If the cover is any indication jealousy can be a bitch. Superman is married to Lois Lane, but Clark wants a date night dammit! That date occurs this issue, but is it good?
Action Comics #974 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“MILD MANNERED” part two! The mystery of the human Clark Kent unravels! Lois stalks Clark’s trail, but all signs point to something big on the horizon. Even the relative safety of their upstate farm can’t protect Superman and his family from the threat they never expected: Clark Kent?!
Why does this book matter?
This arc might be titled “Mild Mannered” but I think Clark is anything but. Seeing Lois and Clark go on a date is cute, but clearly Dan Jurgens is developing this Clark (who supposedly isn’t Superman) character in interesting ways. First up, who the hell is he?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Did someone microwave Lana again?
This issue is basically three stories split up so as to keep Superman out of Lois’ business of attempting to figure out who the new Clark Kent is, and the development of a new villain who enters the fray. Overall Jurgens does a good job juggling each of these stories cutting between them to enhance the dramatic beats.
Superman’s story involves saving Lana’s life, but the real meat of the issue involves Lois’ date. Jurgens makes Clark somewhat creepy and obsessive as he fawns over Lois. He’s attempting to woo her though he doesn’t know she’s actually married to Superman. Jurgens does a good job making him somewhat erratic and brazen in his attempts to surprise Lois so that he comes off as a man who is lost. That said, if we didn’t know Lois was married we may have seen this sitaution a different way. By the end of the issue though, it’s pretty clear Clark has some major issues to resolve and it’s only going to get more dramatic as the series progresses.
Patch Zircher and Stephan Segovia draw this issue and the Lois and Clark scenes stand out. The date is compelling due to the well timed close ups of the characters as they react to each other throughout; you can see the expectations on Clark’s face and the utter disapproval and even heartbreak Lois is going through as she keeps telling him he’s doing too much. The two’s rendezvous is set up well with a full page spread of pictures Lois has pinned to a board to convey how even Lois–the great journalist–still can’t figure Clark out. In the scenes with Superman there’s a lot of energy flying about with strong science fiction vibes exuded.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Superman’s scenes however, are pretty much pointless filler to insert the hero into the book. The crisis he deals with is resolved so easily much of the talking between Superman and Steel is pointless. The talking robot is also somewhat annoying and seems to be there simply to keep us up to date on Lana’s status as she slowly dies. If his determination to stay with Lana until she’s better is so important–which he reiterates more than once–why is Lois never really in danger? It seems like a missed opportunity to tether the two stories.
Dating rule #45: Never let them see your crime scene wall of them!
Is It Good?
Dan Jurgens effectively makes you want to know what the hell is going on with Clark as soon as possible due to well written dialogue and a date night that goes all wrong. I can’t say this issue worked well all the way through, but dammit I’m curious who this imposter* is as the character is subtly revealed!
*and who knows if he is an imposter, but dammit we need answers!