Who is Lois Lane in DC’s New 52 ……
A little bit over a year ago when DC Comics first relaunched their books, I took a look at Lois Lane‘s character, how she had changed with the start of DC’s ‘New 52′ and wrote up an editorial. This was back in September of 2011. In it, I was mainly in support of Lois Lane in that first issue, having risen to power and been given a promotion that made her a network Producer, Lois was given a different role and more responsibilities.
Sure she wasn’t going to thrust herself in harms way the way she’d been doing the last 50 plus years of comics, but she had (seemingly) evolved with the times. She had been given a promotion, and on the surface, that seemed like a step in the right direction. It could be deemed as empowering for her. Initially, I was in support of this new Lois — to a certain extent — and I wanted to give her a chance to see what DC was going to do with her. I wanted to see how Lois would utilize her new power and responsibilities to make a difference. With the recent release of SUPERMAN #13 and #14, and nearly a year since I first wrote that Lois Lane editorial, I felt it was time to take another look at Lois’ character in order to see how she’s evolved and question whether she changed for the good, or if things have gotten worse for her.
When she was first created, Lois Lane was seen strictly as a supporting character to Superman. Yet as time went on, the character obtained her own fan base and became a symbol. She was that rare gem: a mortal comic book character with no super powers who used her intellect to fight her battles for her. In the last fifty years, Lois had grown as a character, and it only makes sense that her character would evolve with the times, which is why giving the character more responsibility and a new title as a TV network producer seemed like a step in the right direction, at least temporarily.
== TEASER ==
Since the relaunch, one of the big arguments from Lois Lane fans has been that DC took their only investigative reporter off of the field and stuck her in the news room. The fact that she isn’t confined to the field, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, you could argue that a big reason as to why Lois was always out in the field was so that she could be saved by Superman. She was often conveniently at the right place at the wrong time, and Superman would basically have to swoop in to bring her to safety. After decades of this, it starts to feel like a plot device, which is why the idea of Lois Lane the TV producer was something of a welcomed change, at least in my view.
Yet, has Lois’ new role reflected poorly on her? Has the role of producer to a network news station benefited Lois Lane’s character, or has it changed her for the worse? As a Producer for PGN you would think that Lois would be responsible for determining the editorial voice of the news network. She would decide what stories should run and where the focus should be. Should the network focus on entertainment news, or should they be asking the tough questions. This is where the problems with Lois’ character arise.
Ever since the early days of Superman comics Lois Lane had gone the “ask the tough questions” route. In my view, I don’t think Lois would sacrifice her integrity and dumb herself down, but based on a few panels from issue #13 of SUPERMAN, that’s what it seems like. In this scene, Clark berates Lois for making the “feature story” a “transcript of the White House daily briefing — no questions asked.” What happened to Lois Lane the investigative reporter who asked all the tough questions? You know, the journalist who won that Pulitzer Prize for being so good at her job? Where did she go? This characteristic of Lois; her stubbornness and her dedication to the news were admirable attributes of her character that defined her for decades since her inception, so seeing her stripped of those qualities and of that journalistic integrity is disappointing.
I don’t, however, blame the series’ current writer for this GIANT flaw in Lois’ current characterization. One of the problems that the SUPERMAN book has had over the course of the last year is its lack of consistency. The character’s own self-titled comic hasn’t really had a cohesive vision and has suffered various changes made to the creative team. In one year, the book had seen a change in its writer three times, and that kind of lack of consistency signals that the editors for this title never had a cohesive vision for the book, and if they did, they didn’t see it through, and that’s not good. No wonder things haven’t changed since her first appearance in SUPERMAN #1. When she first appeared in SUPERMAN #1, Lois and Clark were having an argument that seems remarkably similar to the one she has with him in issue #13. In this scene, Clark questions Lois’ journalistic integrity. Here’s the thing, in my eyes, it’s alright to present Lois this way in issue #1, but why couldn’t her character have been redeemed by issue #13? One year later and she is still so blinded? That’s not the Lois Lane I know and love. Or rather knew and loved.
I will say, however that although her appearances in SUPERMAN haven’t been great, her appearance in BATGIRL by Gail Simone, was pretty spot on. In issue #10 of BATGIRL Lois Lane appears and she demonstrated that she still has what it takes to be a great reporter, so if you’re a Lois Lane fan be sure to check out that issue for her appearance.
What do you think of the current SUPERMAN series? What do you think of Lois Lane’s appearances in comics this past year? Do you think things should change and if so, how?