With Superman's identity revealed to the world and his power set significantly diminished in the pages of Superman, Superman/Wonder Woman, Batman/Superman and Action Comics, it seems as though things will never be the same for the Man of Steel...
...but what if it's actually an opportunity to take back a status quo that had previously been in place for nearly twenty years -- that Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane are a couple, and that Lois knows his secret?
It doesn't seem particularly farfetched, particularly when you consider a recurring pattern of behavior that happened over the last 20+ years on the Superman titles.
We've already noted some similarities between the current "Truth" and "Justice" stories running through Superman and Action Comics, and the period of time in the 1990s when Superman and Lois Lane (or, a previous version of them, anyway...comic books are weird) became engaged.
It seems, though, that if the characters' track record is anything to go by, there's a good chance the pair might end up together following the events of this latest story.
Why? Well, it's a Lois Lane-heavy story where Superman loses his powers.
In the story "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite," Superman lost his powers due to exposure to red Kryptonite -- the first time a non-green version of Kryptonite had appeared in the post-Crisis continuity. At the end of the story, his powers returned and Clark Kent proposed to Lois Lane.
An aside: Shortly thereafter, he would reveal his identity to Lois in an issue titled "Truth, Justice and the American Way."
In the crossover event series Final Night, Superman lost his powers due to the sun being hidden for an extended period of time. He and Lois married so soon after that story, that he still had no powers when the pair went on their honeymoon.
And then, of course, during the Convergence event, the already-married version of Superman -- who had been wiped out by Flashpoint and replaced by this version who was just outed by Lois Lane. Again, comics are weird -- reappeared. He was under one of the domes on Telos, had lost his powers for a year, and during that time, he had managed to get Lois pregnant.
That baby was born, and the family will star in the forthcoming Superman: Lois and Clark by Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks.
So DC -- as recently as earlier this year -- have an established pattern of storytelling that says when Clark loses his powers, it's really likely that something big will happen between he and Lois.
What does this mean? Well, Lois has often been seen as one of the things "anchoring" Superman to his humanity, particularly in stories -- such as Convergence or the post-Flashpoint DC Universe -- where he is separated from or has lost his parents in Smallville. It could be that after extended periods where he's particularly "human," Superman consciously or subconsciously feels a pang of loss when his powers and godlike status return.
That might be a lot of reading between the lines, though. The point is, it happens. A lot.
Meanwhile, it's hard to ignore that the Superman/Wonder Woman romance hasn't really gone anywhere much in a while. Whatever storytelling potential it has outside of "Hey, look! Superman and Wonder Woman are kissing!" seems to have run its course and even in the first issue back of Superman/Wonder Woman, their shared title, things seem somewhat "off" between them.
But...what do the creators say?
Well, in our recent interview with Superman writer Gene Luen Yang, it seemed as though he was hinting at something more between Lois and Clark, as well.
"I write her as a friend of Clark’s and I try to think of how friends would react in relationship to secrets," Yang said of Lois Lane. "Usually I think when a friend reveals something big to you, there’s a complexity of emotion that will come out. That complexity of emotion is something that we’re hoping to draw out as this storyline plays through. It starts off as anger and then it moves to support and then maybe it’s going to move to something else."0comments
But we didn't ask that. Our question regarded whether Lois was a proxy for the rest of the human cast of Superman, feeling betrayed by Clark's decision not to let them in on his secret identity. The notion that the anger could boil over into "something else" came from Yang entirely, leading us to believe that's something he wants people at least turning over in their mind and thinking about.