Let’s move on to season 5 of Smallville, because there are a few characters in the comic book that we haven’t seen anywhere else. In the opening arrival scene, a new meteor shower obscures the arrival of a black ship carrying the artificial intelligence of Brainiac and two Kryptonian disciples of Zod: Nam-Ek and Etir, the latter represented by Alana de la Garza. In the series, Ethyr is one of General Zod’s henchmen and wants to get Kal-El to free his master from the Phantom Zone. Clearly she and her partner have failed and are stuck in the area themselves, where we will find them next season. In the comics, Ethier is actually a man, and more importantly, he’s not just some Kryptonian criminal trapped in the Phantom Zone: He is the god of the Phantom Zone. Let’s go over it together.
The exact origin of Etir is still a mystery, but it was a creature millions of years old, a deity born in a dimension close to Earth. At certain points in the past, several galaxies in the dimension Ethyr controlled became extinct, and the billions of souls that inhabited them were consumed by their cruel deity, who became the Oversoul, a divine being that grew and became more powerful according to the number of souls it could absorb. Infinite and omnipotent in his realm, Ethyr could alter reality with a single thought, and his own mind gave birth to multiple worlds and even galaxies. Such a psychic layer was discovered by the Kryptonian scientist Jor-El, who at the time was looking for a place to evacuate the entire population of the planet to save it from imminent disaster. Jor-El infiltrated Etir’s mind and took him to a physical place, a parallel dimension where living beings could only exist in undefined form: Seeing such an existence as a curse rather than a salvation, Jor-El named his new discovery the Phantom Zone, and instead of using it as an ark for his people, he turned it into the ultimate prison by inventing the Projector, which the Kryptonians began using to send their most undesirable criminals into the Zone. In the process, they Aether reluctantly fed other souls, even though the Deity itself did not know this at first: The Phantom Zone was just part of his subconscious, a spatial transition between the One Earth and the God Mind, a mental subdivision specialized in abstract thought. More and more criminals have been exiled to the Phantom Zone, and as Krypton faces its inevitable destruction, some innocent citizens have also found their last hope for survival in the Zone. When Jor-El’s son Kal-El found his father’s ghost projector years later, he sent other criminals to what he thought was a simple dimensional prison. Meanwhile, Zor-El, who lived in the last remaining Kryptonian city of Argo, had built another projector, so Aether finally had a whole host of souls at his disposal.
From time to time, some prisoners would go to the farthest reaches of the Phantom Zone to find an escape point, but they never came back: Indeed, as they emerged from the subconscious part of the Ether, the god noticed them and quickly absorbed them into his own essence. Only Kal-El, who became the heroic Superman on his home planet, Earth, escaped him. Trapped in the Phantom Zone, Superman teams up with the reformed outlaw Queen-Ul and the two try to escape together: As soon as Ethyr sensed them, he manifested before them in all his glory, appearing in the form of a purple dragon, a creature resembling a werewolf, and various other forms. He would have taken if Quex-Ul had not sacrificed his own life to allow Superman to escape, making him the first human to manage to return to Earth One by traveling to the realm of the ether. However, the damage has already been done: Etir then noticed Earth One and found that there were billions and billions of souls to add to his collection. He found a being that could easily jump from dimension to dimension, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and managed to dominate them. Using the fifth dimension imp as his ship, Ethyr traveled to Earth One, where he found Superman ready to fight to protect his reality: During the battle, all the prisoners in the Phantom Zone managed to escape, but Ethyr knew their scent, so he could easily find them. First he found and absorbed Nam-Ek and Thal-Kar, the immortal mad scientist and religious fanatic…. and then something changed. To his own surprise, Ethier was more interested in chasing criminals than continuing his assault on Earth One, and he even saved Superman from one of the fugitives, Faora, who was about to finish him off. It turned out that Mxyzptlk was much harder than it looked, and his willpower triumphed over Oversoul’s: Now Etyr must follow Mxyzptlk’s orders, for the first time in his long, long life he is helpless.
Ethir is an ancient and evil being, a greedy deity whose body and mind are made up of galaxies and who is only trying to expand and thus expand his kingdom. As a surplus soul, it is omnipotent in its domain and capable of altering reality at will; it is immortal and its psionic powers are immeasurable. An almighty interdimensional threat, aethyr will grow and evolve, absorbing into its essence every living soul it can find until there is nothing left in the multiverse but aethyr itself.
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