Lois Lane #9 – Greg Rucka, Writer; Mike Perkins, Artist; Andy Troy, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Fits and Starts
Ray: Greg Rucka is obviously a writer who knows his craft, but Lois Lane often feels like his craft is at war with the concept of the title. A deeply plotted Lois Lane mystery that draws on basically every comic Rucka has ever written for DC, it’s a slow-burn story much more inspired by his classic works like Whiteout than any other DC book.
But it’s also a book that’s deeply and rightfully angry about what’s going on in this country, and that’s never clearer than in Lois Lane #9, which takes place in the aftermath of Lois’ trusted housekeeper being picked up by ICE. The main plot doesn’t even get going for a while, as the opening focuses on Renee, as the Question, heading to Gotham to get information from Batman about a lead with deep ties to her past. This is a fun segment, as Renee gets to loosen up a little and snark on Batman, leading to some of the best lines of the series.
When the issue focuses to the ICE jail where Alejandra is being held, the tone changes totally. There’s a segment that discusses the undocumented nature of Superman, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman that kind of falls flat – I can see what Lois is implying about Superman and WW, but Martian Manhunter is very much not the type who would “get a pass”. Applying real-life politics to a world as far from reality as the DCU doesn’t always work, and it’s hard to believe that things would get this bad without Superman or even a lower-level hero stepping up against the government. The ending introduces another major player from a past Rucka comic in a clever twist that shows how he’s mining deep from comics he wrote well over a decade ago. It’s tightly plotted and the craft is top-notch, but with only three issues to go it’s hard to see how he can tie everything up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ending is as ambiguous and frustrating as real-life often is.
Corrina: Lois Lane #9 and the series as a whole has a few different problems. The first is the episodic nature of the issues, careening from one story Lois is covering to the other, without a clear and cohesive mystery plot arc. It reads more like a “typical day for Lois” story but strung across nine issues now, and interrupted by storylines happening in other books. Those crossovers have damaged this book too, interrupted an already muddled narrative.
I agree with the politics of this book but they’re not being used well either. The plot with the already stereotypical hotel maid became worse with the maid’s being in federal custody for eventual deportation. That’s because the maid’s sole purpose in this story seems to be as a victim. She’s not the only Latinx women in Lois Lane #9-Montoya is prominent–but the maid feels like a prop for a political statement rather than a fully realized character in her own corner of the story. (And, again, I agree with this statement that’s what is being done in real life is horrifically cruel and racist.) If you’re going to do this particular story, make this character far less cardboard and far more vibrant, at the very least.
Mostly, I can’t figure what this book is meant to be and I’m not sure the creative team knows either so despite its’ good points–including a Lois to root for–it’s failing to be an interesting story. Which, given how few stories do focus on Lois, is very disappointing.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.