Back Issues: ‘Elseworlds’ features Lois Lane, Batwoman

CW crossover builds on popular line of comics

Actors, from left, Melissa Benoist, Stephen Amell, John Wesley Shipp and Grant Gustin appear in a scene from the CW superhero crossover “Elseworlds,” which begins Sunday. (Photo Provided)

The latest CW Arrowverse crossover, starting Sunday, introduces Lois Lane and Batwoman, as well as a concept familiar and well-revered among DC Comics fans: Elseworlds.

Lois Lane, of course, is no stranger to even casual fans of Superman, having appeared in numerous movies and television shows. Though her name has been dropped multiple times on “Supergirl,” with her sister Lucy a recurring character early on and her famous love interest appearing, the upcoming three-episode crosover will put Lois on-screen for the first time, portrayed by Elizabeth Tulluch (of “Grimm” fame).

Lois is best known as a relentless reporter, who has certainly evolved from the damsel-in-distress role that people associated with her early on. She served as both a foil and romantic partner for Clark Kent, aka Superman, for many years.

Despite multiple “imaginary” stories in which they married each other or someone else, Superman and Lois officially tied the knot in the main DC timeline in 1996. The New 52 reboot of 2011 unmarried them (and most everyone else in DC for some reason) though their portion of reality was eventually restored, along with their son Jonathan, in a bit of comic book metaphysics even I can’t fully explain.

Although she’s a force to be reckoned with even without powers, Lois has obtained them on multiple occasions, in a couple of stories becoming “Superwoman.”

On the costumed side of the equation, Green Arrow, the Flash and Supergirl will be joined in these episodes — and eventually in the CW lineup — by Batwoman.

The original Batwoman was Kathy Kane, a wealthy heiress and circus acrobat (because, comics). Batman, who has shown no compunction against training youngsters to assist in his war on crime, attempted to dissuade her out of concern for her safety, and Kathy gave up the identity, for a while anyway.

The modern version of Batwoman is Kate Kane, a cousin of Bruce Wayne’s, whose mother and sister were murdered by terrorists. She later followed her parents in serving in the military and used that training and her family fortune to become a costumed vigilante herself. Recently, she’s been the field leader of a team of Batman allies in the pages of “Detective Comics.”

Part of her story was that she’d been drummed out of the military in the days of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” and her status as an openly gay superhero has been a focus of the promotion of her upcoming show.

The title of the crossover, “Elseworlds,” draws from DC’s line of alternate reality stories that put its iconic heroes in unfamiliar settings and situations.

The first Elseworlds title, released in 1989, was “Gotham by Gaslight,” which featured Batman pursuing Jack the Ripper in a Victorian-era Gotham City. Other famous entries include “Red Son,” in which the ship carrying young Superman from Krypton crashed in the Soviet Union instead of Smallville, Kansas; “Kingdom Come,” where the Man of Steel came out of retirement to deal with a violent new generation of superhumans; and “Justice Riders,” which reimagined the Justice League in the wild west.

Promotional material for the TV crossover features Green Arrow and the Flash swapping identities, a common theme in these alternate stories.

In “Superman: Speeding Bullets,” Kal-El was raised by Thomas and Martha Wayne instead of the Kents, later becoming Batman. “Batman: In Darkest Knight” saw the Green Lantern ring originally bestowed on Hal Jordan instead being given to aspiring crimefighter Bruce Wayne.

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Recommended Reading

*  “Gotham by Gaslight” — The first Elseworlds story finds Batman tracking Jack the Ripper in 19th century Gotham City. It was recently adapted into an R-rated animated film.

*  “Superman: Speeding Bullets” — Raised by Thomas and Martha Wayne instead of Jonathan and Martha Kent, Kal-El’s life as Bruce Wayne follows a similar path to the original Dark Knight.

*  “Justice League of America: The Nail” — When the Kents’ tire is flattened by a nail, they never find young Kal-El, so the DC world and the JLA develop without a Superman.

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