Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How much hate can you buy with eight billion dollars? With twenty?

On the brighter side, it does employ a lot of people. From 1999, Superman Adventures #27, "How Much Can One Man Hate?" Written by Mark Millar, pencils by Aluir Amancio, inks by Terry Austin.

It's business as usual today in Metropolis: another of Lex Luthor's attempts to have Superman murdered has failed, and as usual Supes knows full well it was Lex, even if a mountain of doctored evidence and a phony paper trail say otherwise. A frustrated Superman wonders why Lex wastes all that time and energy (and cash, even if he doesn't mention that here) but Lex tells him "If you have to ask, you'll never know."

After reviewing his losses with Mercy, Lex visits a new statue of Superman, and has a new idea. The next day, before Superman can get to the scene of a Parasite crime, it's stopped by new hero Superior-Man! The smug, smarmy showboat makes a splash taking down threats like Kalibak, Titano, and the Toyman; but when Superman makes it obvious he's not going to leave Metropolis just because a new hero shows up, Superior-Man attacks him. His Kryptonite vision is a bit of a surprise, until an explosion reveals him to be Metallo--"the killer with the Kryptonite heart," even if he's never killed anyone with it. Brainwashed and given a new look by Lex, Metallo is furious, and attacks Luthor and Mercy. With his lead anti-Kryptonite suit, Superman gets Metallo's heart out, saving Luthor, and then delivers a scathing wake-up call to Lex. Or, as Lex puts it, a "patronizing little rant."

When an inspired Lex again declares "I believe this is my most perfect scheme yet," we're getting a bit too much into Pinky & the Brain territory, but a flashback to Lex at age seven shows his motivation quite clearly: already a genius, Lex had plans to look down upon Metropolis even then, and can't stand the idea of anyone over him, even a Superman.

I was joking a little with the lead-in, but with an eight (soon to be twenty...) billion dollar budget, Lex would have to be employing a good number of people. A lot of them are probably thugs, not pulling down mad-scientist grade salaries, but there would also be a lot of hush money to be paid, too. (Fall guys who would take a rap, and keep their mouths shut; in exchange for supporting their families during their sentence. Stuff like that.) Drilling down in that budget would be fascinating...

By the way, the other day CBR had a list of the worst things Luthor has ever done, but two I thought were the worst didn't even make the cut: murdering a terminally ill woman, then marrying her clone as a deathtrap for Superman, and having Vesper Fairchild murdered to frame Bruce Wayne.


Dale Bagwell said...

Mark Millar definitely wrote some really good Superman stories for that animated line. Do you own the collected trade of his animated Superman work?

googum said...

Sadly no, just random issues. The Lobo/Bizarro one was pretty good. Haven't really cared for anything Millar's done anytime lately, though.