ACTION COMICS #987: “THE OZ EFFECT” part one!
It seems hard to believe that DC Comics first introduced the mysterious Mr. Oz more than three years ago, likely because the character only began to grow more prominently within the past year after the release of the “DC Universe: Rebirth” one-shot, kicking off the company’s current era of publishing. Speculation regarding the character’s identity has been rampant, and Action Comics #987, part one of “The Oz Effect,” finally answers the question fans have been asking since Mr. Oz’s introduction in the New 52’s Superman #32. Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic waste no further time pulling back the hood of this mystery figure at the issue’s conclusion, but meanwhile deliver a refreshing issue reminding readers of Superman’s altruistic nature, with twists both large and small that put a new spin on the Man of Steel mythos.
One test of a hero’s character, and one that Superman’s been put through many times, is to face a no-win situation at the behest of some villain’s machinations. Superman is similarly set up to fail here, faced with simultaneous challenges that makes 100 percent success impossible, and does indeed fall short through no fault of his own. Not surprisingly, it’s Mr. Oz who puts the Man of Steel in that unwinnable situation, just as Lex Luthor and other foes have — but the much larger twist here is just who Mr. Oz is ultimately revealed to be. On the heels of multiple failures, a dejected Superman is further stunned to learn just who has been behind many of recent mysteries since the inception of “Rebirth.”
Action Comics #987 will get all the attention because of that last-page shocker, but it excels based on its ability to retell a tried-and-true story that nonetheless feels fresh, by way of its small tweaks and big turns afforded it by “Rebirth.” There’s no better time to bring Superman’s essence to the forefront, as the reminder clears the way for the promised origin of Mr. Oz next issue.
ACTION COMICS #988: “THE OZ EFFECT” part two!
After the shocking revelation that Mr Oz was in actual fact Superman’s father Jor-El, the master Man of Steel post-Rebirth writer Dan Jurgens delivers an ‘origin’ issue of how Clark’s biological father became the man he is today. Although dubious of the facts, Clark asks his loyal robot Kelex to scan this ‘Kryptonian’, however his order is not carried out as Jor-El was the creator of this artificial life form, so his orders are trumped.
As the issue progresses, the origin commences as Jor-El and his wife Lara attempt to save their son. So while the rocket that carried a young Kal-El to Earth escapes the doomed planet, Jor-El and Lara hold each other’s arms until the bitter end. However something cosmic saves Jor-El as he is engulfed by a blue light and is taken. This blue light has been associated with Doctor Manhattan and is the link to the Watchmen.
Unlike Clark who found himself in a loving family, Jor-El is taken to the worst place on Earth as he witnesses the darkness of mankind, including a Clockwork Orange scene were the captured father of Superman observes the evil history of humanity. Jor-El also states that Earth’s fate is sealed and apologies for sending his son to this world before the scientist of Krypton ‘offers’ to take his son away forever as the issue ends with a Jurgen’s cliffhanger.
Action Comics #988 was an interesting issue and whether this is the real Jor-El or another Jor-El from a different reality remains to be seen. I’m looking forward to see where this all ends, especially with Action Comics #1000 just beyond the horizon and of course, the Doomsday Clock. Complementing this issue was the great art of Ryan Sook who successfully brought Jurgen’s story to life and made this a fun and mysterious read.