In today’s Action Comics #998, Superman finally does what he set out to do at the start of the “Booster Shot” storyline: he witnesses Krypton’s final moments, from the relative safety of Booster Gold’s Time Sphere, and sees his birth mother wiped from the planet’s surface by a raging explosion.
He also sees, to his horror, that his father, Jor-El, was whisked away from the planet at the last possible moment by a flash of blue energy.
That moment — when his father vanished while his mother was swallowed by eternity — is what Superman had gone back in time to “look for,” but hoped fervently he would not find.
It seemingly confirms the story of Mr. Oz, a character who has been lurking around the fringes of Superman’s world since 2014.
Jor-El first appeared as Mr. Oz in an issue of Superman during Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr.’s run. He presented himself as someone who had been watching Superman’s story from the beginning, and who had “taught” Superman at some point. The Man of Steel himself had encountered Mr. Oz a couple of times before the big reveal came, though, and did not seem to recognize him.
In Action Comics #984, Superman’s son Jonathan helped his father battle supervillains by jumping into a Kryptonian warsuit (a giant purple humanoid robot) and tearing after the Superman Revenge Squad. He was assisted by a mysterious voice — apparently Mr. Oz’s — who knew the details of the suit intimately, seemingly implying that he was Kryptonian or had spent a lot of time around Kryptonian technology.
The theory that Jor-El could be Mr. Oz gained traction shortly before the big revelation came, when a solicited lenticular cover to Action Comics #988 appeared to depict Jor-El disappearing in a flash of blue light during Krypton’s explosion.
That blue light, long associated with the teleportation powers of Watchmen‘s Doctor Manhattan, has been appearing at or near the site of various mysteries since Rebirth began. That would line up with Mr. Oz’s claims that he was taken against his will and whisked around to various places, including an interdimensional prison, with no (or at least very limited) control of where he went and when.
That said, Superman’s biological father is no downy innocent; throughout “The Oz Effect,” he manipulated people and events in order to persuade Superman that mankind is unworthy of his protection, declaring that he had sent baby Kal-El to the wrong world, and that humanity would “prove” to him that it does not deserve Superman or his son.
And now, with a little help from Booster Gold, it appears as though Superman has confirmed that villain was indeed his biological father.
Action Comics #998 is on sale in comic shops and digitally now.