Pretty much everyone knows the story of the final days of Krypton. Jor-El, Superman’s father, discovered the planet was in peril. He tried warning the Council, but they refused to listen. Jor-El only had enough time to build a spaceship to send his son, Kal-El, to safety on Earth.
The events of Action Comics #987 have shown that we didn’t quite have all the information as to what happened after Kal-El was sent away. You can read about that revelation here.
As for how and why those revelations have come to pass, the next issue, Action Comics #988, has shown even more information. We now know what happened before and after Krypton exploded. Note: There will be spoilers below.
Superman has had a lot of adjusting to do. First he was trapped outside his reality with his wife, Lois Lane. During this time he was powerless, and eventually Lois gave birth to their son, Jonathan. After the Convergence arc, it was revealed Superman, Lois, and their son managed to escape to the New 52 reality. They lived a secret life until the Superman of this world died and Superman’s past was merged into reality. All this meant Superman was back where he belonged.
Throughout recent adventures, there was a mysterious watcher, calling himself Mr. Oz. He seemed to know quite a bit about Superman, including all of his secrets. Action Comics #987 revealed Mr. Oz was really Jor-El. Somehow he survived and finally showed his true identity to his son. Superman found it hard to believe this man was truly his father.
Jor-El made his case. He said he’d been watching Kal-El his entire life. Using the archive crystals in the Fortress of Solitude, Jor-El told Superman about what happened before Krypton’s destruction.
Jor-El’s research showed Krypton was doomed. Lor-Van, Superman’s maternal grandfather, was Jor-El’s scientific benefactor. He was not pleased to discover Jor-El used his funding to make plans to evacuate the planet. He wanted Jor-El to find a way to save Krypton. Because space travel had been deemed illegal, Lor-Van had Jor-El’s research erased. He didn’t want his grandson to grow up with a father banished to the Phantom Zone. Jor-El was still able to construct a smaller craft from his memories in order for Kal-El to be saved.
After Kal-El’s ship was launched, Jor-El watched his wife die.
This is where everything Superman knew changed. Time stopped for Jor-El, and he was taken away by something beyond them. His battered body landed in a war-torn country on Earth. He was found and nursed back to health. After the family protected him from a dictator’s soldiers, Jor-El decided to try to repay their kindness by stealing food for them since the soldiers took all that they had. He was betrayed by one of the children in the home who thought they would be rewarded by turning in the stranger. Instead, the entire family was shot and killed before Jor-El’s eyes for harboring a thief. Jor-El was outraged.
He was then taken by the mysterious force and shown the entire cruel history of man.
Jor-El witnessed the horrors and saw how man was becoming more efficient at killing and being cruel. This all made it clear that Earth did not deserve Superman. He’s convinced Earth will continue its downward spiral and he made a huge mistake sending his son to this planet. The reason he finally revealed himself to his son was because he plans on taking him away. Can Superman refuse his father’s wishes, or will he do as he’s told?
What’s odd is it took this long for Jor-El to come out of hiding. He claims he watched over his son. Why would he wait so long to be reunited with his son? It’s been referenced that Superman did fight Doomsday to the death in the past. If Doomsday was a being created on Krypton, it would make sense for Jor-El to assist his son as he fought for his life. Jor-El was released on Earth in the pages of Suicide Squad and later targeted Superman along with Cyborg Superman, Eradicator, and others. Despite this, Jor-El still stayed in the shadows.
Jor-El’s presence changes everything about Superman’s history. We can assume Superman won’t be leaving his adopted home anytime soon. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next. The really big question are: Why was Jor-El saved by the mysterious force (which we can assume was Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen) and why is he allowed to do as he pleases. Perhaps this will be answered in the pages of Doomsday Clock #1, on sale November 22, 2017.
Check out the full story in Action Comics #988, written by Dan Jurgens with art by Ryan Sook.