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18 December 2010 @ 04:17 pm
Character Breakdowns From The Opening Of 'Heirs' [Part Two]  

 

Multi-millionairess, head of the L. Lang international design empire, world traveler … these are the least important things about Lana, by her reckoning anyway.  If asked to describe herself, she would likely list a different set of attributes: wife, mother, friend of several extraordinary people, small-town girl who made good, and successful businesswoman, in that order.  She prides herself on being the stabilizing influence in a family of very intense personalities, and in the years since LS she has only grown more integral to the Lane-Kent dynamic. 

 

The oldest of the group (excepting Clark, who is older by a couple of months – but Lana still claims seniority as she was on this planet first), Lana may not be out in front leading the gang on excursions, but she’s often quietly shepherding them along, and her opinion is trusted.  Even Ella and Martha valued her perspective and her honesty. 

 

Lana is also the most settled and secure of the immediate family.  Even Clark has his anxieties and troubles, particularly now.  Most of Lana’s worries have faded; her marriage is rock-solid, her daughter is healthy and well-adjusted, and she has more money than she can conceivably spend in her lifetime.  She even ages with equanimity – time has so far been kind to her, though strands of white now show in her auburn hair, and she has smile lines.  This serenity frees her to be everyone else’s shoulder to lean on, their confidant.

 

The Whites’ marriage had a few rocky moments at the start – Richard was briefly so involved in his career that Lana felt ignored again, but he chose to accept a lesser position at work to be with her.  This means more to Lana than Richard can ever imagine, and is the reason why she’ll give him literally anything he could possibly want – the convertible for Christmas is a good example.  Their devotion to each other is absolute, unquestionable, and in Lois’ words, “sugar-shock inducing”. 

 

Lana and Clark are particularly close, sharing a background and history.  She never forgets that her friend and confidant is Superman, but then again, she never lets that overwhelm her.  Lana remembers when Clark would trip over his own feet whenever she wore a slightly form-fitting sweater.  While she does sometimes regret never having seen him as more than an adorable puppy-dog follower in those days, Lana is very certain that she and Clark wouldn’t have worked out in the long run.  He needs Lois’ fiery temper, and she needs Richard’s light-hearted silliness. 

 

As for Lois, Lana adores her.  The two women have very little in common, but they are close for other reasons – they love the same two men and the same three children, to start.  Lana also loved and respected Ella and Martha as much as her own mom.  Though their approaches to life differ wildly, Lana can appreciate Lois’ boldness as much as Lois appreciates her serenity.  The redhead is also deeply protective of Lois – when her mother-in-law first trash-talked Lois in front of her, Lana calmly said that she had no tolerance for vicious gossip.  Later on, when she brought Kristin to visit, Sylvia compared the little girl with the twins, managing to slight Lois again, and Lana took her daughter and left.  “Thank you, Sylvia, for having us, but I can’t be a party to such mean-spirited slander of the twins.  And neither can my daughter.”  The line in the sand was drawn – be civil to Lois, or don’t see your youngest grandchild.  Lana also made it very clear that all three kids are Sylvia’s grandchildren, and the older woman needed to acknowledge that.  Because of Lana, Theo has a relationship with the twins – and Sylvia’s damn Yorkies are boarded when the Whites come to visit.

 

Within the circle of women, Lois is the acknowledged leader, but Lana is the one keeping track of dates and times, as well as being the diplomat and peacemaker of the group.  She’s come to appreciate all of them, although she’s particularly fond of Lois’ little sister Lucy; her sunny disposition is a welcome relief.  Also, Lana has several key traits in common with Maggie Sawyer – they’re close to the same age, both divorced, tend to prefer understatement, and both in relationships with people they never expected to fall in love with.  As for the rest of the gang – Cat, Tobie, and Loueen, the troublemakers – they respect Lana, but they all enjoy tempting her into a bit of fun.  The girls think she needs to kick up her heels more.

 

All three children love Lana, and are loved by her equally.  Though Kristin is the youngest and the only one Lana actually gave birth to, she’s quite attached to and possessive of the twins.  Lana does tend toward possessiveness – her main personality flaw is the jealous attachment she strives to rein in.  She has had issues with this in the past – notably when Lois and Richard wound up at the same conference in Japan, while Lana was home alone and very pregnant.  She wound up calling Lois up and cursing her out, threatening bodily harm if Lois so much as touched her husband … then cried when she realized what a psychotically jealous bitch she was being.  Lois let her talk, told her about pregnancy hormones making everything seem blown out of proportion, told her she loved her, and hung up.  Richard, too, had to deal with bursts of jealousy from Lana in the beginning, followed by tears when she realized what a shrew she was being, but they weathered it and she now has that particular weakness under control.

 

Career-wise, Lana’s company is on par with Donna Karan.  She has branched out slightly into perfume and accessories, but fashion remains her main focus, and L. Lang jeans are consistently a high-demand item for teens and tweens.  Lana tends to give clothing to her friends and family (see Lois’ wedding dress, conservatively valued in the hundred-thousand dollar range, being the first of its kind), and is trying to coax Kala out of exclusively black.  At this point, if Lana sold the company, she could easily retire on her present assets and investments.

 

With few worries of her own, Lana’s anxieties are generally about those closest to her.  She has confidence in Jason; he’s stronger than either of his biological parents see.  If anyone can bear the burdens he’s chosen for himself, it will be Jason.  As for Kala, while her wild streak worries Lana, the redhead is sure that Kala’s a lot further from ‘going bad’ than most would suspect.  She sees Kala with Kristin, the deep love and tender solicitation between the two girls.  And while Kala tries to be challenging to Lana, she’s not as successful as she is with Lois.  Lana has the security to simply raise her eyebrows and let Kala’s occasional sharp remarks pass by, where Lois is too hurt not to respond.  Not that Kala’s nastiness doesn’t hurt Lana, too – she’s just better at hiding it and forgiving the girl.  Kala is strong-willed, intelligent, and trying to grow up in the shadow of the woman who won a Pulitzer and a superhero.  That kind of pressure can make anyone snappish. 

 

Lana would love to have a serious conversation with Lois about Kala.  But she’s wary of initiating it.  In spite of the fact that she went to Lois for advice on pregnancy and motherhood (she surely wasn’t going to talk to her mom about the intense dreams she was having around the second trimester – not those kind of dreams, anyway), she knows the reporter is still fairly insecure about her parenting skills.  There are times when Lana wants to just shake her.  “You raised two half-alien children by yourself for almost three years, then took them through a rollercoaster of changing father figures and threats to their lives from that maniac Luthor.  Look at what you had to overcome!  The fact that they’re reasonably well-adjusted – yes, Kala can be a brat, and Jason is a little hesitant at times, but they’re sane and smart and mostly happy – shows what kind of mother you are.  Quit beating yourself up, you nitwit!”  Of course, a speech like that would be ill-received, so Lana holds her tongue and hopes Lois will just ask her for help one of these days.

 

How do you describe the Son of Superman?  To the other kids in school, he’s ‘the only good-looking chess geek’ or ‘that science nerd built like a football player’.  To his parents, he’s the ‘good’ twin, the sensible, good-natured one.  To his sister, he’s the other half of her soul, light to her darkness, optimism to her cynicism, kindness to her sarcasm, and giant gooberfish to her Goth über-coolness.  To Jor-El, he is the continuation of the legacy, the new Last Son of Krypton.

 

To his teachers, he’s an excellent student in science and math, and in his chosen arts area – instrumental music, while dabbling in videography – he excels.  The twins attend a private school with a very well-respected arts and academic program.  How do you hide half-alien teens?  Put them in an arts school, where compared to the student body, they’re basically normal.  Jason still plays piano, but his interest in photography and film has grown.  He is taking supplemental piano lessons from Barbara and is helping teach her younger students. 

 

Jason doesn’t think of himself as most of those things.  When he looks in the mirror, he sees just another guy – one with some fairly heavy issues and pretty severe screw-ups in his life.  He’s just lost his One True Love – forever, it seems.  And as far as Jason is concerned, he continually fails at being ‘normal’, something he tries very hard to achieve.  But he can never be normal – he’s half-Kryptonian, about as far from the human definition of normal as he can get. 

 

Jason’s main worry is his dual heritage.  The rift between two worlds is slowly tearing him apart.  On the one hand, virtually everyone he knows is human, including his idolized mother, so it’s natural for him to want to be like them.  On the other hand, he is the bearer of the name El, and a whole massive legacy attaches to that.  Jason feels a great deal of responsibility toward the House of El, and his father’s role as a superhero.  This is more Jor-El’s fault than Kal-El’s; the father would like to give his son a chance to simply be before asking him to follow in anyone’s footsteps.

 

Jason also constantly worries about keeping his powers in check.  Jason inherited the more obvious, more dangerous powers: heat-vision and super-strength.  He fears – to the point of phobia, almost – that losing his temper will lead to an inadvertent use of these powers.  This has led him to cultivate an almost Buddhist level of self-control, with all negative emotions strictly repressed.  Why?  There’s the secret to think of, obviously; no one wants the general public to realize that he and his sister are actually Superman’s children.  And furthermore, accidental use of his powers could be fatal to anyone caught in the crossfire.  Jason now knows that he killed Brutus, and the knowledge haunts him.

 

As for individual relationships, things are rather complex with Clark.  Jason has outgrown the childish blindness that sees ‘daddy’ as more of a force of nature than an actual person.  The fact that Clark is not just his father, a figure most little boys tend to idolize, but also Superman, the ultimate role model, made it even harder to reconcile the man and the myth.  Clark has made mistakes in his life, especially leaving Lois, and owns up to them.  He also admits that he doesn’t know everything, and he’s tried very hard to show Jason that he’s not perfect – hoping that Jason will realize he doesn’t have to be perfect, either.  Jason, however, sometimes feels a little overwhelmed.  Sure, Dad is Dad, he likes playing catch on a Saturday afternoon.  But he’s also Superman, and they’re playing catch with tractors.  That can give any young man a headache.

 

Of all the parental figures in his life, Jason has always been closest to Mom.  He and Lois have a bond that many parents would envy.  At sixteen, Jason isn’t shy about hugging and kissing his mom, even in public.  He always goes to Lois first, whether he’s upset over something or excited and wanting to share.  Lois was the one who comforted him when he found out about Elise’s New Zealand boyfriend, even though she was a bit chagrined when she found out why they broke up.  Jason and Lois have never had any problems – until now.  The constant squabbling between his mother and his twin is driving Jason crazy.  He keeps trying to bridge the gap between them, but each sees this as Jason taking the other’s side, and it’s caused friction and frustration.

 

Richard is the easygoing dad, the one who can be persuaded to bend the rules a bit, the one who has no expectations of Jason.  What would be the point, anyway?  Jason has consistently amazed Richard with his precociousness, his sensibility, and his creative talents, not to mention sheer IQ.  Being around Richard is a bit of a relief, and Jason tends not to feel the burden of destiny quite so much when the two of them are lying on the penthouse roof watching planes go by.

 

As for Lana, while she expects more mature, responsible behavior from him than Richard does, she also gives Jason room to breathe and escape from Jor-El’s legacy.  Jason doesn’t have the sense that Lana worries about him; her confidence in him is soothing.  That said, however, he’s not as close to her as he is to Lois.  There’s a great deal of love, affection, and trust in their relationship, but only Lois is Mom.  An interesting set of perspectives: Lois has seen Clark struggle with being a man and a hero, much older than Jason is now.  Lana knew Clark when he was Jason’s age, before he became the hero.

 

Jason is helplessly in love with his little sister, Kristin.  True, he complained when he found out Lana wasn’t going to give him a little brother, but the bright-eyed little redhead quickly became the apple of his eye.  Perhaps it was the way Kristin looked up at him so trustingly as an infant, or the eager way she followed after him when she could walk.  Either way, he is very considerate and protective of her – the fact that they’re not blood relatives means exactly nothing to Jason.

 

Kala is Jason’s twin.  They have always shared everything, even the womb.  His earliest memories are of her, and she’s been present every important moment of his life.  Kala’s like the sun, expected to simply be there every day.  Jason can hardly conceive of life without her; it would be like waking up in the morning unable to find himself.  The things that happened in their sixth year wove the closeness between them even tighter.  Being kidnapped and threatened, the twins had only each other to rely on.  Though he didn’t know it at the time, Jason actually killed a man to protect his sister.  After that trauma, they dealt with a shakeup of their entire lifestyle – Daddy leaving, their biological father (who happens to be Superman) coming into their lives, moving out of the house, and learning to keep a Big Secret.

 

Everything ultimately turned out for the best, but that year Jason was extremely protective of Kala.  He could control little else in his world, but by God, no one was going to take his sister away!  When the twins had nightmares (usually in tandem), or when they felt threatened, they clung together.  And Jason invariably put himself between Kala and danger.  He would kill to save her again – or sacrifice his own life, if necessary.  Life without Kala wouldn’t be worth living.  No one else knows all his secrets and most of his thoughts; no one else understands him so completely or loves him so absolutely.  Not even Elise interfered with the incredible bond between the twins, which is one of the main reasons why everyone in the family liked her.

 

In the last few years, Jason and Kala have begun to find their individual identities.  The process has not been entirely smooth – Jason in particular had fits about Kala wanting to do things without him – but the intimacy of their friendship has so far survived the test.  Things are even rockier now, though.  Kala’s fighting with Lois has finally succeeded in driving a wedge between them when nothing else could.  Well, almost nothing else – Jason knows Kala liked Elise and hates Giselle, but he has no idea how she really feels.  And that’s another new development in their relationship: Kala is no longer confiding in Jason so much, and the idea that she conceals things from him drives him batty.  They swore, when they were six, never to keep secrets from each other, and Jason sees Kala reneging on that promise as the ultimate betrayal.

 

Elise was not Jason’s first girlfriend, but she was the first one he really loved.  A good-looking science nerd like Jason himself, Elise disregarded the school cliques and hung out with whoever was interesting.  She had the reputation of being hard-to-get at school, and Jason’s not sure how he managed to get a date with her, but from that first evening together – missing the movie because they spent too much time in the restaurant talking about physics – they seemed Meant to Be.  Elise resonates in Jason’s soul the way no other girl ever has.

 

Sadly, they’ve broken up.  Jason is now dating Giselle, and his relationship with her is … interesting.  Like Elise, Giselle has resisted all of Kala’s attempts to drive her off, but unlike Elise, she’s done so with poor grace.  This has led to a level of feuding between the two girls that frustrates Jason, but he refuses to break up with his girlfriend just because Kala doesn’t like her.  It doesn’t help that the rest of the family isn’t exactly defending Giselle.  They will scold Kala for being a brat, but no one is on Giselle’s side.  Jason sees staying with her as defending his choices and being his own person.  There’s also the fact that she’s one of the most beautiful girls in school, she lavishes attention and affection on him, and when he’s with her he can almost forget how much Elise hurt him.  Jason doesn’t love her as much as he did Elise, but he does love her.  Problem is, school has started up again, Elise is back from her vacation, and he’s seeing her every day.  They even have a class together.

 

Jason is well-liked by the rest of the cast.  He has no real personality conflicts with any of the adults, most of whom consider him a good boy – and most of whom, if they worry, are worrying about Kala.  A very accepting personality, he has no issues with his ‘aunts’ Maggie and Tobie, although he briefly had a monstrous crush on Maggie’s daughter, Jamie Sawyer.  Jamie is nine years older than the twins, and for ten-year-old Jason, she was a vision in glasses.  It was mainly her intelligence that drew him, and though he’s well over that crush, he still admires her as a person.  Currently attending law school in Metropolis, with plans of becoming a prosecuting attorney, Jamie still sees the twins occasionally, and still thinks of Jason as a cute little boy – much to his chagrin.

 

The first and most noticeable thing about Kala is her style: Goth.  She’s got her father’s black hair, her mother’s strange and lovely eyes, and the pale complexion of someone whose skin soaks up the sun’s rays and uses them to fuel her superpowers instead of tanning.  Kala always preferred dark colors, but somewhere around fourteen years old she discovered the Goth subculture.  Initially, she liked the look and it suited her coloring.  As time went on, though, the essential disaffection of the subculture appealed to her.

 

Kala is half alien.  She makes no bones about it, and in fact, considers herself slightly superior to the humans around her.  She may look human, but she’s far from it, and there’s no escape from her alien-ness.  Being Goth makes that invisible difference very visible.  Her main defense against emotional injury is that superiority – where Lois gets hotly angry and verbally attacks, Kala becomes coldly furious and looks down her nose, distancing herself from the insult.  It’s a very Jor-El response: humans don’t know any better.  If they did, they’d cower before her.

 

Regarding her ancestry and her place in the world, Kala is actually very confused.  She and Jason found out about their Kryptonian origins much younger than Clark did.  And while Jor-El is happy to place the burden of the legacy on Jason’s shoulders, he doesn’t want Kala to be another savior.  She’s a girl; she doesn’t really have a place in the whole “the son becomes the father” thing.  So Kala isn’t sure what she’s supposed to be doing with her life – where does she fit into the Kryptonian legacy?  Where does she fit into the human world?  And who the hell is she, anyway?  The answers so far – Lois’ little clone, half of a set of twins – are unsatisfying.  Even her treasured status as Daddy’s girl is becoming something of a burden.  Her father’s image of her will always be the sweet, innocent, slightly bossy six-year-old in pigtails.  Kala is trying desperately to strike out on her own, to discover who she is.

 

Any other teen who dressed and behaved as Kala does would immediately be branded the outsider of the family.  Unfortunately, Lois was an iconoclastic rebel in her youth, and the more Kala acts out, the more she’s compared to Lois.  She could go the opposite direction and become the Stepford version of herself, but Kala’s nature disagrees with the notion of being quiet and well-behaved.  Besides, if she does, she’ll just be compared to Lana instead, and that doesn’t solve her problem of wanting to be her own person.  So Kala is presently trying to out-rebel the original rebel of the family, and Lois is horrified by her memories of her own wild youth.  Everyone in the family sees Kala’s current choices as leading down a dangerous path, but they are all wary of trying to correct her course, since Kala has become very touchy about such advice and tends to fly off in unpredictable directions.

 

Individual relationships: the primary person in her life is her twin.  Jason will always be first in her heart, her brother, her confidant, and her protector.  Kala now knows he killed a man who wanted to hurt her, she always knew he helped Dad save her from the ocean, and she’s seen ample evidence that no matter what threatens them, Jason will always rush to defend her.  She’s just as protective over him; Kala loves her brother so fiercely that the mere thought of anyone harming him makes her livid.  He’s always been her rock, the one thing she could count on; when her world fell apart ten years ago, Jason was there to steady her.

 

Now, all of a sudden, it seems like Jason is moving away from her.  In truth, both twins’ paths in life have diverged slightly, but they aren’t aware of it.  Each thinks they’re still following the same straight line, and it’s the other who’s careering off into the unknown.  This is all a natural part of growing up and finding your own identity, but to Kala and Jason, it’s happening a little later than normal (they had several more reasons to consider themselves ‘the twins’, including the trauma of their sixth year and the fact of their secret heritage) and it’s a little more painful.  They’ve always squabbled; now they fight, which before was nearly impossible.  The squabbles tended to be because they enjoyed picking on each other, but the current fights have to do with both of them developing opinions and points of view that are unfamiliar to the other and a cause for strife.

 

Kala has particularly focused her anger and disappointment on Giselle.  She managed to chase off all of Jason’s other girlfriends she didn’t approve of, and he was never mad at her for long.  He always came to see how they weren’t really suitable for him, if for no other reason than any woman he loves will have to accept his family too.  Giselle simply won’t go away, and Jason won’t get rid of her.  Even though the adults can clearly see that Giselle is all wrong for him, they won’t make Jason break up with her, either.  (They know that telling your child who they can’t date just makes that person more attractive, and they’re all hoping this with Giselle burns out in its own time.  The sooner, the better.)  Kala just can’t believe Jason is ignoring her opinion in the matter, and she loathes Giselle with a fiery hatred that seems a lot like jealousy.
 
 
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