Friday, December 16, 2011

Quit it, Silver Age!

Actually, I can't even blame the Silver Age for this one: from 1976, Superman Family #178, "The Girl with the Heart of Steel" Written by Cary Bates, art by Kurt Schaffenberger; and I'm positive this wasn't a rebuttal to the Bionic Woman. Sure it wasn't...ok, it says "Lois becomes a Bionic Girl" right on the cover, never mind.

While a UFO lands near Smallville, Lois Lane is already in the area to interview Professor Mathers of S.T.A.R. Labs. The word 'cyberneticist' may not have existed at the time, but Mathers had made great strides in the field, fitting a trained chimp with bionic limbs, eyes, and ears. His work has progressed to the point that he was ready for human tests, and Lois volunteers.

A week later, Lois and Perry White are back in Smallville to follow up on mysterious sightings: Lois is trying to talk Perry into giving the OK for her getting bionics. Perry's against it, but when Lois is forced off the road by the sudden appearance of a mysterious machine; she reveals she's already done it. Lois now has bionic parts even in her brain, giving her super-strength, super-speed, and other powers not traditionally associated with bionics like a force-field.

Why would Lois do something like that...besides a history of terrible decisions, rash behavior, and impulsive jumps to action? Well, she remembers a date with Superman, where he seemed near to proposing...before some thugs tried to gun her down. Supes claims he wouldn't be able to "work efficiently" if he was worried about her; and Lois thinks he'll never pop the question if he thinks she's endangered.

The next day, Lois and Perry continue their investigation, as weird robots continue rushing through Smallville. Also, Lois stops an attempted assassination--of a city council member. In Smallville, which had more crime than Gotham some days. Superman is impressed, and warms up to Lois again...

...just in time for Lois to realize her implants are replacing more and more of her human parts. Now hideous, Lois refuses to stay in the lab, since she has to continue her investigation. The townspeople think she's another of the robots, but Perry recognizes her (frankly hideous) dress.

Lois finds the UFO, which was a probe sent to investigate Superboy: based on it's old information, it thought Supes would still live in Smallville. The probe is friendly enough, and while it can talk to Lois's new bionic mind, it also knows she's unhappy. Fortunately, the probe is also advanced enough to reverse her transformation. Superman helps the probe out, and Lois confesses she was losing her emotions as she became a robot. Yeah, that's why, not because she was becoming an uggo.

For good measure, this issue also featured a recap of prior Lois robots. So, so weird...

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