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Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 Review

Fun in ways only comics can achieve.

Appropriately titled “One Lex to Kill Them All,” it’s now Lex Luthor’s turn to get the Year of the Villain one-shot treatment. He’s the most important character in this event, so it’s fitting they put two superstar creators on the book with Jason Latour and Bryan Hitch. Their job here is to reveal what Lex has been doing on the side and how the multiverse requires a cleansing.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Apex Lex has made his offer to the villains of the DC Universe…but has the super-powered evil genius gotten what he truly desires? The most deadly predator in the Multiverse has set out to answer that question by seeking out his counterparts on other Earths. But will this meeting of the Luthors be the greatest team-up in all of creation…or end in a bloodbath?

Why does this matter?

If you’re interested in the DC Multiverse, or simply want to see many different versions of Lex Luthor and how these alternates lived their lives look no further. There are infinite possibilities and Latour and Hitch aim to reveal many of them for Lex Luthor.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Small town Lex is about to get a rude awakening.
Credit: DC Comics

This issue opens on Earth-38 where Lex Luthor is just a boy dealing with a drunk father. Enter Lex Luthor from the main universe, evolved by Perpetua and looking to understand his other-selves. Soon we learn he’s attempting to root out any versions of himself that belong as they must be adequately evil and looking to spread doom across the cosmos. As the story pushes forward, we meet Lex Luthors who are like Doomsday, like Batman, and who have achieved infinite successes. There are other versions Lex encounters and each seems to shed a light on possible outcomes for Lex Luthor. In a way this narrative proves the main Lex Luthor is the ultimate version, not only because he is capable of killing these other Lexes, but because he understands how they have failed.

The biggest takeaway from this issue is going to be the final two pages. It’s an interesting turn since it reveals Lex is not without contingency plans, but it also sets up the possibility everything can be reset for the character at the end of this event.

Hitch draws an excellent issue here which is detailed and quite creative in layering meaning and purpose in detailed environments and character facial expressions. There are moments here that’ll bring you back to Hitch’s work on big events which further makes this one-shot feel purposeful and big in scope. In itself, there is an event story going on and you feel it in the layout design and detailed character design.   

Lex, you’re going to scare the child.
Credit: DC Comics

It can’t be perfect, can it?

Portions of the book seem to repeat a similar point that Lex Luthor may achieve greatness, but still fails since these other versions have lost their drive to seek evil and doom. These sections are still fun to see the Elseworlds versions of Lex Luthor, but the singular purpose of the book is somewhat basic by its design.

Is it good?

I’m a sucker for alternate reality stories concerning heroes and villains and this issue dives headfirst into Lex Luthor’s possible selves in other planes of existence. Hitch’s art gives this an event feel while the story is fun in ways only comics can achieve thanks to Latour’s imaginative ideas.

Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1
Is it good?
I’m a sucker for alternate reality stories concerning heroes and villains and this issue dives headfirst into Lex Luthor’s possible selves in other planes of existence. Hitch’s art gives this an event feel while the story is fun in ways only comics can achieve thanks to Latour’s imaginative ideas.
A good one-shot story with a purpose by the end and event-level art
Lex Luthor's possible selves are all intriguing
A somewhat singular and repetitive point is made
9
Great
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