Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lois and Lex Sitting in a Tree--K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

"Lois Lane, Gun Moll" deserves to be read simply because a story with a title like that should be considered required reading simply because it has that title.

Written by the always-imaginative Bill Finger and illustrated by Kurt Schaffenberger, the story first appeared in Lois Lane #28 (October 1961), though I own it as a reprint in Lois Lane #68 (Sept-Oct 1966). It begins with an eccentric inventor trying to convince Perry White he has invented a ray that can turn a person from good to evil. Perry dismisses him as a crank--which is always a potential mistake in a Comic Book Universe. 

The inventor, in a fit of pique, turns the ray on Lois, who immediately mashes Perry's cigar into his face, forms a criminal gang while taking on the identity of The Leopard Lady, kidnaps her own sister, uses a chunk of kryptonite to ward off Superman and takes up smoking.

It's a wonderfully silly premise. Schaffenberger's art is really what makes it work. The instant Lois turns evil, she gets this sort of contemptuous sneer on her face that completely sells us on on the concept.

Anyway, she's not satisfied with robbery and kidnapping. She soon decides to take a step up in criminal society by marrying arch-criminal Lex Luthor. The ceremony is performed by a kidnapped preacher behind a kryptonite-based force field, so one might question its legality. But then, Lex and Lois aren't really that concerned with legalities.

It's really a wise move on Lois' part when you think about it. She does move up in her chosen profession and she doesn't have to change any monogrammed clothing she might have.

Well, it all turns out to be a trick--Luthor had kidnapped the real Lois and replaced her with an evil robot. Lex himself in disguise played the eccentric professor. So Perry was right--the "turn someone evil" ray was a fake. It's the robot so well-made that it at least initially fools a man with super-senses and x-ray vision that's real.

The story doesn't explain why the robot fools Superman for a short time. The implication is that it must have been human-looking down to a molecular level and even exuded normal body odor. But Lex is one of the foremost scientists and inventors in the DC universe and he had a lot of experience building robots, so we'll give this to him.

Anyway, Superman tumbled to the scheme when he saw Lex light a cigarette for Lois and saw she didn't react in pain when Lex accidentally burned her cheek with his lighter. He finds and rescues the real Lois and melts down the robot with his heat vision. That's another wonderful moment, as we get an hilarious two-shot of Lex's thugs (who apparently weren't in on the plan) reacting in horror when Superman apparently executes Lois in a brutal fashion.

So why did Lex do all this? For no other reason than he wants to see Superman suffer. When Lex Luthor gets mad at someone, he stays mad at someone.

That's it for now. Next week, we'll get a remind of just how much the Lone Ranger depends on his horse to get things done.

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