Action Comics #987 The Oz Effect Review

What is this all about?

In this issue, the mysterious Oz accelerates his plans to attack earth. Superman spends enormous amounts of energy intervening due to catastrophes striking all over the world. He comes to the epiphany that there has never been an onslaught of evil on such a widespread scale in his memory. We learn Oz’s involvement in these catastrophes, as well as, his interest in Superman! This story is about Superman’s courage and compassion for humanity and Oz’s plan to destroy them.

The Review

The book begins at A.R.G.U.S Weaponization Center on Subject 2201, Metallo, who appears to be in pieces. He’s strapped upright on a device and in great pain. “I might be able to help you with that”, Oz says. He begins to lecture Metallo, “This world’s capacity for cruelty and viciousness will never cease to amaze me.” Oz is looking menacingly at Metallo who is the symbolic representation of all human experience, possessing great strength yet many limitations.

Oz observes that a piece of Kryptonite is the only thing keeping Metallo alive as Metallo begs for him to release him from his pain. Oz rips Metallo’s heart out in an act of judgment and cruelty foreshadowing the events to come. His act of cruelty toward Metallo demonstrates Oz’s belief that humans do not deserve Kryptonite.  And, by removing the piece of Kryptonite he demonstrates his belief that humans are not worthy of Superman.

Oz’s belief in the superiority of the Kryptonians is reinforced by a set of panels that follow. He views pictures of Clark, Lois, and Jon while he thinks, “You Kal-El will come to realize that they don’t deserve you or your family.” These panels and Oz’s dialogue serve as a transition in the story as we see Jon accompany Lois on her first day back as a reporter at the Daily Planet.

A cute micro-arc occurs between Jon and a reporter for the Daily Planet who is a former football player. He tries to persuade Jon to be interested in him and gives him one of his old jerseys.  However, he cannot hold a candle to Jon’s father. This minor arc feels important because it captures a human dilemma: we will all get old, and the younger generation will forget about us.

The story transitions to showing a series of events that explore and demonstrate the evils of this world: Thieves stealing medicine; hunters poaching rhinos, a major oil spill that hurts innocent animals, and a war breaks out in Logamba. In each scenario, a symbol of Oz is present, on a sleeve or the back of someone’s head, communicating that Oz has been influencing this chaotic and evil behavior. Oz is shown with hands raised, like the orchestra leader, as these evil events play out.

Superman engages these different events. As the devastation unfolds he comes to the realization that although he is doing the right thing he cannot save everyone. Superman’s internal monologue puzzles over the number of incidents and whether this is orchestrated or just a coincidence. He begins to ruminate on its origins, that something more sinister must be at play. Superman observes that he’s seen similar eruptions before, “but never with this level of animosity and vindictiveness.”

Final Words

The book ends leaving the reader with great anticipation for the story to unfold. Oz comes out of the flames confronting Superman that he should have known better, “These people don’t deserve you.” Oz transports them to the Fortress of Solitude so that they can talk. Superman charges Oz with being responsible for the chaos and evil. Oz states that he simply presented the people with options and they chose evil and mayhem. (SPOILER ALERT!) Oz reveals himself as Superman’s Father. Oz tells him briefly about his escape and then reinforces his belief that he sent Kal-El to the wrong place. The book ends with Oz saying, “I am Jor-El” The story is emotionally satisfying, it’s rooted in real-life dilemmas while still feeling like a Superman story. The art is beautiful and the cliffhanger at the end was awesome! I cannot wait to find out how Superman will respond to meeting his father especially with the things his father has already done toward humans.

More Info

Reviewed by Tom Zimm
Comic Book Title Action #987 The Oz Effect part 1
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by: Bogdanovic; Pencils by Viktor Bogdanovic; Inks by Jonathan Glapion, Jay Leisten, & Bogdanovic; Colors by, Mike Spicer;  Letters by Rob Leigh

Published by DC
Release Date: 9/13/2017