DC Makes Major Change to Superman's Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor, who gained the powers of a god during his showdown with the Crime Syndicate of America way back during Geoff Johns's Justice League run, has finally been restored as a human. The transformation happened at the hands of Perpetua, the goddess he had been serving throughout the Year of the Villain storyline, as she traded him in for a younger model -- The Batman Who Laughs -- in the final issue of Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen. The story, which leads into the planned Dark Nights: Death Metal sequel series -- will likely be the last big issue from DC for a while, as the novel coronavirus pandemic has shut down most of comics.

In the issue, the battle between Lex Luthor's forces and those controlled by The Batman Who Laughs comes to a head. While Luthor and Mercy Graves square off with the Dark Multiverse's darkest knight, the rest of the heroes and villains impacted by his plague are released from his spell. Everything looks pretty bad for The Batman Who Laughs, but he still has a trick up his sleeve.

When Lex takes The Batman Who Laughs to Perpetua rather than killing him, he asks for the villain to be expelled back to the Dark Multiverse. Instead, The Batman Who Laughs pitches her on working with him. When Lex interjects to object, she strips him of his godlike powers and send him back to Earth, agreeing to work with The Batman Who Laughs and bringing on Death Metal.

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The issue begins with a rundown of everythign that has happened to Lex in the last few years, setting the stage for his reversion back to human as well as re-establishing the stakes of his battle with The Batman Who Laughs for anybody who might be coming on late following the announcement of Death Metal. The final page picks up with Luthor, naked and falling to the ground in a field. When Mercy realizes that he is alive and calls out to him, he proclaims that the world is doomed.

Rumors of a follow-up to Dark Nights: Metal, the best-selling event series from writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, have circulated since about five minutes after the original story ended. The first story set up the idea of a Dark Multiverse as well as introducing a handful of evil Batmen from that place called the Dark Knights, each of whom had the powers of one member of the Justice League (usuall that Batman had killed). Details on the release of Death Metal are fluid right now, given the nature of comics distibution.