Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Action Comics #965

Action Comics #965 came out last week and was basically a Lois solo issue, something that made me wholeheartedly elated. If there was someone who got short shrift in the New 52, it was Lois. She basically was absent, possessed by Brainiac, or shunned for her identity reveal for basically five years.

Now I have to say that I was ready for two Loises to exist on the Rebirth Earth but the twist ending of Superwoman #1 certainly put an end to that. Instead, we have the pre-Flashpoint Lois, an older Lois who was successful as both Author X and mother. And Dan Jurgens has certainly made her a vibrant character, reminiscent of the Lois of old. She is bold, loving, intelligent, and determined.

In this issue, writer Dan Jurgens and artist Stephen Segovia bring Lois further into the Rebirth world. This is a world where Lana works for the Daily Star and a human Clark Kent works for the Planet. So why not have this Lois replace the other at the Planet?

And Jurgens does a great job of reintroducing us to the cast of the Planet, something else missing for much of the New 52. It was great to see these wonderful folks again, some who we haven't seen in years.
I will say, this Lois is supposedly around 10yrs older than the other so I had to roll with it that she is accepted.

Segovia's work is spot on bringing a nice natural look to the cast of characters and evoking the right emotions when necessary.

On to the issue!

Jurgens does a wonderful job of conveying how nervous Lois is for trying to replace the missing one. Remember, she is older, has a different hair style, and is basically different. And, of course, this is a different world so there are different people too. Lois doesn't recognize everyone and has to fake her way through these interactions. It is rare to read a Lois who isn't cool and collected. This one is nervous and that felt real and fresh.

But one thing I do love is how welcomed she is by her colleagues. She has been missing since the Superwoman death. Everyone has been worried.

And then we get to meet or remeet some of the characters. First off we meet Steve Lombard, still as boorish and buff as he ever has been. Takes a certain someone to walk around the office in their spandex.

And we also see Allie, a character I didn't had existed before until I was reminded by Mart Gray who reviewed her story here.

I am an old school guy who thinks that a supporting cast, especially one as fantastic as the Planet's staff is key for a comic to be successful. I am glad Jurgens is giving us them again.

Why is Lois risking her hidden identity of Lois Smith? Well, we saw that she got a package from the original Lois in an earlier issue (more on that later).

But she also has been having a recurrent dream of the other Lois telling her that she is needed.

Is this a message from beyond the grave? Are the purple word balloons an artistic choice or something important?

I do like the that we see this is a younger Lois with longer hair. It is a nice contrast.

Flashing back, we see that Lois has awoken from that dream far from her home. So maybe there is more to this dream than just a nagging thought.

Superman swoops her up and brings her home and we see just how great this couple is. They have a sort of heart to heart about how their quiet midwest life has really changed recently.

Something which spurred Superman has been Luthor sporting the S-shield. It is simply too much. I have to say I love that this is so irritating to Superman. He has a long history with *his* Luthor. And it is an insult to the El crest. It shows Supes' humanity a bit.

And then we hear that Lois misses the hustle and bustle of a reporter's life. She feels isolated. She made sacrifices for her family. Now she thinks she needs more.

I can only imagine what those years were like for Lois. This sounded on the money. I would love to hear what other people thought of this.

And then we see the actual letter that the other Lois sent this one. (I love that the other Lois was such a good reporter that she discovered this pair before they went public.) I missed this sort of Lois (or is it Loises?) a lot.

The bottom of the letter is some sort of code which Lois and Clark assume is a password for a computer. But I have to think the red highlighted letters on the reverse look means something. Those characters are backwards ... maybe there is more to this than a simple password. I can't believe that the other Lois would do something so mundane as just writing down a password.

With the impetus for her visit retold, we catch up to Lois fumbling her way through the Planet.

She is called into Perry's office where Planet owner Lex is there.

I love how Lois really has to gather herself and not blow it. This Lois had plenty of history with the Luthor of her world. She knows her husband's feelings. As much as she might want to lash out, she has to stay in control. I do like her half-sassy ending statement.

Again, I love that we get a deeper glimpse into Lois and her feelings her.

Before she can enter the password into the Planet computer, Clark comes in. And once more we see how she has an awkward reaction to this guy. She married Clark. She loves Clark. And this isn't Clark. How weird this must be to talk to this guy.

At first I sort of liked this Clark as a human version of a Mr. Action. I liked that he is an investigative reporter willing to risk his life. But there is this sort of dark edge to him, a sort of violent streak which comes out whenever people doubt he is who he is. It makes me nervous about this guy.

Here, when Lois won't directly answer his question about her revealing Superman's 'secret identity', he strikes her table and dumps his coffee all over the place.

Who the heck is this guy? I am out of guesses.

With the Planet computer out of commission, Lois wonders if it might be a password on Lois' home computer. She decides to break into her apartment (same address as her apartment on her world).

And who is waiting there ... the other Superwoman! Great splash by Segovia.

Now that is a great cliffhanger. Anyone reading the Superwoman title knows that Lois' death has significantly effected Lana. Who will Lana respond to this Lois? How much does this Lois divulge to Lana? I am definitely intrigued!!

As a Lois fan, as a reader who has been clamoring for more Lois, I love this issue. From this Lois' motives to action to her control of her emotions to her leap into action, I loved. And the scene with Superman sparkled as well. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given what Jurgens has done in the past with the characters.

So tell all the Lois lovers out there they need to pick up this issue!

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

That interaction between Lois and "Clark" was definitely creepy. It was a neat way to show that this "Clark" is a potential threat since Lois isn't invulnerable like Superman. It was easier to feel sorry for "Clark" (despite the double shadow foreshadowing last issue) when he was being grilled by Supes.

Martin Gray said...

What a great issue, and nice review. It makes sense that Lois wants to get back in the game - raising a family is important work, but busting asses at the stroke of a typewriter is important too; now Jon is older, Lois can flex the old journalism muscles and nourish her mind, while showing her guys how awesome she is.