I surprisingly found myself enjoying Superman #1 from my perspective as a Superman fan as well as from my usually “too educated” way of looking at comic book stories as allegories, metaphors, and commentaries on real life issues and questions. Despite being so critical, for some very valid reasons, of the changes that DC Comics has wrought on Superman, I also found myself, quite surprisingly, writing glowingly about the intelligence of Perez’s story in Superman #1. Unfortunately, while the intelligent storytelling holds up pretty well in Superman #2, definitely better than a great deal of the storytelling held up (or didn’t) in several New 52 issue #2s, the relationship between Lois and Clark, which we had to get into sometime, turned out to be everything that I dreaded it would be portrayed as in the DCnU. This detracted so much from my enjoyment of the issue’s really smart battle between Superman and the mysterious alien menace threatening Metropolis (that I once bewailed as being a potential retread of something that we’ve already seen in Superman comics several times), that I pretty much fell into despising everything about the DCnU again and nearly gave up on it totally.
First the good stuff about Superman #2. The artwork is simply amazing. Perez and Merino bring the Man of Steel (overactive new costume and all) and the City of Metropolis to brilliant and vibrant life. Every panel is packed with believable anatomy, facial expression, detail, action choreography, and an all encompassing grandeur that we haven’t seen in a Superman book since World of New Krypton. The battle with the alien, which doesn’t paint Superman as an insane and out of control alien monster as I feared it would, is executed in a really smart way and Superman makes some poignant use of technology to overcome his foe. It’s a smart battle, with an even smarter resolution. No complaints at all with any of these aspects of Superman #2. Perez is doing a great job, and this book ranks light years above Morrison’s Action Comics.
Now the bad stuff about Superman #2. I’ve already mentioned it, and I can’t really blame Perez for it since it was an editorial decision by Lee and DiDio to undo the Lois and Clark marriage. Lee and DiDio really seem determined to write Lois out of Clark’s life pretty solidly. They won’t be working together, Lois will “always be there for him” as a “friend,” Lois always saw Clark and herself as “competitors” rather than “partners,” and her taste in men, that I disgustedly railed about in my review of Superman #1, reveals itself to be an even worse indictment of Lois’ new sexual freedom than in her choice of men. When Clark apologizes for interrupting Lois when she was about to get her brains banged out by her presumed boyfriend (at the end of last issue), Lois responds with, “About Jonathan? Just a friend from out of town wanting to share in my good fortune.”
Okay, I’m all for a liberated woman and all. Seriously, a woman’s choice of how many partners she wants, or how free she wants to be with her sexuality is totally her prerogative. The idea of Lois having a casual (kids avert your eyes now…) “fuck-buddy” who isn’t even a regular partner, but an “old friend” is simply too much of a change for this character. Honestly, I don’t see the corn fed, Midwestern raised, albeit liberally inclined, Clark Kent falling head over heels for a woman with such a casual attitude about her sexual practices and partners. I don’t want to see a prudish Lois by any means. Nor is a prudish Clark something that would be realistic, but I expect much more from Lois…”An old friend from out of town…?” did Lois even consider what this old friend has been up to, or in to (pardon the pun) before casually hooking up with him again?
Maybe I’m just a little too old-fashioned, or too much of a Superman purist, but a casual sex Lois just seems like too much of a drastic change from how Lois has been portrayed over the decades. This is sad, because I really was starting to learn to live with, and slightly warm to, the DCnU changes to my favorite superhero.