Action Comics #991
Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 8, 2017
Cover date: January 2018
“The Oz Effect” – Conclusion
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Viktor Bogdanovic
Inker: Viktor Bogdanovic, Trevor Scott and Scott Hanna
Cover: Nick Bradshaw and Brad Anderson
Variant Cover: Yanick Pquette and Nathan Fairbairn
Reviewed by: Mario Bennese
Superman has had enough of Oz. Between the manipulation of Jon and being responsible for the recent atrocities occurring around the world, the man claiming to be Jor-El must be stopped. Before Superman can attack, Jor transports the two of them to what once was his prison. Words are exchanged regarding the imminent threat before Superman starts a fight. During the fight, The Man of Steel discovers the room that Mxyzptlk was imprisoned in and Doomsday held captive. Superman continues to question the validity of Oz’s claims. Using the kryptonite lodged in his skull, Jor shoots green rays from his damaged eye. Superman fights back briefly, but grows weaker. Superman asks Oz a question: if Jor’s prime objective is to protect Kal, why is he so willing to utilize the most lethal weapon on his own son?
Jor-El is stunned for a moment, allowing Superman to make a move and break Oz’s staff. Jor-El immediately becomes weaker, coming out from under the spell of whatever entity was manipulating him. Kal and Jor hug before a mysterious force steals Jor away and transports Superman to the Fortress. Returning to the Daily Planet, Clark explains to Jon and Lois what happened before setting out to restore hope on Earth.
Story – 3: I’m gonna be honest, this issue felt a little anti-climactic. Perhaps I’m to blame for my disappointment, but I was expecting a larger reveal. I know that in the coming issues, Superman will be employing the help of heroes like Booster Gold to look into Oz’s true identity, but I feel like more could have been revealed about the fate of the DCU. I already figured that if Oz were really Jor-El, someone would have to be manipulating him. Jor-El isn’t an evil, twisted character, so to see him act completely out of character was a pretty big red flag. Perhaps this story would have benefited by being an issue or two shorter. On the whole, I felt that for the majority of the story, I was reading the same issue multiple times with slight variations. Overall, the story was good, but if it were a bit more concise, it might have been stronger. Then again, I’m sure DC wanted this to wrap up in time for Doomsday Clock, so Jurgens’ only options were to write a longer arc or write two shorter arcs. I’m assuming he avoided the latter to avoid the overall narrative in Action from losing steam. I can’t say for certain, but that’s what I think happened.
While this issue may not have been the greatest issue of a Superman story that I’ve ever read, it does contain what very well might be my favorite Superman moment from this year. The last two or three pages really sum up what this character is all about. The one page splash of Superman on top of the Daily Planet, listening to all of the evils of the world is so powerful. The cries for help take up a majority of the page and it all feels overwhelming. But on the very next page, Superman regathers himself and flies off to help people. An absolutely brilliant, incredibly touching moment that is sure to remind any fan why they love Superman.
Art – 4: The art in this issue is pretty decent. Jon continues to look off and every once in a while, Superman looks a bit oddly proportioned. Bogdanovic’s art here is serviceable, which is a shame because I know he’s capable of some truly fantastic stuff. However, like stated above, the last few pages are the highlight of this issue. Bogdanovic allows the moment to breathe and ends the book with a gorgeous drawing of Superman flying off to do his job. The embrace between Jor and Kal is also well done, as are many of the panels during the fight.
Cover Art – 2: I appreciate what Bradshaw and Anderson were going for here, but it falls a bit far from their mark. Superman looks like he’s had one too many visits to Big Belly Burger. His face looks no better. Jor-El looks okay, but based on the layout, the reader isn’t meant to focus on him as much. Overall, it’s a cover with a good concept, but poor execution. Probably the worst Superman cover I’ve seen all year.
Variant Cover Art – 3: I like this variant. It’s meant to promote the upcoming release of Justice League and it does a pretty nice job. I would prefer if Superman made an appearance outside of his symbol, but DC and WB have chosen to leave Big Blue out of a majority of the advertising for the film. It’d be nice to see, but I’m glad there’s some consistency. I do, however, much prefer the Justice League variant for Superman #35. That cover gives me fewer Batman v Superman flashbacks.
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