REVIEW: ‘Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Jason Latour, with art by Bryan Hitch, inks also by Hitch with Andrew Currie, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Tom Napolitano. In the issue, Lex Luthor travels through various realities visiting other versions of himself. What is it he seeks? And more importantly for the DC Universe, will he find it?

Throughout Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1, Lex travels to various realities confronting his alternative selves. He seems to be searching for a version of himself that fits some particular quality. While not clearly defined, it seems like he searches for another Luthor that matches his special blend of cunning, ruthlessness, and insatiable drive. 

Through his travels he encounters many surprising versions of himself. And while these iterations of Lex range from unique to downright strange, they aren’t enough to carry the book. Which is a problem as meeting these various Luthors are the only draw the story really has as the other story elements presented fall a bit flat.

Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain: #1 is trying desperately to be philosophical and deep. Instead, it simply shows how dismissive Luthor is of any idea that doesn’t not coincide with his own vision. While this certainly rings true to Luthor’s character, seeing him dismiss version after version of himself does not make for an interesting read. I wish Latour would’ve instead pressed Luthor into actually engaging with one of his alternates. This would’ve given the book a little more character to build on. But as it stand, the whole endeavor ends up feeling shallow.

The biggest reason to pick up Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 is implications it sets up for the larger Year of the Villain storyline. One of the biggest struggles with large multi-part stories is always trying to make each issue strong on its own merits. Having an issue that exists purely for setup is hard to avoid sometimes. But, as each book presents itself independently, in order for the reader to have a consistent experience it is important for each book to be strong on its own.

While the story struggled a bit Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1’s art is very well done. Hitch does a great job envisioning the various incarnations of Luther seen through the issue. Furthermore, his creativity extends to settings as well. As a result the art in Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 keeps the reader interested in the various places Luthor travels. It serves as a real visual treat. Consequently, I would love it if DC Comics might come back to explore one or two of the world’s glimpsed in this issue.

Perhaps an even more interesting thing about the visuals is the design of Lex himself. While it bears some resemblance to other appearances he has made in Year of the Villain books it certainly isn’t identical. Further leaving me to wonder if there is some misleading of who this Lex actually is.

While there are some cool moments and interesting concepts played at, in the end Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 provides a decent stepping stone to hopefully a larger payoff as the Year of the Villain story line continues forward. If Year of the Villain is an interest to you I think you will want to grab this one. Otherwise, there isn’t a lot here.

Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 is available now.

Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1
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TL;DR

While there are some cool moments and interesting concepts played at, in the end Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 provides a decent stepping stone to hopefully a larger payoff