Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Justice League: The Darkseid War – Lex Luthor #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Why Do We Fall, Lex?

Written By: Francis Manapul
Art By: Bong Dazo, Hi-Fi, Marilyn Patrizio
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 9, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Well they’ve gone and done it now, Darkseid is dead and his power and red eyeballs have been inherited by Lex Luthor. That’s right, the biggest asshole on Earth just got infused with the biggest asshole in the Multiverse. Perhaps I am judging Luthor too harshly, however; he saved the planet pretty recently and he’s proven to be helpful, if arrogant. And he’s certainly not more paranoid than Batman. So maybe Lex a la Darkseid won’t be such a terrible dish, perhaps he can bring peace and harmony to the fiery planet Apokolips? Oh, who am I kidding, the place is called Apokolips! Read on to see just how bad things can get!

Explain It!

This should be the last time I feel the need to confess that I have not been reading the main Justice League title. If you want a fuller explanation, go read my review for Justice League: The Darkseid War – Batman #1, but the short of it is that I get the read these one-off tie-ins fairly cold. Sure, I know who Darkseid and the New Gods are, and I know that the Justice League killed him in some capacity, but otherwise I am flying blind and just reading the stories where our heroes reap the results of their deicide. It’s sort of like skipping all the chocolate in a Kit Kat bar and getting right to the sugary wafer. Sure, the wafer tastes good, but why would you skip the chocolate? Unless perhaps you intended to get the chocolate trade collection next summer.

So the book starts off properly: a panel of Darkseid, dead; a panel of Lex Luthor getting infused with the Omega Effect juice, a reaction panel of someone’s eyeball, and then a beefy, crusty looking Lex Luthor with red, glowing eyes intoning “Long live Lex Luthor” in the same white-on-black word bubbles with red outlines that we see when Darkseid speaks. What do you think that voice sounds like? I picture it sort of like Bob Eucker with something caught in this throat, just real growly but also kind of smarmy and definitely projected. We immediately see a flashback of young Lex all scratched and bruised from having fallen down a well. He calls for  help, and eventually his ball-busting dad shows up and calls him a pussy for running away from a buck they were hunting, then tosses him a rope to climb. Lex seethes, but grasps the rope.

For the first time in all of these Darkseid War spin-offs, I see a new character that I didn’t know before. Lex is being led around his new home planet Apokolips by a woman named Ardora, who takes him to a camp of former slaves all crowded around some fire pits. Ardora implies that Lex can be the change he wants to see in the world, and he behaves like the dick he usually is and threatens Ardora’s life. In trying to blast her with his Omega power, he breaks the ground beneath him and almost falls off a cliff. “So this is hubris,” he doesn’t say, “I suppose with great power truly does come great ‘sponsability.” Actually he hangs on to the edge for dear life and we get another flashback. Now Lex is a little older than the last time we went into the washed tones, bald and brash and threatening a hostile takeover of the Daily Planet if Perry White doesn’t retract some article. Perry spits in his face so Lex grabs Perry by the throat while his lawyers try to pull him off the newspaper man.

Back on Apokolips, Ardora makes fun of Lex a little bit and offers help, but he refuses to take it because daddy told him not to. We get another flashback, the first time Luthor meets Superman which is when he was hanging off the wing of a plane with a time bomb on it for some reason. Superman offers him help, but poor widdle Wex can’t take help because daddy said, and then he lets go of the plane and falls into the ocean below. Back on the fire pit planet, the very same thing happens to Lex: he loses his grip on the cliff’s edge and begins falling. Ardora dives after him, exhorting him to drop that zero and get with a hero. He finally gives Ardora a big hug which releases their Care Bear stares and gives Lex the full dose of Omega Effect, which turns your skin grey or your money back. Now fully Darkseided up, Lex says something menacing and his eyes would probably glow super red if you could animate that sort of thing on a comic book page.

I’m not sure why this issue took extra time to come out, it really wasn’t anything monumental and fairly well followed the same formula as some of the other Darkseid War books. The art was serviceable but the perspective seemed way off in some scenes and Lex’s body changed proportion several times throughout the book (chalk it up to that bubbling Omega Effect, it causes growth spurts.) While I liked seeing Lex’s backstory revealed in nicely-colored flashbacks, all that happened in the present is that he walked up a hill, fell off that hill, and was rescued in mid-air by the tender embrace of a mean woman. Which, if you get down to it, is the story of my life. Except for the tender embrace. And the woman. And the walking up a hill. But falling down, I got that down.
The poor widdle boy's gonna cwy
Bits and Pieces:

We’ve waited a few extra weeks for this Darkseid War tie-in and we probably could have waited a few more. Like the other tie-ins, not a lot happens except for the titular character coming to a self-realization, which in Lex’s case seems disingenuous. The art is okay, but nothing to write home about, though there are a couple of spreads worth seeing. But for four bucks, you can look at a friend’s.

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  1. I still say the 'Superman made be bald!' Is a far better origin for Luthor

  2. Bob Now I can't help but picture Darksied telling Desaad, "I must be in the front row".


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