Now things get interesting.
I enjoyed the first couple of issues of this maxi-series a lot, but as the months passed my grasp of what the story actually was became less firm. I wasn’t sure there was a story there at all. Subplots that seemed important vanished for months on end. Characters would come on for a scene or two, act enigmatically, and vanish. Worst of all, Lois was constantly playing fiddle to supposed supporting act Renee Montoya.
This time, Renee again gets more real estate than Lois, but the pages Lois gets are great, and the business with Renee is all about Lois. The Russian plotline goes unmentioned. The Washington DC corruption isn’t referenced. But maybe they’re parts of the big whole, and all will become clear…
…meanwhile, I really enjoyed this issue as the scope expanded. A few issues ago, Lois was about to tell Gotham private eye Renee, whom she’s employed as an investigator-cum-bodyguard, a Big Secret. Finally we learn what that information is as Renee and pal Sister Clarice tell one Jessica Midnight, whom they’ve freed from a mental institution, just why she’s been feeling so fragile and fragmented.
She has a Headache on Infinite Earths.
I never expected Rucka to go big. I’ve been a sucker for multiple Earth tales since my first JLA/JSA team-up. Suddenly I really want to see how this series ends after almost giving up through boredom and frustration. I’ll still be peeved if Rucka doesn’t wrap up the threads he’s laid out, but I’m more convinced than I was that he has a plan.
The scenes between Lois and Superman have been highlights of the series and this issue’s may be the best yet. Lois is planning to strike back at the assassin who tried to kill her and Renee when hubby calls at the hotel where she’s staying.
He’s frustrated he can’t help her. She’s frustrated that he can’t stay in one place for ten seconds. But each understands that the other has their work and they love one another deeply. And it’s wonderful to see Lois relaxed enough to admit vulnerability. She’s no less strong for it.
The final scenes, as Lois waits for Renee, Jessica and Clarice in London to save her journalistic butt in Chicago, are happily tense as a perfect plan looks set to be derailed. It’s Rucka reminding us what he’s capable of.
There’s also a good showing from illustrator Mike Perkins, who ensures that even the multiversal montages are moody little masterpieces. There are four female characters, at least three of whom are brunettes – who can tell with a nun? – and they’re distinct, with Andy Troy’s well-chosen colours helping. There are a lot of talking heads but Perkins keeps things interesting, and it’s a treat to see him drawing multiversal alternates from Elseworlds of yore. And Simon Bowland’s understated lettering suits the spy feel.
Perkins’ cover is a fine mood piece, fitting in with the rest of the run.
So, two issues to go – will Lois get her story? So long as the readers do, I’ll be happy.