Lex Luthor’s ’90s mystery hair, Pt. 1Posted: 03/23/2015
Lately, I’ve been reading The Return of Superman before I go to bed because I was looking for something that was going to put me to sleep. I kid. Actually, it’s not bad once you get past the melodrama, plus Amazon sells it for like $20 bucks (and it’s 500 pages of comics). Superman died, the world cried a bit, and then he came back; now you’re all caught up. But I noticed something glaring as I read these comics for the first time: Lex Luthor has a giant, bushy, gorgeous bright red mane of hair. And none of the characters even bat an eye. So, I looked into this with my
desperate attempt to think of an article journalistic integrity, and I have all the answers to the questions you’ve never asked. Over the next four articles, we’re going to solve Lex Luthor’s hair conundrum and all the insane details about it. Here’s the comics I’ll be using in the order that I’m using them:
Superman #2, volume two, written and drawn by John Byrne
Superman #19, volume two, written and drawn by Byrne
Action Comics #660, written by Roger Stern and drawn by Bob McLeod & Brett Breeding
Action Comics #670, written by Stern and drawn by McLeod & Denis Rodier
Action Comics #671, written by Stern and drawn by Kieron Dwyer
Action Comics #676, written by Stern and drawn by Jackson Guice & Rodier
Action Comics #677, written by Stern and drawn by Guice & Rodier
Action Comics #678, written by Stern and drawn by Guice & Ande Parks
Superman #77, volume two, written by Dan Jurgens and drawn by Jurgens & Breeding
Action Comics #697, written by Stern and drawn by Guice & Rodier
Action Comics #700, written by Stern and drawn by Guice, Rodier, Curt Swan, & Murphy Anderson
Action Comics #701, written by Karl Kesel and drawn by Guice
Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #1, written by Stern and drawn by Tom Grummett & Breeding
Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #3, written by Stern and drawn by Grummett & Breeding
Action Comics #737, written by Mark Waid & Stern and drawn by Grummett & Rodier
Everything begins for us back in the rebirth of Superman’s orgin, villains, and all that jazz. This is the cusp of the modern age of DC comics, and the new Lex Luthor carries with him a particular useful piece of jewelry (that and it brings out his eyes).
Except here’s the thing about kryptonite, it’s incredibly radioactive. Like Marie Curie levels. And despite Luthor’s monologues proclaiming otherwise, our dear supervillain is still just a normal dude in a nice suit. So the ring gives him cancer. Also, have you noticed Luthor’s obesity? We usually see chiseled abs and bodybuilder’s biceps when he takes his shirt off nowadays (as is the law that ugly people can’t exist in a comic book universe), so embrace these precious few issues before he jumps on the mad scientist treadmill. The machine runs on spite.
Robot hands are cool. Honestly, and since DC likes to have its characters lose a hand once in a while, a robotic hand only makes Luthor scarier. Maybe it can lift cars or shoot acid or turn into a grappling hook or whatever the writer can possibly imagine, much like Cyborg and his robot powers. We forget that in the comic book universe, technology and magic are the same thing. The only time either one of those can’t create convenient deus ex machina miracles is when the writer gets writer’s block.
Regarding Lex, it turns out his cancer progressed past his amputated hand. He has terminal cancer, and nothing will be able to cure him. It’s okay. Go take a break to mop up your tears before you continue reading. Luthor, not one to go out like a punk, figures he should enjoy his last few months by living a life even Red Bull would be jealous of.
I know it’s hard to read that Shakespeare quote. And it’s a better quote with the entire Shakespearean paragraph included:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
There you go. You’re a fraction smarter than you were a second ago. For literary analysis, you’re on your own. I’ll give you a hint: it’s about death. Look, so Luthor dies. He exploded in a plane and everyone goes about their business for ten issues as if nothing happened because that’s pretty much how comic books work. And most importantly, you’ve just witnessed the forever end of Fat Lex Luthor. When he makes his miraculous return to the land of the living (and of course he does), you only get physical perfection from that point on. But allow me to introduce you to a new character, one you may not have known to even exist. Remember to read all the dialogue in an Australian accent.
Did you know Lex Luthor had an illegitimate Australian love child? A kid with beautifully luscious hair, like a lion after a long day of stalking prey. Can this really be the start of a friendlier, gentler Luthor? A Luthor who aids Superman and Metropolis with his generosity and love? Damn right it is. Well, sort of. I mean, everything’s about to get really complicated in our next article, but for now, let’s live in our comic book present. We end today with warm fuzzies and good vibes, the way I like comic books to end. It turns out that the Luthor family trait for kindness is directly related to the Luthor family trait for baldness.
Next time, everything becomes much worse!