troperville

tools

toys

Wiki Headlines
It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Comicbook: Lex Luthor: Man of Steel
"Those red eyes, I'm sure they look right through me, like I am nothing more than a nuisance. But when I see 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."

The 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 compared with God: Lex Luthor. The battle will be ugly, but the truth shall prevail.

An Alternate Character Interpretation of Superman's arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel was first published in 2005 by DC Comics. It's a bit of a departure from other stories about Luthor, which up until then (and indeed for twenty years previous) had shown him as little more than an unrepentant jerk who just wanted to kill Superman. It deconstructs Superman's Arch-Enemy 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 large Legion of Doom and manipulating Superboy For the Evulz, 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 Luthor. Works nicely as a companion piece to Azzarello's later work, Joker: even the trade dress, 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. Frank Miller might be proud.


Tropes:

  • Acceptable Targets: An in-universe example. Luthor selects Winslow Schott a.k.a. Toyman to be nearly killed by Hope and then saved by Superman. Because Schott had just 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.
  • Affably Evil: Lex is polite to everyone he meets, but which parts are real and which are a facade are hard to determine.
  • Arc Words: "I have Hope."
  • Beware the Superman: From Luthor's perspective, Superman always has 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.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: 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 bomb a daycare.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Hope is very clearly modeled on Halle Berry. Out of his suit, Bruce Wayne (at least in one scene) looks a lot like Christian Bale. Fitting, this, as it came out the same summer as Batman Begins.
  • Continuity Cameo: 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.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Luthor has constructed the Science Spire, a massive research facility-stroke-monument to human achievement and has financed Hope, a new superhero who's in fact an intricate artificial human. He ends up 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.
  • Double Meaning: Throughout the book, Luthor repeatedly talks about having hope. 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Depending on how you choose to interpret who's behind the events of the story. 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.
  • Evil Plan: 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.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lex's lovely assistant gets jealous of the attention he gives Hope. Luthor himself has green eyes.
  • Hero Antagonist: 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.
  • Ironic Echo: "I have hope."note 
  • Let's You and Him Fight: 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 Mind Control, 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 Continuity Cameo of Poison Ivy in earlier pages, is that Batman is the one under the influence of Mind Control, and Superman is in fact trying to calm him down or isn't even there.
  • Mythology Gag: Lex refers to the kryptonite he gives Bruce as "a gift For the Man Who Has Everything".
  • Never My Fault: Lex has this philosophy throughout most of the story, but it possibly disappears at the end, at least briefly.
  • Only Sane Man: Lex believes himself to be this.
  • Perspective Flip: The entire series.
  • Pet the Dog: 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.
  • Popularity Power: 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.
  • Precocious Crush: 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.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: 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.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: 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.
  • Tautological Templar: Luthor believes he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist, 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 kill a lot of humans to make Superman look bad.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: 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 (seemingly) bombed a building with a daycare center inside, is high up on Metropolis' current Acceptable Targets Who Would Be Better Off Dead list — in order to turn people against him. Furthermore, Luthor makes Superman look like a massive hypocrite when 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 Ridiculously Human Robot, 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.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Hope is as shocked as Superman to realize she's a Ridiculously Human Robot, just before she explodes.
  • Unflinching Walk: A variation; although Luthor's nowhere near the 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.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Although this is Luthor's Perspective Flip, 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.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: 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.
  • Villain Protagonist: This Superman story is from Luthor's perspective.
  • Villainous Valor: Superman is basically unstoppable whenever he appears. Of course, he's only the 'villain' from Luthor's perspective, but still.
    • Maybe Luthor is a Fearless Fool, 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 Mook Horror Show) and not only stand his ground, but try to go into Break Them by Talking mode. Sure, Luthor is evil, but he's got guts.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lex thinks of himself as this.
  • Wife Husbandry: Lex does this with Hope after a fashion at least, since Hope isn't human...
  • Would Hurt a Child: 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).
  • Xanatos Gambit: It's strongly hinted that Lex is behind the bombing of the daycare and that his plan was to make Metropolis turn against Superman because he knew Superman would refuse to kill the bomber. Plus, 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...
Last SonDC Comics SeriesThe Man of Steel
Young AvengersTurnOfTheMillennium/Comic BooksShadowpact

alternative title(s): Lex Luthor Man Of Steel
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
27200
33