[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Artists: Travis Moore, Stephen Segovia, Art Thibert
“IMPERIUS LEX” part three! Steppenwolf, field general of Apokolips, enlists Superman’s son Jon into his Canine Cavalry to stop Superman from helping Luthor reclaim the throne once held by Darkseid.
Given the storyline title ‘Imperius Lex’, one would expect the story to center around Lex Luthor making a play for the throne of Apokolips – especially given that he was temporarily the ‘God of Apokolips’ during the Darkseid War storyline and that he was put on trial for his “future crimes” as ruler of Apokolips in recent issues of Action Comics.
So it comes as a bit of a shock that when the denizens of Apokolips declare him the prophesied ruler, that he would deny this and declare Superman the true ruler mentioned in the prophecy. Granted, the prophecy does seem to fit Superman better, but it doesn’t seem like Lex to correct the misunderstanding.
Lex Luthor is a fascinating enigma right now. While he is as arrogant and ruthless as ever, he has given every indication of having turned over a new leaf. He hasn’t acted as a superhero and not committed any crimes (that we know of) since the Forever Evil event a few years ago. He has even served for a time as a member of the Justice League.
Superman has been mistrustful of Luthor, but seems to gradually coming to trust him – to an extent. Is there a hidden agenda behind his reformation, or is it heartfelt? And will he reveal his true nature to sieze Darkseid’s throne?
And how will Superman get himself, his family, and Lex back to Earth without Lex finding out about Superman’s family? Lex seemed to briefly suspect that someone was brought to Apokolips with Superman. And if Lex discovers that it was Clark Kent’s wife and son, Lex would easily deduce that Superman and Clark are one and the same.
The New Gods are showing up rather frequently in the DC Universe in recent months. This is great, considering that they are a large part of DC history. What is not so great is that there doesn’t seem to be a single coherent version that is being adhered to. In this comic, we seem to see elements of the classic Kirby version, but with references to events from the New 52 timeline – mainly Darkseid’s absence from Apokolips. However, in the Green Lantern books, we see the New 52 interpretation of the New Gods. And who knows what’s really going on in Mister Miracle? For the love of the New Gods, can DC please establish and stick to a single vision for the Fourth World?
Since Rebirth, there is a continuing theme of hope and despair in the DC line, and Superman is one of the books at that best reflects the hope at the heart of the DC Universe as shown in the basic goodness of the character and his relationship with his family and friends.