Fair warning: This is a speculation article and we'll be tallying up some plot beats and anecdotes, including pretty recent ones for this week's issue of Detective Comics. Consider this your spoiler warning.
There's a theory out there that says Mr. Oz -- the mysterious character introduced during Geoff Johns's Superman run, who has also appeared in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Dan Jurgens's Action Comics, and this week's issue of Detective Comics -- is Adrian Veidt, the man known as Ozymandias in Watchmen.
There's a fair amount of (mostly circumstantial) evidence to back this up -- and Detective Comics #940 certainly seemed to pile more on top of what was already there.
As early as March of 2015, some had noted that a homeless woman being manipulated into working for Mr. Oz had been "branded" -- and that the brand or tattoo resembled the logo on Nostalgia perfume, a brand sold by Veidt's company in Watchmen.
That's the kind of think that you just doin't think much about -- unless it's a year later and the character is still mysterious and starting to play a bigger role and suddenly you're googling furiously to find the blog where that theory was offered (a tip of the hat to Newsarama, who did that for us in an article which will cover some of the same ground as we're covering here, but without more recent stuff).
Mr. Oz, who spends a whole lot of time staring at banks of monitors and worrying about the "long game" (like Ozymandias), and who told The New 52 Superman that he'd been "watching" him for years, popped up periodically throughout Geoff Johns's run, notably revealing that he had someone or something in custody behind giant, heavy, metal doors in Superman #34. At the time of DC Universe: Rebirth, Newsarama (see link above) speculated that if Mr. Oz were Ozymandias, perhaps his prisoner was Doctor Manhattan -- but that doesn't seem to track with other evidence we've seen since.
During his pre-Rebirth Appearances in Superman, there were hints that Mr. Oz had a hand in the early life of the New 52 Superman -- something that, when the character died and turned into a pile of sand, seemed more urgent than ever. Writer Peter Tomasi told ComicBook.com that he had intended the death of the New 52 Superman to reflect the events of "The Sandman Saga," a 1970s storyline in which a portion of Superman's power was used to create a duplicate of him, animated from sand around the site of a Kryptonite explosion. When the duplicate eventually died, it turned back into sand. During the events of Superman: Lois and Clark, the pre-Flashpoint Superman returned...but throughout the story struggled with his powers. No explanation was ever given for the periodic power outages, dizzy spells, and the like -- although they seem to have stopped since the New 52 Superman died and the Lois and Clark Superman resumed his role as the one, true Man of Steel.
In Justice League #50 -- the end of the Darkseid War storyline -- Owlman and Metron are having a disagreement about just who owns the Mobius Chair, when somebody approaches them and blows them both up in a blast of blue energy.
Their deaths mirrored the death of Pandora, the mysterious Trinity of Sin member who first appeared at the birth of the New 52 and then went on to appear in every #1 issue for the line's 2011 launch. Her death was even more overtly implied to have been done by Doctor Manhattan, as when she died, the image was reminiscent of the moment when Manhattan killed Rorschach, near the end of Watchmen (thanks Bleeding Cool).
That latter death took place in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. In that issue, Mr. Oz showed up to issue more cryptic declarations -- this time to the pre-Flashpoint (and post-Rebirth) Superman, telling him that he and his family are not what they believed themselves to be. That -- say it with me, kids -- hasn't yet been explained.
It's those deaths, though, and some events that took place this week in Detective Comics, that have us thinking Doctor Manhattan is involved with whatever Mr. Oz is doing in the DC Universe right now. All that blue light, and the exact manifestation of the powers, seems like too much of a coincidence to ignore.
Back to Mr. Oz himself, though.
In Rebirth, fans noted that the colorist had given Mr. Oz blue eyes -- the same color as Ozymandias's in Watchmen. This was in the issue that officially revealed the involvement of Watchmen characters with whatever is going on in the DC Universe, by way of Batman investigating The Comedian's errant button, which somehow ended up in the Batcave, and a bit of dialogue between Veidt and Manhattan in the book's final pages.
None of this explains why Mr. Oz felt like he needed to get Doomsday -- who is, as far as anyone can tell, the pre-Flashpoint version of Doomsday -- into his custody. It's possible he believes he can control the beast, but there have been repeated efforts to do that in the past (including Brainiac in Superman: The Doomsday Wars and the U.S. Government in Flashpoint), and they have never gone particularly well for the people trying to use Doomsday for their own ends. But in a recent issue of Action Comics, the character managed to hijack the signal from Superman's home-made Phantom Zone Projector and use it to steal Doomsday before he could be thrown into the Phantom Zone.
So when, this week, Tim Drake was saved moments before his death and teleported into a cell in Mr. Oz's custody, it was awfully curious. His motives -- that Tim is tying up loose ends that couldn't be tied up -- sounds a lot like Mr. Oz is likely tied to the mysterious realigning of the post-Flashpoint DC Universe timeline. That, in turn, is assumed to be Doctor Manhattan's doing, especially because of the pre-Flashpoint Wally West's stories about what he saw while trapped in the Speed Force.
...Oh, and there was a whole lot of blue energy. Like...everywhere, in every panel where Mr. Oz appeared, in Detective Comics #940. Whatever force teleported Robin did so using blue energy, and an effect that looks not entirely dissimilar to the one that happened when Manhattan teleported himself around in Watchmen:
If indeed Veidt and Manhattan are the ones who tinkered with the DC Universe timeline (which seems likely) and if Mr. Oz is in fact Veidt (also likely, although admittedly less so), it's not yet clear what their master plan is. Certainly it seems likely to be a Geoff Johns mega-event in the making -- and that's something that could easily tie in his Mr. Oz plans.0comments
In interviews during their Superman run, Johns and John Romita, Jr. made Mr. Oz sound like a character they planned on exploring quite a bit down the road, but when he took over on the title, Gene Luen Yang seemingly wasn't looped in on what those plans might be.
So far, Mr. Oz has wreaced havoc on the lives of both Batman and Superman. Where will he pop up next -- and what will be the first clear hint as to whether he really is, as so many fans assume, the ultimate big bad behind Watchmen?