Sam Lane as seen in Superman: Secret Origin #5.
Art by Gary Frank.
|First appearance||Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #13|
|Created by||Robert Bernstein|
|Full name||Samuel Lane|
|Team affiliations||United States Army|
United States Senate
Sam Lane, along with his wife Ella was introduced in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #13 (November 1959) as a horse farmer in the town of Pittsdale. He was created by Robert Bernstein and Kurt Schaffenberger. Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, a reboot of the DC Universe continuity, he has been portrayed as a US Army General.
Fictional character biography
Following Crisis on Infinite Earths Sam Lane was reinvented as a hard-bitten and outspoken US Army General, with an awkward relationship with his daughter. It was explained that Lane had wanted his eldest child to be a boy, so had treated Lois as a surrogate son, when he was present at all.
This version first appeared in Adventures of Superman #424 (January 1987), the first retitled issue of the former Superman title. He became a more significant character following Lois' engagement to Clark Kent, being highly unimpressed with the mild-mannered reporter despite his obvious commitment to Lois. This almost, but not quite, extended to refusing to attend the wedding.
When Lex Luthor became President of the United States, he made Lane Secretary of Defense. This inevitably led to Lois, as an investigative journalist trying to prove Luthor was crooked, opposing her father, especially during the buildup to the Imperiex War. During the War, General Lane was apparently killed by an Imperiex probe, when he detonated the nuclear engine of his tank to crack the shell of the probe and give Black Lightning the chance to get through its armor.
In Action Comics #832 (December 2005), set at Halloween, Sam Lane's ghost appeared to Lois while she was trapped in a car, enabling them to talk through their unresolved issues. However, the last scene of the issue showed the "ghost" leaning against a wall and watching the sunrise, implying that General Lane might still be alive.
While believing that their father is dead, Lois and Lucy still grieve for their father. Lucy decides to try and honor her father's memory and give him the soldier he was denied by joining the U.S. Army. Lucy is wounded during the Amazon's attack on Washington D.C. and is secretly rescued and brought to a secret facility. General Sam Lane finally reveals himself alive and in charge of a covert operation called Project 7734. Lucy volunteers to become Superwoman and is given a mystically-powered costume that allowed her to pass as Kryptonian. Lucy is to infiltrate Kandor and gathering intelligence on the Kryptonians and New Krypton. Lucy appears to die battling Supergirl when her suit is ruptured but returns to life with Kryptonian Powers, ready to serve her country again.
General Lane drafts the imprisoned Lex Luthor into a secret operation against Superman and the Kryptonians of Kandor. The U.S. government believes the aliens to be a risk for world's security and begins to create countermeasures against them. Though the full implications of the operation are yet known, Lane has apparently been monitoring the activities several new superhumans that have appeared following the most recent Crisis. One of the superhumans of particular note is Icon.
After Lois prepares to release a very damaging story, Sam has Lois taken into custody. The two finally meet face to face much to Lois' displeasure. Sam tells Lois the only reason he's being lenient with her is that she is his daughter. He threatens to make her disappear forever in a place where not even Superman can find her. To make his point Sam shoots Lois' laptop containing her story. He realizes that she has back up copies but he has made his point.
War of the Supermen
When General Zod declares war on Earth after it is revealed Lex Luthor (through one of his robot doubles) aided Brainiac in attacking New Krypton, Lane puts his plans into action. The imprisoned Reactron reveals that he allowed himself to be captured as part of Lane's plan. The Luthor robot tampers with Reactron's body chemistry, causing him to explode. The resulting chain reaction leads to the destruction of New Krypton and most of the remaining 100,000 Kryptonians, including Supergirl's mother Alura.
Under Lane's orders, Luthor transforms the Earth's sun from yellow to red to rob the Kryptonians of their powers. Flamebird however neutralizes this countermeasure and the sun reverts to yellow and restores everyone's power. At the same time Jimmy Olsen and his associates save Natasha Irons and transmit all of General Lane's activities to news sites all over the World Wide Web. The remaining Kryptonians, led by Ursa and Zod himself, begin attacking the Earth, ravaging the planet. When confronted by an angered Supergirl and his daughter Lois - particularly after Lois points out to him that he has become the monster he claimed the Kryptonians were, as he is one man who destroyed a planet, while Supergirl defies his perception of her people as "rabid dogs" by sparing his life when it would have been easy for her to kill him - Lane commits suicide rather than be made accountable to an international court.
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Sam Lane is re-introduced in the relaunched Action Comics where he is seen attempting to catch Superman believing him to be a menace. He was willing to help Superman after Lois and a portion of Metropolis was shrunken and taken away by the Collector. In his next appearance, he has Kryptonite Man released from custody, believing he is necessary to help keep Superman in check. Kryptonite Man agreed under the condition that General Sam Lane helps him locate his wife. Sam Lane is also seen in the relaunched Superman comics which chronologically takes place five years later in the present day, and his relationship with Superman is not that much different, right to the point where he accuses Superman that his presence in Metropolis is what attracts all the super-powered menaces and for that reason his daughter will always be in danger even though she is now a news producer instead of a reporter.
In the DC Rebirth relaunch of the comic universe, Sam Lane is seen conferring in a bunker under Gotham City with Amanda Waller and Hugo Strange. He is later seen as the official U.S. military representative when a nationwide crisis arises. Along with others such as Mr. Bones, Steve Trevor, Waller and Father Time they try and defeat the threat with technological means. This fails with a mystically powered alternate universe Bruce Wayne crashes through the wall and brainwashes the entire group.
General Sam Lane appeared in Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman. In his sole appearance in Issue 1, he talks to Luthor about how he pulled him out of prison to work for the US Government, but Luthor again threatens to kill Superman, before he dies. Lane then has Luthor incarcerated in Stryker's Island.
Sam Lane appears in the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event. In this version, Lane was the officer in charge of Project: Superman. He attempts to bond with Kal-El during the latter's time in captivity. When Neil Sinclair is freed from captivity and trashes the lab, Lane sacrifices himself by pulling himself and Sinclair into the Phantom Zone. The two eventually emerge from the Phantom Zone onto a far away island, and Sinclair murders Lane before leaving the island.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
In the prequel comic to Justice League: Gods and Monsters, it is revealed that this version of Sam Lane was a war physician who died from the collateral damage from one of Superman's fights, leading his daughter Lois to become a harsh critic of the Justice League.
In other media
- Sam Lane appears in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman played by Denis Arndt and later by Harve Presnell. Lane was a cyberneticist and he and Ellen were divorced. He first appeared working reluctantly in illegal "augmentation" of boxers. In subsequent appearances, Lane had created a robot girlfriend. In later episodes he tries to repair his broken marriage to Ellen. He has an estranged relationship with his daughter Lois Lane who tries to repair their relationship in later episodes.
- In Superman: The Animated Series, General Sam Lane (voiced by Dean Jones) is involved in the space program. He appeared in "Monkey Fun", with a flashback to when he was a lieutenant, then the current Sam Lane appears to aid Lois after the monkey Titano wreaks havoc in Metropolis.
- In Smallville, Lieutenant General Sam Lane appeared in the second and third episodes of Season 4 played by Michael Ironside. When Chloe Sullivan and her father were put in protective custody, Lex Luthor managed to get General Lane in to shield her from the blast when they got into the "safe" house. In the fourth season episode "Lucy" it is noted that "the General" (as both his daughters call him) was unable to cope with raising his daughters alone after the death of his wife. He modeled his parenting on that of his Army career where he implemented a chain of command. He was in charge of Lois and Lois was in charge of Lucy. Both his daughters resented their father for this. At the end of the episode, he sent Lois to Europe in order to locate his younger daughter Lucy, but it is unclear if the efforts were successful. In subsequent episodes, Lane has been casually referenced by other characters. Chloe states that General Lane provided her with covert surveillance equipment in "Mortal". With it, she helps Clark Kent infiltrate the LuthorCorp building and rescue his family. In the sixth-season episode "Prototype", Lois told Clark and Chloe that Wes Keenan was the only soldier that the General ever respected. Ironside reprised his role as the General (now a four-star General) in the Season 10 episode "Ambush", where Clark becomes the first person to pass the "tests" the General has arranged for Lois's previous boyfriends, the two bond despite their initial disagreement over General Lane's role in the Vigilante Registration Act. As seen on his uniform, General Lane is a recipient of the Silver Star.
- General Sam Lane appears in Supergirl, portrayed by Glenn Morshower. He is depicted as having strongly anti-alien views, and as wanting to take over the Department of Extranormal Operations in order to focus its efforts on the eradication of aliens.
- Sam Lane makes a brief cameo appearance in Superman: The Movie from 1978. Kirk Alyn, the first actor to portray Superman in live-action (in two low-budget serials from the 1940 & 50s) is seen when Lois witnesses young Clark Kent racing the train on which he and his wife (portrayed by his serial co-star, Noel Neill) are riding.
- General Sam Lane appears in All-Star Superman, voiced by an uncredited Steven Blum.
- Sam Lane appears in the animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, voiced by Danny Huston.
- Sam Lane appears in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis voiced by Jay K. Johnson. He is seen telling Ocean Master's troops to stand down.
- Sam Lane appears in Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom, voiced by James Arnold Taylor. This version is shown to be mistrusting toward extraterrestrial life, exceeding his authority to hold the Martian Manhunter hostage in Area 52 until he was freed by the Legion of Doom. Following the Legion of Doom using Martian Manhunter to set up the Justice League to ruin a prototype nuketron reactor core, Lane holds the Justice League responsible where he supports the World Council's decision to exile them from Earth. When the Legion of Doom is defeated, Lane is angered that the Justice League have returned from exile until Martian Manhunter mind-controls him to dance to the music that was playing.
- Sam Lane appears in Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants, voiced by John DiMaggio. Lane is shown to have a contract with Bruce Wayne where he is seen talking with Wayne during a demonstration.
Chad Derdowski of Mania.com felt that Sam Lane would have been a formidable villain to use for a film stating that he driving a wedge between the relationship of Clark Kent and Lois Lane would create a little more dramatic oomph for the film.
- Adventures of Superman #593 (August 2001)
- Action Comics #781 (September 2001)
- Superman #688 (July 2009)
- Action Comics #884 (February 2010)
- Superman: War of the Supermen #1 (July 2010)
- Superman: War of the Supermen #3 (July 2010)
- Superman: War of the Supermen #4 (July 2010)
- Action Comics (vol. 2) #1
- Action Comics (vol. 2) #4
- Action Comics Annual (vol. 2) #1
- Superman (vol. 3) #2
- Superman (vol. 3) Annual #2
- Superman (vol. 3) #26
- Batman (vol. 3) #1-5
- Batman: The Merciless (2016)
- Doomsday Clock #5. DC Comics.
- All-Star Superman #1 (Jan. 2006)
- Flashpoint: Project Superman #1 (June 2011)
- Derdowski, Chad (October 7, 2010). "10 SUPERMAN Villains Snyder Could've Used". Mania.com. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved 2013-05-19.