Of late, Bleeding Cool has been following some of the attempts in DC Comics to have characters addressing the fact that they are living in a fictional universe. A multiverse. Full of time travel., dimensional leaking, and that there are many versions of themselves, sometimes contradictory, created by committee. The reality gets rebooted by comic book writes, editors, executives, and they are but fictional playthings. Doomsday Clock referred to this as living in the meta-verse, the Legion talked about realities being rebooted, Rebirth saw deleted characters return, wondering about their own reality, and Dark Metal tries to unite every reality together, simultaneously, with the 'everything happened, everything matters' mantra. There's a lot of it in DC Comics today, mostly in the Brian Bendis and Bendis-adjacent books – but I wasn't expecting Lois Lane to be the one to provide these realisations as heartbreaking and even uplifting allegories for our times. Let's dive in…. a few spoilers below.
Young Justice (written by Bendis with David F Walker and drawn by Scott Godlewski and Gabe Eltaeb) sees Bart West, Impulse, talking about his own dimensional and time travelling, dealing with being rebooted, wiped out and reborn. With some rather mentally-challenging consequences. Such as not even knowing his own age in this new reality.
When he did take a trip to the future, finding only the doom of himself and his friends…
…and ending up imprisoned by Old Lady Harley Quinn in the mental institution, Arkham Asylum.
Which is not exactly conducive to good mental health. Talking of which, Bendis also writes Superman #22, (drawn by Kevin Maguire, John Timms and Alex Sinclair) which has Superman going through a mental health check, after advice from Lois Lane, with Doctor Fate, and finding himself lacking, given everything that has happened to him of late.
And all the reboots too. But it's in Lois Lane #12, one of the Bendis-adjacent books but written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Mike Perkins and Andy Troy that this all comes together.
Lois Lane knows all about this, she is the product of two versions of herself that merged. One where she was single, one where she was married. One where she had a child, one where she did not. One where she was younger, one where she was older. Now, we don't know the details but I suspect that Lois Lane doesn't mention Wonder Woman and Clark never mentions Jonathan Carroll. Or that she buried his body under her lead-lined patio.
But the comic draws a parallel between this experience, having two lives, having trauma causes by being fractured, of losing continuity, with the experience of imprisoning immigrants into the United States Of America. Of having two lives, of being fractured and kept from one's family. And rather than just have it be used as analogy to talk about something else, they crash the two together. Narrating one to talk about the other.
The Lois Lane series has talked about modern America, politics and media, while using a few awkward superheroics along the way., With its final issue, it takes many of the issues it has raised in the series and joins them with the superheroes, the weird, the fantasy and the reality of living in a piece of fiction that reflects the world outside. Bravo.
LOIS LANE #12 (OF 12)
(W) Greg Rucka (A/CA) Mike Perkins
At the end of multiple investigations, Lois finds herself with the power to change – or destroy – the lives of everyone involved.In Shops: Jul 07, 2020
(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A) Kevin Maguire (CA) John Timms
With Superman's secret identity suddenly revealed to the world, many in his life are worried that he has been tricked or duped into destroying his own privacy! All the more worrisome is Superman has been very susceptible to mysticism. Could all this madness be magic related? It's time to call the doctor… Dr. Fate!In Shops: Jul 07, 2020
YOUNG JUSTICE #16
(W) Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) John Timms
Impulse unleashed! Bartholomew Henry Allen II has traveled to the edges of space and time-and along the way, he's discovered truths that he's kept from even his closest friends. Until now. The truth behind the legacy of Young Justice is revealed! What does tomorrow hold for Young Justice?In Shops: Jul 07, 2020