Superman: Lois and Clark #1. Dan Jurgens- Writer, Lee Weeks- Penciller, Scott Hanna- Inker, Brad Anderson- Colorist.
While this may be the Lois and Clark that were featured in the “Grounded” storyline that wrapped up four years ago in Superman #714, this is not Superman #715. However, for a fan of the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe there is something here for you. Writer Dan Jurgens is certainly familiar with this iteration of the Superman character- he worked on Superman from the late ‘80’s through the 90’s and was instrumental in the “Death of Superman” storyline as well as the marriage of Lois and Clark. Moreover, this issue feels somewhat like dropping in on the Golden Age Superman back in the Mr. and Mrs. Superman series that ran in The Superman Family in the ‘70’s. With that said the situation this Lois and Clark are facing in Superman: Lois and Clark #1 is certainly much more complex than their Golden Age counterparts’ travails.
The first couple of pages provide a quick recap of how Lois and Clark arrived on the New 52 prime Earth. Interestingly, after their sojourn on Telos in the Convergence series, they were shunted to prime Earth before the Justice League fought Darkseid in their inaugural tale from Justice League #1-6. The narration by Lois is a welcome technique. Daniel Wilson used this in Earth 2: Society #3 to great effect a few months ago as well. As a journalist, it makes sense to use Lois’s voice and getting her perspective on the events provides uniqueness to the book. There aren’t many comics narrated by the main hero’s spouse.
We quickly learn that Clark has been acting in secret helping where possible in case of natural disaster and the like while doing his best to maintain anonymity. As one recalls from Convergence and the Lois and Clark tie in mini-series, the Super-couple have had a child- Jonathan. Here he is Jonathan Samuel White. They’ve adopted Perry’s surname to assist in keeping a low-profile. Lois has also been writing best-selling books under the anonymous pen name- Author X. The mostly rural lifestyle they have forged in California is about to face a huge challenge as Lois and Clark have become aware that Hank Henshaw- Cyborg Superman in the pre-Flashpoint Universe, is about to return to Earth and Clark is out to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself on this Earth. Clark assists Henshaw’s rocket to a safe landing, but there still appears to be trouble as Henshaw is the only member of the crew on board and asks the bearded black and silver clad Man of Steel for help.
This issue is a lot of set up, but what interesting and fun set up it is. Despite their precarious situation in a less trusting world than their own, Superman stills uses his powers to help people and Lois is still Lois, risking her neck for a story. Oh, yes, she’s taking on Intergang here, just as in her previous existence. Lois and Clark are instantly familiar and it’s like catching up with old friends. Additionally, seeing Lois and Clark advance beyond the static status quo is a welcome storyline. There have been Elseworlds tales that have featured a future Superman and Lois with child, but this situation has the added benefit of continuity. Sure, their situation is extreme- no longer living on the world they knew, but nonetheless, the characterization is right on target. Lois and Clark are instantly likeable and seem much more relatable than the prime Earth versions of Superman and Lois. Lee Week’s pencils look great as usual and one hopes he will be able to keep up for the duration of the 10 issues this title is slated to run.
There’s always the chance that a Superman book that doesn’t feature DC’s prime Earth Superman might have a limited appeal. However, since the launch of the New 52, one of the most-lamented elements of the pre-Flashpoint Universe makes its return here- the marriage of Lois and Clark. Still, this book could appeal to only those readers. A deeper look at the story should reveal a broader appeal in how these characters react to the prime Earth. The relatability of these characters could also detract from the main Superman titles DC is publishing, because the feel is completely different. I applaud DC for taking the chance to including this type of book in the DC YOU. It’s clearly different from any other title with a potentially vastly different audience than what the New 52 targeted.
Reconnecting with old friend is always a joy, and this issue is just that- a pure joy. Jurgens and Weeks make these familiar characters relatable and instantly likable. The situation into which they’ve been thrust is unique and will certainly provide Lois and Clark many jobs for Superman and Superman’s girlfriend (now wife), Lois Lane. Perhaps each generation gets a slightly different iteration of these iconic characters, but this version just feels right. Superman: Lois and Clark #1 is a great start to this series. Maybe, this is Superman #715 after all.