Best Shots Review: LOIS LANE #1

"Lois Lane #1" preview 2019
Credit: Mike Perkins/Paul Mounts (DC)
Credit: Mike Perkins/Paul Mounts (DC)

Lois Lane #1
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Mike Perkins and Paul Mounts
Lettering by Simon Bowland
Published by DC
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Credit: Mike Perkins/Paul Mounts (DC)

One of the best parts of any superhero universe is how they invite questions about the non-powered human perspective. The mere existence of superheroes and villains changes the dynamic of daily life, and over the years, we’ve gotten some interesting explorations of the people on the street who are dealing with the fallout of the war between good and evil. Lois Lane takes a much more singular approach, as the DCU’s most famous reporter finds herself in the crosshairs of an international conspiracy. Greg Rucka gets back to a mode and moodiness that we haven’t really seen from him since his Detective Comics days, while the art team of Mike Perkins and Paul Mounts lean into the noir elements of the script to deliver an interestingly realized snapshot of the DCU as it exists in the throes of the larger  “Event Leviathan” event.

Credit: Mike Perkins/Paul Mounts (DC)

Rucka has made a career on the portrayal of women in his work. From Queen & Country, Gotham Central, Wonder Woman and more, that’s been an intrinsic hallmark of his output, and the fact that it’s something to build a career on just goes to show the short shrift so many male writers give the women in their stories. But in Lois Lane, Rucka reminds us why she can hang with Superman. Lois is focused and passionate almost to a fault. Yet unlike Clark, she’s also human and the work weighs on her. While it’s definitely a noir trope to have your lead hitting the bottle, it’s a detail that feels more earned here than usual. Lois feels the weight of what she knows and her responsibility to the world, and that’s palpable throughout the script — especially in her conversations with Perry White. It’s hard not to root for her because she’s almost instantly relatable. (Though admittedly, that might be a little bit of this former news reporter showing a little bias.)

Narratively, Rucka sets things up with the pacing of a crime thriller. We get to see Lois at work and we get to see how that relates to her relationship with Superman. It’s lampshading the fact that Clark is generally so powerful that he could probably just handle everything, but that’s partly because Clark handling everything wouldn’t be a good story and it especially wouldn’t be a good Lois Lane story. And as a counterpoint, we get to see who Lois’ informant is, and it’s great to see Rucka return to that character.

Credit: Mike Perkins/Paul Mounts (DC)

As mentioned, Perkins and Mounts really live in the shadowy noir elements of the script, but they don’t let that get in the way of expressiveness and narrative storytelling. This isn’t an overly stylized approach to that aesthetic. We aren’t getting really intense color palettes or super inventive inking because it’s important for those elements to not override the work that Rucka is doing. I’d argue that the artists actually play it a little safe in order to serve the story, and I’d like to see them dive in just a little bit more. Still, hanging back allows them to give us some extremely forthright expression work and body language that sets the stage nicely for the story.

Lois Lane is a great reminder that the human element is often what’s missing in our superhero stories. Sometimes the most unsung heroes in these world’s aren’t the ones with sci-fi gadgets or super powers. Greg Rucka excels at showing us that vision of the DCU, and it’s great to have him back in his wheelhouse here. Perkins and Mounts are a good fit for the writer as well, and I suspect that their work will only improve as this maxi-series continues.

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