Lex Luthor appears on the cover of this issue with a big evil grin… but wait a minute, isn’t he a good guy in the current Action Comics series?
While this issue takes place before Action Comics #957, we must still ask the question: is it good?
Justice League #52 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC synopsis reads:
A TITANS: REBIRTH #1 prelude! Set shortly after the formation of the Justice League, Batman introduces his new partner Robin (Dick Grayson) to the team just as it’s pulled into a deadly assault on Metropolis by mysterious creatures. Outclassed and terrified, the Boy Wonder must use his wits and guile to survive. And in doing so, he catches the attention of a foe that will alter the course of his life forever. This story ties directly into TITANS: REBIRTH #1!
Why does this book matter?
Dan Jurgens is basically writing most of/if not all of Superman right now, so it seems fitting he takes special focus in this issue on Lex Luthor. The guy is harboring some Apokolips powers (no spoilers), and a neat glowing super powered suit too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I thought I saw the cape disintegrate.
Jurgens does a solid job making us believe Lex has changed. Sure, I’m reading this thinking he’ll snap at any moment and become super evil, but Jugens supplies enough reasoning and explanation for why he’s changed his view on being a good person. That said, in staying true to the character, he isn’t all good either and Jurgens does well to show us Lex’s form of justice involves a bit more violence. There’s a lot of complexity to this character, especially after reading this issue, and it succeeds in setting Lex up for the storm of supermen coming as this story continues.
The captions are well written which is the primary drive of the narrative in this issue. This is one of those issues where the captions may not make sense entirely due to the context in which they are spoken, but when you realize who they are for it all makes sense. It also enhances the reason why Lex is doing it all a bit differently now.
Artist Tom Grummett draws in a slightly stiff style that suits the talking heads sort of issue here. The layouts are simple and reserved which help keep this issue focused and feeling like a more introspective sort of read.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a table setting issue if I ever saw one as we’re getting inside Lex’s head to understand what his motives are as the new Man of Steel. I can’t say it’s all riveting though, mostly because it’s Lex thinking to himself what he’s taking on, and also because it feels decompressed. The involvement of the Justice League is forced too and feels like they are inserted into the comic in order to justify this title being called Justice League. The two major developments in this issue are rather larger whoppers, but they are delivered in such an offhanded boring sort of way it’s rather unphasing.
The art is reserved as I mentioned before, and ultimately feels a bit boring. Lex is nearly always smug or bored looking which doesn’t help matters. All in all the art and the story for this issue feel as though they deserve a short backup over an actual full page issue.
Lex looks so bored.
Is It Good?
A helpful rejiggering of who Lex Luthor is now and why he dons the “S” on his chest. I can’t say this is the most entertaining of reads though as much of this is Lex looking sad and bored as he delivers some introspective captions.