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Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same and Lois Lane is the love of his life. Since 1938, people have been exposed to this concept.
In Action #1 (the original) We had Lois slapping a mobster for cutting in on her and Clark’s dance at a speakeasy. Clark would not defend her (even though he aggressively pursues her for the date) because it might expose his other persona, Superman.
This panel shows the duality of the Action Ace. Inwardly he admires Lois’ Chutzpah but outwardly he must be frightened by her actions. After the mobsters kidnap Lois for her indiscretion, we see the other side of this man born on another planet.
Superman is not going to allow his lady fair to be abused because he has to protect his other identity.
Lois Lane was a female reporter in a tough guy world. During this era she did not pose a threat to breadwinning males of her time as she was in the minority. And as in the films of the time, Lois’ predicaments many times edged on the ‘Perils of Pauline’ or ‘damsel in distress.’ Lois got her self out of the these situations as often as she got into them — unless they called for a ‘job for Superman.’
Lois is always Lois and she is our ‘in’ to Superman’s life of duality. The world was to believe that Clark Kent was a mild manner journalist with glasses while he hid the secret of being the confident Superman. The ‘secret’ was established and was taken seriously.
In the Golden Age, Clark and Lois were partners so much so they later married in the Bronze Age as Earth 2 Clark/Lois/Superman which was not continuity.
The Silver Age began to make the ‘secret’ into a joke which reflected badly on the triangle of characters. With the end of WW2, Lois as a female reporter posed a threat to job seeking veterans. So the attitude of that time was to put her in her place. Like other women of that time, they had to return to ‘the kitchen’ rather than working outside the home. Lois now became the brunt of jokes and declared stupid because she didn’t know the guy she worked with was Superman because of a pair of glasses. And when she did solve the mystery, Superman went through extreme measures and antics to make her think she was insane, silly, or stupid. This is known as superdickery. This behavior ‘seemed’ justified because of Lois’ constant snooping and trying to prove Clark and Superman were one in the same. The convolution of these plots was enough to drive readers mad. Superman did this to the woman he supposedly loved which made it all the more damning.
By the Bronze Age, Clark was in front of the television camera instead of behind a newspaper desk. This scenario was trepidatious even with worldwide computer, television and camera technology in its early stages. With the feminist movement, Lois’ place as an award winning journalist was accepted. Also during this time, the thought was to allow Superman to act on his emotions, Lois would have to become super powered in order for them to be together. This was reflected in Superman the Movie when Clark had to give up his powers to be with Lois. One of the characters had to change even though audiences had experienced Star Trek with Mr. Spock being part human and part alien. His human mother was still alive, but the Superman mythos was stuck with some old time biases. The Superman/Lois Lane relationship became primary with Clark Kent many times dating Lana Lang. Over the last two ages, writers seemed to forget the one-and-the-same nature of the title character.
The Modern Age (Post Crisis) brought a new line of thinking about the triangle for two. Clark Kent became the prominent identity which allowed the man to have a fuller life, both as Clark and as Superman. Clark and Lois became partners not only at the Daily Planet but in life as well. They married in continuity. A short time after proposing to Lois, Clark revealed he was Superman.
In Action 662, 1991, Clark Kent reveals to Lois Lane that he is Superman. There is a quote by Gracian on the final splash panel, “It takes as much caution to tell the truth as to conceal it.”
In the Modern Age, the question was raised, did Lois fall in love with Clark Kent or Superman first. But Clark (wearing the suit) clearly states Lois fell in love with Clark Kent and Superman was the creation she named. He regrets not telling her sooner. Lois believes she’s always knew in her heart, but dismissed it with her rational mind. In a later issue, Clark recalls Lois’ reaction to the proposal and reflects that ‘no one can fool Lois Lane.’ She pretty much knew already.
Also in the Modern Age, 2001, the television series Smallville portrayed a young Clark Kent just realizing his super powers in the bucolic Kansas town. In the tenth and final season (2010-2011), Lois Lane realizes that Clark Kent is Superman (the Blur) but does not let on that she knows. In an episode titled PARIAH in season 4, Lois made this comment about people with secrets. ”If I really cared about that person, I wouldn’t tell them that I knew. But I would go out of my way to be supportive of them so that hopefully, one day, they would be comfortable enough to tell me themselves.” She did just that, 6 seasons later.
Since Smallville ratings were at least 2.5 to 3 million weekly, this view of the triangle made for two is embedded into the recent psyche of Superman fans especially those who have developed an interest in reading the comics.
In the fall of 2011, DC Comics tore the DC Universe apart with a reboot. Superman fans lost the continuity marriage of Clark and Lois Lane Kent. Superman seemed to be the character and mythos they changed the most, taking him back to the blue jeans/t-shirt of Smallville. In Action Comics, there is barely any Clark Kent to speak of and even less of Lois Lane. (Unlike it’s 1938 predecessor) The Superman Comics seemed to give readers the establishing of the standard characters of the mythos and their relationships.
Readers enter the story with a five year working relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. They are friends. Lois has recently been promoted from the Pulitzer Prize winning Daily Planet reporter as well as a news anchorperson to be Executive VP of New Media and Executive Producer of the nightly news division. Despite this separation, Lois insists that she and Clark keep in touch. He hasn’t been acting like himself lately and if he ever wants to talk… Clark seems to pine for Lois when he sees she’s ‘dating’ someone else and wishes things could be different as he takes her voice mail in the Fortress of Solitude. We do not see face to face interaction between Superman and Lois even though she saved him during a battle in Metropolis. Superman has become the ‘damsel in distress.’
In Superman #4, readers see that Lois Lane may know Clark Kent’s secret. Clark Kent is being influenced by something with memory lapses of the HUGE kind. We as readers to this new version of Superman don’t really know what he’s like. The only character we may recognize is Lois Lane. Lois is always Lois.
Rebooted Lois is not a snoop trying to prove Clark and Superman are one and the same. It’s not her raison d’etre. She’s a working girl with an executive position with new technology of a modern world. She’s on the cutting edge, smart lady that she is. Clark in the past has said Lois is the brains of the couple. She thinks first. Clark feels first (although we haven’t seen that mythic heart too much in new 52 Action Comics). So how does a Superman with a secret identity forge the troubled waters of new technology? He can’t do it alone. He needs a little help. Oh, sure he could use his newly acquired EMP power to wipe out all electronics — but thankfully this Superman still wishes to be a help and not a hindrance to the world.
Has the DCnU given us a new view of the triangle made for two? Lois Lane may know Superman’s/Clark’s secret. Lois Lane eats the truth for breakfast. She is strongest when she knows the truth. She and Superman believe in truth and justice. Knowing is a burden she has taken upon herself. She will protect the truth with caution. She will protect him as she has through every era. She will wait for him to tell her he has a secret. In the meantime, being the friend of the reporter and an admirer of the hero, she will be supportive.
Within the pages of Superman #4, Lois Lane berates her subordinates Miko Ogawa and Jimmy Olsen who have snooped into Clark’s private life and whereabouts. ”But it’s up to Clark to pick the time he feels comfortable talking about what’s bothering him.” Shades of Smallville’s Pariah? After Miko and Jimmy leave her, we see that Lois sees a snapshot on her computer of Superman leaving the Smallville Cemetery where Clark Kent had gone to visit the graves of Jonathan and Martha Kent. The reaction panel is very telling. Lois Lane knows the truth and she will take it her grave.
What does this mean for the triangle for two? Probably the best version of this unique tale ever conceived. You now have two people taking care of all sides of the triangle. A Partnership. Now Clark has a secret and Lois has a secret, too. The secrets are one and the same.
Lois will protect Clark and his lame excuses for leaving his day job so he can go be the hero. She will protect and respect the lifestyle Superman has chosen because the world needs this hero. She admires both persona. Lois Lane now sees the entire being that was transported from a dying planet and adopted by a farm couple.
With her innate curiosity, we may see both Clark and Superman’s one-in-the-same from a completely new perspective. With Lois’ new position at the Planet Global Network, she can help protect Superman’s other identity and offer assistance as she did with the invisible creature in Superman #2.
Lois Lane will be the rock that readers can latch onto while Clark Kent and Superman finds his true self. Clark/Superman will gravitate towards her, as other characters have done in these first 4 issues of Superman, because she knows who she is and protects the ones she loves.
This allows Clark to learn to trust Lois even more and eventually realize how deep his feelings are for her. This is a true love story. Foundation has been laid, at least in the Superman Comics. (Morrison can’t write a love story so I don’t expect anything out of Action. It’s all chaos, chaos, chaos from him).
Readers are concerned about the execution of this new reboot and this new triangle for two. No era has been perfect. Editorial will be editorial. Whether good or bad or otherwise. Let’s hope that this neverending story is about the heart of Superman. He loves humanity and Lois Lane in particular. Having her enter the triangle as an equal makes this story stronger and sweeter.
Why is there room for a freakin’ Frankenstien title and a whole slew of Bat Family books, but none for Captain Marvel and the entire Marvel family?
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