Cyborg Superman isn't the only character to undergo a sudden personality transformation this issue. While Superman has his share of villains he goes up against on a regular basis, there are other, more heroic, members of his supporting cast that nonetheless also oppose him. One of them, in fact, is his own father-in-law – none other than U.S. Army General Sam Lane.
Sam Lane was seen even more recently in Action Comics – last issue, in fact. While Superman and Booster Gold were off making repairs to the timestream after Superman's heist of the Flash's cosmic treadmill, Lois had launched her own covert mission to save her father's life. While the two had largely been estranged – in part over their opposing views regarding Superman – Lois couldn't allow her father to be executed by the Logamban army.
Sam Lane, of course, doesn't know Lois is married to Superman's alter ego, and therefore also doesn't realize his grandson Jon is half-Kryptonian – and not in nearly as much danger in the Logamban jungle as he believed. General Lane's attempted cordial visit to Lois and Clark's apartment is made instantly tense by this disparity, as father and daughter simply cannot come to terms. Their relationship is on the verge of severing completely, when Superman, or rather Clark, swoops in to save the day again.
General Sam Lane – Friend or Foe?
Largely within the span of three panels, Clark mediates a truce between Sam and Lois, leaving Superman out of the conversation and instead reminding each of the other's accomplishments. In that short discussion, all is instantly well, at least for now, and a longstanding ideological family feud is cooled down. It's most certainly Clark's day for helping his opposition become better people, and Sam Lane is softened up even more quickly than Henshaw was.
Like Henshaw's transformation, Sam Lane's is equally and unexpectedly abrupt. Lane's purpose has largely been to serve as one of the complications in Lois and Clark's relationship. Where a kinder, gentler Sam Lane fits into future continuity remains to be seen – perhaps this is another character Bendis has plans for. Or maybe Jurgens just likes happy endings.
Action Comics #999 tidily wraps some of Jurgens' story elements in a bow, in advance of a comic issue nearly 80 years in the making. Action Comics #1000, the first American comic book title to reach this milestone, goes on sale April 18.