The romance of Superman and Lois Lane has been one that took way too long to get them together. It did however get one thing right in that Lois had to actually fall in love with Clark Kent. Superman is what Clark can do and a way for him to open up another side of him, but everything that makes Superman who and what he is, not biologically since that came from his Kryptonian heritage but as a person, comes from Clark Kent’s upbringing. As one of my favorite Superman stories highlighted, you can’t have a proper Superman without Clark Kent. He became who he is thanks to the love of Jonathan and Martha Kent.
And then there’s Lois Lane. First introduced in the same Action Comics #1 that Superman was, and in the same story, Lois was also Clark’s love interest. While she fell quickly for the powerful and caring Superman it took longer to see Clark even as a friend and longer (and a rebooted continuity) to want to be his wife. That love triangle aspect has all but faded from Superman’s multiversal continuity but it’s still an important part of their relationship’s history. which Zack Snyder of course did away with in his misunderstanding of Superman. Of course, as this morning’s article link showed he doesn’t get Batman either, while looking into that article I found one from Screen Rant that showed one other mistake, and this is one that Snyder isn’t alone in making.
I’m linking to the second page of a two-page article about Snyder’s original intention for Justice League; not the infamous “Snyder cut” his fans are begging for but the original script he and the screenwriter turned in, rejected by Warner Brothers due to the many complaints about how dark and un-fun his previous two DCEU movies were. The first page sets up the reasons but the second tells his original plan, which included Lois Lane being killed, leading to Superman’s turning evil. To be fair, in Synder’s original idea it was because Lois’s death led to his being openly influenced by Darkseid’s famed “anti-life equation”, so at least someone did their research. For a change. However, it’s not the first time I’ve seen this story and I’m worried it’s going to get old really fast.
In an episode of Superman: The Animated Series called “Brave New Metropolis” Lois finds herself on a parallel Earth where she died and in his grief Superman turned fascist, thinking the best way to protect Metropolis was to control it. There’s also the video game and tie-in comic Injustice: Gods Among Us, which has Superman kill the Joker after the killer tricks Superman into killing Lois and their unborn child. (Superman’s, not Joker’s…they thankfully didn’t go that far.) Of all the times I’ve seen Lois die and Superman’s grief the only ones he doesn’t turn evil for was the first of the Christopher Reeve movies, where he alters time in the most impossible way possible…even for Superman. Yes, Superman loves Lois and would do anything he could to save her, and one of the “Armageddon alternate timelines” where he ends up reforming and ending up with Maxima. As far as turning evil though…I don’t think so.
I could see him grief-stricken. I could even see him questioning his role as Superman. However there are two reasons I don’t see Superman turning evil: Johnathan and Martha Kent. It just hit me that the Kents are still alive in DCAU with no evidence that this isn’t the case here. It’s Lois that Superman fails to save from an Intergang assassination attempt in this alternate realtiy, while he did save her in the regular DCAU. So that’s another problem with the episode. The Kents have been alive in Superman’s adult years since the Post-Crisis wiped out his Superboy years from the main comics continuity, and was reflected in the Ruby-Spears series, the DCAU, Lois And Clark, and Smallville (where the “kill Johnathan and leave Martha a widow” trend really took hold though I think it first happened in the Donner movie). In those adult years they would be there to console him and be the moral center Clark always had. It was through them that he learned to use his powers to help people and stop evil people from harming the innocent. The only time they weren’t was in the early stories following Action Comics #1 where he was an orphan, which was also used in the Fleischer shorts, and the radio dramas where he arrived on Earth as an adult because…you have me on that one. When they pass in other continuities not created by Zack Snyder he learns that he must use his great powers to benefit mankind. It’s when he ends up elsewhere, like soviet Russia in Red Son, that he has a different set of values. It doesn’t come from Lois but where most of our morals come from, the people who raised him.
My biggest problem with “dead Lois = evil Superman” idea is that it really says so little about Clark Kent. Too many writers and Super-haters assume that because Superman is so powerful that he can’t also be compassionate and heroic with or without his powers. (See JLA: Acts Of God for the example of the latter, where Superman falls apart when he loses his powers.) Five For Fighting’s “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” is about Superman hating his powers and not having a normal life, which is not Superman either. They seem to think that all Superman is are his powers, and that’s he may be mentally unstable. That’s how it comes off to me anyway and there’s enough of that with Batman–a rant for another time. It’s a weird inability to believe that someone with allegedly “god-like powers” (a notion I also reject and is also misused by writers) can’t be like normal people. It’s a defamation of Superman’s character, which you wouldn’t think could happen to a fictional character that’s been around for more than most of us have been alive but there it is. Superman isn’t so fragile that only Lois keeps him human. He was human before Lois and if something were to happen to her (but shouldn’t since fridging a character that’s been Superman’s love interest for that very same 80+ years would be wrong from a fan and storytelling perspective) he would still be human.
Darkseid had the anti-life equation (or would have if Snyder’s original vision for Justice League wasn’t rightly turned down) and the Joker tricked him into thinking he was fighting Doomsday thanks to finding a hallucinogen that somehow worked on a Kryptonian but I don’t want to see this becoming a trend or a prevailing thought that Lois and only Lois is what keeps Superman a defender of truth and justice. She became part of his mission because she kept getting her overeager butt in trouble by not looking before she leapt. She became part of his heart as they grew closer. She is not the sole part that keeps him sane or on the side of good. That’s just part of who Superman is and while her death might have a huge impact on him, it’s not the “good/evil switch” that more recent stories have tried to create. I don’t want this to be a trend with “Superman turns evil” stories.
Then again I don’t want to see anymore “Superman turns evil” stories, especially by writers who can’t believe Superman is already good.