Action Comics #989 Review

What is this all about?

The story begins: two people walk into the Daily Planet, a man, and woman. She is coaching him on what to do. The view transitions to the staff members of the Daily Planet who are all watching TV monitors showing chaos and terror all over the world. The television screens, which depict civil war, violence, and suffering set the tone for the book and serves to foreshadow future events. In This issue, Lois risks her life, Superman leaves Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude, and Jor-El expands his evil plot.

The Review

The story continues as the man approaches Lois and Jonathan; he pulls a gun and it’s revealed that explosives are tied to his torso. My immediate response is, “too soon”. The scene is surreal and horrific given what the country has been through. My mind went to fears that Lois would die in front of her son, Jonathan. This sequence could trigger memories of gun violence for some readers. He shouts, “The world must know you print fake news to control us!” The on-the-nose tone of the story is annoying. However, I question whether the preachy tone annoys me or the similarity the story shares with our real-life situation in America today. The man says, “OZ understands that for most – there is no tomorrow.” This narrative is dangerous for a man who believes that people are withholding the truth from him.

The story transitions to Jor-El and Superman in the Fortress of Solitude where Jor-El continues to persuade Superman that the earth doesn’t deserve help.  The whole narrative is nauseating at this point because it’s too repetitive. By this time the reader understands that Jor-El believes that Kryptonians are a superior race. The next panel reveals striking images of people suffering all over the world, which evoked genuine feelings of concern in this reader. Superman rushes to save these people telling Jor-El, “There is nothing you can do to stop me.” When Jor-El says, “Do not be so sure,” it put shivers down my spine. The dynamic is chilling. Jor-El is bent on seeing the world self-destruct; Superman is committed to saving the world at all cost.

Meanwhile, back at the Daily Planet, Lois uses her influence as a reporter to convince the gunman to let everyone go. In return, she broadcasts his story to the world.  Lois aligns with the man by showing genuine interest in his story to stall. She challenges his belief and says, “People are always predicting the end of the world.” This provokes a violent response; the man fires a shot into the ceiling. Lois reveals the gunman’s delusion with her statement reminding the reader of the danger she placed herself in saving others.

Jor-El intercedes to save Lois for no reason, it would appear. He stands over a surprised Lois for a moment. We quickly learn what brought Jor-El to the Daily Planet when he hears Jonathan outside the building and leaves to engage him.

Final Words

Jor-El convinces Jonathan to return to the Fortress of Solitude where he shows him images of Jonathan as an infant in Superman’s arms, the families’ Kryptonian history, and his escape to earth. He convinces Jonathan that as long as he remains on earth he will have to hide who he really is from everyone. Jor-EL tells Jonathan that he’s found a place where Superman and Jonathan can live and be themselves and shows him images of superheroes flying around this new paradise unimpeded with happy faces. The whole sequence feels creepy. An old man with one eye manipulating a child into leaving the planet while his parents are busy saving lives. Unpleasant stuff. OZ is an unlikeable character, which makes the story hard to like since he is the focal point. The story arc will need to advance or branch out to keep reader’s interest. However, Lois shows great courage by freeing hostage and Superman heroically saves lives, which is refreshing.

More Info

Reviewed by Tom Zimm Action #989 The OZ Effect part 3 Written by Dan Jurgens Art and Pencils by, Viktor Bogdanovic;  Inks by, Viktor Bogdanovic & Trevor Scott; Colors by, Mike Spicer;  Letters by, Rob Leigh Published by DC Release Date: 10/11/2017