Year Of The Villain: Lex Luthor #1 is a strong collaborative effort that is a true celebration of one of the most complex villains in the DC mythos. Written by Jason Latour with pencils from Bryan Hitch, inks from Hitch and Andrew Currie, color art by Tomeu Morey, and letters from Tom Napolitano Year Of The Villain: Lex Luthor #1 doesn’t add much to the existing Luthor canon, but instead explores what makes the character so memorable and malleable.
Year Of The Villain Lex Luthor #1 begins with a super-powered multiverse traveling Lex Luthor as he confronts each universe’s version of himself. Until the end it is unclear what his purpose exactly is, but when it is revealed it is the most Lex Luthor utilitarian reasoning ever.
We do get some introspection from several Luthor’s as they interact with their traveling counterpart. Perhaps the most interesting encounter is with the Luthor and “Superman” from Earth-32. In this universe, Lex has somehow become the “Batman” figure even including an Alfred and the Superman is part, Martian. It’s a fun twist to the symbiotic relationship of Superman and Lex, but in this universe, Batman-Lex is partners with the Martian Superman instead of enemies.
Batman-Lex comments mid-fight that he recognizes the traveling Luther’s attack plan because it would have been his method if Batman-Lex never fostered his relationship with Superman. There are other moments such as this that punctuate Latour’s script, offering strong insight into how far the main Luthor has fallen from humanity. Some of the encounters can seem pointless or meandering, as they don’t add anything revelatory to the Luthor character, but that can be said of the entire chapter throughout. Year Of The Villain: Lex Luthor #1 is a fine entry for the character, but it is hardly essential reading.
The entire art team is consistently well-executed throughout the chapter, as Bryan Hitch’s pencils and inks, as well as Andrew Currie’s inks, Tomeu Morey’s colors, and Tom Napolitano, are the standout of the issue. The linework is detailed and thorough, and the inks and colors are sleek and shiny. I feel that there was a missed opportunity somewhere, though. In an ideal world, they could have hired individual creative teams to depict different universes truly giving each iteration it’s own style and feel. Despite this, this generalized style still works for each universe, as it looks cold and specific, probably the way this overpowered Luthor sees everything.
This style is also exceptional in the action sequences and splash panels. The level of detail in the figure work is impressive as it gives each bicep weight and impact. Specific mention has to be made of the Luther-Doomsday who looks horrifyingly imposing as he jumps towards you in the page. Also, in a later scene in which a character is getting vaporized, the use of colors and letters really sells the vaporized characters pain and feelings of betrayal. The fluorescent ice-cold blue smoke that lifts from the character’s decomposing body contradicted with the yellowish-orange guttural howl from the character is iconic.
Year Of The Villain: Lex Luthor #1 is a fine addition to the DC catalogs. Jason Latour’s script is thorough and entertaining, and the entire art team consisting of Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Tomeu Morey, and Tom Napolitano is stellar. While Year Of The Villain: Lex Luthor #1 feels far from essential, it is entertaining enough to merit itself.