Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Superman #43

The Truth, the major new landscape of a depowered Superman whose secret identity has been revealed to the world, is now officially 3 months old. But it is only now, three months in, that we finally see how the world learned that Clark was Superman.

Superman #43 came out this week, written by Gene Luen Yang with art by John Romita Jr. and inker Klaus Janson. And this is a tough issue to review. We have known since the end of Convergence that it was Lois who was responsible for the reveal. We have seen Clark snub her. We have seen this action labeled a betrayal. And we have been dealing with a New 52 universe where Lois has been pushed to the background so far that fans are waiting for her character to be sullied even more. This issue is basically a Clark and Lois issue, a full story of these two characters interacting.

Amazingly, Yang writes a great Lois in this issue. We see how much she cares for Clark. We see how strong she is. We see how great an investigator she is. We see how smart she is. This read and felt like Lois. And that made me happy.

Unfortunately, this is contrasted by Yang presenting Clark as being stubborn and, frankly, stupid. And I mean ... I don't understand almost anything Clark does in this issue. He simply gives into the villain, doing everything Hordr asks him to. He doesn't listen to Lois. I'm not asking for the super-intelligent Silver Age Superman. I'm asking for a seasoned hero using some common sense. And there was none of that here.

Yes, Yang does a great job inserting some super-Easter Eggs. From Quarms to Boeuf Bourgignon, there are some cute touches. But this Clark ...

And the John Romita Jr. art here looks completely rushed and rough. I have never been a fan of Romita's work. But this looks almost like rough layouts in some places.

Last issue, Superman brought down Hordr's base with yet another super-flare. And we saw him drained by some sort of odd energy creature. This issue opens in Lois' apartment where Superman has been unconscious for days recuperating from that flare. Lois, Jimmy and Condesa are there as well.

The passing of these days seems to have softened Lois a bit. Last issue she was angry that Clark would keep this secret. Now, after seeing images of Superman being tortured (a flashback to early Morrison Action), she realizes that she can't be part of 'brutalizing' Superman.

She promises to keep Clark's secret.

The tears might be a little much. But it shows how much she cares.

It is pretty simple. She likes Superman. She likes Clark. She almost fell in love with Clark. And if she can like them separately, she can like them together.

Of course, Yang has this Clark immediately think that Lois is making a play for him. I love how Lois shuts that down, maybe in a little bit of a snarky way. Again though, this really is a nice moment for Lois.

One thing we learn here is that despite the time off, Superman still hasn't completely regained all his powers. He can be stabbed with a fork. He can't fly.

Hordr isn't going to go away easily. Jimmy vomits up a tiny little Hordr-bot he had inadvertently ingested. And this bot co-opts Lois' phone.

Using it as a communication device, Hordr shows Clark that he still has copies of all the images that would reveal his secret identity. Superman has to show up at another secret base or else.

Clark immediately agrees.

It is up to Lois to remind him that he doesn't need to give in completely to Hordr's demands. Why not investigate Hordr a bit? Why not find a weakness? Why not go a bit slow? It all sounds reasonable. Because why would you give into Hordr without pause?

Lois convinces Clark to bring her with him when he goes so she can help.

So hooray again for Lois.

Inside Hordr's lair, Clark is led off to meet with Hordr.

Lois also sneaks in and snoops. She comes across a body, burned out, drained, tied to a chair.

My initial thought was that this was Ulysses, captured somehow by Hordr and sucked dry of all his hyper-energy.

But it is clear, what ever this chair does, whatever this process is, it is lethal.

Clark is led into a room that looks eerily similar to that last one. Clark allows himself to be strapped to a similar looking chair. He is surrounded by Hordr's Quarmers, energy storage experts. And Hordr asks Clark to demonstrate his solar flare power again.

And here is the thing ... Clark agrees.

Despite knowing that one of these things drained him and changed him (remember, stabbed by a fork moments ago), despite knowing that giving Hordr this energy will give the villain incredible power. Despite basically aiding Hordr, Clark agrees.


Yes it is great that Yang names them Quarmers, a throwback to the Sand Superman story I love so much. But why would Superman do this?

After seeing the drained dead guy and now this set up with Quarmers surrounding Superman, I was reminded of the scene in Howl's Moving Castle where the Witch of the Waste is drained of all her power.

And so Superman flares and the Quarmers (who now look like the Destroyer in the first Thor movie) drink in all that energy.

Lois runs in and knows that this could end up with Superman dead like the body she tumbled upon. If his identity being a secret is the only thing keeping Superman in that chair then she will take that stumbling block away. She send the pictures of Clark changing into Superman to the web.

She posts the story to save him

Not a betrayal. Not because it is a huge story.

To save him.

But the art here is so sparse. That Lois panel is pretty rough.

Knowing his identity is revealed, Clark breaks out of the chair and bashes the Quarmers. Hordr teleports out.

So all that is left is Superman being angry at Lois. Even as she tries to explain why she did it, he just keeps yelling. His friends will now be in danger. But Lois knows, that his friends would put themselves in danger to save him. And that he means so much to her she is willing to do that.

On cue, General Lane and the military shows up. How the heck did they know that is where Superman was? Were the helicopter engines idling on a nearby base so they could streak there? It seemed fast.

And before Lois can talk about the burned out husk of a man tied to a similar chair, before she can explain it all, Superman leaps away saying having Lois in his life is a mistake.


So I started out saying that this was a tough issue to review. It is a tough issue to grade. Because finally ... FINALLY ... we got an issue truly starring Lois. And Lois is presented wonderfully. So hooray for that. Truly.

But this is undone by the inane presentation of Clark who is willing to stick his head into the lion's maw, to do whatever the villain wants him to, to not listen to his friends, to not think through the problem.

And the art doesn't elevate this story at all.

Overall grade: C


Anonymous said...

Great review!! I agree that Lois comes across well here and her motives were actually built through the story to show *why* she makes the choice she does. Previously she talks to Clark about what her Dad, Sam Lane, did to him and you could see how much that affected her. The previous issue she watches him Flare and sees what that does to him. Yes, that stabbing with the fork was important because she knows he's not "super" if you will.

Then, and thank you so much, it was a great point and I didn't think about this, she sees the dead body. Then she sees what Hordr is doing to Clark.

Clark later yells at her that he would have figured out a way, really? Nothing on page convinces me he would have. Besides this isn't something that can be proven one way or another. He says he would have found a way but what if he didn't?

I don't see this as a "right" or "wrong" decision as much as I see it as an emergency situation where one has to make an instantaneous life or death decision.

Which she did.

I think everything mentioned (events at Hordr Plex, what her dad did to him, and that dead man) all built to a "not on my watch" decision for Lois.

She, as Martin said, was motivated out of Love (platonic) not bitterness, spite or career advancement.

Meanwhile, I think the non linear way this story has been told has really hurt Lois because the reader had no idea why she did what she did and the other titles had Clark angry at her with no context. We didn't know her side of the story, we were seeing it through his lens of anger. Add that to the obnoxious marketing campaign which painted her as almost a "Jezebel Betrayer" and she was never going to win no matter what she did.

I'm hoping now that the titles are caught up we can move forward. I thought Clark behaved rather childishly the past couple issues, I hope this stops. Yes, he has the right to be upset but he's also an adult and we all now know that she did it to save him.

Which brings me to the conversation post reveal where she tells Clark that she knows he'd have done the same for her, to save her life. Well. No. Remember that Brainiac possessed storyline where he is more concerned about protecting his secret than her personal safety? Her boyfriend (who comes and goes) Jon was even upset at Superman for his actions which put Lois in danger. So I don't know Lois, I am not convinced this guy would have done the same for you.

All in all I thought this issue was a mess with Lois being the proverbial silver lining.

Zoraida said...

Great Review! Good call pointing out the dead body Lois saw on that chair! I missed it too! I agree with everything that has been said on this review. I am angry at DCE for using this arc for attention from readers. All the hate Lois is receiving now just make me loathe this story even more. This isn't a story for Lois neither is for "Clark" or what is left of him. No matter how good Yang wrote her on his run, I honestly believe all them underestimate how people was going to react, add to that DCE Mktg campaign throwing Lois under the bus as the betrayer, so different from what we got yesterday.

In the other books Clark keeps mad at her, he is reminding me of Lana who hasn't been able to "forgive" Clark for not saving his parents while Doomed. I wonder if this will be the tone for future interactions with Lois, if those are ever going to happen after Truth. I think this might be another way for DC to separate them even more.... and keep justifying SMWW nonsensical relationship.

I don't remember a time when I DISLIKED Superman as much as this version of Superman had, I don't think even Lodbell's run made me this angry at Superman, and he was awfully written under Scott Lodbell's pencil. This Superman came out plain stupid and very immature for a superhero that has been on the job for almost 10 years since he first appearance in Metropolis! This is not the superhero who could share a book with Batman the superb detective more less figure things out without using the super flare. Clark gave up that easily to HORDR, and I agree, a Superman who was able to offer his BFF to Parasite in order to protect his secret identity is NOT a superhero who wouldn't have agreed with the blackmailer to do ANYTHING in order to safe himself. Under the circumstances and the memories that were hunting Lois at that precise moment I can not blame her for what she did.

Now that her motives for outing Clark are a matter of public record for readers, I hope all the books start giving us a better Clark, this is not the hero I want to read,I wonder how far DC will go destroying his myth? There is only few things a character has to be suffered until there's nothing left of it. At this point I just want DC to reboot everything, starting for the current leadership.

Anonymous said...

Before I give my opinion on Lois' motives and character in this issue, this is definitely a balanced and thoughtful review on a clunky and terribly written issue of Superman. For all his talent and acclaim in the indie sphere, Yang is failing spectacularly on the pacing of his story and the execution of its twists and events. I don't find it that surprising though, he's being thrown from a pond into the big wide ocean of mainstream comic books essentially, and writing Superman as your first mainstream gig is a daunting prospect.

For a writer who sounded like he had an idea of what he wanted to write about in Superman, he's not delivering what he promised at all. Superman is not Yang's conflicted immigrant striving to find balance but an incompetent, foolish and aggressive caricature of his Golden Age incarnation. I'm getting sick and tired of DC's character regression of Superman, Yang seems to be exacerbating it as his research was mainly of Golden Age Action Comics. I don't know why some And I agree Clark was too angry and dismissive of Lois.

But I'm baffled as to why some Lois fans are somewhat happy with how Lois acted here. This issue didn't absolve Lois or improve her character for me at all. It depicted her in a very negative light and kept the blame squarely on her even in a scenario where Even though the Clark/Lois moments were OK, they reeked of Clois shipping fan service. And they were contradicted by Clark and Lois reaffirming that they were with other people and so they were just friends. Even though they clearly feel more than friends. It's confusing and sends mixed messages to readers and of course the shipping community.

More importantly, Lois' reasons for revealing Superman still come as silly and unwarranted meaning that she's still an obvious scapegoat fans can insult about why Superman is in the awful state he's in. Lois suddenly revealing that she's sorry for what Superman went through at the hands of Lex and the government came completely out of nowhere and didn't add up with Lois' character or motives. What makes this even worse is that all it takes for Lois to break her word not to reveal Clark's secret is seeing an electrocuted guy at Hordr's base. I would have thought one of the most popular non-powered female fictional character and pop culture icon for women depicted as an emotionally compromised wreck would aggravate the Lois Lane fanbase more. It got on my nerves as you can see.

So although Lois didn't reveal Clark's secret out of spite, she still didn't do so with a good enough reason IMO. Lois's character and motives suffered more than I think some people realise when compared with the obviously flawed depiction of Superman in this issue.


Anonymous said...

Damn autocorrect, I meant to say "even in a situation where Lois is supposed to have a good reason for revealing Clark's secret."


Martin Gray said...

Thanks Anj, you've outlined the problems with the book. There are signs Yang is a fan of old so could perhaps produce something all-out enjoyable, but he's apparently been saddled with the Truth set-up and so we get this. I actually thought the Romita art wasn't bad this time, but he remains a terrible fit for the book.

At this stage I would just love a Spider-Clone situation ... just write this Sad Sack Superman out, already

Anonymous said...

I thought saving his life was a very good reason. Clark said he would have found another way but what exactly?? There is no way to know if he could have. She made an instantaneous life and death decision that for all intents and purposes saved his life. That he claims he could have gotten out of it is all well and good, but there is absolutely no evidence to back him up. She on the other hand just saw a burned out dead guy chained to a chair then saw him chained to a chair in danger of becoming victim number 2.

Martin Gray said...

Hi Louis, it's interesting to hear your thoughts but I don't see how you can be 'baffled' when Anj, Maya and Zoraida (and me, over at my blog) lay out exactly why we see Lois as not being the villain

A Lois/Batman romance, that would be shipping. Jimmy Olsen and Arisia? Shipping. But wanting Lois and Clark together is not so much shipping' as hoping to see things put back in their proper place.

Anonymous said...

Martin, I never thought about it like that, putting things back in their proper place indeed!! Thanks for that.

Zoraida said...

AS a superman AND Lois fan I have NEVER said I was happy with the events from this Truth arc. I am not in any way talking for each Lois fan, I am speaking for myself, but my fellows friends on Twitter agreed with me that this whole arc has been horrible from the moment it was announced, specially because DCE Marketing Department and the silence among creative team about Lois led most of the fandom to read this story as if Lois was the villain, even though on yesterday's issue we found out her reason are far away from her being the bad guy on this story.

What I am glad and I think everyone here is happy about is that Yang didn't throw Lois under the bus and he explained in a sympathetic manner why Lois was forced to make that decision, a decision that by the way who should have been Clark's. He should have been the one telling HORDR to go to hell not submitting that easily to him. If Clark was so willing to give up his energy to those spectres THOUSANDS of people could be in danger or dead just because he wants to protect his identity? This Superman was not thinking about the greatest good but only about himself. Lois on the other hand took a decision, that yes it will mess up Clark's life, but destroy it? I doubt it. Is not like he has been enjoying being Clark lately. Lois took a decision based on her love (platonic or whatever) for her friend, she just saw a dead body tied to a similar chair where Clark was, she didn't want something that terrible happen to her friend, not on her watch.
There is a difference of saying we are happy in how Lois was written, because personally I was expecting the WORST for Lois, than saying we are happy with Truth, which majority is NOT.

Zoraida said...

Martin I completely agree with you on the shipping. I want Lois & Clark together not because they are a mere ship, they are the foundation of DCU, the Adam & Eve of comics, their relationship is one of the things that made Superman the ICONIC character he has been for 7 decades, until New52 arrived.

Godzylla said...

Nice review. We're pretty much on the same page wrt how Superman and Lois were written. Add me to the list of those who overlooked the corpse as a further motivating factor in Lois' actions. As I said on Twitter, Lois did what Superman should have done from the outset. He's far too immature for someone who's in his mid-20s (according to the original phew52 timeline) and been openly using his powers for 5-6 years.

Anonymous said...

Maya - I didn't think Clark was in any immediate danger. He still had enough power to break loose and destroy those Quarmer robots even after losing a lot of solar energy from his solar flare. I won't deny that there's no evidence Clark had the sense to come up with a good plan, he comes off way too immature. But there's also no evidence that Lois did the right thing either. If anything, there's evidence of what happens later in the timeline of Truth that show how worse things have gotten for Clark thanks to Lois blowing his secret. And I still don't see how Lois getting easily spooked by an electrocuted guy and remembering Clark's torture is good characterisation either.

Mart - I assure you I've read your review as well today and the comments on both pieces for your opinions. I'm just still confused at why you're finding small silver linings in such a poorly executed issue. Lois is not the villain but I see her as being culpable and at blame for not having good enough motives for revealing Clark's identity. She came off doing way more harm than good with not enough justification in the first place. It can be said that putting Lois in this position is evidently detrimental but when several fans call Lois rude words for revealing Clark's secret even now, I don't believe that paints Lois in a good light.

As for the shipping point, believe me I want Clark and Lois back together too, their romance is natural and compelling. But folks on the Internet don't just ship couples that aren't together, they ship couples that tend to pair up as well. I've seen plenty of Clois shippers on the Internet, possibly in response to Smallville's depiction of the iconic romance I guess or perhaps the SM/WW romance.


Martin Gray said...

Louis, you say, 'He still had enough power to break loose and destroy those Quarmer robots even after losing a lot of solar energy from his solar flare.' Yes he did, but he wouldn't have had he continued to sit there and let them drain them, which there's every indication was the case. This wasn't a guy biding his time because he had a plan, this was a man who had given in - again - to the villain. The evidence seen by Lois - ravaged corpse in identical chair in identical cubicle, just vacated by Quarmers - made the likely conclusion obvious. Odds are, Lois saved Superman's life. With no thought balloons or internal narration or look of determination or readiness from Superman, I just don't see what you're basing you assertions on.

Anonymous said...

Louis, I went back to read this issue again after reading Anj's review because I didn't connect that dead body with what was going on. And on re-read it looks to me that Lois believed that the Quarmers were going drain him to death. He wouldn't be able to break loose because he was being drained as she ran in there.

Lois is running through the area with the bays. An evil henchwoman says to the Quarmers "Come, he expects you in Bay 92 immediately. The one we've been waiting for is here" Lois is hiding around the corner listening. They go off and Lois looks in Bay 38 where she finds a burned corpse in an identical position as Clark tied to a chair. She takes photos and gives herself a pep talk "All Right Lois. Keep it together and do your job. You've seen dead bodies before. You've seen..Before..." And then we see remember the video that she saw when he was strapped to an Electric chair and electrocuted.

She knows he's weaker, she also knows the Quarmers drained this poor corspe to death.

Then we cut to the scene of Clark and Hordr. Hordr blackmails him in to flaring. He's flaring and the Quarmers are surrounding him. He's showing no indication he's going to break free of this and stop until Lois gives him the news she's outed him and he's free from this blackmail.

How long was he going to Flare? He had no idea about the dead guy and what these guys true motives were.

I couldn't agree more with Martin, there is no indication that he had any other plan other than to sit there and flare until Hordr said enough. And we saw that enough for the other guy was a burnt corpse. Why would Clark be any different.

I think there are very good odds that she saved his life. More events in the story point to that than don't.

Jay said...

It all made sense, doesn't vilify Lois at all, and presents and interesting dynamic to their relationship in the future getting past this. With all that said though, with the hype surrounding the event and keeping it secret so long, it ended up being really anti-climactic. It just needed to me...more, for the hype and build it up it received and purposely keeping the details unknown for so long.

But I disagree that Clark comes out looking bad here. While Lois's stance is understandable, she's still wrong. She still made a decision that essentially wasn't hers to make and starting a wave of consequences she can't begin to comprehend. Clark has every reason to be upset about that.

Jay said...

I also disagree that Lois and Clark are beyond shipping. Its all the same, I'm sorry. Its one of the most recognizable pairings for sure, but that by no means makes it some sort of foundation for DC as a whole or something. That's vastly overstating it. Especially when you consider that for the bulk of their existence they're not even a monogamous couple, much less married. I understand many want them back together, but just as many don't. Its not an institution. Its just a fictional relationship. More known than many, but still just that. DC's not doing any disservice by developing a relationship that's not romantic, especially when they were so committed to their monogamous romance for decades.

Anonymous said...

Jay: I agree with you that this was anticlimactic. I disagree with you that Lois was wrong because I don't see this as "right or wrong" I see this as people making instantaneous decisions based upon the evidence at hand. It's easy to "Monday Morning Quarterback" as the saying used to go in the US (Back in the day of Sunday Night Football).

I don't think she was thinking beyond the consequences of his losing his life. The consequences of his identity becoming public wasn't the point of her actions or the motivation. It was keeping him alive to fight another day.

Jay said...

Good point, perhaps I should rephrase that as, I can easily see how in Clark's eyes, it was wrong. And that's just as understandable as Lois's situation. I can put myself in both their shoes. And considering what just happened, considering that Clark DOES understand on some level the consequences this is going to rain down, its also perfectly understandable to me that he'd be furious and need time. It would have been extremely weak to have portrayed him as being anything but furious. When your life collapses before your very eyes, I don't care if you're Superman or Joe Blow, you're not going to be in any mood to take a seat and hear out someone's motivations. You're going to be mad. You're gonna need to be alone, you're gonna need to cool off. And you're probably going to say something you don't really mean. All perfectly reasonable reactions.

Uncle Screensaver said...

Lois and Superman are an OTP. Their relationship, which has been romantic essentially from the start, is one of pop culture's most famous. For almost 75 years, it has been seen in comic books, radio plays, TV, and movies and more. Whether there were patches when they might have been broken up, overall it's been Lois and Superman. While Superman has had multiple girlfriends, most notably Lana Lang, at the end of the day, it's always been Lois.
The few times that Wonder Woman and Superman were romantic, it never worked out, and it was pointed out by the characters that it couldn't.

What DC is doing is "shipping." Official or not they are forcing a romantic relationship between two characters who have never truly been a romantic couple before; they are forcing it because they don't seem to be adequately able to depict them convincingly as such, whether because of the writers' weakness or the characters personalities as they are written now don't work, which also brings writers' and editorial weaknesses at play. This is official "fan fiction." It's something you'd read online for free, and probably better somewhere, but here one pays for it.

DC is glorified fan fic because it's not enough that they have Superman and Wonder Woman as a couple it's because they couldn't just have that Superman was single, they completely eliminated Lois Lane from being a girlfriend or best friend from the start of their "soft" reboot. Even Marvel kept that Mary Jane Watson had been a part of Spider-Man's life. It wasn't enough that they decided "Clois" was no more, they have deliberately shoved this fact down customers' throats, as it were. Lois Lane has been written as a woman completely in awe of Wonder Woman, whose monologue has her demeaning herself as unworthy for Superman. She has been written with lines suggesting there was indeed a romantic relationship between them, baiting veteran fans with images of them flying through the clouds, only to have Lois add that she made that up in relation to the plot and she didn't actually feel that way.

From the inception of the New52, DC has held Lois with contempt, and making ignorant comments about her. Dan DiDio even went so far as to lie about Lois and Clark's wedding. It would be one thing if they announced that they were going to develop Superman and Wonder Woman as a romantic couple for various reasons, including but not limited to their decision to shake things up in hopes of regenerating interest in the brand(s), but they respected that "Superman and Lois Lane" was a fictional couple that has been an integral part of the Superman mythos, that is iconic not just as a part of Americana but something shared worldwide with comic book readers and beyond. If they had written Lois Lane with respect from the start and showed them as the friends WW and Superman used to be, while there still would have been anger and resentment, there would be far more respect on the side of veteran readers, "Clois" fans, and Lois Lane fans alike.

Shipping WW and Superman officially is kind of like if Tarzan and Jane shouldn't be together and Tarzan was much better off with the Princess of Mars.

As for Superman being selfish and immature, I kind of see this as the current TPTB at DC attitudes and ideas. I hope Dan Jurgens is allowed to give us a Superman and Lois worthy of their names.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Screensaver, I couldn't agree more.

Also, to put forth that Clark and Lois is not the foundation of DC is to ignore Action 1 which set the stage for a genre. Meanwhile, for the animated space we have the Fleischer shorts of the 40s which centered around Clark and Lois, The radio show, the Silver Age comics which were sexist and not kind to Lois yet she was still center for all things Superman. The Lois Lane title was a big seller, selling more than the biggest seller sells today. Then we had the Bronze age which I grew up with. Not to mention her starring roles in tv shows and movies.

It wasn't until post Flashpoint that she didn't play a major role in the story. I've said this before but I think they were trying to do to Lois what they did to Steve Trevor post crisis, in that they were trying to push her aside so Clark could be free of the proverbial ball and chain.

That was never going to work because of the aforementioned pop culture legacy

Lois, Clark and Superman were created together for a reason. The current caretakers are just now realizing when you mess with that foundation you ruin the story. I think they're now trying to course correct. Let's see if they can. I have my doubts.

Anonymous said...

Also, spot on about DiDio lying about the marriage in the run up to Flashpoint reboot. It irritates me to this day. He put forward that the only reason Clark and Lois married was because of the Lois and Clark TV show. NO. He forgets, some of us were reading it back then. They were engaged in Superman 50 and were supposed to marry in Superman 75 but the TV show was in production. So they stalled by killing Superman. Doomsday is the result of the TV show, not the marriage. This was documented in the Superman:Doomsday animated series DVD and in Les Daniels Superman: Complete History book (1998). So why he said that? I think it was for revisionist PR reasons. To spin this whole debacle as righting a wrong which wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for that darned TV show. Expect. That wasn't how it went down.

Godzylla said...

The comparison of shipping Lord Greystoke with Dejah Thoris with the Superman/Wonder Woman pairing is apt. DC Comics is a shared universe, yes, but Superman and Wonder Woman are separate creations, with separate grounding philosophies. They are not compatible because their very natures are totally different. More, Wonder Woman has been written overall as part of Clark's story, subsuming her own within his, further emphasizing their incompatibility as characters sustaining each other's story.

Jay said...

I don't think its apt at all. Regardless of the fact that they're separate creations, they've been part of a shared universe for the bulk of their existence. Its not even close to a supportable comparison with characters whose franchises never have and never will cross over. They're all a part of the same reality, and if this company which owns all the characters wish to put two from different titles together then that's their right and completely sensical within the model that they have been working with since well before most of us were even born.

Jay said...

And this isn't leading to any supposed course-correction. There's no indication the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship is going to end nor their title. The only thing this storyline has indicated is a return of importance of Lois Lane to the mythos, a place in which she absolutely needs to be. But it does not HAVE to be and probably will not be anytime soon in a romantic capacity. It does not make or break the stories. Superman does not hinge on dating or being married to Lois Lane. She's his main supporting character and thus deserves a strong dynamic with him but that can be and has been told in many ways throughout the years. They're simply going about it another way now.

Godzylla said...

Jay said...

Ahhh, well then I stand corrected, I am, obviously, not familiar with either of those tales, and had assumed they were completely separate entities. But if they do cross over then my feeling there is the same as it is in this case; anything's fair game.

Uncle Screensaver said...

Thanks to those who agreed with me. I also like the Steve Trevor comparison.

Jay: While I'm happy you agree Lois Lane should be respected more, and I can even appreciate that you like the idea of Superman and Wonder Woman as a romantic couple, DC is still shipping the two. They aren't going about it in a mature way with good writing, they are like the most amateur fan fiction writer out there who like two characters but do not get them; the result is forced at best.

A constant factor in "today's" "fans" is an attack that veteran readers cannot accept change. We've been accepting change since the beginning but if it's not done in a respectful way and written in a way that benefits the characters than we don't like it and will be vocal about it, especially since we've invested years of our money, time, and sentiment in the company and characters.

While some fans may say that these incarnations of the characters aren't actually Superman and Wonder Woman, or that their favourite incarnations died years ago, these fans will still care how the characters are being represented and they don't see how this is benefitting either Clark or Diana in the long run. The comic titles are representative of the characters popularity, "Batman/ Superman," and "Superman/ Wonder Woman," and that ties into how despite Wonder Woman being the most iconic and household name female hero, Superman is still "bigger," and is coming off as "Superman's girlfriend." If Batman suddenly was portrayed as no longer dating Catwoman but Superman, there are a lot of people who would (aside from the other issues) view Clark as "Batman's boyfriend." Despite how huge and inspirational Catwoman is, she's still viewed as tied to Batman, and Wonder Woman right now is being tied to Superman. Possibly Superman would be seen in a portrait of "the Wonder Woman family" but considering they've undermined her own family - the characters may exist but at least right now we don't have WW pictured with Wonder Girl and Donna Troy (or even Supergirl), it seems that Wonder Woman would be in "The Superman Family," and that isn't necessarily a good thing. Also, even if it was pulled, there was that t-shirt that had Diana as a sexual conquest of Superman's, and had there not been a stink about it, would DC have pulled it?

Possibly years from now DC will "get it" and have Superman and Wonder Woman as an OTP but right now to many readers, Superman without Lois Lane is like Romeo without Juliet.

Jay said...

Fair enough. I totally disagree as I felt the Soule run was fantastic and Tomasi's run is good to great, depending on the issue. And in both runs thus far its actually WW who comes off looking better. If the mainstream will see it as her being "Superman's girlfriend" because he's the bigger character, okay. But to those buying the book and reading it, the actual target audience, they know that is not the case.

But back to Lois, I feel the way they went about ending things was as good as it could possibly be. I mean, I don't believe for a second that anyone actually set out to make anyone mad, but at the same time I'm sure they knew that with change comes backlash, regardless. But by starting over and just saying they were never married in this new timeline was to me quite respectful. Different incarnations starting new journeys. Where they screwed up is not really knowing what to do with her then just sidelining her. But it seems they've found a groove with her lately which I hope continues. Whatever they do with the secret being public, however long it lasts, Lois knows, Clark and her will make up, and then hopefully we can get to a situation that Perez tried to do way back when Superman relaunched: have Lois be a good friend who uses her skills to help him when she can. Same with Jimmy, as I enjoy him knowing as well.

Anj said...

Thanks for the excellent discussion here.
I think everyone knows that I'd prefer Clark and Lois together.
But I would probably be more apt to accept the current situation if Diana/Clark was written better, written in a way that made me understand the romance AND if Lou's was still an important part of the method.

DC has done neither making it a more bitter pill.

I liked Lois in this issue. It's a start.

Anonymous said...

Jay: I strongly disagree they were respectful in the way they ended the marriage. DC rolled out the news via TMZ and made it seem like a breakup instead of what this really was, a reboot. Then we had the aforementioned interviews with DiDio trying to tie the marriage with the Lois & Clark TV show which was revisionist. James Robinson even said that in a comicvine podcast and I engaged with him both on that site and on twitter. I was reading it back then but I also have Les Michaels book containing interviews with Carlin and others involved at the time. Robinson was very gracious and admitted he was mistaken. Considering all this is public record, I was surprised at how the company was trying to spin it.

Meanwhile in the comic book themselves they had to rush to end it. Superman was in the midst of his walkabout (Grounded) and in Action, Paul Cornell was writing his Lex story. They had to rush to tie things up. Convergence was supposed to be the "good-bye" to those characters that we really didn't get unlike Pre crisis when they gave the readers some measure of closure.

As for course correction, this is more than Lois and Clark as a couple. Pre crisis and post crisis, Clark and Lois were with other people before they found their way to each other. It's about the concerted effort to sideline her from the story all together. Post flashpoint they moved her to a producer role so she was no longer an investigative reporter working with Jimmy and Clark, but their boss. She was hardly on page with Clark or Superman, let alone in the story. In the last months though, I've noticed a change in that they are bringing her back in the mix.

Whether this also means in a romantic sense? I don't know. None of us do.

I also agree with Anj, I don't think the Clark/Diana relationship has been written well. This is of course only my opinion and it's obviously subjective. I don't see the reason beyond the publishers made us. At first they got together because Diana was afraid for Steve Trevor's safety. With Clark, there was no need to worry about each other. Clark on the other hand was upset that Lois was with Jon. Of course that seems to be retconned with the conversation in this issue which seems to imply that Lois was the one interested in Clark but he didn't return the sentiments.

Anonymous said...

D'OH! I meant Les Daniels Superman book not Michaels. Sorry.

Jay said...

They didn't get together because Diana was worried about Steve's safety. That's why she broke up with him one year prior. Then that time went on she fell out of love with him per the ARGUS Forever Evil mini. All Steve had to do with anything in regards to Superman though is that it just led to the first kiss because she was upset his reaction to her letting him go from the League, was feeling down in general and alone, Superman tried to comfort her as a friend, and in that moment there was a spark. They liked it, decided to pursue it, and there you go. The idea of powers, protection, all that stuff, has always been overstated and overanalyzed. The idea of couples who start out as friends then a surprise kiss in a surprise moment changes everything is a dime a dozen. I've never really understood why that can't be taken for at face value here. The insinuation that there has to be something more complex involved to justfity doing it has always been odd to me.

Martin Gray said...

Is my memory faulty? I thought, as per Justice League #1 (2011), Diana had already kicked Steve to the kerb

Anonymous said...

Jay: Over analyzed by your estimation, which is subjective. They broke up because she feared for his safety. She still harbored feelings for him, just as Clark harbored feelings for Lois.

Martin: Yes, they were broken up before the story started.

Jay said...

But how does any of that make the idea of moving on hard to buy, is what confuses me. What's not believable about two people--one who was once upon a time in a prior relationship that didn't work out and another who harbor some feelings for someone that never materialized --finding someone else? Namely each other? I don't see how there's some sort of inherent disconnect there. It happens. Maybe it'd be a bigger problem if they started dating while flat out in love with other partners, but that is not the case. In Diana's case its been flat out confirmed in text that she fell out of love with Steve, and the level of Clark's earlier feelings for Lois were never fleshed out on any level so there was nothing to even worry about having to tie up there. At the time they got together they were two single, eligible and unfettered people.

Anj said...

Thanks for continued discussion. Interesting to see the viewpoints people are coming from.

I will freely admit I haven't read WW since Azzarello left, I didn't read JL for a long time, and I don't remember FR.

For me it still boils down to barely ever seeing Clark and Diana presented in a way that makes me feel they are in love. It just hasn't been shown in a believable way.

And Lois has been a nonplayer in the New 52. So this feels wrong.

Good stories forgive a lot. I don't know if I have seen that yet.

Anonymous said...

Jay: Nowhere did I say that moving on was hard to believe. That is putting a spin on it that has nothing to do with what I said. I said I didn't think (and I made it very clear that it was subjective, I understand that others can and do feel differently) they have convincingly shown on page two people in love. I feel it's been all over the place. Right before Clark and Diana got together we had Diana in fear of Steve being hurt. We also had Clark pining for Lois (which, as I said, seems to be retconned because now it's Lois who pined for Clark per this issue?).

Then when they go together, they were fighting even as they fought the bad guys. Diana was constantly harping on things she thought Clark should do and why is he pretending to be two people. Then you had Clark lecturing her about her methods of warfare. I never felt on page that they were together for any grand love and I still don't.

That doesn't then mean I'm saying people can't move on. They can. I just don't think it's been shown convincingly that either of them *have* moved on, the way it's written makes me think they are together because they don't want to be alone.

Does that mean they don't love each other? I think they do. I just don't think they are in love with each other.

And yes, Lois has been sidelined in the New 52. Even DiDio tweeted as much. This has nothing to do with her being his girlfriend, lover or wife. It's about trying to push her out of the story all together and from DiDio's tweets and what I'm reading on page it seems to me they are course correcting the sidelining of Lois.

For what it's worth? We're all going to have our own opinions and see things through the lens of our experiences. And I include myself in this.