Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Bryan Hitch, Kevin Nowlan, David Baron, Richard Starkings, Tyler Smith of Comicraft
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 25th, 2023
Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch reunite to tell a tale centered on their favorite superhero as Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1 kicks off. Superman learns Lex Luthor is dying, and he wants the Man of Steel to help him find the cure for whatever is causing his rapid decline. While the world wants to say good riddance to Luthor, Superman will go to the ends of the universe, through different dimensions, and across time to save his foe. But just why does he want to save the person who’s spent his life trying to destroy him? And will he even be able to find the solution?
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Waid introduces fans to Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1 by giving everyone a classic Superman/ Lex Luthor opening gambit. However, within three pages, fans can sense a different sentiment around Lex. Yet more importantly, Superman fans get a solid taste of their relationship as well as a unique play-by-play as to the depths of Superman’s abilities. Nevertheless, Waid not only delivers a more in-depth look at the Man of Tomorrow, but also showcases the cunning lengths which Lex will go through in order to get what he wants.
Now, Waid quickly swerves this story back to the past providing fans with a nice Smallville Show dynamic along with a budding relationship between Clark and Lex. What was nice about this caveat is that fans get to see this kindred relationship forming between Clark and Lex that’s so unique but ultimately drives a wedge between them. Waid uses Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1 to enhance the connection between these two characters while simultaneously showcasing the intellect of both characters in the process. Yet even in that cunning intellect, Waid shows the value of nurture.
Furthermore, Clark is an alien who is so much more intelligent than he leads people to believe. His artificial persona of “Clark Kent” lets him fool humanity away from his secret. He gets to push people away from his true reality. Remember, Clark’s biological father was an incredible scientific mind. I think fans forget that as he’s masked with this ho-hum, country-boy exterior. But Clark is no dummy and Waid makes a point to emphasize that perspective. And if I may jump back to my point from earlier, it’s Kent’s upbringing that helped couple that intellect with one of the most compassionate souls in all of comics. Imagine that same upbringing around Lex. What would have happened there?
Flash forward to the present of this comic and you’ll see Superman give Lex a similar response that I just shared with you above comparing knowledge and relationships. Ultimately, Waid uses Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1 as a canvas to show not just how Krypton destroyed itself but how many humans today continue down that same path perpetrating knowledge and power of relationships. Moreover, fans see a tremendous value in life that can truly only be experienced by that very same nurture.
Bryan Hitch, along with Kevin Nowlan and the rest of the crew, do a great job displaying a dated vibe to the issue. However, Hitch’s characters often times lack motion. They feel almost still even when the narrative deems otherwise. Additionally, some of the poses involved with Superman and Lex felt a bit weird and elongated. Don’t get me wrong, the illustrations certainly weren’t terrible. However, they also weren’t a highlight of Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1.
Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1 lacks the normal action and excitement that draws fans toward superhero comics. Nevertheless, that’s not necessarily what makes for a good story. Waid uses this opening issue to provide depth to both Superman and Lex in a way that oftentimes gets overlooked by many writers in current ongoings. Waid emphasizes the compassion and intellect of Clark while showing a deviation between him and Lex even as a teenager.
His purpose, even though it lacked action, was to build on characteristics between Clark and Lex in a way that helps not only cultivated the relationship between the characters but also with the fans too. Sure, the nature of Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1 was s bit slow-moving, however, I foresee this story gaining traction as the issues progress. I recommend giving this series a shot, especially if you’re a huge fan of Superman. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!