Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mope, mope, mope

ComicsAlliance has a couple of preview pages from September's "Superman" (vol. 3) #1, specifically dealing with Lois Lane's new non-Clark relationship. I'm just going to tackle the pros and cons, really, because there are both:
  • Pro: New digs for the Daily Planet, and what appears (briefly) to be a fleshed-out supporting cast there.
  • Con: We're only getting a piece of the story here, and it looks like it's after the action, so it's hard to tell exactly what's going on. Looks like the old Planet building might have burned down, maybe?
  • Pro: The art looks great. Simply fantastic.
  • Con: De-aging Perry seems to have also given him black hair. He looks like Sarge Steel.
  • Pro: Morgan Edge is involved. Lois appears to be a TV reporter, which is a nice flip-flop from the way things were in the late '70s-early '80s, where Clark was the WGBS anchorman and Lois still wrote for the Planet. These are good shake-ups that could reasonably cause interesting drama.
  • Con: As David Brothers pointed out on Twitter, "that lois lane's new boyfriend thing is written like the worst, laziest sitcom drama i've ever seen in my entire life." Moreover, it's more of the '90s-style thinking (Look up Jeb Friedman, the informant and union organizer who fell for Lois and acted as a foil during their engagement and brief breakup) that's going into this relaunch. This reads like a scene out of "Lois and Clark," and even as a fan of "Lois and Clark," it smacks of the same kind of sitcom cliché.
  • Pro: Jonathan Carroll's name reminds Clark of his (now-deceased) father. It's not exactly subtle, but it's at least a nice bit of characterization.
  • Con: Jonathan Carroll seems like either a himbo or a jerk, which is really the easy way out. Criticize "Superman Returns" all you want, but one of the things it did really well was make Lois's new love interest (James Marsden's Richard White) a nice, likable, decent guy. Having a rounded character--and a good person--in the "love triangle foil" position may be difficult for the writer, but it allows for a lot more nuanced conflict within the readers, who want (based on the circumstances) to dislike the character, but can't find anything wrong with him beyond "he's not the protagonist." It also went a long way toward showing that Lois's type was "kind, caring, compassionate, and moral," not "big muscly beefcake."
  • Pro: I was thinking that they could be daring and introduce some progressive details into the story by having Lois date someone who wasn't caucasian. I then realized that the racial politics of such a story would be "Lois is dating a non-caucasian man, but she's supposed to be with the protagonist, who looks like the paragon of caucasian manhood." It would be, at the very least, uncomfortable in the same way that Ray Palmer and Ronnie Raymond taking over their respective superhero roles from non-caucasian successors (with the subtext that they're the "true" versions of those characters) was. So it's good that they avoided that.
  • Con: Clark Kent is mopey. His powers make him hear things that make him more mopey. Mopey mope mope. I am so tired of mopey Clark Kent, and yet, that appears to be the entire point of this new status quo.
  • Con: Which is, of course, exactly what I expected. Lois is with the wrong guy. She has to be with the wrong guy because it explains why she isn't with the right guy. Because we know that Clark is the right guy, the dramatic tension is all around when Lois will leave the wrong guy and get with the right guy. Casting Jonathan Carroll as (it appears) a one-note beefcake only underscores his status as the wrong guy and gives us no tension or conflict toward that assessment. If Lois were with someone who was a nice person and made her happy without putting her in danger or leaving frequently, then the readers--and Clark!--would be forced to wonder if maybe she wasn't better off not being Superman's girlfriend. That might be a source of some mopey drama, but it would at least be a more interesting sort of drama than this "Three's Company" BS.

1 comment:

LurkerWithout said...

You've still got the "Action" sort of prequel stuff with Morrison? Maybe that will be good? I mean "All-Star Superman" and all that...

Then again Space Vampire and Magic Horn...