Luthor by Brian Azzarello

Title: Luthor.
Writer(s): Brian Azzarello.
Artist(s): Lee Bermejo.
Colourist(s): Mick Gray, Karl Story & Jason Martin.
Letterer(s): Phil Balsman, Pat Brosseau, Rob Leigh & Nick J. Napolitano.
Publisher: DC Black Label.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: November 26th 2019.
Pages: 144.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401291990.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.


With every hero comes a villain. They often follow our hero in their lives and push them into making decisions that would put them in peculiar predicaments that will destroy but also build the hero’s persona, forging them into extraordinary people whom we then look up to. Amongst the plethora of heroes, one of the greatest rivalries of all time lies in Superman and Lex Luthor. While one is an alien who encapsulates the most human traits possible, the other is a human being who sheathes a monster within. After a decade since its publication, writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, the same phenomenal creative team behind Joker and Batman: Damned, see their introspective and eye-opening story Luthor republished under the DC Black Label imprint where original stand-alone stories are featured, exploring the lore of classic heroes without worrying about their continuity with canon storylines.

What is Luthor about? Collecting the acclaimed five-issue miniseries, this graphic novel dives deep into the mind of Superman’s greatest villain: Lex Luthor. While the world sees the Man of Steel as the epitome of Truth, Justice and the American way, Lex Luthor sees in him an untrustworthy threat to humanity, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a reason to act before it’s too late. Deep down, Lex Luthor profoundly wishes for his city to strive for greatness, to outdo itself and redefine progress, but sees in Superman an obstacle that stands in the way, as he sets a standard that is impossible for anyone to attain. To prove his point, he plots a wicked plan to unveil Superman’s potential for chaos and his unworthiness as humanity’s ultimate saviour. He thus looks into introducing Metropolis with its own hero, baptized as Hope, and is willing to do whatever it takes to expose this alien that could never fit in.


The Man of Steel has never been less than the symbol of virtue for humanity ever since he came sweeping out of the blue to rid Metropolis of its vices. To give the world the chance to see what hope is like is a gift that he brings to all with open arms and it is out of pure intentions that he shoulders the pains and troubles of humankind without a single care, despite the countless sacrifices he has to make as an individual. Through this story completely narrated and told through the point of view of Lex Luthor readers uncover the reasoning that brings this billionaire criminal mastermind to despise everything that Superman represents for society. Writer Brian Azzarello draws this villain under a charismatic and humanistic light that allows the reader to somehow comprehend the source of Lex Luthor’s worries, almost making us believe that there might be something completely sane and rational in what he is trying to prove to himself and the world.

To further embellish this brilliant piece that offers readers the opportunity to be exposed to a villain’s monologue dressed with scorn is Lee Bermejo’s incredible artwork. Completely grim with a dark tone that perfectly captures the venomous mindset that holds Lex Luthor deep within, his visionary artistic style reminds us that the worries of one man are in fact completely blinded with hate although his intentions remain authentic at heart. It is how he draws Superman that ultimately proves that Lex Luthor isn’t looking to reach an end that is completely unjustifiable but that the means he employs is what really brings him to cross lines that set him apart from the good guys. Quite immediately, the reader is invited to reflect on Superman’s existence while taking into consideration where Lex Luthor is coming from when he sees in this alien a threat that could turn into a weapon without notice.

Luthor is an exploration of Superman’s greatest archnemesis’ inner psyche as he brings to light the root of his hatred for the man who embodies Hope.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!



25 thoughts on “Luthor by Brian Azzarello

  1. I don’t know what to say. Villains always try to justify their actions but how you described the artists rendition almost makes it sound like Luthor is justified. Not sure that is the case, and I hope not to be honest 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries. There’s no way any sane person will think Luthor was right in this story. You can still see why he’s a villain throughout his actions. His behaviour is maniacal. But if you’re a villain, you’ll think it’s justified for sure. This story essentially helps you further understand Luthor Jr. in Batman v. Superman, for example.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am glad that I have not read this one. What if I thought that he was justified. I enjoy finding explanation for villainous actions. Not sure if I’m trying to excuse them or myself. Eeek…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. No-one sees themselves as the bad guy. Lex does not see himself as a villain. In his mind, he is a hero.

    Gee whiz, the artwork is amazing but so dark. Everyone’s face is in shadow. It is kind of depressing, though it certainly has storytelling qualities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. Well.. I mean.. I’m not sure Joker sees himself as a hero or anything and just enjoys the chaos, as he busts Batman’s balls on a daily basis. But Luthor definitely rationalizes his behaviour and sees his actions as justified. This story has that purpose behind it. To show us what it’s like to villanize Superman through Luthor’s eyes. And yes, the artwork is dark and the shadows accentuates it all. It reminds you that there’s nothing positive about Luthor’s perception, even if he thinks it is. The best thing about the artwork is how Superman is drawn. He REALLY looks like a threat. Check out this link to see what he looks like:

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been burned by this creative team with prequels to the Watchmen, but I must grudgingly admit this doesn’t look half bad 😉 Not sure if there’s anything new, ultimately, Luthor always viewed himself as the good guy who never had a chance to shine because of Superman, but still it looks worth checking out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you picked up the worse of the bunch when it comes to their collaboritive projects hahahaha I’d recommend trying Joker and Luthor by Azzarello and Bermejo. There’s much more substance to them. Even this one, Luthor, could have been looked through a psychoanalyctic lense, where there’s some sort of twisted sexual tension between Luthor and Superman, an impossible love of some sort. I didn’t want to get into to let others decide for themselves but it’s fun to look at it at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th degree hahaha

      But seriously, both Luthor and Joker (I’ll review Joker in the very near future) are worth checking out. They summarize, like you said, something we know already, but how they accomplish it with these stories is nice. 😀

      And honestly, I also just want to read more reviews from you on stories I’ve read. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m willing to give these two a second chance. Luthor seems like a solid, well prepared spin on the twisted relationship between Superman and his nemesis, and I’ll take Luthor over Brainiac any day 🙂 Plus, the love aspect seems right on point – Lex feels awe and yearning toward Superman – we all have a deep need for heroes – but hates himself for it as he looks at it as a confirmation of his inferior status.

        I’m starting Grey Bastards, and if I remember correctly you recommended this book (not to say raved about it 😉) – so soon you’ll have a chance to read my review of it – though I can’t guarantee it will be a pleasant experience 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Brainiac is indeed peculiar. I’ve read a couple of renditions of his character, even his springlings that we see in Scott Snyder’s Justice League run. I do prefer Superman v. Lex of all Metropolis rivalities.

        Oh boy hahhah Can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us then! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. THAT COVER!! 😍😍😍 is just….its….veryyy villainy without the usual villainous elements …you get what I mean?! 😍😍😍 AHHHH!! I LOVE IT SOO MUCHHn ❤️❤️😍😍🌟🌟🌟

    ooooooOOOOOOHHHH!! That Luthor is a hell of a plottterrrrr!! 😍😍😍 Gotta appreciate that! 🤣🤣


    AHHHHHHH!! OKAY I LOVEE THIS ONE SOO MUCH AND ITS OFFICIALLY ON MY TBR NOWW!! ITS JUST TOO PRETTY AND I AM EXCITED BY THE PLOT BECAUSE tell you a little secret, ever since I watched that Superman movie as a kid, I have kinda hated him! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 (please dont hate mee!! )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahah it is awesome huh? I’m glad to hear that it’s going on your TBR though! 😛 Wait till I review Joker by these two. I just need to reread it before writing up a review but I remember it being even better than Luthor. 😀

      And it’s okay to hate them based on those movies hahaha You could only ever really know what he’s really like through the comics or animated TV shows/movies! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Excited about your review of Joker noww!! 😍😍😍

        Yeahhh!! I get that! You know I used to watch the animated Spiderman AND MAN WAS IT A FUN SHOWW!! 🤣🤣🤣😍😍😍

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome review sir! It’s been a while since I read this and I’m so overdue a revisit of the hardcover…a great exploration of Superman’s foe brought to life by some beautiful. beautiful art and a perfect companion piece to the Joker graphic novel.

    With the Joker movie looking likely to gross $1 billion on a $55 million budget, I guess Warners will be looking at similar projects (I honestly thing a Joker sequel would be a mistake to be honest but it’s probably inevitable now) – ‘Luthor’ would be an intriguing prospect but I honestly feel it might work better in animation? What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Chris! I’ll be revisiting Joker next to complete the loop too. It was the best of the bunch when I first read it, so I look forward to it.

      Indeed and I had the exact same thought about Luthor being the next villain project but then I found it a bit complicated when you need to include Superman in it, and assuming they do it like they did with Batman, the screenplay would have to be veeeeery original… If anything, I think all of the great comic book stories are better as an animated movie/series hahah


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