Breakdown! Lois Lane: Enemy of the People

Inspired by The Daily Smallville posts, here are my notes for issues one through twelve of the Lois Lane maxi-series from 2019-2020. These notes, written as I was reading, were used for the DC All Stars podcast discussion on the title but I obviously didn’t get to touch on everything. You can read the notes below if you’re doing an issue by issue read or if you’re reading the trade entitled “Enemy of the People”. This kind of note-taking is a showcase of how in-depth I tend to go on a series; more than a review but not as dry as regular annotations (I did the same years before getting into podcasting on the Starman and JSA series). So I’m putting this under the Breakdown category and I hope to do more of this in the future. It feels good to share these notes and not just sit on them. Enjoy!

 

LOIS LANE 1

  • first issue sets up who Lois Lane is: writer, reporter, journalist, investigative journalist. Not afraid to go up against the White House administration. Fighting for causes like children in cages. Partner to Superman. Part of the DCU superhero community. Lays out everything she is beyond just Superman’s wife or Daily Planet reporter – which is honestly a more well rounded characterization than she gets in even the Bendis books
  • Rucka not afraid to criticize several real worlds events: “this machine kills facists” on Lois’ computer. Or the news stories in the real world of summer 2019. Or the administration she’s up against.
  • the Perry/Lois convo about Mariska Voronova
  • Lois’ conversation with the Question about the similarities between investigative journalism and espionage was interesting / altho I thought it was the male Question at first based on the art
  • Lois has a one panel dream about Superman? A bullet wound? Wonder if that’ll come up again
  • a scene where Clark overhears someone call Lois a slut because of the picture of her kissing Superman. And she’s casual about it whereas Clark is not. Wonder how that would play out if a woman wrote that scene? The reactions might be the same but the conversation around the word might have gone differently
  • the Clark/Lois convo: family, their relationship, Jon
  • Question in Moscow to show how effective she is
  • Lois at the White House against Spokesperson LeeAnne McCarthy over monetizing the separation of children from families. She gets ejected but the other reporters pick up on her questioning. Which doesn’t happen in real life hardly ever does it.
  • So what’s the deadly secret she uncovered as promoted on the cover?

 

LOIS LANE 2

  • news and chatter continue around the world about Lois and Superman and Clark / Lois and Clark have been married for 12 years?! That seems like a long time for the way DC runs their timeline.
  • Spokesperson McCarthy is on a tear about her confrontation with Lois
  • more real world connections: such as journalists being looked at as the enemy, fake news, etc.
  • another Clark/Lois convo: telling Clark to keep doing what he does: “Keep telling the truth”
  • Mariska was not a suicide
  • Question and Lois meet up / Renee questions why Lois wants to meet so publicly. Brings up a thought: who is Lois’ real world counterpart in terms of status? Not what she does, but her “fame”. As a newspaper writer. In TV, I could see maybe a Maddow or Cooper. But in print? Do we even know people like that now?
  • another Lois Perry conversation. About sources. Goode not able to get credentials at the White House after Lois’ confrontation. Perry asking if Diana is Lois’ source. Is that a mystery here?
  • at a meeting with Agger (I assume about the monetization of separating families scandal) Agger is killed. Who was the target? If it’s Agger, what was he hiding?

 

LOIS LANE 3

  • fallout from the hit on Agger last issue. Which brings Superman. He arrives on the scene and overhears people talking about him and Lois the way Clark overheard in issue 1 / and Lois isn’t happy about his arrival.
  • Renee has never met Superman before this? Nah, even in post-New 52/post-DC Rebirth that seems impossible
  • Lois isn’t happy with Superman but he takes her flying because that’s “what they do”. She says she was trying to protect him this time, and Superman showing up just adds fuel to the affair with Superman fire.
  • Splash page of Lois and Superman flying is an homage (swipe?) of a Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez print from 1988 in celebration of Superman’s 50th anniversary at the time.
  • Renee is being followed? And it’s the Question! ? vs ? – the original Charlie… is back?! She thought he was dead (so did I). Dead from 52? Or New 52? Their fight scene is probably the best thing so far in this series
  • “I’m just trying to protect you” – we get it writers, Superman is always watching Lois. But after a while this kind of scene just diminishes her and their relationship. Like the Bendis conversation: they are not a normal couple. Does Superman really have to be reminded of that every time Lois Lane gets a book? Does he really have to always worry? It’s Lois!!
  • is Lois’ doorman a suspect? Spy? Plant?
  • and Lois catches her son showering at her hotel room. That’s a weird cliffhanger.

 

LOIS LANE 4

  • oh come on what the heck… this Lois and Jon shower thing is weird!!!
  • even after all these years, I don’t see Lois being a mom. That’s the one area I feel most male writers fail at.
  • Jon tells her about the Legion of Super-Heroes invite
  • Renee and Charlie talk and it’s like she can sense that the DCU had some changes. “None of it did. And all of it did” / Charlie calls her his legacy
  • cut to a scene in the UK of a girl quoting chess moves. Checkmate? But she shoots herself / something with Hastings? / maybe it’s Sasha Bordeaux? / Leviathan is hunting her
  • Jon is wearing a Sonic Disruptors shirt. Hilarious. / Lois is his hero
  • Renee talks about more 52 stuff: when Black Adam busted in on her and a girl / “things I remember but can’t because I don’t remember doing them in the first place”. Rucka going into the fabric of the DCU here.
  • Lois has hired Renee for 500 a day – just how rich is Lois? / Charlie wants to know how that came about but Renee doesn’t tell just yet
  • Renee and Charlie talk about the butterfly!!! The ongoing clue of 52 that led me to the revelation of who was behind that weekly series / images of going to Nanda Parbat / so does the Trinity of Sin stuff matter anymore? Because Charlie was around for the New 52
  • Lois knew Question was alive – because he’s working the Event Leviathan case now at this time I believe
  • Lois schools Renee on the Truth and how people don’t really want it / Lois: “truth is so potent that given the choice, most people would prefer to ignore it in favor of a lie more to their liking” – that’s Rucka speaking to the era we’re living in in 2019
  • Lois is going to tell her a secret that only two other people in the universe know… Can’t be about Lois and Superman. Maybe it’s about the larger multiverse?

 

LOIS LANE 5

  • on a plane ride, Lois encounters a Fake News person / more real world topics in this series. Which at this point should be expected right? If Lois is to be the preeminent Reporter in the DCU – these are the topics she would be covering
  • what happened to the secret she was going to tell Renee?
  • Renee is on the heels of the people that killed Agger – they mention Lois got there “too early”.
  • Lois in DC meeting Lydia Sykes / another lesson in journalism: this time concerning Off the Record and Deep Background / is this Rucka trying to educate his readers, school them on what real journalism is, and shake them out of their complacency and willful ignorance?
  • Lydia: “there’s a memo”
  • Lois still with the purple eyes. Love that.
  • oh right, Renee is from Gotham, Lois is from Metropolis. Two methods working together.
  • Renee: on Batman vs THE Batman. Haha
  • who is Mr. Blakely? Renee wants to know who he wants dead
  • this chapter was a little light. Had more action moments with Renee after last issue which was mostly talking.

 

LOIS LANE 6 – Event Leviathan aftermath

  • takes place after Event Leviathan #6
  • Perkins – like Maleev – really doesn’t understand the negative space aspect when it comes to Elongated Man’s orange costume. They make the E backwards. What the heck?
  • Sam Lane’s funeral
  • Flashback! Lois in a punk look. Nah. Doesn’t work for me.
  • Flashback! Lois and Sam talking about Superman or Clark / Sam: “Trust but verify: – is it any wonder Lois is a reporter? /
  • when Lois is offered the flag, she throws a look to Clark. That’s an awful panel of her – the look on her face is weird. What are they trying to evoke here by her not accepting it?
  • Sam’s wake: apparently he was the one that had to explain to the President how nukes work. ha.
  • Lucy Lane isn’t handling this well.
  • so Lois didn’t take the flag because she thinks Sam would never have forgiven her. I guess?
  • another post-Event Leviathan scene when Lois told Sam about Clark. This makes it seem like Sam really didn’t know about Clark’s identity.
  • Lois about Sam: “He could’ve believed in Superman”
  • not a bad issue. Read fast. But makes sense to have this type of aftermath story in her own title. A tribute to Sam Lane really. Sam Lane the father and solider, not necessarily the larger than life DCU character though. Which fits with this series. He’s not Thunderbolt Ross, even if he’s been portrayed that way at times.

 

LOIS LANE 7

  • ohhhhh that girl in the UK is Jessica Midnight! / she wants to know who she is – why? More of that double Question, what is real and what isn’t? Or something new/deeper?
  • Renee stops a paparazzi from taking pictures of Lois and Superman / and then Superman and Question talk briefly – I guess she doesn’t know that he’s Clark.
  • still don’t know what the secret is that Lois told Renee
  • Eduardo the door man is back again
  • Renee and Lois have a conversation about Lois and Superman
  • there’s someone new servicing Lois’s room and it’s not Alejandra. Was Alejandra in on all this as well? Or is the new girl, Molly?
  • Lois listens to the confession Renee got from Blakely – and teaches her and readers that that kind of thing isn’t usable. The Batman way doesn’t work for confession since it’s coerced. Rucka squashing decades of comic book precedence here. Haha
  • turns out Molly is really a skull girl? With lip marks on her forehead?
  • Is Lois doing the bit with Renee about the confession because she knows she’s bugged? That’s the first thing I thought of when reading that the new girl cleaned up the entire hotel room.
  • another light chapter. Stretched. More should be happening by now unless it has to line up with the entire Superman line since Clark is getting ready to out his identity in the Bendis books

 

LOIS LANE 8

  • Renee vs Skull girl until Lois shoots her
  • I like these asides Lois has when she talks to Superman at a distance. Using his super hearing.
  • and again Superman comes running to make sure Lois is okay / this time though she has him do photo ops with Chicago police / to brush off that he’s there for Lois? With all that’s going on with the rumors? Also – the cops were expecting him and prepping for his arrival which is cute
  • Philip Slayton, Day Manager at the hotel – doesn’t know what happened to Alejandra
  • they are calling the assassin Kiss of Death
  • they go looking for Alejandra who may be missing
  • Jessica Midnight has escaped and is heading to the USA
  • cover with Lois revealing her Superman shirt is kinda like the way she manipulated the scene between Superman and the Chicago cops. It’s a move that’s an ace up her sleeve.

 

LOIS LANE 9

  • pg 1 exposition in dialogue form as Lois sends Renee to Gotham to get Batman’s help on Kiss of Death. Lois using her DCU resources. / Superman is no longer going to butt in
  • ah – the Jessica/nun thing was a ruse
  • Batman and Renee – they have history. Playful enjoyable scene
  • Lois wants to get Alejandra out of internment / bringing up the notion that Superman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter are all undocumented. “They’re heroes” Renee says. Lois says “That’s not why they get a pass.” What does she/Rucka mean? Because they aren’t “other”?
  • after the visit with Alejandra, Renee catches Lois sounding like Superman. Nice characterization touch.
  • wait, Lois was in on getting Jessica Midnight out?? / is this Rucka and DC setting up the Checkmate series that’s been shelved? Jessica was the Black Queen’s Bishop of Checkmate
  • Lois becomes “the Truth: in the New Checkmate in the Leviathan Dawn oneshot after the event – this could be the connective tissue set up
  • Lois wants Jessica because she’s a witch now… what?
  • This was a decent issue to set up the last act of this series

 

LOIS LANE 10

  • Renee has to get Jessica to remember that she’s a witch – is this Pre-Flashpoint knowledge at all?
  • Still don’t know what it is that Lois told Renee unless she’s about to spill it here to get Jessica to get her memories back
  • Yup, that’s exactly what she does. The multiverse! Odd to see it defined here in the Lois Lane book of all things – and told so succinctly. Less grand DC Universe and more down to Earth
  • great two page spread of the various versions of Superman / Batman / Wonder Woman – including the movie version of the kryptonian rocket ship. Also, Black Wonder Woman
  • “Is he a man who dreamt he was a butterfly? Or is he a butterfly dreaming he’s a man? The thing is, he’s both” – that’s how you just be who are you needed to be in the DCU. I like that.
  • second page – a cool Deadman/Dr. Fate mashup!
  • third page is more about the lives of Montoya, Midnight, even the nun: “it all matters” – now we’re getting into language used for Hypertime
  • “something happens. A wall comes down, and the universes leak into one another” – just about any DC Crisis event
  • so who is Clarice? Who was she?
  • Renee: “I don’t think she’s our Lois Lane” – that’s right, she’s not! She’s from the Lois and Clark mini-series. She’s pre-Flashpoint Lois, right?
  • “all we truly are is the sum of our experiences, our memories– our continuity”. Nice. Love the use of that C word here.
  • Superman correcting Lois about what “Free for a call” could potentially mean. Funny scene. Probably the first time I’ve read him doing that to Lois, of all people, so matter of factly. Well – not counting the movies where he does it all the time about “safest way to fly” – but she didn’t know he was Clark in those times.
  • great conversation between Lois and Superman about having power but not being able to fix everything. Superman saying sometimes you have to just hope people are paying attention – that’s the essence/answer of the “Superman is too powerful” debate. Too many people focusing on who he is/what he’s able to do in a physical sense and not on an emotional/personal level. / It’s also a good conversation to have outside of the standard “Clark always worrying about Lois’ safety” conversations.
  • Clarice: “I was the instrument of God’s mercy”
  • they use magic to physically switch Clarice for Kiss of Death – and Renee gets shot in the process
  • Fantastic issue. Best of the bunch for this Crisis Kid. This final act is shaping up nicely. The whole maxi-series is expanding and growing from the groundwork of the first act in a smart way.

 

LOIS LANE 11

  • is Kiss of Death quoting the Crime Bible?
  • yup – this all ties to Five Lessons in Blood also by Rucka. Awesome.
  • Kiss of Death was someone from that mini-series / she traded her anti-life for life to save Renee
  • Elicia Sanchez
  • So Superman and Batman are the only ones who know about the larger multiverse? Why not Wonder Woman?
  • “the Religion of Crime barely registers in this reality” – Ha! Rucka throwing that in as a way to acknowledge the current state of the DCU. But also to say – look, I’m going from the 52 weekly series to the Crime Bible mini-series to this. Regardless of what happens in between.
  • we’ve drifted from the larger story haven’t we? About real world, politics, people wanting to kill, etc.
  • cool ending “we have some stories that need telling” – why is no one talking about this series? Oh right – Corona happened. But for those clamoring for a Lois book – this is it right here. She’s front and center. She knows things. She uses her resources and the larger DCU. She’s more than just Superman’s wife.
  • I used to talk about Nightwing as the still point of the DCU, the center point, but maybe that’s just the superhuman community. He’s in that place from the inside. In this series, Lois is showing how it works on the outside. How her role could define herself as the center point or at least the connection between the superheroes and the rest of the world. Which makes sense for a character that is arguably as vital to Superman or the DCU just as Superman is. Which means just as important to DC Comics in general. (Or should be)

 

LOIS LANE 12

  • cover: great use of purple / and her head silhouette looks like a chess piece
  • Jessica: “like the bloody black queen all over again” – meaning Sasha Bordeaux
  • I like that dialogue about the Daily Planet going quiet when Lois shows up or Wonder Woman
  • Lois brings the story to Perry
  • shot of Clark looking like Christopher Reeve
  • Clark mentions her book – yea! What is that damn book? That better show up in Bendis’ final issues!!
  • Rucka refers to all the multiverse stuff as Splintering
  • hmmm so Lois wants to tell everyone about the Splintering? That’s the big truth from the first issue cover blurb? And she wants to do it on a View style talk show? What? Wait – this is the book she’s been writing? Weird
  • Yup – this goes back to the first issue cover blurb: “She uncovered the most dangerous secret in the DC Universe, now she just has to prove it!” Sort of.
  • with Sister Clarice Coeur – they create the Unity House for people to reconcile their parallel universe issues
  • “where facts speak to the head, what is true speaks to the heart”
  • odd ending to this not gonna lie. Wish there was more with Renee and Lois. Wrapping up their partnership, giving us insight into what they have each learned from the other. Ultimately, this turned out to be more than I thought it was going to be. Which is great.

 

MISC. NOTES:

  • oddly, this turned into a comic I wanted to read
  • the binge read worked in its favor. Had I read with time between – especially with the pandemic hitting between issues 9 & 10 – I may not have lasted to the good stuff.
  • conversely, I think it loses some of its power or some of the narrative of a Lois Lane comic (facing off against news stories of the day/the government/societal issues) to become a DCU comic (multiverse!)
  • but that works in its favor when you think of Lois Lane as a character and as a central character in the DCU
  • the third act of the maxi series made it work for me.
  • the Questions! Checkmate. Lois’ relationship to Superman, Batman, etc. All good stuff.

 

 

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