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‘Lois Lane #9’ (review)

Written by Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Mike Perkins
Published by DC Comics

 

On the surface, a Lois Lane comic book is a tough sell. Besides being Superman’s gal, what else does she offer as a character?

Greg Rucka has taken on this challenge with intriguing stories coupled with gritty artwork from Mike Perkins.

This issue, however, left a lot to be desired along with some questionable choices. Lois has survived another attempt on her life. Kiss of Death, a skull-faced assassin, is closing in for another shot at the intrepid reporter.

Lois wants everything from here on end to be on her terms to snuff out the killer. This decision includes having her husband, Superman, ride the bench.

Lois has always been an independent soul who is not afraid of a fight. However, the world recently learned her husband’s secret identity. As a result, she is more of a target than ever before. Their lives have dramatically changed. This is new territory for Lois and Clark.

The old way of doing things is obsolete as all bets are off. I can see in a suspension of disbelief type of way where Superman would back off if we’re were dealing with a run of the mill slayer. Kiss of Death is a magical killer, and Superman doesn’t do well against magic. Still, that’s never stopped him before from trying.

Renee Montoya thinks Lois is crazy for holding back Superman. So, she gets help from Batman.

The investigation of Lois’ missing housekeeper, Alejandra Ortiz, took a sharp turn into the book’s overtly political setting. Alejandra was presumed dead, courtesy of Kiss.

Instead, she was arrested by I.C.E. for being in the country illegally. Lois visited Alejandra in an I.C.E. detention center to learn she experienced all of the heartbreaking and emotional horrors that have been touched on in the media. Lois is not exactly on the best terms with the U.S. government, which hampered her ability to help Alejandra. Lois revealed it was Kiss, who learned of Alejandra’s status and reported her.

Cue record scratch sound effect.

First of all, why would a trained assassin, who wore Alejandra’s uniform as a disguise during her attempt to kill Lois, decide to abandon her modus operandi?

Kiss killing poor innocent Alejandra is a lot easier than going through the trouble of calling immigration, waiting for them to arrest her, and then taking her shot. It’s a roundabout way of making a political statement. Greg Rucka tried to bring some depth to the situation. Lois expounds on how the only reason Superman is not in jail up for being an illegal alien is because of his powers.

Mike Perkins’ artwork does a great job of conveying the gritty espionage thriller vibe to the story. More often than not, Perkins uses Renee for big moments and fight scenes. He doesn’t get to exhibit much with Lois because, well, who is she going to beat up?

Unfortunately in this issue, the art and coloring took a massive step down. The quality in detail, scope and character work looks incomplete and rushed. The rooftop scene where Renee used the Bat-Signal to summon Batman could have looked cool. The color palette was muted, and there was no fluidity from panel to panel. On one page, Lois has a creepy smile while trying to convince a government official that saying “no comment” to her questions was not in their best interest. It took the seriousness out of the moment.

Overall, Lois Lane #9 is not the strongest offering in the series.

Besides Alejandra’s incarceration, Greg Rucka used this issue as a set up for next month’s confrontation with Kiss of Death. While Rucka has never shied away from the book’s political reflection of the times, making various statements for the sake of making them without being appropriately woven into the narrative runs the risk of turning away readers. There are ways to balance messages with the story, and this series did a pretty good job of that until now.

Rating: C-

 

 

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