Action Comics #991 is the finale to the Oz Effect storyline, ending with a saddening conclusion that seems to tie the storyline to Doomsday Clock, dropping in two weeks. Overall the storyline could have been better but served its purpose of showing why Mr. Oz was so focused on Superman.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“THE OZ EFFECT” part five! After being revealed as [REDACTED], Mr. Oz makes his last moves against the Man of Steel and his family and leaves the Man of Tomorrow wondering what other secrets and lies await him in the future as “The Oz Effect” comes to a close.
Why does this matter?
The issue picks up at Jon telling Clark that they need to go with Jor-El to survive the threat that Jor-El has been trying to protect them from (obviously hinted at being Doctor Manhattan) and Clark continuing to refuse. Jor-El’s whole motivation is shown to be protecting Clark from anything that would harm him while also having been subtly manipulated by the greater force at play through the staff. It also revealed that Jor-El is sick from the Kryptonite lodged in his head and that the staff has relieved his pain as well as making him more aggressive. This revelation makes more sense of why Oz is acting the way he is towards Clark and why he uses Kryptonite on him during the issue rather than having Oz be super aggressive for no real reason.
The ending of the issue is emotional with Clark’s desperation to not lose his father again really conveyed through the pages — although, mere pages before he was fighting with him. Bringing Clark to Mxyzpltk’s cell within Oz’s prison was a great way to link back to Superman Reborn and its events by showing Clark how desperate Mxy was for Clark to save him, how much faith he had in Superman and his desperation.
The best part of the issue is definitely where Superman hears the many calls for help and despite everything he had just been through, he still goes out to help people and be a beacon of hope. Just as Superman should be.
And the art?
The art by Viktor Bogdanovic was great as always. He continued to draw a very impressive Oz and Superman that fits the visage of Superman almost perfectly. The way he draws the seep of the Kryptonite within Oz’s eye is also a really nice detail as it can be seen seeping further back than just his eye to near his brain. The backgrounds are well done, especially the panel of Mxyzpltk’s cell. Bogdanovic is one of the best artists to draw Superman right now, and even one of the best in DC overall in my opinion.