Lois Lane has been part of Superman’s world from the very beginning. First appearing in 1938’s Action Comics #1 alongside the Man of Steel, the Daily Planet’s ace reporter has been a core character for nearly 80 years, evolving from “Superman’s Girlfriend” (or one leg of a love triangle between Clark/Lois/Superman, or Lois/Superman/Lana Lang) to crime-fighting investigative journalist. Along the way she finally married Superman — who by now she knew was Clark Kent in disguise — and they made an incredible team.
But with the New 52 reboot, all of that was gone. Gone was the marriage, the relationship, and, to a large degree, even the spark: Lois, no longer infatuated with Superman, dated other guys, while the Man of Steel got close to Wonder Woman. DC Comics’ Rebirth, though, brought back the Lois and Clark of old, and along with them their son Jonathan Kent, a new Superboy. This represented a shift and an evolution for Lois that may be far greater than even the creators behind these stories had anticipated; Lois is now a stronger character than she’s ever been.
While modern fans rightly roll their eyes at early incarnations of Lois as a lovestruck young woman and mere accessory to Superman, when the New 52 untethered her from Kal-El’s orbit her newfound independence ironically diminished her stature both in comics and in the in-story events of the DCU. Lois was no longer an integral part of Clark/Superman’s life, and with their romantic interest in each other all but removed from the comics, her presence was practically interchangeable with any number of strong female supporting characters Clark has interacted with over the years. And with less interaction with Superman came less access to the superhero community at large.
Compare that with now.
Since the beginning of Rebirth, Lois Lane has been presented not only as the equal of Clark Kent, matching him Pulitzer for Pulitzer, and if anything shown as the more exceptional of the two, but is increasingly seen as the equal of Superman.
After all, who could forget this scene from Superman #5?
What changed? Most fundamentally, the presence of Jon Kent. Fighting for truth and justice is one thing, but motherhood has given Lois a more visceral cause. She will protect her son at all costs; in a superhero world, that sometimes means becoming a superhero. The first arc of Trinity, written by ongoing Superman writer Peter Tomasi, also shows Lois being essentially accepted into the club.
Tomasi is no stranger to writing family of superheroes. His acclaimed run on Batman and Robin (and follow-up series) fleshed out the relationship between Bruce and Damian Wayne, exploring how the fact of their father/son dynamic affected their costumed exploits. In Superman, he delves even further into what it looks like to raise a super-kid. This time, with a mom who’s not a supervillain!