Posts Tagged ‘Lana Lang’

Superwoman #2 Review: Where’s Lois Lane?

September 14, 2016

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Superwoman  was advertised as a Lois Lane comic book. The New 52 Lois got superpowers when the New 52 Superman died, and now she was ready to take to the skies to defend and protect Metropolis as Superwoman. I was intrigued. It wasn’t the Lois Lane comic I was hoping for; I’d rather see her tracking down scoops and taking down bad guys at the Daily Planet. But I was on board, especially with Phil Jimenez writing and drawing it and Emanuela Lupacchino subbing in on art occasionally. It was a stellar team with a new, different take on Lois, and I was excited for it. Turns out, that’s not was Superwoman was about at all. We’ll discuss, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am going to disclose a number of shocking reveals!

So the first issue was fine for a while. It had a lot of Lana Lang, but I didn’t mind too much. I knew that she’d be working with Lois, and I was excited to see them grow from rivals and often adversaries into partners and friends. Then we learned that Lana has superpowers too, and again I didn’t mind too much. All the better for rad team ups! I liked the idea of dual Superwomen fighting evil. Then Lois was killed at the end of the issue, or at least it looked that way. It’s a comic book, so I was wary. I’m used to fake out cliffhanger endings, so while I was concerned, I was hoping it would all be a trick and the gals would be back together in the next issue.

But no. Lois is dead.

Real dead too. She straight up disintegrated in the opening pages of the second issue, leaving a grieving Lana to carry on as a superhero on her own. Luckily she’s got a good support system with John Henry Irons and his niece Natasha, two characters I quite like. But Lois is gone, and that means so am I.

Now, Superwoman isn’t a bad comic. Jimenez’s artwork is great, as always, and the series has got a lot of good characters in the mix. The first two issues have been a bit overstuffed, which has affected the pacing of the issues and the readability of the art at times but it is, on its own merits, a decent book. If it was advertised as the Lana Lang comic it is, I probably would have checked it out. I’m not a huge Lana fan, but she’s a character with potential and elevating her to a superhero role after decades trapped being a romantic rival is kind of cool. That’s a good hook on its own.

But instead we got this bait and switch, and with every page my main thought was, “Where’s Lois?” My frustration at the death of the lead character I was promised trumped whatever level of enjoyment I got from the comic itself. A Lois Lane comic book is LONG overdue. She hasn’t had a solo series since Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane ended in 1974, but she’s been a mainstay in the DC universe in every medium for over 75 years now. She should have her own series, preferably with a better title than her old one. To promise this book and then not deliver it is both insulting and disappointing.

Even worse is killing her off in the process. Lois gets killed a lot, especially over the last decade or so. Offing her, for real or not, to create anguish for Superman has become a common trope used again and again by bad writers, and now she’s been offed to create anguish for Lana. Moreover, the New 52 Lois had a terrible run. Since the 2011 relaunch, she’s been sidelined and forgotten, and this new series felt like redemption after years of poor treatment. Instead, Superwoman fell into the same old patterns straight away.

Lois could yet come back, of course. It’s comics, after all; nobody stays dead and Jimenez seems to be teasing something. Plus, why introduce her just to kill her off so quick? There may be a longer plan at work here. But I’ve got no time for it. I really don’t understand DC’s thinking here. Why involve Lois at all, and especially why advertise it as a Lois book in the first place? If the plan is to kill her off for good, you’re only upsetting Lois fans. If the plan is to “kill her off” and then bring her back later, all of the Lois fans will have already jumped ship by the time you do so. No matter how you slice it, the way DC set up this series is just ridiculous.

Lois Lane is the First Lady of the DC universe. She is as brave and heroic and compelling as any of those folks with the masks and the capes, and she deserves some time in the spotlight. Whether she’s dead or “dead,” Lois’s depiction in Superwoman has been yet another in a long list of comics that have treated her poorly. We don’t need more of those. I’m done with the series, and this will be my last review of it. I like Jimenez and Lupacchino, and I like Lana, John, and Natasha, but I love Lois Lane, and any book that kills her off to further someone else’s plot is a book that I’m just not interested in.

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Superwoman #1 Review: Either One Of The Best Or Worst Comics Of DC’s “Rebirth” Line

August 10, 2016

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Superwoman is a great comic book until the last page, and depending on how that last page plays out it’s either going to be a book I’ll be very much looking forward to each month or a book I’ll drop like a hot potato. We’ll see how it goes. I’m certainly hoping for the former, because I really enjoyed the bulk of this issue. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I mean, it’s kind of spoiled all over the internet right now, but still!

Read the book first!

This honestly isn’t the kind of Lois Lane comic book I wanted. I’ve been arguing that Lois should have her own series for years now, one that focuses on her journalistic adventures tracking down big scoops and taking down evildoers of the non-costumed variety. I basically want Gotham Central set in the Daily Planet newsroom with Lois as the main character. This book is not that. It’s Lois Lane with superpowers, which she gained when the New 52 Superman died a few months back. But while Superwoman is not what I’ve been wanting, it’s a lot of fun.

First, of course Lois Lane would make an awesome superhero. She’s done it a bunch of times over the years, as she actually mentions in the issue, and it’s always a good time. In Investigating Lois Lane, I call Lois a superhero without superpowers; she’s got all of the same values, bravery, and desire to do what’s right that Superman and Wonder Woman do, she’s just a hero in a slightly more down to earth way. So with powers, she’s got the temperament and heart to use them well and be a stellar superhero.

Second, this is one of the first comic books where Lois Lane and Lana Lang are on friendly terms. They’ve been rivals for decades, often to cringeworthy degrees, Superman’s old flame versus his new one. Writers in the Silver Age really leaned into their rivalry and often had them at each other’s throats, literally so on several occasions. This continued when Lana returned in the Bronze Age; in one issue, they got into a fight at work and Lana dunked Lois’s head in a punch bowl. Throughout the Modern Age, Lana became kind of a sad character who was obsessed with Clark and grated on Lois, and in the New 52 era the women haven’t exactly been pals.

But Lois knows that Lana helped Clark with his powers, and that she needs help to learn how to control hers. She also knows that Lana is smart and a good person, and that her advice and input would be invaluable. So she proposes that they work together and after some reluctance, Lana gets on board. They’re not friends, exactly, but they’re friend adjacent, which is a lovely change of pace. Plus the banter is so much fun.

Third, this relationship comes with the exciting twist of Lana having superpowers too! Her energy powers resemble the 1990s Red Superman era, and she and Lois team up to stop Lex Luthor’s mega-warship from taking out a bridge. So Lana’s not just an advisor and trainer; they have a super-team up! I was so on board for that. Two formal rivals that have been so often mistreated in comics teaming up to be super friends? Yes, please!

Then they killed Lois. Or so the last page suggests. It’s a busy page, so it’s hard to tell exactly what happens. Maybe whatever mystery villain the duo is battling turns Lois into stone or some such, or perhaps Lois just burns out in a manner that may have been exacerbated by Lana using her powers. Whatever the case, Lois appears to be dead and the tease for the next issue is “Who Killed Superwoman?”

If Lois is really dead, then I’m out and this book can go right to hell. I’m so sick of dead Loises. The entire 21st century history  of Superman comics is dead Loises, in various forms. Lois is why I showed up for this book. I love Lana, but I’m not going to read a Lana book that comes at the expense of Lois. It doesn’t help that I was reluctant to get this book in the first place because serial sexual harasser Eddie Berganza is editing it. Between that and killing off Lois, I’ll drop this book and never look back if the final page reveal holds.

However, this is superhero comics. Fake out death cliffhangers are the genre’s stock in trade. If this is a momentary thing that’s reversed and the book continues to be Lois and Lana: Super Friends, then I’m all about it. This was a very enjoyable opening issue, and I’m excited to read more if Lois stays in the picture.

I’m not sure how to read the tea leaves on this one. This book is called Superwoman, singular, so that hints that Lana might replace Lois since there can only be one. And there’s already another Lois Lane in the universe, a transplant from the pre-New 52 days, so the Superman offices might have considered their leftover New 52 Lois to be redundant. On the other hand, I know that Phil Jimenez loves Lois, and I’m hoping he’s going to stick with the character. Lois is on upcoming covers, too, though I’ve been fooled by that trick before. I’m also hoping that DC is smart enough not to tease us with a Lois book just to kill her off. They can’t be that dumb, right?

So, Superwoman may be the start of an exciting new series, or it may be a straight up pile of garbage! Time will tell. I’m really hoping that Lois is alive, because this was such a fun first issue and I am so down for more Lois and Lana fun. Phil Jimenez did a great job with the writing and the art, particularly with the excellent new costumes, and I’d love to see this new partnership explored for many issues to come. But if Lois is gone, I’m gone. We’ll see how things shake out.

Superman/Wonder Woman #18 Preview OR Wonder Woman’s Wrapped Up In Another Superman Crossover

June 12, 2015

June’s #DCYou mini-relaunch has promised exciting new developments for most of their returning titles, but it seems that the only thing new with Wonder Woman is that she’s all wrapped up in the big changes rocking Superman. His secret identity has been exposed and his powers are wonky, and he seems to be having a rough time of it. And of course his loving girlfriend Wonder Woman is there to comfort him. Let’s take a peek at Superman/Wonder Woman #18, courtesy of Newsarama:

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The eight page sneak peek of Superman/Wonder Woman we saw a couple of weeks ago ended with Superman telling Wonder Woman that he didn’t love her, anymore so I’m not sure what’s going on here. The couple’s in bed together and Wonder Woman’s wearing his shirt and staring at him all moon-eyed. Did Wonder Woman not get the message? Have things changed? Was the sneak peek a fake out? I suppose we’ll have to buy the book next week to find out.

Everything in this five page preview is about Superman, from Wonder Woman swearing to protect him to the couple fixing to visit Smallville, Superman’s hometown, to help out Lana Lang, Superman’s childhood sweetheart. And, of course, the book is connected to the “Truth” storyline that follows the reveal of Superman’s secret identity. The book was tied up in the “Doomed” Super-books crossover last year, and now it’s in another one. Wonder Woman may share top billing on the series, but it’s rarely been about her and it doesn’t look to be particularly focused on her and her corner of the universe now. It’s basically just been a Superman book, and Wonder Woman’s tagging along.

I’m still holding out hope that the declaration in the sneak peek means that the end of Superman and Wonder Woman’s romance is nigh, but these first few pages of the book sure put a sizeable dent in said hope. There’s still a lot of book left, though, both to address the duo’s relationship and to bring in some Wonder Woman elements. Superman/Wonder Woman #18 will be out next Wednesday in comic shops and online, and we’ll get the full scoop then.

When President Kennedy Helped Superman OR A Rather Ill-Timed Tale

September 9, 2013

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I’ve been reading some old Superman comics lately, and that always leads to some bizarre discoveries.  The Silver Age was a bonkers time for comics generally, but every now and then there’s a story that’s so weird that it needs to be shared.

In Action Comics #309, Superman was the guest on a TV show honouring him for all of his great achievements.  The show was a complete surprise to him, but all of his friends were there to celebrate him.  This was nice and all, but everyone was expecting Clark Kent to be there too and, obviously, he wasn’t (protecting his secret identity was the main plot of 94% of Silver Age Superman comics).  Usually Batman would disguise himself as Clark Kent when Superman got into a secret identity pickle, but Batman was already at the studio.  Sometimes Superman would use a Clark Kent robot, but the fiendish Lois and Lana, always suspecting that Clark was Superman, had teamed up and brought an electronics sensor in order to expose any potential robot shenanigans.  Superman was in a tight spot.

But then who should appear but Clark Kent!  Lois and Lana were proven wrong yet again, and Superman’s secret identity was preserved.  So who did Superman get to impersonate Clark Kent?  President Kennedy, of course:

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Superman had helped out the government earlier in the issue and President Kennedy promised him a favour in return, so Superman cashed it in later that day to save his secret identity.

President Kennedy showing up in Action Comics is random enough on its own, but here’s the kicker: Action Comics #309 was published in late December 1963, a month after Kennedy was assassinated.  I can’t even imagine being a kid in 1963, the entire nation still in mourning, but now a month has passed and life is carrying on so you go down to the corner store to buy the new Action Comics and there’s Kennedy, hanging out with Superman like nothing had ever happened.  I imagine there were a lot of people freaking out a bit.

The letter column a few issues later certainly included some irate readers.  A sheepish Mort Weisinger, the editor of the Superman line, explained that their comics go to print and are shipped to distributors months in advance of when they hit the newsstand, and it was impossible to recall the issue.  In fact, it quickly became a collector’s item and retailers asked DC to print more, but they refused.  They also postponed another Kennedy story that was due to appear in Superman.

The Silver Age was a whacky, goofy time, but DC dipped into some unintentionally dark territory with Action Comics #309 when what should have been a fun adventure took a somber turn.  It’s amusing in retrospect, though, and it was nice to see a classy response from DC.  They printed not just one but several letters that were upset about the issue, and Weisinger clearly explained what happened behind the scenes.  It’d be good to see some more of that transparency from DC these days, with the many controversies they’ve always got on the go.


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