The Phantom King
General Information
Real name: Xa-Du
First Appearance: Action Comics (Vol 2) #5
Created by: Grant Morrison
Andy Kubert
Affiliations: Formerly



Xa-Du was a male member of the Kryptonian species who lived on his home world long before its destruction. During his adulthood, he became a doctor where he was responsible for a study in suspended animation. His experiments in life and death had taught him only scorn for living being and his forbidden experiments in suspended animation had unleashed the horror of living death on the inhabitants of his world. As such, he was brought before criminal charges for his actions and this chain of events saw suspended animation being banned from usage which included it not being used against sociopaths. As a result, the ruling K-Council had to seek alternative means of punishment and turned to the scientist Jor-El who had constructed the Phantom Zone Projector. It was decided that Dr. Xa-Du was to be banished into the Phantom Zone where he would face complete physical dematerialization and brought back every twenty years for an opportunity to plea for his release. An angry Xa-Du stated that the trial was a perversion of justice where he vowed to get revenge against Jor-El after he escaped from his prison. Jor-El, however, commented that there was no escape from the Phantom Zone despite, as Dr. Xa-Du reminded him, El himself stating in his fight against the Multitude that there was always a way. "Not this time," Jor-El added before activating the Projector, making Xa-Du the first criminal sent into the Phantom Zone for imprisonment, where he was less substantial than a thought and unable to interact with the normal world despite being able to see it.

Return of The Phantom King

During his time in the Phantom Zone, Xa-Du's body seemingly changed as he was wrapped up in a substance that gave him a mummy-like appearance. He was also present alongside other Kryptonian villains, including Ursa, Non, Jax-Ur, Ak-Var, Ras-Krom, Vak-Ox and possibly (as it was merely hinted) Zod. After twenty years, the time for Dr. Xa-Du's parole came to pass, but unfortunately, Krypton exploded in a violent catastrophe that originated in the planet's core. In the aftermath, he concocted a plan involving his Ecto-Suit where he would return to the physical world and supposedly promised to aid his fellow inmates in the Zone. This involved the use of a surviving Projector now located on Earth, where it was in the possession of Kal-El, the son of Xa-Du's hated enemy. Whilst in his Fortress of Solitude, Xa-Du manifested an appearance before a mirror to Kal-El where he claimed that the son of Jor-El had been judged from beyond the grave. While examining the Kryptonian Technology, Xa-Du materialized behind Kal-El and used the Phantom Zone Projector to send the son of Jor-El into the Phantom Zone as part of his revenge. This allowed Dr. Xa-Du to take Kal-El's place in the physical world. Despite pleas from his former comrades, he neglected to release the other Kryptonian criminals and instead sought to enslave the Kandorians with the living death to make an army of super-zombies to conquer the planet. Being insane, the doctor moved out of the Fortress of Solitude and was prepared to conquer the planet. However, Kal-El, being advised by the Phantom Stranger, managed to rip the Ecto-Suit off of Xa-Du and commandeer it. This sent Xa-Du spiraling back into the Phantom Zone and deprived him of his chance to conquer Earth.

Xa-Du would later appear in league with Vyndxytvx of the Fifth Dimension in the evil imp's plot to destroy the Man of Steel, Mxyzptlk's favorite trick, who Vyndxtvx mistook for Mxy's greatest trick. Obviously, they were unsuccessful, because, as his father did before him, Superman was able to once again do the impossible and thwart his foes.

The Phantom King was also involved in the Superman: Doomed storyline, responsible for helping Brainiac in releasing Doomsday onto Earth to attack, get killed by, and have its essence inhaled by Superman, thus infecting and transforming him into a being resembling the creature. He briefly fought with Wonder Woman, Batman, and Ghost Soldier, and later escaped the Phantom Zone after they failed to get him to help out. Once the atmosphere was cleared of the kryptonite cloud released by a nuke meant to destroy "Superdoom," the villain made his escape from the Fortress of Solitude.

Xa-Du's current whereabouts are yet to be revealed.

Powers and Abilities

  • Kryptonian Physiology : Xa-Du possesses the same natural abilities of any other Kryptonian (such as Superman) while under the light of a yellow star.


  • Ecto-Suit : created by Xa-Du and was an example of never before seen Ecto-Technology. These suits were driven by pure consciousness and allowed a denizen of the Phantom Zone to operate in the material world. Removal of the suit sent the wearer back to the extra dimensional prison unless they made use of the Phantom Zone Projector to restore their physical form.


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See Also


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