Action Comics 1004

Superman tries to uncover the important mystery of what his wife is doing back on Earth, and why her new favorite word is “baby.” 

Action Comics 1004
Written by Brian Michael Bendis 
Pencils by Ryan Sook 
Inks by Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger 
Colors by Brad Anderson 

I am so conflicted about this issue.

On the one hand, I loved so much of what Bendis does here with the Daily Planet staff. Not only do we get great scenes with Planet editor Perry White and Clark Kent, but there’s also the scene where Superman saves the new Planet gossip columnist – who publicly revealed a photo of Lois Lane and Lex Luthor – from an attack by the new(?) Copperhead. 

Brian Bendis does an amazing job with these interpersonal relationships, and I had a wide smile on my face reading his version of Perry White both mentoring Clark and yelling at the gossip columnist for annoying him. As always, Perry White is an editor after my own heart, and he shines under Bendis’ pen (or keyboard, whatever). 

That part of the issue is amazing, and someone should pitch a series about the Daily Planet staff – in the vein of the great Gotham Central book of years past – with Bendis as a writer. It should be a hit and Perry White deserves it, damn it! 

But there was another part of the issue that just didn’t sit right with me. And maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of whatever Bendis is setting up and I just need to be patient. I can accept that, but there’s something about the journey in this issue that’s a bit grating. 

“Baby.” 

Clark an Lois finally reunite and spend some quality time talking, now that she’s back from space. Where she left their son alone with Jor-El who was, last we saw him, kind of insane. There are more issues there, but I’m sure we’ll get to those some other time. Sure, Lois gushes about how Jon blossomed out in space and started to shine with Jor-El. But she left him. In space. With a lunatic. 

I’ll move on. No, it’s the constant refrain of “baby” from Lois Lane, a pet name she uses for her husband constantly in this issue. It just seems so out of place and unlike Lois. Maybe it’s a clue to something Bendis is doing somewhere down the line. Maybe Bendis is just trying something new with her. If that’s the case, I wish he would stop that particular thing. 

See? She did it again! 

Lois and Clark got married in the comics 21 years ago this month, and they’ve been through a lot in the last two decades (minus the five years of the New 52 that’s been wiped out by the Rebirth era). And after Lois’ brief trip to the stars, she has now decided that their relationship needs a redefinition. 

Maybe it’s a more sensible arrangement for their relationship, given the high-profile and high-stress nature of their jobs. Neither of them live a “normal” life and Lois wants to embrace that instead of trying to be a normal American family, the way Tomasi and Gleason wrote them for the first couple of years of the Rebirth era.

But I really liked that, watching these two people who love each other intensely working together to raise their son. As I get older, as I’m now raising my own child with a woman who I love intensely, it made me feel closer to Superman – to Clark Kent – than I ever have. He’s my favorite character and watching him grow up with me was… reassuring. This feels… less so. 

Despite my visceral reaction to Lois’ overuse of the word “baby,” and my discomfort with this “redefinition” of Lois and Clark’s relationship, this was a great issue. There was so much to like. Bendis’ story, combined with the absolutely stunning art of Ryan Sook, makes this an issue I’ll likely come back to over and over. 

I just hope the payoff to whatever Bendis is doing with Lois and Clark – and Jon – is worth it.