General Sam Lane, father of Lois... is dead.
Now we mourn.
Picking up after the events of Event Leviathan (spoilers ahead if you haven’t read it), Lois Lane must find a way to reconcile the loss of her father, General Sam Lane, with their lifelong turbulent relationship. Greg Rucka’s writing proves why he’s one of the industry’s finest with this incredibly somber and heartfelt send-off for a major character of his protagonist’s life.
The bulk of the issue takes place at the rainy funeral and is entirely silent. Here, Rucka and artist Mike Perkins excell at conveying mood, hitting every beat perfectly, from the horse-drawn coffin to the folded flag to the twenty-one gun salute. Lois sits almost motionlessly, unable to bring herself to reconcile her loss with a lifetime of butting heads with her father. This comes to a head when she can’t bring herself to accept the folded American flag in his honor; this act is misconstrued by her sister at the wake as one final act of rebellion against their father. The truth of the matter is far more personal and devastating. Lois has a lifetime of regret she’s trying to deal with, and just before the end, there had been hope for reconciliation and understanding.
The other half of the story is a series of moments between daughter and father, starting during a time when she was a rebellious teen and continuing on into her journalism career, motherhood, and finally her big reveal of who her husband Clark really is. General Lane, never a Superman fan to begin with, is crushed that his daughter would keep something this big from him. She responds in kind by angrily stating that much to her regret and shame she didn’t feel like she could tell him. And, then, the emotional coup de grace hits… just before the general’s untimely passing, leaving Lois with a void she’ll never be able to feel.
Rucka goes deep to an emotional wellspring for this issue. I’m not sure if he had any personal experience to draw from here (I certainly hope not, because it’s exceedingly painful), but the script certainly reads like it’s by someone who’s been there. Mike Perkins delivers in a big way this issue; his art is typically a bit uneven but here his pencils and exceptionally heavy inks are a perfect match for the story’s somber tone. The only incident where the pencils are lacking is during a flashback sequence where baby Jonathan is weirdly large in comparison to the full-grown adults. A lot of artists struggle with drawing babies who are either proportioned incorrectly or presented as tiny adults, though, so I’m more than willing to forgive and forget, especially in light to the rest of the issue’s strength. There’s too much good happening here to get caught up on a relatively minor detail.
Ultimately, though, this chapter does come a bit out of left field in relation to the larger “Enemy of the State” narrative. As good as this individual issue is on it’s own, I can’t help but feel like future reading of the miniseries in its entirety will be a bit hampered by this side trip right at the halfway point. Time will tell. But there’s no debating: this is a fantastic, near-perfect issue. Hats off to everyone involved.
Lois Lane stops mourn and it's a beautiful, heartfelt journey. Highly recommended even if you haven't been reading the rest of the miniseries.
Lois Lane #6 (of 12): Twenty-One Gun Salute
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 9.5/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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