Do you know your Ursa from your Faora? Many fans think that Ursa and Faora are the same character. Even multiple online sources including the Superman wiki assert this to be the case, but are they though? Yes… and no, but mostly no. It’s a long and complicated matter, but I shall try to explain it all to you as best I can.
The character of Faora first appeared in the DC universe in 1977 (Action Comics #471) as a powerful telepath and Kryptonian serial killer who lured her victims to her home using her great beauty before murdering them. She was eventually arrested and convicted of her crimes, serving her three hundred year sentence in the Phantom Zone at the time of Krypton’s destruction. Faora (full name Faora Hu-Ul) used her psychic abilities to observe Kal El as he grew up on Earth, all the while letting her hatred of him grow deeper and deeper over the years. Eventually, Faora managed to escape the Phantom Zone by forming a psychic link with an Earth man named Jackson Porter who was an elderly widow. Faora tricked Porter into believing she was his dead wife, Katie, and used the power of their forged psychic bond to appear as a ghost. Faora tricked Porter into stealing a powerful artifact that ripped open the barrier around the Phantom Zone, allowing her to escape to Earth where her new-found super powers combined with her mastery of the Kryptonian martial art form known as Horu-Kanu, to defeat Superman in hand to hand combat. Seemingly victorious when Superman retreated from their battle, Faora freed other Phantom Zone criminals—including Zod—planning to use them to help her conquer the Earth before turning against them so she alone could rule, but eventually Superman found a way to send her and the other escaped Kryptonian criminals back to the Phantom Zone.
When the Superman movie was released in 1979 a female Kryptonian character appeared in the film, and more prominently in the sequel as Zod’s loyal accomplice. This character (played by Sarah Douglas) was named Ursa, not Faora, but many fans believed them to be the same character, just with different names. I can understand this mistaken belief only because no female Kryptonian villainess named Ursa had ever appeared in the comics at that point. Thing is though, Ursa was loyal and subservient to Zod, whereas Faora hated Zod as she hated all men and only worked with him grudgingly.
It was not until 2006 when Ursa finally appeared in an actual comic book (Action Comics #845) when Geoff Johns began writing the New Krypton series. She was yet again a very loyal follower of General Zod and even briefly his lover—something the man-hating Faora would certainly never become; proof enough for me that the two characters, though similar in some ways, are not in fact the same person.
The confusion over the two characters has recently increased, however, with the release of Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel film, which features the character of Faora (played by Antje Traue) looking and acting very much like Ursa had in the Richard Donner directed Superman films from thirty years ago.
In conclusion, I can see how these two characters have been confused for one another and will no doubt continue to be until they appear together, side-by-side, in the same comic book or feature film. Wait a second… do you think that maybe Clark Kent and Superman could be one and the same? Nah. Crazy thought.
Well that’s enough from me for now. Until my next bloviation, be sure to listen to Hold 322, follow me on twitter @Robert_A_Easton, and read lots of comics. Alons-y!