Superman & Lois Easter Eggs are a Love Letter to Every Era of DC History

This text comprises Superman & Lois spoilers.

Superman & Lois Episode 11

For those who simply tuned in to Superman & Lois episode 11, “A Temporary Memory In-Between Cataclysmic Occasions” a couple of minutes in, and maybe with out having seen the earlier episodes, you may be forgiven for pondering that that is the truth is the pilot episode for a model new present in regards to the Man of Metal. Whereas each different Arrowverse superhero started life with a reasonably detailed origin story episode (or season!), by the point we first met Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane, each characters had been meant to be nicely established of their world and careers. The precise first episode of Superman & Lois reminded us that these two had been so “seasoned” that they’re already the mother and father of dual youngsters!

So there are nonetheless loads of inquiries to be requested in regards to the backstories of our title characters, and “A Temporary Memory In-Between Cataclysmic Occasions” is an enormous step in direction of that. Nevertheless it’s a lot greater than a “how did Lois and Clark meet/Clark’s first time in costume/Superman getting established in Metropolis” episode. It’s a real love letter to each of those characters, and one which efficiently encompasses everything of their 83 yr historical past.

Oh, and it manages to do all of that whereas ALSO nonetheless transferring the principle story of the season ahead properly. It’s an extremely versatile episode, and a high-quality piece of storytelling in its personal proper, making the well-worn beats of the Superman origin story really feel contemporary and important, with out shedding sight of all the things else the season must do.

Younger Clark Kent and the Fortress of Solitude

The opening of this episode, with younger Clark trudging by means of the arctic, carrying the sunstone and making an attempt to determine each his and its goal, is the primary of many nods to Richard Donner’s 1978 superhero movie masterpiece, Superman. Clark is even carrying the same purple examine flannel jacket to the one Jeff East wore in the same scene.

Jor-El

The idea of Jor-El as an AI that runs the Fortress of Solitude (in addition to the Fortress itself stemming from a Kryptonian artifact) additionally traces its roots again to Donner’s Superman movie. That was the primary time we obtained the notion that Clark needed to study his powers and alien heritage from the collected reminiscences of his organic father and his individuals, and it’s up to date properly right here.

Man of Metal

Clark’s first flight within the arctic, with Jor-El’s phrases ringing in his ears, nicely…once more, Donner’s Superman. However particularly the best way it’s introduced right here with Clark’s highly effective takeoff and unsteady first moments it feels rather a lot like the same second in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

The Fleischer Superman Costume

Whereas we did hear Superman say “my mother made it for me” within the first episode, right here we get to see extra of why that truly occurred. Clark’s present swimsuit undoubtedly looks like one thing barely alien, maybe the Kryptonian ceremonial put on it was hinted as being in Donner’s Superman (the primary place to make use of the “S” as a Kryptonian home crest), Man of Steel, and up to date DC Comics. However for almost all of Superman’s comedian e book historical past, it has all the time been the case that Martha made Clark’s swimsuit for him.

Superman & Lois splits the distinction, although, with Martha having made Clark’s first costume…one which occurs to look precisely like the primary display interpretation of Superman ever: the traditional Max Fleischer animated Superman shorts which first arrived in 1941. For those who haven’t seen these, please achieve this. They’re attractive. Spending extra time with that swimsuit on this episode is an actual deal with, and it’s an ideal illustration of why “much less is extra” with superhero costuming.

It even type of explains why the “S” on the unique swimsuit wouldn’t be the proper Kryptonian image that Clark and Supergirl put on within the current day: Clark in all probability helped her design it from reminiscence, for the reason that first time he would have seen his household crest was when the Jor-El hologram appeared to him within the Fortress!

Additionally, this may occasionally or might not have been intentional, however Martha telling Clark “go save the world” earlier than his first journey additionally occurs in J.J. Abrams never-filmed Superman screenplay, which regardless of it’s popularity, when it will get stuff proper, it actually will get it proper. I wrote about that in much more detail here.

First Day on the Job

The episode cheats ever so barely by reusing footage from the pilot with Superman catching the inexperienced PT cruiser and chatting with the residents of Metropolis. Nevertheless it’s value repeating that this can be a gloriously realized homage to the duvet of Superman’s first look in 1938’s Motion Comics #1. However everybody is aware of that, proper?

However right here we go one additional, with the revelation that this wasn’t a random flashback, it was really Clark’s first act in costume as Superman! Once more, a pleasant little tribute to Motion #1.

It’s a Chicken, It’s a Airplane…

Superman adjustments again into Clark in a cellphone sales space. I’m unsure at what level in Superman historical past that the “altering in a cellphone sales space” turned such an accepted bit of popular culture lore. It did occur in no less than one of many aforementioned Fleischer Superman cartoons, and sometimes within the comics themselves, and virtually NEVER in reside motion. In reality, Donner’s Superman even had a fast sight gag about this, when Christopher Reeve’s Clark is in search of a spot to vary for his first public act in costume, and provides a type of “trendy” (for 1978) non-enclosed cellphone cubicles a bemused look.

A passerby notes to Clark that Metropolis’ new hero flew “like a chicken or a airplane.” This in fact nods to the famed narration first popularized by The Adventures of Superman radio present (extra on that in a minute) and the Fleischer cartoons: “It’s a chicken! It’s a airplane! It’s…Superman!”

The Day by day Planet

We don’t spend a heckuva lot of time at The Day by day Planet on this present, however after we do it tries to seize the manic, bustling power that we noticed in Donner’s Superman (wow, that retains arising rather a lot…and with good motive).

Additionally, how good is Paul Jarrett as Perry White?

Lois Lane

Lois exhibiting Clark the ropes at The Day by day Planet is one thing that goes all the best way again to their earliest appearances. I’ll die on this hill: Lois is barely older than Clark, and can also be the extra skilled and higher reporter. Even with “all these powers” (the actual ones know) she’s no less than one step forward of Clark within the reporter recreation.

This one may not be intentional, however the montage of Lois and Clark on the job collectively jogs my memory very barely of a montage web page from John Byrne and Dick Giordano’s Man of Metal #2, the place Lois, making an attempt to trace down Superman throughout his early days in Metropolis, retains exhibiting up simply after he has left.

Lois and Clark staying late on the job has echoes of each the pilot episode of 1993’s Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and the “rooftop scene” from Donner’s Superman. It’s the former in that it’s the primary indication of a romantic attraction brewing between them (and important as a result of up till that time in historical past it was ALWAYS the case that Lois was drawn to Superman and never Clark). However there’s additionally a touch of the latter of their playful however cautious flirtation.

However that’s subverted additional with Lois’ unique interview with Superman. Simply as in Donner’s movie, Lois lands the primary unique interview with the Man of Metal (there it was in personal for later print publication, right here it’s on TV). However once more, Lois isn’t thinking about Superman, as a result of she’s already in love with Clark. It utterly eliminates the outdated “love triangle” the place “Clark loves Lois, however Lois loves Superman, however Superman desires to be cherished as Clark” which has been a staple of the legend for years. This isn’t a nasty factor, thoughts you.

Another factor from that beautiful night scene with Lois and Clark working late: when Clark is on the brink of go away, Lois asks him “what’s your hurry?” In Superman II, when Lois was suspecting the reality about Clark, she requested him “What’s your hurry, Superman?”

Atom Man

OK, the inclusion of Atom Man is a few subsequent stage stuff. The character first appeared in 1945 on The Adventures of Superman radio present. There, he was “Heinrich Milch” (therefore the “Henry Miller” of this episode), a Nazi empowered by Kryptonite in his bloodstream.

We met a distinct Atom Man within the second Superman film serial in 1950, the appropriately titled Atom Man vs. Superman. There, Atom Man was the alter ego of Lex Luthor. Considered one of lately I’m going to get round to writing about Columbia’s Superman serials, however at present isn’t a type of days.

The Atom Man we meet right here is predicated on the visible design from Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru’s EXCELLENT (significantly, I can’t stress sufficient how completely nice this e book is) Superman Smashes the Klan. That Atom Man was based mostly on the “Henry Miller” model of the character, and thus the racist nonsense spouted by tonight’s villain is acceptable.

One different cool factor about using Yang/Gurihiru’s Atom Man? In Superman Smashes the Klan, Supes is rocking a model of his costume that appears very very similar to the Fleischer swimsuit. The oldsters on Superman & Lois know precisely what they’re doing. One callback to the film serial model? It appears that evidently Henry Miller is bald and stocky, very similar to the very first screen Lex Luthor Lyle Talbot was in Atom Man vs. Superman. It’s like an Easter egg singularity!

Now FLY (don’t stroll) to your native comedian store to purchase a replica of Superman Smashes the Klan which, in what’s going to in all probability be my remaining point out of The Adventures of Superman radio present for tonight, is loosely based mostly on a DIFFERENT journey from the radio present. Anyway, it’s nice and the very best Superman story to hit comics in roughly a decade or so. Thank me later.

Morgan Edge, Tal-Rho, and Zeta-Rho

This episode continues and reinforces the “nature vs. nurture” debate round Morgan Edge that started final week. Right here, the mirroring of his journey with Clark’s is made much more pronounced. Clark was given good steerage by Jonathan and Martha, and people classes had been solely strengthened by Jor-El, whereas Tal-Rho simply had these impulses amplified by Zeta-Rho in his desert fortress. Jor-El despatched his solely son to flee a dying planet within the hopes that he might assist one other one. Zeta-Rho despatched his solely son to revive a dying planet on the expense of a vibrant one.

The “headband” that Tal-Rho is utilizing to insert himself into Superman’s reminiscences (and Supes has an identical one) looks like a refined nod to the truth that headbands had been the peak of Kryptonian vogue within the comics from the late Forties till John Byrne’s reboot in 1986.

The apparently profitable “turning” of Superman on the finish of the episode had higher be a purple herring. This present has faked us out so many occasions in its remaining moments, I actually can’t think about they’re gonna do one thing as apparent as giving us an “evil Superman” for even one episode.

Different Cool Kryptonian Artifacts

When Clark returns to Smallville and tries to fulfill up with Lana, there are two movies taking part in on the theater: one is an instalment within the Harry Potter franchise. The opposite is Friday Night time Lights, the film that impressed the TV present that has been a surprisingly robust affect on a lot of elements of Superman & Lois.

For the Smallville followers, there’s a “Teague’s” sporting items retailer seen on the road, as nicely, presumably a nod to Jensen Ackles’ Jason Teague character from season 4 of that collection.

Sure, Lois does certainly name John Henry Irons on the finish of the episode. Metal is coming again!

Was anybody capable of catch the names of the books on Clark’s nightstand? They seem like outdated sci-fi paperbacks, however I couldn’t inform for certain.

I didn’t spot any important names in Clark’s yearbook, however I’m outdated and my eyes are going, so in the event you noticed something, please let me know within the feedback!

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