Samuel Lane

General Sam LaneNow, let’s alternate a bit, and take a look at a character spotted in the latest trailer for Supergirl‘s upcoming episode Red Faced. In order to train Supergirl, the U.S. Army builds an android, Red Tornado, as a sparring partner, and the officer responsible for the whole operation is General Sam Lane, portrayed by Glenn Morshower (since his daughter Lucy is already part of the roster, it’s likely Sam will be a recurring character as well). This won’t be the General’s first appearance: he had a cameo in Superman: The Movie, briefly appearing on a train at the beginning of the film portrayed by Kirk Alyn. He later popped up in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman reinvented as a cyberneticist, and was portrayed by Denis Arndt, first, and by Harve Presnell, later. Last but not least, he also appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Michael Ironside: in the show, he was mostly explored as a single parent, raising his two daughters as if they were two of his subordinates. Waiting to see what this new version will bring to the character, let’s see who the original General Lane is.

The first version of Samuel Lane was a simple man, a horse farmer who married a beautiful woman, Ella, and had two daughters from her, Lois and Lucy. He and his family lived in a small rural town, PittsdaleIowa, and when Lois and Lucy grew up, Sam and Ella stayed behind in their farm, following their daughters’ career in the big city of Metropolis. After the Multiverse collapsed following the events of Chrisis on Infinite Earths, Sam Lane became a completely different man, with a different story and a brand new attitude. Lane entered U.S. Army as a young man, and became a career officer, climbing the ranks until he became a General. He married the woman he loved, Ella, and lived with her moving from a military base to another depending on his assignments. Sam wanted his firstborn to be a son whom he could teach everything he knew to, but Ella delivered a baby girl, Lois: quite generalsamlanecomics1disappointed for having a daughter instead of the son he was expecting, Sam treated Lois as a male nevertheless, and was quite hard, uncompromising and strict with her. When Ella got pregnant a second time, Sam had yet another daughter, Lucy: albeit he was lighter with her than he was with Lois, he still was quite the austere father, and when Ella tragically fell ill and died, being a single parent didn’t help him at all into bonding properly with his girls. As Lois and Lucy grew up, Sam ended up distancing himself more and more, until he was a totally absent figure in their lives, always prioritizing his work over his family. Lois, strong and independent, chose her own future, and became a reporter for the Daily Planet in Metropolis, making a new life for herself, while Lucy was quite a troublesome girl, unable to accomplish anything. Sam followed his elder daughter’s progresses in her career, albeit he never showed he was interested in Lois’ life; he met her daughter again when she wanted to introduce to him her fiancé, Clark Kent, a good-heart and mild-mannered man who utterly failed in impressing the hard-bitten General. Not approving anything in Lois’ life, least of all Clark, Sam eventually decided not to attend her wedding with Kent, thus increasing the distance between them.

General Lane strongly opposed the rising number and popularity of superheroes, mistrusting individuals with so much power at their disposal, and with such an independency from law and authorities. This position granted him a place in the cabinet of the newly elected President of the United States of America, billionaire Lex Luthor, who made him his Secretary of Defense. Lois knew far too well Luthor’s true nature, and she tried to warn her father of the new President’s dark side, but the General had found in Luthor a man who shared his thoughts on the threat represented by “enhanced individuals”, and refused to listen to his own daughter. Lane organised Earth‘s defenses when the entire planet came at war with Imperiex, a cosmic being who wished to annihilate “imperfection” from the universe. Necessity wanted Lane to team up with the superheroes he despised so much, and generalsamlanecomics2he found himself battling one of Imperiex’s probes side by side with Black Lightning: the probe’s armor was impenetrable, and at last the General detonated the nuclear engine of his own tank to crack the shell enough to allow Black Lightning to attack it. The plan succeeded, but Lane apparently died in the following explosion. The general miraculously survived, and was brought to safety by the Army, who kept his survival a highly classified information. Dead to the world, Lane oversaw a secret project aimed to monitor the actions of Brainiac, the alien cyborg who almost won the war against Imperiex. He left his secret base only once to speak with Lois, pretending to be his own ghost, exploiting his “death” to clarify things with his daughter and to solve some of their many unresolved issues. After that, he came back to his superiors, who made him the leader of Project 7734, a secret black-ops facility aimed to protect Earth from any kind of extraterrestrial threat or potential threat, including species believed to be friendly such as Kryptonians. Now, Lane had all the resources, the power and the licence to pursuit his life-long goal: to protect humanity from the so-called superheroes, aliens with too much power and not enough control in their use of it.

General Sam Lane is a hard and uncompromising man, an outspoken and direct soldier who doesn’t fear anybody or anything. With a deep distrust towards superhumans in general, Lane becomes nearly xenophobic in dealing with aliens of any kind, being them “good” or “evil”. A capable leader and a skilled tactician, a gifted pilot and a trained soldier, Lane is a warrior born, truly and totally committed in serving his country, even when this means to neglect his duties as a father and a family man. A man of power and authority, General Lane hardly accepts that other people can have more power than himself (or than the entire Army, for what matters), and he hasn’t the slightest intention of leaving them unchecked and uncontrolled.

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