- "Unlike you, I will lead from a throne not from the shadows! Every human, including the woman you love, will kneel before Zod!" – Major Zod to Clark Kent, Salvation
It was soon revealed that the clones only had memories of their original selves up to the point their DNA was harvested. As a result of this, Zod's younger clone lacked the original's memories of trying to take over Krypton and invariably leading to its destruction; however, he did have his memories of Jor-El denying his attempts to resurrect his son. Zod, along with his soldiers, took over the Luthor Mansion, where he imprisoned and interrogated Tess Mercer. Confused by their sudden appearance on Earth without having any of the powers they were supposed to have under the yellow sun, Zod's troops soon began to question his leadership, knocked him unconscious and imprisoned him along with Tess. Later, when he was brought before his soldiers, Zod assured them that he would find the answers that they were looking for or die trying. Trusting his word, all the troops knelt before him. When they left the mansion, they erased all the footage of the past three weeks.
When an airborne virus turned the citizens of Metropolis into zombies, Zod discovered that the virus had been released by Coats, one of his Kandorian soldiers. He demanded an explanation, figuring that his recklessness could reveal their existence to the humans, even Tess. Coats came back with information that a super-powered Kryptonian hero was on Earth and was responsible for saving the humans using his blood. Coats gave Zod a piece of paper with the House of El symbol, believing it to have been made by Jor-El. Coats also gave a sample of the blood to Zod so he could track the Kryptonian down, whoever and wherever he may be. Though he was impressed with the results, Zod felt that Coats' reckless actions almost put the welfare of the Kandorians in jeopardy, so he beheaded Coats with a sword.
Zod created the RAO Corporation to make solar tower technology; Tess acquired the company without knowing of his involvement. She announced the acquisition at the Luthor Mansion, where Zod appeared to congratulate her on the accomplishment. Zod then found Tess to ask her to find the Blur; Tess asked to be equal partners in his endeavors, but he denied her request. As he left the mansion, Zod told his Kandorian spy (posing as Tess's security guard) to force her to tell him about the Blur or to kill her. Tess, however, overpowered the guard and gave Zod the guard's bloody dog tags.
Zod made a promise to his fellow Kandorians to find the traitor Jor-El so they could force him to return their powers and they could become the gods that they were meant to be. He met with Tess, hoping she would lead him to Jor-El which she said she was already working on. Tess later found Jor-El at the Kent Farm and kidnapped him, hoping to protect Kal-El; in the end, Zod betrayed her by taking him from her. Zod then brutally beat Jor-El in an attempt to force him to reveal how he had taken their powers and kept them for himself. Jor-El revealed that he used blue kryptonite on the Orb so that the clones would not have powers, before revealing to Zod that they are in fact clones of their former selves, who had gone on to live full lives, and that Zod had destroyed Krypton years later. Zod dismissed Jor-El's claims and realized that Jor-El had a son in his later years and sent him to Earth, where he had become the Blur. Zod then released Jor-El to find his son which he later tracked to a lake where the son buried Jor-El and engraved the Mark of El on a nearby stone as Zod watched from a distance.
As Zod was giving each soldier a task as part of his plot to infiltrate human society in order to have the solar towers built, Kal-El appeared in his Blur costume, and Zod ordered all the Kandorians to "Kneel before Kal-El".
Zod waited for Kal-El to return to the Kent Farm to discuss how the Kandorians could receive their powers, but Kal-El didn't have the answers he was looking for. Zod sensed that Kal-El distrusted him, for he was believed to have killed Jor-El, but assured him that he had nothing to do with Jor-El's death. Zod went to see Lois Lane (Clark's girlfriend) at Metropolis General Hospital and gave her a Kryptonian charm. Later, after being warned by Kal-El to stay away from Lois, Zod and Faora discussed their search for the Book of Rao, which they believed Jor-El had hidden on Earth.
As the solar towers neared completion, Zod felt that he was losing control of his fellow Kandorians as they were integrating into human society due to Kal-El's influence. When Kal-El was exposed to gemstone kryptonite, he forced Zod to tell the truth about Jor-El's death. Zod admitted that he had nothing to do with Jor-El's death and still regarded him as his friend, and believed that Tess was responsible for Jor-El's murder. Later, Zod was told by Alia that she was responsible for Jor-El's murder; Alia gave him a gun to do what he thought was justice, so Zod took the gun and shot Alia. Nonetheless, Zod prepared a funeral pyre in her memory and was confronted by Kal-El for lying to him about the identity of Jor-El's murderer. He later watched as his solar towers were destroyed by an outside force, which he knew was caused by Kal-El.
When Vala and two other Kandorians went missing, Zod told Kal-El about the disappearances and that he knew it was Kal-El who destroyed the towers. He decided to go undercover as a reporter at the Daily Planet and discovered Dr. Bernard Chisholm's location. Trying to save the captured Vala and Lois, Zod was shot by Chisholm. As Zod lay dying, Kal-El confessed that Jor-El's last wish was for him to save Zod. Using a kryptonite needle, Kal-El dripped his blood into Zod's bullet wound. Though Kal-El's blood saved Zod, it also managed to restore Zod's natural Kryptonian abilities. After talking with Kal-El and then he left to deal with a crime, Zod took in the yellow light of the sun and flew off the roof of the Daily Planet.
As Zod tested all the Kryptonian abilities, he received a text message from Tess to meet her at the Kent Farm. Zod met with Tess in the barn, only to find out that she wanted to see if he truly received his powers after he was killed by Dr. Chisholm. As he tried to persuade her to give up her obsession, Tess fired a gun at him, but he was able to catch the bullet. Zod couldn't allow her to reveal to anyone, especially Kal-El, that he had his abilities, but Tess managed to overpower him with kryptonite. Zod and Tess then spent a passionate night together at the Luthor Mansion; afterwards, he admitted how beautiful and strong she was. Zod later used Kal-El's voice scrambler to pose as the Blur while contacting Lois and convincing her to get information on Tess.
As Lois was able to discover more information on Tess and her science facilities, Zod still posed as the Blur to question her investigations. Zod then saved Kal, infected with red kryptonite, from John Corben by attempting to blow him up using his heat vision. Kal followed Zod and forced him to tell him how he had received Kryptonian abilities, and Zod allied with Kal to become an unstoppable team. Zod and Kal went to Seattle, where he watched Kal create snow using his super breath. Kal decided to take Zod to the Fortress of Solitude and meet Jor-El's entity. At the Fortress, Zod told Kal of the Book of Rao that Jor-El hid on Earth. As Corben infiltrated the Fortress under Chloe Sullivan's orders, Zod and Kal used their combined abilities to subdue him. However, Corben broke free. Once Kal-El was freed from red kryptonite's influence, Zod disappeared. Later, Tess met with Zod, showing him some photos of Kal-El and the other Kandorians. After finding out that a few Kandorians had betrayed him and looked to Kal-El as their new leader, Zod took his few remaining faithful Kandorians to the Fortress, where he used a kryptonite dagger to slit his hand so he could bleed his Kryptonian blood out for them to take.
Zod discovered that Checkmate was aware of the Kandorians existing on Earth. Seeing them as a threat to him and his people, he believed that it was time to destroy his enemies. Zod was intercepted at the Luthor Mansion by Green Arrow, whom Zod knew was also an enemy of Checkmate. He offered Green Arrow the chance to join him against a common enemy, but Green Arrow refused. The discussion turned into a confrontation, with Zod knocking Green Arrow back against a wall but managed to shoot Zod with a kryptonite dart. Zod lay in defeat until he managed to take the dart out of him; he ambushed the archer and scorched his family crest onto his enemy's chest. The Kandorians whom Zod did not trust and hadn't given powers to were threatened by Checkmate. When Amanda Waller took Faora hostage, Zod arrived and threw Waller against a windshield. He intended to kill her until Kal-El showed up and threw him against a wall. Zod was unharmed and took Faora away with him. He brought Faora back to the Kandorian base where he explained that, ever since the day his original self had rescued her original self during a battle on Krypton, he had respected her, even allowing her to share his bed at one point. Faora argued that he was going about Earth the wrong way and that peace was the best solution. Zod ordered her to kneel but, when she refused to, he strangled her, killing her quickly. However, Zod learned that Faora had become pregnant with his child, and was shaken to the core. Zod went to Checkmate's headquarters, where he murdered many agents before seeing Waller again; it was then that he destroyed the castle and most of Checkmate along with it. He brought all of the Kandorians to the Fortress, explaining that it had been the humans that had murdered Faora. Kal-El arrived and told them that Zod was lying and that he (Zod) was the one who killed Faora. The Kandorians, however, believed Zod and proclaimed him General and their absolute leader. Zod relished at Kal-El's defeat and flew off with the other Kandorians, ready to turn Earth into a new Krypton.Disguising himself as the Blur, Zod went to Lois to reveal himself to her, requesting her help since Kal-El was hiding secrets that could hurt him. Retreating to the Fortress, Zod attempted to destroy the console to prevent Jor-El from communicating with Kal-El but found Tess there. After Tess tried to kill him using kryptonite knuckles, Zod used his heat vision to burn portions of Tess's body, leaving her clinging to life. Kal-El arrived and still tried to reach out to Zod; however, Zod felt he was beyond saving after killing Faora. Zod had his soldiers attack places on Earth, including the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Greek Temples and the Washington Monument. When Lois learned that Zod was not the Blur, she tried to keep the Book of Rao from him; Zod tried to kill her but was stopped by Kal-El. Zod and the Kandorians confronted Kal-El as he was about to use the Book of Rao; after a brief but tense stand-off, Zod slammed Kal-El against a wall and inadvertently revealed the truth about Faora's death to his soldiers. The Kandorians sided with Clark activating the Book of Rao. As his soldiers were being transported to New Krypton, Zod used a blue kryptonite dagger to keep himself on Earth and used it to fight Kal-El to the death. However, Kal-El decided to keep himself on Earth by stabbing himself with the dagger and falling off the building. With Zod no longer within the blue kryptonite's affects, his powers returned, thus making him Kryptonian again and activating the Book of Rao's function to teleport all Kryptonians. Zod was teleported to a new world to be dealt with by the other Kandorians.