Lois Lane #8 review

There’s a fun moment in the latest instalment of this Question mini-series when guest star Lois Lane tells us who she once found cooler than Superman.

Oh all right, I know it’s Lois’s name on the cover, and her face looking out at us slyly, but as I’ve said previously, writer Greg Rucka seems far more interested in telling a Renee Montoya Question story than a Lois tale.

Last issue ended with Lois and Renee attacked in a Chicago hotel by what appeared to be a female version of Batman baddie Black Mask. As this issue begins, Lois is on the floor, apparently unconscious, leaving Renee to fend off the attacker for several pages. Lois finally shows up and gets to do something on page eight.

We see on the next page that the attacker, whom Lois and Renee call Kiss of Death for some reason, has vanished. Soon, a more-than-might-be-expected number of police officers are flocking around outside, and they have questions.

Lois sneaks into the next room, knowing her husband has arrived, and after a cheeky wee snog, shamelessly uses him to distract the Chicago PD and media. It seems that when word got out that Lois – recently revealed as Mrs Superman – was involved, everyone rushed to the hotel in the hope her hubby would show up. The moment allows the ladies to slip away.

Later, they look for the maid who had been looking after Lois’s room during her recent stay at the Drake hotel. Their attacker had disguised herself as Alejandra’s ‘replacement’ in order to plant a bomb in Lois’ suite. Renee handles door-to-door while Lois scopes out the neighbourhood.

And over in the UK…

… the mysterious Jessica Midnight flees her hospital room via the old Nun Swap bit.

What’s Midnight, apparently a former Checkmate agent, got to to with the various assassination attempts on Lois? No idea. Maybe nothing, or perhaps she’s tied up with the political shenanigans in Washington that go unmentioned again this issue. Or the doings in Russia from the first few chapters about which we get, again, nada. Talk about writing for the trade, Rucka makes zero concessions to the fact that his story is coming out in monthly chapters and so a little movement might be nice.

I had a couple of storytelling issues this time. That page up there with Kiss of Death (such a stupid name) getting shot supposedly has her vanishing before Lois and Renee’s eyes. How? Did she teleport away? Given how much space Rucka allots the dullest of moments – such as Lois walking down a corridor – he might have spelt it out so artist Mike Perkins could show us.

And again we get scenes with Lois muttering to an unseen Superman she assumes is monitoring her from afar. Then she tells him once more that she doesn’t need protecting. The first is beginning to make Superman seem creepy, there’s a difference between keeping a super-ear out for her yelling for him, and listening in all the time. The second makes Lois seem utterly stupid and nigh suicidal – I get it, independent woman. But someone is actively gunning for her, putting regular folk around her at risk. Superman could find this non-metahuman in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, why would Lois not want them off her back? I get that this is supposedly her book, so someone else can’t be doing all the heavy lifting – although this doesn’t stop the constant spotlighting of Montoya – so why not just have Superman be busy elsewhere? He does have other books to star in.

Talking of Renee, I wish Rucka would find a hook for her character being ‘lesbian’. Is her constant flirting with even villains meant to titillate us?

Can anyone tell me what happened in that street scene? Is the idea that the maid was an illegal immigrant and has been taken away by the authorities? How does Lois know this just from a few people wandering around?

I do like that after Lois shoots Black Maskette she immediately tosses the gun to Renee; we know Dad Sam taught Lois about firearms but I wouldn’t want her too comfortable around them.

The cover isn’t as great as previous ones, Lois’ head looks a tad photo-realistic wonky, but his concept and colouring is great. I like Perkins’ interior art as much as ever, though, especially his Superman. And while the fight scene is too long and too-Renee, it’s really well done, super-dynamic. Perkins seems to be very much a bottom man…

Oh, Perkins does do the repeated panels bit in the Lois/Superman chat, so far as I can see there’s not even an altered facial line. Could do better.

Gaeb Eltaeb’s colours help the naturalistic feel of the story, as do Simon Bowland’s unobtrusive letters.

Four issues to go. I really hope we get more agency from Lois and movement on the various plots. Are they in fact one plot? Two-thirds into a limited series we really should know what the story is.

3 thoughts on “Lois Lane #8 review

  1. Oof. Man, at this point, I share every bit of your frustration. With the pacing, with Renee, with the repetitive Superman scenes.

    I think Kiss of Death left through a window. There’s what looks like a curtain blowing in the corner of the panel where we see that she’s gone, and some rain coming in. I think the colorist probably could have made that clearer with maybe a brighter curtain, or a sense of a different light source outside.

    Not sure what could have made Lois’s deduction that Alajandra was picked up by ICE clearer, though. I actually think that was a clever idea — a good way to tie the story to the real world, show us the heartlessness of the villains, etc. But how Lois reaches this conclusion is a complete mystery.

    I used to love Rucka’s work. But this pacing is a slog.

    (I still love the Stumptown tv show, though! It’s a treat!)

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  2. This book is leading me to the conclusion that – it either should not exist, or it should exist without my buying it. It had a promising start… but it’s dragging, and I don’t think any 12-issue maxi-series is a format that anyone has yet mastered.

    So – last issue Jessica was terrified Leviathan was visiting her, disguised as a nun and about to kill her. And everyone asked: was this really Lois, or Leviathan? We don’t know, because we can’t distinguish the women Perkins draws. And, turns out: NOPE! Sometimes a nun is just a nun. And she was apparently easily overpowered, off-panel, by what was a terrified and cowering Jessica from last issue. And then the fully-clothed nun says “I seem to be missing my clothes.” Might have been clearer if she said “She took my habit.” Or – who knows? Maybe this is yet another woman somewhere, not the nun, and we just can’t tell who it is.

    The 2-page fight against Kiss of Death? With all the overlapping panels and bodies crossing panel boundaries, I gave up looking for a sequential flow. My guess is there wasn’t one, and the pages were designed this way to obscure that. I just looked at each panel, pretty much randomly, as a screencap of some random moment. The only thing I “followed” was that Renee’s ankle gets hooked near the end, bringing her down. Perkins makes that one thing clear by drawing an exaggerated close-up of it. And that appears to be the only “sequence” the art features, done in a heavy-handed way.

    The “raid”? Inexplicable. Took me a little while to connect the raid with the Hispanic name of the maid. Is she undocumented? Is this a part of town where there are many undocumented immigrants? Are undocumented immigrants getting rounded up and deported from the UK like they are now in the US? As for how Lois observed it – head-scratching. But I can hope that this loosely ties in to the LONG-forgotten original plot, something to do with immigration or detention facilities? I don’t remember!

    The problem with the mini/maxi- series format is I tend to stick it out to the bitter end, so there are still 4 issues to go. If this was an ongoing title, I would be thinking seriously of bailing out.

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