Running a train on Lois Lane: Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #29
I did it! I found a Bizarre Silver Age Comic where Superman’s not a dick at all—unless you count the ridiculous hoops he makes his friends jump through to save his life just so he can cruise in for a one-page cameo at the end of this.
But despite the lack of Superdickery, the cover to this one deserves to be seen in all its glory, because it shows a few of Superman’s Justice League of America super-pals lining up to have a turn making out with Lois Lane. And that blonde woman looking on is supposed to be Lana Lang, because it’s not like being a redhead is one of Lana’s defining physical characteristics or anything.
So, how much of this near-group sex actually happens in the story, and how much is the usual bait-and-switch of DC Silver Age covers? That’s what I’m here to find out.
We start off at the Daily Planet offices, with a delivery guy bringing Lois Lane a mysterious vase of flowers from a “secret admirer”. Will this be important later? We can only guess. Just then, all the Planet employees gather around the windows, because Superman’s pet Krypto the Super-Dog is flying around outside the building, and he’s got a smoke flare in his mouth.
But there’s no time to ponder this, because Perry needs to talk to Lois. He says that with Superman being “away”, the Planet has basically nothing to report on… other than flying alien dogs skywriting cryptic messages, I suppose. Oh, and Clark Kent can’t help with coming up with stories because he’s “away” on vacation, too. Funny that. So Perry asks Lois to come up with a “juicy story to build circulation”. And Lois sure knows juicy: She decides to do a story titled “Heroes I’ve Kissed”. Does this mean Lois has some secret history of romancing superheroes that we don’t know about? In fact, she does not. She’s about to build up that history right before our eyes by getting some superheroes to kiss her, just so she has something to write about. It’s gonzo journalism at its finest.
Lois goes home and declares, “What I need is man-bait!” (Not to be confused with Man-Bat, which no woman needs.) She pulls out a “dress that can hug the curves!” and gets all dolled up and heads outside for a stroll, and is soon pleased that she’s receiving a sufficient amount of cat-calling.
“Tweet”? What kind of a come-on is that? Sure, some will say he’s supposed to be whistling, but everyone knows a word balloon with musical notes inside is the universal comic book code for whistling. This guy is literally just leaning out of his car yelling “Tweet!” at every hot woman he sees.
Lois attends a “demonstration of archery skill” going on at Metropolis Stadium, which just so happens to be hosted by Green Arrow AKA Oliver Queen, the world’s greatest archer. Ollie needs a volunteer from the audience to help with a trick shot, and Lois happily steps up. And watching the whole thing is Lana Lang, who appears to be a TV reporter at this point, though she doesn’t seem to have time to do much reporting in between making catty remarks about everything Lois does.
Green Arrow tells Lois to throw a deck of playing cards in the air, and Ollie skillfully shoots an arrow that hits all four aces dead center. But oh—Lois’ pearls!
Have I mentioned how dumb Ollie’s (or any superhero archer’s, for that matter, Hawkeye included) gimmick is? Why does every invention have to involve arrows in some way? And is it really an “arrow” if it just hovers in the air? Couldn’t he just make a vacuum drone that he launches to suck up pearls? Also, what other possible application could there be for an arrow like this besides sucking up pearls?
To show her appreciation for Ollie using one of his (ahem) “special shafts”, Lois wraps her arms around him and scandalously kisses him. Green Arrow kisses her back, and the gathered crowd acts like they’re watching something out of Fellini’s Satyricon. Lana is completely disgusted by both Arrow and Lois’ behavior.
Lana more or less calls Lois a slut, and then a report comes in about a cruise ship on fire in Metropolis Harbor, with Aquaman coming to the rescue. Even after all her tut-tutting, Lana is more than happy to give Lois a lift down there. Once they reach the pier, Aquaman shows up in his lame “talk to the fishes” Super Friends mode and narrates aloud about how he’s calling upon whales, eels, octopi, dolphins, tarpons, sharks, and swordfish to help with the rescue effort. Damn, who knew there was this much aquatic wildlife diversity in the vicinity of Metropolis?
Aquaman finishes up the rescue, and Lois runs up to him and wraps her arms around him in gratitude. You know what’s coming next, right?
After macking down on her for a while, a contented Aquaman rides off on one of his whales, blowing kisses to Lois, and probably thinking about doing sinful things to that blowhole later. Not missing a beat, Lois asks Lana for another ride because she got word that another superhero is in town.
When they get there, Batman is in the middle of getting the jump on some crooks who have climbed up on top of a movie marquee. According to Bats, they’re “out to rob the theater manager’s office!” I guess it’s not just Gotham City; crooks in Metropolis rob dumb places too. Movie tickets were what, fifty cents back then? You sure hit the motherlode, fellas. Batman unscrews some light bulbs from the marquee and hurls them at the crooks, who mistake the sound for gunfire and that’s all it takes for them to surrender. And this is actually the second story I’ve written about in recent months that involves Batman defeating crooks by throwing light bulbs at them. No wonder he doesn’t bother carrying a gun.
But let’s not waste time with all this silly business about apprehending criminals. Once again, Lois runs up to Batman and excitedly throws herself at him. Lana stands nearby, thinking there’s no way the Caped Crusader, the Defender of Gotham, the Grim Avenger of the Night, could possibly fall for Lois’ charms. Naturally…
At last, we begin to learn the absurd explanation for everything that just transpired, as Batman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman all reach a secret rendezvous point outside the city.
Okay, okay. This is not as weird as it seems. In fact, it might be even weirder. Batman flies his Batplane to the North Pole, where he ties the handkerchiefs to a batarang and hurls them to the ground. And the intended target is Superman, who’s currently incapacitated in the snow, surrounded by Kryptonite and evil aliens.
Superman takes the handkerchiefs and wipes them all over his face, and somehow the remnants of Lois’s lipstick is enough for Superman to instantly recover. Is it the power of true love? We don’t know quite yet, but now that Superman has his strength back, he flies up and… tells the aliens to go back to their planet, or else he might actually fight them.
Batman declares that “Plan ‘L’” went off without a hitch, and the two heroes head back to Metropolis. And here’s where I risk carpal tunnel syndrome and mental exhaustion trying to explain the convoluted scheme that just played out.
Back in the city, Lois and Superman and his superhero pals all stand around jawing about the details of this Plan “L” that all of them already know perfectly well. It started with Superman falling into a Kryptonite trap, so he used his “super-ventriloquism” to remotely command his dog Krypto to write an “L” in the sky above the Daily Planet. This was a signal to Lois, and it turns out there are also Plans “P” and “J”, for Perry White and Jimmy Olsen respectively. Hmm, I don’t know, Supes, I can’t imagine Perry getting Batman to kiss him.
But Plan “L” is all about getting Lois to deliver special Red Kryptonite crystals that act as a one-time cure for Green Kryptonite. But Lois couldn’t just bring the crystals to Superman, because she quickly realized she was being watched. Remember that mysterious vase she got from a “secret admirer” at the start of the story?
Evidently, before setting up that Kryptonite trap, the evil aliens dialed up 1-800-FLOWERS for the sole purpose of putting Lois under surveillance. She had no choice but to secretly mix the Red Kryptonite in with her lipstick, then set about kissing members of the Justice League, all of whom knew exactly what Plan “L” is too.
And so, the three heroes wiped off the Red K-infused lipstick stains, Batman collected all their handkerchiefs and delivered them to Superman, and voila, instant cure for Kryptonite. The story ends with Lois getting one final superhero kiss from Superman himself. And the big surprise twist is now they all have mono. The end.
Obviously, no aspect of “Plan L” makes any sense whatsoever. Supposedly, the aliens were watching Lois, so she couldn’t make a move to directly save Superman. And yet they weren’t watching Batman, who was able to fly his Batplane up to the North Pole to rescue Superman? Why did the aliens decide to monitor Lois, but not the seven or eight super-powerful people that Superman calls teammates?
It seems like Lois could have just handed the whole vial of Red K crystals to Batman, who could have then flown up and given them to Superman. Or Batman could have just flown up there on his own and beat the crap out of those aliens himself—they certainly didn’t look like much of a threat. Anyway, there’s no need to pretend this is anything other than an excuse to have a few superheroes fawn all over Lois Lane, and fake the readers out into thinking she’s cheating on Superman. It’s about the closest thing to titillation they could pull off in the Comic Code Authority days.
By the way, did anyone ever explain Plan L to Lana Lang, or is she still going from news story to news story complaining about how crusty Lois Lane is?