In Action Comics 987, Oz revealed himself to be Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father. In 988, he talked about how he survived the destruction of Krypton, and how he was shown humanity’s dark side for years, whether witnessing innocent civilians being killed right in front of him, or watching all of humanity’s horrors while stuck in an interdimensional prison. Just like how Clark grew up on a farm with very kind parents helped shape his heroic nature, Jor-El’s experienced shaped his own view of humanity.
Written by Dan Jurgens, Action Comics 989 reveals more of Oz’s plans, while giving us a chaotic situation. Oz is apparently behind people’s motivations to act out their worst desires at once, just by encouraging them. Superman is being overwhelmed by so much chaos at once, and he’s doing his best to save as many people as possible. That leaves Lois and Jon Kent venerable at the Daily Planet to a suicide bomber angry at what he calls fake news.
Nope, not touching that discussion here. Also, that’s unnecessarily topical.
Jor-El makes another move by first saving Lois Lane from the bomber, and then introducing himself to both Lois and Jon. Lois is smart enough to suspect Jor-El’s motivations, but Jon is very much compelled by what his grandfather offers. It makes a complicated situation all the more complicated, and a compelling read overall. This issue gives the story arc a clearer direction while also leaving enough questions open to keep readers invested. Sure, some people may not like the Oz reveal, but I’m enjoying it so far.
The art by Viktor Bogdanovic is good. Superman’s look of shock when his father turns on the monitors to show him all the ongoing disasters, his expression says it all. There is good use of facial expressions throughout, like Lois’s calm yet worried look when she’s trying to talk down the suicide bomber, Jon’s look of determination when he’s flying toward the Daily Planet in his Superboy uniform, and Jor-El’s convincing warm smile when he shows Jon the planet he wants to take Clark, Lois and Jon. Mike Spencer’s colouring is great. The monitors showing violence are heavily7 tinted red to emphasize the point, and this is otherwise a bright and colourful comic.
This is a really compelling story arc so far. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this issue great, but there’s a lot to like about it. What is great is that Oz isn’t entirely wrong, making him more of an anti-villain than a straight up villain, and he might not be beyond redemption. But at the same time, his plan hasn’t been made entirely clear yet. There are still unanswered questions. Although I still generally prefer the other Superman series, this is good enough that I’ll likely stick around. This story arc in particular is at least worth a read for Superman fans, unless the idea of Oz’s identity really bothers you.