|First Appearance:||Action Comics #845 (January, 2007)|
|Created by:|| Richard Donner|
|Affiliations:|| New Krypton|
|Portrayed by:|| Sarah Douglas|
Leslie Easterbrook (Voice)
Born on the planet Krypton and later exiled to the Phantom Zone for acts of sedition. The Kryptonian Science Council discovered that two of their most revered scientists, Jor-El and Non, had determined that in a short matter of time, Krypton would suffer geothermic upheavel that would destroy the entire planet. Branding them as heretics, the cowardly members of the Science Council sent General Zod and his militants to Jor-El's laboratory to arrest he and Non. Ursa was in charge of placing the two scientists under arrest and handing them over to the council. The Science Council administered a stern warning to them, and set them free.
Before long, Zod and Ursa discovered that Jor-El and Non had been right all along. Krypton had little time left. Non ignored the Council's warning and preached to the populace of Krypton revealing everything he knew of the pending disaster. Zod and Ursa defected from the military and joined Non's cause. Soon after, Non was captured and lobotomized under orders of the Science Council. This incident drove Zod over the edge, and Ursa and he began an insurrection that made them the most wanted criminals on the planet. They were eventually captured and brought to justice. Jor-El argued on their behalf, and swayed the Science Council from sentencing them to death. Instead, Jor-El elected for a more peaceful means of punishment - exile in the Phantom Zone.
Prisoners in The Phantom Zone
Ursa, Non and Zod remained in the Phantom Zone for many years. During this time, Zod and she mated and produced a son, Lor-Zod. Their child eventually escaped from the Phantom Zone and arrived on the planet Earth. He came under the care of the last surviving Kryptonian, the Son of Jor-El, Superman. Shortly after this event, Ursa and the others broke free of their confinement and journeyed to Earth to reclaim the Kryptonian child. They attacked the city of Metropolis and Ursa raided the offices of the Daily Planet where she found Lor-Zod in the care of Lois Lane. Cornering her in a stairwell, Ursa incapacitated Lois with a simple flick from her index finger.
Superman fought against the Kryptonians and Ursa and her confederates were returned to the Phantom Zone. When the city-state of Kandor was returned to its normal size, Kandorian leader Alura In-Ze had it relocated to its own private planetoid directly opposite the Earth in its orbit. Alura pardoned General Zod and all of his followers and Ursa was once again re-instated in the Kryptonian military guild. One of Ursa's assignments was to seed the Earth with Kryptonian sleeper agents. Her son, Lor-Zod, and Kandorian security chief Thara Ak-Var began hunting down and exposing these agents.
Powers and Abilities
- All powers and weaknesses are approximated based upon the characteristics of a standard Kryptonian existing in an environment under a yellow sun.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Ursa's cellular structure is more dense, resilient and biologically more effective than human tissue. Strangely enough, she does not seem to possess superhuman strength levels despite her enhanced cellular ability without constant exposure to yellow solar energy. Without such charging, her strength seems on par for a human of his height and weight who engages in regular physical activity.
- Solar Energy Absorption: Technically, this is the main source of Ursa's powers. Because her powers are largely due to exposure to Earth's yellow sun, her abilities have been affected by extreme absorptions of solar power, whether voluntary or involuntary.
- Superhuman Strength: While the exact magnitude of Ursa's strength is unknown, it is generally accepted that her strength easily surpasses the capacity to lift 100 tons, but how much more is not known exactly.
- Invulnerability: Ursa's body is invulnerable to most forms of physical attack. With the exception of certain extenuating circumstances, Ursa can theoretically withstand the concussive force of a low-yield nuclear warhead without any undue stress.
- Superhuman Stamina: Ursa has the ability to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an undetermined period of time. However, Ursa's base physical structure still requires nourishment and she needs to process food stuffs on a regular basis to maintain her stamina.
- Flight: Ursa possesses the ability to defy the forces of gravity and fly at speeds in excess to the speed of sound. The mechanism by which she flies is unknown, but some suggestions include the use of a field of energy which allows unconscious manipulation of gravity or diffraction/reflection of gravity due to unidentified Kryptonian organs affected by a yellow sun. Alternately, this power could be explained as a psionic manipulation of a personal anti-gravitational aura, which is also caused by her Kryptonian cells and exposure to a yellow sun.
- Superhuman Speed: Ursa possesses the ability to move at an accelerated rate of speed. This includes running at speeds that are beyond supersonic, but she prefers flying as that is usually less strenuous and more versatile.
- Enhanced Senses: The acuity of Ursa's five senses are many times greater than that of the standard Earth human.
- Telescopic Vision: Ursa possesses the ability to see things at a great distance and to adjust her visual acuity so that she can perceive selected areas within her field of vision at a closer distance.
- X-Ray Vision: Ursa possesses the ability to see through any material substance except for lead. She can see things behind a wall as if the wall were not there, or can "peel back" layer after layer of matter in her mind.
- Microscopic Vision: Ursa has the ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level (normal optical microscopes can only see objects down to the size of chromosomes).
- Electro-magnetic Spectrum Vision: Ursa can perceive various patterns within the electromagnetic spectrum. She can see and identify radio/television waves and any and all broadcast/transmitted frequencies, allowing her to avoid detection through radar or satellite monitoring methods.
- Infrared Vision: In combination with her other extraordinary vision-based powers, Ursa can also see into the infrared spectrum.
- Heat Vision: Through a conscious act of will, Ursa has the ability to fire beams of intense thermal energy at a target simply by looking at it. Visually, the power is typically depicted as two beams of red light firing from her eyes.
- Superhuman Hearing: Ursa possesses the ability to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. The only Earth creature who can detect sounds at the frequency she can is a blue whale (0.01-200,000 Hz). She has enough control to block out ambient sounds in order to focus on a specific source/frequency. She can identify a person by their heartbeat, or pick out a single voice in an entire city.
- Super-Breath: Ursa possesses the ability to create hurricane force winds by blowing, and to chill her breath in order to freeze a target (this latter ability has also been called "freeze breath" and "arctic breath"). Ursa can also breathe in large amounts of air, an ability used when dealing with and disposing things like clouds of poison gas.
- Coming Soon
- On Krypton, Ursa appears to have possessed the strength level of a woman her age, size and weight who engaged in regular physical exercise. While operating in an environment in a yellow star system, Ursa's strength increases to superhuman levels.
- Magic: Ursa is vulnerable to magical and psionic effects. Although she is no more detrimentally affected by such effects than a normal human would be, this is a significantly exploitable weakness in comparison to her incredible physical resilience.
- Kryptonite: Since the destruction of Krypton, its remains (rendered radioactive by the explosion) have been spreading throughout the universe as Kryptonite, a crystalline substance whose specific radiation is lethal to Kryptonians native to this reality. Historically, Kryptonite exists in variant forms which can affect Ursa in a number of different ways.
- Lead: Ursa cannot see through lead with any of her vision powers.
- Solar Energy: Ursa will eventually weaken without replenishing her energy reserves with normal (yellow) sun radiation. She is not replenished by red sunlight, and its radiation can be used to weaken her.
- Pole-Arm and a Laser Baton.
In Other Media
- The character of Ursa was first introduced in the 1978 film, Superman: The Movie. Played by British actress Sarah Douglas, she played a minor role, which constituted little more than foreshadowing events for the 1980 sequel, Superman II. In Superman II, Ursa was one of the three primary antagonists who escaped confinement in the Phantom Zone and came to Earth with plans of conquest.
- Ursa has only appeared in the Superman movies and comics, but a very similar character named Mala appeared in two episodes of Superman: The Animated Series. Seemingly based on both Ursa and Faora, she was played initially by Leslie Easterbrook and more notably, by Sarah Douglas herself in her second and final appearance on the series.
- The role of Ursa is similar to that of Faora Hu-Ul, a female Phantom Zone prisoner who worked alongside General Zod in Pre-Crisis continuity. Faora was distinguished from other Kryptonians due to her mastery of the deadly Kryptonian martial arts form Horu-Kanu.
- Ursa's ability to function on Earth owes largely to material established in the 2003 limited series Superman: Birthright. Birthright provided what is now considered the definitive origin of Superman, as well as that of his Kryptonian upbringing. Originally, Post-Crisis canon established that during Krypton's 5th historical epoch, a scientist named Kem-L (an ancestor of Superman), created a device known as the Eradicator. On a historic day, the Eradicator was activated and produced a wave of energy, which genetically bound all Kryptonians not only to each other, but to the planet as well. Because of this, if a Kryptonian ever attempted to leave Krypton, they would die. All Kryptonians born after the time of Kem-L inherited this same genetic defect (which helped to explain why there were never any Kryptonian Green Lanterns). In Krypton's final days, Jor-El managed to find a cure for the defect, and administered it to his son Kal-El before sending away from the planet. When Mark Waid wrote Superman: Birthright, this aspect of Kryptonian biology was excised from the new history. As Kryptonians no longer suffer this genetic defect, characters such as Ursa are able to leave their home environment and travel to new worlds.
- A Post-Crisis version of Ursa made a cameo appearance in JSA Classified #3, however this was soon revealed to be an hallucination perpetuated by the Psycho-Pirate (Roger Hayden).