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Comic Book / The Oz Effect

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"The Oz Effect" is a five-issue story arc that was published in October and November 2017 in the pages of Action Comics, written by longtime Superman writer Dan Jurgens under the DC Rebirth saga. It served as the climax of Superman's conflict with the mysterious Mr. Oz.

Ever since his introduction in the last phase of the New 52, Oz has been stalking Superman and his family for an unknown purpose. Oz is aware of every crucial moment in Superman's life, even his cosmic rebirth in the new DC Universe, and has been kidnapping people from across the world to keep his own involvement hidden, including Tim Drake, Doomsday and the new villain Prophecy. Now, Oz's identity and plans stand revealed, forcing Superman to confront everything he believes in to stop him.

The Oz Effect contains examples of:

  • Angry White Man: Superman defends some Latino immigrants from a white supremacist.
  • Arc Villain: Mr. Oz.
  • Call-Back:
    • When he and Mr. Oz are fighting in Oz's base, Superman discovers Mxyzptlk's room, which was mentioned in Superman Reborn.
    • In the epilogue, Batman mentions his encounter with the Flashpoint Batman, which happened during The Button.
  • Canon Character All Along: After initially appearing to be a new character in The New 52's "The Men of Tomorrow" storyline, this arc reveals that Mr. Oz is in fact Superman's biological father Jor-El, having assumed a new identity after Dr. Manhattan plucked him from the moment of Krypton's destruction and had him stranded on Earth.
  • Cerebus Retcon: An often joke is about how Jor-El failed to have any backup plans so that he and Lara could survive along with their son. This story arc explains that Jor-El indeed had a plan to evacuate the Krypton population with large spacecrafts, weeks before the disaster happened and he pleaded with the Science Council. His father-in-law refused to allow the project to go forward, believing the plan to be a destined failure due to the Council's already teetering faith in Jor-El, and destroyed the plans. Jor-El was then forced to plead with the Council to heed his warnings, only to be rejected and only having time to build a rocket for Kal-El.
    Jor-El: It was never as simple as the Science Council rejecting my research. Countless wrongs contributed to our destruction.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Jor-El wants Clark to pack up his things and take his family away from Earth and to somewhere safe, that Earth is screwed because humanity will screw it over. Ultimately, Jon is won over and begs Clark to listen to him, that if they don't leave, they will die.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Action Comics #988 shows that Jor-El was already on the precipice while still on Krypton due to high personages on Krypton — including his own father — destroying his plans to save the Kryptonian race. Doctor Manhattan's likely intervention and exile to possibly Mogadishu on Earth and what he experienced there merely gave him the last little shove he needed to full-on despair. Now he's trying to drag his son over the same event horizon.
  • Downer Ending: Despite Superman managing to save Jor-El from his mental influence, he is unable to stop Dr Manhattan from taking him and is left with the knowledge that "something" terrible is going to happen soon. The final scene is him solemnly telling his son that, in wake of all the tragedies that have occurred, he has to get back to work.
  • Eye Scream: Jor-El's left eye is missing.
  • Foreshadowing: Mr. Oz slices the chestplate of Lex Luthor in two exactly where the symbol of Superman is located. It is revealed that he is Jor-El which explains why he took the time to do this.
  • Heel Realization: A combination of Superman noting his father is poisoning him to protect him and a separation from his staff causes Jor-El to realize how far he’s fallen.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Mr. Oz believes his of humanity, noting that when presented with critical decisions, humans take the darker option. Of course, he also thinks that Kryptonians are bastards, as his father-in-law destroyed the plans for a massive evacuation fleet that would have saved the entirety of the Kryptonian people because... reasons.
  • Kick the Dog: Mr. Oz's attack against Luthor while mocking him about how even when he tries to be good, he'll never be as great as Superman.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Jor-El tries to keep everything and everyone who could ever harm his beloved Kal-El and even to spirit him away from Earth and Manhattan's grasp and when Superman keeps refusing, he tries to bring him to heel by shooting him with Kryptonite.
  • Man of Kryptonite: Caught in the explosion of Krypton before he was rescued, Jor-El has a bit of Kryptonite lodged into his head, allowing him to fire bursts of "Kryptonite Vision" from his left eye. A Deconstructed Trope, as the only way he was able to survive as long as he was is that he has his staff, and he's otherwise very sick in the head from having his Kryptonite Factor so close to his brain.
  • More than Mind Control: Turns out Jor-El was under his staff's mental influence.
  • Mythology Gag: The cover of Action Comics #989 references the cover of All-Star Superman #10.
    • Arguably, Mr. Oz/ Jor-El's Well-Intentioned Extremist tendencies have an origin in the dream universe that the Black Mercy flower concocted for Superman way back in the pre-Crisis universe in For the Man Who Has Everything. In that story, Jor-El was depicted as a bitter extremist who wanted to bring Krypton back to a utopia with the help of an equally extremist cult. In The Oz Effect, he is going to take Superman and some other selected people to a utopian pocket dimension called Bliss because he feels Earth (and possibly the universe in general is Beyond Saving.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mr. Oz has this as Superman points out that Jor-El is trying to protect him, by using Kryptonite on him.
  • Oh, Crap!: When partnering up with the Green Lantern Corps, Supes, Hal and Tomar-Re are watching the recording of Krypton's explosion only to realize that the entire file is incredibly corrupted, making Superman realize that Batman was right - time is broken.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Again, Mr. Oz.
    • He rips Metallo's Kryptonite heart out while claiming he is "freeing" him with the implication that he's only doing it because Metallo is powered by Kryptonite. Worst of all for Metallo is that he is being held prisoner and cannot move so he has to watch what is essentialy his heart being ripped out before his very eyes unable to do anything.
    • His worst action so far has to be depowering Cyborg Superman (New 52 version) while the latter is being held in water, causing the Cyborg to drown. The reason it is so bad is that Cyborg Superman or rather Zor-El is his own brother.
  • The Reveal: Oz's identity, relations to the Superman family and endgame will be ousted here. it is Jor-El, Superman's father.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Mr. Oz, AKA Jor-El, is a firm believer of Humans Are the Real Monsters due to seeing the handywork of Kassim's militant group first hand and thus declares that all of humanity doesn't deserve Superman. "All of humanity" includes the selfless family who tended to his injuries and fed him for a significant amount of time at no benefit to themselves while they also suffered under Kassim's rule and had a shortage of food and supplies, only shooing him away out of fear of reprisal rather than any sort of malice. He has also ignored how there are many humans who aren't bastards, including the majority of the Justice League and their associates, medical workers (like the the doctor he arranged to be murdered by a militant group similar to the one he suffered under), and good cops like Maggie Sawyer (who defended a thief who ran away with medical supplies from being attacked by an angry mob instigated by Oz's mind control chips) despite spying on Earth for an indeterminate amount of time. Granted, he does acknowledge the people who have helped him and he is willing to make minor exceptions to his mentality for Lois Lane and Jon Kent (who's only half-human), but his absolutism is still notable. It might have something to do with Dr. Manhattan controlling him through his staff.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The story ends setting up the "Booster Shot" storyline, with Booster Gold having to stop Superman from causing a Time Crash.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Mr. Oz is all the way on the cynicism side, and trying to pull Superman over from the idealism side.
  • Spoiler Cover:
    • One lenticular cover shows Jor-El being kidnapped by Dr. Manhattan's energy, spoiling that he is Mr. Oz.
    • Action Comics #989 shows an aged Jor-El hovering over an exploding Krypton.
  • Tragic Villain: Oz, aka Jor-El, is revealed to be this in the end. Instead of dying in Krypton with his wife, he is saved by Dr. Manhattan, who subtly and continuously brainwashes him for more than 30 years, making him believe humanity is evil and that Jor-El was wrong to send his son to Earth. By the time Superman is able to reason with him, Jor-El realizes what he has done and begs his son to save his family before Dr. Manhattan separates him from his son again.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: This story runs concurrently with the Detective Comics (Rebirth) storyline "A Lonely Place of Living", in which Tim Drake and the Titans of Tomorrow Tim Drake attempts to escape from Oz's base.
  • Utopia: Jor-El has created, or is in the process of creating, a world called Bliss, inhabited by superpowered beings that don't have to hide behind masks or secret identities. A place where everyone can be truthful and honest without fear. When Jor-El tells Jon his family is invited to join him, Jon says Lois wouldn't be allowed to join because she has no superpowers. Jor-El replies she has a superpower of her own: her mind. It's hinted that it was a sham created by Jor-El to better convince Jon to join him, as the true refuge Jor-El has ready for himself, Clark, Lois and Jon is revealed to be his fortress in another universe.
  • Walking Spoiler: Mr. Oz is Jor-El.
  • Wham Episode: To the Superman saga in DC Rebirth. The revelation of Mr. Oz, according to one issue's solicitation, "rocks Superman to his core".
  • Wham Line: "I am... Jor-El."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Seems to be Jor-El's mode, given that he's seen Earth as a Crapsack World that drove him over the Despair Event Horizon, not seeing the good in humanity that his son, Kal-El has had the opportunity to witness. He later tells Jon that their entire plane of existence is in danger of being destroyed, which is why he wants the Kents to come to him to Bliss.