DCAU #286: Sullivan's Girl Friend, Lois Lane

IN THIS ONE... A hypnotist allows a handyman to make Lois fall in love with him.

CREDITS: Written by David Michelinie; art by Neil Vokes and Ron Boyd.

REVIEW: Though it's played pretty sweetly, the story of a lonely guy who, in a moment of weakness, makes a compliant Lois Lane become his girlfriend, doesn't play very well in this consent-conscious era. When Lois is awakened from the hypnotic suggestion at the end of the story, she naturally feels humiliated and betrayed, but Ben Sullivan never had a chance, and though not creepy, he does come off as pathetic.

This is all the work of the Commander, a new villain with a terrible design, something like Apokolips' bellboy, and a powerful hypnotic power. He uses it interestingly at least, and provides a fair threat (though not so much that he can take control of Superman) in the background of the actual story. Sullivan is certainly a good guy, liked at work and helpful in his community, but he can't really handle Lois. She's too active, too curious, too bold. Even with a magical hold over her, he's still tongue-tied and exhausted by her. And I wish they'd have explored that more and made him break up with Lois because of some "be careful what you wish for" sentiment. Instead, Superman/Clark intimidates him into doing the right thing, which feels pretty self-serving coming from him.

The morality of this story just feels wrong, and the premise makes that unavoidable, perhaps, but there was still a way to make it say something about Lois instead of using her like a sex (or date) object.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: The Commander is original to this comic, as is the character of Ben Sullivan. The title of the story is derived from Lois' own series, "Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane", which lasted 137 issues from 1958 to 1974.

REREADABILITY: Medium - Kind of sweet, but wrong-headed.



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