ID: I’ve been editing the old interviews with Clark for a collected edition. I think the fact that he was dying, the fact that he was married and had a very specific life worked out, gave his interviews an urgency, and a clarity, that ours have sometimes lacked.
B: I’m sorry I’m not dying faster.
ID: You should be. Nearly two years worth of on and off-again interviewing ruined. So I’ve decided to poison you. Or to ask you a question. An important one. I assume you’re not dating anyone at the moment.
ID: Because it might interfere. And as a journalist, that’s basically a no, by the way. I want to know about the love of your life. Clark had Lois. Madonna had Sean Penn. I want to know who Bruce Wayne had. Now I’m going to turn off the tape recorder for a second, because I have an idea.
ID: We’re back, and see, now I know. But the thing is, we’re not going to come out and say it; we’re going to make it like a game show count down, where we talk about the various, um, we’ll call them lesser loves, as we count down to the love of your life.
Now, we're going to go for the low-hanging fruit, someone who you've talked about before, and who, I think obviously, is not your soul mate: Lois Lane. How did you two meet?
B: I was in Metropolis. I'd just started working as Batman, just started operating my businesses myself. Ostensibly I was there looking into some acquisitions. Metropolis has always been a center of high tech industry. I was actually looking into acquiring S.T.A.R., or at least luring away some of their top talent- though eventually we just ended up partnering our Wayne Tech divisions with them instead on a project by project basis. It's funny, but at the time Lex Luthor's businesses were fledgling enough that I was also considering a buy out of him, too- not that Lex was entertaining such a bid.
And I had also only been in the cowl a few months at that point. Every time a new, colorful person in a costume popped up, bad things happened. So I wanted to get out ahead of whatever threat Clark might have presented. Alternately, there weren't a lot of people in costume, and everything I'd heard about Clark pointed to him being on the right side of things, generally speaking, but powerful. I was curious about the prospect of, like I was doing then with my companies, harnassing his power to greater purpose.
And, like I said, I was new to the CEO position. My secretary set up an interview with the local daily, which was supposed to be a puff piece. Instead, it got handed to Lois, who was anything but fluffy; she's actually quite sharp-edged- which is not a joke about her being boney.
The interview was one of my first, and certainly the most incisive, and invasive. Lois was everything in her professional persona that I wanted Batman to be: relentless, but righteous, tough, but incredibly fair-handed. I actually asked her out three times.
The first came about twenty minutes into the interview; she told me it would be unprofessional for her to agree in the middle of an interview. I asked again at the interview's conclusion, and she said it would be unprofessional before she finished her write-up. And I asked her again after the story went to print, and she said yes.
What I liked the most about Lois was she made me think. She asked me questions that made me question things I'd always taken at face value, and just presumed. Um, I'm trying to think of an example. She asked me, after appetizers arrived during our first date, why now, after spending years gallivanting across parts of Europe and Asia, had I decided to come back to the US to take control of my family's empire.
And it was a question I hadn't thought about. I mean, I was back in the country because I'd finished my training, which did include at least some education in business. But why hadn't I just put on my cowl and let the business continue to be run by the men my father had had on his board?
ID: And the answer was...
B: I think the same as the reason why I was doing what I was doing in a cape. There was still more good to be done. My companies were good places to work, that churned out American manufactured products at reasonable enough prices. But there was a vast gulf between the empire I owned and the potential of my family's wealth. There was still so much more good I could do by taking over.
But that's to the side of the point. Lois challenged me. I think just as Clark said, that she challenged me to be a better man. She wanted me to be a better man. I think part of the problem was, back then, I wasn't.
ID: What do you mean?
B: I mean I wasn't Clark. Clark always wanted to be a better man. I was... more focused than that. I wanted to end crime. Sometimes that meant fighting poverty, which I did with my companies. And sometimes that meant scaring the hell out of criminals until they pissed themselves; occasionally it meant putting a killer in a wheelchair. It's a subtle difference, I think, but at the end of the day, her sharp edges to the side, Lois really is a sunny-eyed optimist. She wants the best out of and for people. And sometimes I just wanted to scare the hell out of people until they behaved themselves; I don’t always see the good in people.
ID: Okay. I don't know if Lois is quite enough fodder. But thankfully, you have a type. Specifically, journalists. [Ed. Note: continued next update]