The Kiss of Death has arrived for one final attempt at assassinating Lois... but her bullet has struck Renee Montoya, A.K.A. the Question, instead!
Frantic after realizing what's happened, Lois inexplicably texts Renee to put on her Question mask. While Kiss of Death is reciting a ritual from the Crime Bible, Renee chimes in, and something completely unexpected happens...
For its penultimate issue, Lois Lane pulls out all the stops and delivers a riveting, dramatic dance with life and death. Greg Rucka isn’t a writer known for spoon-feeding his stories to readers; there’s a lot going on under the surface, implied, and reliant on memory of events from previous issues without the benefit of a recap page or in-story exposition dump. As a result, Lois can be a little daunting for casual readers. Heck, I’ve been with this series from issue one and had to read this issue twice to make sure I had everything that was going on.
The result is a comic – and comic series – that is a mature, nuanced read that benefits both from paying careful attention and multiple readings. Nothing is easy – and that’s how it should be with a story like this, one that deals in themes of truth, lies, the multiverse, political machinations, geopolitical intrigue, and skull-headed magic assassins that worship from a literal Crime Bible.
Issue eleven of this unique and fascinating series finally gets all the cards on the table and all players in place as Lois prepares to pull back the curtain on the biggest mystery of all time. It’s a paeon to journalistic excellence first and foremost, a slap in the face to a White House hostile to a free press second, and a love letter to female friendship and camaraderie third.
Rucka makes clever use of the multiverse this issue, but doesn’t make it the focus like he did last month. He also arranges not only the resurrection of one character but the salvation of another in a way that feels unique to this series. After all, death and resurrection are old friends in comics writ large, but what happens in this issue feels not only unique but fully earned. No cheaping out on death here. Rucka is too smart for that.
Art-wise, Mike Perkins does his usual level best, but as per my running complaint, his linework feels uneven from page to page and even panel to panel, and the use of heavy inks not only oversaturates the page but also appears to be a deliberate attempt to hide inconsistencies or panels that aren’t quite rendered correctly. That’s not to say Perkins is a bad artist per se, maybe just an undisciplined one. The art still fits the tone of the story, though, so that can’t be a bad thing!
After it wraps up later this month, I would urge readers to sit down and reread the entire series in one sitting. It’s designed to accommodate a long-form story, perhaps better suited for an OGN than a monthly series, but that doesn’t mean it should be skipped in order to wait for the trade. No, series like this should not only be treasured, but supported by fandom for what they represent: something not only different, but intelligent and unwilling to pander to the lowest common denominator.
Lois Lane #11 proves the creative team not only still has tricks up their sleeves, but have planned this series out to the Nth degree. Smart, engaging, uncompromising, and unwilling to pander to those unwilling to pay attention, this series is one anybody looking for intelligent comics should have on their pull sheet.
Lois Lane #11 (of 12): Death and the Maiden
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 6/106/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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