Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Man Who Put The Justice In Justice League

So, what's the big news this week?

Oh, yes, Lex Luthor is joining the Justice League.

No, this isn't Bizarro-World or Earth-Pi.

Geoff Johns tells us we will see
the post-'Forever Evil' world with the lines being a little bit blurry between good and bad and seeing what kind of heroes it will take to not just protect the world, but defend the world.
Blurry? Really?

In a separate interview at Newsarama, Johns tells us that, "I think evil is very relative." (Not just relative, mind you, but "very relative.")

Oh. OK. Let's look at "relative" and "blurry," shall we?

In Action Comics #23.3 (a.k.a. Lex Luthor #1):

Just hours after being released from prison, Lex blows up a space shuttle, and the four astronauts on board, just to make Superman look bad:

This is the man who will be in the Justice League.

Deliberately killing four people to just to make Superman look bad.

Blurry lines. Evil is very relative.

And when his assistant, Casey, tries to do the right thing and report this monstrous crime?

This is the man who will be joining the Justice League.

The man who slaughters astronauts and throws women off of roofs.

Blurry lines. Evil is very relative.

Ah, you say, but that issue was scripted by Charles Soule. Perhaps it doesn't reflect Johns' conception of the character. Even though the book leads directly into the first page of Forever Evil #1, where Johns has Luthor threaten to throw a man out of a helicopter and kill his wife and son. We still shouldn't judge Johns' Luthor by this story.

Well, then there is Forever Evil #2, wherein a Johns-scripted Luthor is helped during the crisis by security guard Otis--a harmless man who admires him--and Luthor has him killed just to test out how well Bizarro works:

This man will be on the Justice League.

Blurry lines. Evil is very relative.

Maybe at the end of Forever Evil, Luthor will go through some amazing moral transformation, and no longer be the mass murderer than Johns and company have portrayed him as in the nu52, Touched by an angel, or such.

But it sure looks like, even if that is true, he won't be reformed to the extent that he is willing to confess to, and pay the penalty for, his crimes. He's not in jail, not in some remote hermitage praying for forgiveness--he's in the Justice League. Instant reformation, instant sweeping of any past crimes under the rug.

Lex Luthor in the Justice League. Justice League. Justice, as in what the 4 astronauts, Casey and Otis won't be getting any of. Because I will bet you any amount of quatloos that whatever happens, they will never be mentioned again. Past crimes? Oh, they have nothing to do with the all-new, all-lovable Lex Luther.

That is the type of "heroic" universe Johns and his stunted, adolescent moral sense want us to believe in--that the vilest murderer or dictator can simply say, "Hey, I've seen the light," and they can walk away unpunished from piles of bodies.

This is a universe where acts of murder are so heinous and so warping to the world that they created Batman. And Robin. And...But if you commit murders? No problem, as long as you're an interesting character. In Geoff Johns' conception, it seems, if Joe Chill were to see the light, he could just join the Outsiders, and never have to serve a day for murdering the Waynes. Because "evil is very relative", to Johns, means "no consequences."

"Blurry lines," Mr. Johns? You, sir, are the one who is blurring them. "Evil is very relative?" Perhaps you could turn that keen moral sense on yourself and your writing, and figure out where your work falls.

That seems unlikely, though.


Siskoid said...

Yeah, I don't know what the HELL is going on over there anymore.

SallyP said...

I agree. I like a reformed villain sometimes, but with the sort of body count that the villains have been racking up lately, that seems to be something that just can't be overlooked.

Luthor used to be a good villain. He had plans to take over the world and such, but he didn't just go around flat out murdering people for the hell of it. Same with the Joker.


Writrzblok said...

It's poorly thought-out ideas like Lex Luthor joining the Justice League that make me afraid to facepalm for fear of giving myself a concussion.

Mista Whiskas said...

Outrageous. Simply outrageous.

Max said...

The New 52 has succeeded in driving me away from DC after being a regular reader since about 1976. Well....I still read the "Beyond" titles in digital format, but that's all.

Simon (formerly Johnny Sorrow) said...

Is it at all possible that this is the Earth-3 Lex Luthor?

snell said...

Simon: No, Johns' interviews & DC press releases have made it clear that this is THE Luthor. Sure, they could be lying...but this fits in with everything Johns has done the past few years.

Mista Whiskas said...

After reading recent the recent JL I think there is a real chance the unknown captive of the Crime Syndicate is the Luthor of the Syndicate's world, and, perhaps, as Simon suggests, it will be he who joins the JL.

But if you have read Johns correctly this could be the thing which turns me off from DC until some major changes are made.

googum said...

Devil's advocate: it's not just Johns, that's actually pretty common in comics. Bane, Doc Ock, Luthor, Venom, Sinestro, the Riddler; all murdered a good number of people. Yet those murders are often glossed over in their next appearances, or when the writers try to give them a heroic turn. (Sinestro being the worst example; how Kilowog hasn't killed him yet, I don't know.)

Mista Whiskas said...

After reading some interviews with Johns I have to say it sure looks like he is putting the evil LL on the team.

That is...nuts.