Action Comics #992
Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 22, 2017
Cover date: January 2018
“The Oz Effect” – Aftermath
Writer: Dan Jurgens and Rob Williams
Penciller: Will Conrad
Inker: Will Conrad
Cover: Francis Manapul
Variant Cover: Jerry Ordway
Reviewed by: Mario Bennese
Following the events of The Oz Effect, Superman has secluded himself in his Fortress of Solitude. The Man of Steel reboots Kelex and has him search for any system tampering before having the robot run a search for Jor-El and Mr. Oz in its data files. According to Kelex, Jor-El really is Mr. Oz. Batman shows up to give Clark a pep talk. Both Clark and Bruce have recently had encounters with their supposedly deceased fathers (see The Button for Bruce’s encounter with Thomas Wayne). Clark hears people in danger and flies off to save the day.
At the Daily Planet, Perry White demands to know where Clark has been for the past few days. Lois covers for her husband by telling Perry that he had gone undercover with a hot lead. This buys Clark a few days. As she makes her way to the roof of the building Clark lands to discuss his problems. If Jor-El had such disdain for humanity and held so little faith in the goodness in mankind, what does that mean for Clark? Lois comforts her husband. Suddenly, Hal Jordan makes contact with Superman. A file that Supes had requested from the Green Lantern Corps is available for viewing on the sentient planet Mogo. A portal is opened and Superman makes the trip to the headquarters of the GLC.
On Mogo, Superman meets up with Hal as Green Lantern Salaak brings up a video of Krypton moments before its destruction. Clark watches his ship leave the planet, but as the video reaches the point where Jor-El was supposedly saved from Krypton, the video becomes distorted. Salaak moves the recording forward a bit. The video returns to normal, showing only the shattered remains of the planet. Someone has tampered with time and Superman intends to get to the bottom of the issue.
The Man of Steel returns home, fills Lois in, and then makes his way to the Justice League watchtower. Clark needs to see what really happened with his own eyes. He boots up the cosmic treadmill and sends himself back in time to the destruction of his home world. Seconds after Superman vanishes, Booster Gold arrives through a portal with a warning: Superman must not travel back in time if the universe is to survive.
Story – 5: I’m glad to see that Clark hasn’t accepted Oz’s claims as fact. There’s just something off about Jor-El’s story. I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is, but there has to be something more here. Like Superman noted, someone has definitely tampered with time. I have a feeling that Dr. Manhattan is behind this in some capacity. Only future issues will reveal that information and I am 110% intrigued.
More to the script and the story, there are a lot of things to love about this issue. For starters, I love how this issue acts as both a conclusion to the previous story arc and an introduction to the next one. That’s just masterful serialized storytelling. This issue very much could have been a “breather” issue, but instead, it connects everything nicely. I expect nothing less from Jurgens.
It’s interesting seeing Clark so consumed by this revelation. His fears aren’t unfounded. Jor-El practically set the world afire. If his father turned out to be a monster, what could it mean for him? Could he follow in his father’s footsteps? While readers and fans know that Superman could never become a villain, it’s fascinating to see Superman grapple with this issue. He’s incorruptible, but he still needs to actively make the choice to be a force for good. He understands his existence and actions have ramifications. With these latest revelations, the Superman story adds an extra layer to its themes of nature versus nurture.
There’s not much else I have to say about the issue. It’s well-written, intriguing, and feels like a Superman comic should. I’m looking forward to seeing Supes and Booster Gold working together in the coming issues.
Art – 4: Conrad’s art compliments the story in that this truly feels like a Superman comic book. There’s a fantastic splash page of Superman flying that just looks fantastic. Even the guest starring heroes look great. I would be completely alright with Conrad staying on art duties for a while. My only gripe is that a few faces look a bit off in some panels.
Cover Art – 5: This cover is just so gorgeous. The composition, the coloring, everything. It perfectly captures the emotional turmoil that our hero is experiencing. Francis Manapul knocks it out of the park here.
Variant Cover Art – 5: I don’t normally buy variant covers. Every now and then, I will. The image really has to grab me. The last time I bought a variant cover was around May of this year when Gary Frank had done a cover homaging the helicopter rescue from Superman: The Movie.
I bought the variant for this issue. The image of Superman standing in the Fortress with an anguished look on his face is so gripping. It reminds me of the scene in Superman II where the Man of Steel tries to get his powers back to no avail. I hear Reeve scream “Father!” when I look at this cover. I’m not sure if that was the Jerry Ordway’s intent, but that’s what I get out of this cover. Incredibly fitting, considering the content of the issue.
It’s also great to see Ordway doing some more Superman stuff.
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