Friday, February 19, 2016

Lois Lane #2 (1986)

Lois Lane #2 (September, 1986)
"When it Rains, God is Crying"
Chapter III: "Quicksand!"
Chapter IV: "Bless this Child"
Writer - Mindy Newell
Artist - Gray Morrow
Letterer - Agustin Mas
Colorist - Joe Orlando
Editor - Robert Greenberger
Cover Price: $1.50

Okay, let's see how this all ends...


Chapter III

It is apparently three weeks later, and City Editor, McCullough is asking Metrolife Editor Janice how Lois' story is coming along.  Janice expresses a bit of frustration, claiming Lois to be "impossible" and offers to kill the story.  McCullough declines and offers a few more days.

Lois is meeting with Inspector Henderson at the Police Station.  She is furious to find out that Bill is planning on taking a three week vacation at some point in the near-immediate future.  Bill warns her that she's getting too involved with this case, and it would likely be in her best interest as well to take a break.  Lois storms out, though as she approaches her cab, she asks herself if perhaps she is too involved.

At the Planet, Lucy Lane is reunited with Jimmy Olsen.  I am very unfamiliar with this era of Superman, but it appears as though Lucy and Jimmy are/were more than friends.  They sit down to coffee and discuss the recent goings on with Lois.  The talk ends with Jimmy (jokingly?) proposing marriage to Lucy, and Lucy (jokingly?) accepting.

We rejoin Lois conducting an interview with a Mrs. Zelinsky, a woman whose 20-month old daughter was abducted and held for almost a year before she was found.  This is quite a chilling account of child abduction.  As I stated yesterday, most nonfamily abductees are not kept alive more than three hours.  If a child is kept alive longer, and there is no attempts toward ransom, one can only imagine what the child may be kept alive for.  It is sobering and incredibly sad.  Mrs. Zelinsky tells Lois that her now three-year old baby girl is not a virgin.

The child was returned, and is now relatively physically healthy.  The child has some inner turmoil, however, unable to speak and appearing to be mentally "broken".  Upon return, the child was ten pounds underweight and covered from head to toe in bruises.

Lois finds out that Inspector Henderson was the lead on the Zelinsky case, which offers the reader a bit of insight as to his experience with these types of scenarios.  Zelinsky tells Lois that Henderson "wouldn't let up" when it came to this case, telling us that he knows what he is talking about when he warns Lois not to become too involved.

Lois has a contentious run-in with Lana and Clark at a nearby newsstand.  Lana tells Lois that she will ensure that her story will be told... if not by the Planet, she will give it air-time on the evening news.  Lois suggests she is only making such an offer to drive ratings to her program, and to "grab all the glory again".  Of special interest, Lana tries to tell Lois that she knows the pain of losing a child... a comment that Lois does not even appear to hear.

Back at the Planet, Perry White is breaking everyone's backs over their lack of bringing in any interesting news of late.  He even attacks Lois, and lambastes her for acting more like a social worker than a reporter.  He wants the missing children story in-print as soon as possible.  Metrolife editor reels Lois' deadline in, only giving her five days to complete the assignment.

Lois visits a Suicide Slum runaway shelter/halfway house, Haven House where she meets with a Mr. Cortez who is allowing her to sit in on some of their sessions.  The first session features runaways, including young girls who fell into prostitution.  Girls who have given up their freedom and any money they are making for a perceived safety at the hands of their keepers/pimps.  The second session features adults whose children had run away.  We hear the story of a father who was overprotective and controlling to the point of inflicting physical abuse to his daughter.  Having had enough, she ran away never to be heard from again.  This group facilitates facing and working through guilt for the father.

Lois is called out of the session and told there's a man there to see her.  She finds Clark Kent waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs.

Chapter IV

Lois and Clark have a rather less than smooth encounter.  It is alluded to that they had shared a romantic relationship somewhat recently, though "called it quits".  It is also mentioned several times in this issue that Lois Lane was actually dating Superman, not Clark... but Superman.  This era is new to me, so I will take their word for it.  The two argue like a couple of people who really care for one another.  They know how to push each other's buttons, and Gray Morrow's art does an incredible job of showing their emotional pain.

We are treated to a page offering a juxtaposition between Lois' and Clark's evening.  Clark is surrounded by friends, Jimmy, Lucy, and Lana.  They dine together on a home made meal, and decide to take in a movie that evening.  Lois is alone, and is waiting on her Chinese food to be delivered while she hammers away at her story.  Being a Post-Crisis and Pro-Supermarriage guy, scenes like this are so incredibly strange, and sad.

Inspector Henderson is being pressured to bury the child they dredged out at the pier.  Bill is pushing back a bit, knowing that if the body (even though thus far unidentifiable) gets buried, the odds of pursuing the case will become ever slimmer.

Lois follows up on a tip, and visits a Mr. Dillon.  It was believed that the Dillon's daughter Marcy had been abducted.  Mr. Dillon is not wanting to talk, going as far as having his maid call the police.  Lois insists that they speak, and offers to speak to Mrs. Dillon instead if that would be easier.  Dillon forcefully grabs her before regaining his composure and apologizing.  He still wants her to leave.

As Lois leaves she tries to give the maid her card, asking that it be passed on to Mrs. Dillon.  The maid informs Lois that she enabled Mrs. Dillon to leave with their child following a fight with Mr. Dillon.  They are high-society types, and wanted to keep that out of the press.  As Lois presses further, the Police arrive and physically remove Lois from the premises.

Lois takes a moment to reflect before returning to the office.  The Planet staffers appear to be ignoring her.  Lois is informed that a baby was stolen from a hospital nursery, and it's body was found in a nearby garbage pail.  She heads out on the tip.

Inspector Henderson is conducting his investigation of "Baby Doe", and is confronted by Lana who is trying to get some comments for the news.  Lois arrives and again makes the claim that Lana's actions are ratings-driven.  Oddly enough, as Lois is lecturing, Lana invites her to have some coffee.  Lana felt that she (Lana) may need a bit of support for the upcoming press conference.  Lois does not appear to understand what this means.

During the press conference it is revealed that the baby taken from the nursery was in fact not the baby found in the garbage can.  It is further revealed that one of the kidnapped baby's ears was delivered to the Police Department.  All the while Lana is growing more and more agitated.  Upon hearing about the ear, Lana breaks down.  Lois helps her out of the conference.

Now, this is a bit weird... and I have no frame of reference for this, so this may be a new wrinkle in Lana's history.  Lana confides in Lois that she had recently been married and had a child while living in Europe.  The terrorist group, The Red Hand had kidnapped her baby boy, and had sent her his ear.  Shocked, Lois now understands that Lana did not have a ratings-driven angle for her involvement in this story.

The next morning, Lois and Lucy attempt to mend fences.  The ultimately decide to try and be friends.  Lucy is leaving Metropolis that evening, and Lois invites her to the burial of the child from the beginning of this story.  Lois, Clark, Lucy, Lana, Jimmy, Janice and Henderson are all present for the proceedings.


I'm not too sure how I feel about this ending.

On one hand, it drives home the message that some of these cases will likely never be solved, and justice will never be done.  The late introduction (and inconclusive nature) of the Baby Doe case(s) further gives the feeling that when it comes to child abductions, there is no "down time" and loose ends will be left frayed.

On the other hand, however, I guess I was hoping for a, for lack of a better term, happier ending.  Upon reflection... I guess that would not necessarily fit.  There will, sadly, always be missing children.  Such a subject really cannot be "fixed" in 48 (or 96) pages.

This series did a great job of showing the reader the various forms of child abduction that occur.  Family abductions, non-family abductions, political abductions, and runaways.  It did not linger too long on any given point, but stayed long enough to help the reader understand through Lois' interactions.  Characterization and art throughout are still top-notch.

Not much more to say, this was admittedly a bit weaker than the first issue, though by no means is it bad.  I felt that it may have been rushed toward the end, as I was expecting at least a few more pages after Lana's reveal.  During this part, Jimmy and Lucy were writing a piece for Metrolife in order to help Lois... I'm not sure if this is a case of my being somewhat dense, but I cannot figure out what they were writing about, and how it was to help Lois.  Further, there was a brief scene at the Planet where the staffers were ignoring Lois... again, I may have missed something... but I cannot figure out the significance of that scene.

The cover for this one is a bit strange.  Lois protecting three children from a shadowy person entering brandishing a pistol.  No such scene occurs in this issue, making me wonder if it was a scene that was cut, or if this series was meant to have additional chapters.

This little series is definitely worth your time.  It may be a hard one to track down, however.  To my knowledge, it has not been collected... it is not available (legally) digitally... and I have only come across it "in the wild" once.

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