Superman: Lois and Clark #2. Dan Jurgens- Writer, Lee Weeks- Penciller, Scott Hanna- Inker, Brad Anderson- Colorist.
Superman #716. This isn’t a true super-hero book, but rather a book that focuses on a family in trouble, on the run, starring parents that will do anything to keep their child safe. The fact that the couple is Superman and Lois Lane is just icing on the cake. Every page oozes with a goodness that could only come from a writer that understands not only the unique situation, but also the characters and where they’ve come from. It would be hard to recommend this to a fan of the New 52 Superman. This incarnation is much different, and so much more familiar. The fact that he recognizes the differences between this world and his own makes him not only more approachable, but also likable. Superman: Lois and Clark is just about everything it should be.
Jon’s in trouble at school, emulating the best elements of his mother, and when she comes to pick him up, they are chased. Lois’ Intergang investigation has attracted attention and it requires a certain Man of Steel’s intervention to save mother and son. Clark is ever the hero in both the present and past of this story. The really significant aspect is how Jurgens is able to communicate the differences between this world’s Superman and the Clark we know from the pre-Flashpoint Universe. Superman saves the day in a sequence set in the past and it transitions very easily to the fact that someone in the present suspects his presence, though not by name. This leads to further investigation of the Excalibur Rocket and Hank Henshaw’s survival of the most unique landing.
The fact that this is the pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois rings so clearly throughout the issue is admirable and effective. It certainly contrasts with what’s going on in the Superman books which is also acknowledged. There’s just a vibe that emanates from this title that suggests ever so subversively that this is the ‘real’ Superman. It’s a great meta-message. Superman has had so many different incarnations over the past 77 years, that it’s not fair to say any iteration is the ‘true’ Superman.
Each generation gets a version of Kal-El, or Kal-L (ha!), and each generation is valid. However, once in a while, we get to revisit an older version that just feels iconic. May I suggest Roy Thomas’ and Gerry Conway’s & Paul Levitz’s version of Kal-L in All-Star Squadron and All- Star Comics in the ‘80’s and ‘70’s respectively. It’s quite a bit different from the Cary Bates Superman that was populating the Superman titles in those years yet equally valid.
I think even the New 52 fans would find this alternate version of Superman interesting. He embodies the iconic notion of the world’s greatest super-hero and is also relatable as an individual and parent. Certainly, Lois’ situation as a mother and professional is more accessible than a nearly invulnerable demi-god. I have a hard time coming up with a negative. This isn’t Rip Kirby, but it’s pretty close. Yes, I just compared this creative team on this book favorably to the great Alex Raymond.
This is a very good comic. Extremely good. It succeeds on character. It doesn’t rely on super-heroics or gaudy costumes. It echoes the history of comics while being a truly different book in its contemporary landscape. The pull is really with the family of Lois, Clark and Jon.
While at the same time, the creative team manages to make the reader recall the glory days of the pre-Flashpoint/post-Crisis Superman. Well done. The intergalactic subplot is almost forgettable…. The rest of the book is that good.