Friday, May 15, 2020

Review: Lois Lane #10

Not a dream! Not a hoax! I read a new comic this week in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic!

And to make it even crazier, I read it digitally. (Don't worry, I'll get the printed copy too.)

Lois Lane #10 came out this week,digitally only. It feels like a long time since the last issue was released by this creative team of writer Greg Rucka and artist Mike Perkins.

One of my complaints about this maxi-series so far has been the somewhat plodding pace of the actual storylines. Rucka set up a bunch of 'inspired by real events' plots. Unfortunately many of these issues have felt like treading water.

This issue continues that trend. We don't really get to learn more about immigrant detention, government corruption, or murdered Russian journalists. Instead we get a rather detailed discussion of multiverses and quantum theory. Now I am a classic DC reader so I understand the concept of the multiverse. But I don't exactly know if I can truly explain the exact details of what Rucka is saying about the characters here.

Moreover, this lengthy science fiction discussion seemed just a little bit out of place for this comic which has been, for the most part, a street level drama.

Mike Perkins does his usual solid job on art here. I think his expression work is a bit inconsistent. But there is a Superman/Lois scene in the middle of this issue which is perfect and Perkins is really the star there. And the multiple splash pages discussing the multiverse are also very strong.

But let's not bury the lede. This was a new comic!!!

We start with our trio of Jessica Midnight, Sister Clarice, and Renee Montoya setting up shop in an apartment, prepping a magic spell on the floor similar to the one Midnight had done when we first met her.

Jessica isn't sure she is a witch. She feels like the knowledge needed for spells is just on the edge of her mental reach. But she isn't sure.

The Question says that if Lois says Midnight is a witch then she is. Lois only tells Renee the things the Question needs to know. And this was one of them.

To explain how Midnight feels like she is a witch even if she doesn't know it, Montoya explains about the multiverse. Different universe born from different decisions. Infinite universes.

This is a pretty wild page by Perkins showing us different versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The addition of physics equations is a nice little addition.

And there are subtle little homages. We see the different ships which brought Superman to Earth. We see riffs on classic Wonder Woman covers, both Wonder Woman #1 (vol 1) and Wonder Woman #215 from Rucka's run in the 90s.

But look closely at the Superman section and you'll see my favorite homage.

No denying that this look at Supergirl homaging Action Comics #1 is patterned off of Jackson Guice's cover of Action Comics #685.

No denying that leggy look. But even the destroyed engine looks similar!

So Renee seems to imply that Jessica is feeling the mystical ripples of other versions of herself.

To try to explain it, Renee tells the story of the man who dreamed he was a butterfly. Or is it a butterfly who dreamed he was a man?

This story is one The Question, whether it be Vic or Renee, love to recite. It is a classic Zen tale that Question mentor Richard Dragon always carts out. So why not give the lecture your professor gave.

But Jessica being both the man and the butterfly? Hmmm ..

But we do see many different versions of Jessica, some obviously wielding magical energy.

But then thinks get a little crazier.

It seems that all these characters feel they are the amalgamation of all their universal selves.

Now to be honest, I just don't know enough about Renee to know if she was dead and is now back unexplained. I honestly don't know if Rebirth is a universal reboot. I mean, I know Vic was dead and is now alive.

So maybe these three are somehow oddly new versions of previously established characters?

And then this weird line from Renee.

She throws out the line that Lois might not even be from this Earth.

Okay ...

Maybe if we look way back, this is the Lois from the Convergence world who then merged with the New 52 Lois.

But was all this space talking about the multiverse and incarnations of characters really truly needed in this story? I'd have loved to have these 8 pages devoted to ... I don't know ... one of the plots we have been waiting to hear about.

Then the high point of the issue.

Lois is banging away at some story. Superman shows up to give her some of her favorite snacks and to talk about what Lois is dealing with.

But in an amusing little turn of events, he keeps rushing out to deal with an emergency. And every time we see how the rush of air musses her hair.

That last panel of Lois blowing the hair out of her face is one of those expression panels by Perkins that doesn't quite work.

After a couple of more rapid exits and constant hair mussing, Lois puts up the stop sign.

If he is here to talk to her, he is here to talk to her.

Briefly, she doesn't need Superman's help with The Kiss of Death and her somewhat magical power set.

Here is where Perkins shines. Each subsequent panels shows hair that is more and more crazy.

But there is more than just the threat against her life.

Lois wonders why she should continue to fight the good fight when she isn't sure that anyone cares. She feels powerless.

Superman reminds her that this is when she is needed the most. This is when she needs to shout the loudest.

In the nearby apartment, we get more discussion of multiversal characters.

Sister Clarice feels that everyone is an amalgamation of all their selves but few are aware.

More mutiverse talk? Less Lois time?

the Midnight magical trap set, Lois uses her credit card to get The Kiss of Death's attention.

It turns out that the spell is some sort of teleportation/stasis spell. When the Kiss of Death arrives, Lois pings Midnight to let her know the time is right to spring the trap.

But remember, Midnight is only sort of a witch. She suddenly remembers that there needs to be some exchange in this spell, some conservation of mass.

Sister Clarice jumps in the circle and switches places with the assassin.

Nice effects here. Nice coloring. The art works to show the teleporting aspect of the trap.

But then a nice cliffhanger.

The Kiss of Death was in the midst of pulling the trigger when the spell took effect. She fires after being shunted. And hits Renee in the  gut.

I'll admit that is a nice way to keep my interest for the next issue.

But this issue once again highlights my problems with this series. It isn't really a Lois book as she is only in about half the book. The plots are again no where to be found, Instead we have a very heavy exposition on quantum theory. And even if the art in those Multiverse pages is very nice they feel unnecessary or, at the very least, too long.

Thankfully, the Lois scene with Superman was a big enough winner to make me happy.

We are down to 2 issues. Can Rucka bring it all over the finish line?

Overall grade: B-


Martin Gray said...

I agree with all your points about the missing storylines, but I was just thrilled to bits with a bit of colour and traditional DC multiversal malarkey, it gave me something to enjoy rather than wonder about missing plot points... if the quantum reality spreads weren’t there it’d likely be just more Renee fighting and flirting.

I took the line about it not being their Lois as a reference to them having memories from previous lives. This being post-convergence Lois, none of them will have met her before Renee’s recent run in.

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

I hope to see again the duo Lois Lane and Rene Montoya, it's a good team.

A question concerning the multiverse :
Mr.Mxyztplk merged the two superman and lois lane from a different universe,
Doctor Manhattan merged many universes,
So Mr.Mxyztplk have the same level of power than Doctor Manhattan ?