Reviewer: Tim Sheridan
Story Title: N/A
Written by: Brian Azzarello
Art by: Lee Bermejo
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Casey Seljas
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: DC Comics
I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time. It’s been about a year and a half since they announced this title, and to me, it always seemed like a cool idea. See, the thing is, I love Lex Luthor. I always have. He’s one of my favorite comic book characters. And whenever he faces Superman, a big part of me wants him to win. I know it can never happen, for many reasons, but I still support him.
The businessman-Lex is the incarnation that has always appealed to me, very Gordon Gekko, “greed is good” type stuff. He just gives off a cool aire to everyone around him. So of course I was excited to see him shine for a bit. I feel the Superman books have been lacking in the past year, and part of that is due to Superman not having a villain worth his time or energy. Sure, there is Ruin, and Prieus, or whatever is going on in Superman, but only one man could really challenge Superman, and that’s Lex Luthor. And he’s been making his way back, with little cameos in Titans and elsewhere, so I’m sure we’ll hear from him soon enough.
Anyways, onto the issue at hand. What makes this book a very compelling read is that Lex is the hero. Now, I don’t simply mean that Lex is the protagonist, nothing that simple. But here, Lex Luthor is a good guy. We see things from his point of view, and they’re not bad. Azzarello makes us empathize with Lex by making us aware that he is one of us. He’s a guy we can all identify with. He’s a hard working man who has come into some bad luck in the form of a bully. Lex’s bully is Superman, an outsider who never had to work for anything he was given. And therefore, we shouldn’t respect him. Superman cannot appreciate all that Lex cherishes because he thinks himself better than anyone else.
I’m not saying this is a true statement, but it’s a thrilling postmodern interpretation of these characters.
The art here is quite beautiful. Bermejo has a very specific style, I can’t say it’s realistic, but it’s also not cartoony at all. The story goes along and makes us comfortable with Lex, but the panel layout is very unnerving and at times harsh. Lex is always in shadow here, and while Superman is always in the light, we never see his eyes. It’s a very simple and small technique, but remarkable effective.
So far, this is not a great comic though. It’s merely a good one, but I think as the story goes on, it will get better. There is a lot thrown at us in this first issue, and it’s all intriguing. Perhaps it’s just my anticipation getting the better of me. But despite my reservations on the slow pace, I recommend this book highly.