Saturday, January 30, 2016

Superman: Lois and Clark #4 Review

Taking Back the Fortress

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Lee Weeks, Marco Santucci, Sergio Cariello and Scott Hannah, Jeromy Cox and A Larger World Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 27, 2015

I can't say that I know what DC Comics is up to nowadays, but it really does seem as if they are trying to alienate every fan they have.  Oh, you're a Batman fan?  Here's Jim Gordon in a mecha suit. You love the Green Lanterns?  Well, the Corp has vanished and Hal Jordan is on the run and doesn't even have a ring.  So, I hear you're a Green Arrow fan...Werewolf!  Really, a werewolf?!?!  You may disagree, but I think that the Superman books have seen the biggest change and it's been a slap in the face of all his fans.  I'm not talking about him losing his powers (kind of) or his identity.  I'm talking about the writers seemingly losing their grip on what makes him "Super" in the first place.  When all is said and done, Superman is a great guy.  He does what is right and almost never thinks of himself. Seriously, one of the reasons people give for not liking him is that he is so good that he is boring. That has to extend to the writers and when details of the Truth started coming out, I was worried, but figured that by taking away his powers and the safety of his secret identity, they were going to give us a story showing that no matter what happens, Superman is always super.  Sure, there have been hints of that, but he just became a selfish jerk for the most part and while I don't talk for any other Superman fans out there, I believe that it has turned most of us off.  So, what is a Superman fan to do?  Read this book...Superman: Lois and Clark.  Dan Jurgens is giving us a Pre-Flashpoint Superman that reminds us why we fell in love with the character in the first place and also a great Lois Lane and one of the cutest little boys in the DCU in their son, Jon.  Eric summed it up on our podcast last month when he said that he could read a book with these characters just going through their daily routines, but when you throw in a reimagining of Cyborg Superman, Lois versus Intergang and the hint that Jon getting his powers, it really is tough to beat.  I will now step down from my soapbox and get on with my review for this month's issue.  Did it continue kicking ass?  Let's find out...

The issue opens up with an extended flashback with Clark and Lois walking in downtown Metropolis.  They mention that they shouldn't be risking everything to go for a stroll and it defiantly feels like a foreshadowing for future troubles, but for now it's a really nice scene.  It gets even better when a blind street performer recognizes Clark's voice (a version of him also existed in Lois and Clark's Metropolis) and Lois buys Jon a Superman shirt.

I really liked this opener because I can't wait for Jon to become Superboy and the voice thing shows us that everyone and everything is not necessarily so different between the two Earths involved in the story.  Lois seems to agree and it feels like a turning point for the couple when she says that they should start enjoying the similarities this Earth has and not concentrate on how different it is to theirs. 

That sentiment slaps them right in the face when they (almost) run into Jimmy Olsen.  I realized how invested I am in these characters when I was worried at the same time that I was smiling.  My smile got even bigger when Jurgens gives us a shout out to Superman's Other Pal, Bibbo Bibbowski.  If Superman doesn't end up in the Ace O'Brews in an issue or two looking for information, I'll be shocked.  Jurgens continues dropping names and hints when Clark and Lois talk about Lex.  As someone who really wants another great Superman versus Lex story, knowing that Clark doesn't trust Lex made me happy.  

That is such a big thing for me and this just makes me happy while I read it and it really branches out from the way Jurgens writes Lois and Clark.  He has that special touch with each character that really shows that they are in love and would do anything for each other.  It's that touch that turns a scene with Lois giving Clark and anniversary gift even more special.

Back in the present, we are quickly reminded that not everything has been sunshine and lollipops for the couple lately.  Lois and Jon are sneaking off to see Cora (Lois' publisher) and I don't care what Lois says, you SHOULD HAVE left him home alone.  We all know that Jon would just freeze the steps, heat the doorknob and sic Buzz's Tarantula on any of Bruno's thugs that try to get him.  Come to think of it...I want that book immediately!  Those guys that Bruno threw into the pool last month could be the Wet Bandits, right?  They're dead?  Shit!

Back to the book that isn't Home Alone 6: Taking Back the Fortress, when Lois and Jon go into Cora's office, they find a note saying "We Have Her".  You can tell these guys mean business (and also have a lot of disposable income) because they left a knife sticking in it.

The two run off and into Bruno Mannheim, himself.  Lois knows it's a trap, but she's already in it and it's obvious that things are about to heat up with the Intergang story.  The two big things I took away from this part, however, were that Lois can take care of herself.  Sure, she may be an awful mother for putting her son in harms way like that (just kidding...maybe), but she isn't helpless and waiting for Superman to come and save her, either.  The other thing is that I love Jon.  He grabs an article about our Superman's identity being revealed and when he shoved it in his pocket, it was such a Lois thing to do.  

Jurgens then shifts the focus to Superman and through his monologue, we're reminded that he is losing his powers.  It's such a cool mystery that looks like it will eventually lead to the two Supermen coming together, but Supes has other problems to fix right now...Blanque and Hank Henshaw.  Through one bubble of broken dialogue, Jurgens shows the reader that Henshaw might not be a willing participant in all of this and during the ensuing  battle, Superman wonders the same.  His superhero thinking time is cut short, though, when Blanque buries him under a mountain of snow. The issue ends with Blanque and Henshaw going off to California and the Oblivion Stone story getting a little more interesting and about to make a collision course with Earth.

This issue is heavy on the setup, but I loved every minute of it.  This book is all about the characters and Jurgens uses the "show me, don't tell me" writing style I enjoy so much.  In four issues, I am fully invested in Lois, Clark and Jon and have genuine feelings for them.  Now if Jurgens could just have them go to Gotham where Jon can use his Dad's credit card to stay at the Plaza Hotel and tangle with Tim Curry, all will be well with the world.  Please leave Rob Schneider out though, I haven't liked him since The Animal.

Lee Weeks and Marco Santucci  share art duties this month and while I was worried the book would suffer a bit, I was wrong.  It looked fantastic as usual and the two kept it pretty consistent throughout. Everyone on this book (inkers Sergio Cariello and Scott Hannah  and colorist Jeromy Cox) is kicking ass, taking names and then setting the names on fire and kicking more ass.  It's a clean, classic look that fits the story and the characters so well.

Bits and Pieces:

Superman: Lois and Clark continues being the place to be for great story and art.  Dan Jurgens just keeps proving that he "gets" Superman and that's something that is in short supply these days and I love it.  This issue is mainly setup for a three way explosion coming real soon, but I don't mind because Jurgens is building the tension while giving us some of the best characters in any DC Comic right now.  This series is a must read for Superman fans and DC Comics fans in general.



  1. Book of the week! What is up with Henshaw??

    1. Grayson is book of the week! This was awesome though, I think Henshaw is good, has the oblivion stone, but Blanque is tapping into the "other" Cyborg Superman as well...Jurgens is really pushing this "people are the same" bit hard and I think this shows Clark that isn't always the case

    2. Hoping Henshaw is good and becomes a hero version of CS. You already talked me into reading Animal Man and Swamp Thing (both awesome) so Grayson will have to wait.

    3. Omega Men is book of the week. Don't be deluded by sexy Mikel Janin art and nostalgic Superman goodness!

    4. I will always be deluded by sexy Mikel Janin art! The three books were by far, the strongest this week...but I have to give it to Grayson for the fun factor

  2. Well you've talked me into purchasing my first issue of Grayson, it better not suck!

    1. are you getting the trade or this week's issue?

    2. Just this week's issue, can't handle another trade right now.

  3. Such a fun book. Great review, Jim. We need more bits like the opening of this issue. Seeing Lois and Clark actually react to this new Earth is some of the most interesting stuff here. I saw that most of Clark's complaints/observations were a lot of what Pre-Flashpoint fans were saying of the New-52.

    Not completely sold on the design of Blanque. Looks to me like a guy who should be mucking about in a Malibu book from the '90s.

    1. I love it! You are right...I could watch them go about their daily lives and I'd be happy. He could be in Malibu...but it kind of fits his concept.

  4. I found clark talking shit about how this metropolis was dirty and all because when the older superman Kal-L from earth two came to his metropolis he basically said the same thing, all supermen think they have the best metropolis