Just a few months into DC’s line-wide “Rebirth” initative, and already not one but two versions of Lois Lane have taken up superhuman abilities. The New 52 Lois’ first outing in “Superwoman” did not go precisely to plan, but the pre-“Flashpoint”/post-“Rebirth” Lois (the one married to Superman) successfully protected her son Jon from the Eradicator by donning Batman’s Hellbat armor on the moon.
While it might feel new and different for fans of Lois Lane, intrepid reporter, these aren’t actually the first instances of Lois gaining powers. During the Silver Age, she seemingly did it every other work, often to fight Lana Lang for top spot in Superman’s heart. But a few stories of Super-Lois stand out, whether for uniqueness, enduring influence, or simply being the greatest. Join CBR for a trip down memory Lane at the Lois Lane you didn’t realize you knew, and a woman who doesn’t need Superman to save the day.
10. Superwoman (“Action Comics” #60)
Lois first took on Superman’s powers in “Action Comics” #60 — in a dream sequence, after being hit by a truck. While unconscious, Lois imagines that Superman volunteers for a blood transfusion, which not only sees her recover in record time, but also gives her super strength, flight and more. Naturally, Lois leaps into action, although her first attempt at heroism goes embarrassingly awry — she swoops down to aid a man shouting for help, but it turns out he’s only running from his angry wife. Superwoman gets them to make up before pursuing more dangerous criminals.
Soon, Lois saves Clark Kent from a mugging before confiding her secret origin to him; later, she saves Superman himself from the evil Dr. Skowl. Superwoman proposes to the Man of Steel on the spot and he finds himself unable to refuse (“What chance has a mere Superman got?”). Their bliss in interrupted, though, when Lois’ super-hearing discovers that Clark Kent has revealed her secret to the world. That sneak!
In “Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane” #7, Superman transfers his powers to Lois for real so that she can protect Metropolis while he’s on an undercover mission, leading to a fun role reversal where Lois tries to hide her secret from Clark.
9. Lois Gets X-ray Vision (“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #22)
Look, sometimes you have a cool concept in mind and can’t be bothered thinking up a good backstory, OK? Lois’ “dark glasses” (sunglasses) break, and the optician’s office gets bathed in “strange energy” when a rat chews through a cable. So now Lois has X-ray specs.
Soon, she undresses Clark Kent with her eyes to discover he’s secretly Superman, instantly vowing that she’ll get him to propose. “Who cares if no one else realizes that Mrs. Clark Kent is really Mrs. Superman?” Who, indeed?
Lest there be any doubt, though, Lois schemes to prove once and for all that Clark is Superman by planting a fake bomb in his desk and forcing him to reveal his powers. Through a bit of counter-scheming, Superman steals Lois’ X-ray glasses so that he has a plausible excuse to see inside her shut desk. There’s a lot of back and forth while, ostensibly, a bomb is ticking, before Lois reveals it’s actually a fake. Just then a gangster arrives and shoots Clark, but the bullets bounce off his body — he is Superman after all! But no, Clark explains that Superman lent him his “indestructible costume” for protection and to wear to a masquerade. Sounds legit.
8. Lois’ Super-Brain (“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #27)
You’d think having a super-brain would be a major asset, especially for an investigative reporter, but since it deforms Lois’ cranium she must take care to avoid Superman, lest he become repulsed by her hideous appearance. This all comes about because she volunteers to contribute her knowledge to a “brain bank,” containing mankind’s accumulated wisdom. But she reverses the switch, causing the world’s greatest minds to flow into hers.
It’s not just Superman she has to hide her hideous appearance from, however — she’s also has to deal with her editor Perry White (salon-style hairdryer: solved!) and, more harrowingly, appear on Gary Moore’s game show “I’ve Got a Secret.” Don’t worry, though, she has a Queen Nefertiti-style headdress. Which, really, she could just wear for the rest of the issue and probably no one would bat an eye. Instead, she literally buries her head in the sand to hide it from Jimmy Olsen (though she’s quick to point out, thanks to her super-intellect, that ostriches don’t really do this).
While on a Vegas run (!), Lois comes across Bizarro, who instantly falls in love with her and her huge head. He proposes, but reneges the next morning when the effects of the brain bank finally wore off.
7. Super-Lois (“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #21)
Lois and Lana gets superpowers after having a bath in a magical lake, so naturally they use their newfound abilities to show Superman why he should pick one of them for his wife. Kal-El, for his part, reluctantly plays along, feeling that he owes them that much:
“For years these wonderful girls have been turning down excellent suitors because they hoped to marry me! It’s time I did make up my mind, now that none of my foes can harm them…”
The contest begins in earnest with a cooking competition. Lois counters Lana’s super-pizza with a stack of super-flapjacks, even squeezing maple syrup out of a tree (!!!) to pour on top. Lana’s collection of rare jewels recovered from a deep-sea shipwreck fails to impress (sez Supes: “You look like a hussy!”), but Lois doesn’t fare any better with her Egyptian tomb-raided couture. Both women carve their features into Mt. Rushmore, a feat sure to delight the National Park Service.
Superman arrives to announce he’s finally picked one of them, but just at that moment Lois and Lana’s powers fade. Whoops, now he can’t marry either! Being the good sport that he is, though, Superman gives them a clue about his choice, carving the initials “L.L.” into stone like a super-powered teenager.
6. Red Tornado (“Earth 2”)
In another modern alternate reality tale, Lois Lane became the New 52 version of Earth-2’s Red Tornado, one of only a few instances where her powers became permanent. In this world, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all perished saving the world from an invasion from Apokalips, but before they could fend off Darkseid’s attack Lois was killed in the fall of Metropolis. Her father, General Sam Lane, placed her consciousness in the body of a wind-manipulating cyborg developed by Terry Sloane, this universe’s Luthor figure, to save her from death.
Lois Tornado proves instrumental in bringing down a rampaging Superman, who the world believes has been resurrected and brainwashed by Darkseid’s minions, by appealing to their shared life as husband and wife. Eventually it is revealed this is not the true Man of Steel, but a clone — the suggestion is, an Earth-2 Bizarro — and the villain is defeated by Val-Zod, another Kryptonian who spent most of his life in hiding, after Lois trained him in the use of his superpowers.
5. Ultra Woman (“Lois and Clark”)
What, what, what was Lois thinking with this costume. In the third season of “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” Lois, played by Teri Hatcher, gains Superman’s powers after a Red Kryptonite mishap. With Superman now powerless, it’s down to Lois to protect Metropolis and track down the sisters responsible for the superpower switcheroo.
Superman gives Lois a bit of training and takes her to Jonathan and Martha Kent for a costume. Ma and Pa Kent don’t have quite the fashion sense they used to, and, well, you can see the result.
Lucille and Nell Newtrich, the sisters behind the Red K assault, eventually succeed in stealing Superman’s powers from Lois, but the now-human Ultra Woman and Superman team up to take them down, restoring the Kryptonian superpowers to their rightful owner.
4. Leopard Girl (“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #11)
While interviewing Dr. Albert Schweitzer in a small biplane somewhere in Africa, engine troubles force Lois to parachute into the jungle, where she sustains a head injury upon landing. Now amnesiac, she befriends a wounded leopard, her first step toward becoming “a queen of the jungle!”
After some time, the Daily Planet realizes Lois has gone missing, so Clark goes to look for her — as Superman! The Man of Steel heroically beats up some leopards, then restores Lois’ memory with the sound of his voice. Even so, she elects to remain in the jungle with her new tribe.
A rampaging elephant and a group of angry gorillas, however, convince Lois that jungle life is maybe not for her. After all, she only wanted to “stay on long enough to re-enact the adventures of Lana’s heroine” from her rejected novel, so that when Lois writes up her experiences for the Planet, Lana’s story will become more believable and a publisher will accept it. Bit of a stretch, Lo, but Superman is well impressed she would do this “for the girl you consider your rival.” So that’s a win?
3. Superwoman (“JLA: Earth 2”)
Writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely reinvented the villainous alternate universe Justice League, dubbed the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, in their 1999 original graphic novel “JLA: Earth 2.” Fittingly, this version took hold with DC readers and has endured as the modern version of the villainous team. In the Silver Age, Earth-3 was the place where evil was good and good was evil. Earth-3’s Lois Lane was married to that world’s sole hero, Lex Luthor (again, because of the whole mirror universe, up is down, left is right thing); but post-Morrison and Quitely, Lois Lane is the wicked Superwoman, a powerful and manipulative villain who regularly plays Ultra-Man and Owl Man against each other. And if she’s half as evil on Earth-3 as she is good on the main DC Earth, we recommend steering clear of her.
2. Green Lantern, Maybe (“Tales of the Green Lantern” #1)
“In the Tangent universe, you only know the names!” Possibly inspired by the success of the Amalgam Universe comics co-published with Marvel, in 1997 DC introduced a new universe of heroes in a series of one-shots set in the “Tangent” universe. These series took the names of prominent DC characters and threw everything else away — the Flash is a woman who can turn into light, Superman is an evolutionary experiment, the Joker is basically Anonymous coming a decade early, and so forth. The most intriguing, though, was James Robinson and J.H. Williams III’s take on the Green Lantern, a mystical being akin to the Spectre who, unlike the Corps we know, actually carries a green lantern, which she can use to summon dead heroes to her side. When the second round of Tangent titles rolled around a year later, “Tales of the Green Lantern” offered three possible origins for this GL, and in one of them, her secret identity is Lois Lane.
In the story written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and illustrated by Mike Mayhew and Wade Von Grawbadger, archeologist and adventurer Lois Lane is murdered by billionaire Booster Gold, who had hired her to dive for treasure off the nuclear-irradiated Florida coast. Lois is resurrected by the “mystically concentrated” souls of those who perished in the nuclear disaster, and filled with a thirst for vengeance. Gold is then devoured by mutated crab monsters.
But is Green Lantern truly Lois Lane? Or is she the resurrected twin sister of Darkside? Or perhaps Zatanna, Daughter of Darkness, given a chance to atone for her sins by the lantern’s previous custodian Jason Blood? Unless DC does a new series for Tangent’s tenth anniversary, we’ll never know.
1. Superwoman (“All Star Superman #3”)
Wearing its Silver Age inspirations on its sleeve, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s “All Star Superman” #3 is likely the most fully realized, character-centered story of Lois getting powers. The issue opens with Superman presenting Lois with a birthday present, a serum that will duplicate his superhuman abilities for 24 hours. She puts her powers to use straightaway, as Superwoman and Superman together take down a rampaging lizard monster. But the real trouble begins when roguish time traveling heroes Atlas and Samson challenge Superman to a contest of super-feats to win Lois’ affections. In the course of their showing off, Atlas presents Lois with a necklace stolen from the Ultra Sphinx, which prompts said burglary victim to arrive to threaten Superwoman’s life. Superman successfully answers his riddle, though, saving Lois’ life; he then proceeds to best both rival heroes in arm wrestling, simultaneously.
The other fun bit in this issue is Lois refusing to believe that Superman is really Clark Kent, after he revealed his secret identity to her in the previous issue. Like the rest of Morrison and Quitely’s series, the issue manages to be at all times fun and heartwarming, distilling 70 years of Superman comics into their purest essence.
What’s your favorite instance of Lois Lane getting superpowers?
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