This review is brought to you by the letter ‘N’ which I’d like to devote to Action Comics co-writer Eric Trautmann to replace the one DC denied him on the cover of this issue. That apart, great cover with Mrs Superman, gorgeously defiant in the face of adversity and the legend ‘Lois Lane: Traitor’ evoking memories of such Silver Age tales as ‘Lois Lane, Convict!'(twice), ‘Lois Lane, Super-Babysitter!’ and ‘Lois Lane, Muppet!’
(I admit it, I made one of those up.)
Nevertheless, with Nightwing a bedridden old man and Flamebird an evil scientist’s dupe, fiery, resolute Lois is the star of this issue’s main strip. She’s shaken by the actions of military madman father General Sam Lane, but determined to get the story of the much-maligned F&N’s innocence out. And Perry White shows he’s more of a father to Lois than Sam Lane has been for years.
Evil Kryptonian boffin Jax-Ur continues to delight, performing evil experiments on Nightwing under the noses of Flamebird and Dr Light. Mind, he does bring on this month’s bout of Unnecessary Kryptonese. By chapter’s end Jax-Ur has gotten what he wanted while Flamebird has sacrificed something she will likely regret.
Rucka and Trautmann give great Lois Lane, showing her as the Daily Planet’s Ms Action and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here. And with luck the two Kryptonian ‘stars’ of the strip will earn their keep by whupping Jax-Ur’s baldy arse next month.
Pere Perez continues to provide zingy pencils with plenty of drama and detail, though my favourite image was a simple blacked-out face of a sinister, leering Jax-Ur. The inks by Bit, colours by Javier Mena and letters by Rob Leigh helped ensure a nice looking strip.
The illustrations on co-feature Captain Atom by Cafu and colourist Santiago Arcas are shinily attractive, but whoever decided to have a spread arranged as a big fat U-shape, with only a single word bubble hinting at how the page is to be read, don’t do it again. I’m obviously too thick for random design elements.
It turns out that this strip is set ahead of most of the current DC Universe, so the new James Robinson Justice League is featured here. There are no spoilers beyond what we’ve seen in preview art, but it’s interesting to see. Cap himself, like N&F, doesn’t do much in his own strip, other than claim to Mon-El and Starfire that oh no, of course he doesn’t remember being that nasty murderous cosmic despot Monarch. More on that next issue, something I’m far more interested in than how Cap’s tale links in with Sam Lane’s shenanigans across the Superman books. Mind, there’s a big chance the two plot strands are linked.
The main thing is, I want the opening arc over – we’re six issues in already – and Cap left in a more heroic place than he’s been for the last several years. That is the plan, isn’t it? Oh, suspense!