After months of speculation a mysterious adversary of the Man of Steel’s steps into the light and prepares to throw asunder everything that Superman has ever believed!
When DC Comics promised that it’s “Rebirth” rebranding would return many of its long-standing titles to a more proper state of familiarity, reestablishing years of legacy and working to retcon much of the unfavorable reaction that it received for “The New 52” era or reboots, many dedicated readers felt that perhaps the imprint had heard their cries! The “Rebirth” rebrand introduced an even more dense conundrum that was initiated with the return of Wally West!
The one-time Teen Titan, turned Flash had seemingly been eradicated from current continuity, along with much of the Golden Age heroes, and Superman had died — only to be replaced by his “pre-Flashpoint” counterpart; the “post-Crisis” Man of Steel that was apparently saved during the “Convergence” crossover event. Another additionally confounding mystery has also presented itself and that’s the fact that a decade of time has apparently been stolen!
Someone has been watching from the shadows, and we’re getting closer to learning the identity of the being that was powerful enough to steal time from our heroes, although most fans have already gathered there’s only one being capable of moving so fluidly between time and have such an adverse affect on the multiverse, but another shrouded agent who calls himself “Mr. OZ” has been exerted his own influence especially over the life of the Man of Steel.
It’s been theorized that the “someone” responsible for affecting the continuity is none other than the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan from the classic Watchmen series. There have been many clues to have lead us in that direction, but as for that other mystery man — Mr. OZ — who has been manipulating elements mostly connected to the world of Superman, that character’s identity has finally been revealed — and big surprise — it’s not exactly who you thought it might have been.
In the latest issue of Action Comics #987 feat. Superman the Man of Steel finally confronts Mr. OZ and after month’s of speculation it’s none other than (SPOILER ALERT) — Jor-El! That’s right! Mr. OZ is Superman, Kal-El’s Kryptonian father who so many years ago sent his son rocketing to Earth in order to survive the destruction of their home planet. Jor-El sent his infant son to Earth knowing that under our yellow sun, he would grow invincible and be gifted with unique abilities.
After some reflection though Jor-El is now regretting his decision, and has instead been plotting from the sidelines, setting in motion events to reveal humanity for the monsters that they truly are, convinced that his son — now Earth’s greatest hero, Superman — is not worthy of their protection. As the shrouded Mr. OZ, Jor-El manipulated the events that lead to the “resurrection” of Superman on Earth in a battle of wills against the mischievous Mister Mxyzptlk.
That event was chronicled in the recent “Superman Reborn” story arc that also cemented Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s marriage and place within the present continuity and firmed the legitimacy of their super-son Jon.
The OZ Effect
With the reveal of Mr. OZ’s identity marking the first part of this story event, and after the recent investigation by The Flash and Batman in “The Button” narrative that brought those characters back to the world of “Flashpoint” and back again, this latest part of the “Rebirth” chronicle is bringing everything closer to the upcoming “Doomsday Clock” limited series that is promising a final show down between the DC Comics heroes and those of the Watchmen continuity.
In the meantime, readers will have to digest and come to terms with this latest twist — one that places Jor-El not-necessarily on the side of the angels. If this is truly the Man of Steel’s long-thought dead father, how did he survive all these years and why has he been keeping his identity a secret? Why did Jor-El keep and capture some other heroes including Tim Drake, Red Robin a partner of the Caped Crusader?
What could Jor-El have in store for Superman, and does he indeed play an overall part in the entire “Rebirth” storyline, what role does he play in the scheme of things. What does this mean for Superman and his wife Lois, not to mention their son Jon?
With this only being the first part of this latest arc and much of "Rebirth" still developing, what exactly is in store next for our favorite DC Comics characters is anyone's guess. Even as many legacy elements are making their way back into continuity there is still much to unravel -- including how Wally West and the Golden Age heroes fit into the scheme of it all. It has long been established that Superman is the center of the DC Comics multiverse and that there is exists a "Man of Steel" in every iteration of worlds across all timeline, but The Flash was duly responsible for kicking things off!
Barry Allen's Flash was the signature premiere super powered hero to kick start the Silver Age of Comics and reignite interest in the genre; Barry was also the catalyst for the "Flashpoint" event that changed everything and eventually has lead to the current disarray of things, yet The Flash is not at the center (or at least not yet) of the current state of affairs dealing with his own issues and coming to terms with having confronted the Reverse-Flash (another character that was prevalent at the "Flashpoint" event). Stay tuned! There will be more developments taking shape!
“The OZ Effect” Part 1 is written by Dan Jurgens with art provided by Viktor Bogdanovic and is featured in DC's Action Comics #987.