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February 18, 2017

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends, Whitehorse Star.
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Bookends: The Adventures of a Young Lois Lane

By Dan Davidson

December 14, 2016fallout

– 668 words –

 

Fallout

By Gwenda Bond

Switch Press

303 pages

$10.77

e-book edition $8.49

 

There’s been lot of character juggling going on in the DC universe over the last few years. When the corporation re-booted its entire line in an experiment called “the new 52”the world in which Lois Lane and Clark Kent had been married for over a decade vanished. The younger, less experienced versions of both characters remained friends and competitive colleagues, but the romance was gone. Other relationships took its place and eventually the new Superman lost most of his powers, and finally regained them long enough to fight a final battle before dying (again).

All this is simply to say that people have been playing with these characters in many ways for many years, and that within the DC multiverse, with at least 52 permutations, there may be a universe like the one Gwenda Bond is writing about.

Most current variations on the theme of Lois and Clark have the pair not meeting until they are both adults, when Clark is just beginning using his alter ego after having spent some time travelling around the world after high school, but Bond has decided that they have a link that begins online while they are teenagers.

Lois Lane, troublesome army brat, has recently moved to Metropolis with her family, there to get a new start on life, preferably one where she makes some normal friends, doesn’t get expelled from school, and generally keeps a low profile.

Fat chance, right? That just not Lois.

Her new high school has a group of students who call themselves the Warheads, and they seem determined to recruit or destroy other students to their group, a group which dresses alike, sounds somewhat alike and can actually complete each others’ sentences.

Lois befriends a girl who is being bullied by this group. It gets complicated. Some of the students – the Warheads, to be exact – have been enrolled in a secret extra-credit study group which meets under the auspices of a organization called Advanced Research Laboratories

In another strand of the story, she signs on for a student internship at the Daily Planet, and becomes part of her own group of would-be cub reporters, who have been assigned by Perry White the task of finding something really worthwhile to investigate.

While there is no stated connection to the tales of Superman, there are strong hints of plots that might require the big guy’s attention later on, and Lois’ extensive email correspondence with the friend she knows only as SmallvilleGuy is, of course, a major clue.

A portion of the climactic action in the story takes place in a virtual reality in which avatars battle for points. ARL has been using virtual reality scenarios and some augmented psychic abilities to create a cadre of perfectly obedient, focussed fighters. Lois has to take her investigation into that realm and find some way to disrupt the broadcast signals that control the Warheads.

SmallvilleGuy, with the help of a tech savvy friend, does manage to be of some help in this endeavor, joining in the VR experience even he is never there in person.

Fallout first appeared at a time when the New 52’s Lois was in need of a little TLC, having outed her world’s Superman as Clark Kent and started him on what would become a downward spiral to his ultimate end. Fortunately, through the magical of a company wide event called the Convergence, which led to something else called the Rebirth, the original Lois and Clark are back (with a son now) and the Lois in this YA series could perhaps become the one currently in the comics.

This is a YA level novel that has a feeling similar to television shows like Veronica Mars and iZombie. It’s the beginning of a series of which there are two books at the moment, with another due out this coming May.

 

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