[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Story: Dan Jurgens
Script: Rob Williams
Art: Will Conrad
At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman ruminates on the revelation of Jor-El’s reappearance. He discovers that Kelex has been compromised and is now mastered by Jor-El. Superman lashes out at his furniture and is distracted enough that he doesn’t hear Batman enter. Bruce has come to check on Superman and relate his own experience of meeting his father as shown in the Batman/Flash crossover – “The Button.” Batman tries to explain that time has been altered, but Superman finds it easier to answer a distress call than sit and talk – Action, indeed.
Back in Metropolis, Perry is quizzing Lois on Clark’s whereabouts, and Lois does her best to cover. Shortly after, Lois herself goes to the roof of the Daily Planet to ask herself the same questions and is greeted by Superman. Supes explains his identity issues, but is interrupted by Hal Jordan, Green Lantern. He travels with Hal to Mogo, the Green Lantern headquarters, to view the destruction of Krypton to see if a second ship with Jor-El did indeed escape as well. The recording from Tomar-Re’s ring begins, but glitches and it’s clear that this record has been manipulated.
Superman decides to utilize the Flash’s cosmic treadmill to go back in time and view the event for himself…Booster Gold arrives a moment too late to stop him and now time itself is in danger of collapsing!
After the weighty topics in “The Oz Effect,” a lighter mood would’ve been appreciated in the ensuing arc. “Aftermath” Part 1 doesn’t promise this outright, but does effectively maintain a pathos for Superman while throwing in some classically fun comic book elements, notably time travel and “super friends.” Interestingly, this all flows organically into the larger tapestry of Doomsday Clock and Rebirth, as Superman finally comes to understand that time has been tampered with and that this may hold the answer to his search for the true identity of Mr. Oz and if he is or is not Jor-El. At the core of this issue is Superman’s own self identity.
It seems a little silly that Superman would question his own identity based on what his father may or may not have become. However, it plays as a very real human question. Batman’s arrival as a friend plays off the classic depiction of the Superman/Batman friendship. That Bruce is able to relate with a similar story is important, and for once he’s not there because he sees Superman as a danger, but rather a beacon of hope and goodness.
Time travel is always a fun element in comics, and it’s no different here. The appearance of Booster Gold is an added treat. Maligned in some circles, Booster’s involvement can add some humor as well as the fun of his time travel exploits.
This issue handles many emotional and thoughtful themes well and it is hard to find a negative in the bunch.
“Aftermath” plays better than “The Oz Effect” itself as Superman acts on the mystery at hand and moves closer to the answers he needs. With the support of friends and family, Superman will certainly run headlong into some answers, maybe here, maybe elsewhere.