Closing the Door

Closing the Door

I’m going to come right out and admit it right now. Sometimes—okay, most of the time—my desire to see characters interacting with each other trumps my desire to see them bashing in the heads of the new baddie. Blame it on the fact that I’m a girl, I don’t care. I just happen to think that the human (well, most of the time it’s human) interaction says just as much about the character as what means they use to send the bad guy off the Penitentiary X.

Before I go any further, I should probably get all everything out in the open now. So, keep the following things in mind when reading what lies ahead:

I, by no means, claim to know the inner workings of the Kryptonian body.
I haven’t read Last Son in its entirety.
I know that All-Star Superman isn’t in continuity. That doesn’t mean I can’t wish and hope.
I have more than one Clark/Lois fan fiction to my credit. I refuse to let J. Michael Strayzinski anywhere close to my favorite comic book couple.
I hold fast to my belief that Jor-El is capable of being wrong.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me drop the main purpose of this rant on you, and I’ll be sure to get straight to the point. I read Action Comics Annual #11 and the piece of dialog that irked me the most was Jor-El telling Clark—once and for all—that he couldn’t have children with Lois biologically. From the moment I read that panel, I’ve been furiously thinking up ways to retcon that piece of now-continuity.

I have no doubt that there are two separate camps out there on this subject, whether they like to acknowledge their existence or not—those who would like to see Clark and Lois have the potentially super-powered child, and those who would not. Obviously, I belong to the “yes” group.

But why have Jor-El definitively tell Clark that it’s impossible? For years, whenever the mention of children comes up, a multitude of excuses have been used. Clark has always been concerned for Lois’s welfare, and that is a perfectly normal reaction considering how a half-Kryptonian child could mess with the human body. They’ve also discussed their jobs, both of them as journalists who constantly catch the eye of baddies as well as his other job as Superman, and how a child would change their lives. They’ve done fine on their own at coming up with excuses not to have children, but there has always been the undercurrent in the back of readers’ minds (sometimes so far back that many of them aren’t aware that it exists) that it is a possibility someday.

The cloning of Clark to create Conner Kent (Superboy) is proof that Kryptonian and human genes can be combined to form another living person—or has the Superboy/Superman lawsuit caused DC to completely forget everything in reference to continuity? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the human gene actually needed as a “stabilizer” in order for the cloning process to work in the first place? If that’s the case, then it would be possible for Kryptonian and human genes to combine to form another life. Frankly, I’m ashamed that DC has forgotten its own science.

In All-Star Superman, Supes is smart enough to replicate his own DNA so that he can give Lois a child before he dies. Yes, I know that the Continuity Police are barking at my door right now. I hope I’m not the only person who likes the smarter, more thoughtful Superman. I don’t know how he would fit in with the rest of the current continuity, but I’d still like for the writers to try. That Clark would take Jor-El’s words as a challenge to find a way to make it work, I think.

I have this sneaking suspicion, see, that Lois wants her own child more than she ever lets on. We don’t see or hear about it because she knows how Clark feels and that she would be fighting a losing battle. And when Chris came along, I think it only heightened her desire for a child. For the time he was with them, I think he showed Clark and Lois both what it would be like if they were parents. Not to say that Clark doesn’t want to have a child of his own as well, but I think he’s also had more time to process the possibility that fatherhood would never be in the cards for him. Even before Jor-El dropped the bomb, I think Clark had already decided—for Lois’ safety if nothing else—that Lois having a half-Kryptonian child would be too dangerous.

Last Son is on my reading list, for no other reason than I want to know more about the red sun watch that Chris wore to keep him from using his powers on a daily basis. Wouldn’t a red sun watch, with some adaptations, work in the opposite way to make a pregnancy safer for her?

I know, I know. I’m being a total girl and obsessing over the subject of a pregnancy that might very well never happen. The point I’m trying to make though, is that before the all powerful words of Jor-El, there was still a possibility—though a small one—that it could happen. I think back to That Healing Touch, by Greg Rucka and Geoff Johns, where Mr. Mxylptlk shows Clark what he could be missing out on by giving up on the possibility of having a child with Lois. The possible future that is shown, where Lois and Clark have a daughter named Lara Lane-Kent made me salivate in wanting a SuperDaughter, mostly because she was such a great mixture of her parents.

I beg of the DC editorial people to rethink their direction. Even if they don’t actually have a biological child, at least make an effort to establish the possibility once more. The perfect opportunity is coming up, especially now that Lois’s life is hanging in the balance and Clark is traveling far and wide to save her. Any small change to her physiology that enables her to live could also change her ability to conceive a child with Clark. What a surprise that would be, right after the end of the world that is certain to happen during Final Crisis.

By Mandy Stegall

I have the Question

Dr. Norge has Hawkman.

The Sensei has Robin.

I…well, I have The Question.

I figured my first order of business as a blog writer for Raging Bullets needed to be an introduction of sorts. But when it comes to introductions, I’m sure no one wants to be bored with my day job as an English teacher or my residence in an Illinois town best known for having a toilet factory until recently and home of the tallest totem pole east of the Mississippi River. The website is about comic books, after all.

My secret origin in the world of comic books comes from being a devout viewer of Smallville. While perusing the Smallville fansite Kryptonsite (, I kept seeing references to a Superman comic book that told a modernized origin of the Man of Steel, much like what was being told on Smallville. That would was entitled Birthright, and because I’m a nerd and inherently curious, I sought out the book. Perhaps because I already had a good deal of knowledge about Superman (I vaguely remembered hearing about his death in the 90s), he quickly became my go-to character and I started to seek out more stories about the Big Blue Boy Scout. I searched high and low, many times finding books on eBay so that I could feed this new passion.

And then, I picked up a hardcover book called Infinite Crisis. My comic book reading up to this point was completely made up of Superman trades, and much of what was included in the book confused me because of all the history involved. Once again, I was curious and started to seek out books that would help fill in the gaps. I wasn’t always able to get what I needed because of budget constraints, so I sometimes had to rely on the Internet to satisfy my curiosity.

So how did I go from Superman freak to The Question? It was the 52, Volume One. I had absolutely no idea who Renee Montoya was when I started reading the book. Come to think of it, I didn’t know who many of the characters in the book were, or what significance they had to the DC Universe. As I kept reading my way through 52, she quickly became my favorite character in the series. And when she made her first appearance as The Question, I jumped for joy.

The allure of Renee as The Question for me is that she got her start as a hero at the same time that I was lunging headlong into comic books. She was a character that, as a hero, I could essentially follow from the beginning. I have, of course, since gone back and read all her previous appearances—Gotham Central: Half a Life comes to mind immediately. I know there’s still much more to read, and I’m slowly getting there.

I have since expanded my horizons. My pull list is evolving every month, and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m up to date with what’s going on in the DC Universe. But I don’t for one second think that I’m any kind of expert. This blog is going to be a learning experience for me, and I’m sure everyone will find holes at one time or another. So if you have something to recommend, let me know. I’ll do my best to give it a try and let you know what I think. One thing I don’t want to do is limit myself to a specific topic with this blog. Sean and Jim have been nice enough to let me have an outlet for my curiosity here, so I invite them to hand out suggestions (or editorial mandates) whenever they wish.

By Mandy Stegall


Hi everyone. I’m Mandy (supermandy on the forums, though I don’t make it over there very often), the author of Life in the Gutter. I live in west central Illinois and work as a high school English teacher and student newspaper advisor as my day job. My love affair with comics is only about a year and a half old, and I only started buying monthlies in the last few months. But I have an addictive personality, so I tend to search for all possible information on a subject once I’m interested.

Life in the Gutter is simply my way of telling everyone my view of comic books, as it’s probably much different from those of you who have been reading for many years. I’ll give my opinion, and you can certainly tell me whether or not you agree; I won’t hold it against you. Comments can be sent to me at