Ricky Church reviews Lois Lane: Enemy of the People…
Lois Lane has always been tied to Superman’s legacy as his love interest and thought of, more often than not by mainstream audiences, a damsel in distress who Superman is always in need of rescuing. However, despite not having any superpowers of her own she is one of the toughest characters in the DC Universe through her dogged journalism and search for the truth no matter what. Writer Greg Rucka focuses on that aspect of Lois’ character in Lois Lane: Enemy of the People as she finds herself in danger after investigating some very high-level conspiracies.
The story follows Lois after her return to the spotlight, connecting to Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman and Action Comics run, as she uncovers some conspiracies coming from the highest levels of government. During the course of her investigation her life is threatened and with the help of DC detective Renee Montoya as The Question, she has to find the truth while evading death and holding onto some of the biggest secrets in the DC Universe.
Rucka has a very good handling of writing Lois, showing how capable, sassy, devoted and intelligent she is in her capacity as the Daily Planet’s top reporter. She is very much in character to other stories where she is a prominent player and is quite easy to root for. There’s a lot of potential to a book focusing purely on Lois as she investigates very consequential topics, especially in today’s current climate, which Rucka somewhat meets. The people and cases Lois goes after are intriguing and show how powerful she is with just a pen and paper, but the focus on the story shifts a couple times to the point where you’re not entirely sure what it is she is investigating. Is it something connected to policies and corruption within the US or other world governments or something that more encompasses the DC Universe? Rucka tries to utilize both aspects, but the blending together of those two don’t quite meld together well. It would have been better had Enemy of the People stuck a little closer to reality, particularly in the last few chapters of the book, by sticking to Lois investigating governmental and worldwide conspiracies. There is still a lot of interesting ideas here, but the focus shifts make the story a bit jarring.
Again, though, Rucka does well with his character work through writing Lois Lane and Renee’s Question. Rucka helped popularize Renee’s status as the new Question over a decade ago and it is very nice to see him tackle the character again. Lois and Renee have very nice chemistry with each other in a fun back-and-forth partnership where these two are different people who have different ways of operating, yet fairly similar in other aspects. It’s fun to see how they work together and the way their partnership grows. Rucka slips back into writing Renee with ease and placing her within this world of political intrigue works very well for the character, especially as she travels to other areas of the globe on Lois’ behalf. Rucka even utilizes some of his other creations from his Checkmate days, making it a reunion of sorts for him. Some of this works really well, though the introduction of characters from Checkmate may be lost on new readers as their reveals are meant to have some gravitas to them, but it doesn’t necessarily work if one has no idea who they are. It points to how this story was meant for longtime readers of Rucka’s rather than anyone interested in a solo-Lois Lane adventure. This is supported from the way the narrative shifts from a rather grounded story to one encompassing some of DC’s wilder elements such as multiverses and reboots. The story would have been better had it been its own thing, something even apart from Bendis’ run, rather than including all those other pieces as it makes it somewhat difficult for anyone wanting a straight-forward mystery thriller to fully enjoy.
Mike Perkins’ art is well done with a lot of detail placed on the characters. They are very emotive thanks to his artwork through their expressions and body language while the few action scenes are exciting and delivered in a clear, easy-to-follow manner. Even the settings hold a lot of detail, from Lois’ messy hotel room to the seedy alleys and rooftops Question hides in. Perkins really evokes the same feeling as a gritty political thriller or film noir while the colours from Paul Mounts, Gabe Eltaeb and Andy Troy help elevate the dark atmosphere Perkins depicts. Though the story gets a little out of control, the artwork remains consistent and great to look at through its excellent imagery and character work.
It is a shame Lois Lane: Enemy of the People wasn’t as grounded and focused as it could have been. Much of the first half or more of the book is great with an intriguing mystery and the methods Lois and Question use to find the truth. Their partnership and character development is one of the best aspects to the story, but its when Rucka introduces more of DC’s wilder concepts and other elements from his past stories that it gets a bit jumbled and loses some of its sight. It is still an enjoyable book with its characters from Rucka and visually compelling artwork from Perkins, but it unfortunately doesn’t reach its potential. Fans of Lois Lane and Question will still probably enjoy it, but anyone looking for a mystery adventure unconnected to outside DC stories may be a bit disappointed and confused.
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