WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Action Comics Special #1
Superman is burning his Justice League friends and Lex Luthor too, but not with his heat vision - as Clark Kent hosts the White House Correspondents' Dinner in DC's Universe. It's all in good fun, though Lex Luthor isn't taking the good-natured ribbing nearly as well as the costumed crime-fighters in attendance.
For those who may be unfamiliar until this week (thanks to both DC and the real version), the White House Correspondents' Dinner is a tradition that dates back to 1921. Established in order to encourage friendly relations between Washington politicians and those journalists assigned to the White House Press Office, the event has become more of a comedy roast since the 1980s, with prominent entertainers, prominent individuals, and politicians all taking shots at each other.
But in DC's Action Comics Special, it's the Daily Planet's star reporter who gets hosting duties.
The mild-mannered Clark Kent is understandably reluctant to play the part of a roaster, but is persuaded by his wife, Lois Lane, that it's all in good fun. As mild-mannered as he may be, Clark finds himself cracking wise about the Justice League members in attendance before long (no Superman though...). For those concerned Clark would get a bit controversial, rest easy: his dig at The Flash potentially "dining and dashing" is straight out of Smallville... although his presumption that Batman is absent because he's "somewhere out there brooding like a teenage poet" is obviously aimed at the audience reading the book.
Kent finally brings the house down with a short film meant to pay tribute to the absent Superman, the recipient of this year's Humanitarian Of The Year award. In truth, it's Clark's best bit: a video montage featuring several of Lex Luthor's most embarrassing defeats at the hands of his arch-enemy, the Man of Steel. Lex is on hand to take the embarrassment in person, meaning Kent may actually replace Superman as Luthor's most hated enemy, referring to the billionaire as "the Washington Generals of supervillains."
The final indignity is Kent's narration of one of Lex Luthor's flawless museum heists, only to be caught on tape littering as he enjoyed a celebratory victory Moon Pie. This turned out to be the last straw for Lex legally, as he had enough unpaid tickets on littering charges to prompt a warrant for his arrest, which led to the discovery of the evidence that he committed the museum robbery. It may pale in comparison to his larger crimes, but may be the most embarrassing for that very reason.
Unsurprisingly, Lois Lane takes a far more ruthless approach to her mockery and far more pointed in her choice of targets. Beginning with the President of the United States, who has found his seat just one table over from a famous gangster rapper, "Def-Con 4"...
Lane's calling-out of the President's drone strikes on civilians overseas may be seen as too rough or crass by some readers. But then, that's the kind of controversy that the real dinner tends to court every year (and which writer Mark Russell has showcased in his recent runs on Flintstones and Snagglepuss).
The timing of this Superman story has proven ironically prescient, given the prominence of the real world White House Correspondents' Dinner, and oddly enough, rapper Kanye West's association with President Donald Trump in the past week's news cycle. Fans can decide whether Michelle Wolfe or Lois Lane served up better roastings, but it's hard to bet against the sharpest reporter at The Planet.
Action Comics Special #1 is now available from DC Comics.