This week, I'll be following the time-honored comics blogosphere tradition by doing what all bloggers do when they're short on time/ideas/etc.: posting covers!
Each day I'll be posting Superman covers, each centered around a specific theme.
Today's theme is: Lex Luthor: Badass!
Everyone knows that Lex is Superman's arch enemy, but just how arch is he? Let's take a look at the ways that the evil genius has kicked Superman's ass over the decades:
(click on covers for larger images!)
One thing you'll learn about Lex Luthor is that the man loves rays. Death rays, Kryptonite rays, red sun rays--the list is endless. Here on the cover to Action Comics #131, Luthor uses a ray machine to send Superman to the 4th Dimension! Which is, um time or something. Not sure what good it's going to do, but Lex is sporting his evil grin and Lois sure looks worried!
How much does Lex hate Superman? On the over of Action Comics #249 he drinks a serum to make him emanate Kryptonite rays from his pores and then, to stop the Man of Steel dead in his tracks, creates a device that transforms lead into glass. Dude: just patent that one invention, and you're golden!
Oh no--Lex Luthor has super powers! Not sure what those powers are, but one of them is definitely not super fashion sense, according to the cover to Action Comics #298. Why does he think that purple and green go together? I swear, that accident that caused his hair to fall out must've also left him color blind.
Superman #149 may be the greatest silver age Superman story ever. In this 'imaginary' story (as the man says, aren't they all?) Luthor reforms, turning his scientific genius away from hating Superman to curing the world's diseases and the such. But as you might guess from the cover (and I don't think I'm giving anything away here) it's all a ruse to get close enough to Superman to spring a Kryptonite death trap. And then Superman dies! Really. There's a funeral and everything. And it's all done in the span of a one-issue story. Gripping stuff.
Superman #292: man, that boy sure holds a grudge!
Into the bronze age now, with a spectacular Neal Adams cover to Action Comics #466. Can an adult Lex Luthor beat a Tween of Steel?
I never really liked the Luthor armor. Besides the dodgy color scheme, George Perez's costume designs are very much of-the-moment and start to look dated really fast. That said, despite the fact that Luthor doesn't actually get gigantimous in the story, the cover to Superman #386 shows that Gil Kane sure could draw a mighty fine picture.
Lex dusts off an old red sun ray and uses it to try to kill Superman's cousin on the cover of Superman Family #214. Man, the hate sure does run deep, don't it? I do love the look of insane glee on Lex's face.
The post-Crisis Lex Luthor was a different sort of character all together. No longer an evil genius, Lex was now an evil captain of industry (foreshadowing Enron et al. by a good decade and a half). In Superman #2, Luthor turns his vast resourcecs over to discovering what the link is between Superman and a certain mild-mannered reporter. When the results come in, Luthor dismisses them, as he believes that anyone with the power of Superman would never stoop to posing as a mere mortal.
You know what was cool about the post-Crisis Luthor? The Kryptonite ring. Purely defensive, it kept Supes at bay until the slow radiation poising cost Lex his hand and eventually his life (he got better...) Plus, it made for great bling, as the cover to Superman's Nemesis: Lex Luthor #1 shows.
Of course, he's not above rolling up his sleeves and whopping the Man of Steel with a chunk of red Kryptonite either, as the cover to Superman #49 shows.
I'm not sure yet if I like the current 'New Earth' version of Lex Luthor. He's a combination of the silver age and post-crisis versions, with a criminal mastermind bent. Still, on the cover to Superman #653 he gets to lord over Metropolis in a giant Kryptonian crystal mecha, so that's kind of cool.
That wraps up our look at Lex Luthor: Badass. Come back tomorrow for more Super Covers!