Sam Lane, soldier turned spy and Lois Lane’s father, has died, killed during the Leviathan affair.
As he’s buried with full military honours, his daughter remembers their stormy, but ultimately loving, relationship.
The reporter maintains her composure as she says goodbye, accompanied by husband Clark, son Jon and sister Lucy
Finally, though, it all becomes too much.
Just look at that expression on Lois’s face, there; it’s one I’ve never seen in comics but have seen many – too many – times in life. It’s the look of a person truly grieving, full of love and sorrow and regret and pride and much, much more. If artist Mike Perkins doesn’t win an award for his work on this 12-issue maxi series there’s something seriously wrong with the givers of gongs. He gives us work that’s more real-looking than that of most comic artists, but stops short of photo-realism, meaning his people have life. Perkins’ backgrounds are equally impressive, grounding this intimate look at the ace journalist who happens to be married to Superman.
High fantasy never intrudes on this quiet character study of Lois and Sam, writer Greg Rucka keeps things at a very human level. Sure, there’s nothing new for anyone who’s been reading Superman books for years, but not everyone has, and it’s good to see a lifetime of relationships encapsulated so well in just a few pages.
I could have lived without Rucka showing off his research into military funerals for page after page, but the constant cutting back to the details of the sendoff helps the pacing, laying Lois’ understanding of her often-difficult dad against his fundamental character – the patriot.
The flashback scene with Sam taking Lois out to dinner stood out, it felt so true. I also liked seeing Lucy again (not least because it tells me she’s currently in the land of the living￼ – like Sam Lane, it doesn’t even take a wholesale continuity rewrite for her Dead or Alive status to flip). That panel of Jon comforting her is a fine, understated moment… I’d love to see him share a story with Lucy and Cousin Kara, the complicated aunt and the fun cousin. Also, notice Jimmy Olsen in that scene, I figure Lucy is once again an old girlfriend, he wants to comfort her but doesn’t.
The sensitive colours of Gabe Eltaeb and sharp letters of Simon Bowland also deserve mention. And the composition and use of colour on the cover – perfect.
The various threads that have run through previous issues aren’t mentioned, never mind developed, but that’s fine, there are six to go. As it is, the quiet drama of this superbly created comic is a real treat.