If things weren’t complicated enough for Superman as he tries to readjust to life back in Metropolis he learned that his father, Jor-El, was Mr. Oz. With this revelation Superman is left in a position to question everything he thought he knew about Jor-El, his Kryptonian heritage and the threat Mr. Oz has been warning him about. That is a lot for Superman to deal with, which is exactly what Dan Jurgens and Rob Williams look to deal with right away in Action Comics #992. See what the consequences of “The Oz Effect” are with our review of Action Comics #992.
Story Writer: Dan Jurgens
Script Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Will Conrad
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the Fortress of Solitude Superman reboots the Keelex robot. When he asks it who his master and Mr. Oz where Keelex answers “Jor-El” for both.
Superman gets frustrated at the answer, still in denial over who he learned Jor-El really was, and destroys the room he is in with a punch.
Batman shows up to confront Superman over how reckless he has been lately. Superman wonders if Batman is more concerned about what Superman is capable of.
Batman takes of his cowl to speak as Bruce Wayne and says he is concerned about Clark. Clark doesn’t think Bruce knows what he is going through. Bruce fires back and says he recently went through a similar event (see the Batman and Flash crossover “The Button”).
After a moment of silence Bruce mentions that there is something wrong with time. Before they can get into it Clark hears trouble and flies off to save a boat of refugees from pirates as Superman.
At the Daily Planet Perry White blows a gasket as Clark is nowhere to be found. Lois is quick to defend Clark by mentioning that he is currently in deep cover working on a story on Senator McVay that they are co-writing. She then asks Perry if he trusts his reporters. Perry tells Lois that when she hears from Clark to have him call him.
Lois walks up to the roof of the Daily Planet and is confronted by Clark as Superman, who heard the entire conversation. Lois mentions that she and Jon have been worried about Clark being away for so long. Clark says he has been trying to find answers about Jor-El and questioning if Mr. Oz was right about humanity while he saves people from horrible events.
Before they can talk further Green Lantern Hal Jordan contacts Clark and requests him to come to Mogo for a special case. Lois tells Clark to go and he flies into the portal Hal created for him.
On Mogo Hal welcomes Superman to the planet. Hal then introduces Superman to Salaak. Superman asks Salaak about information on Krypton that was in Tomar-Re’s files, specifically before the planet blew up. Salaak puts up simulation of Krypton exploding that shows Superman’s rocket leaving before the explosion. Before they can see what else happened as the planet exploded the file becomes distorted and the file shows that it has been corrupted, much to Superman’s disappointment.
Later that night, Clark, still in his Superman costume, checks up on Jon, who is already asleep. Lois walks up to Clark and asks him if he found the answer he was looking for. Clark says he didn’t and is unsure about being able to even fight something that can alter time itself. Lois kisses Clark and tells him that he will find his answers because that is what he has always done as the second-best reporter at the Daily Planet.
At the Watchtower Superman enters the room where the Cosmic Treadmill is kept. Superman decides to use the Cosmic Treadmill to go back to when Krypton exploded.
As Superman disappears into the timestream Booster Gold shows up and realizes he is too late to stop Superman from leaving. End of issue.
The Good: Action Comics #992 did what the somewhat disappointing “The Oz Effect” failed to do and that was give the reveal that Jor-El was Mr. Oz emotional weight. Superman, rightfully so, carried this issue on his back as Dan Jurgens and Rob Williams nailed the impact of what our hero learned about his dad. That emotional weight helped carry every scene in this issue to feel unique in their own way.
One of the biggest problems in “The Oz Effect” was how the majority of the characters were written. When it came to the dialogue a lot of what Superman, Jor-El, Lois Lane and Jon Kent said sounded artificial. It was almost as if the characters weren’t able to actually react as they wanted to and were being controlled.
That is the problem that Action Comics #992 rectifies by focusing in on Superman and having this aftermath issue centered around him. Jurgens and Williams made the right choice by not trying to split the attention of this issue as it allowed them to create a script that was tailored to make the reader feel the all the emotions Superman was feeling. It was particularly effective that they never had the character change out of his Superman costume even though they went between referencing him as Clark and Superman.
This choice to keep him in his Superman suit made the scenes with Batman and Lois Lane powerful. Both characters did their best to get Superman to talk to them honestly about what he was feeling and tried to help. And as mentioned earlier, these scenes were made even better by the fact that both Batman and Lois called him ‘Clark’ rather than ‘Superman.’ It made these scenes feel more personal as they tried to reach the human side of Clark’s character rather and Superman.
It was also great to see how Jurgens and Williams drove home how much effort Batman put into reaching out to Superman by taking off his cowl. In this simple act we were able to see how this was a scene between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent and not Batman and Superman. That added a special element to the scene since we don’t normally see the characters talking to each other as Bruce and Clark in most of their appearances together, save for Super Sons. It gave more weight to when Bruce mentioned his own life changing experience with meeting a version of his father he never expected to meet.
Similarly, it was great to see Lois being the strong in her defense of Clark with Perry and following that by telling Superman to not hide away from learning the truth about Jor-El. In doing this Jurgens and Williams were able to highlight how Lois is forever Clark’s beacon to remember who he is. Each time we saw Lois, Jurgens and Williams made sure to have her be the one to push Clark to find answers about what is going. This showed how strong Lois is as she is pushing for Clark to gain peace of mind and be the Superman we know he is by finding out the real answers.
This all helped to show how much emotional pain Superman is going through and setting up how he will see the looming threat of Dr. Manhattan, who he does not know about, as terrifying. The fear Superman showed when mentioning the unknown threat Jor-El spoke about made his decision to search for more answers have greater weight. The fact that his search extended to him using the Green Lantern Corps data on the universe’s events further built on the confusion that Superman was going through. This made Superman’s decision to travel to the past be even more effective since it was clear that it was a decision not made with the thoughts of what he may change in the present.
Booster Gold’s appearance at the end was an intriguing way to conclude Action Comics #992. Since we haven’t seen Booster Gold in a while his appearance felt significant. Skeets mentioning that they were too late added to what Superman may have changed by going into the past. What role Booster Gold and Skeets play in Superman’s investigation on the true origins of Jor-El will be very interesting to read.
For his part, Will Conrad absolutely nailed all the emotional weight in Action Comics #992. Without much action Conrad had to carry the issue on the character reactions. He did just that with how he showed all the frustration and confusion Superman felt as he dealt with the revelation of who his father really was. Conrad also did a good job at showing us how both Bruce Wayne and Lois Lane were doing their best to reach out to Superman as he kept delving deeper into the Jor-El mystery.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Action Comics #992 did a fantastic job giving emotional weight to the events in “The Oz Effect.” Dan Jurgens and Rob Williams delivered a tight issue that made you as the reader feel how much emotional heartache Superman was going through after what he learned about his father, Jor-El. Amplifying the strong supporting role Lois Lane played was the inclusion of Batman and Green Lantern to further the plot along. The scenes between Superman and these three characters made the final moment of this issue even more effective as it could lead to severe consequences for the DC Universe.