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I was watching this year’s South Carolina/Alabama football game when a moment from 1978’s Superman popped into my head. As South Carolina’s upset bid gradually became a certainty, the shots of coach Steve Spurrier reminded me of Lex Luthor’s classic line:
You were great in your day, Superman. But it just stands to reason, when it came time to cash in your chips, this old … diseased … maniac would be your banker.
See, there are just some people you never count out, no matter how great the odds against them. Regardless of incarnation, Luthor is one of my favorite villains, especially when he can create a perpetual air of menace. If Superman represents humanity’s best impulses (plus the power to back them up), Luthor naturally represents its worst: self-centeredness, ego, avarice, and an overwhelming superiority complex. Twisted though it may be, Luthor’s enduring motivation is spot-on: but for Superman, he’d be the unquestioned ruler of the Earth. Just the news that Luthor is loose should be enough to clear the streets of Metropolis, sending its citizens into well-stocked shelters. Luthor is scary because only Superman can stop him; and Superman is … well, Superman in no small part because only he can stop the likes of Luthor.
The new hardcover collection of Luthor — it’s better known as Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, the 2005 miniseries by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo — will serve as a director’s cut, of sorts, adding new story pages while changing the position of some existing ones.
The solicitation text said “with new, additional story pages,” of course, but comments made this morning by Bermejo on the DC Universe blog suggest extensive changes to the miniseries (last collected in 2006).
“… When I say new story material, I really mean it,” the artist writes. “We’ve actually added new sequences throughout the book as well as adding pieces to existing scenes and re-shuffling the position of others. This ‘new cut’ really enhances the original story and broadens it.”
The Source spotlights two pages from the fight between Superman and Batman, a scene cut short in the original version.
Luthor arrives in stores on Oct. 20.