Ricky Church reviews Superman & Lois Lane: The 25th Wedding Anniversary Deluxe Edition…
Superman and Lois Lane. Rarely can one be mentioned without the other ever since these two characters appeared in Action Comics #1 over 80 years ago. Their will-they-won’t-they relationship lasted for nearly 60 years in the various Superman comics, TV serials, cartoons and films until they finally said “I do” in the mid-90s Superman: The Wedding Album special. This year marks a milestone for the two as they not only headlined the new TV series Superman & Lois, focusing on their exploits as a superhero, reporters and parents, but is also the 25th anniversary of that landmark wedding issue. To celebrate, DC has released Superman & Lois Lane: The 25th Wedding Anniversary Deluxe Edition which details one of pop cultures’ biggest moments.
The 1990s were a pretty interesting time for the comics industry. That decade alone saw both DC and Marvel battling low sales and potential bankruptcies, forcing Marvel to sell off the film and TV rights for Spider-Man and other heroes. Seismic changes were also done to some of the biggest superheroes: Batman got his back broken and was temporarily replaced, Superman was killed and later resurrected, Green Lantern became a villain and Spider-Man had a long and convoluted problem with clones. It is interesting in the case of Superman and Lois’ marriage the storyline began long before Superman’s death as Clark Kent first proposed to Lois Lane and then revealed he was Superman. DC made the plan for the two to get married much earlier, but the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which hadn’t premiered at the time, brought a halt to those plans as the people at Warner Bros. and DC wanted to co-ordinate the wedding at the same time for the show and comics. Thus DC had to find ways to postpone the wedding, such as with The Death of Superman, other crossovers and Lois and Clark temporarily breaking up and calling off the wedding.
The book begins during that tumultuous time as Lois is travelling around the world after breaking up with Clark when she thought his responsibility as Superman would always come before her as well as thinking Clark would always feel the need to protect her rather than let her be her own person. At the same time, Superman is left powerless after a near-world ending event and is trying to get his powers back. After the introductory issue, Lois realizes she is and always will be in love with Clark and returns to Metropolis, where the pair make up and renew their engagement. That first issue is an interesting character piece from Dan Jurgens as he explores what makes Lois tick and why she was denying her feelings for Clark while also reminding both Superman and readers that even without his powers, Superman is still Superman as it is not his powers which defines him or inspires others.
After that is the long-awaited wedding issue. What makes The Wedding Album unique (aside from the behind the scenes story, more of which will be explained in a moment) is how it’s a who’s who of writers and artists who worked on Superman through the years like Jurgens, John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Karl Kesel, David Michelinie, George Pérez, Curt Swan (who sadly passed away shortly before the issue’s release) and many more all providing art and script work for the special occasion. The wedding is full of light, heartfelt moments as Clark and Lois go through the traditions (and hardships) of planning a wedding, such as gown hunting, tuxedo fittings, bridal showers and bachelor parties.
There are several humourous moments too that threaten everything going off course in typical drama. Just when some action might begin as Maxima, an alien woman who wants to wed Superman because she thinks he’s the only superior being worthy of her, arrives to claim Superman, the situation is comically averted in a way you wouldn’t expect. It’s equally funny when Clark’s bachelor party, through no fault of his own, descends into a barroom brawl. Plenty of familiar characters appear, from the usual ones like Jimmy Olsen and Perry White to Lana Lang, Pete Ross, Lori Lemaris, Fran Johnson, Lucy Lane, ‘Bibbo’ Bibbowski and more. Drawing from so many characters connected to Superman and Lois really makes it feel like a celebration to their marriage.
However, the number of creators attached to the issue is also a bit of a problem. The reason there are so many names is because once the producers and showrunners of Lois & Clark were comfortable with having Lois and Clark get married early in the fourth season, they told DC rather abruptly, forcing editorial to put together The Wedding Album very quickly which meant attaching so many artists to the issue. Because of this some of the art was rushed to get everything completed in time for the episodes to air as Lois & Clark‘s wedding and The Wedding Album were released in the same week. As great as the art and artists are, it is noticeable which pages were rushed as some of the character designs aren’t as fleshed out as others. Where the art does count, though, is in the final pages from Jurgens and Ordway, in particular the foldout splash page of Clark and Lois sharing their first kiss as husband and wife – with much of the book’s art team appearing as guests in the pews in a fun little nod.
The issues after the wedding are Clark and Lois’ honeymoon which gets crashed by some international gangsters who kidnap Clark after Lois apparently took something from them. The ill-fated honeymoon is a fun adventure that flips the pair’s usual roles as the powerless Clark has to be rescued by Lois, who shows she has more than just investigative skill for the rescue. They wrap up the book’s overall themes of Lois’ fears and Clark’s concern with his lack of powers.
After that, there’s some bonus material of the illustration and scripting process for some of the wedding’s most pivotal moments, including a detailed look at the big kiss and who’s who in the writer and artist cameos. It’s some cool behind-the-scenes material, but, given this is the 25th anniversary and a Deluxe format, it would have been nice to have some more reflection from the creative team, many of whom are still active today, on the story’s impact to the Superman mythos as well as how Lois & Clark influenced the event for better and for worse.
Superman & Lois Lane: The 25th Wedding Anniversary Deluxe Edition is a nice collection of one of the most significant developments for both Superman and Lois Lane. Much of the writing is fun, clever and insightful of the character’s journeys. The artwork is good for the most part, but again not always consistent as you can tell what was rushed and a full breakdown of the wedding’s timeline and process, from the initial decision to have Clark and Lois become engaged to fully married years later, would have been greatly appreciated given what a seminal moment this was, especially for comic’s first power couple. Despite that, it is still a good book for Superman and Lois fans to add to their collection.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.