Lois Lane #3 review

Reporter Lois Lane has witnessed the murder of a dodgy businessman. By her side is private detective Renee Montoya, whom she’d hired to keep her safe. And she did, pushing Lois out of the way of a speeding bullet. But the businessman, Mr Agger – who was linked to dirty dealings in Congress – is dead, leaving Lois with an important question, one she discusses with her husband as soon as they’re alone.

Montoya, meanwhile, is back at Lois’ hotel, where she’s confronted by a familiar-looking fellow.

The Kent discussion turns to current gossip about Lois, aka Mrs Clark Kent, who was recently photographed kissing Superman.

Back at her hotel suite, Lois has a big surprise…

… and it’s a great page, but I won’t spoil a moment that’s works so well in the context of the story.

This is my favourite issue yet of the maxi-series by writer Greg Rucka and artist Mike Perkins. There’s plenty of the strong-minded Lois I like, sure she can survive without the help of her Kryptonian hubby. The US political storyline is on the backburner, while the Russian business of the first two issues is pretty much absent; that’s fine by me, international street level intrigue tends to bore me, especially when its apparently a backdoor pilot for a new series starring Montoya, one of Rucka’s favourite characters. Give Montoya and the original Question their own book, this is meant to be a Lois Lane serial. It’s not that I hate the Questions, but picking up on their relationship from the long-ago 52 series here and now is just weird. Do I remember why she called him ‘Charlie’? I do not.

I like that the affair nonsense looks like it’s going to be dealt with, I hate that Clark Kent looks like he’s being cuckolded – I’d just make up a Silver Age lie and sell it to the public, but Rucka will likely come up with something more creative. Heck, this issue even has the word ‘Truth’ spotlighted on Perkins’ terrific cover, so it’s possible the Kents will go public with their secrets… I do hope not, because their friends would end up ever so slightly killed.

I don’t know if it’s in the script, or if it’s Perkins being creative, but I love that Lois is apparently having a wee dance on the roof after Superman has lifted her mood with a night flight across Metropolis. And doesn’t that look gorgeous, courtesy of Perkins and colourist Paul Mounts.

Simon Bowland also does a good job, providing beautifully clear, unobtrusive lettering.

My only complaint is that it’s 2019, nearly two decades after the trend for decompression kicked off, and Rucka is giving us this.

The next page is almost as empty of content. ‘The original Question follows the current Question into a hotel basement’ could be done in three panels. Seriously, if you’re not going to embellish pages of people getting from A to B with Seventies-style descriptions of mood and character, cut it out. These comics aren’t cheap. I remember, on the old DC message boards when Rucka was writing Wonder Woman in the early 2000s, moaning about Diana spending a page walking across a lobby or somesuch and here it is again. Maybe he simply finds crossing a room tense in itself…

Similarly, we get two full pages of Lois and Renee on the street with Lois telling an off-panel, eavesdropping Superman to just show himself, already. Two panels is what that needs.

While I don’t think they belong in a Lois book, the action pages that follow Vic Sage’s reception area adventure are undeniably effective, with Rucka, Perkins and Mounts combining talents to give us a nifty fight scene.

Overall, I’d recommend this issue. There’s great Superman and Lois stuff. Nice Montoya work if that’s your bag. And an ending that connects to the home Superman books and promises a conversation that needs to be in Lois’s own series.

‘Lois own series.’ It’s nice to be able to write that again. A Lois Lane series. Can we keep it, please DC?

7 thoughts on “Lois Lane #3 review

  1. I agree about the decompression. It’s all about knowing your audience. These scenes might play out real well on the tv screen, but they are nothing more than a waste of time and panels in a comic. I can understand how slowing down a scene might sometimes work in a story’s favour. And I have no problem with stretching a story out if there’s lots of interesting conversation going on in the panels. But page after page of empty panels is infuriating to me. I’ve never understood the attraction of wordless comics

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  2. Having just gotten, somehow, through Doomsday Clock #11, a quick read like this was just the thing I needed. And would prefer anytime. You can see this easily as a couple of scenes of a movie. It’s about 10 minutes of film-time.

    The work of Perkins and Mounts is gorgeous, so each panel is a feast for the eyes even if not much happens. There’s just so much mood in this.

    I do wonder about what’s going on on the street as the three talk. It appears to me that Lois must be circling around, cause she starts out on Renee’s right, then behind her, then on her left. I guess they missed an opportunity to show Lois slowly inching around over the course of three pages :).

    I wonder if part of the challenge here is telling one story over 12 issues, a form I haven’t seen much. It would be awkward to start a new arc after 6 issues – that might just as well be published as two back-to-back 6-issue mini-series.

    Different writers are going to work this out in different ways. One way is to give us a decompressed issue like this. Another style gave us the 12-issue Super Sons, which really started meandering, one adventure to the next. It grew tiresome.

    Finally – well, the point of a secret identity was just thrown out the window. Normally, it’s to protect those close to a hero from being targeted to get at the hero. Here, Superman is hovering around Lois to supposedly send the message – “Mess with her, and you mess with me.” But doesn’t it equally send the message “Mess with her to get back at me”?

    Now, one could argue Lois is already being targeted, so under the circumstances Superman is doing more good than harm – but we don’t know if Lois was actually the target. So, this was not the best move.

    (Though not as bad as them kissing publicly, which should already have put Lois in danger.)

    T.N.

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    1. That’s a brilliant point about Superman doing a ‘come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’!

      I’d be fine with the 12 issues being divided into a few tight stories with ongoing sub-plots, like any regular comic… show us what a proper Lois Lane book would be like. That way we could get pacing to suit the story.

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  3. I’m not crazy about the pacing of that Question following Question scene, but all told, I liked the book a lot. (Rucka’s gonna be Rucka, and that means long silences & visual storytelling; because of this, he’s usually a good one for waiting for the trade, though I like his work enough that I seldom do.) And I suspected you’d like this one better than the previous issues, too, once I saw that last page.

    LOVED Rene’s reaction to seeing Vic was alive, though! That immediate, warm hug. (She calls him Charlie, by the way, because his full name is Charles Victor Szasz, which he had returned to using at the time they met.)

    As for Lois, I loved her calling Clark out on his power move.

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  4. I’ve been thinking the same thing! And have been, really, since I had a chance to talk with Keith Giffen about it at a convention a year or so back. It’ll be interesting to reread it as a long-form, seat-of-the-pants comic, rather than as individual chapters.

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