Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Review: Lois Lane #7

Lois Lane #7 came out last week. We have entered the back half of this maxi-series and I am starting to feel a little worried about this book. You see the book has several subplots which have been introduced into this book but I feel we haven't seen much progress in those stories. And I wonder if we will have enough time to handle them all in a satisfactory way.

Writer Greg Rucka is giving us a great book. I love his Lois, a dogged investigator interested in justice even if it puts her smack dab into danger. I love how she doesn't suffer fools lightly. And that she exudes confidence. And as Rucka gives us slices of Lois' life we see that. It is a Lois I love reading.

But the subsidized detention center story is nudging forward. The dead Russian journalist storyline has simply stalled. The mystery woman hiding from Leviathan is revisited briefly this issue. Instead of us getting more of those stories, much of this issue is spent on visiting the plot of Lois being outed as having an 'affair' with Superman. I just think I get enough Superman/Lois stuff in the main books. I'd rather have this focus on Lois' solo stuff.

Mike Perkins really sparkles this issue. His Question and his Superman are spot on. I hope he finds more work at DC when this ends.

The book starts with Lois undercover as a nun, sneaking into rehabilitation center to check up on the woman who tried to kill herself earlier in the series. Remember, the woman in the weirdly magical looking circle hoping not to get killed by Leviathan. Who is she?

The physicians call her Jessica Midnight, but that isn't her real name. The woman still thinks she is in danger and that Lois is there to kill her. She also doesn't know who she is. A mystery!

I think Lois going undercover in a habit is a bit hackneyed. And after all her hard line approach towards the integrity of investigative journalism and her need to be above board, isn't this a violation of this woman's health information? Could Lois publish any of this?

And then we get the bulk of the issue, involving Lois and Superman and their more overt romantic moments.

On a rooftop near Lois' hotel balcony, a paparazzi is lined up to get a peach of a shot, Superman flying in for a big kiss on Lane's lips.

The Question shows up to stop the picture from being taken and to impugn the guy for being a scumbag. He rightfully says Lois is a public figure and that he is allowed to take that picture. Perhaps it is the rest of the pics on the camera he shouldn't be taking.

With that admonishment (and maybe a little physical intimidation), the photographer takes off.

Still, it seems to be a little ridiculous that both Superman and Lois would be so public in their affections. You'd think they'd play their cards closer to the vest.

Here is my favorite page from the book. Perkins really does a great Superman.

He thinks perhaps Renee could have handled this whole thing in a better way.

When he turns to fly off, he asks Renee if she is curious about the Superman/Lois relationship.

Like anyone donning the faceless mask, she admits she is always curious.

I do hope we ultimately get a Question book on the shelves.

The next day, Clark tells Lois that Renee is going to have questions about the super-kiss witnessed on the balcony.

Lois says she can handle all the haters and all the questions. Clark knows she can.

But she wouldn't have to if the two were a bit more discreet. I don't understand why the two are so casual ... unless the Truth reveal means it is meaningless.

Later Lois meets Renee and wonders why The Question was even on that roof.

Renee blurts out that Lois is 'pounding it out' with Superman.

It is a funny moment. Awkward. But funny.

Now a couple of problems I have with the issue.

When they get to Lois hotel room, they discover the place cleaned. The usual maid isn't there, replaced by some younger cleaner.

One, Lois takes the whole thing in stride You would think that Lois would be more suspicious about this whole thing. The trusted maid is gone. Her precious notes are now tidied, meaning they have been looked through and handled. Isn't this suspicious?? But Lois seems fine with it.

Second, Renee makes a pass at the maid. Renee made passes at bartenders earlier in the series. She seems to make passes at any pretty woman. If this was a male character, he'd be called a creep, a lech, a stalker.

Renee gives Lois all the information she obtained last issue around the finances of the detention center and the hit put on Lois.

But it isn't good enough for Lois. It is a coerced confession. It can't be put in the press.

Okay, I get it. But certainly it can be the opening Lois needs to then go follow some crumbs in more legitimate ways. Certainly lots of stories involving Superman punches could fall under 'coerced' information.

I just didn't like Lois simply throwing out all this information. Maybe a line that while she can't use it for the Planet, it did help her hone her own investigation?

Maybe I am being too harsh.

Turns out the whole conversation is being listened to.

The pretty young made is an assassin. A skull-faced one.

Maybe Lois should have been more concerned.

I like this series. But this particular issue fell a little flat for me.

It is still one of the better books on the shelves these days. But I expect so much more!!

Overall grade: B-


Anonymous said...

Apparently that's Black Mask. In Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1, Luthor said he can make him anyone, and "upgraded" his face. Later in that story Black Mask is able to impersonate a character, and in the end slides off a mask the same way he does in this issue.

Montoya was in that issue too.

Whose facial masking technology is better, Black Mask's or The Question's?

My concern is there isn't enough plot to fill 12 issues, hence the stalling. We've seen storylines like this get resolved in a few pages.

Love this Yasmine Putri cover. Everything she does is gold, I tell ya -- gold!


Martin Gray said...

That sinister nun at the UK hospital was Lois? Are you sure, Anj? I got the impression that was indeed someone from Leviathan or a similar shady body.

Anyway, as my own review shows, I agree with you on the pacing, it's glacial.

As for the paparazzi bit, Lois could never complain about invasion of privacy after all the stunts she's pulled; you're right to question her response to Renee's info. It's all very well Rucka giving us a masterclass on good journalistic practices, but this is a DCU book starring Lois Lane. Of course she'd use what she could glean.

And Rucka's Renee annoys me too much to want to see her regularly.

TN, cheers for the Black Mask info!

Anj said...

OOOh Mart!

I just assumed it was Lois.

Now I need to look back!

Martin Gray said...

Sorry, I may be wrong...maybe Rucka HAS actually given Lois something to do!

Anonymous said...

My pleasure, Martin. But I'm now questioning my guess - this character has a very curvy shape in the very casual villain-wear (lol) she's sporting in her Evil Control Room, which is way beyond having an excellent mask. Is there a Ms. Mask?

I had also assumed Jessica Midnight was being paranoid, and that the nun was Lois.

But since there is controversy over this, I am going to try some detective work.

A closer look shows the nun has light blue-grey eyes.

Lois seems to have violet eyes on the interior pages, though there are not many panels where it is easy to see. Can see it in one of the scans Anj made. Putri's cover also gives her violet eyes.

A web search indicates Lois has been depicted with different eye colors: brown, blue, sometimes violet.

On the variant cover for Superman #13, Adam Hughes gives her intensely violet eyes.

The nun's habit makes it hard to tell her facial shape, but the nun really doesn't look much like Lois. She seems paler, and her nose and eyebrows look different.

But maybe it is Lois, and she's wearing colored contact lenses when she visits Jessica.

Or maybe this is Mr./Ms. Black Mask again. Or maybe it's not Leviathan, but is a friend.


Steve said...

Google says there was a character in a Final Crisis disposable involving Checkmate named Sister Clarice who became the Radiant and worked with Crispus Allen as the Spectre.

Lois and Rene ignoring the obvious criminal replacement for their maid is called Plot Induced Stupidity. Rucka needed the bomb to go off for plot reasons and ran out of ideas.

Rene IS a lech, woman or not.

Anj said...

I think we have seen in future solicits that a character named 'Kiss of Death' is in the book. Given the lip prints on the skull's forehead, I have to assume this is that character.

And thanks for backing up the lackadaisical acceptance of the new maid. Maybe Lois is playing here.

Lastly, who is that nun? Is that also Kiss of Death?

SimB said...

Mmmm. Everyone seems to be complementing the art but if it's not clear on whether the Nun is Lois or not perhaps more work is needed on facial structure to be able to differentiate between the star of the book and other characters.