Gwenda Bond and Lois Lane Save the Day

Lois Lane has always been a bit of a personal hero of mine. Not being a DC comics reader as a child, I didn’t meet her until the wonderfully cheesy Adventures of Lois and Clark. Teri Hatcher’s Lois was gutsy, feisty, and the queen of the eyeroll. She was a woman who didn’t hesitate to do what was right no matter what and who bulldozed right on past Dean Cain’s Clark like the small town farm boy he was. A few years later my love of Lois Lane deepened with Superman: The Animated Series. She was even tougher and more defiant, a journalist who took on danger with a laugh. She wasn’t a Strong Female Protagonist or an Action Girlfriend, but she was independent and intelligent.

These Loises were everything Amy Adams’ (or should I say Zack Snyder’s) Lois isn’t. They weren’t reduced to sex object or damsel in distress. It breaks my heart to see Lois brought so low by the DCEU. Fortunately, Gwenda Bond has the cure for my Lois Lane blues.

Arriving in Metropolis after a childhood spent on the move (thanks to her father’s high-level military job), Lois finds herself in wholly unfamiliar surroundings. New city, new home, and a new school beget new friends, a new job as a reporter, and a new romance with a boy she only knows online. Lois intends to stay out of trouble for once, but when she takes on bullying in Fallout, she ends up in way over her head. In Double Down, Lois’ next journalistic breakthroughs come in the form of a mad scientist experimenting on innocent civilians and James’ father and disgraced former mayor trying to clear his name.

By the time Triple Threat rolls around, the bad guys are coming at her from all fronts by sending superpowered teenage runaways after her. Throughout all this, Lois and her kinda sorta online boyfriend SmallvilleGuy (yep, exactly who you think he is) are trying to protect the mysterious “flying man” from capture by her father.

When Gotham first premiered, I was pretty excited about it. What sounded like an intriguing exploration into pre-Batman Gotham through the eyes of a young Jim Gordon ended up being a Batman prequel without any of the things that make Batman or his villains interesting. Gordon is sidelined in his own show by wee Bruce, a boy who lacks the compelling qualities of older Bruce or the drama of Batman. Gwenda Bond steers clear of Gotham’s pitfalls. Where the show forgot to include the elements that make up the soul of a Batman story, Bond makes sure to keep Lois true to the character, even if she is only a kid.

Think of Bond’s Lois Lane series not as canon but instead like officially sanctioned fanfic. It’s more “what if” than “Origin Story™.” And as someone who reads a preposterous amount of fanfic and often prefers its unbridled creativity to the rigid limitations of corporate-sponsored canon, I loved nearly everything about this series.

Bond gets everything right about Lois. To Bond, our intrepid reporter is “tough, but she’s vulnerable. She’s smart, but she doesn’t always think about taking care of herself because she’s more interested in justice. She gets in trouble because she’s not afraid to get in trouble, which is what superheroes do.” In Bond’s hands, Lois Lane is Veronica Mars with a dash of Nancy Drew. She’s tenacious and headstrong with a romantic streak and an open mind. Bond buttresses the difficult moments with trust and respect, allowing Lois to fully experience, process, and learn from her emotions and situations.

Beyond everything there is to admire about Lois, the rest of the story is refreshingly light and the characters well-rounded. The adventures of Lois, SmallvilleGuy, and her Metropolis pals are like something out of, well, ‘90s television. The series is fun and engaging on all levels. It’s honest in its approach to teenagers, letting their foibles, contradictions, and irritations come to the surface while also pointing them out for what they are. Lois’ tempestuous relationship with her parents, her cautious connection with her friends, and her all-consuming budding romance with her beau are circumstances most teenagers can relate to.

And sure, the series isn’t perfect. While Bond is a talented writer, she falls back on too much telling and not enough showing. There’s a lot of superfluous descriptions that amount to little more than a longer word count, and the exposition can be pretty text-heavy. Add to that having not quite enough plot stitched together by too many contrived coincidences and the narrative flow can get bogged down enough to make the books feel slower than they really are. I’d also like to see more diversity in the main cast. But what lies beneath all that are stories of courage under pressure and characters with heart. The action is exciting, the plots twisty, the interpersonal relationships heartfelt, and the characters realistic. In short, I love this series. I can’t tell if a fourth book is in the works or not, but I hope to Hera it is. I need more of Gwenda Bond’s Lois.

I think what I love most about Bond’s Lois Lane series is what it offers young women. Here’s a girl hero their own age fighting for truth and justice and standing up to the bad guys. She fights with her strengths—curiosity, cleverness, and courage—and relies on the teamwork of her friends, family, and allies.

On the big screen girls have Wonder Woman kicking ass and saving the day, and on paper they have Lois Lane. Where Wondy has sheer strength and an unwavering sense of duty, Lois is fallible yet eager. Diana is what they can strive for, and Lois is learning to work with what they have. But both are inspirations. Imagine being a teenage girl growing up in a world with these kinds of women as your models.

The Lois Lane Series—Fallout, Double Down, and Triple Threat—are available from Switch Press.

Alex Brown is a teen librarian, writer, geeknerdloserweirdo, and all-around pop culture obsessive who watches entirely too much TV. Keep up with her every move on Twitter and Instagram, or get lost in the rabbit warren of ships and fandoms on her Tumblr.

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