SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “Action Comics” #965, on sale now
Showing up for work in the morning is often a challenging if mundane affair for most people, but Lois Lane brings a whole new, and multiversal, complexity to it in Dan Jurgens’ “Action Comics” #965, drawn by Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert. Part one of the aptly-titled “Lois Lane, Back at the Planet” storyline features Lois doing just that, only she’s not the Lois that Perry White and Jimmy Olsen thinks she is. Readers saw the fate of the “New 52” Lois in “Superwoman” #1, so it’s up to the transplanted pre-“Flashpoint” Lois to fill her shoes and resume the role of Daily Planet reporter.
The apprehensive other-Lois saunters into the offices of The Daily Planet after an apparent two-week absence, and is immediately summoned to the office of her irate Editor-in-Chief. What’s in store for her is temporarily put on hold, though, as the story flashes back to the previous evening, where she awakens from a dream where the Lois of this world implores her for her help. The deliberate and demanding nature of Lois’ nocturnal vision of her alternate self, though, points towards this occurrence being a little too coincidental to be a simple dream, hinting at a connection to the presumed dead “New 52” Lois that has yet to be explored.
Superman then arrives and the couple engage in a lengthy discussion about the many counterparts complicating their lives: Lois’ missing doppelganger from this world, Superman’s deceased one, the return of a wholly separate Clark Kent entity, and both Superman and Lex Luthor bearing the House of El emblem and serving as Metropolis’ protector. Their conversation doesn’t outwardly link together these ostensibly disparate plot points, but the hefty amount of page time given to these aspects within the same sequence suggests a potential connection.
Lois then reveals the contents of the letter she received from her counterpart back in “Superman” #2: the letter is a plea for her to finish her book honoring Superman that Perry assigned to her. With that letter and her recurring “dreams” of this world’s Lois in mind (and unaware of her apparent death), Lois “Smith” decides to return to the Daily Planet and pass herself off as Lois Lane to her friends and colleagues.
The story returns to present day, where not only is Perry awaiting her in his office, but also Luthor, standing at his side. Perry admonishes her for her (counterpart’s) lack of progress on the book, while Luthor assigns her the awkward task of learning the secret identity of the world’s new Superman, unaware Lois is married to him and adding even more complexity to their lives. This leads to a terse confrontation between Lois and Clark – that is, the Lois not of this world, and the Clark that is not Superman – where he chastises her for her (counterpart’s) disappearance, as well as her (counterpart’s) recent outing of his own (counterpart’s) secret identity.
The first encounter between these familiar strangers sets up a potentially antagonistic dynamic between the two reporters, not unlike the relationship portrayed between them throughout the first half-century of their publishing existence. Lois’ continuing uncertainties regarding nu-Clark, in fact, point towards future investigations of his secrets, evoking many a classic Silver Age story featuring Lois’ persistent suspicions of Clark and Superman being one and the same. While the bond between Lois and her Clark is solid, her relationship with the other Clark in the “Rebirth” era stands to be something else entirely.
The continuity mashup continues as a frustrated Lois leaves the Planet’s offices and heads over to the other Lois’ apartment, where she encounters another awaiting the other Lois’ return: namely, Lana Lang, now Superwoman, who’s none too happy with this Lois’ attempt to replace her recently fallen super-partner.
There are corresponding characters from two worlds (or possibly more, as the powerless Clark could be another “Convergence”-related transplant from elsewhere in the multiverse, like the pre-“Flashpoint” Lois and Clark) with plenty of stories left to tell. Those stories will continue in the second part of “Lois Lane, Back at the Planet,” featured in “Action Comics” #966, on sale October 26.
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