Lois Lane #10, written by Greg Rucka, with art by Mike Perkins, colors by Andy Troy, and lettering by Simon Bowland, makes some massive changes. The gentle, easygoing series just got multiversal and risked getting too big to handle. But this creative team, forever on their A-game, never lets us forget the human characters behind it all.
Rucka made a sharp turn with this issue. Instead of quips from the Question and kisses from Superman, we get witches and Multiverse Theory. It’s all enormous and potentially hard to follow, but Rucka keeps every moment relatable. He interrupts a speech about the Multiverse to show Lois and Clark having a chat like a regular husband and wife, with Superman stuffing chips into his mouth. Jessica Midnight, at one point, compares remembering incantations to remembering what last night’s dinner tasted like. In a stroke of genius, Rucka takes the moment a step further and Renee asks, “What’d you have for dinner last night?” “Chicken. It was dry.” Every time Rucka risks losing our attention with big concepts, he brings us back to something small. Somehow, this relatable series opens the door to the Multiverse and stays just as relatable as ever.
If this series has shown anything, it’s that Perkins is master of the small moments. The little smiles, the sarcastic smirks, the pain underneath the surface. He is always pulling back, and his best work is a result of his extreme restraint. Well, scratch all that, because this issue shows he’s good at pulling out all the stops too. Of course, we still have those brilliant little moments, Supes snacking on chips and Lois looking annoyed as he whooshes in and out of the window to deal with emergencies as they come up. But we also get to see giant tapestries of the Multiverse. The kind of pages you almost feel bad about reading through, instead of just looking at them for hours. But still, we have the subtleties of humanity on every page. It’s this attention to detail, even amid giant concepts and multiversal spreads, that keeps this series’ tone brilliantly intact.
Troy’s coloring goes through interesting stages in this issue. For one thing, it’s from Troy’s coloring that we learn about the characters’ fear of the unknown. Moments of uncertainty for Jessica and Renee are framed by black shadows. The explanation of the Multiverse is similarly dark, and so is the depiction of Lois’ dangerous gambit as the issue comes to a close. But Troy also accompanies many of these scenes with a tinge of purple. The multiversal energy is purple, so are Jessica’s spells. It’s interesting then to see that the one character most related to purple in this issue is Lois Lane. She’s depicted in lighter tones that lack quite the same element of foreboding, but it creates a sense of mystery nonetheless. How much does Lois really know about all of what’s happening? And how much are we ever going to find out?
This issue has lots of information we have to take in, in only so much time. Most of the pages are full of panels where characters almost seem to be talking at once. Word balloons overlap each other and are generally quite full. Bowland communicates to us the urgency of events. We can hear the panicked tones in every scene as characters grapple with what everything means for them. On one particular page, Bowland sets the pacing brilliantly. As Lois and Clark talk, Clark keeps zooming out the window to stop emergencies. Each time he comes back, he apologizes briefly, and each of them tries to get as many words in as they can before he has to fly off again. And suddenly, they slow down. “Tell me,” Clark says after Lois suggests she’s not feeling great. It’s alone in the panel; it gives Lois space to react. She begins to respond and explain but then trails off and summarizes in the next panel. Again, all on its own, she says, “Wanting to fix it.” Bowland gives this page the space it needs, and these gentle moments stand out beautifully.
Lois Lane #10 continues a delightful series. And we can now see that even when big concepts and actiony moments take center stage, this series won’t sacrifice its tone or humanity. It manages to make even the biggest multiversal threats feel personal. Read this brilliant series from DC Comics; it’s the best thing on the shelves.