Superman Vs Imperious Lex #1 was easily one of my most anticipated titles from the Future State slate. Lex Luthor is a sometimes underrated villain in my opinion, so I hope this does the character justice… even though the title ‘Imperious Lex’ really reminds me of some sort of dinosaur.
But before we dive in the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. First up the standard cover, which is by Yanick Paquette. This is an awesome cover I have to say. Although it is very cartoonistic, it has a huge amount of detail and realism to it. Lex looks confident and powerful in this setting, and the fact that there is a sort of march going on against Superman shows just how dangerously charismatic he can be. I love the rays of sun beaming from his head too, it adds an almost ‘hippy’ vibe to it, though we know that is likely not the case.
The variant cover is by Simone Di Meo and it is GORGEOUS. I adore it, I love the colour pallete which adds a really futuristic vibe to the cover. The blurring effect used just goes to show how intense the situation is for Superman and adds a state of anger to it. Superman is literally throwing The Daily Planet emblem at Lex Luthor. A nice detail I did love is the fact that we only see the ‘PL’ from the planet and we instantly know what he has in his hands, that’s how iconic this emblem is.
Future State: Superman Vs Imperious Lex #1 takes place in the ‘not too distant future’, where the United Planets take vote on whether or not to accept Lex Luthor’s application. Before doing so, Superman returns with information on exactly what Lex Luthor has been up to on his new found dictatorship, and as you can expect it isn’t quite kosher.
Writer Mark Russell does a fantastic job of explaining exactly what has been going on prior to this issue, and for issues that explore the future that is a great touch. There is nothing worse than being thrown into a story line where you have no idea when it takes place or why. I also love the way that it is explained too through Superman’s story-telling, as if we were actually members of the United Planets ourselves.
This whole concept just goes to show how unknowingly gullible people can be. The people of ‘Lexor’ do not know they are being lied to, they do not know the real reason their planet is thriving and that is what Superman intends to put right. Though from their perspective he is interfering and destroying their livelihoods for no apparent reason. The irony is that to them Lex appears to defend them against Superman, when really he is just selfishly outraged to see him once again hindering his plans. The people of ‘Lexor’ have lived under Luthor’s command, his power and his outlook on life, and that has clearly rubbed off on them as they cheer him on to kill Superman during their fallout.
Speaking of the fallout, the battle between Lex and Superman is palpable. You really feel every blow and punch and that’s thanks to the brilliant artwork by Steve Pugh. The contrasts between Superman’s red and blue suit against Lex Luthor’s green battle suit is brilliant too and so effective, it’s clear Romulo Fajardo Jr knows exactly what he is doing here. It’s safe to say that Lex certainly puts up a fight in his warsuit here, as a weakened Superman gives it his all.
Russell showcases his knowledge of Superman traits and handles the character perfectly. Our hero gives an inspiring, powerful and moving speech to the United Planets during his debrief, which displays Superman’s forgiveness and his belief in second chances. These are some of my favourite things about Superman. Despite the fact that Superman and Lex are and always have been enemies, the fact that he is giving him the benefit of the doubt for the sake of Luthor’s people is admirable. Rather than letting his personal feelings toward Luthor take over, he is always the bigger person.
It was quite refreshing to see an elder Superman and Lois Lane. The last time I saw Superman with grey hair was Kingdom Come, so it brings back great memories for me. Another little easter egg I noticed was the small homage to the bronze age Lex Luthor, which was a great touch.
Artist Steve Pugh and colourist Romulo Fajardo Jr work perfectly in tandem. Pughs’ artwork is beautiful and perfectly matches the tone of the issue for me. The detail in the galaxy panels are literally out of this world and that is only heightened by the colours of Farado Jr. I’m not sure how much input they had on the new suit, but I adore it, and the pair really bring it to life.
Future State: Superman Vs Imperious Lex #1 is a great starting point to a very intriguing story line. This issue was action packed, and showcased some of the many incredible traits that Superman has to offer. Though he has the best intentions at heart that doesn’t quite translate to everyone. Could this be the start of a major conflict? Well, I cannot wait to find out.
Haven’t picked up Future State: Superman Vs Imperious Lex #1 yet? You an pick up the standard cover by Yanick Paquette here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Simone Di Meo, you can get that here.
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