Artist: Raymund Bermudez
Villains Month has been very inconsistent so far, as although we've had some amazing stories out of it, we have also had some really horrible ones. I have however been looking forward to this one, as bar the fact that Lex Luthor is Superman's arch enemy, I wanted to see what Charles Soule could do on a Superman comic seems he'll be handling his and Wonder Woman's relationship in Superman/Wonder Woman.
Fresh out of jail, Lex Luthor goes about growing his empire, and utilising the fact that Superman is nowhere to be seen.
This was a brilliant issue, and although it wasn't one of the best Luthor stories ever, it was still amazing, being a great tie-in to Forever Evil. Charles Soule simply did a great job of this issue, and has shown me that he knows how to handle a Superman character, giving me even more hope that Superman/Wonder Woman will be good. Soules would show Luthor at his best in this issue, as although he didn't have Superman to fight against, he made do with what he had, making sure that his impact was felt. The issue itself was also extremely dramatic, with some brilliant dialogue that gave the issue fantastic tone. The issue was also fairly intense, with Luthor hell bent on getting what he wants, which I enjoyed.
The art on this issue was also very good, as although it's not the best artwork that I've ever seen, it is far from the worst, suiting this issue perfectly. Raymund Bermudez however isn't an artist that I'm familiar with, with this appearing to be his first major issue. The thing that I really liked about Bermudez' artwork was the layout, as although it wasn't anything spectacular, it worked perfectly with the story, adding depth, as well as helping show the tone and atmosphere that comes with a Luthor story. Bermudez also did a great job of showing the characters emotions, and especially in Luthor, who would seem emotionless in one panel, and maniacal in the next, which was simply amazing.
This issue would centre on the events of Luthor between him getting out of jail, and the start of Forever Evil #1. Now I was very happy when I heard that Luthor would be a main character in Forever Evil, so seeing some backstory in this issue was fantastic. I also enjoyed seeing how Luthor would adapt into his old life, wanting to forget his time in prison. It was also nice to see that Luthor didn't waste time before getting back into his old lifestyle, as although the issue would mention how he could control things even whilst in prison, he managed to do a lot more now that he's a free man.
One of the first things that Luthor would ask about was what Superman was up to, being very shocked to hear that there have been no sighting of him that day. I also enjoyed how Luthor reacted to this, from being initially shocked, to eventually using it to his advantage. I was however still happy that it didn't focus too much on the world not having Superman, as although it needed mention to give Luthor personal satisfaction, it could have easily taken over the issue, and I'm glad that it didn't.
This issue would also see Luthor work closely with his assistant, Casey. I felt that Casey's addition to the issue added some freshness, as although Luthor's presence is usually enough to make an issue good, it's always nice for him to have someone to work off. I also enjoyed how Casey had different views to certain things than Luthor, as although she seemed the loyal employee, it was clear that she didn't like all of Luthor's decisions. Besides this the interaction be
A brilliant issue that shows that Soule is very capable of creating brilliant Superman stories. The issue itself was also a great prequel to Forever Evil, being very exciting, and suspenseful, also having plenty of drama. The tone was also brilliant with new artist Bermudez doing a brilliant job. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this, especially if you're reading Forever Evil, though don't expect it to be the best Luthor story you've ever read.