Imperius Lex Part 1 (Superman #33 Review)

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Superman and Lex Luthor as crime fighting buddies? Possibly, but that does not last long, as a war-ravaged Apokolips is in need of a ruler, and that ruler just maybe Lex Luthor! The Superfamily also gets caught amidst the action, opening another thrilling journey that will have the heroes tested like never before.

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Cover Artist: Ryan Sook
Colorist: Jaime Mendoza
Variant Cover: Jonboy Meyers
Publisher: DC Comics

 

 

What You Need to Know:

Superman has gone through major story arcs since Rebirth began, majority of them involving his wife and son, creating a family dynamic that is unique to the Superman myths. One of the revelations Kal-el has had to come to terms with is that this world’s Lex Luthor, aided with Apokoliptian tech and inspiration from the fallen new 52 Superman, not only wants to be a superhero, but the new Man of Tomorrow! Both being Skeptical but then convinced to be on the same side, Kal-el and Lex now both work on saving the city of Metropolis.

What you’ll find out:

The story starts out on Apokolips, as we are given a sense that there has been no real ruler since the events of “The Darkseid War”. There are a few panels showing Granny Goodness, Kalibak, and other Apokoliptians seemingly fighting for the throne. A blind prophet with Ardora, who we saw during “Darkseid War” a few years ago, states that the one who forsake them must sit again on Darkseid’s throne.

We then are taken to the streets of Metropolis where a point break-esque bank robbery is taken place with the crooks wearing masks of the Justice League. As soon as the criminals start driving away, a figure flies above them, and then followed by another. Luthor and Superman foil the getaway and save the day.

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As both heroes part ways, Lex flies to his building and takes the time to think about how the citizens have warmed up to him compared to when he first put on the suit. Surprisingly, a mother box BOOM! takes place with the blind prophet and Ardora coming out from it. The Apokoliptians capture Luthor, right after he activated his beacon to alert for Superman.

Even after acknowledging the beacon that can only be heard by kryptonians, Clark decides it’s time for family and not adhering to Luthor’s calls. It is also noted that the Kryptonian frequency is only directed towards Superman and not Jon, with Clark informing Lois that Lex has any knowledge of Jon’s existence. It seems that Luthor has been signaling Superman for weeks and by now, Superman thinks of it as a “cry wolf” scenario.

Just after a movie, the Superfamily gets a visit from Lexbots, boomed from a mother box.  The Lexbot’s transmit a message stating that Lex needs Superman’s assistance and will be taken forcefully if Superman says “no”. Unsurprisingly, the big red-blue decides to engage the robots, with Jon at his side. There are no bystanders, so Jon and Supes decide to the robots down fast, no holding back!

After taking down the Lexbots, the leftover parts form together to create a containment box and captures the Superfamily! With the mother box communicating with the containment box, there are only seconds before the family is transported. Due to the instability of the box, energy tendrils scatter the Superfam and the next few panels show Superboy facing guards with war-hounds, Lois hiding from Granny Goodness with her Female Furies, and The Man of Steel outside of a city with all of them now on Apokolips!

 

What Just Happened?

There are always satisfying stories in single issues in Rebirth, and this is one of those. Although, this is only the beginning of something sought out to be special, This issue is a kick start for a return to Apokolips story. Apokolips is in a sort of “Game of Thrones” situation where there is fighting over a throne. Not to mention we will be getting some aftermath from the “Darkseid War” arc while we’re at it. The couple major dynamics I believe will be explored is Superman’s fam standing the test is the universe’s worst planet and will this change Lex in a way that disrupts his journey towards becoming a hero for Earth.

While being an enjoyable issue, there are a couple of things I find myself thinking roughly about after reading. In what way do Jon and Lois needing to be on Apokolips help out the story? I have a strong feeling that answer will be revealed in the coming issues, but if nothing extraordinary, I feel that the comic is trying to keep consistency in having the superfamily involved with everything and anything. Also, Superman refusing to answer Lex’s beacon kind of shaped that this Superman really doesn’t want to be buddy/buddy with Lex and kind of messes with the fact Superman will be there any time, all the time. Again, this might be dealt with throughout the arc.

The art is fantastic, almost flawless. There is nice contrast shown in majority of the panels. The expressions and gestures are executed perfectly. In addition to perfect gestures and expressions, were the conversation held between the characters. The banter between Luthor and Supes was great and I loved the “Superman the movie” quotes such as “can you read my mind?” And “we’re all part of the same team.” Which were actually both surprisingly said by Luthor. It goes to show what kind of person Lex is becoming. Will it stay that way is the question.

One major thing that bugged me is the variant cover. I don’t think it’s cool whenever you see something that looks interesting like Superboy vs Steppenwolf and have that image not making it into a panel or even discussion. While the art is on point, the editor making the approval for the cover is not.

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Rating: 8.0/10

Final Thought: Yet another satisfying issue from Tomasi & Gleason, as they continue to prove they can give us wonderful Superman stories. Mahnke & Mendoza continue to have exceptional art from panel to panel. I love the family dynamic in Rebirth for Supes, but having Jon and Lois on Apokolips is considerably extreme, (when is it not? Dinosaurs & eradicator moon battle, etc.) But will be interesting to see what happens to both of them during the story. Any DC comic readers interested in knowing if there will be a corrupt Lex Luthor return should jump on, as I believe this story will be perceptive as to whom Lex Luthor really is. “Imperius Lex” arc promises an epic concept but we will have to stay tuned to see if it follows through.

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