Lois Lane: Fallout
Lois Lane is one of the greatest lady characters in comics. Despite not having any super powers (most of the time, anyway), Lois has been giving Superman a run for his money since his debut in Action Comics #1. Even back in 1938, she was tough, career-minded reporter, who caught on to Clark Kent's little secret a lot sooner than we tend to give her credit for. She had her own title that ran for nearly 20 years and 137 issues; even if it was called "Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane," and mostly dealt with her romance with Superman, that's a pretty good long run and a testimony to her popularity. She's also appeared in every medium that Superman has - besides comics and animation that includes movies, tv shows, radio shows, newspaper strips and a Broadway musical!
Lois at her best is smart, capable, and brave - a great role model for women and girls everywhere. But of course, she hasn't always been written at her best, and like all characters who are approaching 80 years of continuity, she occasionally needs an update to make her relevant to the ladies of the current decade. In their latest effort to do just that, DC has teamed up with Switch Press to create a series of young adult novels - a series that firmly places Lois in the world of 2016.
Written by Gwenda Bond (whom I have loved since her early days as the agony aunt at Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet), the series follows Lois' exploits as a modern teenager. The daughter of General Sam Lane, Lois has moved around a lot - but no matter where she is, trouble seems to find her. When the family settles permanently in Metropolis, that penchant causes problems, but also introduces her to her first real friends and attracts the attention of Perry White, who gives her a job writing for the Daily Planet's teen off-shoot, "The Scoop."
The first novel, Fallout, details all of this as Lois investigates a sinister group of gamers - a thoroughly modern problem for a thoroughly modern Lois. Bond's take on Lois is a girl who's smart and confident, albeit a bit of a blunt instrument. She's not used to staying in one place for long and needs to learn what it means to trust other people and have them trust her. Much like the adult Lois we all know and love, she also has a sharp tongue that sometimes hurts people without her meaning it to. She's also a terrible speller - lucky, then, that she lives in the age of spell check.
Fallout is fast-paced and easy to read, with a slightly sci-fi plot that acknowledges its comic book roots without being too over the top. I'd recommend it for young teens and older - while there's nothing inappropriate for younger readers, I'm not sure they'd be interested in the adventures of high schoolers.
Also of note -Superman has only the faintest hint of a presence - as Lois' closest confidante, a young man she met on a conspiracy theorist message board, whom she's only ever spoken to online and knows only as "SmallvilleGuy." They've got a deep connection, but mostly he's out of the way, leaving Lois blissfully taking center stage. "Superman's Girlfriend," she ain't - this Lois belongs to herself.
The next book, Double Down, comes out in May, and I look forward to reading it. In the meantime, if you check out Fallout and get hooked, as I did, there are two short stories available for free on Amazon Prime, detailing some of Lois' adventures before Metropolis.
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