Friday, June 2, 2017


They like to watch.

A meaningful warning may be made of the lesson learned in the story, "The Phantom Lois Lane," originally published in Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane vol.1 No.33 (May 1962), which is -- watch it, because Lana Lang will straight up send your ass to the Phantom Zone.

Enh, she has her moments.
The story begins -- and resolves with -- Superman bringing his best girls some brooches from space. BROOCHES FROM SPAA-A--A-AACE! Glittering with the properties of "unusual alien metals," the Man of Steel also has a third one, which sends Lois and Lana into some idle pondering about the third recipient. Then things get gruesome.

After tricking Lois into reading a bit of a fabricated script, depicting a woman reluctantly leaving her man, Lana reveals that she's scored the Phantom Zone Projector from Superman's Fortress of Solitude, and even I feel embarrassed by how dumb those words sound when they're all laid out in a string. I've been doing this for too long. I should try reading a book one of these days.

In the Phantom Zone, Lois can watch Lana cackling and crowing about having removed one of her rivals from play. She can also watch Jimmy Olsen on the toilet, if she wants. This is a thing that I always disliked about the Phantom Zone, how they could just loom in nether-space and watch absolutely everything everywhere all the time. If they had cameras, they could make the Fappening look like a Sunday School Easter play. Don't make me spell it out.

"...Lana does drugs!"
Lois also gets to watch helplessly as Lana descends to Atlantis ("I'm certain Atlantis is below" thinks Lana, bolted into a deep-sea diver suit and lowered into the deepest part of the ocean, on a hunch). Superman's mermaid girlfriend, Lori Lemaris -- a pretty passionate character when she was first introduced, relegated to a fairly bland role in the Silver Age Superman universe, where she primarily played a chaste deus ex machina for any undersea disaster befalling the Superman Family -- also gets zapped into the Phantom Zone. At least Lois has someone to talk to.

Feigning concern over Lois and Lori's fate, Lana manages to nonetheless command Superman's full affection -- even though Superman sees through her scheme. See, he'd earlier given Lana and Lois matching fur coats, and now Lana has TWO fur coats! She's obviously guilty, no one would ever own two coats. Men have gone to the chair for less.

It turns out that the unusual alien metal had some kind of make-you-evil property, which is a likely story but I don't want to ruin any of Lana's future attempts to savagely merk Lois. "Ooh, the brooch made me evil, probably!" Superman frees Lois and Lori, and everyone is sort-of happy about the whole affair I guess? Lori spends a lot of the episode sitting on an armchair in Lois' apartment. Also, she doesn't even get a brooch for herself, that last one was for Supergirl. Bogus.

While everything resolves soundly, I'd like to suggest that the evil perpetrated by Lana Lang couldn't have manifested itself out of whole cloth. Somewhere in Lana Lang lurks the shadow of a woman who will blast a rival into an other-dimensional hellscape just so she doesn't have to go to dinner alone. Hell, it makes me kind of like her better, knowing that.

Five minutes later, they sent each other to the Phantom Zone.

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