Superman: Lois and Clark #4. Dan Jurgens- Writer, Lee Weeks & Marco Santucci- Pencillers, Sergio Cariello & Scott Hanna-Inkers. Jeromy Cox- Colorist.
One of the most daunting tasks in comics has always been pitting Superman against a formidable villain. In Superman: Lois and Clark, Dan Jurgens has teased us in the beginning with a couple names readers may be familiar with- Bruno Manheim and Hank Henshaw. In this issue Manheim proves to be a true threat to the Kent/Lane clan, while Henshaw appears to be a red herring revealing the newly introduced Blanque as the villain that will give Superman a true test.
Issue #4 opens with Lois and Clark a few years ago visiting this world’s Metropolis for the first time. It starts out as a classic “difference between the worlds” sequence. Their near encounter with Jimmy is fun and you feel for them that they can’t interact with their friend. It’s their Anniversary and when hey return to their hotel they Lois presents Clark with a present- the black Superman costume Clark’s been wearing in this series.
In the present in California Lois takes Jon along to check on Cora, her publisher. It turns out to be a trap, a stealthy trap that allows Bruno Manheim of Intergang to identify Lois. It’s a bit of a quick turnaround, but it allows Manheim to become a realized threat. Lois has endangered her son. Meanwhile, Clark is off in his Fortress with problems of his own.
Clark frees himself from a beneath a pile of rubble, looking to get Blanque back in custody. Blanque through Henshaw is able to disable Superman again and burry him under an even bigger pile of “rubble.” However, Blanque has gotten inside Clark’s head and discovered Lois and Jon. This puts his family in double jeopardy from Blanque and Manheim.
As always, this book is fun, especially as Lois and Clark explore this world and its differences with the one they are from. Putting Lois and Jon in double jeopardy is certainly one of the best ways to challenge Superman. Superman’s greatest strength and weakness is his humanity, so it only fits that his greatest challenges involve this aspect of his character. This vulnerability forces Superman to come up with some creative solutions at times.
This issue is a little predicable and it moves rather quickly. The only really movement is Manheim discovering Lois. Blanque has only delayed from last issue. He escaped last issue and he’s got a hate on for Clark. Nothing here has changed. The Oblivion Stone one-page sub-plot continues to move slowly. While it promises something exciting, it’s taking quite a while in arriving.
This may be the weakest issue of the series so far. With that said, if you are enjoying the series there’s no reason to drop it. The series does a great job in focusing on the characters of Lois and Clark and the whole concept produces another look at what it would be like for Superman and Lois to have a child. Additionally, it fits right in to the body of DCU stories that explore the Multiverse.