There Is Only Luthor – Year Of The Villain: Lex Luthor #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Lex Luthor stands at the edge of everything: dominance, infinite power, and eternal victory. What could occupy his now-hybrid mind at a moment like this? Why, himself of course. Lex Luthor is travelling across the multiverse to observe how other Lex Luthor’s have spent their existences. He starts with a young Alexander receiving a cruel and condescending talk from his father after a science fair. Our Lex brings this Alexander along for the ride across other realities, visiting Lex Luthor’s that have become botanists, cobblers, presidents sorcerers, Doomsdays, Batmen, and even Superman’s own lover and partner. All of this is wanting in Lex Luthor’s eyes.

Year of the Villain: Lex Luthor #1 cover by Francis Manapul
Year of the Villain: Lex Luthor #1 cover by Francis Manapul

Year of the Villain: Lex Luthor #1 finds Superman’s most persistent foe observing what other iterations of himself have accomplished in their realities. You see, for Lex Luthor to truly be, he must be without peers.

Of course, none of these other Lex’s are his peer in his own eyes, but they still share his name, and they have his potential.

As you’ve likely gleaned, I found this comic very compelling. Lex Luthor is the archetypal supervillain. When one thinks of an archenemy, one often first thinks of Lex Luthor. This issue provides the deep dive into his mind at this singular moment, and of course he remains as self-absorbed as ever.

The difference in this moment is that Luthor is also more self-curious than ever. He wonders what else he could have been and what these other selves say about him.

The climax is the encounter with the botanist Luthor, the one who lived without a Superman and devoted his life to seeking out life-saving treatments for all of mankind in the world of flora.

Year of the Villain: Lex Luthor #1 art by Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Tomeu Morey, and letterer Tom Napolitano
Year of the Villain: Lex Luthor #1 art by Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Tomeu Morey, and letterer Tom Napolitano

The great Bryan Hitch provides the visuals for this comic, and he once again blows me away with his artistic skill. Lex Luthor looks more imposing and unnerving than ever in this Apex Predator form, and we get to see that form look curious and almost longing at times. Tomeu Morey provides a deep and complex color palette that nonetheless keeps the purples and greens Lex loves so much.

Year of the Villain: Lex Luthor #1 accomplishes the monumental task of diving into the mind and emotions of Superman’s arch-foe. Jason Latour provides a brilliant journey wherein the great Lex Luthor explores himselves. This one definitely gets a recommendation. Give it a read.

Year of the Villain: Lex Luthor #1 comes to us from writer Jason Latour, artist Bryan Hitch, inker Bryan Hitch with Andrew Currie, color artist Tomeu Morey, letterer Tom Napolitano, and cover artist Francis Manapul.

Final Score: 9/10

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