Superman 654 is one of those comics that has been tattooed into my brain. I can remember everything about it since I read it well over a decade ago. It’s a shining example of everything I could want out of a Superman comic. This one is written by the Master Kurt Busiek, beautifully drawn by Carlos Pacheco, inked by Jesus Merino, colored by Dave Stewart, with lettering by Comicraft.
This issue is Busiek solo right after he and Geoff Johns teamed up to relaunch the Superman books co-writing the Up, Up and Away during the One Year Later story campaign. I LOVE this era on the Superman titles. Bold, fun, unique stories that honor the character’ pasts while pushing them forward in a DC era I call my own.
So what is this issue all about? Well, its a charming little one and done which starts the ball rolling on Busiek’s chunky run on the title while also telling a complete story. It’s all about Lois and Clark’s “Special Day” – the first time that he as Superman held Lois in his arms, flying high above the City. Shit gets cute, y’all.
Friends and fans of my writing should know by now that Peter Parker & Mary Jane Watson are my favorite comic book couple but Supes and Lois are right behind them (fending off Kyle Rayner & Donna Troy). I crave cute, romantic Lois & Clark scenes like a ragged desert wanderer craves a cool glass of water. That Busiek starts his run off with just that is genius!
The issue is framed by Clark’s inner monologue throughout the day as he tries to be the superhero and the reporter. Another reason I love this issue so much is that it has my ALL TIME FAVORITE artistic rendition of Lois Lane. Carlos Pacheco puts his own short hair style on the character & really unleashes Lois’ power and sexuality throughout the issue. His rendition of her is so wholly unique, it is one that strongly stands out in my mind for the character.
It starts with Lois waking up to a big ol’ breakfast and card for their special day but duty calls for Big Blue and he is out doing the superhero thing. I love Clark’s narration about Mondays here. Busiek is amazing at giving a relatable voice for Superman
Superman takes on Neutron who alludes to even more trouble relating to Intergang and its boss Bruno Mannheim. We also get the first appearance in modern day of the 31st century’s “Science Police”. See how I said how good Busiek is in this run of using classic elements but in a fresh way.
We then flash to the Daily Planet. Again, I love how great Busiek is at writing “Clark”. He excels at writing his whole supporting cast as well, like Perry White.
We then see Clark attempt to do all the smaller reporting jobs Perry has stuck him with so he can get the big jobs relating to the women of his past. Its a pretty fun few pages of Clark attempting to do the boring reporter work while also juggling all the various sensational jobs Superman must tackle. The worst part is – HE MISSES HIS SPECIAL DAY LUNCH DATE JUST LIKE BREAKFAST!!!
We then see Superman track down more of Intergang until he comes upon their boss – classic Kirby villain, Bruno “Ugly” Mannheim. But instead of a sharp dressed thug working for Darkseid, Busiek again refreshes the old by making Mannheim super-sized and powered up by some mysterious benefactor and a device called the “Catastrosphere”(God, I love comics), before he is teleported away.
After all that, Clark has no time left to do the rest of the tasks Perry saddled him with. Day turns to night and a defeated Clark realizes he has lost those big stories, not to mention having his special day with Lois ruined. We return the defeated Clark to his apartment…
And here is where the issue gets………………….SPICY!!
Lois awaits in the sexiest outfit we’ve ever seen on her. Candles adorn the room. Champagne is cooling nearby. Clark in his typical Smallville way, becomes flustered and bashful. We see that Lois knows what hes been dealing with all day and she says its only fair after he saves everyone so much, that she get to save him. All this sexy setup PLUS she went and finished all of his reporting grunt work, saving him the big stories he wanted and making the day a success after all. Lois then puts on his big overcoat and he takes her in hand. They start floating above it all and we get the anniversary reveal. Lois professes her love and Clark’s inner narration tells us how he feels about her. It is super sexy, fun, in character and so godamn cute. I love these two. I love their relationship, their marriage. They are the perfect couple and this issue really shows us why. Not only is this the sexiest Lois Lane we have ever had in comics by Pacheco, its the most caring and adorable Lois done by Busiek. And thats just the perfect ingredients coming together for an alltime Comfort Food Comic.
Extra Bonus: The original art of the page of Lois & Clark getting together after he comes back to the apartment was too hot to be printed apparently.
Extra EXTRA Bonus: Because I loved this issue so much and it means so much to me personally, I was lucky enough to get in contact with Carlos Pacheco and get an original art commission recreating the scene. Here it is: