THIS REVIEW OF ‘LOIS LANE’ #2 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
by Clyde Hall. It’s always the quiet ones. That was a bit of downhome wisdom shared by my Mom, and it meant that often the people who surprise you most are the quiet ones. The ones who call little or no attention to themselves but turn out to be accomplished jazz pianists.
DC’s humble titles have shined this year. Through the fanfare of big series like Doomsday Clock and Heroes in Crisis, it’s been titles outside the limelight providing the best entertainment. Wonder Comics mostly fronted Young Justice, but the more obscure Dial H and Wonder Twins delivered. There was little clamor for a new Hawkman title or a Green Lantern series, yet both have excelled and thrived.
Lois Lane is another quiet one that surpasses. The creative team has discreetly been about its business and produced one of the most accomplished books currently available.
And DC? This is the kind of comic we’d love to see more often.
Last issue, Lois uncovered questionable contracts awarded for building detainee camps by the U.S. Executive branch. Very lucrative contracts. Confronting the White House Press Secretary on the issue during a press conference led to Lane’s credentials being revoked. Meanwhile, the alleged suicide of a fellow journalist in Moscow prompted Lois to ask Renee Montoya, AKA The Question, to do some unofficial investigating abroad. Lois is also being dragged through public and social media speculation regarding her separation from Clark Kent, and surfaced photos of Superman and Lois lip-locking.
Greg Rucka’s sizzling narrative in #2 has Lois and Montoya meeting and Lois giving the vigilante a very astute lesson on their objectives. It’s a great dissection of the superhero desire to end momentary violence as opposed to the reporter’s quest: Discovering who initiated it and holding them accountable. We’re given insights to the working relationship between writer and editor; Lois’ phone calls with Perry White adds humor, but also understanding. Understanding of their responsibilities pursuing a story with ranging implications. The pressure reporter and publisher must endure when those in power would prefer the truth remain interred in an unmarked grave.
There are other personal moments marking the issue. We don’t get Lois and Superman. We get to share Lois’s quality time with Clark Kent. I’ve missed him. Here, he’s a good husband, one who actively works alongside Lois to make their marriage function. We experience their support of one another as colleagues, as fellow professionals, and we witness the depth of love they share.
If you’re comfortable with the current national political landscape of the United States, parts of the narrative may challenge you. But given the fictional implications of the plot, added to divisive elements made relatable by ongoing actual concerns in the U.S., the DCU equivalent heads of state need fact-checked by a reporter who’s tough, fair, dedicated to uncovering malfeasance, and willing to stand by every word she writes. Besides, being too comfortable in any political climate is inviting difficulties on embossed stationary with an RSVP.
Rucka makes the issues of the fiction relatable to anyone marginally in touch with disputes currently raging on Capitol Hill. Orchestrating the story in this manner saves Lois from being merely a collection of platitudes regarding the Fourth Estate. Her struggle is to save lives and preserve freedom using her brand of superpower. She has the grit and the talent to write the truth in a fashion which prompts change. Change in people’s views, change in how the business of government is conducted. In Rucka’s tale, she’s as much a hero dedicated to truth, justice, and the American way as her husband. She’s just more assertive about it.
Artwork by Mike Perkins is meant for the murky business of clandestine, back alley information exchanges. He renders Lois in all her facets, caring spouse to confrontational journalist to coy confessor. Perkins has a face for each aspect, rendering her as a complex, compelling individual. His style shares similarities to classic Gene Colan work and is ideal for this story.
Paul Mounts on colors adds to the subdued lighting of hotel rooms and covert meetings but beautifully handles the sunlit and populated locales where characters hide in plain sight. It’s a great mix of both. Letterer Simon Bowland preserves a sense of dignity, of duty, in his approach. He could use exclamatory fonts and Pulp-ish sounds of violence appropriate to a hardboiled journalist/detective story. Instead, he taps into noir with measured dialogue. Brilliant snippets of television news sources surround the primary characters. Bowland knows that the most chilling revelations come in whispers, not screams.
By the climax of issue #2, we know that Superman isn’t going to save this day. He couldn’t. But we also know the right team is working to do that very thing, and it makes for exciting and compelling storytelling.
DC / $3.99
Written by Greg Rucka.
Art by Mike Perkins.
Colors by Paul Mounts.
Letters by Simon Bowland.
9 out of 10
Check out this 4-page preview of ‘Lois Lane’ #2, including a variant cover by Nicola Scott, courtesy of DC!