Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Superman #215

Superman #215

Cover date: April 1969

Writer: Otto Binder
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Jack Abel

"Lois Lane... Dead... Yet Alive"

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Taylor

Before "Elseworlds" there were imaginary tales that took place out of whatever qualified for continuity in the Silver Age. This story set up that Superman (not Clark Kent) married Lois Lane and had a daughter together, named Lanie. Yes, Lanie Lane. While sitting at home reading a newspaper next to Lois, The Dimension Master broke into their home through the front window and shot Superman with Blast-Ray which reflected off his invulnerable chest and hit Lois, scattering her atoms into the air.

Although only a young girl, Lanie had Superman's powers, including strength and flight, which is why Superman brought her to the Fortress of Solitude where Krypto and his Superman robots could keep an eye on her. All he asked was that she avoid the secret locked door in the Fortress.

Meanwhile Clark Kent had to hide his sense of loss from his coworkers because it was Superman, not Clark, who was married to and had lost Lois.

Superman did his best to make up for Lanie's lack of a mother by playing with her at the Fortress and even creating a robotic Lois who looked and acted just like her. Superman soon found himself falling in love with the robot version of his late wife, but came to his senses.

While judging a beauty contest, Superman saw Lois and approached her, but she turned out to be The Dimension Master's wife, who was a shape-changer. They were playing a trick on Superman to hurt him emotionally. Lex Luthor and Brainiac plowed through the roof of the building in a spaceship and killed The Dimension Master and his wife claiming that murdering Lois was bad enough, but that they didn't like her killers rubbing salt in Superman's wounds. Plus there was a reward for both the villains that Luthor and Brainiac could cash in on. Superman thanked his two nemeses and let them take the bodies.

Chapter II: The Sorrows of Superman!

Once Superman left Lanie alone, she tricked the Superman robot who was guarding her into flying away long enough for her to get into the locked room in the Fortress. The room contained green and red Kryptonite for Superman's experiments toward finding a cure for his Kryptonite weakness. The red K of the silver age had variable adverse effects on Kryptonians and in this case, caused Lanie to become transparent and disappear. Superman discovered that she had traveled to another dimension and exposed himself to the same red K in order to follow her.

The new dimension's Earth was remarkably similar to the original, except that Lois lived and the other Superman of that world had no interest in marrying her. The first Superman immediately proposed to this Lois and they adopted Lanie. The second Superman agreed to travel back to the original Earth and even expressed interest in Lana Lang there. The living Lois never knew that the Superman she married wasn't the same one she'd fallen in love with other the years. And they all lived happily ever after.

4Story - 4: The first thing modern readers must realize is that Superman comics from the Golden or Silver Age need to be viewed very differently than the modern issues. This story is a great example of how quaint and timeless comics used to be. In this case, we're dealing with an "imaginary story" that breaks the rules of continuity. Lois was married to Superman and they had a child together. Lois didn't marry Superman in continuity until the 1990s.

My only problem with the story is that Superman married the Lois from another dimension under false pretenses. He claimed to be the same Superman of that dimension that she'd spent her life falling in love with and never corrected her assumption. I like to think of Superman as a symbol of honesty among other things, but this was a downright lie. There's also a moment where Lex Luthor and Brainiac show up and kill the Dimension Master and his wife for playing a trick on Superman. First, I don't see why they would have a problem with anyone causing Superman emotional harm, and second, I prefer the Superman who has a real problem with killing even when it appears that someone has killed Lois or another loved one.

5Art - 5: It's really difficult to create great art that will be printed on newsprint. This one comes off as well if not better than the ones from the 80s that were also released on newsprint. I wish I could give credit to the artist, but no one is listed to give credit to, including the writer (Editor's note: I discovered that the artist was none other than Curt Swan).

Back-Up Story - "Superman's First Exploit"

Dr. Reese Kearns had been discredited years ago because an asteroid he had discovered hurtling toward Earth never impacted. He was believed to be a hoaxer trying to gain fame for something he made up. He asked Superman about his first feat, but Superman believed the Doctor was attempting to find information about his early years in Smallville and thus his secret identity.

Dr. Kearns set up a contest to see who could remember Superman's earliest feat, which flashes the reader back to young Superman's days saving people. Eventually Superman remembers that once his Kryptonian rocket was nearing Earth, he saw a bright rock outside the window of his ship, jumped out to see it up close, but then had to jump back to his rocket, causing the rock to change course. The rock was of course the asteroid Dr. Kearns had discovered and baby Kal-El's jump from its surface caused it to change course, missing Earth. Dr. Kearns was vindicated and the public learned that Superman had been saving the planet since he was still in diapers.

5Story - 5: It's cute. It's short. It gets to the point without some of the unnecessary garble from the first story in this issue. This kind of tale is exactly what I expect from older Superman comics.

3Art - 3: This was clearly drawn by a different artist and while it still holds up, it's not as good as the material from the main story. Faces are harder to discern. Backgrounds are single color backdrops more often than not. It's about average overall.

5Cover Art - 5: You can tell by the cover that this is an "Imaginary Tale," but it still looks great and it made me want to buy and read it. The graveyard scenery with young Lanie asking Daddy Superman if they'll ever see Mommy again is priceless and heartbreaking before even opening the issue. Highest marks there.

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - “The Mightiest Team in the World”
  • Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - “Superman's Lost Brother”
  • Superman 3D (1953) - “The Man Who Stole the Sun”, “Origin of Superman” and “The Man Who Bossed Superman”
  • Superman #87 (February 1954) - “The Prankster's Greatest Role”
  • Superman #88 (March 1954) - “The Terrible Trio”
  • Superman #89 (May 1954) - “Captain Kent the Terrible”, “Superman of Skid Row”, and “One Hour to Doom!”
  • Superman #91 (August 1954) - “The Superman Stamp” and “Great Caesar's Ghost”
  • World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - “Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes”
  • Superman #115 (August 1957) - “The Midget Superman!”
  • Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - “The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse”
  • Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - “The Super-Duel in Space”
  • Superman #123 (August 1958) - “The Girl of Steel”
  • Superman #127 (February 1959) - “Titano the Super Ape”
  • Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - “The Menace of Metallo” and “The Supergirl From Krypton”
  • Superman #129 (May 1959) - “The Girl in Superman's Past”
  • Superman #130 (July 1959) - “The Curse of Kryptonite!”, “The Super-Servant of Crime!”, and “The Town that Hated Superman!”
  • Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - “Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal”




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