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Speaking of Lex Luthor without the tired old arguments, my least favorite Moral Event Horizon version of Lex Luthor is from the New Krypton story. The storytelling possibilities of New Krypton were amazing but the Status Quo Is God ending is easily Lex Luthor's single most monstrous act in all of his fictional history. He not only commits genocide against all surviving Kryptonian men, women, and children but gets away with it as well as gets hailed as a national hero. It nicely shows his xenophobia is completely evil and unjustified too.
It actually turned me against comics for awhile because New Krypton was so developed and beautiful.
See, I love that moment. It's Luthor at his absolutely best, committing a heinous crime and getting rewarded for it, leaving the late General Lane to take the fall when the inevitable PR backlash sinks in.
It's a Crowning Moment Of Awesome from the perspective of Luthor as a villain but I hated it as a development because, again, I actually bonded with the characters in the new setting and hated that it was all thrown away.
It is one of the better illustrations of what a monster he is, though. Dicking with random waitresses to lord their wealth over is a nice Kick the Dog moment but it's a Poke the Poodle overall. It also doesn't say much about Lex Luthor as a person in the modern sense. Whereas, "I would murder every alien in the world who are peaceful and good because they make me feel small" is very much something that makes him a monster.
There was another story where Luthor was dying of clone degeneration (which is weird because he was in a clone because he was dying of cancer) and decided to nuke the entirety of the city because he didn't want Metropolis to exist without him. It took Superman actually pointing out that it was Luthor's LEGACY he was going to destroy—and even then it didn't entirely work because Luthor's ego is self-destructive to itself.
Luthor as President? Good idea, storytelling wise, or bad?
edited 13th Feb '18 10:07:55 AM by CharlesPhipps
It's also an immediate antidote to certain people's claims that "Luthor's never gotten a victory over Superman." Yeah, tell that 100 000 dead Kryptonians.
Good idea that was badly executed due to real life issues beyond the writers' control that saw the imposition of new editorial constraints. I'd honestly like to see it revisited, either in an adaptation, an Elseworld's or, now that we're two reboots later, in the new continuity.
ooo, I'm unfamiliar with the editorial constraints element.
Again, the DCAU version of Lex running for president is the best version - even if it does stretch credulity. No, scratch that, Lex being made Secretary General of the UN in Young Justice is the best version of that and it makes complete sense in universe. It's amazing.
After 9/11 the editors wouldn't allow the office of the President to be painted in an overly negative light. This killed their ability to depict Luthor as a political villain, and resulted in him being an effective president until suddenly losing his mind on Kryptonite during the Superman/Batman comic. They needed him out of office, but they had to have him being the most over-the-top supervillain possible in order to trigger it.
This is why the idea needs to be revisited in a context where that sort of thing can't happen to derail it. Luthor as a political villain has lots of potential, especially in a world where he can put the likes of Waller and Wade Eiling in his cabinet.
Talking about New Krypton, I wonder about if is posibile to get animated series that adapt that arc, not at 100% of course, there can be changes. A new animated Superman series would be welcome at this point, it would be good showing that Lex certainly can truly win over Clark and all the Super-family.
I always felt New Krypton needed to end with them moving the planet out of the solar system to a nearby yellow sun system.
That way Clark could visit whenever he needed to but it not be a constant disruption to stories.
No more than New Genesis.
That is kinda how I want end my Pragmatic Adaptation of New Krypton, Lex still manages to kill a massive bunch of Kryptonians and scare the survivors so much that they start fearing humanity, going so far that they decide limit contact with the Super-family in general.
Basically, is still a Downer Ending, but at least not all of Krypton is totally gone.
edited 13th Feb '18 10:48:46 AM by KazuyaProta
I'm not real hot on the whole President Lex thing, mainly because as Chris Sims notes here, the very premise requires not just Superman but the entire JLA to be asleep at the switch. Similar to how Batman: No Man's Land was a decent-ish story (terrible The Killing Joke ripoff ending aside) that relies on an unjustifiable premise.
If they ever tried to adapt this concept, though, I can think of an easy fix: establish that Lex never actually wanted to be President, he just ran for some other nebulous purpose (the man was a third-party candidate, for crying out loud). But now that he's in the White House, he's given up a huge chunk of power and gotten a lot more people scrutinizing him as well as his history. Which was exactly what Superman/the JLA wanted to happen.
The end of New Krypton is great for Lex fanboys but makes every other character look terrible. Particularly when Superman and Supergirl joined the "heroes" defending America for some inexplicable reason after they had mass scattered New Krypton unprovoked and killed the entire race. Zod was 100% in the right and they might as well have been defending Nazi Germany at that point.
edited 13th Feb '18 11:26:24 AM by NogaiKhan
Or that maybe the League can't accuse someone of being a criminal without proof? Why does Luthor becoming President have to mean the League is being incompetent?
Zod was planning to kill every man, woman and child on Earth. If you think he was 100% in the right, you've got some very strange ideas of what "in the right" means.
Not to mention you're horrifically misrepresenting what happens in the comic to the point where I'm not sure you've read it. The USA did not commit genocide. General Lane committed genocide without government orders or authorization, and while Superman fights Zod (to, you know, stop him from murdering the entire world), Supergirl breaks into Lane's headquarters to arrest him, stopped only by Lane killing himself.
Also easy solution—have the story open with Luthor already president, having been elected a year or so before most of the heroes first went into action.
The League aren't just witnesses to Luthor's villainy - they're victims too. How many times has Lex tried to murder Superman - if not the entire League and their friends - and come a hair's breadth to succeeding?
Victims (current rape-accusation controversies aside) might not have an automatic right to be believed, but they do have an automatic right to go "I don't like this guy and won't back him for President because he did (or tried to do) XYZ to me." Hell, Ted Cruz exercised it!
It might not have worked in the grand scheme of things (it might've made for a stronger story if it didn't), but Clark and co. throwing in the towel on the PR front (I understand Batman and like-minded heroes were still trying to dig up something on Lex to crash the campaign, so maybe they weren't completely asleep) just like that left a rather bad taste in my mouth.
Sure...but none of us are defending the story as written. The concept was great. The execution was lacking.
No Man's Land was laughed at and treated as a ridiculous concept that the United States would abandon a major American city after a crisis.
Then Hurricane Katrina happened.
Now it reads like slightly exaggerated satire.
I didn't particularly mind that part, though I should note that the "we literally made NML Federal law" part was silly and unnecessary; just say the Federal government is nominally sending relief efforts but actually dragging its feet in every area aside from stationing ridiculously overarmed sentries to "maintain order" - heck, escaped Arkham inmates are all the excuse they need!
I did particularly mind the part where once again the League just sit on their thumbs (except Superman, who drops by and leaves within 22 pages because Charity Is Bad or something). This Very Wiki noted that just a few years back in the Superman books, Zatanna alone had rebuilt all of Metropolis through magic - hell, I could've sworn that some comic around the time stated that magic heroes in general function as a sort of built-in Hero Insurance to all the property damage super-fights create.
If nothing else, Clark and/or Wally could've zoomed through the place, rounded up any Arkhamites, and tossed them in the Watchtower storage (or even the Phantom Zone). That alone could probably have saved hundreds of lives.
I think I was okay with NML because my mental assumption was the city was not "abandoned" de jure versus abandoned de facto.
I.e. they evacuated the city until they could come up with a plan of how to deal with a bunch of unstable skyscrapers and raising the money.
It's just the government takes forever.
So, do you guys prefer Lex and Clark having some sort of childhood connection, whether it be friends or just acquaintances, or do you think they should only meet as adults?
I prefer them to only meet as adults.
I'm not against the idea of Lex Luthor and Clark Kent both knowing each other from Smallville even with the small universe syndrome it creates but I do think it's notable that there's very little the connection brings usually. It's not like Magneto and Professor Xavier who are deeply close and personal friends gone wrong or the fact Reed Richards and Doom's rivalry is precipitated on what amounts to bad timing.
If you make Lex Luthor and Clark Kent know each other then you need it have some consequence like the fact Lex could be a Secret Keeper but have betrayed Clark in some way like the fact his fortune is made off of Clark showing him his space pod and then Lex reverse-engineering a bunch of stuff from it to make his billions.
edited 17th Feb '18 5:31:50 AM by CharlesPhipps
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