Sometimes something works purely because it has no right to do so. The sheer audacity, the sheer implausibility, the sheer and absolute nerve, carries all barriers and objections away like a locomotive. Usually that doesn’t work. Usually such bravery and daring ends only in catastrophe. Superman: Lois and Clark, is certainly one of the rare occasions when nerves of steel overcome better judgment and prove the judgment not to have been so good after all.
The first issue of the new series represents the second echo of the Convergence event to spread across the DC Universe, or the third if one counts the mysterious breakers that have been the main plot element of Jeff Parker’s plot run on Justice League United. Last week we saw the further adventures of Telos, Braniac’s assistant on his world of domed cities. This week we join with the pre-Flashpoint Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
To review, during Convergence these two were part of a group sent back into Earth’s history to prevent the collapse of the original infinite multiverse during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. They succeeded. Now, a moment’s reflection rapidly leads to a migraine. This version of Lois and Clark are themselves from the post-Crisis era. That means if they prevented the Crisis, they shouldn’t exist. Which would mean the Crisis would happen and they would exist. Which would mean they would prevent the Crisis. And so forth.
Jurgens is probably wise to simply hand wave all of that. They stopped the collapse of the multiverse, and now, somehow, they find themselves living with their son in the present continuity. They are in hiding, finding the new reality dark and riven by suspicion. That is disingenuous, as there is little in the present continuity that is darker than the last decade of the old universe, and indeed it is arguably brighter. But Jurgens is making a low-risk nod to a widespread opinion among fans, and it gives the family an excuse to hide.
In hiding, they have been quietly trying to influence events in a positive direction. Lois is writing anonymous books. Clark is quietly trying to head off problems. In this issue, he prevents the accident that led Hank Henshaw to become the Cyborg Superman. Meanwhile, their son, Jonathan, is nine years old and ignorant of his heritage, a recipe for drama.
The art by Weeks and Hanna is easy and natural. These are images that are meant to look and feel familiar, and whose regular proportions and symmetries are meant to suggest comfort. Brad Anderson’s colors likewise are familiar in most respects, but with a twist. Lois and Jonathan are subtly colored in Superman’s iconic red and blue. Clark himself, however, is arrayed in black and silver, emphasizing that he is, in every sense of the word, an alien being of mystery on this Earth.
This issue is about character, and all of these are very attractive. If not much happens, meeting old friends is a reward in itself. It's hard to say whether this series will last the promised twelve issues, but the fact it has lasted one seems a pleasant miracle. Let us not question it, but for the moment be grateful.