FROM THE TRENCHES: END OF 2012
After reading Justice League #15 and Aquaman #15, I did peer out and look upon the battlefield of what has been the new 52 Superman universe. Lois Lane appeared in both issues of this final week of 2012. I knew that Lois would reappear sometime but didn’t expect it this soon. Maybe there is hope after all. But I’m still staying in the foxhole. The DC promo department has it out for us.
Justice League #15
This issue gave us Clark Kent in his Smallville farmhouse wearing the glasses with mussed hair. He speaks of his love for being Clark and his love for the Kents.
This is a monumental moment! Why? Because this could mean that Superman no longer thinks of himself as alienated from humans. He enjoys being ‘human’ and loves the humans that raised him. Is the tide starting to turn?
Alienating Superman and the promotion of the ‘power couple’ last August stank of ubermensch eugenics. Goddesses and aliens being superior to mere humans. This seemed reminiscent of Alan Moore’s unpublished proposal, Twilight of the Superheroes. If they can rip off Watchmen, why not another Alan Moore idea? This is speciesism – where other species seem superior over another. One of the themes of the Superman and Wonder Woman mythologies is acceptance of all species. Why would DC Comics continue to propagate this racist idea into the #15s? I’ll explain later.
But now it seems Johns is bringing Superman back to where he should be. Clark loved the Kents and if the new 52 books affect the others – we saw that the Kents lived to see Clark off to Metropolis to go work at the Daily Planet with Lois Lane. (Morrison’s Action #12) Perhaps at the age of 22? But Clark’s past, future and possibly his present were changed by Lord Vyndyktvx in Action #15. In that issue Vyndyktvx killed the Kents during Clark’s prom. Maybe when he was 18. That would mean that Clark spent almost two decades with the Kents and their influence and love through his toddler, adolescence, and growth into manhood would be great. Not so alienated. And if you add in his five years working with Lois as a reporter, again, how can the Man of Steel be alienated? He’s an alien, yes, but he is not alienated. That would destroy his mythology. Johns shows us how unalienated Clark is in Justice League #15.
I cringe at Johns’ characterization of Wonder Woman. She appears a bit ‘ditzy’ to me. Not wise or able to think for herself. Why after being in “man’s world” for five years and some serious affection for Steve Trevor, she couldn’t think of wearing a ‘disguise’ on her own? True, it is a Clark thing to do, but I’m hoping that this was just a seed planted for her and she will take it and grow her own ideas for a secret identity.
After Clark shows Diana how he uses the glasses to live among humanity, they go to dinner. The table talk is about how humans view them as superheroes and how having a fuller life is living among humans without the superhero persona. It is not a love story between the two characters. It is more of a love story with humanity. Perhaps by this time next year, we will be able to say that this was a good foundation for the Superman/Wonder Woman FRIENDSHIP.
The ‘date’ is called to a halt by an attack from the Atlanteans as a tidal wave complete with aircraft carrier ascends on Metropolis. I am NOT wild about Superman including Diana in one of his signature expressions, “This is a job for . . .” As far as I can recall, Superman has not stated, this is a job for Superman in his own books. Sharing it seems to diminish it.
Diana appears to change into her warrior outfit using the magic lasso. Yea, magic. Clark has problems with that.
The Atlanteans have been attacked and are retaliating. Tidal waves are hitting the east coast including Metropolis. Jimmy and Lois are seen in the streets running from the wall of water with an aircraft carrier atop of it. Jimmy has a still camera and taking shots of the destruction. Lois appears to be a reporter and not a producer behind a desk. During their rescue, Superman and Wonder Woman try to hold back the water and the ship from potential victims. Lois and Jimmy have climbed a fire escape from safety but for some reason, Lois falls into the water. Jimmy screams her name.
Superman is in Metropolis. He’s lived there five years and Jimmy and Lois are his friends at the very least. Superhearing guy doesn’t hear Jimmy’s voice scream Lois’ name? These four panels were problematic. It’s Wonder Woman who says there are people in the streets in danger. Superman sees people in the ship. And over a panel of a drowning Lois Lane, Superman says, “Dammit. We can’t save everyone.” Over a panel of a drowning Lois – did I mention that?
I had to read these four panels several times to see what exactly Johns was doing here. Giving Lois haters ammunition to say she’s always the damsel in distress? That she’s human and not worthy of Superman as a goddess would be? Superman admits he can’t save everyone before he desperately tries to do so – only to lose Lois on his home turf? Really? I’ve concluded that this was Johns upping the ante on the situation. And maybe a smack in the head moment for Superman because in the next panel, we see that Lois has been rescued by someone else. “I have you, human.”
Lois is leaped onto a building going through Superman and Wonder Woman. Superman YELLS, “Lois?” In the next panel, we see Superman is hovering over Lois and her savior. “Lois, are you alright?!” (Yes, he said her first name twice!!!) She answers as she kneels beside the rescuer. “Thanks to this man.” And that’s the last we see of Lois in this issue. The man tells Superman and Wonder Woman his name is Vulko. (Lois is nowhere to be seen.) And he states he has to find King Arthur because his brother is going to sink it all. This is pertinent because of what we see in Aquaman #15, which was also written by Johns.
Again, it seems that Superman is still not allowed to save Lois Lane in particular while the bullship runs its course.
Kneeling beside the body and using his x-ray vision, Superman sees that there are no internal injuries for Lois’ rescuer. But it’s hard to tell. “I’m not even sure he has lungs.” Again, Vulko is another species.
As Lois looks on over Superman’s shoulder, Wonder Woman guesses he’s Atlantean. Lois reiterates what Vulko told the ‘power couple’. “He said his name was Vulko.” Apparently having a name means something to Lois since the ‘superbeings’ seem either to dismiss it or are deaf.
Lois must have made a move to get closer as Diana grabs her and warns her, “Please keep your distance, Miss Lane. We don’t know what we’re dealing with.” Very formal. Perhaps Diana has only seen her on tv and that’s how she knows her name. And who uses the ‘Miss’ title in this day and age – especially coming from the symbol of the inaugural issue of Ms magazine in 1972?
Lois is always Lois. She’s a survivor and thinks nothing of being with the powerful. She sees people not species. (Clark will count this as a blessing hopefully soon.) We see a display of Lois’ analytical mind and intrepid reporter observations. “If he pulled me from the water, we’re dealing with a hero, Wonder Woman. One who looks like he needs help himself.”
Vulko tries to rise pressing against Superman while yelling, “Where is King Arthur?!” Superman pushes him down yelling in equally sized letters, “Calm down.” Wrong move. Vulko slugs Superman stating there isn’t any time. Superman is slammed into the side of the building as Lois appears to go towards him to help. (That’s the last we see of her in this issue.)
Wonder Woman draws her sword and threatens Vulko. He tells her that she has to listen (the superbeings haven’t been). They have to find Arthur to end this catastrophe.
So while people are drowning or whatever, Superman and Wonder Woman take Vulko to the Watchtower – above it all. During his reunion with Aquaman, we find out through narrative boxes that Vulko was the first Atlantean Arthur ever met. He was exiled after his mother’s death and was both her royal advisor as well as Arthur’s.
While Vulko explains that someone set up this soon-to-be war and wants Arthur to speak with his brother (now the king of Atlantis). Superman is hell bent on returning to Earth with a plan of action. How long did he and Diana wait for Batman and Aquaman to show up in the Watchtower? Superman and Wonder Woman think the king is a murderer and that he has to answer for his actions. Apparently they are still deaf to Vulko’s words of what has transpired. Aquaman, who has been discussing the leadership of the League with Batman, asks if he can go to his brother and bring him in peacefully. Batman agrees, but Superman gets his non-existent red briefs in a twist. Really? Mr. Second Chance? Mr. Talk First, Punch Later? When Superman wears the armor, Johns writes him as someone who doesn’t seek the truth.
So with his one chance to bring about a peaceable solution, Arthur goes to Boston to confront his brother. During the discussion, the ‘trinity’ boom tubes in (HATE that! Why are they doing that? Every 100th time they end up in Apokolips. Really? So dumb. Another plot point for the Darkseid storyline to come).
The power twins (Supes & Wondy) inform Aquaman they have been listening and they don’t like the way it’s being handled. Batman is silent. Mr. Folded Arms tells Arthur there are Atlanteans approaching and there is no time. The Demi-Goddess tells him that the bro is coming with them. It’s amazing how Diana finds her voice following Superman’s lead. (hanging my head for Wonder Woman fans and female readers everywhere)
Arthur apologizes and chokes the silent guy who gave him this chance to make peace = Batman. That’s right. Much to the horror of the ‘alliance’, the ex-king of the Atlanteans goes for the ‘weakest link’ species-wise. The human. Batman. At least Superman and Wonder Woman look shocked and dismayed. It was their attitudes and decisions that got Batman (their supposed leader) into this situation.
We really haven’t seen the Superman Batman friendship play out in Justice League. We’ve been told they’re friends. In Action, Batman did help Superman rethink getting his Clark Kent identity back (Action 12). But that’s about it. The fauxmance takes precedence over World’s Finest? Really?
Lois shone in these issues. Lois is always Lois and as readers we can hang onto that. The other characters seem to not know themselves. Or is this the new 52 syndrome? I know it’s been especially true for Superman in all his books.
Batman is still suspicious of ‘the alliance’ in the solicit of Justice League #18 (March) and we can see why. Especially since Superman nor Wonder Woman seem to be their true selves.
Steve Trevor shows up in Justice League of America in February while Diana seeks out Eros to see how she feels about Superman in Young Love issue. Coincidence?
Next week we’ll be getting the April (#19) solicits and that is one month away, supposedly, to the Trinity War. Will ‘the alliance’ have run its course by then? Will we get an announcement regarding Scott Snyder’s Superman book at that time, too?
Well, that’s all from me for 2012. I’ll be in the foxhole reading Smallville Season 11 and Superman Family Adventures until this bullship all blows over. These non-new 52 books deserve my money because they give me the REAL Superman and are a joy to read each and every time.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
(If Lois keeps showing up, maybe it will be.)