Written by: James Bonny
Art by: Tyler Kirkham
Colors by: Arif Prianto
Cover by: Ian Churchill
Rather than knowing what happened previously, it’s more important to know what happens later. This is a new story, and it takes place before the current Defiance arc in Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke series, and presumably before Mr. Oz revealed his identity in Action Comics #987.
The new arc “Breaking Point” begins with a tense negotiation between Captain Maggie Sawyer and a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist threatening to destroy the entire building unless he can speak with Lois Lane. After Sawyer gets him to release his hostages, Superman ends the negotiation by busting right through the wall. Luckily for Superman, the scientist begins talking to him rather than detonating the building. He tells them that S.T.A.R. labs has created an amazing energy source and is developing it into a weapon, and he believes only Lois Lane has the journalistic integrity to give him the benefit of the doubt and get the story out. As Superman defuses the situation, we see that Lois couldn’t have spoken to the man anyway, since she’s busy in the Andes Mountains. She and Jimmy Olsen are there to interview a drug lord known a “The Grave Maker,” but instead they find the bodies of him and his bodyguards. One of the dead men is holding a camera that Lois checks to find that these men were killed by Deathstroke.
Lois heads right back to Metropolis and pitches to Perry White that she wants to interview Deathstroke in the same way that she had initially planned to interview The Grave Maker, and in depth expose inside the mind of a killer. After some convincing, Perry White reluctantly agrees to the assignment, mostly because he knows better than to get in Lois Lane’s way. Lois goes to tell Clark about the plan, insisting that she won’t be able to get close to Deathstroke if Superman is there protecting her. Clark also reluctantly agrees, but gives Lois a stun gun he got from S.T.A.R. Labs, making her promise not to hesitate to use it. Lois quickly departs to Prague, where we can assume she has a lead of some sort. She waves around Deathstroke’s picture to no avail, until she is attacked in an alley. She uses the stun gun that Superman gave her, and then Clark quickly arrives to save Lois. Superman explains that the stun gun had a transmitter that would alert him when she used it, very much like Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch. Lois thanks Clark for the help, but insists that he should let her walk down alleys full of villains on her own. Superman leaves and Lois turns the corner to find herself face to face with Deathstroke himself!
Lois watches as Deathstroke kills the men who attacked her, except for the ringleader who vanishes while his bodyguards are killed. Lois notices a sense of honor in Deathstroke, this killer who protected her and made sure no bystanders came to any harm. Deathstroke offers to protect Lois from the strange vanishing man, since he knows somehow that he’ll be back with more muscle. The two retreat to a convenient observation tower, where Lois carries out her interview. She gets a few answers out of Slade before he decides that he’s answered enough questions. The attackers arrive and Slade dispenses with them easily. Lois heads back to Metropolis the next day, and goes back to business as usual. That is, until the end of the day when she leaves the Daily Planet to find Deathstroke waiting for her, telling Lois that she’s his next target.
Thoughts on the issue:
While it’s nice to have an arc and an issue that adequately focuses on Lois Lane, this issue moves a little too much on its own, without explaining why or how. It opens with a crazy man who for some reason took hostages instead of just calling the Daily Planet to talk to Lois Lane. Then Lois just decides to interview a murder, and when that doesn’t work demands to interview another one. She goes to Prague, because she somehow found some “promising leads” off-panel, then actually manages to stumble her way into finding Deathstroke! But not before she wanders into an alley and yells at Superman for saving her. I’m all for Lois demanding that she doesn’t need Superman to protect her, but then she has to act like she doesn’t have Superman protecting her! Jimmy has a magic watch but he still acts with caution. Then the issue lands on a cliffhanger that nobody who’s not reading Superman for the first time is going to buy in to. The issue is redeemed by the art, however, as Tyler Kirkham delivers a beautiful take on a standard issue.
One last thing:
S.T.A.R. Labs’ macguffin potential is getting out of hand. They are making an evil super weapon and they made a stun gun that summons Superman like Jimmy’s watch, in the same issue? This is why we need LexCorp back.