NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for “Superwoman” #1 & “Superman” #5
It’s been a long time since intrepid reporter Lois Lane was relegated only to the role of ‘damsel in distress’ (on the comic book page, at least), as audiences and creators all began to agree that in the world of DC Comics (or Marvel, Image, or any other) the superheroines, supervillainesses, or simply the women were as deserving of strong storylines as anyone else. And while the women of DC Comics have claimed their place among some of the company’s most fan favorite characters, the “DC Rebirth” is doubling down on the idea (if not tripling).
While the usual suspects are reclaiming their places in the spotlight, special attention has been given to the one-time ‘Superman’s Girlfriend,’ Lois Lane. And not simply through some far-fetched narrative twist, either. In the larger story of Superman‘s death and rebirth – and thanks to a nifty parallel universe wrinkle – DC fans have been treated to not one, but TWO versions of Lois uniquely skilled at kicking serious butt – in the course of just one week, no less. For those who haven’t been keeping up, or just want to skip to the good bits, we’ve got you covered.
There Are Actually Two
First things first: assuming that not all comic book fans are up to speed on the larger “Superman” mythology ongoing (since “Rebirth” isn’t a typical reboot), the fact that there are two versions of Lois Lane happily coexisting in the DC Universe might seem like a problem. If you’re a stalwart DC fan who followed the final days of the New 52, and the odd, removed-from-time-and-space “Convergence” event that preceded the “Rebirth,” then you’re well aware of how one Lois wound up lumped into a parallel Earth in DC’s Multiverse.
If you’re not, things are, thankfully, simpler than that description made it sound. The short version? While the New 52 Superman and friends (the younger, modern, rebooted versions) were reborn in a new DCU, the Superman that existed all through the late 1980s, ’90s, and ’00s was actually removed from the re-write – with his wife, Lois alongside him… and their son, Jonathan in tow. When his mission was done, Clark and Lois decided the best solution was to head to this new world, populated by its own Superman: with Clark now redundant, the couple could raise their son in peaceful secrecy.
And with two versions of Lois Lane now alive and kicking in the DC Universe, the stage was set for “Rebirth” to give them each a (badass) role to play.
Lois Lane, Superwoman
Since the New 52 was a notably different version of the typical “Superman” story, things weren’t as direct or romantic between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. But when this younger Superman fought his last fight, and died in a flash of bright light and energy, something miraculous happened: Lois Lane (at his side) was struck by that same energy, and turned into a Superwoman overnight. We already gave a breakdown of the stunning first issue of her “Superwoman” series (a title that she may not hold alone), but this Lois was definitely not the kind of woman who struggles to ‘come to terms’ with her new powers.
No, she jumped right in, seeking out Lana Lang – who helped Clark Kent discover and refine his superpowers – to help her master her own new abilities. Like a true superhero, Lois wanted to waste no time in filling the void left behind by Superman (a mission that quickly involved going to-to-toe with Lex Luthor, his own self-proclaimed Superman). Her story came to an abrupt end in the first issue of “Superwoman,” but judging by the manner in which that end arrived, we’d say a superpowered Lois (or just a regular one) still has an unstoppable role to play in the book.
Thankfully, the other Lois Lane is cracking more than enough skulls for the both of them over in the pages of “Superman.”
Lois Lane, Supermom
Just one week after Lois Lane stepped into the role of Superman’s successor, the older Lois Lane stepped into the role of… well, the kind of woman you would expect to be married to Superman. Keep in mind: this is the version of Lois that stood by Clark’s side since the “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” meaning she witnessed his death at the hands of Doomsday, and countless other monstrous villains and worldwide threats. And believe us when we tell you that motherhood hasn’t softened her one bit.
In the comic series covering the life lived by Lois and Clark in secret, raising Jonathan to the point that his own superpowers began to emerge, Lois spent her time doing what she does best: trying to bring down Intergang through investigative reporting under an alias. It was a welcome feature, showing that Lois Lane – the Lois Lane – couldn’t be stopped in her pursuit of justice and truth (superpowered toddler or no). But with a brand new take on the ‘Eradicator’ (first debuting in the comics following Superman’s ‘death’) arriving to kill the “impure” Jonathan Kent, Superman and Lois BOTH had a fight on their hands.
So, what do you do when your superpowered husband takes you and your son to Batman’s secret moon-based Batcave, but you’re tracked by the Eradicator, who sends you scrambling away for dear life? Well, if you’re Lois Lane, you stumble on the component pieces of Bruce Wayne’s Hellbat suit… from there, your options are pretty clear.
Yes, you assembled the armor around yourself, and immediately leap into the fight, inflicting the kind of damage that Superman has actually been struggling to all by himself. And as Jonathan cheers his mother on, supporting each and every punch and slam like a small, superpowered, half-Kryptonian cheerleader, it becomes clear to readers that Lois Lane hasn’t shed her hard edge, her unstoppable tenacity or willingness to get in over her head: she’s simply evolved those traits, from a hard-nosed journalist into the kind of mother who wouldn’t hesitate to throw on found armor to protect her son.
Standing opposite Superman – who, at this point is simply… well, ‘being Superman’ – it’s hard for Lois not to steal the show. That’s obviously what storytellers Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Doug Mahnke intended, too, since the reveal of Lois in the Hellbat armor (actually more epic than what we can include here) is the kind of comic book scene you don’t really forget. And with the enemy in question one torn from the past of “The Death of Superman” and the ensuing “Reign of the Superman” storylines, we’d say Lois Lane has cemented her own place in comic history – not just as a reporter, but one of the scariest mothers a Superman villain could ever encounter.
The fight isn’t over for Superman or Lois. But those readers expecting this to be a story about Superman and his son embracing their powers and working together are getting more than they bargained for. After this issue, all THREE members of the Kent clan can hold their own in a fight. Whether the big screen version of the characters follows a similar path… remains to be seen (start up those petitions, people).
Superman #5 is available now.