Next month, DC Comics will reveal one of the biggest mysteries of the Rebirth Era as the mysterious Mr. Oz’s identity will finally be uncovered in Action Comics’ “The Oz Effect” storyline. The strange, hooded figure has been a presence in the life of Superman stretching back before Rebirth and there are number of theories as to who he’s going to turn out to be. With the final revelation just weeks away, we’ve taken a look at all the available evidence so far and have a pretty good idea that it isn’t the person you might expect.
Mr. Oz made his first appearance in Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson and Laura Martin’s Superman #32, where he was seen watching Superman fight an alien invader. It was immediately established that the new character had some sort of connection to Superman through his very first lines of dialogue, which addressed Superman by his civilian name of Clark and made mention of having taught him in the past. Over the course of the arc, Mr. Oz served almost like a Greek chorus, commenting on Superman’s adventures, but the more we saw him, the more questions we had than answers, including the fact that he had someone held captive, and that he considered himself proud of Clark.
Mr. Oz next appeared in DC Universe Rebirth #1, written by Johns in a segment drawn by Ivan Reis, where he confronts the pre-Flashpoint Superman with the information that he and his family aren’t what they believe they are, and neither was the New 52 Superman who had just died. Due to the revelation in DC Universe Rebirth that Doctor Manhattan had been meddling in the affairs of the DC Universe and that Watchmen characters, themes and motifs would be crossing over into DC proper, many people believe that Mr. Oz was in fact Ozymandias. The name is an obvious connection, plus Mr. Oz is always shown to be watching multiple screens at once just like Adrian Veidt. However, he seems to have a personal vested interest in Superman that goes deeper than any professional curiosity Ozymandias would likely have in the Man of Tomorrow.
As soon as DC Rebirth was in full swing, Mr. Oz began making cameos all over the place, most notably in Dan Jurgens’ Action Comics. Here, he again served as an observer to Superman’s adventures, but also appeared to have plans of his own and a foresight to events that were coming, often speaking of how things were moving faster than even he anticipated. Until now, Mr. Oz had mostly served as someone on the sidelines, but soon he began pulling players off the board, starting with the abduction of the rampaging monster known as Doomsday.
Then things got really interesting, because Mr. Oz followed that up by kidnapping Tim Drake, AKA Red Robin. In the conclusion of the first Detective Comics arc of the Rebirth era, Tim seemingly sacrificed his life by reprogramming a fleet of drones to target himself instead of the Gotham citizens who had been tagged for death. It seemed as if he was obliterated, but in fact, he was whisked away to Mr. Oz’s lair where he was held prisoner, informed by the mysterious observer that he was reconnecting threads that should not be reconnected. Tim Drake is one of the best detectives in the DC Universe, destined to be better than Batman (if he isn’t already). Mr. Oz is apparently threatened by his ability to put two and two together, and so he took him off the board completely.
Mr. Oz had a big role to play in the Superman/Action Comics crossover “Superman Reborn,” which revealed that the fake Clark Kent was in fact Mr. Mxyzptlk who had escaped Mr. Oz’s extradimensional lair and was presumably the first captive Mr. Oz referred to way back in Johns and Romita’s run. Although he’s been popping up all over the DC Universe, it seems like Mr. Oz mainly cares about what happens to Superman which is a big clue towards his potential true identity.