The appeal of Superman: Lois and Clark informed the thinking that led DC to its Rebirth initiative.
After the events of Convergence, the pre-New 52 versions of Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane, as well as their young son Jonathan, wound up on the New 52 Earth, albeit a few years before the emergence of the New 52 heroes. Living under the name “White,” Lois and Clark hole up in a small Northern California town, operating in secret to keep young Jon safe. Clark secretly intervenes in a series of crises and disasters, while keeping tabs on people who developed into significant threats in his timeline. Lois becomes an anonymous crusading author, publishing a series of investigative exposes under the name “Author X.” Lois’ investigation of the vicious Intergang and the arrival back on Earth from a deep space mission of Hank Henshaw (the evil Cyborg Superman in the pre-New 52 days) converge to push Lois and Clark to the brink of exposure.
The collected edition of Superman: Lois and Clark brands it with a “Road to Rebirth” logo, which is entirely appropriate. Writer Dan Jurgens has a long history with the post-Crisis Lois and Clark and had a strong hand in the development of the characters into the married couple that many fans loved. Jurgens still has a strong feel for those characters and their relationship and does an excellent job of integrating their roles as parents to the precocious Jon.
That focus on family and the multi-generational concept of heroic legacy was one of the biggest things missing from the youth-obsessed New 52. Viewing that era through the lens of the pre-New 52 Lois and Clark puts it in an interesting new light. Jurgens comes up with some compelling threats for the family to tackle. He handles the emergence of Jon’s powers in a manner that will resonate with fans of John Byrne’s classic Man of Steel series. The story is brisk and involving, with a sense of optimism that comes through even the darkest moments.
The bulk of the art comes from the team of Lee Weeks and Scott Hannah (with a few other hands pitching in). Weeks takes a clean, classic approach to the material, mostly sticking to a classic page design ethos, with some high impact splash pages mixed in at opportune moments. It’s a solid approach that moves the action along briskly and still provides the art team with some room to whip up some exciting, dynamic visuals.
The appeal of Superman: Lois and Clark was sufficient that DC has elected to move the characters back into the spotlight in the Rebirth era, putting the New 52 Superman on ice. With a deft mix of a domestic saga, “strangers in a strange land” exploration and old school superheroics, the book is a winner for fans of a more classic approach to the world of Superman.