Reading “Sweet Dreams, Superwoman…”

The third issue of All-Star Superman is crap.

Here’s the premise: after Superman engineers a serum that will replicate his superpowers for twenty-four hours for Lois Lane’s birthday, Lois drinks it and they go off to have adventures.  Sounds cool, right?  Right?

Wrong.

This issue is a direct follow up to the previous one where Lois got high on some fumes and was totally woke for a couple hours before Superman calmly mansplained to her that she was delusional.  We’re promised cool adventures with superpowered Lois Lane, and what we get instead is a giant pissing match between Superman and a couple of time traveling doofuses who are interested in Lois as both a potential date and a way to get a hulking lion man who can trap people in quantum states between dead and not-dead off their backs.  Also, the doofuses are comic book-y versions of Samson (yeah, that jerk) and Atlas.

It would be one thing if Samson and Atlas were the only macho douchebros in the issue, but Superman (despite his tripled curiosity, imagination, and creativity) has apparently not become enlightened about toxic masculinity and the patriarchy either.  He gets goaded into competing with the blowhards after they call him a coward for not wanting to get into a test of strength, and pretty much every attempt he makes to help Lois disentangle herself from these creeps involves him also being a creep who frames everything as an affront to him, the woman’s boyfriend.

The weirdest part of all this playing out is that Lois seems totally fine with it.  She actively flirts with Samson and Atlas even as they discuss the fact that they just want to have sex with her.  This feels like a bad characterization to me, especially after the previous issue.  I strongly suspect that Morrison wasn’t sure how to write Lois, so he just made her sardonic and infatuated with Superman (this probably stems from Morrison’s preoccupation with the Silver Age again; it was the 1950’s when Lois did have her own book called Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane).  The one bit of interest in her character from these first three issues came when she accidentally inhaled some chemicals that made her paranoid about Superman’s motivations, but sadly this arc didn’t last.  I guess it was too troublesome to have a Lois Lane who was willing to kill Superman because she thought he was acting out of character.

Anyway, besides all the poor characterization, there’s also the fact that the central conflict of the issue, the confrontation with the Ultra Sphinx, is just Superman having sads because Lois is in danger.  Let me reiterate that: the issue where we were promised Lois Lane would do cool stuff with Superman’s powers culminates with her being quantum fridged so Superman can have manfeels and save her at the same time.

Welp. (Artwork by Frank Quitely, colors by Jamie Grant, letters by Phil Balsman & Travis Lanham)

This issue is hot garbage.  Where’s my Watchmen?

All of Superman’s powers, and this is what they do with it. (Artwork by Frank Quitely, colors by Jamie Grant)

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