Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review: Superman Lois And Clark #5

We all know that #Rebirth is around the corner and as a result we'll have a new status quo in the Super-titles. We already knew that Superman Lois and Clark was truncated from 12 issues to 8 issues, meaning it will end right before the new reality of the DCU. So we are officially on the back half of this title.

And that is what makes Superman Lois and Clark #5 such an interesting issue. Writer Dan Jurgens is still giving us flashbacks to deepen the history of the couple on Prime Earth. There are subplots that have been simmering on the back burner for 5 months. Jurgens is even adding new subplots! It makes me wonder if Jurgens was really thinking about this series as a 12 issue maxi. Or maybe even an on-going.

It is a shame because this is a very good series giving us the Lois and Clark I think many (if not most) of us want.

Lee Weeks isn't on art this issue. Instead Neil Edwards provides the interiors. Edwards did some of Justice League United and has a nice style, clean and straightforward. I love his quiet home Lois and Clark scenes the best as the flow off the page nicely.

On to the issue.

One of the strengths of this book has been Jurgens giving us flashbacks to fill in the earlier times for the transplanted Clark and Lois getting acclimated to this new Earth. Unlike the New 52 which had that vague empty 5 years, Jurgens is letting us see how events shaped the characters we are seeing now.

For one, we see this Superman scouting out Batman. Using heat vision, Superman saves Batman from a ninjas arrow. At first Clark wondered if he should reveal himself to this Batman but then decided against it.

What I like here is you sense what good friends Superman and Batman were. Superman is looking for someone else to talk to, someone he could always count on and the first person he thought of was Bruce. I miss that easy friendship between the two.

Well, obviously I mean who would he turn to after Lois.

I have missed seeing these two interact like this. She knows he needs a friend outside of these four walls. But she also knows that they belong together and can support each other.

Such a nice little exchange.

And then a sort of throw back to the good old days.

Lois is so precious here when she says that she didn't mind writing small town articles for the local newspaper to help support the family. After all, he can't wring diamonds from coal, can he? Too funny, especially the semi-mocking body language she has. Perfect for Lois.

But it is that point that Clark knows they need to go back to doing what they were meant to do ... find the truth and fight for justice.

We jump back to the present with Superman re-engaging Hank Henshaw and Blanque in the *other* Fortress of Solitude.

Blanque is no pushover, with mind control, telekinesis, and little regard for life. Superman even says that whatever it took to stop Blanque would be 'justified'. In other words, it would be morally okay to kill Blanque.

That's a little dark for this Superman ... but as a thought in the middle of a brawl, I guess I can deal.

But before any such decision needs to be made, Blanque is shot in the back. Hank Henshaw had climbed into a ship that was in the Fortress in order to escape. Using the weapons system on board, Henshaw knocks Blanque out.

I don't think we see too many panels from this viewpoint. Having Superman small, pinned beneath a Khundian assault robot adds to the feeling that the Man of Steel might actually be in trouble. And there is a sense of motion here with Blanque being thrown forward by the beam.

Blanque gets tossed back into a cell.

But then we get a new sort of plotline. There are other people imprisoned in the Fortress. But these two seem to have a more congenial relationship with Superman. Both say they would have helped Superman if they were free. But we learn they would die if they were out of those protective cells.

Who are Dratania and Klon?

And is there enough time left in this series to wrap up a new plotline?

But there is more. We see that an ex-con is going to be in a reality show where he demolishes things. Sounds like a good idea.

And we learn that Hank Henshaw himself blasted Blanque, using the Oblivion Stone we have been hearing about.

So another plot to wrap up.

We know from solicits that the person chasing Henshaw and the stone is Hyathis!!

So she will be part of the Henshaw plot.

For those who don't know, there is a soft spot in my heart for the character of Hyathis.
 Can't wait to see what she looks like!

And then the last plot that has been percolating. Little Jon has finally figured out that his father is another Clark Kent. His dad is Superman.

We didn't even really touch on the Intergang thread which is key to Lois' side of the book. I hope we don't get a rushed ending for all these.

I totally love this book and, like JLA 3001, will be sad to see it end. There is so much to love in each issue. For someone like me, who loves Lois being with Clark, this book has been a delight. It speaks volumes that my favorite scenes are the two hanging out in the house and talking!

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Great review. While I love Lee Weeks, I'm never disappointed to see Neil Edwards, a terrific storyteller with a strong, clean style.

So much going on! Why does this book have to end?

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally, this comic came out the same week as "Truth, Justice, and the American Way", raising similar moral and ethical issues. Great book, but Supergirl did it even better.

Action Comics is going back to its original numbering, so I'm guessing that "Superman: Lois and Clark" is now kind of a "prequel" to catch us up on pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark before they return to their universe, which might be why Jurgens isn't rushing at all.

Plus, New 52 Superman is going to get all his powers back and start up a new Super League. Surely, he and his new Super League can handle a few loose ends after Lois, Clark, and Jon leave Earth-0 (assuming my guess is correct).