Mild Mannered Reviews – Action Comics #966

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Action Comics #966

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 26, 2016

Cover date: December 2016

“Lois Lane, Back at the Planet” – Part 2

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Stephen Segouia
Inker: Art Thibert

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman trains his son to use his telescopic vision but Jonathan is curious why his other vision powers haven’t manifested. They discuss this as they head home and Jon suggests a race which he wins. Superman is confused by this but before he can dwell on this Jon gets weirded out that his mother isn’t home to greet him. Superman explains that this may happen more now that Lois is wanting to go back to work but that doesn’t mean she loves him any less.

Meanwhile, back at New 52 Lois’ apartment Superwoman demands to know who Pre-Flashpoint Lois is. Superwoman puts the pieces together quickly as PF Lois calls home. Superman hears that his wife might be in danger and flies off after making Jonathan promise he’ll stay home. Superman arrives and Superwoman powers down revealing that she is actually New 52 Lana Lang. Lois unlocks New 52 Lois’ computer and the three of them watch a message New 52 Lois had recorded in the event of her demise. She asks her doppelgänger to take over her work and to a certain extent her life so that the people she cares about won’t have to suffer.

Lana tells them about how Lois died right in front of her and how keeping that secret is eating her alive. She and Superman talk about if the same thing could happen to her and Lana wonders where do they go from here. Lois realizes it may be creepy but she has to honor the other Lois’ last request. After a brief chat about the other Clark Kent and who he might be Lois and Superman head home and talk about what needs to be done. The next day Lois goes into the Planet and fully assumes the other Lois’ life.

Outside of the city the bearded man with the floating Superman symbol meets with another heavily armored man. The smaller man says that the watching and waiting is done and that the criminal of epic proportions that he’s been studying will die.

5Story – 5: I’m not crying. You’re crying.

All right, I didn’t cry when I read this issue. I almost did. Dan Jurgens managed to hit every heart string imaginable with this issue. Not only did he return some pieces of the Superman legend back to where I wanted to them to be he made me care more about the New 52 version of Lois Lane more than I ever did during the New 52.

I didn’t such a thing was possible.

I think that’s why I liked this issue so much. For five years I had the smallest of emotional connections to the people in Superman’s life because the powers that be decided that the best way they could revamp Superman was to take away every bit of emotional support he had. The Daily Planet staff were barely in any of the titles. Having Superman and Lois together was verboten. To be fair there were a few attempts to fix this. Greg Pak made Lana a likable supporting character. John Henry Irons would pop up from time to time. Jimmy was let in on Superman’s secret identity five minutes before it was revealed to the rest of the world. All of these attempts had noble intentions but they didn’t quite pop the way the creative teams and the audiences wanted.

Dan Jurgens has slowly been putting some of the pieces back together again during the course of his run on ACTION COMICS. Maggie Sawyer is back. There’s a Clark Kent that I don’t totally trust running around. Now Lois is back at the Planet, Perry isn’t a jerk anymore and Allie has made two appearances and everything is starting to feel right with the world. What made this work is the fact that Jurgens is writing from the heart. I can see a certain section of the reading audience claiming that they are just rewinding the clock and putting things back to the way they were before the New 52 but I’d argue that while elements of the former versions of these characters are returning it still is the New 52 world. The Pre-Flashpoint Superman and family are just living in it. They haven’t simply swept everything from the New 52 under the carpet and moved on. Jurgens and crew are taking the time to explain how this is all happening and I think that’s one of the main reasons I am enjoying this so much. I don’t feel like they are pandering to me as a reader. I feel like I am being given well-crafted stories that coincidentally fit in to how I want to see these characters being treated.

I also liked the family dynamic that is prevalent in both this title and over in SUPERMAN. The talk between Superman and Jonathan at the beginning of the issue felt very real as did Jonathan’s reaction to Lois returning home at the end. Kids can be a bit strange and some tend to roll with the punches more than others. Jonathan obviously processed his mother not being home as much while they were gone and it was nice that Jurgens avoided the unnecessary family drama of him being all mad about her going back to work. Between that, the conversation Lois and Superman have towards the end of the issue and the whole opening sequence I am emotionally invested in this family and I don’t want them to go away any time soon.

5Art – 5: All of the minor problems I had with the art last issue were gone this time around. The opening sequence with Superman and son looked amazing as did Segovia and Thibert’s take on Superwoman. I didn’t even mind the flash of the angry red eyes of anger when Superman arrives at Lois’ apartment because it felt warranted. Segovia and Thibert also pulled off the subtle differences between older Lois and younger Lois. I especially loved the design of the two armored guys on the very last page. While there wasn’t a whole lot of action in terms of fighting this time out the art team managed to keep the pages dynamic and engaging.

5Cover Art – 5: That is a seriously Henry Cavill looking Superman. This not a complaint by any means. While it had little to do with the story inside this was a striking cover that made Superman look iconic. It is interesting to see the continued avoidance of showing the boots on the cover.

5Variant Cover Art – 5: Gary Frank has a good handle on Superwoman. I almost wanted this to be the main cover but as it stands this makes for a fantastic variant.

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November 1, 2016 7:39 pm

Personally I thought this issue was disgusting. How dare Lois replace her doppelganger and pretend to all New 52 Lois’ loved ones that she is still alive.

People have a right to know when they have lost someone they love and not be lied to by an imposter.

It seems to me like anything goes as long as we can get back to the status quo that some fans seem dead set on.

It’s only a matter of time before this “human” Clark Kent gets killed off and Superman goes back to his Clark Kent identity at the Daily Planet.

November 4, 2016 11:56 am
Reply to  andramus

Is it disgusting? It’s definitely unfair. However, DC undertook this road when they decided to reboot in 2011, effectively killing off Superman and Lois Lane as many knew them. They were replaced with dopplegangers, for the most part; characters of the same name, but not the same core or essence. DC then dug-in and brought forth the “Truth” storyline, which should never have happened. In doing so, they made Superman, Lois Lane, and Clark Kent so toxic, they had to be replaced by the characters they initially were removed for. Disgusting? Sure. I felt the same way when the N52… Read more »

November 1, 2016 9:17 pm

I’m still a little confused by Lois’s age. New 52 Lois should be in her late twenties (Clark was said to be 27 in the Neil DeGrasse Tyson issue of ACTION). Pre-Flashpoint Clark, and presumably Lois, were 35 in the Brainiac Arc of ACTION. That’s before she gave birth to a son who is now 10 (which in itself is a bit wonky timeline wise) according to the last issue of SUPERMAN. So really, current Lois should be around 45 years old. How is she able to pass for a 27 year old? I know the Daily Planet staff are… Read more »

November 2, 2016 6:47 am

Michael, I just finished listening to Radio KAL and I thought I heard you reference my earlier comment. To be honest my language was a little more intemperate than I would have chosen if I had of expressed myself in a more thought out fashion. The thing is my disgust isn’t really with the character of either Lois for the most part but with the way their characterisation is being twisted to get them into a position that suits the end goal of the writers. That goal being to maneouvre pre-Flashpoint Lois back to work at the Daily Planet and… Read more »

November 4, 2016 12:00 pm
Reply to  andramus

What I think would be a good twist assuming I’m right in my theory is if Superman discovers this plot and it’s purpose in time to prevent Clark Kent from being killed and so sacrifices the restoration of his secrety identity to save a life.

No! That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. Human Clark doesn’t have to die, but he does have to go.

November 2, 2016 10:13 am

I think I kind of see it both ways. Yeah part of me really doesn’t care how they write themselves out of the damn Truth storyline and other aspects of New 52 as long as it’s done and the secret id is fixed and we get the characters back where they belong STAT. But on the other hand this issue does kind of hang a lampshade on how inherently awkward and convoluted this whole “let’s just port the previous versions over into 52 world” solution actually is. I’m glad to have them back but why this way? That’s even before… Read more »

November 5, 2016 1:32 pm
Reply to  MattComics

Matt,all has not been revealed. Stay tuned.

November 5, 2016 1:33 pm

Michael,excellent review. I could not agree more.