Whenever Lois Lane is mentioned, images of her being saved by Superman spring to mind, and that’s definitely still the first thing people associate her with: being Superman’s girlfriend and later wife. However, Lois has always been more than just a love interest — she’s been an investigative journalist. In the 81 years since Lois’s debut, the character has won a fictional Pulitzer Prize and gained a reputation as the hardest-hitting reporter in the DC universe.
DC Comics is currently capitalizing on that with Lois Lane, a 12-issue series featuring Lois as she works to uncover a story of government corruption, a story that has already lead to the death of a Russian journalist. As Lois pieces the information together and writes horribly misspelled articles, she’s also the center of a news story herself, having been photographed kissing Superman despite public knowledge that she’s married to fellow Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent.
The series is obviously pulling on current events, with Lois publishing an article on the refugee camps at the southern border in the first issue, an article that she uses to springboard questions during a White House Press Briefing. Lois finds herself kicked out of the briefing and ultimately has her credentials revoked.
This particular incident is starkly reminiscent of last November, when CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta had his credentials suspended following an incident at a White House Press Briefing where he posed a series of challenging questions to President Trump. While Lois is playing hardball with a fictional Press Secretary rather than the president, the two stories still obviously mirror each other.
Throughout the series Lois shows that while she’s of interest to everyone, since all they’re talking about is her kiss with Superman, her only concern is the truth and making sure that it’s told, though the when and how is something that she’s intent on controlling. In the fourth issue she expands on what the truth is and how it works, saying that it’s “like booze or sugar. Too much makes you sick and most don’t have the stomach for it even in small doses.” That’s why it’s her job, in the role of a journalist, to share that truth in pieces that make it digestible to the public, even if that means risking her own life to do so. And at the end of the day, the truth is also an “antiseptic” and “after the shock wears off — if you can take it — you get the cure. You get to be healthy. As a person. As a society.”
While we don’t have superheroes to help with investigations or news stories involving aliens or family drama thanks to time travel, Lois’s story does take a great look at what it means to be a journalist in today’s society, especially when the White House hasn’t had an official press briefing since March 11; when there are governments killing journalists to silence them like Jamal Khashoggi; when so much of society has grown distrustful of media and even more come to criticize journalists for being fellow humans, using that to discredit the work they do.
Lois also finds herself dealing with the latter as a media circus seems to spring up over the idea that she’s having an affair with Superman. She’s seen writing as a fictionalized version of The View speculates and overhears multiple people mutter insults and gossip as she meets with her source or husband, Clark Kent. Lois ignores all of it, since she knows the two men are one and the same and also knows that people are going to say what they will no matter what happens.
Writer Greg Rucka presents Lois as a whole person, not just a wife or just a journalist, but both. He shows her dealing with trials and tribulations in her personal and professional life, all the time parallelling our society’s own complex feelings towards journalists right now. Rucka’s writing creates empathy and gives insight into the life of a modern reporter, not to mention continuing to pose questions about the role of journalists, governments and society at large and how they might translate to our world.