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Review Brew: Action Comics #990

Publishing Company: DC Comics
Written By:
Dan Jurgens
Art By: Viktor Bogdanovic, Trevor Scott, and Mike Spicer

Mr. Oz’s destructively over exaggerated efforts to convince Kal-El of mankind’s inherent ignobility have begun to lose their empathic sheen, and Superman has had just about enough of it. While young Jonathan Kent wrestles with his adolescent framework of his father’s ideologies in the face of Mr. Oz’s glowing promises of a brave new world, Superman goes into overdrive fighting the homicidal mania ransacking his adopted planet. In a spectacular display of unsurpassable power reined in by intentional humility, we catch a unique glimpse of Superman relinquishing his role as Hero- the middle man- and bringing sworn enemies face to face to solve their differences. There’s no longer any holding back; the madness is spreading and he has to stop it.

This fourth installment of “The Oz Effect” arc plays the panels fast and loose, cutting with cinematic precision between the individual quests of all major players. The irony of the paradise Mr. Oz promises, in the face of the Armageddon he’s creating, comes to blazing breathing life with every page turn. As we are met with the ominous warnings of an alleged planetary threat, further betrayal and intrigue lurk among cult like fanatics of the ever-darkening culture of hopelessness threatening to take root. Jonathan’s wide eyed confliction between his heart’s desires and his concept of what is right stand in sharp contrast with the steely eyed resolution emanating from terrorists and the heroically inclined alike. Every moment rings with the sound of thoughtful orchestration; a daisy chained series of unfortunate events, pulling us eagerly into the explosive developments crouching on the next page.

Artistic beauty flirts shamelessly with your attentions here, wooing your visual sensibilities with skill and power. However, as with the greatest of seductions, there are essential elements of poignant subtlety that simply must not be missed. Whether in comics or movies or television, when the audience sees gold it’s usually in the context of wealth, royalty, or sunrise. The subtle picture these three elements paint here is that of a kingdom. Whenever we see Mr. Oz speaking of the new realm, there are always two colors heavily splashing the background. The first one is gold; the second we’ll circle back to. Every time Superman is saving someone, there is a wash of gold filling his wake. You see what’s being said here right? It’s the battle for two different kingdoms- the one Superman has tasked himself to protect, and the one Mr. Oz wants to escape away to.

 So good right? And that second color I mentioned, which always accompanies Mr. Oz on his journey throughout these pages? Green. That color is everywhere in this issue, dashed like Neverland fairy dust all over the place, as if the artists were sticking to a theme. As if there were a bigger play here. But what could it be? Look at the name; “Mr. Oz.” And what does Mr. Oz rule over?

Emerald City.
Just bloody brilliant.

5 Signal Watches out of 5

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