Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: Viktor Bogdanovic
Colours: Michael Spicer
Inks: Viktor Bogdanovic, Jonathan Glapion & Jay Leisten
Letters: Rob Leigh
Release Date: 13th September 2017
For some time now the events of Rebirth have been monitored and sometimes controlled by the mysterious Mr Oz. All of us have had different ideas on who this shadowy figure could be. Someone from the Watchmen universe? A character from Superman’s past. A future version of Jon? Well, the time for guessing is now over, because on the final page of this very issue the identity of Clark’s stalker is revealed, and to say I was shocked is a massive understatement.
Dan Jurgens has quite the colourful history with Superman and his key life moments, so it’s only fitting that he should be the one to bring us this tale that will change everything we thought we knew about the Man of Steel and his connection to his past. Now that this version of Clark has fully integrated into the DCU, it’s actually an ideal time to mix things up a little, and I can’t put too fine a point on just how much this will alter Superman’s world.
I really enjoyed the interaction between Jon and Steve Lombard this issue. Most kids would have been over the moon to be introduced to the guy but the more Jon shows his disinterest the more Steve tries. When you are the son of Superman and a hero in your own right it is clearly going to take way more to impress.
The machinations are in full flow as Mr Oz hatches a masterplan are every bit as sinister and convoluted as you would expect from a man attempting to get Clark’s attention. It’s so intricate that it almost feels Lex Luther in design. Each time Superman arrives at a scene he is a few seconds too late to prevent the inevitable tragedy and we see it begin to wear on him with each failure bringing into stark contrast his words at the beginning of the issue. The moment Clark finally breaks and Oz makes his appearance initially seems a little by-the-numbers, but when he finally reveals who he really is I had to take a second just to take it all in.
Viktor Bogdanovic has a real gift for creating striking visuals and giving a very distinctive look to the entire cast. Superman, despite looking stoic and powerful, constantly has a warm smile as he flies from location to location helping those in need. When Oz’s plan is enacted, the pain of watching humanity slowly destroy itself is almost too much for him to bear, and he truly wears his emotions in full view. Clark is ever the graceful-yet-powerful figure, and this is on full display here as he strikes pose after pose during his call to action and the sequence of him protecting some workers against gunfire is iconic and memorable.
Michael Spicer brings the book to life with some of the best colouring that has graced the series in some time. From Oz’s purple hued layer filled with the promise of a truly evil rival, to the village on fire ablaze with the hatred of mankind, every colour is used with deliberate meaning adding true weight to the events as they unfold.
As the beginning of a new tale and one that is likely to reshape much of what we know of the Man of Steel, this is most definitely new reader and veteran reader friendly. The story is well told and a stunning art direction helps to add an extra dimension to an already great book. So far the story has proven to be every bit as important to the DCU as it claimed back when it was first announced, and I for one am truly excited to see what happens next. It is not often something so fundamental to a hero’s core is touched on like this and what follows could lead to a full deconstruction of everything we once knew to be fact. The wait for the next issue is going to feel like an eternity…
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The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato