Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 – Jason Latour, Writer; Bryan Hitch, Artist; Andrew Currie, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Thus far, the Year of the Villain specials have been a surprisingly excellent treat, with two issues by Mark Russell and one by Tom Taylor all delivering strong stories that reinvented major villains with new missions.
Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1, written by Marvel and Image Comics mainstay Jason Latour, focusing on mastermind Lex Luthor, may be the best of the lot so far thanks to a twisty multiverse-spanning tale that takes Luthor down the many roads not taken.
It starts in a Smallville long ago, with Superboy judging a science fair and a young Lex dealing with an alcoholic father – but this isn’t our Lex. It seems to be a Lex from the multiverse getting a visit from Apex Lex, and the older villain takes his curious younger counterpart on a journey across the worlds of many Luthors. It’s like a supervillain version of Rick and Morty. DC fans will see a lot of familiar faces, including the evil Superdoom from Grant Morrison’s time on Superman, but the most interesting part of this issue is the new takes on Luthor and what Apex Lex sees in them.
Can Lex Luthor ever be a hero? DC has asked that a few times, most recently in the Dan Jurgens post-Rebirth run that had Lex reinventing his image in the aftermath of the death of New 52 Superman, but the character always reverts to form.
There’s some interesting takes in Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1, like a world where Lex is Batman and he’s partners (crime-fighting, and it’s implied much more) with a martian version of Superman. It seems like Apex Lex is taking out potential threats in these other Luthors, but it also seems like he’s searching for something. A Luthor in a coma after being nearly killed by Superman for crossing the line, or a happy and simple-minded Lex working in a shoe store, or a retired Lex who has turned his genius to good – they’re all twisted mirror images of Lex that show the directions his mind can go, but it’s only the young Lex he seems to have any real interest in.
Why? The last page is a stark reminder of exactly who Lex Luthor is and how far he’ll go to achieve his goals. Another great character spotlight for one of DC’s most iconic villains.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.