BY MATT TUCK
Val-Zod will introduce Earth-Two to the DCEU when he suits up in his very own HBO Max series. Time to dust off those key issues sitting in your long boxes.
Just last week, news spread far and wide that Michael B. Jordan and his production studio will be putting together a limited series on HBO Max starring Val-Zod. In addition to Henry Cavill and Tyler Hoechlin, this will be the fourth Superman and second African-American version of the character introduced into the DCEU.
Earlier this year, J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates rocked the comic community when they announced that Clark Kent/Kal-El would be recast as an African-American for a standalone Superman film. Immediately, fans assumed that Michael B. Jordan would play the role. Instead of donning the traditional blue and red, it appears Jordan will sport silver, red, and blue of Earth-Two’s Val-Zod.
WHAT ABOUT CALVIN ELLIS?
When the word first spread that the DCEU was looking to cast an African-American Superman, fans assumed DC would follow the comics and the new movie would star one of two potential characters: Val-Zod and Calvin Ellis. Like Val, Calvin was a Superman from an alternate world in the Multiverse. This version was based on President Barack Obama, and Calvin split his time between being Superman and president. It seemed a natural fit for Ellis to get the nod as Abrams and Coates’ reimagined Superman for the big screen.
WHO IS VAL-ZOD?
As far as characters, Val-Zod may be coming to live action before Calvin Ellis because Val is a more complex character. Whereas Calvin is written as a confident, charming superhero in and out of costume, Val is not. After landing on Earth, he is raised to be a pacifist, viewing violence as a poor means to settle a conflict. Since he kept hidden from the world for much of his life, Val shows signs of agoraphobia and has a panic attack when he first leaves his home. These complications in Val’s character will help make him a unique character that can stand apart from any Superman ever seen, including Abrams and Coates’ reimagined Clark Kent.
Aside from creating a Superman the likes of which has never been seen, the real excitement of the Val-Zod series is that it will establish Earth-Two in the DC Multiverse. That opens the door for a wide range of possible storylines and characters and variations on classic superheroes that could reinvent the DCEU on HBO Max.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Val-Zod keys that you will want to keep a careful eye on.
EARTH 2 #19
As expected, prices for Val-Zod’s early appearances are on the move. This issue from 2014 introduced Val-Zod to DC readers, but he was not in costume as Earth-Two’s Superman. Still, those prized first appearances always get the immediate return whenever there is a live-action announcement, and this is no different.
Since the news broke of a Val-Zod series, collectors have been aiming for those higher grades. A 9.8 reached a record-high $600 on July 23 after it had been selling for less than $400 all year to that point. Before 2021, there were no recorded sales of graded 9.8s whatsoever, so it is a huge shift in the market. Then there is the 9.6, which has sold twice this year. In February, one copy brought $201, but July 23 also saw this particular grade jump to $250.
If you are looking to save money, head over to eBay. There you will find raw copies generally sell for less than $100, though you are taking a gamble on the grade.
EARTH 2 #24
Five issues after Val-Zod made his mark on the DC Universe, Earth 2 #24 would see him don the suit and cape on the issue’s final page. That makes this a target for Val-Zod fans, and it is one you can add to your collections for cheap. The only graded copy sold was a variant cover that went for $40 in November. On the raw side of things, prices are beginning to climb with copies selling in the $30-$35 range at the moment.
EARTH 2 #25
In the age of graded comics, those first cover appearances are becoming more coveted each year. That is why Earth 2 #25 should have your attention. At the moment, prices are relatively low for this issue, which featured Val-Zod’s cover debut. However, values are quickly inflating. The only 9.8 to sell last year brought just $20. This past March, one sold for a record $250 while the only other graded copy to trade hands online earned $180 on June 22.
Like the other issues on today’s list, the raw copies are much cheaper. EBay’s sold listings have this one averaging closer to $60-$75.
EARTH 2 #26
If you are putting together your Val-Zod collection, here is an overlooked issue that should get the cover hunters’ attention. Since there are no “firsts” in this comic, there is not much reason to slap an inflated price tag on it. What should have you interested - and could possibly play out on HBO Max - is that the cover art showcases the Earth-Two Superman, Kal-L, brawling with Val-Zod. Keep in mind, this is not the same Clark Kent from the Earth-One DC Universe. This Kal-L represents the Golden Age of DC Comics, and I could imagine him being introduced via the Val-Zod HBO Max series. If the two have a confrontation, that would put Earth 2 #26 on many radars.
There is no sales data for graded copies of this issue, which means you’ll have to aim for raw copies. Those are currently selling for the low price of $10-$15, so getting one should not require a Herculean task.
There is plenty to be excited about with the Val-Zod series. This could be one of the most original interpretations of the character ever put on film, and he could be the first in a string of Earth-Two heroes entering the DCEU. With The Flash firmly establishing the Multiverse, Val-Zod could find his way into the main DCEU sooner than you might think.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.