Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
5. “The Secret Revealed!” Superman Vol. 2 #2
This is one dark story. John Byrne (and inkers Terry Austin and Keith Williams) decided to deal head on with the idea of a man as brilliant as Luthor being able to figure out Superman’s secret identity. Luthor goes through some deplorable methods of finding out Superman’s secret but once he does, can he even believe it himself? Byrne explores Luthor’s motivations beautifully in this story as we see how Luthor applies his personal beliefs to Superman and the result is both humorous and depressing. Plus, Luthor’s disdain for women is hinted at with his treatment of the female scientist who helps him find Superman’s secret. More from Byrne on this point in a bit…
4. “Metropolis 900 MI” Superman Vol. 2 #9
In this back-up story, Byrne and inker Karl Kesel show us the little games that Luthor plays with “normal” people. This is likely the cruelest we’ve ever seen Luthor, which is saying something since the guy can be pretty damn cruel.
3. “The Gospel According to Lex Luthor” All-Star Superman #5
Grant Morrison and Frank Quietely have Clark Kent spend a day in prison with Lex Luthor and their take on Luthor is fascinating. They humanize him while still keeping him clearly evil. It is just an evil that almost seems to have a point behind it. Plus, the visual depiction of Luthor is out of this world (the eyebrow bit alone is worth the price of admission)!
2. The Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor
James Hudnall and Eduardo Barreto give us a glimpse into Luthor’s past as a down on his luck writer has his chance for his last big break by writing a biography of Lex Luthor. Things, as you might imagine, do not go his way. This book has a particularly compelling sequence where Luthor blackmails Clark Kent. This might be the most frustrated Superman has ever been.
1. “The Death of Superman” Superman Vol. 1 #149
Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff created one of the greatest “Imaginary Story” of all-time as they show us the depths Luthor will sink to to kill Superman. In this story, Luthor actually CURES CANCER! And why does he do this? Simply to get Superman to trust him enough so that Luthor can KILL HIM!! How twistedly awesome is that? However, Luthor gets what is coming to him in the end in a brilliant sequence where he can’t seem to understand how things are not going his way.
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let us know!
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