The Superman trades on the shelf continue to perplex me. There’s plenty of them, and I’m constantly seeing character development and changes within the story, yet I still seem to be missing so much.
From this trade alone I’ve learned that not only has Jerry White died, but that he was also really Lex Luthor’s son. Um…what?! The actual storyline where this is all revealed isn’t included here; rather, it’s mentioned in those brief little recaps comics are so fond of (and I’m starting to be too, because otherwise I’d be completely lost).
On top of that, I learned that the radiation poisoning that cost Luthor his hand (from his exposure to kryptonite) is also slowly taking his life.
Hold up now. Luthor can’t die. He’s LEX LUTHOR. I know he’s evil and all, but he’s THE main Superman bad guy. He and Supes are doomed to be locked in an epic battle for all time.
Or so I thought.
A lot goes on in this trade so far as the overall Superman story is concerned. As the trade opens, we witness Luthor receiving a visit from Mr. Mxyzptlk (henceforth to be known as Mxy, because I am NOT typing out that obnoxious combination of letters again) who provides him with the answer to the question, “How do I defeat Superman?”
With red kryptonite of course, silly.
This version of kryptonite won’t kill Superman, but it does drain all of his “super” powers away, leaving him nothing more than an average human.
I found the story of Superman having to adjust to life as a regular man entertaining, and this premise carried the comic for a handful of issues. Since Mxy was responsible, the solution to restorying Superman’s powers was of course ridiculous: his powers would only return if Luthor told Superman himself who gave him the red kryptonite. Luthor confesses to Clark Kent, unwittingly telling Superman and restorying his powers.
(On a side note: Seriously, how does Luthor NOT know that Clark Kent is Superman? The man’s a super-genius, but he can’t put two and two together?? I know we’re expected to suspend disbelief for certain aspects of these stories, but this is just getting silly.)
So Mxy’s fun is spoiled, he returns to another dimension, and Superman is super again.
While all of this is going on, we get another bit of a surprise: Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s engagement.
First of all, I wasn’t even aware Clark and Lois were dating. I certainly had no idea that they were so serious as to consider marriage. When did this happen??
Perhaps this is one of the faults in solely reading trade publications. If a story isn’t collected in trade (or Mistah J just simply hasn’t come across a copy yet) I won’t be reading it. I know he likely has many of these issues in single format, so maybe someday I’ll go back through and fill in the gaps to the story. As it stands, I guess I’ll just have to get used to not being able to read every story.
With Clark and Lois celebrating their engagement (and Clark lamenting over the fact that he still hasn’t told Lois about his secret identity), I figured the comic would end on a high note. Instead, it ends with a rather unexpected twist.
Knowing he’s terminal, Lex Luthor takes a final joyride in one of his planes before (supposedly) purposely crashing into the Andes Mountains.
Yep. According to this comic, Lex Luthor is dead.
I absolutely refuse to believe that this is permanent. For one, all Superman found was his robotic hand, so it’s entirely possible that the man is still alive. Second, even if for some strange reason he is dead, I’m sure the next “Crisis” to appear on the shelf will somehow reverse that. It has to. You can’t have Superman without Lex Luthor. Sure, there are plenty of other villains for him to face, but Luthor is his arch-nemesis. This comic simply wouldn’t be the same without that epic struggle. I’m going to wait patiently until Luthor makes his inevitable return, because I’m fully convinced that it will happen eventually.
In the meantime I’m going to go ponder what happens when Clark tells Lois that he’s Superman. I really hope I get to read that issue…