Monday, March 31, 2014

Graphic Novel Review: LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL

LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL is a Superman story that's really not about Superman. Instead, it's a tale about Lex Luthor, Superman's arch nemesis. At face value it seems strange that Superman's greatest foe isn't another alien or a human with super abilities. Most of the time when Luthor fights Superman, he doesn't even face him: Luthor uses others to do his dirty work and is a master of covering his trail. Instead, Superman's greatest foe is a man who believes just as strongly in the American Way as Superman does. Luthor also believes in man's ability to rise above himself. However, Luthor believes that he knows best and in his mind Superman must be stopped at all costs because he isn't human.

LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL is a five-part series that illustrates a plan by Luthor to bring Superman down. The plan is multi-layered and isn't completely revealed until the final few pages of the story. The story does offer a picture of Luthor that isn't always seen in the comics: a man who has risen above his circumstances to the highest echelons a human being can achieve, a man who really does believe humanity can succeed and excel on its own without help from a supernaturally gifted alien, and a man who desperately longs to be loved. Yet, although the story touches upon those aspects of Luthor's character, it never really delves into them. The reader is left understanding why he wants to get rid of Superman, but that's about it. There's no explanation of where Luthor came from or why he does some of the things he does.

Most of the story is like that, too. Superman and Batman have a fight, but we aren't given any explanation why Batman wants to fight Superman: they never really hated each other like that in the comics and the few times they did fight, Batman never tried to kill Superman. Until the end of the story, there's no real explanation of where Hope came from either. Even then, the explanation that is given is quite short and leaves more questions than answers.

Besides the lack of answers, I also didn't like the way that Superman is portrayed in this story. There is one shot of Clark Kent, but other than that, every time Superman is shown his eyes are either closed or they are glowing red. Superman's eyes only glow red when he uses his heat vision.

The illustrations are really well done. It's just a shame the story isn't as strong as the illustrations are.

Overall, although LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL attempts to provide an inside look into Lex Luthor, it really doesn't reveal anything new about Luthor.

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