DC Rebirth: We’re 99.9% Sure We Know Mr. Oz’s True Identity

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.

RELATED: DC Rebirth: Mr. Oz’s Identity Will Be Revealed in September

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.

Page 2: Mr. Oz... Revealed?

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.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Lenticular Covers Revealed for Action Comics’ The Oz Effect

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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