The latest issue of Superman is a real treat for Lois Lane lovers…
While I love the current set-up of Superman as a husband and a father, protecting his family from the various threats that come their way, it has meant that Lois has been stuck in the role of wife and mother of late rather than her usual ace reporter self. Thankfully, this was put right in Superman #22 which saw Lois at her badass best.
With Superman and Superboy going missing after their battle with a giant squid last issue (though we know they are at Dead Man’s Swamp), Lois tries to find out what has happened to her son and husband. But something dark and sinister is going on in the little town of Hamilton, however, and Lois will have to fight hard to make it out alive…
Writers Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason do a terrific job of reminding us just how gutsy, brave and smart Lois is. Even without her super-powered boys around, Lois is savvy enough to escape a scenario that is half horror movie and half an episode of The Twilight Zone. Yes, thanks to Lois’ snooping, she uncovers something very strange about Hamilton County, the small town where the Kents thought they were safe. We don’t get a lot of answers here, but it seems like Superman and his family have been surrounded by the enemy all along.
What really makes this issue pop is the tremendous artwork from the always reliable Doug Mankhe. Two set pieces here are real punch-the-air moments. The first comes when Lois wields the gauntlet from Batman’s Hellbat armour (which is hidden under her bed for emergencies, apparently) and then, when she needs to escape, none other than the Batmobile comes to her rescue. The following double-paged spread of sloping panels, as Lois drives the Batmobile and fights off the attacking townsfolk, is a memorable one. Clearly, if Bruce ever needs a break, Lois could handle herself in Gotham for a while.
For an issue of Superman, there is a surprising lack of the Man of Steel, which might miff some. However, we were due a Lois-centric issue and, besides, the ‘Black Dawn’ arc continues to build as the mystery gets thicker and thicker. We have a lot of questions right now, but Tomasi and Gleason are clearly playing the long game so we should probably buckle up and just enjoy the ride.