Character Notes for Heirs to the House of El
As in Little Secrets. Ten years have not changed Clark very much. He is more secure in his roles of husband, father, and member of an extended family. Also, Clark is more comfortable as the International Editor of the Daily Planet and his authority at work is no longer challenged. Still a nerd, but a competent and well-respected nerd. As a hero, he now has the support of the JLA, and is highly regarded as one of the founders of that group.
Like any father, Clark does worry about his children. He worries about Kala’s rebelliousness and her conflict with her mother. He also worries about Jason – the boy seems to be taking on some fairly heavy responsibilities quite young, and Clark wonders if any teenager can handle it. Clark fears for them, having only some of his powers and still being partly vulnerable, and knowing that he can’t protect them from everything in the world, he still wants to try. They are his babies, after all, and always will be, even though they seem to be growing up at super-speed. As for Kristin, Clark feels fatherly toward her as well, and she reciprocates.
At the moment, his marriage is strained. While the JLA takes a certain amount of pressure off of him by doing rescues, they also add pressure in that he is one of the founding members and unofficial leader. Clark is sometimes called upon to resolve disputes amongst members, and his generous nature means his assistance is frequently requested by less confident members even when not utterly necessary.
His relationships with the rest of the cast are fairly stable. His three closest friends are Richard, Jimmy, and Ron. Richard is almost a brother to him; he knows the secret, and the two men have so much in common, including their taste in women. Richard is one of the few people in whose company Clark is completely comfortable; he needs no disguises or pretensions around Richard. Jimmy has always been his pal at work, and the two geeks stick together even if they’re now in separate departments. Ron is Clark’s right-hand guy in the International department as well as his brother-in-law. They’re very close, but in a subdued way. Clark is conscious of the secret he must keep from everyone at the job, and it sometimes pains him that he can’t be completely honest with such close friends.
The biggest changes in Clark’s relationships are that he’s grown far more protective of Martha (she recently broke a hip), more accepting of Ben, and much closer to Ella. By the time of her death, she was almost like another Mom to him, and he is still mourning her. These days, he is still deferential to Perry, but knows that the EIC regards him well and is entrusting the paper’s legacy to Clark as well as Lois.
Lana is also a close friend, someone who completely understands Clark’s background as well as his present life. If he goes to anyone for advice about dealing with Lois and Kala, or his responsibilities to the JLA, it would be Lana. His attraction to her has long since mellowed into platonic admiration, and he appreciates her level-headedness. The two also have a sort of camaraderie as the small-town born members of their largely big-city circle of friends. The murmured phrase, “Long live Smallville,” is their inside joke about old-fashioned ideals in a sophisticated modern world. While Clark can’t confide as deeply in Lucy, he is still very fond of her, and is as close with his sister-in-law as he can be with anyone who does not know he’s Superman.
As for the rest of Lois’ circle of lady friends (Maggie, Tobie, Loueen, and Cat), Clark is on cordial terms with all of them. Of course, none of them know the truth about him, and they are primarily Lois’ friends instead of his, but any of the girls would willingly testify as a character witness if Clark were ever on trial.
Clark’s chief anxieties are the safety of the kids and the older family members (Ben, Martha, Perry), and the fact that Lex Luthor is clearly still at large, based on certain new technologies which have come on the market recently. They prove that someone out there is using Kryptonian technology, and only Lex would name a new ultra-fast computer chip the KAL processor. The one thing that’s driving him the most nuts right now, however, is the constant squabbling between Lois and Kala. He can’t seem to resolve it, both women resent his involvement, and he hates seeing two people he loves treat each other so bitterly and spitefully.
Is in the midst of a mid-life crisis of sorts, wondering how on earth she got to this point. The years have made her slightly more vain; Lois is dyeing her hair these days, and zealously applying pricey facial products to ward off the first wrinkles. Clark seems not to be aging, but Lois feels older, and she’s worried that she’ll start to look older. Seeing her daughter grow into the bloom of young womanhood is not helping, either, though Lois is not jealous of Kala. Rather, she sees her past in her daughter’s present, and it makes her both wistful and worried. Wistful that, though she is still greatly admired, her wild youth is now behind her, and worried that her daughter may be just as wild as she was. “Ah, I remember when I was her age … and oh hell, I remember all the crazy shit I did when I was her age!”
Her relationships with the main characters have changed as follows. As stated above, her marriage to Clark is currently strained. She feels that he is overindulgent of Kala and takes the girl’s side in arguments too often. Also, Lois believes his interference in those arguments is damaging her relationship with their daughter – that Clark should butt out and let the two of them settle it. Additionally, Lois resents the way Kala obviously plays up to Dad and behaves like her former angelic self around him, because it makes Lois seem as though she’s overreacting or outright lying about the girl’s behavior. Her feelings for her daughter are complicated and often contradictory, but love and concern still lie at the bottom of them.
As for Jason, though Lois tries not to show favoritism, he has always been by far the easier child to raise. He’s always been Mommy’s boy, although recently the strife between his mother and his twin has driven a wedge between him and Lois. She hates that he is the one person in the house she can rely on, but if she does so she will drive him apart from his sister, and that’s hardly fair. Also, while Jason is trying to step into his father’s boots, Lois is trying to keep Clark and Jor-El from laying that burden on him so young.
Kristin tends to be spoiled a bit by Lois, as she’s the uncomplicated, sweet, adorable one, and dealing with her is far easier than coping with the twins these days. From being a woman who looked on kids with a slightly bewildered air, Lois has become an excellent mother, the one Lana implicitly trusts to look after Kristin. It is also worth noting that Lois was present at Kristin’s birth. Lana had chosen to forgo an epidural, squeamish about a needle in her spine, and she suffered a long labor. Richard couldn’t bear to see her in that much pain, and Lana was wasting energy trying not to scream in front of him. That was how Richard wound up fainting in the waiting room while Lois held Lana’s hand through the delivery.
Lois’ relationship with Richard still contains a spark of the attraction that brought them together. After ten years, it still hasn’t gone away, and the two still flirt, though they’re more likely to pester and annoy each other now that they don’t have to be together all the time. However, they are also great friends now, and the primary definition of their relationship is no longer lovers or even ex-lovers but friends, co-parents, and affectionate rivals. Richard can say things to her that Clark can’t and Lana won’t – if Lois is being a jackass, Richard’s the one who can call her on it.
In spite of a history of difficult relationships with other women, Lois is very close to her circle of friends. That includes her sister Lucy, whom she loves helplessly and in spite of the many differences between them, and Lana. The redhead is even more of a surrogate older sister to Lois after ten years; they share the secret, among other things, and both are deeply loving toward their men and their children. No matter what, Lois knows she can depend on Lana; the designer has better organization and diplomatic skills than the reporter, and can be relied upon to resolve virtually any conflict.
That said, Lois is unlikely to seek Lana’s advice about Kala – she’s afraid of what she’ll hear. Lana is observant and thoughtful, but she won’t lie, and Lois fears that Lana will tell her it’s all her fault somehow (she never did feel prepared for motherhood, and Lana slid into that role so gracefully that Lois is mildly jealous). There are no significant changes to Lois’ friendships with the rest of the girls, except that Tobie Raines has recently become EIC of the Daily Star. Lois is not envious and generally laughs whenever Tobie attempts to rub that fact in her face.
At work, Lois has still not settled into being administration, although it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Perry intends to give her his position when he retires. She refuses to discuss this possibility in hopes that if she ignores it long enough, it will never happen. Other employees have started going to her first with administrative questions, seeing Perry as more of a figurehead, and Lois firmly discourages this. A desk job as EIC will be the last nail in the coffin of Mad Dog Lane, or so the reporter thinks.
Lois’ chief anxieties are a) losing Clark, b) failing as a mom, c) Luthor still being on the loose, and d) getting older/becoming unattractive/losing her grip on who she is. Clark’s always surrounded by younger women, even in the JLA – very few know his identity and that he’s married, and most want to cure him of his fixation on the reporter who left him and married someone else. Bagging Superman is always an honor. As for her failures as a woman (no one can be young forever) and a mom (hello, look at Kala), they seem self-evident.
Ten years of being married to Lana – and just shy of nine years as a father – have made Richard mellower and more secure, but no less a prankster. Because Lana is serious, well-organized, and generally has things under control, his mischievous nature has free rein at last. He hasn’t seemed to age at all, with the same vivacity and quick-witted humor we saw at the end of LS. The main difference is that Richard has nothing to prove to anyone anymore. He’s free to just be himself, and knows he will be loved by his family (which includes Lois and Clark) anyway.
His marriage to Lana is one of those relationships people dream about and rarely ever get. They seldom argue (he knows he can’t beat her logic, and she knows she can’t resist his charm), they treasure their similarities and celebrate their differences, and they are both very fond of each other’s exes (speaking of Clark, not Don – Richard has nothing but contempt for Lana’s first husband). They share a deep, very important secret, and that also gives them a sense of belonging in a secret society. Also, because both of their jobs do require them to travel, there are plenty of brief absences during which their hearts grow fonder, and plenty of delighted reunions. Richard is very, very appreciative of and affectionate with Lana; she’s everything he wants.
Richard’s relationship with Lois is deep and complex. There’s still definitely a stubborn spark of attraction there, but it’s no longer the most important thing about the two of them. He and Lois have a lot in common now that they’re able to be who they are and not who they thought the other wanted them to be; when the family vacations at theme parks, it’s Lois and Richard going on the roller coasters with the kids, and getting off the rides only to race back into line again. A lot of things remain unsaid between them, but can be expressed with an affectionate hug or kiss on the cheek.
Clark is no longer just Richard’s former rival and personal hero. They know each other well and each admire the other. How can you not admire the hell out of Superman, anyway, especially when you know him well enough to know the kinds of things he struggles with and the few things he fears. If there’s anything, ever, that Richard can do to help Clark, he does it, often unasked – to see the need is to want to fulfill it. The affection between the two men is unashamed; Richard isn’t one of those guys who get squeamish about hugging another guy. He and Clark are pals, buddies, whatever you want to call it, they’re close enough to hug and not feel silly.
As for the twins, Richard still thinks of them as his, and the feeling is mutual. Jason is still his son and Kala is his older daughter. They may not always be under his roof, but they’re rarely further away than just across town. He also worries about how much responsibility Jason is taking, and has been subtly trying to hint that the boy doesn’t have to immediately grow up into Clark’s image. If Jason wants to be a little more experimental, a little more laid-back and playful, that’s an okay choice to make right now. He doesn’t have to be a man just yet; he still has a few years of boyhood left. Kala, on the other hand, doesn’t worry Richard as much as she worries the rest of the family. He sees a little of the snarkier side of her that’s driving Lois crazy, but he also sees a lot of her relationship with Kristin. There’s nothing wrong with Kala that going to college won’t fix (she has to move out from under her mother’s nose – they are far too much alike and that’s what’s causing the personality conflict).
Kristin is the baby of the extended family and the apple of Richard’s eye. She’s the perfect mix of her two parents, and while Richard sees a miniature Lana in his daughter, he also sees his own playful spirit. He adores her and is constantly on the verge of spoiling her rotten, but this isn’t favoritism. He loves all three kids that much, it’s just that he gets to show it more with Kristin. Kristin is his angel-baby; the twins are still his kiddle-monsters.
To the extended cast, Richard is a friend of nearly all of them, including the circle of women to which Lois and Lana belong. His animosity toward Tobie Raines has softened over the years, but the two still verbally spar whenever they meet. It’s a tradition now.
Richard still considers Ron and Lucy his in-laws, and is the beloved uncle of their four children. Sam, the oldest, is seeking a military career and often turns to Richard (as a former Air Force man) for advice. The ‘family’ group – the Troupes, the Lane-Kents, and the Whites, plus Ella (before her death) and sometimes Martha and Ben, frequently vacation together, and Richard loves those trips. He likes being part of a large group and is frequently one of the leaders on excursions – first to ride a roller coaster, sitting up front on a whitewater raft, and generally allowing his adventuresome fun-loving spirit free rein. The rest of the family loves these qualities in him as well.
In terms of his career, the Aviation Journal job is clearly just a placeholder. Richard is still very close with his uncle. He’s frequently at the Daily Planet, often having lunch with Lois and Clark, and everyone knows he will eventually come back to the paper someday. In what role, no one is certain, but he’s Perry’s heir as much as Lois is, and he’s never cut ties with the Planet. His current work suits him, but it’s more of a hobby than a calling – Lana’s money means he doesn’t have to work, but he prefers to have an income and to stay involved with journalism. Because he refuses to hobnob with the higher-ups (he’d rather be with his wife and kids), he will never advance past his current position of departmental manager. That’s fine with Richard – for now. Kristin is young and needs her Daddy home, but when she’s older, everyone expects Richard to seek some kind of advancement or transfer.