Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1 – Jeff Loveness, Writer; Brad Walker, Penciller; Drew Hennessy, Norm Rapmund, Inkers; John Kalisz, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1, is the second in a series of oversized one-shots covering just how bad famous DC storylines could have gone, this one takes us back to 1992 and shows us a world where the biggest threat facing the DCU after Superman’s death wasn’t the Cyborg Superman – but Lois Lane.
Unfortunately, to do that it gives us a Lois Lane that’s all but unrecognizable without the logical through-line of how Azrael became a big bad in the previous installment. Things start very similar to how they did in the regular storyline, and one thing that definitely impresses with this book is how Brad Walker recreates the exact feel of a 1992 comic. Little details like Mullet Luthor, obscure characters like Bloodwynd, are all present and pulls you right back to one of the most famous comics of all time. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t get Jurgens back for this comic, since it’s his most iconic storyline, but Walker does an excellent job.
Unfortunately, Jeff Loveness’ take on Lois Lane is just confusing. From the start, it’s like the one in the original comic was replaced with an evil doppelganger. When Superman dies, she’s immediately consumed with anger and resentment at the rest of the superhero community. She blames them for letting Clark die, and also for doing so little with her powers. There’s a brief scene with Martha Kent where she tries to help Martha deal with Jonathan’s heart attack, but there’s few shades of the Lois we know in this character. Her anger eventually leads her to the Fortress of Solitude, where she encounters a too-late Eradicator believing he’s lost the last Kryptonian. She offers herself to bond with him instead, and goes from zero to one hundred – suddenly becoming a killing machine taking her grief out on the world.
Most of the comic is just that – Lois going around, killing anyone who gets in her way. First Luthor, then Batman, then random corrupt executives who she believes shouldn’t be getting away with technically-legal activities. It’s similar to Superman’s downfall in the Injusticeverse, although there the extreme trauma conga he went through could legitimately snap his mind. This reminds me more of how Tim Drake’s stepmother Dana suddenly went catatonic and had to be institutionalized after losing her husband, because DC wanted Bruce to adopt Tim. Strong women – strong people – don’t typically completely lose their mind over the death of a significant other. The story barrels towards a tragically ironic twist ending that ties in with Reign of the Supermen, but it doesn’t so much end as just stop. Are these one-shots building towards a new army of evil for The Batman Who Laughs? I’m not sure, but this one did not do justice to the character or storyline it focuses on.
Corrina: I could talk about how the whole point of Lois Lane is that she has the same characteristics down deep that Clark Kent does: a committment to truth and justice and a compassion that is hidden behind snark but nonetheless boundless.
Basically, the story of how Lois just decides to be ragey makes little to no sense.
I could also talk about how little this story attempts to show why Lois cannot control her rage, or I could talk about how it fails to put any emotion on the page, even at the supposedly poignant ending.
But, mostly, it’s a failure because for a “turn to evil” story to work, we have to feels compassion for that turn, some empathy, some moment of “No! Don’t do it!” but understand why they did. But the Lois in this story is angry, mean, and murderous. The plot assumes she’d behave that way because the person she loved died. It’s a trope DC Comics has used before.
Ray mentions Dana Drake. I’ll toss out Martha Wayne in the Flashpoint. She decided to become the totally insane Joker because her son was killed. Man, these ladies are crazy, right? What can you do?
If the story had shown Lois trying to live up to Clark’s legacy, and allowing the Eradicator to take control of her out of some attempt to honor the ideals they both believe in, and then Eradicator subsumes her, and then Clark shows up at the end and they defeat the Cyborg Superman together, but both die in the battle, then the story might have some pathos.
But, as written, it does not.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.