If you haven’t been reading Paul Cornell’s run on Action Comics, starring Lex Luthor, you’re missing some amazing comic writing. Following his experience as a Orange Lantern in Blackest Night, Lex Luthor sets out to locate and regain the power of the rings. On his journey, he has met a variety of DC villains including Deathstroke,Gorilla Grodd, Vandal Savage, the Secret Six, Mister Mind and, in this month’s issue, the Joker. Through it all he has been accompanied by Lois Lane. Not that Lois Lane. This book’s Lois Lane is a robot.
The idea of a evil, bald, power hungry mad scientist with a female robot could bring up memories of Dr. Evil and the Fembots from Austin Powers but Robot Lois has turned out to be one of the most delightful parts of Cornell’s run. She’s a funny, smart and an off-beat addition to the world of female DC characters. Here’s a look at Robot Lois including some thoughts from her writer Paul Cornell who kindly agreed to answer a few questions.
Created through a combination of two of the most powerful things in the Superverse —Braniac Kryptonian technology and real Lois Lane DNA — Robot Lois’ role is to push Lex and question him. But beyond being a counselor and guide, she’s also part girlfriend, part bodyguard and part cannon fodder in meet-ups with the villains. Gorilla Grodd, as he tends to do, attempted to eat her head.
A lot of the fun of Robot Lois is how unfazed she is by the situations Lex brings her into. It’s clear that no matter what the predicament, she’s able to come back from it. Instead of being off-put by what happens to her, you’re able to enjoy the lunacy of the situation. Robot Lois is also able to defend herself and Lex quite handily. No fembot machine gun jubblies here, Robot Lois is adept with firearms including pulling a gun on the Joker when she thinks he is threatening Lex.
Robot Lois is also, thanks to artist Pete Woods, a bit of a fashion plate stylishly dressed for every outing. Given some of the outfits the “real” Lois has worn lately, I wish this bit of Robot Lois would rub off on the real one.
But enough about my thoughts on Robot Lois, let’s hear from her writer, Paul Cornell.
DCWKA: How did you come up with the idea of Robot Lois?
PC: I think it was assistant editor Wil Moss’ idea, either him or my editor, Matt Idelson. Those two add so much to this title, it’s such a team book. It was basically the first idea on the table when I arrived.
DCWKA: Robot Lois is programmed to question Lex, to push him. Is there a specific moment where she most displays these qualities?
PC: I think it’s every time he looks like giving in to his needs over his intelligence. It’s there in the first issue, and gradually, as we’ve gone through the arc, it’s become clear that this can also work to Lex’s disadvantage, that she’s not always playing on his side. She’s not just his robot, she’s not just someone else’s robot, she’s her own robot. And that becomes very clear in the current issue, with the Joker.
DCWKA: I like that Robot Lois is so dead pan funny. Any favorite lines that you’ve written for her?
PC: Thank you! ‘None of your beeswax’ is one of my favourites. I have a very tough, very New York kind of Lois in mind.
DCWKA: When I bring up Robot Lois I get one question asked over and over — will Robot Lois ever meet the real Lois? I’ll leave how Lois would react to her writers, but how would Robot Lois handle it?
PC: I think that would be a very interesting meeting. But who knows whether it’ll ever happen? Robot Lois could handle it pretty well, I think. I mean, she’s prepared for it.
Thanks Paul. And as he said, Robot Lois is “her own robot” and the latest issue of Action shows that there is some hints into what her true role is. This issue is a good jumping on point for one of DC’s best books you should be reading.