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    Review: Superman #704

    By | October 31st, 2010
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    WRITER: G. Willow Wilson
    ARTIST: Leandro Oliveira
    COVERS: John Cassaday & Gene Ha

    Writer G. Willow Wilson (AIR) and newcomer Leandro Oliveira provide a “Grounded” interlude in October’s SUPERMAN #704, detailing a visit Lois Lane makes to the town where she went to college in anticipation of Superman’s arrival. When she runs into an old boyfriend and sees the nice, normal family he has, Lois is can’t help but examine the choices she made and wonder if they were the correct ones.

    In an interlude to JMS’ run on Superman, we have an issue starring everyone’s favorite superhero girlfriend, Lois Lane! How is she coping with Superman’s jaunt across America? How did I cope with her coping with it? I’ll let you know after the cut!

    To be perfectly blunt, this book had some good, and a lot of bad.

    On one hand, Lois is one of the most engaging supporting characters in comics. She’s also one of the first, so I guess that isn’t all that surprising. She’s had nearly 75 years to be refined into the independent woman she is today, a roving reporter who gets the scoop on everything, especially everyone’s favorite Kryptonian.

    But that’s not entirely the case here. This issue has Lois feeling unsure of herself, realizing her career was largely made on the cape of her husband, Clark Kent. She feels like that’s all she’s known for, and it has limited her career spectrum to that. In her words, it makes her feel like a “bad feminist.”

    This isn’t the Lois I’m used to. To be completely harsh on herself to a near perfect stranger isn’t exactly something we’ve come to know from her. And if it didn’t completely fly in the face of everything she’s been about for most of those 75 years, I wouldn’t have minded, but this didn’t feel like Lois at all. It felt like someone writing a story about a superhero’s wife/girlfriend, and then slapping Lois’ likeness on it.

    I wasn’t especially impressed with the art either. It had the potential to be pretty fun, and at times it is, with certain levels of Ed Benes kinds of sexiness. But other times the characters are off, an eye gets out of place (seriously, if you want to ruin a figure drawing, draw an eye out of place.), and it completely ruins the panel. There were also moments where the detail in the characters goes from “pretty detailed” to “I’m surprised she has a nose here.” How did this get past editorial?

    Even some of the characterizations come off one-dimensional and stereotypical. In the beginning of the book, Lois meets three fans of the big blue Boy Scout; two women and one guy. You can tell that the girls were supposed to be played off as vapid or what have you from the beginning, but the part that rubbed me the wrong way was the stereotypical portrayal of the male friend as being gay. There are ways to portray gay in a one-off character, and having him run around saying “fabulous!” and speaking in ways that are clearly stereotypes.

    But on the other hand, one of the best moments in the comics comes in the end. Lois, after a hard day of dealing with herself, gets scooped up by her husband and they spend a romantic night in the sky, bonding while flying over Indiana. IT was a really heartfelt moment between a couple that might have been spoiled if it weren’t handled exactly like this.

    To be blunt, even if you like the Grounded storyline, this is completely unessential. If you found yourself not picking it up this week, you’re really not missing much. I just wish there could have been a better way to portray everyone’s favorite intrepid reporter.

    Final Verdict: 5.0 — Browse

    Gilbert Short

    Gilbert Short. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. When he's not reading comic books so you don't have to, he's likely listening to mediocre music or watching excellent television. Passionate about Giants baseball and 49ers football. When he was a kid he wanted to be The Ultimate Warrior. He still kind of does. His favorite character is Superman and he will argue with you about it if you try to convince him otherwise. He also happens to be the head of Social Media Relations, which means you should totally give him a follow onTwitter.