I Just Finished – Action Comics #987

The first issue of the much-heralded story, “The Oz Effect.” Who is Mr. Oz? Well, he’s a character who first appeared a couple years back in a middle-numbered issue of the last run of Superman. That was before DC launched “Rebirth,” this… um… lessee… Crisis, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis (do we count Final Crisis?)… New 52… Sixth? Fifth and a half reboot—well, now, I guess the introduction of the Silver Age Flash and all his JLA kin was also a reboot, so let’s go with six and a half reboots—six or seventh reboot of the DC Universe. Anyway, Mr. Oz is more than one reboot old, which is pretty damn ancient in DC terms, and he’s shown up a few dozen times these past few months, including in the eponymous DC Rebirth one-shot that started all the current shooting.

In this opening tale, the mysterious Mr. Oz declares that the human race does not deserve Superman or his family. Humans are just too selfish and petty, too easily swung toward the wrong choice, too prone to bring chaos. So Mr. Oz decided to give them a little push towards just that, in hopes of showing Kal-El that humanity is just not worth his time.

Right at the end, we learn the true identity of Mr. Oz. No spoilers, and I’m pretty sure it won’t stick; but it guarantees that this is a story I’ll want to read. Of course, so does Dan Jurgens name in the credits, but still…

A well-crafted story that touches on an old (but never-answered) question about being Superman: What the hell does he do when a lot of things go wrong at once? Here a lot of things do go wrong, and it’s enough to drive even the eldest of the super heroes to despair. Kudos to Jurgens for political even-handedness, by the way. There is, predictably, a white supremacist attack on helpless immigrants depicted. It’s the first crime Superman prevents. It’s followed up quickly by a thug spouting Occupy rhetoric as he tries to burn down someone’s house. It’s refreshing to see a piece of mass entertainment remind us that there are extremists on both ends of the spectrum, and they’re all dangerous.

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