SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Superman #5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Alex Sinclair and Josh Reed, on sale now.
Rogol Zaar has been The Man of Steel's central villain since the onset of Brian Michael Bendis' run on the Superman franchise. The character's sole focus in that time has been his ongoing quest for the destruction of anything Kryptonian, including Superman himself.
What hasn't been clear, though, are Rogol Zaar's motives for his actions, and why he's so intent on destroying anything with a mere whiff of Kryptonian DNA. Bendis and Ivan Reis' Superman #5, however, shows at least a hint of a reason behind the villain's actions. But what might this reason be, and has Superman finally figured it out?
Rogol Zaar Figures Out Superman – and Vice Versa
Superman and Rogol Zaar are currently in a stalemate. Kal-El stranded himself in the Phantom Zone with Zaar last issue, as part of an ultimately successful ploy to liberate the Earth from the limbo-like dimension. As has been repeatedly shown, though, the two foes are too evenly matched to physically defeat each other. Rather than just eternally duke it out, Superman and Zaar thus find themselves in an undeclared truce in the Phantom Zone, with no clear plan going forward. This extra-dimensional timeout gives hero and villain alike to dwell on each other's mindset.
Rogol Zaar fails to comprehend Superman's unwillingness to kill him. Zaar has professed that he was responsible for Krypton's destruction, and more recently had destroyed the bottled city of Kandor. The villain cites that if he were faced with the annihilation of his people the way Kal has, he "would know nothing but murderous rage." Since Superman has made no attempt to kill Zaar – only to defeat or contain him – Rogol Zaar deduces, correctly, that Kal-El just can't muster any murderous intent towards him.
Meanwhile, Superman confronts Zaar with a postulation that aligns with Zaar's own thoughts: that his spree of Kryptonian mass-murder was seeded by a Kryptonian destroying his own world. Rogol Zaar all but dismisses Superman's theory, but the villain's genocidal acts have certainly been consistent with the presence of a "murderous rage." No mention has ever been made of Zaar's home planet facing destruction by a Kryptonian, however. And in the recent Man of Steel miniseries, Rogol Zaar simply acknowledged Krypton and its population as "a plague."