Mr. Oz… Revealed?
Recent events in Action Comics have brought the identity of Mr. Oz much closer to being revealed, with the biggest clue coming towards the end of Dan Jurgens and Patch Zircher’s “Revenge” arc. As Jon Kent piloted the Kryptonian Battle Armor against General Zod and the Superman Revenged Squad, he was instructed by a mysterious voice in how to pilot it; someone who assured him that they knew the armor well. The voice of course was revealed to be Mr. Oz, who is still watching over the Kent family and ensuring their safety. This week’s Action Comics #986, by Rob Williams and Guillem March, had Mr. Oz take direct, physical action against Lex Luthor, scolding him for being unable to rise above his base instincts. Two key pieces of information were revealed here; the first being that Mr. Oz is smarter than Lex Luthor and the second that he isn’t human, or if he once was he isn’t anymore.
So, we have a super-smart observer with a close personal connection to the Kent family, and a desire to see them succeed and thrive. Someone who apparently had some level of involvement in teaching Superman how to be Superman, and who doesn’t just have knowledge of Kryptonian technology, but has experience using it. That means there’s only one person that Mr. Oz can be… Jor-El.
Jor-El is, of course, best known for being the Kryptonian scientist who predicted the destruction of his world. After being laughed at and ignored, he and his wife Lara Lor-Van chose to send their only child to Earth, where he would thrive. There are many ways that Jor-El could have survived the destruction of Krypton; he could be an alternate reality Jor-El or one from a previous continuity, he could have crafted an escape pod for himself before Krypton’s explosion, heck he could have been plucked out of reality by Doctor Manhattan himself (as was teased on the art for the upcoming storyline’s lenticular covers) and is now working as an acolyte preparing his son for the inevitable confrontation between the two.
There are a few small dents in the theory that don’t completely discredit it, but are worth exploring. One is the small fact that Mr. Oz always refers to Superman as Clark and not Kal-El. That could be a simple way to keep readers from guessing the identity of Mr. Oz before DC was ready to reveal it, but it does seem strange that Superman’s Kryptonian father wouldn’t use his Kryptonian name, even in private. Secondly, most of Mr. Oz’s captives make sense considering their antagonistic relationship to Superman, but Tim Drake certainly feels like an odd one out among the abductees. That’s likely going to be explained in next month’s Detective Comics story “A Lonely Place of Dying,” which will also reveal the identity of Mr. Oz’s mystery prisoner.
We’re not far off from the revelation of Mr. Oz’s identity, because “The Oz Effect” starts in less than two weeks, but with all the evidence at our disposal we’re pretty confident Jor-El is the most likely candidate for Superman’s secret observer. What that means for Superman, DC Rebirth and the future of the DC Universe is another question entirely, but with stories like “The Oz Effect”, Dark Nights: Metal and Doomsday Clock, it’s obvious that there are still plenty more surprises from DC Comics to come before we head into 2018 and the climax of the Rebirth era.
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