Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #6

Lois Lane #6 came out last week, the halfway mark of this maxi-series written by Greg Rucka with art by Mike Perkins.

The series has been interesting as it has been telling a handful of stories, slowly building the plotlines around government corruption and a murdered Russian journalist. It also has been something of a Journalism 101 class. And it has been a showcase on Lois herself - her skills, her emotions, her integrity.

This issue the plotlines take a back seat as Rucka takes the time to show us more of Lois' relationship, strained though it may be, with her father. Sam Lane died in Event Leviathan. And that certainly is an event that should be delved into more.

Now one thing has been clear for decades and for different continuities. Sam and Lois seldom saw eye to eye. Sam's xenophobia smacked against Lois' love of Superman time and again. But Sam was also, at times, a bit old fashioned in his views on politics and gender. This General Lane seemed to be a little different. He seemed more open to different viewpoints, at least listening, even if he reverted to his old ways.

In fact, I would say that the Lois/Sam relationship these days was one of begrudging respect and extended hands. They seemed to want to rebuild. But that was taken away. Overall this is an interesting look at the relationship with peeks back into their history.

Perkins does his best here, trying to bring some weight to scenes which are for the most part people talking. Some of the expressive work here looks a little strained. But again, the style fits the book perfectly.

Onto the particulars.

Sam Lane died when Leviathan attacked him in the hospital and was teleported away with Lois. I have to say, in the main Event Leviathan book I didn't know the General had died until someone said it.

Here, Lois' B Team of detectives finds her with her father. Lois, being the warrior for justice she is, tells them to go and continue the fight against Leviathan rather than wasting time there. She knows they have things to do. That shows her tenacity.

But in this world where Zatanna could just say 'tropelet Siol dna Mas emoh' I also think this delay was unnecessary. Get out of the cold!

I was glad Renee stayed to support her friend.

The rest of the book takes place at General Lane's military funeral with dispersed flashbacks.

It is a classic movie funeral set-up. The pomp and circumstance. The 21 gun salutes and cannon fire. And, of course ,the obligatory rain.

And while we see many people mourning and obviously affected by Sam's death, Lois is oddly blank faced. She seems emotionless.

We then cut to an early flashback where a teenage, punk rocker Lois is caught sneaking into the home after being out late.

You can already see the strain on this relationship. When he catches her sneaking in, he wants to know where she was. He was worried. He loves her.

Lois responds with a bitter and sarcastic salute, all 'sir yes sir'. Does it show that she didn't want him to be in control? That she was already independent? That she didn't buy into the rules and regulations Sam was espousing?

As a current father, I can understand Sam's view more than Lois' defiance. He wants her to be safe. But she stonewalls him.

In a different flashback, later in life, Sam wonders if Lois can be objective about her coverage of Superman. He can tell she likes him.

Now this is, appropriately, an insult flung at Lois. She is a journalist first and foremost. She won't compromise her integrity.

In this flashback, I can understand the prickliness of Lois. He isn't respecting her.

Now here is one part of the book that irked me a bit.

The soldiers helping with the procession fold the American flag and present it to Lois. But she won't accept it. Instead, Clark takes it.

One, the strained expression on Lois face is a bit too strained. The art here seems just a touch off.

Second, Lois must have known that this flag ceremony was going to happen. Why is she caught off guard? Unless she planned to take it but at the last minute decided not to.

Lastly, if she knew she wasn't going to take it, she should have let Lucy take it. Not Clark. Clark isn't family. And Sam didn't necessarily like Clark.

This just seemed too disrespectful.

In the best flashback, we see Sam complain to Lois about a story in the Planet which states ARGUS had a hit list. He wonders if his own daughter threw him under the bus. And he tosses out a sort of 'fake news' accusation.

There is a lot to like here.

One, I am glad Lois took maternity leave to be with the young Jon. She didn't write the article.

But I really like that she defends Perry. She can't let that jab about the Planet and the stories they print go without a response.

And then this exchange.

Lois is a soldier for truth. She is serving her country in her role just as much as he is serving.

Poor Jon. He doesn't like to see the family fighting.

Still, this does let you know just how important Lois considers her job.

I was glad that Rucka comes back to that flag scene.

At the reception, Lucy yells at Lois for not taking the flag. It suddenly became a story about Lois, not about Sam. She could have accepted it.

But no. Lois is too proud? Or too rigid in her morals?

I am sure Lucy would have taken it.

This reaction made sense.

And then one last flashback which I think showcased that begrudging respect and extended hand I talked about before.

Recently Sam Lane learned Clark was Superman. And he wasn't happy. He might not be happy now. And he doesn't like that Lois lied to him all these years.

But he is willing to try to be good with it. Because Lois is.

Is it a softening for Sam? A new look on life? Is he suddenly 'woke'?

We'll never know. Leviathan has taken him away.

I can't recall too many stories where we looked back at the early relationship between Sam and Lois so I was glad this issue was done and we got to peek behind the curtain. You can see how two big personalities like theirs would sometimes be abrasive to each other.

But after this issue, I felt like there was always a familial love there, especially Sam for Lois. Perhaps I am transferring a bit as a father myself.

Comics don't always have to be people punching each other. This issue was a winner.

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Interesting thoughts as ever - I love that we singled out the same panel for artistic reasons and responded in opposite ways, that makes a fun change.

I'd have liked to have seen Lois or Lucy mention their mum, her being Hispanic was one of the most welcome tweaks of the New 52, it makes Lois more like Lynda Carter!

William Ashley Vaughan said...

It's good to see Lucy again. Hopefully, there will be more about the relationship between her and Lois. I agree that either Lois should have taken the flag or let Lucy take it. I did love Lois' defense of her work as a journalist. Working for your country is at least as much service to it as fighting for it. If no one worked for their country as teachers, writers, construction workers, public servants, etc. there would be nothing for anyone to fight for.