For years, Lois Lane had been relegated to a glorified love interest of Superman, and her professional aspirations and role as one of the leading investigative reporters in the DC Universe get lost in the Man of Steel's shadow. Fortunately, Brian Michael Bendis has repositioned Lois as a journalistic force to be reckoned with during his run on DC Comics' flagship superhero. Now, Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins' 12-issue spinoff maxi-series starring Lois Lane doubles down on making the character stand out as a hero in her own right and an exceedingly timely one at that.
Rather than focusing on the character's recent involvement with the shadowy, new villain Leviathan, the new series instead launches with Lois doing what she does best: looking into conspiracies and clandestine backroom dealings made by the world's power brokers, despite the risk to her own wellbeing from exposing them. Investigative journalism involves speaking truth to power, directly in opposition to those that would seek to suppress it, and Lois quickly finds herself confronting very connected individuals and organizations. While Lois may turn to familiar DC Universe figures for help, this one doesn't look like a job for Superman.
Rucka is well-established as one of the best writers of grounded, street-level characters and clandestine intrigue in mainstream American comics. In the DCU alone, he penned the adventures of Checkmate, one of the world's leading intelligence agencies in an acclaimed run that thrilled DC fans, and made his name on the creator-owned espionage series Queen & Country. And while this interpretation of Lois may not be as lethal as Rucka's creator-owned leads, she is no less capable, willing to put herself in harm's way in pursuit of truth, justice and the American way.
Rucka is not subtle about making Lois Lane a commentary on the real-world, with ideas from disingenuous public officials trying to distort the truth to sinister machinations by world and corporate leaders, but he also remembers that this is ostensibly a comic set in the heart of the DCU. As such, Rucka maintains a sense of escapist fun and surprising amount of heart in this grittier exploration of the DCU from Lois' perspective. And with this grounded approach, it's interesting to see Superman as a supporting character for once. While he's important, he's certainly not the star of this story, which sees Lois take on an assignment that the Man of Steel would be ill-suited to accomplish.
A lot of this grit and cloak and dagger intrigue are informed and elevated by Mike Perkins' artwork. Working with colorist Paul Mounts, the art team makes every shadow seem menacing and hiding its own secrets and depict the emotional toll Lois' work takes on her as she moves deeper into the heart of a murderous cover-up. Perkins had honed his style working with Ed Brubaker during the writer's acclaimed, espionage-tinged run on Captain America and he similarly brings the same grounded intensity to Lois Lane's visuals here. And when the action does inevitably kick in, Perkins and Mounts render the kind of bone-crunching action sequence that hasn't been seen in a mainstream DCU book for some time.
Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins' debut issue of Lois Lane hits the ground running with its eponymous character reimagined as the hero the world needs in 2019. Unafraid to speak truth to power and expose secrets with global implications, Lois is every inch the heroic figure that Clark Kent is but in a more realistic, consequential context. While its still an entertaining, enjoyable adventure set within the current DCU, Rucka and Perkins naturally integrate notable figures from DC's library of characters used to dealing in the shadows to create a story of captivating intrigue with real-world parallels from cover-to-cover.