Superman's Ex-Girlfriend, Lois Wayne

Bloggified by Jake on Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I may have to just do a clearing house post where I touch on the 15-20 posts I've wanted to do in the last three weeks, but haven't had time. Maybe summarizing them in one sentence with a few images. Briefly, Spider-Man 3 was bad the first time I saw it and got worse the second time, Marvel seems to have a vendetta against Reed Richards ("Hmm, zombies are the height of efficiency... even though they eat human flesh constantly and do nothing but complain about their hunger."), I worked 35 hours between 6AM Friday and 1AM Sunday for Free Comic Book Day, All Star Batman and Robin could be a hell of a lot shorter and closer to "on schedule" if instead of writing each issue, Frank Miller just went to every comic book fan's house and punched us all in our faces, and I did an awesome interview with John Romita Jr. that will be up at later today.

Enough talk, more rock.

A man doesn't know how much he loves water until the well runs dry and a Superman doesn't understand how much he gets off on stringing along a girl reporter until she gets fed up and marries his best friend.

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #89 presents an imaginary story that "may or may not ever happen," which is what DC regularly did when writers couldn't come up with a plot that made sense even by the fast and loose standards of the Haney/Kannigher Era.

The cover (which depicts a scene very similar to what actually happens inside the comic, which is startlingly rare for the Silver Age) features a pouting Superman staring longingly at Lois Lane as she marries Bruce Wayne. The mopey Man of Steel envies his best friend because Lois is marrying him for himself, whereas she never fell for Clark Kent. But considering that Superman goes out of his way to make people think Clark Kent is a bumbling, clumsy, absent-minded hayseed whose only positive trait is his ability to scoop Lois, showing her up in front of their colleagues and negating a day of hard work on her part, it's hard to believe he was really trying to get her to love him for Clark.

By that same token--and maybe I'm getting too philosophical here--Batman is a costume Bruce Wayne puts on, but Clark Kent is a costume Superman puts on. In other words, just as Bruce Wayne tries to convince criminals that he is a shadowy creature of the night, Superman makes an effort to disguise himself as an average guy, but their true selves are Bruce and Superman. So Lois did love you for yourself, douchebag.

Also, it's hard to feel sorry for you and the fact no one accepts you as regular folk when you're attending a wedding in your blue body suit with red panties on the outside.

In case you're wondering why Gotham City has such a high crime rate and so few convictions stick in the courts, look no further than the fact masked vigilantes take home souvenirs from their arrests.

"Officer Burgas, do you have any proof that my client is a mad bomber, allegedly known as 'Mad Blaster'?"
"Well... uh... I had an entire case of bombs he made with 'Property of Steve 'Mad Bomber' Wilkins' written on each one in red Sharpie. But then Batman was like, 'I sure wish I had a memento of tonight for my trophy room...'"

After displaying the bomb collection in the most feng shui manner possible, Bruce goes into a large, secret vault, the contents of which Robin has always wondered but never bothered to ask. What the Boy Wonder doesn't know, but we do through the magic of Silver Age thought balloons, is that the room is full of gifts Bruce Wayne has purchased for Lois Lane over the years, but has never had the courage to give her.

That night, Dick and Bruce attend a costume party where the theme is to come dressed as heroes and meet up with Lois, who has come as Joan of Arc.
Who is the bigger idiot: a drunk accountant who runs around pretending to fly because he's dressed as Superman and has been goaded into it by other partygoers who are having a good chuckle at his antics or the woman who piles 150 pounds of armor onto some poor horse and makes it stand precariously by the side of a pool?

On a similar note, when standing your horse beside the pool, point its butt away from the water. People will be swimming in there later and no amount of chlorine is going to counter the psychological impact of seeing plops of manure floating into the skimmer.

So the startled horse almost tramples Lois but Bruce saves her. The horse winds up in the pool and no one is strong enough to pull him out and all the armor is weighing him down, threatening to drown him. Fortunately, Superman shows up to break off his date with Lois just in time to save the animal.
Here's another interesting point. This is an imaginary story, yet the writer is trying to explain things according to current (at the time) continuity. Wonder Woman had lost her powers, but if this is an imaginary story, she could have them for the four panels in which she appears. If you're going to create a world where Bruce Wayne harbors a secret love for and winds up marrying Lois Lane, why require Wonder Woman to wear a Legion flight ring? It's like writing a book about a gay, time traveling werewolf who gets elected mayor of a conservative Southern town and quibbling over a scene where Domino's delivers after midnight on a Thursday. I've already suspended my disbelief, Leo Dorfman! Give me what you've got!

After Superman takes off in a huff, unable to understand why Lois might be upset that he regularly breaks his dates with her in favor of hanging out all night with an Amazonian princess who's into bondage fantasies, Bruce carpes the diem and asks Lois out on a date. Lois is still angry with Superman, but remains loyal... until she remembers that Bruce Wayne is richer than Daddy Warbucks and Thurston Howell III put together.

The couple is inseparable for four to five weeks and finally Bruce pops the question, which means he waited about three and a half to four and a half weeks longer than characters usually wait from the time they meet Lois Lane to the time they propose marriage.

When Superman gets the news, he takes it really well...
... except not.
And Superman isn't the only one feeling the pangs of a lost love.
Of course, Robin didn't go all Nightwing on us because Julius Schwartz knew no one would read a Dick Grayson solo book. Instead, Robin just harbors doubts and worries... for a year... or five.
"That purpose? To prove I'm completely batshit insane. I was thinking of how irresponsible it is to take a teenager into fights with street thugs and sociopathic clowns and realized I could be an even worse human being if I exposed a four year old to such ultraviolence."
Come to think of it, if that kid's four, that means Bruce and Lois have been married about five years. Dick Grayson had already been Bruce Wayne's ward for several years by that point. Robin should be in his twenties. Put on some pants, dude.

Unfortunately, the second half of the story doesn't bring much to the table. Gimmick Master, a super criminal who's entire shtick you can probably guess, takes control of the Crime Syndicate, which appears to be a bunch of low-level thugs who spend most of their time hanging around complaining about superheroes.
"As your new leader, my first directive will be to cut all funding for four foot tall portraits of superheroes! We all know what Flash looks like, do we really need a 1:2 scale photo? For what we spent on this picture of Green Arrow, we could have two-ply toilet paper in the headquarters bathroom for an entire year."

Gimmick Master sets out to discover Batman's secret identity by inviting eight people with ties to the Caped Crusader, one of whom is Lois Lane, to an "intelligence study." The study consists of having the people lay down on a cot and listen to music on headphones. A fake news bulletin declaring Batman's death then plays and the headphones--which are really brainwave monitors--see who has the strongest reaction to the news, because that person assumedly would know Batman's true identity.

However, one doesn't really need brainwave monitors to figure out who has the strongest reaction.
God, I want to play poker against Lois Lane.

Gimmick Master tortures Lois until she finally cracks and blurts out Batman's true identity... Clark Kent. Damn. It's already been established Lois didn't love Clark, but telling mobsters he's their foil so they can issue contracts on his life is going a little far.

Sure enough, the bad guys try to kill Clark by blowing him up with a bomb. When he survives, they assume something when wrong with the bomb, but Clark and Bruce realize that won't last long. The more assassinations Clark survives, the more likely the criminals are to figure out his true identity. So they set up a trap at an opera, where Clark sits in a loge seat and Gimmick Master shanghais a tenor, steals his costume, and gets on stage to shoot Clark with a springloaded sword.

Batman swoops in, proving he's not Clark Kent, and Clark survives, leading Gimmick Master to guess Clark is really Superman. Clark then reveals a steel plate he was wearing over his chest, casting doubt on his superpowers.

Trust me, it makes even less sense when you read the actual comic.

And the whole thing wraps up with Superman able to--after five or six years of happy marriage--tell Bruce, "I told you so."
"My wife... my child... I can never know they'll be safe because the very criminal element I seek to destroy could use them to get to me. They are my everything, Kal-El. I just don't know what to do."
"Yup... that's why I never married her. Guess I'm just smarter than you. Oh well, good luck, buddy."

What a great friend.

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