In the Superman comics we’ve seen Superman, Lex Luthor and Lana Lang as teenagers and even followed of their exploits in various titles. But what about Superman’s true love (don’t give me none of that Wonder Woman b.s.) Lois Lane? What was her life like as a military kid who moved around the country? That’s the question posed by Gwenda Bond in Lois Lane: Fallout, a young adult novel that portrays a high school aged Lois in the 21st Century.
In the opening pages of the book, Lois arrives in Metropolis, the final stop in her father’s life long military journey. Lois enters East Metropolis High hoping to stay out of trouble and make some real friends for the first time in her life. Staying out of trouble won’t be easy, as she already has a reputation. Several times in the early stages of the book, the principal and his administrative assistant ask about past incidents at her old schools. For Lois, trouble follows her, even when she’s trying to be good.
As for friends, the only person she’s been able to call a friend is a faceless guy she met online. One night, while traveling through Kansas, Lois witnessed a man flying in the air in Smallville. She took to a conspiracy website to find out if anyone else has any reports of a similar incident. She connected with “SmallvilleGuy,” who assured her that he believed her and that he, too, knows that a man can fly. It doesn’t take an in depth knowledge of the Superman canon to know that Lois is communicating with Clark Kent. Bond is very coy about never using his name or Clark revealing his true identify to Lois. It’s a fun little game and it sets up the notion that Lois and Clark are destined to meet someday and fall in love.
On her first day of high school, Lois is waiting in the office and overhears the school principal chastising Anavi, one of his star pupils for not being strong enough to take the “teasing” by some of her fellow students. Never one to let a fellow girl get bullied, Lois takes on Anavi’s problem as her own. Simultaneously, she meets the editor of the Daily Planet, Metropolis’ newspaper, Perry White. He’s visiting the principal to recruit students for his new student run blog called The Scoop. In Lois he recognizes a person with character and tenacity, exactly the type of kid he wants working for him.
Life is looking up for Lois. The good times are short lived, as she quickly uncovers a sinister plot run by a local gaming company. They’re using mind meld type of technology that not only allows players in a Virtual Reality game to play in sync, but also brainwashes kids into becoming part of a hive-like group of bullies, the same bullies harassing Anavi. Lois decides to uncover the connection between the bullies, the school and the gaming company.
At the Scoop, she falls in with three other budding journalists: Maddy, smart and sarcastic with a penchant for good music, Devin, a computer genius and guru of VR games, and James, a snobby prep who uses his pretentiousness to mask his own pain. In them Lois feels that she may have found some real life friends, but her years of being a loner make it difficult to open up and tell them everything. This becomes a real issue as she pulls them into her investigation, especially when fallout from what she writes occurs. The only person she confides in is SmallvilleGuy, who tells her she has to trust her friends.
Bond writes Lois with a strong, sassy voice. Comparisons to Veronica Mars aren’t too far off. And like TVs high school private eye, there’s also a vulnerability to Lois that Bond handles nicely. Any girl or guy reading Fallout should have no problem relating to the things that Lois internalizes. Although she’s been trained in the martial arts and knows how to bug an office at the age of 16, she’s still a teenage girl with concerns about fitting in and finding friends.
Although clearly aimed at young women, there are enough pieces in this novel should make it an enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys gaming, comic books or just plain old nail biting mystery and thrills. I can’t give away the ending, but it certainly is left open for more adventures with Lois and her gang and perhaps a future appearance by a guy in red and blue spandex with a cape.