Review – Superman #36: Lois Vs. The Strawman

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Superman 36, Superman in Apokolips
Superman, King of Apokolips, image via DC Comics

Superman #36 – Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Writers; Doug Mahnke, Artist; Jaime Mendoza, Inker; Wil Quintana, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 6/10

Corrina: Ranting At Criticism Is Usually a Sign Of a Bad Story

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!

Ray: The conclusion of “Imperius Lex” brings a huge battle for the fate of Metropolis, and a few strong Superman moments, but unfortunately is massively held back by poor writing of some key supporting cast members and a nasty case of writer-on-board that almost makes me wonder if we’re being directly addressed by the writing team.

The issue opens with the varying armies of Apokalips – Kalibak, Granny Goodness, the rebels – at war, with Superman and his family in the middle. Mahnke can draw a good, chaotic battle scene, but there’s a lot going on here, and the action feels a bit jumbled at times. Jon gets to ride around on a giant dog and beat up Parademons, while Superman has to both keep Luthor safe from enraged Apokaliptans and keep the competing armies from hurting innocents.

More problematic – much more problematic – is Lois’ key segment, where she battles against Female Fury Mad Harriet, who turns on her when she sees Lois’ love for her family. She goes on some bizarre rant about how being a loving wife and mother makes Lois weak and unworthy of being a warrior, and Lois gets to respond with a big inspirational speech about how love is her strength and caring for others doesn’t make her weak. It almost feels like a response to the complaints about Lois being stuck in the “mom” role in this book, including in this very column. Either way, it’s not a good look for a title to have a character monologue about views like this.

Luthor’s “breakup” with the Superman legacy at the end of the issue seems designed to restore the status quo and is a wasted opportunity. I did like how Superman solved the issue of Apokalips’ leadership, but overall this issue was a disappointing end to a strong arc.

Superman 36, Apokolips, Lex Luthor
Who will save Apokolips? Image via DC Comics

Corrina: Oh, it definitely seems like this creative team is tired of the criticism of Lois Lane’s portrayal over the past year because they created a whole strawman fight sequence where Lois sputs about how love and having a family doesn’t diminish her and everyone who criticizes needs to be, well, punched, seemingly. (Well, they are on Apokolips, so the punching part makes sense.)

Note to creators: No one is unhappy Lois is a wife and mother. Those criticizing your portrayal are unhappy that it’s ALL LOIS IS ALLOWED TO BE IN YOUR STORIES. You’ve created a scene in which Lois pushes back against criticism that doesn’t exist.

Clark is a husband and father and yet, hey, he’s allowed to do things that are not related to those roles. Lois is going to be a mom and wife her way, as I said previously. Lois isn’t the mom who bakes and serves pies. She should be the wife and mom who goes “my husband usually makes these but I need some to serve to guests so I’ll research the heck out of the best homemade pies you can buy and have them  delivered.”

Not all women are mothers in the same way. Lois is not Ma Kent. (And, Selina wouldn’t be like Lois as a mom either….it’s almost like her essential personality should inform how she behaves with her family. I know, what a wild concept there.)

I say this as the author of ten published romance novels: being a romantic lead does not make a woman less of a person.  If you see criticism of your portrayal of Lois as pushback that she’s a wife and mother now, the point is soaring over Apokolips to land way over your heads.

As for the main story, I was kinda hooked on Jon and his new pack of animal friends but instead the story seems a bit disjointed and the conclusion is…Luthor now hates Superman? Okay, but the story didn’t seem to support his emotional reaction.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes. 

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