->''"Those [[RedEyesTakeWarning red eyes]], I'm sure they look right through me, like I am nothing more than a nuisance. But when I see [[Franchise/{{Superman}} you]]? I see something no man can ever be. I see the end. The end of our potential. The end of our achievements. The end of our dreams. You are my nightmare."''
--> '''Lex Luthor'''

The [[Franchise/{{Superman}} Alien]] says that he is humanity's savior. That he fights for "Truth, Justice and the American Way". He makes the entire world love him and look up to him.

And yet, there is one man who can see what a threat the alien truly represents, one ''man'' who is willing to stand against the being who has been [[PhysicalGod compared with God]]: ComicBook/LexLuthor. The battle will be ugly, but the truth shall prevail.

An AlternateCharacterInterpretation of Comicbook/{{Superman}}'s arch-nemesis, ''Lex Luthor: Man of Steel'' was first published in 2005 by Creator/DCComics. It's a bit of a departure from other stories about Luthor, which up until then (and indeed for [[ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths twenty years previous]]) had shown him as little more than an unrepentant jerk who just wanted to kill Superman. It [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructs]] Superman's ArchEnemy in subtle ways, or at least speaks to humanist traits the character had taken on since about 2000. First is this: when other comics on the stands in 2005 were about Luthor heading up a [[ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis large]] LegionOfDoom and manipulating [[ComicBook/TeenTitans Superboy]] ForTheEvulz, an empathic view into the mind of Lex was seen as an odd thing, though not totally unwelcomed. As it turns out, the story was ''very'' well-received.

Recently re-released and given the more laconic yet intimidating title ''[[http://dccomics.com/dcu/graphic_novels/?gn=15388 Luthor]]''. Works nicely as a companion piece to Azzarello's later work, ''ComicBook/{{Joker}}'': even the trade dress, [[UsefulNotes/{{Fonts}} typefaces]], and titles (in both incarnations; ''Lex Luthor: Man of Steel''/''Joker: The Dark Knight'' and ''Luthor''/''Joker'') play up the differences between these two characters. Creator/FrankMiller might be proud.
!! Tropes:
* AcceptableTargets: An in-universe example. Luthor selects Winslow Schott a.k.a. Toyman to be [[spoiler: nearly killed by Hope and then saved by Superman. Because Schott had just (seemingly) bombed a daycare center and is an alleged child molester, Lex knew the public would be calling for his blood and might turn against Superman for saving his life.]]
* AffablyEvil: Lex is polite to everyone he meets, but which parts are real and which are [[FauxAffablyEvil a facade]] are hard to determine.
* ArcWords: "I have Hope."
* ArmorPiercingResponse: [[spoiler: "You're wrong. I ''can'' see your soul."]]
* BewareTheSuperman: From Luthor's perspective, Superman always has [[RedEyesTakeWarning glowing malevolent red eyes]], and every stitch and seam of his costume can be seen, and is silent during the entire series save for the end.
* BreakThemByTalking: Luthor tries to do this to Superman twice; once at the beginning, and once at the end [[spoiler: after Superman's battle with Hope]]. Superman isn't very impressed either time, and unfortunately for Luthor his ShutUpHannibal statement at the end is a lot better at doing this.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: A day in the life of Lex Luthor: setting up meetings with the world's wealthiest men (Bruce Wayne), trying to take down god-like aliens, supervising his company, trying to take down god-like aliens, going over the paperwork for his many international interests and trying to take down god-like aliens. He also finds time to manipulate villains, intimidate employees and [[spoiler: bomb a daycare]].
* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Hope is very clearly modeled on Creator/HalleBerry. Out of his suit, Bruce Wayne (at least in one scene) looks a lot like Creator/ChristianBale. Fitting, this, as it came out the same summer as ''Film/BatmanBegins''.
* ContinuityCameo: Of a sort; the redheaded woman in the green dress who Bruce Wayne checks out during his lunch meeting with Luthor is hinted to be Poison Ivy.
* CutLexLuthorACheck: Luthor has constructed the Science Spire, a massive research facility-stroke-monument to human achievement and has financed Hope, a new superhero [[spoiler: who's in fact an [[RidiculouslyHumanRobot intricate artificial human]].]] He ends up [[spoiler: destroying both in an effort to make Superman look bad, showing how destructive his obsession is, even to his own ideals]].
* {{Deconstruction}}: Throughout the story, in his narration Luthor believes he's deconstructing Superman and exposing him as a threat. Really though, it's a deconstruction of Luthor himself, showing how Luthor's obsessions are blinding him and making him lose touch with reality and the people around him.
* DoubleMeaning: In the last issue, Luthor's internal monologue talks about hope in the face of the unstoppable, and says that "hope is what makes us human". The final line of the comic is "I am a man. I hope." which could be taken both as Luthor saying that he continues to have hope because that's what it is to be human, or that his actions have driven him to question his own humanity.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Depending on [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation how you choose to interpret who's behind the events of the story]]. [[spoiler: If you believe that Toyman was behind the destruction of the jewelers / daycare center all on his own, then it's Luthor. If you believe that Luthor knew all along what was going down and in fact orchestrated it, then it's Toyman and Orr.]] The text would leans more towards the latter interpretation of events than the former.
* EvilPlan: It's very strongly hinted that Luthor's behind every single thing we see happen in the graphic novel, even if it's not outright stated in most cases.
* GreenEyedMonster: Lex's lovely assistant gets jealous of the attention he gives Hope. [[RuleOfSymbolism Somewhat tellingly]] Lex himself -- who, for all his humanist pretensions, is clearly also suffering a bad case of this trope towards Superman -- is depicted as having green eyes.
* HeroAntagonist: Superman, of course. The comic drives the point home by changing how he's drawn; partly in shadow, (almost) eternally silent, and bringing a clear feeling of ominous dread every time he's onscreen.
* {{Hypocrite}}: For most of the book, Luthor presents himself as an idealist and a humanist, championing the finest parts of humanity against a near-godlike alien who threatens to make them redundant, but he still has no qualms about killing people, or threatening their families to get his way.
* IronicEcho: "I have ''hope''."[[note]] Then made Hope self-destruct.[[/note]]
* KickTheDog: If read attentively, it's seen that Lex does this constantly, undoing his good deeds. A good example of this is when [[spoiler: Lex, through Orr and subtly himself, threatens the family of one of his leading partners, who disagrees with Lex's suggestions. While Orr, the man hired by Luthor, intimidates this partner under the roof, ready to kill...]]
* LetsYouAndHimFight: At one point, Superman and Batman come to blows over a chunk of green kryptonite that Luthor has given to Bruce Wayne. Although there's little context and we don't hear any dialogue between the two, it's suggested that Superman is either under some kind of MindControl, is a little bit miffed about Batman going behind his back and accepting the only thing that can kill him for whatever reason (and accepted it from ''Superman's arch-nemesis'', of all people), or a bit of both. An alternative interpretation, given the implied ContinuityCameo of Poison Ivy in earlier pages, is that ''Batman'' is the one under the influence of MindControl, and Superman is in fact trying to calm him down or isn't even there.
* MythologyGag: Lex refers to the kryptonite he gives Bruce as "a gift ComicBook/ForTheManWhoHasEverything".
* NeverMyFault: Lex has this philosophy throughout most of the story, but it possibly disappears at the end, at least briefly.
* OnlySaneMan: Lex believes himself to be this.
* PerspectiveFlip: The entire series.
* PetTheDog: One long petting session for Lex, as the point is to show him outside of his conflict with Superman and show the benevolent things he does. Although it's played with, since despite the positive viewpoint we get of Lex and the benevolent things he does, he ends up [[KickTheDog Kicking The Dog]] several times anyway almost despite himself. In a MoralEventHorizon way.
* PopularityPower: Played with; in many conflicts between Superman and Batman, Batman generally has some way of beating Superman up his sleeve, or holding his own. In this case, Superman and Batman fight -- and while Superman's still clearly holding back (as evidenced by the fact that Batman isn't a smear on the wall), it's nevertheless clear that Batman's completely outmatched.
* PrecociousCrush: Lex's assistant says that Superman's been around since she was a little girl, and admits that she had a crush on him at the time.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Superman's eyes are always red and shadowed. Justified because this is the way Superman's eyes look when he's angry or preparing to shoot eyelasers, which he always is when he's looking at Luthor.
* ShutUpHannibal: Superman's only line throughout the miniseries. It reinforces the point that even though we've seen a more human, benevolent side to Lex than normal and he's very eloquent and impassioned in delivering his rant, he's still the ''bad guy''.
--> '''Superman''': You're wrong. I ''can'' see your soul.
* SympathyForTheDevil: An ambiguous example. In their final encounter, Superman as ever looks like he's barely restraining himself from attacking Luthor and reducing him to a smear on the wall for the most part, until Lex delivers his TheReasonYouSuckSpeech about how [[spoiler:everyone in Metropolis wanted to see Toyman killed]]. For one panel, Superman looks at Luthor with a sad expression which suggests that either Luthor's words have touched a nerve, or that Superman for a moment actually pities Luthor for his nihilistic view of the world.
* TautologicalTemplar: Luthor believes he's a WellIntentionedExtremist, but despite his supposed belief in the value of humanity and how it's being diminished by Superman's mere presence he's still willing to [[spoiler: kill a lot of humans to make Superman look bad]].
* ThematicSeries: The story works very well as a companion piece to Azzarello and Bermejo's later ''Comicbook/{{Joker}}'', to the point that it was later re-released in a hardback edition under the title ''Luthor'' with several changes to the cover artwork to reinforce the links:
** Both are rather dark and deconstructive takes on the Batman and Superman universes with their respective arch-nemeses acting as {{Villain Protagonist}}s.
** In both, the superheroes act as rarely-seen threats lurking ominously on the edges.
** Both also explore the mindsets of each villain, and the worlds they inhabit. This consequently introduces an element of UnreliableNarrator, as neither villain is a wholly trustworthy source (Luthor's narrative, which initially seems quite utopian, is ultimately warped by his humanist pretensions and paranoid delusions, while the Joker's narrative is naturally drenched in an atmosphere of horrific nihilism and casual sadism from the outset).
** Both initially appear to be deconstructing the superhero, only to turn it around and end up revealing exactly how monstrous the villain is and why we shouldn't trust them at all. As an example, both works climax in a confrontation between villain and hero in which the villain launches into a lengthy and deconstructive "TheReasonYouSuck" Speech about how inadequate the hero is, only for the hero to respond with a brief ShutUpHannibal statement (two sentences for Superman, three words for Batman) that not only refutes everything the villain has tried to claim about the hero, but turns it back on the villain in such a way that drives them to a VillainousBreakdown.
* ThouShaltNotKill: [[spoiler: Luthor's plan is to use Superman's refusal to kill against him, by manipulating him into a situation where he saves the life of Winslow Schott -- who, having ([[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation seemingly]]) bombed a building with a daycare center inside, is high up on Metropolis' current AcceptableTargets Who Would Be Better Off Dead list -- in order to turn people against him.]] Furthermore, Luthor makes Superman look like a massive hypocrite when [[spoiler:he arranges for it to look like Supes kills Hope, a super heroine Luthor introduced to the world stage who had become beloved by Metropolis. Hope is a RidiculouslyHumanRobot, so Superman isn't killing anything (literally, since it's ''Lex'' who triggers the explosion that kills Hope)... but the people who can only see things happening from a distance don't know that.]]
* TomatoInTheMirror: Hope is as shocked as Superman to realize [[spoiler: she's a RidiculouslyHumanRobot, just before she explodes.]]
* UnflinchingWalk: A variation; although Luthor's nowhere near the [[spoiler: jewelers / daycare center when it explodes,]] of the other people on the street he's currently on, he alone barely reacts in the panel when it explodes. It's a hint that he had more to do with it than he's letting on.
* UnreliableNarrator: Although this is Luthor's PerspectiveFlip, we probably should not trust everything he says. After all, he's still ''Lex Luthor''. A good indicator is when he's watching security footage of Superman; all the bystanders nearby are horrified of him, even though he's a beloved superhero to everyone who's ''not'' Luthor.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Played with; while Luthor's usually cast as this in the comics (and arguably is so here), he attempts to make the case that ''Superman'' is in fact one of these.
* VillainProtagonist: This Superman story is from Luthor's perspective.
* VillainousBreakdown: Luthor doesn't react very well to Superman's ShutUpHannibal moment.
* VillainousValor: Superman is basically unstoppable whenever he appears. Of course, he's only the 'villain' from [[PerspectiveFlip Luthor's perspective]], but still.
** Maybe Luthor is a FearlessFool, but it takes some guts for a normal man to stand up to an angry Superman, (especially in the same comic that gives us the page image for MookHorrorShow) and not only stand his ground, but try to go into BreakThemByTalking mode. Sure, Luthor is evil, but he's got guts.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Lex thinks of himself as this. [[ItsAllAboutMe He]] [[TautologicalTemplar isn't.]]
* WhamLine: For Luthor: [[spoiler: "You're wrong. I ''can'' see your soul."]]
* WifeHusbandry: Lex does this with Hope [[spoiler:after a fashion at least, since Hope isn't human...]]
* WouldHurtAChild: [[spoiler: Whoever bombed the jewellery store didn't know or care that it was next to a daycare centre and ended up killing over a hundred people, more than seventy of whom were young children. Toyman gets the blame for this but desperately denies planting the bomb, even in private to himself. It is strongly implied that Lex was responsible and that the daycare centre was even the actual target. His {{mook}}, who is willing to at least threaten to hurt somebody's family, is appalled and makes no secret that he blames Lex for the attack (and is seemingly murdered on the orders of Lex as well).]]
* XanatosGambit: It's strongly hinted that Lex is behind [[spoiler: the bombing of the daycare]] and that his plan was to make Metropolis turn against Superman because [[spoiler: [[BatmanGambit he knew Superman would refuse to kill the bomber]].]] Plus, [[spoiler: the daycare center that was destroyed in the explosion triggered by Toyman just "happened" to be the same one used by the family of a prominent scientist used by Luthor in the construction of Hope, and the scientist dies in the blast along with his entire family.]] One might be given to suspect that Luthor, not one for loose ends, planned it that way...