Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lana Lang's Blues

I can't remember where or when I read it but I saw somewhere that new Supergirl writer Sterling Gates has plans to use Lana Lang as a supporting member of the supporting cast.

Quite frankly, I think it's brilliant move.

Lana Lang, since the Superman reboot of nearly twenty-five years ago, hasn't been given much to do. Sure, she was given the role of the lovelorn to Lois' go-getter but with every character firmly established as being well into their twenties, her role worn thin pretty quickly.

What she was given was Pete Ross, Clark & Lana's best friend from their days in Smallville. Pete simply was what he was: a good man. A good man who even went on to become President of The United States. While a good man, Pete Ross could never be Clark Kent, a Superman and ultimately, Lana left him in Smallville to raise their son named Clark by Lana.

Oh, yeah! Did I mention that she was once a Manhunter?

What we've gotten since the reboot of Superman was a character continuously in crisis, living with the fact the love of her life had moved on to greater heights, becoming virtually unreachable. Lana Lang had become a visual symbol a "flashback." That makes me sad.

So, why then am I so excited about Lana's becoming a member of Supergirl's cast of characters?

Supergirl's getting a cast of characters.

For over three years now, the problem with Supergirl has been... Supergirl. There's been no one in her life to bounce things off of. Her stories read more like monologues full of self-doubt, teen angst and insecurity. In short, her stories read like a diary. One I particulary don't want to read. Supergirl is sorta like Jessica Simpson lately. Completely gorgeous and should have everything going for her but what it comes down to is this: She's got more problems than a little bit and at the end of the day, I don't think I'd want to get inside her head.

I have no idea how Gates is planning to use Lana but I sincerely hope it's in a true supporting character capacity.

At Supergirl's core, she is simply a girl. Disconnected from everything she's ever known. Can you imagine being a pre-teen from another planet, waking up naked on another and the first human contact you have is with The Batman?!?

Can you imagine finding out everything and everone you knew is dead and gone except for the baby cousin you once held? Can you imagine the shock you must feel when that baby you once held is now a grown man and trying to tell you how to live your life? Can you imagine the feeling of being left behind, knowing that no place will ever be home again? That's Supergirl. That has been her lone inner monologue.

In Lana, I hope the character finds some sort common ground. Some kind of ease. Some sort of bond.

Throughout the misuse of Lana Lang as a character, one thing stands out in my mind. She is quietly one of DC's most ferocious of characters.

If you want to know who Lana Lang is, look no further than Superman #2.

Lex Luthor
wants to know the identity of the mysterious woman constantly showing up at Superman's every appearance. This woman is Lana Lang and Luthor kidnaps her and has her tortured so as to find a connection between her and the newly arrived Superman. This is a woman, who though fragile, would not give up his secret, she would not give up her best friend's name. Even though, in a sense, left her behind, she could never do that to him.

That, to me, makes her a soldier. Someone you want on your side. While Superman can carry worlds on his shoulders, this woman carries something greater every single day: his secret identity.

She has no superpowers or bulletproof bracelets or above-average skills to help her keep the secret, no, she's just a woman raised on a Kansas farm who does so out of love and respect for a friend.

More importantly, Lana Lang is a strong woman and mother and there's a lone girl who can outrace a comet who could really use someone like that.

Someone who, in many ways, is stronger than Superman.


ChrisM said...

I was encouraged by the news but 3 years worth of the sort of inert Supergirl comics has taken its toll..and I just dropped it. Early on, there was at least some art-stuff but as you said-its become Super Jessica Simpson.

I hope it improves...I like the character but reading Supergirl was brain numbing...

Unknown said...

This might be interesting because there's clearly something going on with Lana, what with her recent run-in with Supes over the whole Lexcorp Green-K stockpile in Superman/Batman.

DerekB said...

Isn't Lana Lang in the Legion as Insect Queen?? or has all the reboots erased that?