Created by James Robinson and Nicola Scott
About 45 years ago, on the planet Krypton, two pacifist scientists from the house of Zod were executed for their radical beliefs. The scientists' young son, Val-Zod was taken in by Jor-El and his wife Lara. When he was young, Val met the El's niece, Kara Zor-El, whose parents had also died by this point. (Earth 2 #22, 27)
Jor-El's radical experiment became the planet's downfall, when his gravity well caused its sun to destabilize, instead of rejuvenate. (Worlds' Finest #27) In a panic, Jor-El and Lara prepared four small spacecrafts to escape Krypton's destruction. Just before the planet exploded, they saved Val, Jor-El's son, Kal-El (Earth-2's original Superman), Kara, and a fourth person has yet to be identified. Val-Zod and Kara's ships arrived significantly later than Kal-El's. A measure of suspended animation had kept them from aging. Superman noticed his cousin's arrival on Earth, but Val's ship was found by Terry Sloan. Sloan recognized Val's potential as a Kryptonian and chose to secret the boy away in the World Army's Arkham Base. Val grew up with no knowledge of his potential super-powers and was secluded. Thus was Sloan able to keep this "threat" pacified. (#22)
None of Earth's heroes knew about Val's existence until long after it had been invaded by Apokolips. Val remained in isolation until Batman freed Jimmy Olsen from the World Army's prison. Olsen knew everything; he directed the other heroes to a secret lower level, and Aquawoman punched through the floor to access Val's cell. The others were perplexed when this supposed "alien," turned out to be just a young, unassuming man. Val assured them he lived there of his own free will. Just then he became ill and Batman realized that it was because of the kryptonite he was carrying—the young man was from Krypton. Outside, an evil version of Superman called Brutaal was destroying the Earth. Batman realized that Val might be their only hope in defeating him. (Earth 2 #19)
But Val was afraid to even go outside. Because of his small spaceship and life in isolation he was now agoraphobic. Lois Lane (now in the android body of the Red Tornado) took it upon herself to care for the boy. Lois knew plenty about Kryptonian power, and told Val that he would gain great powers under the sun. She convinced him to venture outside. (#20)
Val's powers increased quickly and Lois took him out for his first flight. This immediately drew the attention of Brutaal, who aimed to kill Val until Lois intervened and identified herself to him — the "Superman" was stunned to see his dead wife again. (#22) While Lois took the focus off of Val, the Arkham base was besieged by Parademons and Red Arrow was killed. Val had inherited his parents' pacifist beliefs and in the battle, he refused to kill even a Parademon but protected the others. (#23)
When the heroes retreated to the World Army's new base in Amazonia, Batman scolded Val for not fighting. Jimmy defended Val's decision and befriended Val. He also noticed something familiar lying beneath the boy's tattered clothes — a Kryptonian uniform bearing the symbol of the house of El. On Earth it was the symbol of Superman. (#24) This suit was designed to survive the voyage in space but more than that, Val didn't want to remove it lest he dishonor the Els. As the Army prepared for another onslaught, Doctor Fate put his helmet over Val's head, and Val emerged with a clear conviction to fight (but still vowed not to kill). (#25)
Val confronted Brutaal in space, which only made the monster suspicious. In their final battle in Geneva, Val's super-strength began to stagger Brutaal. The Superman clone's powers waned with his forces' defeat, and his entire form eventually crumbled. The Red Tornado finished him off with a final blast. (#26)
Val accepted the responsibilities inherent with wearing the 'S' shield and undertook a new mission with Batman and Lois in Geneva. It was there that Power Girl and the Huntress finally returned to their home world and confronted the people wearing their families' insignias. Power Girl recognized Val after a moment's confusion, but their happiness quickly drew them back together. The two of them eradicated a contamination by colliding at super-speed and creating the effect of a neutron bomb. (#27)
In post-Infinite Crisis continuity, there was a character named Lor-Zod. This was the son of General Zod and Ursa. On Earth he was taken under wing by Clark Kent and Lois Lane and given the name Christopher Kent. He first appeared in Action Comics #844 (Dec. 2006), and later went on to use the alias Nightwing.
Val-Zod has the same powers as others from Krypton while living under a yellow sun. These include super-strength, flight, invulnerability, super-speed, x-ray vision, heat vision, and super-senses.