Lois Lane, ace reporter. Mrs Superman. And lover of bookshops.
It’s wonderful that after more than 80 years you can be told something new about a comic book character, and it just fits. Of course a person who loves to wheedle out secrets would love dusty, vintage books!
And that’s not the only great bit of business in an issue which sees Lois and husband Clark go undercover as ‘Andi’ and ‘Chaz’, Agents of Spyral. They’re using fake identities created for an untold tale.
In the present day they’re in London Town, Merrie Old England, following a lead that might reveal all as regards Leviathan, the mysterious figure wiping out the DC Universe’s secret organisations.
At the remains of one of them, the Department of Extranormal Operations, former boss Mr Bones is confronted by hotshot lawyer Kate Spencer.
And at the Fortress of Solitude, Jimmy Olsen is babysitting Task Force X boss Amanda Waller, who sought Superman’s protection after attempts on her life.
I love how fearless Jimmy is in the face of one of the planet’s most formidable people, a ginger mosquito buzzing her to distraction. I adore the banter between Chaz and Andi, unrecognisable as Clark and Lois due to Kryptonian technology. And I would flat-out marry the tense dialogue between Kate and Mr Bones, recently jerkish but once more the formidable spymaster of old.
Every page of this issue had me grinning broadly as writer Brian Michael Bendis has huge fun with the extended DC Universe. Mr Bones, Checkmate, Adam Strange… at this point I’d not be at all surprised to see (Leave it to) Binky show up. And it’s not as if Bendis is throwing in Easter eggs simply to show off the depth of his DC knowledge, he’s threading them logically into an ambitious storyline that gives Mr and Mrs Kent a chance to go on adventure together on which Clark doesn’t have all the advantages.
Illustrating the issue, Steve Epting, aided by the excellent colour sense of Brad Anderson, produces atmospheric work of the first order, with London, especially, looking like the perfect playground for super-spooks. And the character work is equally good, with some great expressions on the unfamiliar faces of our new friends Chaz and Andi. Then there’s the reflection of Waller on Fortress friend Kelex’s shiny golden belly, a little nod towards the weirdness of her life.
Plus, we get a couple of double page action sequences that are stunning with, again, blazingly good work from Epting’s artistic partner Anderson.
Someone who’s not a great artist is Mr Bones, but the now traditional issue-opening ‘desk shot’ does provide a fun insight into his thinking.
Kudos, too, to letterer Josh Reed for terribly attractive work – so neat, yet never irritatingly so.
While I had my doubts on hearing this Leviathan storyline was going to break out of Action Comics and become a crossover, every issue has me enjoying Bendis’s offbeat Superman tale more and more. So, let’s have more and more.