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In Superman No. 42, released digitally and in comic stores tomorrow, Lois Lane will discover that Clark Kent is actually the Man of Steel.
But this won’t be the first time she’s been let in on the secret. Before the Lois Lane of today’s comic books gets to deal with the true identity of Clark Kent, here’s a quick guide to the other times Lois has uncovered the world’s biggest story.
Action Comics No. 484 (1978)
After years of attempts to uncover Superman’s secret identity (not to mention many “imaginary stories” where she managed it), the first “official” time that Lois discovered who Superman really was came as part of the characters’ 40th anniversary celebrations, with the “Earth-2” versions of the character — the originals that debuted in 1938, instead of their updated incarnations — finally figuring it out while Clark Kent had amnesia, leaving him unable to construct a ruse to distract her. All’s well that ends well, however: Lois not only engineers the return of Clark’s memory (a supervillain was involved, of course), but once Superman has been restored to full Superman-ness, he whisks Lois away to the Fortress of Solitude for a Kryptonian wedding ceremony as thanks.
Superman II (1981)
Proving that she is the world’s greatest reporter, Lois manages to engineer a number of risky scenarios that convinced her that there is more to Clark Kent than meets the eye, but it’s ultimately an accidental retrieval of his glasses from an open fire that convinces her that he’s actually Superman. As in Action Comics, this led to the two becoming romantically involved, but it wasn’t to last — by the movie’s end, Superman has erased Lois’ memory, convinced that she’s safer not knowing his secret.
Action Comics No. 662/Superman No. 53 (1990)
By the 1990s, the Clark Kent and Lois Lane of DC’s main continuity had been dating for some time, and had grown close enough that Clark thought it was time he told her his biggest secret. After her initial confusion, she realized that this just made her love Clark even more, and the two were eventually married — after a five-year delay that included Superman’s temporary death, all so that the comic book could more closely align with the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV show. (They’re still married now, even though they’ve been replaced in the central timeline following the September 2011 DC comic book relaunch.) And speaking of Lois and Clark…
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Season 2, Episode 22/Season 3, Episode 1 (1995)
You have to hand it to Lois: She knows when to drop the scoop for maximum effect. Responding to a marriage proposal at the end of the ABC series’ second season by revealing that she knew Clark’s double identity, it took months for her to reveal to both Clark and the audience how she’d worked it out. Thanks to the intervention of Clark’s adoptive parents, Lois got over her uncertainty about marrying an alien, and everything was finally set right. Well, until Clark accidentally married a fake Lois, but that’s another story.
All-Star Superman Nos. 1-2 (2006)
In the alternate timeline version of the Superman mythos created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Superman reveals his double identity to Lois when he discovers he is dying — only for her to ultimately choose not to believe him. “You do a really good Clark Kent impression … almost had me fooled,” she says, unable to accept the truth right in front of her eyes. Superman being Superman, he decides to let the matter drop — at least until he finds a way to beat death itself.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006)
At the end of the direct-to-DVD sequel to the 1990s animated series, Superman finally comes clean to Lois after saving her life from radiation poisoning caused by the eponymous villain. That it was literally his own tears that cured her radiation poisoning — spoilers, for those who haven’t seen a 9-year-old animated movie — is a fact that is perhaps best left unsaid, but on the plus side, at least it demonstrates that Superman is categorically, scientifically good for Lois.
Smallville Season 10, Episode 5 (2010)
Thanks to the format of The CW’s long-running series, Clark didn’t really get a chance to reveal that he was Superman to Lois — because he didn’t actually become Superman until the very end of the series. Instead, he’s the Blur, a relatively generic superhero who nonetheless has wowed the young Ms. Lane to the point where she’s been studying up on him, leading to her discovering Clark’s secret before he actually has a chance to tell her. But somehow, that feels somewhat fitting.
Man of Steel (2013)
Much like Smallville, Lois knew Superman before the traditional status quo was established in Zack Snyder‘s cinematic reboot of the mythos, but with an additional twist — she’s in part responsible for the Clark Kent that the audience knows and loves, with the movie’s epilogue strongly suggestion that she’s the one who came up with the unconvincingly clumsy, glasses-wearing reporter disguise in the first place.
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