People talk all the time about how much of dick Superman is — but he's nothing compared to his father. Jor-El sent people to the Phantom Zone, invented terrible weapons, seduced the wives of random humans, and generally caused more harm than good. Here are 12 reasons why Jor-El was a worse dick than his son.
1) Too busy to program his wife into the Fortress of Solitude
It's all well and good that Jor-El tried to help his son out by programming his consciousness into an AI system that came to Earth with Clark — but doesn't it seem like he forgot something? Someone like, I don't know, his wife? (Also, while we're calling out the Man of Steel version of Jor-El, implanting his son with the DNA of the entire unborn Kryptonian race via a weird DNA-skull-thingy seems like a risky move — wouldn't that possibly cause genetic damage? At the very least, it's not the sort of thing you test on your son first.)
2) The Phantom Zone is for criminals
Jor El's biggest accomplishment is the discovery of a dimension called the Phantom Zone — it's what earned him a spot on the powerful Kryptonian Science Council. And even though Jor-El admits he doesn't know much about what it's like in the Zone, he decides that it's the perfect place to send criminals — because they're kept in a kind of death-like stasis forever, unable to interact with anyone or anything. The Phantom Zone is frequently portrayed as a kind of Hellish existence, but Jor-El decided it was better than regular imprisonment.
3) Or just shoot them into space in suspended animation
Before Jor-El discovered the Phantom Zone, he just used to stick criminals into cryo-tubes and shoot them into space, to float forever in suspended animation. Because that was better than just executing them... why, exactly? This also raises the point that Jor-El apparently had the means to build giant rockets in a hurry, but only saved his son from Krypton.
4) Nuking a whole colony
Jor-El's colleague Jax-Ur invented a new kind of nuclear missile and decided to test it on a giant meteor out in space. Totally harmless (mostly). Until Jor came zooming along in a spaceship like a goon, colliding with the missile and knocking it off course. This caused it to hit Krypton's only colonized moon, killing everyone there. Jax was sentenced to life in the Phantom Zone and Jor got off free — and didn't bother to tell anybody that the disaster was an accident. Of course, Jax-Ur was planning to stockpile those missiles and take over Krypton, but that doesn't reduce Jor-El's culpability in the disaster.
5) Not telling the public about Krypton's destruction
Jor-El knew that Krypton was doomed way before anyone else did. And to be fair, he did tell the council about it. It's not his fault that no one believed him and some members accused him of treason. But it was his fault that he didn't take the info public. In a few incarnations of Superman's continuity, the council threatened Jor's family if he took the info public, but that shouldn't have stopped him. Jor often had friends like Zod, who could have offered protection from those that would harm him. And even if he was risking the lives of his family, it would be worth it to potentially save more Kryptonians.
6) Not finding a better way to get everyone off the planet
When the council ordered a gag order on Jor, all his vision narrowed and all he wanted was to save his family. The thing is, Jor El was also one of the greatest scientists Krypton had ever seen. He came from a lineage of great innovators who had revolutionized the planet's technology and culture. If anyone could have found a way to save everyone on Krypton, it was Jor. In fact, he already had found a way to save everyone. Theoretically, the Phantom Zone could protect an entire planet from being killed during the destruction of a planet. And while Jor El had that idea, he took a no from the council and let most Kryptonians die.
7) Using his son's dog as a guinea pig
Once Jor El decided that Krypton was done for, he knew he had to get his family off the planet. The only way he could do that was by building a ship that could get everyone safely to the Earth. Unfortunately, he didn't trust his own handiwork enough to take off without staging a test first — which makes sense. What didn't make sense was using your son's best friend and pet as the test subject when your astro-monkey disappears at the last minute. Suffice it to say, there was plenty of protesting, but Jor made the decision anyway. He could have just stuck a probe in the ship and had it collect the data he needed (oxygen levels and whatever else interstellar spaceships need to keep aliens alive). That's how he found the Earth in the first place, and he wouldn't have known he could send his family there without the probes being able to pick up signs of what's necessary sustains life. There was no need to rip a baby away from his dog.
8) Destroying the lives of the McCallum's by cheating with Louise
In Smallville, Jor El is sent to Earth as a rite of passage by his father. While he gets there, he decides to get chummy with the natives – which is all well and good. The problem is Jor decides to ruin the marriage of Louise and Dexter McCallum. To make matters worse, Louise ends up dead thanks to a bullet that bounces off his super-skin and cuts through her heart. If he'd just kept his distance and stayed a drifter, she probably would have lived.
9) Sending his son to rule over us.
In most versions of the Jor-El story, he just wants Superman to help us. But in Smallville, it's pretty clear he's sending Clark to rule over us, as a god among humans."On this third planet from the star Sol, you will be a god among men," Jor El tells his son. "They are a flawed race. Rule them with strength, my son. That is where your greatness lies." There's also the fact that if Clark had been raised by evil people instead of the Kents, he would have turned into the biggest monster in human history — and Jor-El had no way of knowing that his son would be found by nice people.
10) Creating H'el, the Kryptonian manipulator
In the ultra-confusing H'el #1, published this last summer, we learn that Jor-El basically created H'el, the Kryptonian villain who nearly destroys Earth in the storyline H'el on Earth.Jor-El is portrayed as an arrogant git who won't listen to anyone else and winds up creating a predestination paradox by shooting H'el into space to become one of his son's worst enemies.
11) Inventing a ton of super-weapons.
Silver Age comics are full of super-weapons invented by Jor-El, which later show up to harm Superman. In one, he created a ton of giant robot war machines to destroy a prop city and convince people that war is bad — and they are later used to destroy Metropolis. In another, Lex Luthor finds a cache of Jor-El's weapons including a ray that turns anyone (even Superman) to stone and a "magnet that attracts humans." Plus according to Smallville, Jor-El created Brainiac.
12) Testing a longevity serum on a large dragon
When Jor-El discovered a cure for aging, he decided the best thing to do was test it on a giant dragon creature called a Snagriff, which immediately turned to metal and started rampaging throughout Krypton. Great idea!