Writer(s): Brian Azzarello.
Artist(s): Lee Bermejo.
Colourist(s): Mick Gray, Karl Story & Jason Martin.
Letterer(s): Phil Balsman, Pat Brosseau, Rob Leigh & Nick J. Napolitano.
Publisher: DC Black Label.
Release Date: November 26th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
With every hero comes a villain. They often follow our hero in their lives and push them into making decisions that would put them in peculiar predicaments that will destroy but also build the hero’s persona, forging them into extraordinary people whom we then look up to. Amongst the plethora of heroes, one of the greatest rivalries of all time lies in Superman and Lex Luthor. While one is an alien who encapsulates the most human traits possible, the other is a human being who sheathes a monster within. After a decade since its publication, writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, the same phenomenal creative team behind Joker and Batman: Damned, see their introspective and eye-opening story Luthor republished under the DC Black Label imprint where original stand-alone stories are featured, exploring the lore of classic heroes without worrying about their continuity with canon storylines.
What is Luthor about? Collecting the acclaimed five-issue miniseries, this graphic novel dives deep into the mind of Superman’s greatest villain: Lex Luthor. While the world sees the Man of Steel as the epitome of Truth, Justice and the American way, Lex Luthor sees in him an untrustworthy threat to humanity, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a reason to act before it’s too late. Deep down, Lex Luthor profoundly wishes for his city to strive for greatness, to outdo itself and redefine progress, but sees in Superman an obstacle that stands in the way, as he sets a standard that is impossible for anyone to attain. To prove his point, he plots a wicked plan to unveil Superman’s potential for chaos and his unworthiness as humanity’s ultimate saviour. He thus looks into introducing Metropolis with its own hero, baptized as Hope, and is willing to do whatever it takes to expose this alien that could never fit in.
The Man of Steel has never been less than the symbol of virtue for humanity ever since he came sweeping out of the blue to rid Metropolis of its vices. To give the world the chance to see what hope is like is a gift that he brings to all with open arms and it is out of pure intentions that he shoulders the pains and troubles of humankind without a single care, despite the countless sacrifices he has to make as an individual. Through this story completely narrated and told through the point of view of Lex Luthor readers uncover the reasoning that brings this billionaire criminal mastermind to despise everything that Superman represents for society. Writer Brian Azzarello draws this villain under a charismatic and humanistic light that allows the reader to somehow comprehend the source of Lex Luthor’s worries, almost making us believe that there might be something completely sane and rational in what he is trying to prove to himself and the world.
To further embellish this brilliant piece that offers readers the opportunity to be exposed to a villain’s monologue dressed with scorn is Lee Bermejo’s incredible artwork. Completely grim with a dark tone that perfectly captures the venomous mindset that holds Lex Luthor deep within, his visionary artistic style reminds us that the worries of one man are in fact completely blinded with hate although his intentions remain authentic at heart. It is how he draws Superman that ultimately proves that Lex Luthor isn’t looking to reach an end that is completely unjustifiable but that the means he employs is what really brings him to cross lines that set him apart from the good guys. Quite immediately, the reader is invited to reflect on Superman’s existence while taking into consideration where Lex Luthor is coming from when he sees in this alien a threat that could turn into a weapon without notice.
Luthor is an exploration of Superman’s greatest archnemesis’ inner psyche as he brings to light the root of his hatred for the man who embodies Hope.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!