Next Saturday night, we’re sending Lois Lane… BACK TO THE FUTURE!

by Robert Gillis
8/2011

What was so special about the silver age of comic books? Read about it HERE
(Click any image to enlarge)

We’re arrived at Lois Lane #59 (1965) and Superman has saved Lois for the eight thousandth time this week.
Lois, swooning: “Thank you so much for rescuing me… if not for you…” (Remember those words, we will revisit them later)

Superman, being a complete dipshit as usual: “Skip the thanks, blah, blah, lecture,  lecture, blah, I’ve a whole UNIVERSE to protect!” (Remember those words, we will revisit them later)

My God, the arrogance – um, Supes, really, THE UNIVERSE? Even all those solar systems with red suns where you have no super powers? The Andromeda Galaxy? M-31? All the dark matter? The little old space-being crossing the road on Altair VI? Seriously? Sheesh.

Now, we’re concentrating on the second story in this issue but the first story bears some mentioning because it contains some key dialogue (above) from the Silver Age that boils down to this: a) Superman saves Lois almost daily, usually due to Lois being reckless and jettisoning common sense, and if he wasn’t around she would have been dead years ago; b) Superman protects THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

Anyway, remember those two points.

So, before we leave story one, this being a typical Tuesday, a SPACESHIP lands on the roof of the Daily Planet. No biggie. Don’t even bother snapping a photo. Happens all the time. The ALIENS from another PLANET look just like us, speak English, and they’ve traveled hundreds of light years to… Cure cancer? Usher in a new era of galactic peace?

Nope, they’re going to play matchmaker for Lois Lane…   But, let’s skip to story two: Lois returns to Krypton to prevent its destruction!

Story two has a terrific and (for once, for Lois) a NOBLE premise: A professor has invented a device, that could have, in theory, saved Krypton from destruction, so Lois decides to travel back in time and prevent Krypton’s destruction… A nice idea, a noble mission: Save billions of innocents from destruction. Sure, it will change history completely and will have repercussions across time and space for generations, but screw all that, it’s time for adventure!

So Jimmy Olsen gives Lois a book to learn Kryptonese, Kryptonian clothing, anti-gravity boots, etc.  and asks, “Why do you need them, Lois?”

I LOVE, LOVE, Lois’ line, “Because I’m going to Krypton, silly! No time to explain now! I want to leave right away!”

SAY WHAT? Here’s some great things Jimmy SHOULD have said:

a) “Um, Krypton blew up 30 years ago, so ANY trip there doesn’t require rushing. Sit down, have some decaf and three Valium, and explain yourself.”

b) “Lois, this sounds like time-travel, are you sure you won’t, oh, I dunno, screw up the entire space-time continuum?”

c) “I know it’s 1965, and none of us know what  “Back to the Future” is,  but you won’t prevent Superman’s parents from falling in love, or anything?”

Right. Hold that thought.

It should be noted that Jimmy Olsen once traveled back to Krypton’s past and also had to make sure Superman’s folks got married.  But that’s a story for another time.

It should also be noted that this ONE PAGE could be a one-year story arc these days.

Anywat, Lois plausibly takes the time machine on a TRIAL run back to Krypton, and learns the ALIEN SPACE language on her way back in time, the same way I would learn, say, fluent ancient Chinese on a flight to China.  It should noted that the time machine also navigates through SPACE as well, since Earth and Krypton are more than a few light-years apart.

Lois time travels into the past, finds Superman’s father Jor-El (BEFORE he married Lara and had the child Kal-El) and presents the plans for the device…

 

 

So everything is groovy, Jor-El likes the plans, says it’s a great idea, he’ll build the thing and save Krypton and Lois says that FATE HAS CHANGED.

Lois: “I’ll return to Earth and tell Superman the happy news!”

And there’s the rub. When you get back to Earth, Superman won’t be there, Lois, and by the way, neither will you.  And Earth will be very different:

  • Fate has changed.  The tower was built.  Krypton did not explode.
  • So Superman’s parents had no reason to send him to Earth.
  • Kal-El grew up on Krypton and lived his ordinarly life there.
  • So there was never a Clark Kent or Superman on Earth ever.
  • So Lois was killed the first time she did something stupid because Superman was not there to save her. Ditto Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang, Perry White, etc.
  • All the disasters Superman ever prevented: No Superman, lots of disasters.
  • (Not to mention all the crimes and disasters he stopped as Superboy)
  • All those alien invasions and super-villians the man of steel stopped? Yeah, not so much.
  • And not just Earth: Superman has A WHOLE UNIVERSE to protect, said so himself. So when Lois returns to the present, THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE has lost millions of people who should have been saved by Superman, who died because he never came to Earth.

 

Krypton sure is modern. Lots of rocks everywhere.  And look at that futuristic clipboard!

Anyway, Krypton is no longer doomed, fate is changed, but that’s not enough, since Lois’ time machine is broken and she  is now stuck on Krypton, she continues her noble mission by {wait for it} breaking up Superman’s parents and stealing Jor-El for herself. Again, it would be 20 more years until “Back to the Future” came out but any comic book reader in 1965 would understand that: Jor-El and Lara don’t get married = Superman is never born.

So now, not only is the ENTIRE UNIVERSE screwed, poor Superman never gets to exist!

“Erased… from existence!” — Doc Brown.

 

So advanced, the way those Kryptonians speak and conduct themselves.  And LOVE that futuristic Kryptonian PARK BENCH. What a futuristic, modern race!

In a textbook example of “Location, location, location,” the Kryptonians build the anti-boom tower in {wait for it} KANDOR, the city that, every Superman comic book reader knows, is stolen and shrunken by Brianiac.  So POOF (yes, that’s the sound a city makes when it is stolen, shrunken and placed into a bottle), Brainiac steals Kandor (and the tower) and, wouldn’t you know it, the Kryptonians only had enough material to build ONE of these tower things. Darn.

 


So Lois decides to leave again, and get a little exposition / technobabble / Deux ex machina and presto, the time machine works again, and Lois flies by Lara, and while Jor-El has his back turned, quickly explains that she’s from Earth and Lara should marry Jor-El. That half-panel would take up a another six issues of story these days.

Before she leaves, Lois fast forwards a few years.  I love the first panel. Lois arrives and thinks, “The home of Jor-El and Lara, now the parents of baby Kal-El… Who will someday become Superman on Earth.”

Thank you SO much for explaining that, Lois, because all this time we had NO IDEA who these people were, since they have only been identified ten times in this story already, and for that matter, through decades of Superman stories… And by the way, who is Lois talking to, anyway? Fourth wall alert!

Anyway, Jor-El and Lara are married and their son Kal-El, the infant Superman, is playing in the yard. Look how advanced Krypton is! White picket fence, vinyl siding, flower beds, green grass … Gosh, the folks fimiling ‘Superman: The Man of Steel” right now should save a bundle on CGI and should just film the next movie’s “Krypton” sequences in suburban California!

So there’s baby Kal-El, and Lois lays a few dozen kisses on the toddler, because Superman would NEVER let her kiss him like this. Yep, that’s not creepy at all.  Strangers from the future come back in time and passionately kiss babies every day on Krypton.  Ew.

While Kal-El is screaming, “I need an adult!”  WHOOPS! Jor-El is testing his new Phantom Zone ray and Lois gets zapped into the Phantom Zone.

Where she stays for 30 years.

With the worst of Krypton’s criminals.

In Kryptonian hell.

Which means {follow along now, kids} that BEFORE Krypton exploded and before she was born, there was a Lois Lane in the Phantom Zone and she weas there three decades.

And Superman? Back in the present, still a tool, just releases Lois from the zone, says he doesn’t want to hear it, he’s busy.   She just spent thirty years in Phantom Zone prison and he doesn’t even care WHY it happened.

Dipshit.

And then {wait for it} Lois realizes, she could have been Superman’s mother!  An adventure on Krypton, trying to prevent the planet’s demise, changing history, trying to prevent Superman’s parents marraige and steal his father for herself, 30 years in the zone, and it suddenly occurs to her (gasp) she could have been Superman’s mom!

Wow, just wow.

Genetics and biology 101 aside, even if Lois HAD been Superman’s mother, maybe she could have raised him to be less of a jerk.

But Lois has spent 30 years in the Phanton Zone! She’s learned her lesson and will NEVER time travel again or NEVER do anything reckless again!

Right? Right?

*cricket* *cricket* *cricket*

Sigh. How I love the Silver Age!

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