The first issue of Brian Michael Bendis's The Man of Steel, released in comic shops and online yesterday, would very much like you to believe that Clark Kent and Lois Lane are somehow estranged, her disappearance a matter of controversy in the newsroom and a sore spot for Clark.
That has been a controversial element of the series for months, since the solicitation text for the series repeatedly teases something bad happening to Lois and Jonathan Kent, the couple's son.
"I know some people get frustrated, but that's what our job is," Bendis recently told ComicBook.com. "I'm not in the comfort food business. I'm here to shock and delight you and to tell you truths and this is storytelling. Our job is to take these characters and throw them down the biggest hole we can find and write them climbing out of it. That's the job....I would like to challenge these characters to the depths of their soul, and that's what's going to happen. Now, I've gone on record saying I love this family. I love Jon. I love Lois. I might be here to write Lois. Everyone's here for Clark. I might be here for Lois. I think she's an amazing character. When I see someone getting worried about it, I'm like, 'I'm not going to spoil my story for you because you're worried, but in about a year from now you're going to be like, Oh, I should apologize to him for all that shit I said on Twitter about what he thinks about Lois.' But they won't, but it's okay. It's part of the gig. But I'm excited to prove myself. Let's say that. Let's say I say in 10 issues from now, I'm very excited to prove myself."
Whether it's a year or ten issues from now, it seems Bendis's plan is to continue to tease out this thread beyond just The Man of Steel -- which is more effective if you are reading his Superman titles in a vacuum.
After all, if you are reading Doomsday Clock, you can see plain as day that Lois and Clark are still married in that story.
A story, remember, which takes place a year in the DC Universe's future.
Doomsday Clock is 12 issues long, ships once every two months, “and it takes place a year in the future of the DC Universe, so that when the last issue comes out, the DC Universe will catch up,” DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns said during his Comic-Con spotlight panel. “Everything from Rebirth and Metal and everything else, this will take place after all of that, and by the time issue #12 comes out, the rest of the DC Universe will catch up and be affected. You’ll see some changes to characters in this that you’ll see unfold and you’ll see events happen in the DC line that will then catch up to what we’re doing.”
You know what they say about superhero comics: if you don't like the status quo, wait around a while and it will change.
Well, in this case, that change has a clear ticking (Doomsday) clock on it.