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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #704 Superman #704

Superman #704

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 27, 2010

Cover date: December 2010

"The Road Least Traveled"

Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Penciller: Leandro Oliveira
Inker: Walden Wong

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Lois Lane, while waiting to cover Superman in Indiana, remembers her college years. She bumps into an old friend from those days, now with a child, and gets invited to dinner with the family.

She goes, and finds herself envious of their life with children. In response, they point out the difficulties of never getting a break, and how wonderful her life seems in contrast.

Lois, resolved, goes for a walk of her own. She considers the path not travelled. Superman swings by, scoops her up, and they discuss whether he needs her. He assures her he does, and then takes her to Chicago, his next stop along the line.

4Story - 4: On the one hand, this is a very well-written examination of Lois Lane's life and how she looks at it. It's touching, the dialogue is very real, and a lot of the circumstances were things that I could relate to. That's the good. On the other hand, this story has no substantive conflict that isn't existential (and it's a comic book, visual medium, that tends to hurt it), and the dilemma Lois sees in herself is not one I particularly agree with (there are some parts of it I like, others I vehemently disagree with). Nonetheless, it's significantly compelling in the writing and sympathetic in the intent that it's ultimately a good read, especially for an interlude that might have been a drawer story (I have no idea). I'd go 3.5 if I could, but I went high because it was actually better in many respects than Grounded has been.

I love Lois confronting actively the fact that she's in the shadow of Superman. This is something that is righteously unfair, and something I have a very large personal distaste for... Lois as the damsel, as the second fiddle, as anything other than the original proto-feminist who doesn't take any crap. That's the Lois I love and admire. That's why I hate when she says she's a bad feminist. What's a good feminist if not someone who examines the lack of equality in perception between men and women and seeks to rectify it? The very conversation she's having shows she realizes that, and while it might be considered a moment of weakness, in my book, Lois wouldn't have such worries, or she'd have long ago reached a crisis point with it. That's the problem with repeated third acts, she's got to have come to terms with things by now, the writing trick is finding out how, not regressing her to meet the plot.

Still, the fact that I'm confronting these issues after reading a comic at all is a strong argument.

There are a lot of things that are just fluff in this story, but it revolves around the first real self-examination we've seen in this story. Lois has a reason to look at these ideas. Superman doesn't really have much to complain about in terms of not being human or understanding us... he grew up human and came to terms with it when he embraced the idealism of humanity.

3Art - 3: Nothing sticks out, but nothing is awful. Some of the faces look disproportionate, but nothing looks hideous. It gets the story from A to B without anything really sticking out for good or ill.

2Cover Art - 2: Sinestro threw up on this thing twice, it's so yellow. Why?

The image is representative of the image, but it's also so glaring I can't really enjoy it, despite the great symbolic image of Superman looming large over Lois. With a darker background or hue, this might have been much better.

3Cover Art (Alternate Cover) - 3: An interesting coloring job, but it's offset by the issues with the format. Lois is very much to the side, which may be like the symbolism of the other cover, but all of these other people clutter up the potential intended meaning a bit.

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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