Friday, October 28, 2016

Review: Action Comics #966

Action Comics #966 continued to Lois Lane story begun in last issue and was the home run of the week for me. I suppose I am repeating myself but since the New 52 Lois has been in the background. She simply hasn't been the presence that I want her to be in a Superman book. From her role as a vessel for Brainiac to her reveal of the secret identity to her simply not being shown, Lois has been mistreated and/or forgotten. It is like a vacuum in the mythos when Lois isn't around.

Then Dan Jurgens wrote the Covergence Superman book and the Lois and Clark mini-series and suddenly *a* Lois was back, a strong, independent, feisty investigative journalist who was a presence, an equal to Superman. And with #Rebirth, that Lois is now a major part of the Superman books and is attempting to not only fill the void of the other Lois but go further.

It is clear that Dan Jurgens loves Lois and loves the relationship between Clark and Lois. This issue concentrates on that. Lois has been living busy life as an anonymous auther and a homemaker/mom. Here she decides that some changes have to be made for her to remain happy. She has to honor the other Lois and reclaim her past. And Clark is 100% behind this. Hooray for us! Lois is back!

The art is lushly provided by Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert. For an issue that is mostly conversations, they bring an emotional punch. Of everything in this book, I love their take on Lana Lang/Superwoman the most. If Phil Jimenez is looking for an art team for the Superwoman book when he needs a break, I nominate them.

On to the book!

We start out with a nice moment between Jon and Clark. Superman is teaching Superboy how to use his vision powers. We haven't really got a close look at Jon's power levels and what he can or can't do. We have seen a little on/off snafu with his invulnerability.

Here we see that Jon is incredibly fast as a runner. He actually looks to be faster than Clark. Interesting.

I hope that we get something of a more defined power set in the upcoming Super-Sons book. I wonder if the hybrid nature of Jon's physiology is going to increase or decrease some of the powers he has.

Lois isn't at the home because she is doing her investigation work about the disappearance of the 'other' Lois. Jon is initially a little sad that his mother is gone. But Clark gives him a heart to heart.

Lois might be going back to work. She might not be around as much. But her love has not diminished. Lois just wants to share her gifts to make the world better. I suppose it might be a lot for a 10 year old kid who has always had his mother be a presence in the home to take in. But it is clear that Clark thinks that this is a right decision for Lois and everyone.

Perhaps the best line in the book is that Clark calls Lois a 'cool person'. That is awesome.

In Metropolis, in the 'other' Lois' apartment, Lois is confronted by Superwoman. This was the cliffhanger from last issue. In a savvy way, Lois is able to signal Clark that she is in trouble.

Meanwhile, Lana is wondering who this Lois is. Showing how smart Lana is, she immediately asks about the 'new' Superman and demands to speak to Clark ... not the Planet's Clark ... but this Lois' Clark. She even surmises they must be from a parallel universe. I like that this isn't an angry Lana ready to lash out but an inquisitive one, trying to find her way.

In another nice moment, Lana reveals who she is. This is a big moment of trust. She has met this Superman before. She doesn't know about Lois. It is something of a leap of faith for Lana to do this. But, for people reading Superwoman, we know that Lana is suffering. She needs support. These might not be *her* friends. But in many ways they are.

The code on the letter from Lois (from last issue) is her computer's password. We see a video that Lois has made explaining that she knows she is dying. And she knows that her passing will be painful for many. She asks this Lois to step in for her and finish her work. She wants this Lois to be there for Lana, General Lane, Perry, and all her friends.

This is a pretty powerful moment and Segovia and Thibert capture it. I love that Lois is thinking about others and not herself at this time. And yet, the tears come at the end. This humanizes Lois so much! She is allowed to be scared at her own mortality.

Just like that, this Lois decides she needs to do what that Lois asked. She needs to help.

And, acknowledging that it is a little creepy, she decides to inherit that Lois' identity.

Can a Lois 10 years older just step in? It's comics. So yes.

But I have more questions. Will she live in Metropolis? In that Lois' apartment? Split time between home in the suburbs and life in the city? What if her old fiancee shows up? This could get very very messy.

But those things can get looked at later.

Instead Jurgens closes the issue with a great character moments. We see Lois and Clark talk about how she needs to get back in the reporting game. How that is important to her and she has been denying it too long. And Clark agrees.

And then we hear Lois' thoughts as she heads to work. She needs to do this to honor the other Lois but also to show Jon that everyday people can be heroes too.

We see her challenge Lex.
We see her hug Perry.

And we see her get settled behind the desk. This is who she is, a reporter for the Planet.

Lois Lane is back.

Wonderful. I almost think this panel reads a little metatextual from Jurgens. Where has this interpretation Lois been for the last 5 years? We haven't seen much of her.

Finally, we will see Lois portrayed as she should be. And that makes me happy.

Thanks to Jurgens and all involved for giving us the Lois we deserve!

Overall grade: A


Nobile said...

Great post, Anj.

Lois living another Lois's life in a different universe is so silver age absurdity, and it plays great! I expected that any solution to the messy thing the NU52 Superverse had become, aside of a complete reboot, would have brought some head scratches, but Jurgens is managing it wonderfully.

As you probably know, the original plans for post-Crisis Superman were for Kal-L to replace Kal-El in the unified Earth. I wonder how much of that project and related planned solutions were translated into this. (The "I have dyed my hair gray to look older, but we Supermen actually don't age that much" revelation was surely left out!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, Anj! I picked up all of the back issues for "Action Comics" in Rebirth and these past two 'rest-ish' issues have been absolutely amazing. This issue stuck with me, I've been mulling over some of the scenes with a smile this morning. Fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Nobile you make a great point in drawing comparisons between the original plans for Post Crisis Superman being the Earth 2 Kal-L and the older Pre Flashpoint Superman replacing the younger New 52 Superman. It's so obvious but I didn't remember it till I saw that comment.

As for the older Lois replacing the younger one, I'm still sceptical about how no one seems to spot the age difference between the two. Granted perhaps Lois has aged gracefully but most people can spot the difference between someone in their mid 20s and someone who's late 30s. Nonetheless, having there be one Superman and one Lois Lane is a much better solution than there being 2 Lois Lanes, even if it was done messily.


Martin Gray said...

Top review, I didn't get to this issue, review-wise, this week, but knew you'd say everything I could, and more... for example, the metatextuality.

The only big glitch I can see about Lois taking over from Lois is the bit about giving Sam Lane his little girl back. The man is an idiot, but he's no fool. Keep well away, Lois!

Martin Gray said...

Forgot to say, I've read loads of behind-the-scenes stuff on COIE over the years. Am I the only one who missed this stuff about Earth 2 Supes replacing Earth I? That sounds like an idea that was never going to take...a notion rather than a plan?

Anj said...

Thanks for comments and sorry I am late to responding.

I also never heard of the E2 Superman replacing E1. Interesting.

And yes, I just can't imagine this Lois fooling everyone so easily. But this is comics, so I guess I roll with it.

Nobile said...

OK,I figured I can't remember at all where I picked that concept, probably from some introduction to some COIE-relted book, or from some interview. It was a very early concept, when drafting COIE and deciding what major character to kill off. I remember that this concept pre-dates the decision to kill-off Supergirl, and that I chuckled at the idea of Superman revealing he was faking his age not to make his wife sad and removing the makeup.
I guess this was way before Byrne and others came in and the idea was to keep the original continuity up but with differences, instead of rebooting the whole stuff.
If somebody can recall the source...

Martin Gray said...

Here's something from Brian Cronin at this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed - it's the final one.