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Mama Deb
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Musings - Lex Luthor and Presidents

Last week, I picked the Trade Paperback President Lex.

I got back into comics in late summer 2000, and was still going slowly, so I pretty much missed this arc as it was happening. Also, even then I wasn't really reading the Superman books - they had this Manga style art that just didn't fit the characters. And this was in the days when I was still being blown away by the quality of the color and the artwork. Things had changed during the intervening 25 years.

So. It was 2000. Two different presidential races - one real, one fictional. And Lex was a villain - a bitter, angry genius who was willing to do practically anything to hurt Superman. It was brilliant but shocking when he won - a super villain in the White House. And he pulled some dirty tricks to get votes for his third party, including, I think, murder. Remember. Supervillain.

However, those tricks *worked* in that he got the votes. There was no hint that he did anything to actually affect the voting itself. (Cute bit, considering the lead time and all - he got Tennessee. Also Texas.) That is, just in terms of the election, he won fair and square.

And we all know what happened in the real world. *Sigh*. And one comic book columnist actually suggested we'd have been better off if we were in the DC universe. I was shocked (except that, yeah, a genius is preferable...)

And Lex is a good president. He's popular, he's taken steps to make sure he has no control over LexCorp, and he made difficult and good decisions during the huge interplanetary war of 2001. Not to mention the crisis that immediately followed when all the supervillains got Jokerized.

He still hates all superheroes in general, and Superman in particular, but he understands his job.

But two things happened in the middle of that. One was 9/11/01. And on that day, I *wanted* President Lex Luthor the out and out supervillain. Not because I was angry, although I was, but because I could believe he'd make good decisions and that he'd find the culprit.

And then came Smallville, and my entire attitude towards Lex Luthor began to shift and change - mostly due to Michael Rosenbaum's portrayal. And I've brought that to the comic book version. And I think so have the writers. And then there's the cartoon version and his deep love for Superman and...

I think I've rambled enough.


we'd have been better off if we were in the DC universe.

Maybe Luthor would be better as a president, but being in the DC universe would suck otherwise. I mean, there are alien invasions, incidents that obliterate whole cities, all those supervillains intent to kill people (or even most/all of humanity)... finally all those unfortunate incidents only prevented by a hair's breadth, like the sun being extinguished and such. Not to mention that your life might be reset occasionally by all those wacky time anomalies.

Unless I got a *really* cool superpower out of it I'd pass. ;)

Well, yeah.

But, plus. Cute guys (and girls) flying around all but nude.

Yeah, but when would you get to see them unless you're near some major disaster? And except for the flying part you can get that in our universe too. I don't know, somehow going to a beach or a park in summer seems to be easier on the health than being the victim in some alien invasion or yet another supervillain plot. :)

Warning: Rant Ahead...

I disagree. The moment that Luthor, the worst enmy of the greatest hero there's ever been, became president, Superman lost. Lost big-time. Everything he stands for has been perverted. America is run by a megalomaniac with no morals whatsoever. And Superman can't say boo. Or rather, he doesn't say boo.

I was always annoyed with Superman's total unwillingness to go public and say "this man has spent ten years trying to kill me." Would the public believe him? Of course it would. He's Superman. But the writers on the Superman books were more interested in builidng up Luthor than in Superman. (I cannot tell you how happy I am that the writers involved with this are leaving the Superman books.)

I also found the approach to how Washington works to be highly unrealistic. It feels like no one writing the comic books has ever read a newspaper. A rather unqualified career military man is made Secretary of Defense - which is almost unheard of. They have him appoint an obscure character - Jefferson (Black Lightning) Pierce Secretary of Education, as if a teacher with no government experience would get the job. And I still cannot tell you if Lex even has a Secretary of State.

From where I sit, the whole President Lex story has almost ruined Superman. I have been waiting for the day when Supes finally brought Lex down. And it never comes. Evil wins, day in and day out. And Superman is reduced to just another clown in tights. In a way, this basically says to the superhero and his fan, "go away, yo are not relevant." I don't need that.

Rant over. Hope I didn't step on amy toes.