatively, he can hold such constructs together if they are coming apart. He can also manipulate aggregate solid masses such as volumes of sand or dust in the same way, causing the individual particles to fly apart in an explosive manner to create particle clouds or a forceful attack; he can also perform the same stunt with solid masses that are splintered, such as a cracked slab of concrete or fractured pane of glass. The tactile TK field also lets him break free of an opponent's grip by pushing the field outward to force the opponent away. Other creative uses include rendering an opponent immobile by extending the TK field as long as they are both standing on the same ground.

Additionally he can use his telekinesis in blocking physical assaults although its ability to block energy is much lower, leaving him more susceptible to energy-based attacks.

Kryptonian powersEdit

Main article: Powers and abilities of Superman''

As his Kryptonian physiology comes from Superman he has all the superpowers that The Man of Steel does, including heat vision, super-hearing, super breath, invulnerability, and more.

Like Superman, he derives his Kryptonian powers from the absorption of solar energy from the Earth's yellow sun and he is also highly vulnerable to kryptonite of his own universe and magic.

Costumes and equipmentEdit

Black Zero wears a black body suit offset by a red cape, gold markings and a pair of glasses. Additionally on his left arm, he carries a Hypertime gun, equipped with a one Hypertime bullet which he can fire at his target and transport them directly to his holding cells.

Behind the scenesEdit

Black Zero spent years tracking his alternate versions throughout Hypertime trying to validate his decision on his home world. He found no validation and grew to be angry and vengeful over his mishandling of his homeworld.

Black Zero was in command of an army that was very powerful. His army consisted of hundreds of clones of Guardian, Steel, altered clones of Hawkman, Aquaman, Batman and many more. After a hero was killed in battle Black Zero would have his resident genetesist Dobney Donovan recreate the fallen heroes into animal-like altered clones. He also had an army of Doomsdays from multiple different realties.

After his "death", he remained a reminder to Superboy as to what could happen if he ever went out of control.

In the "Hypertension" storyline, Black Zero seemed to be more powerful than Superman, as he was able to fight off a combined attack from Kon-El, dozens of alternate versions of Superboy including the Pre-Crisis Superboy (Kal-El) and Krypto. He also seemed very unafraid of confronting the Superman in Kon-El's reality.


External linksEdit


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