I just read the best Lex Luthor story that I’ve yet come across.
The story takes place in Action Comics #510-512. Basically, the first two issues explain that Lex Luthor reforms his criminal ways after falling in love with a young woman named Angela.
For a while, everything goes great: Lex and Superman team up to save the world from interstellar baddies, Superman convinces the President to pardon Lex of his past crimes, and Superman even serves as best man in Lex and Angela’s wedding!
But then in the last issue we’re hit with one of the most ingenious, insidious, and heart-breaking twists that I have ever encountered in fiction.
When Superman and Angela kiss at the wedding (Lex insisted because it was “his right as the best man”), they both vanish and Lex is knocked out and abducted by his own robots. He is taken to his hideout, hooked up to a computer, and informed by a pre-recorded message that Angela was all a part of a plan to send Superman into an anti-matter dimension. He created Angela to be the perfect woman that he would fall in love with and reform for. And then, and make sure you follow this here, LEX LUTHOR BRAINWASHED HIMSELF TO FORGET ABOUT HIS PLANS, THEREBY ALLOWING HIMSELF TO ACTUALLY FALL IN LOVE WITH ANGELA AND REFORM. And, naturally, Superman manages to escape the trap and destroy Luthor’s robots. While Superman violently chastises Lex for his plan, Lex begins to weep like a child. He doesn’t cry because he failed to defeat Superman, but because he damned the love of his life to an anti-matter dimension that she can never escape from.
[END OF SPOILERS]
I just…I could not come up with a better Lex Luthor story if I tried! It perfectly summarizes his most tragic flaw: his greatest enemy isn’t Superman, but himself.
If you can, go out and read these comics IMMEDIATELY!
(And special thanks to Kurt Busiek for personally recommending these comics to me on twitter!)