SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Action Comics #1002 by Brian Michael Bendis, Patrick Gleason and Alejandro Sanchez, on sale now!
The only thing Brian Michael Bendis loves more than swirling word balloons populating a comic page is a juicy mystery, filled with dark character motivations and last minute reveals. In Action Comics #1002, the writer hits readers with both in a tonal balancing act that has kept the plates spinning with very few wobbles. We are two issue into the “Invisible Mafia” story arc and the secondary plot regarding a series of arsons has spun out of The Man of Steel miniseries and is starting to unfold like a classic Bendis crime story.
The final page of Action Comics #1001 revealed that Lois Lane was back from her space adventures with her father-in-law and son and was working on a new project (a memoir, perhaps) with some potentially damning titles in regards to Clark Kent’s secret identity. In this issue, Superman discovers Lois is back and is operating incognito, ostensibly so she could work on her “tell-all” book without her X-ray vision-sporting husband reading through her shoulder. But why return in secrecy?
The Dangers of truth
The shady crime figure with occult leanings and a supervillain in his pocket, Mr. Strong has been working with the intrepid Daily Planet reporter, Robinson Goode, who probably knows Clark Kent is in fact the Man of Steel. Their meeting ends with Goode requesting a piece of Kryptonite from the mafioso. Now, this might be a bit of a stretch, but could Lois know about Goode being a double agent of sorts? It’s not completely out of reason. Who knows what she learned about the Kryptonian people and their history while she was off-planet (which we can only assume she was)?
Perhaps Lois saw something that convinced her the only way to save Clark Kent from the terrible hardship of being Superman was to expose him. If both men were widely known as the same person, then the need to keep the Clark Kent persona alive would be fruitless. This would, of course, free up some time, or at the very least put way less stress on their relationship. We know that not much can hurt Superman, but the thing he can’t live without is his family. But if the world knew Clark Kent was really Kal-El from the planet Krypton, would it paint a target on Lois’ back? If she really is penning a tell-all memoir, then this is clearly a risk Lois is willing to take.