Faora is the name of several female super-villains in DC ComicsSuperman titles. All of them have some connection to Superman's home planet of Krypton. Most commonly, she is an ally and sometimes the wife or lover of Superman's Kryptonian nemesis, General Zod.
The first Faora, Faora Hu-Ul, was introduced in Action Comics #471. She was a beautiful Kryptonian woman whose unexplained hatred for men led her to torture and kill 23 men in a secret concentration camp. For this, she was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone to complete a sentence of 300 Kryptonian years, the second longest term after Jax-Ur. Ironically this allowed her to survive her homeworld's destruction, along with the other Phantom Zone prisoners, albeit in an invisible ghostlike form. While imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, she was often depicted plotting against Superman with General Zod and Jax-Ur. Her hatred of men was not limited to Kryptonians, as demonstrated by her pointless murder of a young Frenchman who was attracted by her beauty.
Faora was an expert at the Kryptonian martial art of Horo-Kanu, which utilized the pressure points on the Kryptonian body. This made her an extremely dangerous foe for Superman to face in hand-to-hand combat-—he was forced to flee from their first encounter. During one of her first appearances, Faora could manifest some sort of "mental lightning" to physically attack other Kryptonians, but did not exhibit this additional power during later appearances.
Panel from Superman #22 (October 1988). Superman (left) executing General Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora (center left to right). Art by John Byrne.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, another Faora (renamed Zaora) appeared in the Pocket Universe created by the Time Trapper, along with General Zod and Quex-Ul. The three tricked the Pocket Universe's Lex Luthor into releasing them from the Phantom Zone. After the Pocket Earth's population continued to resist their conquest of it, the three villains destroyed the atmosphere, killing almost all life. Superman defeated them by permanently stripping the three of their super powers with gold kryptonite. He then executed them with kryptonite in punishment for their crimes, and to protect the real Earth after they threatened to somehow regain their powers and destroy it as well. Zaora pleaded with Superman for her life, offering him sexual favors, before she succumbed to the kryptonite.
In the Eradicator mini-series, the Eradicator was pressured into embracing his programming by another construct of Kem-L's. This artifact, which was trapped in the Phantom Zone, claimed to be called Faora, after Kem-L's grandmother, and to be the ultimate repository of Kryptonian mythology. However it is unclear how much of this is true.
The Eradicator rejected Faora, "downloading" all the aspects of Kem-L's programming that contradicted Dr. David Conner's morality into the Faora program. Unknown to him, this gave it a new, monstrous form and the ability to leave the Zone, and it targeted Conner's family. The Eradicator destroyed it, but not before it killed Conner's wife.
Another Faora was introduced as one of the aides of General Zod of the fictional nation of Pokolistan. This character, who debuted in Action Comics #779 (July 2001), was an orphan metahuman. Faora has the ability to disrupt molecular bonds. She was the creator of the mutagenic virus which was the linchpin of Zod's plan. Her whereabouts following the General's defeat are unknown.
In a 2001–2002 storyline, Superman and Lois Lane visit a version of Krypton which is later revealed to have been created by the villainous Brainiac 13 and based on Jor-El's favorite period in Kryptonian history. In this Krypton, Lois and Clark become fugitives and are pursued by Faora and Kru-El, romantically linked manhunters known as "the Hounds of Zod." This version of Faora, calling herself "the Tigress of Zod", later returns as an ally of Jor-El. She and Kru-El are both killed in a struggle against Kryptonian religious zealots.
Faora appeared in the 1988 animated Superman episode "The Hunter" voiced by Ginny McSwain. She appeared alongside General Zod and Ursa as a Phantom Zone prisoner and helped General Zod to create The Hunter (a creature that can transmute itself into any substance that it touches).
A Kryptonian villainess named Mala (voiced by Leslie Easterbrook and Sarah Douglas) appears in two episodes of Superman: The Animated Series; her character appears to be a blend of Faora and Ursa, the female antagonist of the live-action film Superman II. She is the second-in-command (and possible lover) of High General Jax-Ur, and is exiled into the Phantom Zone for her complicity in Jax-Ur's attempted coup d'etat against the Kryptonian government. Believing that she has fulfilled her original sentence, Superman releases her and recruits her as an ally in his fight against crime, but she quickly proves too brutal, and, impatient with his methods, releases Jax-Ur and joins his attempt to take over the Earth.
In the Legion of Super-Heroes animated TV series, the pre-Crisis version of Faora can be seen in a cameo in the episode "Phantoms" as one of the many Phantom Zone villains attacking the Legion members when they were temporarily trapped there.
Faora made her live action debut appearance on Smallville, portrayed by Sharon Taylor (original likeness) and Erica Durance (possessing Lois Lane). In the season eight episode "Bloodline", Faora escapes the Phantom Zone in her immaterial Phantom-Zone form and possesses Lois Lane. Faora/Lois reveals to Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) and Davis Bloome (Sam Witwer) that she is General Zod's wife, and that Sam is Zod and Faora's genetically engineered son (the Smallville incarnation of Doomsday). After a fight with Clark Kent (Tom Welling), Faora's spirit is removed from Lois's body by Kara Kent (Laura Vandervoort). Faora becomes a recurring character in season nine. Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman), in the possession of the Orb, releases the Kandorian duplicates, including a younger clone of Faora. Faora is both a loyal soldier and lover of Major Zod (Callum Blue). The episode "Pandora" shows an alternate future where Faora gains her Kryptonian abilities through Zod's solar tower and serves Zod, wearing the Mark of Zod on her chest. The episode "Conspiracy" reveals that Faora has a younger sister Vala (Crystal Lowe). In the episode "Sacrifice", Amanda Waller (Pam Grier) takes Faora and Vala from the Kandorians. Faora offers to work with Checkmate when Zod attacks. Zod strangles Faora, realizing too late that she is pregnant with their baby. In the season finale "Salvation", Faora is avenged by Clark and the Kandorians once Zod's deception comes out.
In the movies Superman and Superman II, the Kryptonian villainess Ursa is based on Faora. She has a hatred of all men, except for Zod. She fights Superman alongside General Zod and Non.
In the 2013 feature film Man of Steel, Sub-Commander Faora-Ul is portrayed by actress Antje Traue. In the film, she is Zod's lieutenant, and is sentenced to 300 cycles in the Phantom Zone along with Zod and his forces. After Krypton's destruction, Faora and the other prisoners are freed from the Phantom Zone, and search for Kal-El and the Codex, a device containing the genetic code for all future Kryptonians, which were able to escape the planet's destruction due to Jor-El's last-minute actions. After finding him on Earth, Faora is responsible for bringing Kal-El and Lois Lane aboard Zod's ship upon Zod altering the deal with the U.S. Military. She was present when Zod explains to Superman about Krypton and it's failed colonies. After Superman and Lois Lane escape, Faora and another powerful Kryptonian grunt named Nam-Ek confront Kal-El and the U.S. Military in Smallville, but are defeated when Kal-El manages to break her helmet. After Zod begins terraforming the Earth with a world engine retrieved from a Kryptonian Colony that they visited before arriving to Earth, Faora and all the other Kryptonians (except Zod) are sent back to the Phantom Zone. As in the comics, Faora is a major threat to Kal-El in hand-to-hand combat, easily outfighting him at first. Kal-El is able to hold his own against her and Nam-Ek, since the two Kryptonians have yet to attain heat vision and flight and he is stronger than they are due to his longer exposure to solar radiation. Faora is taken out of the fight when Colonel Hardy crashes the airplane they are on into Zod's ship, sending them back into the Phantom Zone. Gal Gadot, who portrays Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, revealed in an interview that she was offered the part of Faora in the film, but turned it down due to her pregnancy at the time.