Warning: SPOILERS for Lois Lane #1
The first issue of Lois Lane's new comic has proven unexpectedly topical, given current events regarding the Trump Administration and their policy of separating families seeking political asylum on the United States/Mexico border. While the controversy over these camps has been brewing for over a year, recent inspections by Congress and allegations regarding misuse of taxpayer funds relating to refugee camps have given the issue a new fire--coinciding with Lois's new story in her first issue.
Ever since her first appearance alongside Superman in Action Comics #1, Lois Lane has courted controversy. Her personality was largely inspired by the 19th Century reporter Nellie Bly, who found fame for her exploits working undercover, and for sensationalist stunts like emulating the journey in the Jules Verne novel Around The World In 80 Days (Bly, for the record, managed the journey in 72 days.) While later writers made marrying Superman her chief concern, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created Lois to be more than just a damsel in distress. Modern writers have maintained that mission, turning Lois into a journalistic paragon who never backs down in the face of a bully. And through the power of the press and her personality, accomplishes things Superman would never dream of attempting.
The first issue of Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins's Lois Lane pulls no punches, with a story titled "Enemy of the People," a likely reference to Donald Trump's branding of the press as such just a month into his administration. The story showcases Lois Lane as she works on several stories, involving the apparent 'suicide' of a Russian reporter who was critical of the Kremlin. But on the national news beat, Lois cracks a case so explosive, nobody is willing to go on the record. Naturally, Lois heads straight for the White House to ask the Press Secretary directly.
In the White House Press Briefing Room, Lois uses her press badge to take the fight straight to Press Secretary Lee-Anne McCarthy, reading off a list of payments made to key members of the administration by companies that were awarded contracts for the construction of "tender care" camps for refugee children. These children, Lois notes, were separated from their parents thanks to the unnamed President's policies. When Lois refuses to back down, and insists on an answer, she is escorted out of the White House with her press credentials revoked. Yet she may have made her point, as news reports confirm that her colleagues among the press wouldn't move on from her question, either.
While the name of the American President in the DC Universe is not explicitly given, the story Lois is pursuing is clearly based on the ongoing border controversy regarding the treatment of minors on the US/Mexico border under President Donald Trump. This has been a subject of controversy since 2018, when Trump instituted a policy of separating parents and children, eliminating the distinctions between illegal immigrants and legal asylum seekers. While both an Executive Order and a judge's ruling have officially ended the policy, many children are still being interred within these camps due to loopholes within the policies.
The controversy took on a new urgency this past week, amid allegations of financial impropriety in the running of these camps, similar to what occurs in the story of Lois Lane #1. One New York Times report describes how the management of these camps has become a billion dollar business for the companies involved. An investigation by NBC confirmed that the amount of money being earmarked for each child is greater than keeping them with their parents... and enough for each child to be roomed in one of Donald Trump's hotels. Despite this, many of these facilities have no running water or showers - conditions the Trump administration has defended, claiming no law requires providing children with soap, toothbrushes, or clean clothing.
While DC Comics is likely to get an earful over the timeliness of Lois Lane #1's story, this is far from the first time the character or the company has courted controversy. A similar outcry erupted last year, regarding a story in Action Comics Special #1 where Clark Kent and Lois Lane attended the White House Correspondent's Dinner. By a happy coincidence, the storyline had a joke about the President's association with a rapper at the same time Donald Trump was befriending Kanye West. We doubt this will be the last time a parallel is drawn.
Lois Lane #1 is now available from DC Comics.