Superman: Lois and Clark #1 review

Lois, Clark and Jonathan are no ordinary family - mom and dad are refugees from another reality, while Junior is heir to an amazing heroic legacy ... not that he knows it yet. For Lois and Clark haven't told their young son that she was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and he the greatest superhero on the planet. They're living on the downlow, maintaining a front as farmers while she writes best-selling crime and political exposés and he does great deeds in secret. 

One day, they'll tell Jonathan where he comes from, but for now they're the Whites, living a quiet life in a small Californian town. And they're happy. They're still unsettled by the harsher world they've found themselves in, but they've made peace with it.
Avoiding the temptation to go public as a superhero and risk his family being hounded, Superman wears black when he's saving people from disasters, or trying to avoid people who became villains on his home Earth emerging as such here. And after getting Jon off to school, Lois heads for the big city to give her editor her latest manuscript, a teardown of Intergang. Exposure could get her - and worse, her precious boy - murdered. She's already being watched...

A surprise spin-off from this year's Convergence event, Superman: Lois and Clark - which I dearly wish was called Mr and Mrs Superman - proves a real treat. Writer Dan Jurgens  created dozens of memorable Superman stories in the Nineties, and he brings his familiarity with the character to bear here with great results. Superman asks the same questions a lot of us pre-Flashpoint old timers have been scratching our heads over: why are the heroes so young? Why isn't Cyborg with the Titans? Why is this world so harsh towards its heroes? 

It's a wee bit of a stretch to believe keeping his privacy was more important than helping the New 52 Justice League as they first fought Darkseid, but Jurgens just about sells the conceit in a grabby opening flashback. After years living on this new world this Superman seems more melancholy, but he's recognisably the guy we followed from 1986 to 2011. And Lois hasn't changed a bit, she's still the funny, sparky hack of old. As for new boy Jon, he's a firecracker, not yet manifesting powers but certainly showing his mother's curiousity when it comes to ferreting out the truth behind his father's rubbish excuses when he slips off to be super. 
I love that his name honours her father, his father and the man who was their father figure at work. 

As we're a bit old school, even as he has Superman try to stop this world's Hank Henshaw becoming the Cyborg Superman, Jurgens gives us an actual subplot, cutting away to intrigue on a distant world. He also does some plot seeding by revealing that the pre-Crisis Supergirl, Flash and post-Crisis Green Lantern - the first two having survived the Anti-Monitor and the latter a redeemed Parallax, all thanks to Convergence shenanigans - have gone off exploring the Multiverse. And giving both leads a turn at narrating is an efficient way to recap while getting us into their heads. 

Exciting as the superhero action is, I'm equally thrilled by the little touches of normalcy - the Kent values being instilled in Jon. Pet dog Ranger's drinking habits. The huge affection of Lois and Clark and Jon's very true reaction.  
Lee Weeks matches his art to Jurgens' script with huge skill and style, giving us a Lois and Clark immediately recognisable as the pair who sparked off one another for decades. He's as adept at the rural scenes as the big city moments, while the alien cutaway promises great things. The compositions always impress, while the figure and face work bring extra value to Jurgens' words. And the big flashback scenes make the main Convergence book look far better than it was to read. I wish Superman were clean-shaven and in the classic costume - you know, the actual Superman costume - but I suppose a different look is essential from DC's point of view. The beard and black outfit with silver chest emblem are, at least, a nice callback to the Death of Superman story, arguably Jurgens' finest moment. 


Ever-sharp inker Scott Hanna finishes Weeks in fine style, while Brad Anderson seems to be having a ball colouring the farm scenes. Letterers Joshua Cozine and Troy Peteri are new names to me, but they immediately gain nerd points with a title font homaging the classic Art Deco Action Comics logo. 
I love this issue, the first of 12. I wish the series were ongoing. I wish it were weekly. I want an annual and spin-offs. If you've been missing the Clark and Lois we knew for decades, here they are. And they're moving forward, determined to make a better world for their son. Join them, and perhaps they'll stay with us awhile. 

Comments

  1. I really enjoyed see Lois and Clark again. I liked the commentary on the darker new world they've found themselves in. I. like you, love the last name they chose and how they've honored their dads in their son's name. I was a little less charmed by Jonathan though, I'm hoping as the story goes forward he'll grow on me. I did like his suspicious questions about what his dad was doing. "why is your hair wet?", "I thought you said Apollo" He clearly gets that from his mother. I was wondering how many years they've been on this earth because I was guessing he was around 10?

    I hope this becomes an on going. I also thought the art was fantastic.

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    1. Jon is 9. They came to Earth0 when Action started including the 5 year gap and the 4 years we have seen of the Earth0 story.

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  2. I fudged the age - I think I saw 'seven' somewhere, but bottled out!

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  3. Jurgens' work on Sensational Spider-Man took all the Spidey standards and spun them in a new direction very well, so I trust he'll do the same here. Can't bring myself to trust DC with a monthly again just yet, so I'll likely trade-wait.

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    1. Trust me! I need this book not to vanish!

      And Jurgens' Spidey work was rather underrated.

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  4. I had a blast with this. The black outfit makes sense from a stealth point of view so I guess it works. The time frame/age is up for debate, but I do think Lois has written too many books for their short time here (all in-depth exposes), but it is Lois, after all. And considering his viewing habits, Jonathan more than knows what's going on with his dad, who's "powered down" - again? Yeesh.

    Now that the basic concept is spelled out, I'm strapping myself in for the ride!

    Keith

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    1. Maybe a power-sucking Sand Superman slipped through too, and is now a Sand Clark Kent, spying on Lois from the shadows. Obvious really.

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  5. Finally! what fans have been waiting for! this books felt like visiting old friends and you don' want to put an end to that visit! I am all in for the 12 issues of this brilliant story. I missed this guys so much and I found Jon the cutest little Superboy ever! I still have a HUGE smile on my face! I hope this book sells well among the other books in main continuity. Superman, his family and us finally have a break from main continuity!

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    1. And so say all of us (me and my multiverse duplicates).

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  6. Great review of an even GREATer book! We know these characters. Jon is such a kid! We can see how he is the son of an intrepid reporter and a big hearted farmboy superhero. Not only do we get re-introduced to the Kents/Whites but we get subplots, mystery, and a thinking Superman. Missed all that since 2011 (or before). This is definitely not a one-note story about cry baby characters who don't know themselves. I hope everyone who left the new 52 in disgust gives this book a try. It deserves more than 12 months. These characters are too valuable to lose its audience (again). Jurgens and Weeks delivered big time & it feels like a work of love. The first of many love letters to these characters and this mythology.

    I agree a monthly isn't enough. And I put my money where my mouth is. Got multiple prints. If peeps don't have a local comic shop, they can order it digitally. The Convergence Superman did phenomenally well in digitals as well as prints. It all counts. So if you want an ongoing, get what you can.

    Hoping this will go into a second printing & that there was no limitation on prints for this first run.

    SUPERMAN IS BACK!

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  7. Nice one on the multiple issues. I think I'll buy a few extras for friends too!

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  8. Lee Weeks. Those two words are enough for me. I hope he stays for the whole 12 issues.

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  9. Wow, that was good. I really missed these two.

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    1. I feel snubbed, why did they not pick the original Earth Prime?

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    2. We've got Donald Trump. Would YOU come here?

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  10. I agree with you on all points, Martin, great, great issue and hopefully series. It really soothes the soul, seeing this new-NU52 as a distopic universe in which Superman is stranded. So, the all convergence event took place 9 years or so earlier? I did not get it, but I haven't read Convergence.

    Anyway, it is a bit creepy that we find more acceptable and entertaining to see Superman married, father, in hide and on the verge of retirement than seeing him depowered and struggling to still be a Superman, which is a storyline that should actually make us wanting for more, instead of begging for a merciful end.
    But fact is, in just three panels, Jurgens' character (and he's not always been my favourite Superman author, mind that) immediately felt Superman, something that after more than 40 issues, NU Kal-El still fails to do, powerless or not.

    We get to know that the real (a-hem) Earth is still out there, so we must probably take this mini-series as a new "Mr & Ms Superman" launch, with post-Crisis Earth as the new Earth-2, but somewhere in my mind the hope that this could be an escape pod from the dark "official" DCU still exists.

    (Funny: what would have 1986 DC editors thought about their attempt to unify their multi-universe resulting in a multi-continuity array of multi-universes?)

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    1. Such great points! We should ask Wolfman and Wein what they think of the current state of the DC Mutiversei, aren't they both getting mini-series soon? To write, I mean, not star in!

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    2. I would definitely go for an Earth-Prime mini-series "Len and Marv: Crisis on Crisis"

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  11. The solicitations got me excited but I've learned not to trust the current regime too much with Superman. We got a taste of old school Superman under Lobdell but his run was eradicated when Johns wanted a setting for his very short run of stories. There's no way I was going to put it on my pull sight unseen. It goes on next Wednesday. Less powerful (a necessary if you're going to justify the secrecy) but still recognizable as a true icon of heroic fiction is what I want in Superman. This book is gold!

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    1. Ah Lobdell, whatever DID become of that floating stained-glass door?

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  12. I just don't understand, if they allowed the original multiverse to survive, then how is the multiverse the way it is now, wouldn't it just be the original Earth-1 2015? Why did Kara and Barry have to leave? Because the world's populace still thought them dead? Why didn't Clark mourn for *his* Kara who apparently doesn't exist anymore? Also, why is it so difficult to find someone who knows how to colour the 1980's Supergirl costume correctly? Still, it was pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois, and it was a dream come true to read about them again. It's a shame that it's only a maxi-series and not an ongoing - I wonder if that's because of sales or because DC Editorial doesn't want there to be a Clark Kent that isn't torturing villains and hooking up with Xender Woman?

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  13. Oh, I didn't think the black suit was so much about stealth, I mean a shiny silver \S/ kind of takes that away, but that it was like his regeneration suit and it's designed to absorb more of this new earth's sun. But, yes, I get it's a nod to that, plus distinguishable from Ew52 Superman, and we do need an S-Shield if it's Superman, and it can fit in DC's grimdark world. :P

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    1. What a brilliant thought on the reason for the new super suit. Black does absorb rays, doesn't it? I know it's going to be addressed in an upcoming issue,mi bet you're right. Dunno why the 'S', though.

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    2. Thanks again. Maybe the "S" is an altered family crest to remember where he came from and if need be to stick to his other self he's THE Superman. About the black, it kind of bugs me that Superman and Supergirl should really be wearing black head to toe to be the most powerful. I mean, Kara's hair reflects some of that light, so she's less powerful because of it. Remember that Superboy issue why he couldn't wear that yellow costume Ma Kent made? Of course, going down that path one would have to question why either Kryptonian hero would ever show themselves but just go super fast and defeat the bad guy in an instant, or at least just have some kind of hard light hologram to inspire the people and talk down the villain while neutralizing him or her. :P

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