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That Time Lana Lang and Ma Kent Both Talked Trash About Lois Lane

In Remember to Forget, we spotlight comic book stories that I wish I could forget, but I can’t, so I instead share them with you all!

Today, we look at the odd Lana Lang vs. Lois Lane battle of words from Chuck Austen's Action Comics run (with a little bit of Ma Kent thrown in there for good measure).

The Superman titles had a famous revamp at the end of 1999 when the longtime creative teams of the various series were almost all replaced with new names, with Joe Kelly and Jeph Loeb being the two main creative forces in the new lineup of creators. Especially Loeb. Five years later, Loeb had already left and been replaced by Steve Seagle, who had a super brief run on Superman and now all of the creative teams were being replaced once again. The initial idea was that the three new writers - Brian Azzarello, Chuck Austen and Greg Rucka - would be working a lot more in concert with each other, as there would be these tie-in miniseries that would loop everything together. But due to various creative shifts, none of it really happened. Only Rucka lasted until Infinite Crisis (at which point there was another creative shift on the titles).

Chuck Austen came over from Marvel with a few goals with his Action Comics run, which he was paired with artists Ivan Reis and Marc Campos. First off, he was going to emphasize the title of the book - this comic was going to be filled to the brim with ACTION! That definitely turned out to be the case. There was tons of action in this run. Two other points, though, were less successful. One was seeing Clark Kent get demoted and thus we have the idea that Superman is still, you know, Superman, but in his private life, Clark Kent was now a bit of a joke. That never really went anywhere (but, again, Austen's run was cut short). The other was taking a different look at the marriage of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Not break them up, of course, but to give them a bit of a more skeptical look, with the idea, I assume, to have them come out of it stronger on the other side (which we never saw because, again, Austen's run was cut short).

However, what we DID get was some weird stuff that did not really fit with any of the previous portrayals of the people involved.

Things got off to a bit of a rough start when Lois came off as being a bit of a jerk to Clark on a few phone conversations about the fact that she knew he had been demoted but didn't tell him...

Those really aren't that big of a deal, but you could tell that it already put the audience a bit on edge, ya know? So when the later issues came, there was already a bit of a wariness.

Okay, so while Lois is overseas covering a war (which was, in turn, covered in Adventure of Superman where Greg Rucka, shockingly, handled Lois Lane a whole lot better), Superman is injured. Someone needs to take care of him and in comes a now-divorced Lana Lang to do the job...

Joe Prado steps in to pencil a good chunk of the next issue (Jon Sibal on inks), where Lana and Clark have a talk about how Lois doesn't appreciate him and she only married him because he's Superman or whatever...

The important thing to remember at this point is that Clark proposed to Lois AS Clark. She did not know he was Superman when she said yes. But apparently, that was just her settling. The whole thing is just so wildly cynical that it's just kind of nuts. Clark pushes back, of course, but not REALLY.

It's also weird how this is clearly supposed to be something that we at least kind of consider, while Lois is literally half the world away in the middle of a WAR. Do you think a soldier would get guff for staying in battle instead of running home to take care of an ill spouse? It also seems like a sort of gendered thing, where it is Lois' responsibility as a woman to take care of her man. Yeesh.

Things get weirder...

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