The Cover: I am sure all of you readers have probably seen this cover many times before and had the same reaction. What the hell? Lois Lane steps into a body moulder that turns her into a black woman! The body moulder not only changes her skin colour but gives her an afro, so we can assume that this machine alters them completely on a genetic level.
Why does Superman even have a machine that turns white people into black people anyways?
The Story: Would Superman marry Lois Lane if she were black? That’s literally the question Lois asks Superman at the start of this story. The title of this issue proudly proclaims that this is not an imaginary tale! Nor a fantasy or dream! We then jump back in time to Lois exclaiming that she is off to Little Africa in Metropolis to write a Pulitzer winning article for “telling it like it is”! Um, as a journalist shouldn’t she already be telling it like it is? Does she actually want an award for telling the truth?
Catching a cab to Little Africa, a.k.a the slums, Lois tries to strike up a conversation with a group of black children by asking them about school, only for them to turn their backs on her and walk away. She then tries her luck on a woman in an apartment who immediately slams the door in her face. Honestly, though, she probably thought Lois was some kind of door to door saleswoman. Even the blind despise Lois as an old blind black woman walks away once she hears her voice. Dejected, Lois stumbles across a street meeting where the leader points her out as Whitey and says that she is the enemy. Even more dejected, Lois meets Superman in a park where he reluctantly agrees to use the Plastimold machine on her, which will turn her into a black woman. Flipping the switch on the “Transformoflux pack” activates the machine and turns her skin black, poofs her hair into an afro, but sadly does not give her a badonkadonk. Flying back to Little Africa, Lois dons traditional African clothing to fit into a black community where everyone else dresses in Western clothing. Good plan, Lois!
After being ignored by the white taxi driver and being stared at by people on the street, Lois makes her way back to the slum, enters an apartment building and notices a fire! She puts it out quickly and is noticed by a woman who invites her into her apartment. The woman begins to tell Lois of all the apartment’s problems, including rats that attack her baby in her crib. After leaving this depressing apartment, Lois stumbles across a makeshift kindergarten class in a dirt lot where the entire lesson plan seems to be reciting “Black is beautiful”. I don’t know about you guys, but my kindergarten classes consisted of math and toys, not reciting mantras. That is unless we consider Old Macdonald and the cleanup time song to be mantras.
Lois then meets up with the leader of the street meeting, Dale, the man who formerly labelled her as the enemy. Not realizing that underneath the black skin beats the heart of a white woman, he puts the moves on Lois, asking if she’s ever been to one of his meetings. Ok, maybe it was an innocent question, but come on! He’s got the fire in his eyes! But before he can go into full-blown Casanova mode, he spies some dropout neighbourhood kids ducking into an alley to meet with some white gangsters. Leaping into action with a “Stay here! This is a MAN’S business,” he promptly gets shot and needs to be saved by Superman, who had nothing better to do but watch this play out. They take Dale to the nearby hospital where they are informed that he needs a blood transfusion. Superman declares that he is unable to give blood because even if he were his blood type no needle could penetrate his skin. Of course, he seems to have forgotten that he is also not a human being and that mixing alien blood with human blood might not be the best idea ever. But wait! In Action Comics # 403, Superman receives a massive blood transfusion from the citizens of Metropolis…does this mean that Superman really is some kind racist deep inside? Or is he some kind greedy blood hoarding jerk? Whatever the case, Lois steps up to bat and donates the elusive O- blood. As they pump the blood, Dale opens his eyes and sees Lois in the bed next to time and he stares at her with a look on his face that screams “she even gave blood to me? I’m getting some tonight!” But sadly, after donating blood, Lois returns to Supes and drops the bombshell question from before, about whether or not he would marry her if she was black. Lady, did you forget that this guy is from outer frigging space? Superman reminds her that he is an alien, but she responds that he’s an alien with white skin! But before she can press the issue further, the transformation that made her a black woman wears off, leaving her white as a ghost once more. Lois decides to confront her insecurities and faces Dale in her white woman form and, in a series of textless panels, this story closes on Dale’s reaction of seeing a white woman wearing the clothes of the black woman he met not too long ago and shaking her hand. So Dale’s first thought about this switcheroo is that the black woman was really a white woman who used a transformation machine? Really? He immediately jumped to that conclusion instead of the more plausible explanation of a white woman swapping clothes with a black woman? Well, we’re glad that all it takes for racial tension to dissipate is for a black man to be shot and receive blood from a white woman who used a machine to make herself black.
The rating: 6/10: The scene on the cover did happen, but the dialogue didn’t. The zany outfit that Lois wore in the story also didn’t make its way onto the cover. I would have given this a 7/10 but this comic is so cringe-worthy that I had to knock it down a point. Robert Kanigher, you owe me 20 minutes of my life back.