"The Origin of Nightwing and Flamebird!": === Flamebird ===
- We are the best Krypton has to offer! We are Krypton's sword and shield! General Zod sends us because we will get the job done! Nor for him, not for the council, but for our people!
- — Lt. Ursa
Synopsis for "The Origin of Nightwing and Flamebird!"
Years ago on Krypton, the alien conqueror Brainiac came to the planet intent on assimilating the world's capitol city of Kandor. A Kryptonian Black Zero unit led by Lt. Ursa was dispatched to respond to the crisis. As the Brainiac Probes began slaughtering soldiers, Ursa lost her nerve and was crippled with fear as two of her aspirants Ak-Var and his wife Tes Ak-Var were murdered before her eyes. Ak-Var's young daughter Thara witnessed the carnage, but was trapped behind the force field surrounding the city. Brainiac uprooted Kandor from the planet, miniaturized it, and placed it within his ship's laboratory for future observation.
In the years following Krypton's destruction, Brainiac came upon the surviving floating community of Argo City. He assimilated Argo City with Kandor and Thara Ak-Var met Alura and Zor-El. The Els took Thara into their home and treated her as one of their family. Thara grew very close with their daughter Kara.
As she grew older, Thara began having prophetic dreams of a legendary Kryptonian creature known as the Flamebird. These dreams drove her to join the Kryptonian Religious Guild and she became a devout worshiper of Rao. While living with the other guild members, Thara continued to have dreams. She dreamed of a boy conceived and born in the Phantom Zone and knew that it was her destiny to meet with him. She quit the Religious Guild and returned to Zor-El and Alura. They decided to place her in charge of the Kryptonian Defense Council. Thara knew that this would help her in her search for this mysterious child from the Phantom Zone. With access to nearly any military equipment she could find, Thara donned a suit of armor and a miniature Phantom Zone Projector and journeyed into the Phantom Zone. She soon united with the boy from her dreams -- Lor-Zod. Lor-Zod was the son of General Zod and her parents' former commander, Lt. Ursa. Held prisoner inside of a material anomaly called Fort Rozz, Thara freed Lor-Zod and escaped from the Phantom Zone. Together, they assumed the costumed identities of Flamebird and Nightwing.
Though not of Krypton, Lor-Zod's (aka, Christopher Kent) origins are steeped in Kryptonian history. Prior to the destruction of Krypton, the Kryptonian prison known as Fort Rozz was the scene of a massive riot, one that resulted in an exploding Phantom Zone projector that shunted the entire facility into the Phantom Zone. The wraith-like Zoners who already existed there found that Fort Rozz existed in a null pocket where they could regain their material forms. The criminals slaughtered all of the prison guards and took control of the fort.
This enabled General Zod and Ursa to conceive a child, Lor-Zod. Due to the unconventional nature of the Phantom Zone, as well as the unique nature of his conception, Lor-Zod was able to maintain his corporeal form. This proved to be more of a curse than a benefit as he could feel the coldness of the Zone itself as well as pangs of hunger -- traits that the other Zoners were immune to due to their insubstantial nature.
Zod and Ursa regularly abused Lor-Zod and used him as a tool in order to escape the Phantom Zone. The only Zoner who restrained from visiting these cruelties upon Lor-Zod was the addle-brained Non. Whereas the others showed the child nothing but hate, Non showed him kindness.
Lor-Zod was present when the Zoners attempted to take control of Metropolis. It was at this time that Lor-Zod met Superman who treated him as a true son and gave him the human name Christopher Kent. Inspired by Superman's selflessness and heroism, Lor-Zod sacrificed his own freedom in order to return the Kryptonian terrorists back to the Phantom Zone.
Back in the Zone, Lor-Zod fled from his parents and hid inside the smaller ducts and catacombs of Fort Rozz. It was at this time that he began having inexplicable growth spurts, rapidly aging to that of a teenager.
He discovered some reverse-engineered Brainiac technology that had been left behind from when the fort was still on Krypton and realized that his parents were using it to plan their next escape. Lor-Zod donned a headband from one of the probes and this created a psionic link with Thara Ak-Var. Shortly thereafter, Thara Ak-Var appeared in the Phantom Zone and united with Lor. Using a miniaturized Phantom Zone Projector, they were able to escape the zone together.
Appearing in "The Origin of Nightwing and Flamebird!"
- Flamebird (First appearance) (Flashback only) (In dream sequence only)
- Kryptonian Military Guild
- Black Zero
- Kryptonian Religious Guild (First full appearance)
- Kryptonian Science Guild
- Brainiac's Head Ship (interior)
- Issue shipped on June 17th, 2009.
- Includes a five-page Daily Planet column about the Red Circle.
- Fort Rozz is spelled Fort Roz in this issue.
- Lor-Zod returned to the Phantom Zone as a child in Action Comics Annual #11.