SUPERMAN: LOIS LANE #1
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Emanuela Lupacchino, Meghan Hetrick, Ig Guara, and Diogenes Neves
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: February 26, 2014
Nothing is as reassuring in this world as having a big sister you know you can count on. And if your troubles lead you into drugs, mutation, and a government conspiracy, you’d better hope you have a big sister like Lois Lane — fearless, resolute, loyal to a fault. Fortunately, Lucy Lane has that one covered, but is it going to be enough to save her from a cadre of agents looking to spirit her away?
Lois Lane definitely needs a bit of love in the DC Universe, and not the kind that flies in through the window in a red and blue blur. Cards on the table, I am a fan of the chances DC has taken by pairing off Superman and Wonder Woman, and giving Lois back a modicum of independence from the Man of Steel. There were many great stories of their partnership told in the last decade, but many more poor ones, leaving Lois little more than a woman pacing in place, waiting for her husband to come home. Regrettably, the single life hasn’t done what I’d hoped for Lois when the change occurred… until now, that is.
With this one-shot special focusing on Lois and her troubled sister Lucy, writer Marguerite Bennett has kicked off what I hope will be a true rejuvenation of the “Lois Lane, Reporter” we all have been begging for, going on over two years. Strong, intelligent, and ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice (although hardly unprepared), this Lois is the perfect blend of determination, guts, and compassion — and Bennett not only shows us the fact of it, but we get to see the why and how. Flashback moments to Lois and Lucy’s childhood provide a very satisfying framing device, giving us a significant look at their mother, a figure I’ve read very little of in the Superman mythology. It’s a great way to show how Lois developed both sides of her personality so effectively, and also lends weight to the sadness behind Lucy’s situation and seeming lack of drive.
But, to her credit, Bennett isn’t telling a straightforward tale of good sister-bad sister here, and there are significant layers to each sister’s personality and their relationship that flower with every subsequent reading. The subtlety executed in Lucy’s revelations to her sister completely avoid the bombastic and four color drama that we usually see in these types of stories, giving readers just enough of the truth to build the story on their own — and enough for Lois to do the same. So, a story that could easily have woven in some pretty trite family moments takes a most sincere road instead, and leaves us with two women with a rich, complicated relationship and some truly beautiful character moments as a result.
I am a little confused by the sheer number of pencillers (4!) managing this single 38 page story, and can’t seem to attribute one set of pages to one or another — which I suppose is the best result possible in such a circumstance. On one hand, we don’t get the sense that any one artist (Lupacchino, Hetrick, Guara, or Neves) had a whole lot of creative control or input, but on the other hand, the harmony throughout is impressive. It may not be a standout piece from an artistic perspective, but the work doesn’t get in the way of telling a truly warm and adventurous tale. I will say, however, whichever penciller managed the pages of interaction between Lois and Jimmy Olsen deserves the prize for the day. The eyes and smile on that lady could make any super-man (or woman) beam from just a glance.
A fantastic one-shot that truly deserves a significant follow-up, Lois Lane #1 takes the best of what we know and love about DC’s intrepid reporter and digs even deeper. With Superman making only a single page appearance (gotta throw the big guy a bone), I’m pretty satisfied that THIS is exactly what I was hoping for at the start of the New 52 with the changes to Lois’ romantic life. May we get many, many more stories like this, particularly with Marguerite Bennett at the keyboard, and SOON.
The Verdict: 9.0/10
This is a wonderful book and I’m so happy for Marguerite Bennett. But Matt…I’m gonna put MY cards on the table as female reader and female reviewer: I rolled my eyes really hard at your comments about Lois’s martial status.
Matt, I know you mean well. I really believe that you do. I believe that you think you are saying something positive for women when you say something like that but you aren’t.
Women do not need to be single to be independent. Married women have their own identities. Married women have their own independence. There is virtually NOTHING in this story that could not have been told within the confines of the Supermarriage save the detail (which was the only detail that came off forced to me) about Lois’s boyfriend. Nothing. That same little scene with Superman appearing? Could have still happened even if they were married with very little difference except maybe that she would have been more open with him about what was going on.
Were there writers who failed to give Lois her due while she was married? YES. BUT THAT IS A WRITING FAILURE BY BAD WRITERS. That is not a commentary on whether Lois Lane had to be “single” to have her own great adventure stories told. If there were writers at DC who failed Lois that is on DC and that is THEIR FAILURE. In the meantime, there were plenty of GOOD writers who understand that women are PEOPLE who are capable of complex relationships and emotions who got it right. Rucka, Simone, Kelly, Busiek, Simonson, Jurgens, the list goes on. Bryan Q. Miller is doing a fine job with it right now in his book.
If you want to support the (imo extremely problematic and offensive) Superman/Wonder Woman stunt, then do it. But please do not use the “Now Lois gets to be single and independent” line as your excuse to do so. You mean well, I get that. But it’s really bothersome. It took me right out of your review when what I really wanted was just to celebrate this great book.
Mary, I appreciate your passion on this topic and honor it for its thoughtfulness and dedication. But ultimately, we just disagree on this. There are a variety of reasons why I am happy with the current status quo, some of which I included here, some I didn’t. I think I was very clear here that bad stories were told about Lois IN BOTH circumstances, married and not, and that I prefer Lois unmarried is just my personal preference, and no more wrong or right than your opposing viewpoint.
Please do not misconstrue my feelings on Lois and Superman as an indictment of marriage for all women (or men for that matter), but a very specific feeling about this very specific couple in fiction. I don’t believe I am saying anything particularly positive or negative for women with my comments. I am literally just talking about my feelings on Lois Lane. Had I meant to say I believed that women had more independence unmarried I would have said just that (and I don’t). Please don’t put words in my mouth.
Very glad you enjoyed the book as much as I. As a huge fan of Lois Lane, your happiness with the narrative will mean a lot to the writers, and hopefully DC as well!
I appreciate the polite response. I still maintain though that the marital issue really was irrelevant to this review.
I also think it’s tough, Matt, because while we can always say that we are “just talking about fiction”—the bottom line is that fiction has a huge impact on the way we view the world and on the way we view ourselves. Nothing we say or think about fiction is entirely removed and particularly not in circumstances where so many people look up to and feel inspired by these figures,
There are a myriad of bad gender issues wrapped up in DC’s treatment of Lois in the new 52. There are a myriad of bad gender issues wrapped up in why they dismantled the Supermarriage. There are a myriad of bad gender issues wrapped up in why they ultimately decided to shove Lois aside for Wonder Woman. There are a myriad of bad gender issues taking place right now that involve both Lois and Wonder Woman at DC. I don’t begrudge you your personal preferences even if I disagree strongly with them as a female comics fan. But I do think it’s important to remember that you know…this isn’t just about “personal preference”, Matt. Many of us feel the way we do because we care about gender in comics and we are deeply uncomfortable with how things have shaken out and why they did so. I don’t even particularly mind starting from scratch with Lois and Superman. Not at all. There are plenty of people (myself being one of them) who were fine with the marriage being re-set while, at the same time, being critical of the reasons it was done, the execution and the resulting narrative that ensued.
I believe you mean well and I believe you care. But I also think, whether you realized it or not, your comment played into some of those issues even without you meaning it to. And I think that’s food for thought.
Super excited to read this one. Great review
I probably didn’t need to add “in fiction” to my comment about this very specific couple, because it clearly gave an emphasis I did not intend. To be clear, my feelings on this matter are specific to Lois and Superman across the board. I feel very differently about many other fictional married couples, in the DC Universe and not.
I agree wholeheartedly that there are a myriad of bad gender issues happening in the pages of DC Comics (among other publishers), although I don’t know that we’d be able to agree on the list — which too is ok. That’s what often illuminates the most difficult circumstances: a open discussion involving disagreement. I think it’s a little dangerous to imply that female readers are, across the board, more unhappy with the state of affairs regarding Lois’ marriage than male readers, but I can accept that I may be reading too much into that comment.
On this we wholeheartedly agree: the execution of many of these matters has been lacking. And for that reason, as I indicate, I am so pleased with this comic. Marguerite really got to the root of Lois Lane and gave her the spotlight she deserves — long overdue. Here’s hoping for more like this!
I can only speak from my experience. I’ve written for and been involved with groups that are predominantly made up of women in comics. Thousands of women who post and share and talk. In my experience, yes, what has been done to Lois and Clark was felt deeply by a lot of women. Women who came to Superman from media properties and were made to feel unwelcome and unwanted by the comics community upon their arrival. Women who didn’t understand why they didn’t seem to be valued as an audience. That said, I know many men who were upset and offended by it too and I would be remiss to not mention those men because their feelings are certainly just as worthy and it would be wrong for me to count them out.
Personally, I appreciate Lois and Superman’s relationship throughout every stage that it may take shape. I enjoy their professional relationship. I sincerely enjoy Lois’s relationship with her own family as we see here. I like their courtship. I like the Triangle For 2 and I think it’s deeply important to the Superman mythos. And yes, eventually, I like the idea that the relationship could progress to marriage even if it will eventually be undone by a reboot bc that’s the nature of stories that go on forever and never end. I like it all. I appreciate it all. I think there are wonderful stories to be told—that deserve to be told—-throughout every stage.
I agree with you that this book is wonderful and I hope there is more like it. But I also maintain that I hope the Superman/Lois bond is honored and preserved going forward and I look forward to the day when DC is loaded with writers who have no struggle writing Lois Lane as a woman with her own story as well as the romantic partner of Superman.
I think this book is good for DC and Lois Lane. So glad they made it. Hopefully it sells good and warrants a series. I too have been enjoying the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman and feel that Lois COULD HAVE been utilized better as a result. Hopefully this is the first real chapter of her story in the new 52 as she has currently been brushed aside.