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"That awful day Metropolis--and the entire world--came under attack by an armada of alien Kryptonians. Beings of incredible power that no normal human could hope to match. It might have been the end of us all if not for Superman."
―News reporter[src]

The Black Zero Event, also known as the Battle of Metropolis,[1] was a conflict that occurred between the Sword of Rao, led by General Dru-Zod, and the U.S. military, who were backed by Superman.

The battle resulted in an innumerable amount of destruction in downtown Metropolis and an immense loss of life. All but one member of the Sword of Rao were sent to the Phantom Zone, along with several humans. The remaining member Zod was, however, ultimately defeated and killed by Superman.

This battle was also the first major battle to occur between extraterrestrial beings in the modern world and revealed the existence of the Kryptonians, specifically Superman.

Background

The Black Zero Event

The Black Zero appears over Metropolis

"Oh my god... They're terraforming!"
Emil Hamilton[src]

The Black Zero appeared over Metropolis as another World Engine was dispatched to the Indian Ocean, on the opposite side of planet Earth. Both were activated, sending gravity pulses through Earth and causing immense destruction to the surrounding area, while increasing the mass and density to the planet. The first blast was powerful enough to shatter windows, lift cars, and destroy airborne vehicles. The following pulses caused most of the damage, lifting objects and people into the air before slamming them into the ground with incredible force. Most of said objects were then crushed and dissipated.

Bruce Wayne, witnessing the Black Zero working in tandem with the World Engine

However, Emil Hamilton quickly figured out that this was a terraforming technique, and that the Kryptonians were turning Earth into Krypton. Fortunately, Superman arrived at the Military Base with the ship that had brought him to Earth and told them that they can create a singularity to absorb the Black Zero if they can cause the phantom drive in his ship to collide with the one aboard the Black Zero. Nathan Hardy proposed they drop the ship from a C-17, while Superman informed them that he'll leave it to them, as he must deal with the World Engine over the Indian Ocean.[2]

Retaliation

Jor-El's consciousness is destroyed by General Zod

"I will harvest the codex from your son's corpse, and I will rebuild Krypton atop his bones."
―Zod to Jor-El[src]

As Superman and the Air Force left for their targets, General Zod arrived at the Fortress of Solitude where the AI of Jor-El pleaded with him to stop. Zod refused, promising to rebuild Krypton atop Superman's bones, and destroyed the AI of his old ally. He then took command of the Fortress and flew it to Metropolis.[2] Bruce Wayne arrived at Metropolis in a helicopter and saw the Black Zero destroying the city. He called his worker, Jack O'Dwyer, to evacuate from the Wayne Financial Building with the rest of the staff.[3]

Superman destroys the World Engine

Superman made his way to the World Engine and immediately began to feel the effects of the device's process. Upon his arrival, the World Engine activated its liquid geo defense mechanism and attacked Superman. Despite his best efforts, Superman was eventually overwhelmed by the World Engine and thrown into its gravitational beam. Meanwhile, the United States Air Force made its first attack against the Black Zero, which proved to be ineffective, as they were unable to penetrate its gravitational field, leading to their missiles, as well as their aircraft, to be thrown off course into the city, causing even greater destruction, including collapsing a building. In the Indian Ocean, however, Superman managed to find the strength to rise, despite the force of the World Engine's beam, and flew through the center, rupturing it and causing the beam shared by the World Engine and Black Zero to disappear.[2]

Battle

Destruction of the Black Zero

Superman takes down the Fortress

"If you destroy this ship, you destroy Krypton!"
"Krypton had its chance!"
—Zod and Superman[src]

With the World Engine down, the Air Force proceeded with their attack on the Black Zero. However, they hit a setback when Lois Lane was unable to activate the Phantom Drive, as the command key refused to go into the slot. They were then attacked by the Fortress of Solitude, piloted by General Zod. Superman intervened before Zod could shoot down the C-17 and brought the ship down, causing it to crash into the city, bringing down several skyscrapers in the process.

The singularity

Seeing the C-17 approaching, Faora-Ul left the Black Zero and boarded the C-17, beginning to kill everyone on board. Hardy led her away while Hamilton managed to resolve the setback and activate the Phantom Drive. Lois Lane fell out of the C-17 as Hardy set it directly at the Black Zero, creating the singularity and sucking both ships into the Phantom Zone. Superman recovered, saw Lois falling, and flew to catch her, nearly being caught in the pull of the singularity before it disappeared.[2]

Final Duel

Bruce Wayne seeing General Zod's heat vision rip the building apart

"There's only one way this ends, Kal. Either you die or I do."
―General Zod to Superman[src]

Upon landing, Superman noticed that General Zod had emerged from the wreckage of the Fortress and flew to confront him. Zod, enraged at Superman for preventing him from carrying out his mission, lunged at him, swearing to wipe out all of humanity. Superman vowed to stop him and the two collided, launching Superman into the Wayne Financial Building. Zod entered, but began feeling the effects of the yellow sun and released his heat vision for the first time, shredding through the building until it eventually collapsed and killing Jack O'Dwyer and a few others who were still in the building.[2] As Zod fled, Superman quickly flew out of the collapsing Wayne Financial Building to pursue Zod. A horrified Bruce Wayne witnessed this particular portion of the aliens' battle from a nearby street, desperately urging his employees to evacuate the building just as he saw the beams of Zod's heat vision cutting through the upper floor's walls. He was too late, however, as the building had already begun collapsing, but he fearlessly ran right into the falling debris, desperate to try and save anyone he could.[3]

Bruce Wayne angrily watches Superman and General Zod re-enter Earth

Superman flew after Zod, and the two continued to fight. Zod told Superman that the conflict would only end when one of them was dead. As the two continued to fight, Zod shed his armor and displayed his newfound ability of flight. The fight took to the skies all over the city, eventually making it into space.[2] As Bruce was looking for survivors, he found Wayne Financial Building security guard Wallace Keefe trapped under the rubble. He and a few other people manage to pull him out of the rubble, but Wallace frantically exclaimed that he couldn't feel his legs, as they had been crushed, becoming crippled from the waist down. While tending to Wallace, Bruce found a little girl standing under loose rubble and managed to save her before it collapsed on her. He asked the girl where her mother was, but she pointed to the collapsed building, implying her mom might have been killed inside during the battle. Bruce gave her a hug to comfort her as he looked up to the sky and witnessed as the satellite and the two Kryptonians fell out of the sky. Zod managed to bring the fight back to Metropolis after throwing a Wayne Enterprises satellite at Superman.[3]

General Zod threatening to kill a family while Superman pleads

The two re-entered Earth's atmosphere and landed in the train station, where Superman managed to get Zod in a hold. Refusing to accept defeat, Zod tried to incinerate a nearby family with his heat vision. Superman pleaded with him to stop, but after realizing Zod wouldn't stop while he is still alive, he regretfully snapped Zod's neck, killing him. Superman then dropped to the floor and screamed in anguish at what he had just done.[2][4]

Aftermath

During the disaster, many people were buried under the collapsed buildings. The trains stopped running, and the cell towers were all destroyed. A boy named Rory Greeley thought he had lost his mother during the conflict, but later found out that she had survived.[5]

The Superman statue in Heroes Park

In order to commemorate all of those fallen in the tragic event, Heroes Park was established on the epicenter of what was left after General Zod's terraformation attack, with a massive silvery statue of the alien hero Superman being built as well, in honor of the extraordinary heroics that he displayed while helping save Earth from the malevolent, invading Kryptonians.[3]

Reacting to the incident, a significant number of survivalist militias were formed, fearing that Superman was the scout for a larger future invasion force.[6] TIME published an article regarding the Kryptonian disaster. A copy of this issue was acquired by Freddy Freeman.[7]

Finch and her committee discuss Superman

Shortly after the Black Zero Event, Senator Finch set up a meeting with her fellow senators and General Elkins at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. Based on data from the BZE and Superman's subsequent battle with General Zod, General Elkins presented a CGI simulation of a male Kryptonian attacking a city such as Metropolis, fighting against F-35s. Senator Stearns defended Superman's intentions for Earth, due to the latter having saved the planet from his own invading people. After the group began heatedly debating regarding this, Finch promptly calmed things down, stating that before an ultimate decision regarding Superman was made, the issue of his existence had to be approached objectively, and she therefore advocated for the creation of a committee to study and learn more about Superman, to which the majority of those present agreed. As everybody left, Finch asked General Elkins for everything he had on Superman.[6]

Casualties

  • Jack O'Dwyer
  • Emil Hamilton
  • Nathan Hardy
  • Sage's mother[3]
  • General Dru-Zod
  • Civilian casualties[3]
    • Kristin Berge
    • Gary Dodd
    • Scott Eagle
    • Kevin Erb
    • Richard Gartrell
    • Patrick George
    • Annie Jewell
    • Rodger Meilink
    • Bob Morgan
    • Rick Radomsky
    • Jason Rainey
    • John Slove
    • John Tracey
    • Eliza Wexelman

Behind the scenes

  • During his final battle with General Dru-Zod, the novel describes a sequence absent from the film, in-between Superman being hurled through numerous buildings and both of them flying into outer space - a recovered Kal-El flies back at his opponent, and sends Zod flying towards the river, where the Weisinger Bridge connected Metropolis to the mainland. Zod crashes beneath it, splashing into the river. The enraged former general emerges shortly thereafter, however, quickly blasting through the bridge and tackling Kal into outer space.[4]

References

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