Greg Rucka has made his name on writing strong, abrasive, dark-haired female protagonists and providing them with agency. So it seemed like a no-brainer to put him on a solo series for Lois Lane, a character who at her best is strong and willful and takes orders from no one. This was absolutely the right call, as Rucka provides a distinct flavor to the character that builds upon her characterization in the Superman book while still being unique. Perkins’ art is a major part of providing that flavor as well, giving the whole book a gritty, down to earth feeling that matches perfectly with Lois’s world in the book.
Lois Lane #1 does an excellent job building upon the events of the main Superman and Action Comics titles, while going in a whole new direction. The main connections as of now are that Lois is back to working at the Planet, and that pictures of her kissing Superman from the first arc of Action Comics have gone public, making the entire country believe she’s cheating on her husband. Rucka uses this side character detail as a major part of the status quo for Lois, as all the people around her who doesn’t know her believe she’s having an affair. Rucka also does a great job using this for his own commentary, pointing out that no one feels the same way about Superman. Another tie into the world of Action Comics is the appearance of the Question. Vic Sage has been showing up in Action Comics and Event Leviathan by Bendis, and Rucka has brought his own Question into the fold — Renee Montoya. Her role in this series is still mysterious, but just her presence is incredibly exciting. As a solo series this book is incredibly approachable, but the small ties it has to the greater Superman family line allow for a more rewarding read.
Perkins’ art and Mounts’ colors provide a grounded, grimy feeling for the book as a whole. It feels baked in the real world, with the dirt and grime that comes from walking in the streets of any city. No character looks pristine, everyone looks like they’ve been living their own life outside of the pages of the book. Wrinkled shirts, slightly dirty clothes, the general wear and tear of daily life is everywhere in the issue, on every panel. Even the bedsheets in Lois’s room are just a bit messy, because bedsheets can’t be perfect. This attention to detail mixed with Mounts’ darker, flatter color tones create an almost noir world, where everyone feels just slightly more real than in your standard superhero comic.
On the writing front, this book is classic Rucka from the start. On the surface it carries all the trademarks of Greg Rucka comics — a strong, dark-haired, sailor-mouthed woman fighting against authority and society, plus a guest appearance from the Question. But Rucka’s sensibilities go deeper than that, so deep that they manage to use current events despite having definitely been written months ago. The core of the issue is Lois’s drive to expose corruption from the governments of both the United States and Russia. The issue brings up the US government monetizing the separation of children from families, as well as the Russian government’s censorship and media intimidation tactics. The issue ends with Lois succeeding in her goal to bring media attention to the US Government’s mistreatment of migrant families, a beat that rings incredibly powerful in the world as it is today. From the man who stopped writing Lazarus because of the 2016 election, this issue is incredibly on brand, and is very poignant to the world we currently live in.
As a complete product, this issue is a genuine masterpiece. Rucka’s writing with Perkins’ pencils and Mounts’ colors build a world around Lois Lane that’s just as tough and down to earth as she is. The subject matter of the issue hits very hard but is a necessary subject in the modern world, and seeing someone able to make a difference in the face of very current political problems is inspiring. The frustration captured by this issue reflects the frustration of thousands of people real world. This book is for everyone who’s outraged at the treatment of migrant children in Texas, and for everyone who’s become more and more jaded by the current government. Anyone feeling this frustration would do very well to read this book, as would everyone else.