The shocking identity of Superman villain Mr. Oz revealed - what does it mean?

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Sep 13, 2017, 5:00 PM EDT

Warning: Major Spoilers for Action Comics #987 and the ongoing mystery of the whole of DC Rebirth ahead.

When DC Rebirth #1 launched, Geoff Johns took the criticism of the New 52 head-on. He didn't shy away from the mistakes DC Comics had made with their latest reboot, didn't sweep them under the rug, and didn't even just write an apology letter to readers. Instead, he made it all part of the story, teasing that an entity, heavily implied to be Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen, caused it all, stealing relationships and history from characters to manipulate the DC Universe.

While that will be explored much further in Doomsday Clock, from Johns himself, we've seen the mystery of just why that happened unfold across the DC Universe during this new relaunch. In the pages of Detective Comics, Batman, The Flash, Titans, Superman, Action Comics, and with nods in individual issues all over the DCU, we've had more and more hints about what's been done, and more importantly, who is working with Manhattan on this project.

The mysterious Mr. Oz has been front-and-center since the beginning. His name made most fans instantly think he was Ozymandias, another Watchmen character, and one that was equally if not more manipulative than Manhattan. Indeed, the stamp Oz was putting on his followers seemed to support the theory, as it looked like Ozymandia's old perfume logo.

But then things took a much more personal tone, when it came to Oz and Clark Kent, his wife Lois, and their son Jonathan. Oz was clearly watching them all closely, and told Superman he was the one who taught him to always get up when knocked down. Later, Oz was the first to reveal to Clark that time (and Superman himself) had been fractured. Sure seems like a remarkable show of your hand if you're nothing but a servant of the big bad.

Today in Action Comics #987, the truth was revealed: Mr. Oz is Jor-El, Kal-El's father. He revealed himself to Superman after throwing the world into chaos just to prove that humanity is not worthy of Superman's time.


It's not out of the blue (ahem, no Manhattan Blue Energy pun intended), and there have definitely been clues pointing to Jor-El all along. His deep interest in Superman and his family, and even willingness to "help" them in his own way a few times. His knowledge of Kryptonian technology, his blue eyes, his interest in characters like Doomsday and Mr. Mxyzptlk. The former killed a Superman Oz saw as an imposter, and the latter who he had impersonate Clark Kent to advance him into becoming whole, all pointed to someone with a close relationship to Kal-El.

There's also his taking of Tim Drake, who has long been considered an incredible detective — an even better one than Bruce Wayne, or at least more natural one — and was putting together some of the mysterious puzzle pieces of the DCU's manipulation. Pulling Tim, a surrogate son of Batman, out of the equation also helped damage Batman and throw him off the trail. The theme of fathers and sons has been extremely prevalent in the DC Rebirth issues, from Superman and Superboy's relationship, to Batman and Robin's, to the possible future children in Justice League and even the relationship of Volthoom and the Guardians in Green Lanterns.


The lenticular cover to Action Comics #988 seemed to tease this, as well, showing Jor-El's miraculous survival. The cover starts with an image of Jor-El and Lara, Superman's Kryptonian parents, watching as his ship rockets away from the dying planet. The next image when the cover is turned, however, shows Lara dying in the explosion while Jor-El is engulfed in blue energy.

Now, Jor-El's participation has been officially revealed, and he sure seems to be working with Dr. Manhattan. He seems to think that Kal-El's talents are wasted on humanity, though he does seem to have a fondness for Lois and their half-human, half-Kryptonian son Jonathan. His exact motivations are still unclear (that's what the rest of the arc is for, naturally), but it's clear now that the machinations leading up to Doomsday Clock are only going to get more personal as time progresses.