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Friday, May 23, 2014 

Geoff Johns keeps touting Lex Luthor as a hero

DC's worst modern senior writer continues to gush about what he's doing with Forever Evil and its finale to USA Today:
The DC Comics event series Forever Evil concludes its villain-centric saga Wednesday, but for writer Geoff Johns it might as well have been seven issues of a Lex Luthor comic book.

With the Justice League taken off the table and imprisoned in the mind of Firestorm, the classic Superman antagonist has taken center stage in fighting the evil Crime Syndicate from the parallel world of Earth 3. And Forever Evil No. 7 brings the story to an end with his motley crew of villains, antiheroes and Batman facing the Syndicate — evil analogues of the Justice League — plus an epic showdown between Luthor and Alexander Luthor, Lex's doppelganger from the other Earth.

"I wanted to put Luthor in a position where he would have to do things he'd never done before," Johns says, "and metaphorically speaking the best thing he can do is confront a Luthor that is a bizarre version of the twisted dreams he might have had if he was a super man." [...]

Johns teases a huge confrontation between the Luthors in the final act, which sees Lex save the life of Dick Grayson — though to be fair it was Lex who almost killed him in the first place.
Insulting to the intellect. On the one hand, we're surely meant to consider "our" Lex better than an Earth 3 clone, and on the other, we're supposed to appreciate that a villain who's bound to continue being one afterwards saves Nightwing. And I'm not sure it makes sense to suggest Luthor, in his past portrayals, wouldn't attack/kill a fellow villain, since he was long depicted as somebody who wanted to be in the driver's seat and not a second fiddle. After all, in John Byrne's run, he stopped Metallo from killing Superman with kryptonite, because he wanted that chance for himself, and yanked the shard out of Metallo's chest cavity. He also wiped out two henchmen he feared could betray him to Superman. Johns is just doing empty boasts again to take credit for things he's hardly the first writer to do.
The typical finale to an event series would be to have the returning Justice League have a humongous battle with the Syndicate, which is why fans won't find it in Forever Evil, Johns says. "Quite honestly, that's uninteresting to me. I've seen it a thousand times. That's not what this story's about."
To him, maybe, but to others, his idea that the villains be "heroes" is insulting because it echoes what superhero comics have been reduced to, with heroes battling each other. Now, we have villains battling each other, and we're supposed to take sides with either of the factions? In a way, that's even worse than heroes having it out with each other.
From the start of the project with artist David Finch, Forever Evil let Johns explore villains in a tale quite differently than he had with Blackest Night or other high-profile series.

By placing bad guys as the heroes, it let Johns challenge characters such as the blue-collar Flash rogue Captain Cold in a different way, and showed different motivations for someone like Black Manta if he thinks his arch enemy Aquaman is dead.

"By the end of this he knows that Aquaman is alive now and everything's going to be OK for him. He's found his center again," Johns says.
Oh, what does that mean? That if Aquaman were dead, Manta should be a good guy? That's not something easy to do after Johns turned him into more of a lethal savage than he'd been in past decades.
[...] Justice League No. 30 finds Lex trumpeted in headlines as the world's greatest hero in the aftermath of Forever Evil. It's a brand new day for him as he's the man of the hour for the first time, and Bruce Wayne even mentions to Clark Kent that his stock is literally at an all-time high, according to Johns.

"He has everything he's wanted in life, and yet there are some other things that are missing," the writer says of Lex.

But there are things brewing that he needs to combat, so he seeks out and joins a new Justice League team of Batman, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Shazam and Captain Cold.

The Doom Patrol is watching Lex's movements from the shadows, however, and unsurprisingly, some of his new teammates don't totally trust him.

"There's no way the Justice League would ever let Lex Luthor on their team," Johns says. "You'll see right away, it's not something they want, despite everything he did."
But I'm guessing the public will celebrate his allegedly becoming a hero, and force the League to begrudgingly accept him? Just like how Johns made Sinestro a "hero" for a time, all for the sake of blurring differences between villainy and heroism, this too is ludicrous. Sure, there's villains who reform, but the way they're handling this is as forced as can be. In fact, Leonard Snart becoming a League member is also hard to swallow, after the damage Johns and company did to him too in the past several years.

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