Superman vs. Zod Showdown in Latest ‘Man of Steel’ Images

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk
'Man of Steel' Superman
'Man of Steel' Superman

We've officially entered the season where movie magazines will look like comic books as the June issue of Empire features not one but two exclusive "Man of Steel" covers.

Somewhat surprisingly, the covers don't feature any of the other high-profile cast members from director Zack Snyder's Superman reboot, such as Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. The covers are rather striking in their simplicity, putting only the film's "good guy" and "bad guy" on display.

The first cover features Henry Cavill as the Last Son of Krypton himself, striking a superheroic pose that shows off the newfangled Superman costume in its entirety. Cavill looks completely like a Superman for the 21st century, decked out in darker blues, red cape and red boots (and no red underpants, a distinction that was announced early in the film's development). What's most striking, however, is the mass destruction behind him, and the location of that destruction: a water tower is clearly labeled "Smallville," which means Supes' hometown is going to take some serious damage in the film.

'Man of Steel,' General Zod
'Man of Steel,' General Zod

And who inflicted this serious damage? General Zod, of course, the Kryptonian supervillain previously portrayed by Terrence Stamp in "Superman II" (1981) and the character on display on Empire's second cover. Michael Shannon's get-up is decidedly less, uh, sexy than Stamp's low V-neck threads. Our new Zod is decked out head to toe in Kryptonian armor, giving him a much more cyborgian and, well, super-villainous appearance. What's most interesting is that Zod is striking almost the exact same pose as Superman, though Zod makes the stance look like pure evil.

The two covers don't seem to infer a particular face-off moment in the film, though. Zod's background is decidedly less Smallville-esque. In fact, it doesn't look like it's any place on Earth at all, which has us thinking that Zod is either somewhere on Krypton or on board his command ship. It could be the Fortress of Solitude, Superman's Antarctic base of operations, but that's a bit of a stretch.

We're excited about a lot of things in "Man of Steel," but Michael Shannon as General Zod is definitely at the top of the list. If you think about it, his scene-stealing bad-guy turn in last summer's underrated "Premium Rush" could be seen as an extended audition for the role of Zod, as his corrupt New York cop character not only called for the actor to be as deliciously over-the-top as possible but the film also had him at odds with a heroic Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Zod vs. Robin? You betcha.

Also look for Shannon as a cold-blooded hit man in the upcoming film, "The Iceman." And yes, he's scary-chilling in it.

The June issue of Empire contains 12 pages dedicated to "Man of Steel" with in-depth access to set, director and stars. The issue will hit newsstands on Thursday, with "Man of Steel" flying into theaters on June 14.

Watch the latest trailer for 'Man of Steel':