Superman #12 (December 1987)
Superman remembers the time in college when he dated a mermaid, only he didn’t know she was a mermaid. I assume/hope that this means the relationship didn’t advance beyond second base.
The story begins in the present, with Superman meeting some douche named Ronal (whose legs are conveniently hidden from view) at a beach to commemorate some special occasion. We then flash back to Clark Kent’s college years, when he met a sexy crippled girl named Lori Lemaris. Clark and Lori start a relationship, despite her strange behavior and complete refusal to show anyone her legs. A frustrated Clark eventually spies on her with his super-senses and finds Lori talking on a radio about “aborting the mission” — from this he deduces that she must be some sort of Soviet spy. She’s probably hiding a nuke under that blanket!
However, some more investigation leads Clark to an astounding conclusion: he grabs Lori from her wheelchair, flies into the middle of the sea and when he drops her she (fortunately) turns out to be a mermaid. She was sent to the surface world by her mer-community to study about ancient cultures and hopefully find the location of the fabled sinked city of Atlantis. Clark goes “I don’t care that you’re half fish!” but Lori says no, their love cannot be… until she finds Atlantis.
Years later, Superman meets Aquaman and asks him about Atlantis, and he’s like “oh yeah, it’s right over there.” Before Clark can tell Lori about it, however, she’s stabbed by a crazed fisherman — Superman rushes her to Atlantis, where he convinces the city’s top surgeon (Ronal, the mer-douche from the beginning) to operate on her. Fortunately Lori recovered from her wound; unfortunately she fell in love with Ronal in the process and broke Superman’s heart for the second time.
Back to the present: we learn that Lori died “defending Atlantis” some time later, so that’s what Superman and Ronal are commemorating.
…only Lori Lemaris isn’t really dead, but we don’t know that yet. She’ll come back in the future to tempt Superman with those sexy fish scales.
The battle where Lori supposedly died is actually the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where she’s eaten by an anti-matter demon or something. Speaking of crossovers:
- Manhunters in Smallville: In Superman #9, we saw Lana Lang getting hypnotized by some sort of flying robot. In this issue, Ma and Pa Kent go to her house to investigate her disappearance and get shot with tranquilizers by a mysterious Lana-shaped figured. All this will be explained in the upcoming Millennium crossover of 1988, which is about a vast robot conspiracy.
When we see flashbacks of Clark in college, he makes no effort to hide his face, obviously, since he wasn’t a superhero yet. However, this means hundreds of people saw him every day, and yet none recognized him when he became Superman? Was the mullet he had back then throwing them off? In that case, they should have realized his secret identity when he re-grew the mullet after Death of Superman.
Yes, this is a comic about Superman dating a fish and that’s what I’m gonna fixate on.