World's Finest #32 review

Comics can be so surprising. I'd never have guessed that the best Lois Lane story I've read in years would feature the Earth 2 Red Tornado version. 

Because while I don't like Lois being slaughtered at the Daily Planet, I hate the idea of her being denied heaven, forced to be an android warrior, and learning that Superman was killed soon after her only to be reborn as a slave of Darkseid, even more. 

Doesn't Lois Lane deserve to rest in peace?

So, I didn't stick with the Earth 2 series long once the focus shifted from the likes of Flash, Hawkgirl and Green Lantern to the bigger names of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, and twisted versions at that. 

But the last few months of Worlds' Finest have seen Red Tornado return to her reporting roots, recapping 'The Secret History of Superman and Batman'. The idea is that whoever survives the Second Apokoliptian Invasion will know of the heroes who fought so hard to save them. 
Beginning with the origins of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman - Diana has to be in here as the three heroes' fates are linked even more on the revised Earth 2 than on the regular Earth - Lois has been taking us through the heroic and personal lives of the first two. And that means that alongside the neverending fights with Darkseid's minions, as well as the to-be-expected moments between Clark and Bruce we've had scenes between Bruce and Selina, Clark and Lois, Lois and Selina, Bruce and Lois, and Clark and Selina. 

The last few issues of this series could have been throwaway filler - the book's first stars, Power Girl and Huntress, having crossed over to the Earth 2 monthly and weekly - but writer Paul Levitz has been at the top of his game. The sterling character work, heartfelt and true, means I can almost forgive him the last few issues of the most recent Legion of Super-Heroes series >cough Phantom Girl<. Almost. 
This month's capper begins with Batman and Diana forging a sword they hope may help against the armies of Apokolips - they don't know the nature of their foes, suspect they may be Kryptonians, so make a massive Green K weapon. Superman is checking out Supergirl's wellbeing after an encounter with the Apokolips New Goddess Intri, who tried to recruit Clark for her dark lord when he was a boy. And Lois is at the Daily Planet, her haven, interviewing a witness to the war, little knowing he's been turned by Darkseid's lieutenants. 
Intri turns up at the Batcave, looking to kill Catwoman, who has caught the eye of Apokolips and poked a stick in it. She's not there, having been sent to safety with daughter Helena, but Intri is satisfied with the notion of murdering Diana and Bruce instead. Lois, meanwhile, learns that her witness, Lustig, has been turned by Apokolips - when he stabs her. 

Batman and Wonder Woman find that for them, in these circumstances, a blade isn't an effective weapon, but unexpected help ends the threat of Intri. 
Superman hears Lois's cry with his super-hearing and zooms to Metropolis, but it's too late. She dies in his arms - the tiniest of consolations for both. Red Tornado Lois's musings on her death and funeral are just lovely, with Levitz subtly nodding towards Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. 

Lois's bittersweet feelings on being revived ring true as the issue heads to the end. She's had a chance to do some good, but it's obvious she'd rather be in some afterlife with her Clark

Levitz is the first comics writer I've come across who actually understands the reporter's mindset. More than that, he understands the best version of Lois Lane - brave but not foolhardy, strong, clever, loving and loved. I would relish the chance to buy a Levitz Lois book - it seems that she really does have at least one fan among the writers DC employ. 
Jed Dougherty has been Levitz's artistic partner throughout this six-month storyline and he's also deserving of much praise. His work is reminiscent of Scott McDaniel at times, with Dougherty being unafraid to exaggerate a little for drama that stops short of hysteria. I like the Intri design a lot, what with her metal beehive hairdo, while his Superman has a pleasing gawkiness while remaining handsome. I'm never keen on armoured Batman designs, but Dougherty makes this one work in context, while his Wonder Woman is fierce and elegant by turns - compare Batcave Diana to funeral Diana. Selina, Helena, Kara, all look great, as do his guest heroes and gods. Even Red Tornado doesn't look too awful, but I much prefer his Lois - smart and graceful and spunky. And everyone acts out the drama with fine fluidity in dynamic layouts depicting interesting settings - take a glance at Lois's retro office nook up there, doesn't that just say something about her? I hope we see more of Dougherty - coloured here by the excellent Chris Sotomayor, who isn't shy of intense hues - soon. 

With a stylish cover by Yildiray Cinar, it's safe to say this is a great-looking comic. And a superbly written one. I recommend World's Finest #27-32 to everyone disappointed by the undeniable lessening of Lois Lane's role in life of the main Earth's Superman over the last few years. She may be Red Tornado, but this character truly is Lois Lane as I want her. 


  1. That cover is terrific, sad and beautiful, as well as the issue.

    It's really interesting how fun this was, despite how low key and "unnecessary" it was, especially at a time when both E2 and WE's quality dropped so much. You see, the three of them deal with destruction, but this one doesn't let itself being dragged down by it, and actually have fun with the characters (the Superman/Batman/Catwoman scene cracks me up every time).

    Pak's version of Lois' death may be more heroic, but I just hated the whole "I know he's coming!", which only purpose was to guilty Clark. Way different here where she says his name as a sign of love.

    (BTW, Levitz said in interview that what he like the most about writing it is Lois:

  2. Thanks for the great comments, and especially the link - I thought as much.

    (And now I'll be wrong about everything for the rest of the year...)


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