Superman Comic Books
Superman: Special Reports
Lois Lane - Part 2 (of 3)Author: Sean Hogan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last updated: November 12, 2001
Lois and Clark continue to grow as a couple, finally getting engaged during the Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite storyline (collected in trade paperback - individually Superman #49, Adventures of Superman #472, Starman #28, Action Comics #659 and Superman #50). Clark is powerless as a result of Mxyzptlk's fake red kryptonite and Luthor's manipulations. At the same time, Lois' mother is seriously ill in hospital.
In Superman #50, Clark pops the question to Lois over lunch at Dooley's, offering her an engagement ring - a family heirloom given to him by Ma Kent. Lois hesitates and tells him, "With all that's going on, give me time to sort it all out."
Given the sluggish pace that subplots proceed, readers could reasonably expect the proposal to drag out for months, if not years. To everyone's surprise, including Clark's, Lois answers him on the last page of the issue: "Clark, I've already decided ... yes. I want to share my life with you."
The issue also shows Lois' relationship with her family. She and her Dad, Sam, come to an understanding of sorts. Always the gruff commander of the family unit and clashing with his equally strong-willed daughter, Sam confides in Superman #49, "I'm telling you, Clark, you have no idea how much a father worries about his girls!" Just before Lois accepts the proposal, Sam tells her that Clark has "passed muster" with him, while the ill Ella Lane approves saying Clark had good manners and came from a good home.
Unfortunately, having taken the relationship to this new level, the writers delegate it to strung out subplot status again. To my mind, the worst example of this is only a few issues later, when Clark finally reveals his secret identity to Lois in Action Comics #662. The cover shows a shocked Lois holding Clark's glasses (which reflect him opening his shirt to reveal his costume) with the words "At Long Last - The Secret Revealed!" The majority of the issue involves a fight between Superman and the Silver Banshee. It's only in the last three pages that the two sit down and talk, and only on the last page that Clark bares his big red "S".
In the following issue, Superman #53, a stunned Lois asks for some time to think things through. The rest of that issue has Superman in another fight. The following issues send him bouncing through time in the "Time And Time Again" arc. When he finally returns in Action Comics #661, the two carry on their relationship almost as if nothing had happened. It's poor storytelling to have important developments of characters or their relationships glossed over in the cracks between slugfests. But better stories are on the way - even if it means Superman has to die for them to be told.
Til Death Do Us Part
The most vivid image from the "Death of Superman" storyline (other than the tattered cape on the cover of Superman #75) is a grieving Lois holding Superman's body amidst the rubble of Metropolis. Interestingly, Superman's death came about because of the long engagement.
The writer's had been considering using that issue as the wedding issue (after all, it's two years real time since the engagement), but decided to hold off because of the popularity of the TV series, Lois & Clark. with the thought of having a wedding in both television and comics at the same time. Tossing ideas around for a replacement storyline led to the development of Doomsday and the death and resurrection of Superman.
Particularly touching is the pause before the final battle, when Superman takes time for a stolen kiss with Lois and tells her, "Just remember ... no matter what happens .. I'll love you. Always." With Superman gone, the excellent "World Without A Superman" arc which followed spent much time showcasing Lois and how she dealt with her grief.
Numbed by her loss and unable to reveal to anyone that Clark died at the same time as Superman, Lois nevertheless somehow manages to write the front page story. The writers don't flinch at putting Lois through the various stages of grief, and also the need to reach out for help, as Lois calls Ma & Pa Kent, who try to put aside their own grief to comfort her.
We also get to see the stern stuff Lois is made of when Cadmus kidnaps Superman's body for study. Lois suits up in a frogman outfit and, with the aid of the Newsboy Legion and others, storms Cadmus. Although she is not able to recover the body on her first attempt, she uses her other skills to do an expose in the paper and recruit new allies for a more successful second attempt (Superman: The Man of Steel #21, Superman #77)
Lois' recovery continues in"The Return of Superman" storyline which follows (and don't ask me to identify issues as I've got the mega-sized trade paperback), as she investigates the four new Supermen (Superboy, Steel, Eradicator and Cyborg). Lois still has vulnerabilities and doubts, such as when her old flame Jeb tries to comfort her. She thinks, "Clark said he'd always love me. I'd know if he came back ... wouldn't I?"
On hearing of the Cyborg's mysterious activities in Coast City, Lois storms into the editor's office and announces, "I don't trust the Cyborg. Perry, I'm going to Coast City! I'm going to find out what's going on!" When Perry refuses and tells her Superman won't be there this time to pull her out, she retorts, "Superman never 'pulled me out' of anything I couldn't have 'pulled out of' myself! Face it Perry! You can't stop me!"
More tellingly, her thought balloons add, "I've wasted enough time waiting for a miracle that's not going to happen. I've opted out of life for long enough. Finally ... The real Lois Lane is back!"
When a fifth Superman arrives, snazzily dressed in black with silver trim, Lois is at first unwilling to believe that the original has returned, until he mentions Clark's all-time favourite movie, "To Kill A Mockingbird". A private chat gives her further reason to hope, but leaves her more confused.
It isn't until Adventures of Superman #505, after the defeat of Cyborg and Mongul, that Superman and Lois properly reunite. The reunion isn't complete however, until Superman publicly rescues Clark (a disguised Supergirl) in Superman: The Man of Steel #26. Back home, when Superman tells "Clark" to let go of his woman, Lois saucily retorts that the arrangements are almost perfect except, "What's with this 'your woman' stuff, hmm?"
After the lengthy dramatics of the death and resurrection, things get back to status quo for a while as Lois and Clark deal with the usual string of villains and subplots, often in long running serial stories such as "Dead Again!" and "The Death Of Clark Kent" (anyone noticing a trend here?)
Once in a while, we do get a story that focuses on the characters, rather than the action. My favourite Lois and Clark story is Adventures of Superman #525. Lois catches up with Clark and his parents after the fight
with Conduit at the conclusion of "The Death of Clark Kent" arc. Clark is ready to abandon his civilian identity to be a full time Superman to avoid putting his loved ones at risk. Lois convinces him that, "under that costume, you're Clark Kent -- you'll always be Clark Kent. You can't live without him ... and neither can I!".
The story by Karl Kesel showcases the best of Lois -- her determination to catch up to the Kent motorhome (by travelling at 137 mph) and treating the police pursuit as an escort. Her indignation at her ticket. Her joy at finding the Kents. The intelligent way she proves why he needs to be Clark.