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Action Comics #988 Review

With the shocking reveal of Mr Oz’s true identity last issue, Superman must deal with the revelation and hear how Mr Oz came to be.

With “The Oz Effect” in full swing, this issue deals with the reveal of who the mysterious Mr Oz really is and his backstory.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

“THE OZ EFFECT” part two! As Superman struggles with the ramifications of Mr. Oz’s identity, the mysterious figure’s origins and the long road to Superman’s doorstep finally reveal themselves.

Why does this matter?

The reveal of who Mister Oz really is will shake Superman to his core and by exploring his origin it reveals why he thinks so negatively about the human race.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

The issue starts to bring forward more playing pieces of the Rebirth story that relate to Superman and Mr Oz. Last issue contained the reveal that the identity of Mr Oz is in reality Superman’s father Jor-El who survived the death of Krypton due to an outside force protecting him as Krypton died, implied to be Doctor Manhattan, before he arrived on Earth weak and injured before being nursed within a war torn country. The story of how Jor-El came to see the dark side of the human race is a touching one that can mirror reality in some aspects of it. With more and more hints at the outside force driving Jor-El down a path of disdain for humanity, it contrasts well with the good in humanity that Superman experienced on arriving to Earth with the horrors that Jor-El encountered.

The machinations of the outside force that has been affecting the DC Universe and is behind the wider plot of Rebirth are written and illustrated incredibly well by Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook respectively. Sook illustrates Jor-El’s time between sending Kal-El off planet to the modern day extraordinarily well with the panels of Krypton’s destruction showing the planet exploding around an unwillingly protected Jor-El.

Sook draws a square jawed, handsome and optimistic Superman that contrasts well with the disfigured and pessimistic Jor-El. He also encapsulates the emotions that are running through Superman’s head very well with each appearance showing how confused and conflicted he is by the reveal. Scenes of humanity’s darkest moments shown on a screen to Jor-El serve to show how unsaveable humanity is according to both the issue’s focus character and the greater power behind Rebirth. Colours by Hi-Fi work very well with the art style with the best examples being Jor-El’s loss of control in his flashback and the red wash over the screens of what was shown to Jor-El.

It can’t be perfect can it?

People are still likely to be annoyed at the character reveal of Mr Oz as Jor-El and some fans may be annoyed at the changes to Superman’s origin that it brings. How well this change to arguably one of the best known origins has yet to be seen going forward and whether it can win over people who are currently annoyed by the reveal.

Action Comics #988
Is it good?
An insight into the background of Mister Oz after the reveal gives some necessary motive behind one of Rebirth's most behind the scenes villains.
Gives an insight on why Mr Oz feels the way he does about the human race.
Builds a background around a reveal that for many was out of left field.
Art demonstrates the conflict that Superman is facing with the reveal.
It remains to be seen how well the backstory to Mr Oz will affect Superman and his origin going forward.

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