Spoilers ahead for Action Comics #987.
The identity of the mysterious Mr. Oz, who has been watching the DCU for years, has been revealed, as promised, in Action Comics #987 by Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic.
Mr. Oz is Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian father.
Although early guesses about Mr. Oz's identity were way off, the secret had recently been theorized by Newsarama in late August, not only because the character used heat vision in the last issue of Action, but also because DC accidentally released a cover that appeared to feature Jor-El.
Other clues about Oz seem to reinforce his identity, from Oz's statement in his first appearances that he "taught" Superman in the past to his obsessive stalking of Clark Kent, particularly since the onset of "Rebirth."
Yet Jor-El's unveiling in Action Comics #987 also came with new questions, not only about why Jor-El has taken certain actions in the past, but even how the Kryptonian was able to survive what he did in this issue.
Plus, what version of Jor-El is this? Where did he get his extra powers? And why does he seem to be so knowledgeable about Dr. Manhattan?
The issue begins with the hooded Mr. Oz visiting Metallo at A.R.G.U.S., commenting on how disgusted he is with "this world's capacity for cruelty and viciousness."
But he isn't affected by the Kryptonite glowing from Metallo's chest. In fact, Oz pulls the Kryptonite out with blade on his staff, holding the glowing rock close to his own face. The Kryptonite stays there on Oz's blade somehow, glowing from the top of the pole.
(OK, so…why doesn't Kryptonite affect Jor-El like it does his son?)
Oz calls humanity a "sick, tragic, perverted and twisted organism" that doesn't deserve Superman and his family.
So…he's obviously not a fan.
Meanwhile in Metropolis, someone highjacked a truck and drove it over the side of a bridge. Dumb move, but in this case also life-threatening, since there was medicine on board that could stop a virus overseas.
Superman fishes out the truck and takes the medicine to an area of Logamba, where it's needed.
Flying back to Metropolis (and covering his Superman costume with a shirt and jacket), Clark shows up at The Daily Planet's offices, where his son Jonathan has stopped by with wife Lois. The boy is going to hang out with his parents at work while the family's apartment is painted, an idea that Perry loves - and one that gets Steve Lombard bragging about his football career. (Jon isn't impressed. His dad is Superman.)
The happy gathering doesn't last long, as a series of man-made tragedies begin happening around the world - almost simultaneously.
Mr. Oz has orchestrated the simultaneous tragedies. His followers - wearing their "Oz" tattoos - have urged humans around the world to do their worst. And now there is an oil tanker ruptured on shore, a prison riot, workplace shootings, poaching, war breaking out in Logamba, racial disputes, terrorist acts…
Humanity is suddenly causing chaos, thanks to a little prodding from Oz's followers.
Superman flies around the Earth and helps where he can, but when he shows up in Logamba - in the same camp where he left the medicine earlier - he is angry to see local citizens killing each other.
"Why?" he says out loud. "Why would you do this to each other?"
"Because they are petty," Oz says, showing up in the battlefield.
After Superman recognizes Oz, the latter says, "The time has come for us to talk."
How Does He Do That?
Oz somehow transports them instantly to the Fortress of Solitude. (A footnote reminds readers that Oz has been there before. Remember how Oz destroyed the statue of Ma and Pa Kent that once stood in Superman's Fortress?)
Superman realizes Oz is responsible for the global chaos, but Oz says he merely provided humanity with "options."
OK, so he's not human, Superman realizes.
Oz says, "Had I only known what a cesspool [Earth] is, I'd have sent you somewhere better."
Superman's like, whaaa…?
Oz says he fashioned the spaceship that sent Superman to Earth. "I sent you here, Kal."
Superman realizes what's going on here but doesn't believe it.
As the issue ends, Oz removes his hood and reveals his identity. "I survived, Kal-El. And I know now that I sent you to the wrong place. I am your father."
The final page shows that Jor-El's left eye is damaged. He only has one blue eye - his right. His hair has also been altered, with the left side of his head almost bald.
Under his cloak he wears on his chest the red, S-shaped symbol of the House of El.
"I am Jor-El."
"Next," the final page says, is the "Secret Origin of Mr. Oz!" Presumedly, readers will find out in Action Comics #988 how Jor-El survived the destruction of Krypton and why he's been manipulating events on Earth.
Also this month, Detective Comics #965 will explore how Tim Drake escapes into the halls of Mr. Oz's prison. The storyline, "A Lonely Place of Living," promises to eventually return Tim Drake to the mainstream DCU, but not before revealing the identities of some of Oz's other prisoners.
Action Comics #988 is scheduled for release September 27.