Lex Luthor has been transported to Apokolips as part of a prophecy that foretold he would lead the planet after Darkseid’s death. He reached out to Superman for help and ended up grabbing the Man of Steel along with Lois Lane and their son, Jon (aka Superboy). Now they’re all separated and Granny Goodness is descending upon Lois. This all started as a night out at the movies and has taken a very strange turn for all of them.
Lois Lane’s adventure takes up a large portion of Superman #34 and it’s pretty awesome. She took center stage in another recent issue while tracking down a story about Deathstroke, and that was not executed as well. Writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have a real lock on the character and what drives her. This is not just an intrepid reporter hoping for Superman to swoop in and save her if she gets into trouble. This is a strong, confident woman who has seen all manner of monsters in her life and even the fires of Apokolips aren’t going to give her pause.
It’s rather impressive how Lois leaps into action, first standing up to Granny Goodness and the female furies and then battling a massive dredge worm. She doesn’t run and hide or cower in fear. Lois sees a problem and goes to solve it. She does look a little out of place in her cardigan sweater and sensible jeans in this barren wasteland. That’s quickly changed as you can see from the cover of the issue.
I wish I could compliment the artist for this section, but I’m not sure who drew it. Ed Benes, Doug Mahnke, and Jack Herbert all contributed artwork to Superman #34 and it’s not clear who did what. I’ve criticized other DC Comics releases for having multiple artists on a single book as it creates an inconsistent reading experience. This is handled a little better in this issue because each artist handled a different character. There’s a section with Lois, another with Jon, and a third with Lex and Superman. Since there are three separate plot threads, there are three separate artists. I’d still prefer a single artist within an arc, let alone a single issue, but it works out ok here.
The dredge worm battle is a visually stunning scene packed with excitement. This creature is huge and looks like a cross between the worms from Tremors and Doomsday. It’s all teeth, sharp points, and eyes. Any sane person would have cowered in fear, but not Lois Lane. She figures out its weakness and rallies the furies around her to attack, impressing Granny Goodness which is no easy task.
Throughout this entire endeavor, Lois is singularly focused on her family. Her son is out there alone and she’s going to do anything in her power to keep him safe. If that means working with Granny Goodness, so be it. This is summed up well in the final panel of her scene as she looks off into the distance with a grim look on her face and quiet determination in her eyes.
Dinei Ribeiro’s colors reinforce the dystopian mood of Apokolips. The whole planet is like a desert that’s constantly on fire. You can almost feel that oppressive heat in the rich red and yellows that surround Lois and the furies. The sun may set, but that feeling will never go away here.
Lex is the reason the Kents are in this whole mess to begin with. He opens the issue by immediately pulling the strings of his captors, playing them like a fiddle. Some of the old Lex can be seen here as he casually manipulates those around him like pawns on a chessboard. This leads up to an incredible full-page spread that looks like something ripped out of a Bible.
Some folks will vacation at the shore or down in Florida, but the Kents are spending some time on Apokolips. Somehow I don’t think we’ll be getting a post card as they endure Mad Max-style survival tactics to make it out of here alive. Right now they’re separated and fighting for their lives. This isolation will make their inevitable reunion even better. I just wonder what Superman will do to Lex once he figures out what’s happened.