There are a few things that everyone knows about Clark Kent: 1. He's a reporter. 2. He's Superman. 3. He's married to Lois Lane. Ask about Clark Kent and usually one of those three will be mentioned. For the purpose of this discussion we're going to ignore the Superman aspect and just focus on Clark Kent in this relationship. So how do you go about separating these two iconic characters? Simple, show the characters functioning in the real world independent of each other. Show both to be competent reporters, friendly people, and most of all don't attempt to foreshadow some sort future romantic involvement. Both characters should be able to be a part of stable relationships that are natural fits with their respective characters. Think about how people in the real world act. The truly good/stable people do not stalk/pine over someone who they wish was their partner when said person is already in a relationship. They feel happy for that person and move on with their life and eventually someone else fills that place in their heart.
Unfortuantly DC Comics seems to have ignored that idea presenting a Clark Kent who is a loner, who is pining for Lois, and who feels defeated after meeting her boyfriend.
|From Superman #1, written by George Perez. Art by Jesus Merino|
In contrast, look at the John Byre reboot of Superman back in the 80's. (I couldn't find scans so you'll have to take my word on it) In those issues, Clark Kent was not pining for Lois Lane, in fact at times they downright hated each other. Not only that but Clark Kent and Lois Lane date other people without the story attempting to foreshadow any relationship. As such those stories felt much more natural because that's how people in the real world act!
So does Clark Kent need Lois Lane? The answer is quite simply that he shouldn't. Clark Kent is a strong character that is entirely capable of living a complete and healthy independent life. As long as writers portray him this way, the DCnU will have at least one character right.