Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 25, 2023
Cover date: September 2023
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Brian Hitch
Cover: Brian Hitch
Variant Cover: Kevin Nowlan
Variant Cover: Chris Samnee
Variant 1:25: Yanick Paquette
Variant 1:50: Evan “Doc” Shaner
Reviewed by: JP Rocha
Late night at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent is thinking back to his days in Smallville when a Kryptonite experiment of Lex Luthor’s goes wrong. We see that Clark is working on the story “The Last Days of Lex Luthor”. Going back to where our story begins we see a ship in troubled waters near a coastal island off of Bangladesh.
We see that those waves are not caused by a storm but by a large crablike purple robot. Next, we see the ship’s crew all with their phones out, then we cut to the Daily Planet and the glasses of Clark Kent sitting on his desk. Cutting back to Bangladesh, the purple robot is making a landfall, setting off a chain reaction that is causing an earthquake. Superman arrives just in time to stop the initial threat and reveals that Lex Luthor is controlling the robot.
Luthor must be dealt with in time, but first The Man of Steel must stop the chain of events set off by the robot before the island is destroyed by the resulting earthquake. By creating an earthquake refractor, Superman stopped the island’s destruction. Next on to deal with Lex, showing no remorse Luthor explains he knew Superman would save everyone and that this was his way to get ahold of The Big Blue Boy Scout.
We find out that Lex is experimenting again with Kryptonite and has given himself an incurable aggressively degenerative disease. Knowing his compassion, he asks for Superman’s help. Of course The Man of Tomorrow agrees to help, as Luthor reveals that he was secretly broadcasting their conversation live across the world.
The Last Son of Krypton spends the rest of this first chapter using Kryptonian technology to help Lex find a cure.
Story – 4: Mark Waid on Superman is just perfect. To date Black Label has a longer story format to showcase the creative teams talents and ideas. Writers seem to be able to pick and choose continuity that fits best with their stories. This allows Waid to tell a story using his knowledge of the Superman mythos. As the first part of the story, Waid is setting up a lot in this issue.
In the fable of the scorpion and the frog, the scorpion asks for the help of the frog in crossing the river. Reluctantly, the frog agrees to carry the scorpion across. The scorpion stings the frog halfway across the river. In spite of his reassurance and knowing that it will doom both him and the frog. “The Last Days of Lex Luthor” is about the compassion of Clark and self-serving mercilessness of Lex Luthor. Waid’s Luthor has done nothing to earn our compassion, but still you will find yourself rooting for Superman to find the cure.
Art – 4: Finally, we get to see Bryan Hitch in the enlarged Black Label format. The book’s art is so good that DC is using interior panel pages for promo art to sell the book.
Cover Art – 4: The cover has the messiah motif, but given the title and story within, this is a Superman image as seen by a critical Lex Luthor.
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