Action Comics #990 review

It’s a case of infinite crises on Earth as Superman tries to stay on top of the conflict that’s broken out everywhere. This fourth chapter of the Oz Effect opens with Superman back in the nation of Logamba, where the rebels and authorities – influenced by Mr Oz – look set to destroy one another. Time for direct action straight out of the Golden Age playbook.

Whether Superman’s intervention will presage a long-term solution, time will tell, but for now, the citizens are a lot safer than previously.

Back in Metropolis we see that, astonishingly but happily, Steve Lombard has survived last issue’s shooting to once more rock those short shorts he wears.

I thought Lois didn’t need a signal watch, that Superman was tuned into her voice at all times; I suppose she’s covering all the bases in her search for son Jon.

Speaking of whom, he’s getting to know Grandpa Jor-El – or at least Mr Oz, who claims to be the father of the Last Son of Krypton. He’s trying to get Jon on side with seductive tales of a world of super-powered folk, and frightening hints of what’s to come. As his parents’ son, Jon doesn’t easily accept Mr Oz’s story – heck, just calling a place Bliss screams Fake. But brains and powers aside, he’s only a kid and might just buy what Mr Oz is selling. 

As he zooms towards the source of the signal watch summons, Superman comes across Janet, the mystery woman from last issue, and other Oz cultists.

Honestly, Janet sounds like the world’s most depressing speak-and-spell doll, parroting whatever Oz has told her. It’s wonderful to see our hero set her right about a thing or two.

This is a fine issue all round, with writer Dan Jurgens progressing the story by pushing Jon towards a more reasoned disciplehood with Mr Oz than that of Janet. While Mr Oz could easily be Jor-El, trying to save his family, there’s no getting around the fact that his murderous actions are a massive, insurmountable, obstruction towards getting Superman to stand alongside him. 

Mr Oz is a lying scumbag – but I really like this exchange with Jon.

Other passing moments of note include Superman’s laying out the whereabouts of Supergirl, New Super-Man and the Justice League, his choice of forename or hero name hinting at who’s a friend and who’s a colleague; and his simplistic, heartfelt plea to the Logamban leaders. And while I still miss thought balloons, but there’s no denying Jurgens has a deft touch with his internal narratives, especially that of Superman.

Bringing Jurgens’ words to life is penciller Viktor Bogdanovic, whose dynamic compositions help sell the intensity of events. I like how he occasionally shadows Mr Oz, hinting that he has the blackest of hearts. 

Sometimes he inks himself, at others Trevor Scott and Scott Hanna provide the finishes, but every page looks great. My favourite image is a powerful splash that shows how imposing a figure as usually friendly as Superman can be.

The bold colours come courtesy of Mike Spicer, while Rob Leigh, as ever, provides the sharp lettering.

Both the regular cover by artist Nick Bradshaw and colourist Brad Anderson, and the alternate by Neil Edwards and Jeromy Cox, nicely tease the Oz/Jon situation, but I much prefer it when variant and regular cover start from different concepts.

And that’s a tiny quibble, in no way preventing me from recommending this latest chapter. I’m ready for the Mr Oz storyline to wrap, but meanwhile I’m very much entertained.

Action Comics #990 review, Dan Jurgens, Victor Bogdanovic, Trevor Scott, Scott Hanna, Mike Spicer, Rob Leigh, Neil Edwards, Nick Bradshaw, Jeromy Cox, Brad Anderson, DC Rebirth, Mr Oz

21 thoughts on “Action Comics #990 review

  1. Like you, I loved the Golden Age solution to the civil war.

    And while Oz's motivations are kind of muddy — does he need Clark & co. to leave because there's a huge threat coming, or because humanity isn't worth saving? — his m.o., in a sense, is the same. When Jor-El sees an insurmountable threat, he works save his family rather than stop the threat itself. (Granted, on Krypton he worked for years to avoid the threat before surrendering to its inevitability; here he accepts the threat as insurmountable from the moment we hear of it.) I'm still not sure Oz is Jor-El — or at least, *our* Jor-El — but if he is, he gets points for consistency.

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  2. He did, but that had an element of mind control to it. This is just Oz trying to convince Jon that he's right. The stories might have that surface similarity, but those methods make them feel very different, IMO.

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  3. Aw, thanks! One of these days I'll have to dig into another issue of Flash for you. Or if you're up for an indie, Lark's Killer is a book I've been enjoying the heck out of.

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  4. know u don't like this idea mart but still think Helspont has some hand in this Jor-El could Be Helspont Dan Jurgens does not strike me as the kind of writer to forget plot lines no matter how old an he may still have a plan a Daemonic plan

    again sorry

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  5. Great review and per usual the panels we chose were similar.

    Like you, I think the big flaw here is Joe-Els lack of caring for others. His actions are leading to huge body counts. This is very different than his actions on Krypton. Remember, he wanted to build a fleet of space arks. Kal’s rocket was a prototype. He wanted to save everyone and could only save his child.

    Here is is fostering war, terrorism, and death.

    He can’t be Jor-El.

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  6. another fact that supports my theory Daemonites in Helsponts' league have Chronokinesis combined with advanced daemonite tech he could've easily taken Jor-El out of his time perios

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  7. Earth 3 was destroyed, not that that seems to matter in the Rebirth Era, but I do think this Jor-El is the father of the other Superman, the one that died and whose life was somehow merged with the other Earth Superman, this one. (I'll be honest, I am not 100% sure how that happened, though where Mxyzplkt (spelling?) is concerned, things don't have to make sense) and that he is a kind of remnant of whatever caused the other superman, or this one.

    I think there is a kind of merging of timelines happening in DC, and that that merger is imperfect (editorial mistakes become possible multiversal explanation) and causing things like this, and Diana's odd memory problems, and the two Wallies, and the Titans remembering each other from the old timeline, but nothing else (how does that work?)

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  8. Also, for the purposes of stealing that universe's Jor-El, the destruction of Earth 3 is of little significance; it's the existence of Krypton-3 from years before that's important.

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  9. I'm happy to keep the guessing game going a little while longer… and once he's revealed as an impostor, I think I'll be happy to keep this guy around as a villain, as long as he's used sparingly. He should be able to get under Clark's skin like few others, and that's a good quality to have.

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  10. An Earth-3 Jor-El would not be a bad idea, except this guy seems a bit too caring of his grandson and Kal-El. I think we have seen glimpses of that Jor-El, and he was not caring at all. More of a Klingon type.

    Of course, in a Multiverse, there are also bound to be a nearly infinite number of Earth-3 like worlds. Like, for example, a bunch of Dark Multiverse Earths that somehow escaped destruction and actually spawned new realities of their own.

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