Jesse Eisenberg’s casting as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice raised more than a few eyebrows — Eisenberg is typically known for playing nebbish, fidgety characters, but if the trailers for Batman v Superman are any indication, it looks as though Zack Snyder put those qualities to interesting use, giving us a Lex Luthor unlike any we’ve seen before. If you’re curious to know more about Eisenberg’s Luthor, this latest piece of viral marketing sheds some light on what Snyder and Eisenberg are doing with the notorious Superman baddie.
Last weekend marked the official Batman Day, and while I hope I've made it clear over my years of writing about comics that I strive to keep Batman in my heart the whole year 'round, I think we can all agree that it's nice to take some time and talk about the many wonderful things that he's done in his 76 years of crime-fighting. The thing is, you always hear about the same stuff. It's always "Dark Knight" this, and "Year One" that, and "that time he fought Bane and got knocked out of comics for like two years because of an actual professional wrestling move."
Don't get me wrong, those are important events, sure, but they're a tiny, tiny fraction of what Batman has done, and I think it's time that we honor some of the more unloved --- but just as deserving --- examples of heroism from his considerable career. Like, say, that time that he saved Gotham City from having all of its metal stolen by a giant green hand from another dimension by proving that aliens should be able to speak foreign languages.
Last week, when DC launched a big sale on Batman Adventures, I did what I always do in that situation and told everyone to buy and read all of them immediately, because they are the best Batman comics of the '90s. But as good as they might be, there's one issue that stands out, one that rarely gets mentioned despite feeling like it ought to be a pretty big deal: Batman Adventures #25, which features the first meeting of the Animated Series Batman and Superman.
And it's also, as reader Geoff DeSouza put it when he asked me about it, "one of the best weird comics ever."
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Lex Luthor comics.
Q: Can you explain how Lex Luthor was elected President? Donald Trump might need some pointers. -- @ASaltzberg
A: President Lex! Now there's a story that I haven't thought about in a while - and just for context, I'm someone who thinks about Harold, the hunchbacked mechanic that Batman used to keep in his basement to fix up the Batmobile, at least once a week. Looking back, it seems like a very weird story, an ultimately forgettable new direction for a villain that never really went anywhere, but at the time, it definitely felt like it was a big deal.
When I watched the Comic-Con panel for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I thought to myself, “Man, Jesse Eisenberg does not look happy to be here.” That was the understatement of the millennium.
Q: Has there ever been a more notable or successful reinvention of a villain than the transition from Mr. Zero to Mister Freeze? -- @spacetimeboss
A: Friend, you are not kidding about Mr. Freeze. As much as heroes and villains change over the years, and as much as they have to change to stay relevant as hundreds of creators work on their ongoing stories, I honestly don't know if there's any bad guy who made a change that dramatic, both in terms of theme and quality. He goes from being a one-note crook with an ice gun to one of the most compelling and tragic figures in Batman's entire Rogues Gallery. I'd even go as far as saying that aside from Two-Face, he's the easiest of the major villains to sympathize with --- and he probably works in a whole lot more stories besides.
There have been rumors floating around about Lex Luthor’s role in Batman vs. Superman, but there’s been little confirmation about anything involving Jesse Eisenberg’s take on the character. So far, we pretty only know that this version of Luthor is still bald, thanks to the first official image of Eisenberg in character. That’s it, really. But a new rumor suggests something a little more interesting for Superman’s longtime nemesis.
Since the launch of the New 52 reboot in 2011, DC Comics has seemingly gone out of its way to find new ways to make its superhero darker. Its current Futures End weekly comics event is one in which everything has become even more dour and depressing in the span of five (narrative) years, for example.
But there's one character that DC writer Geoff Johns simply can't view as dark, however: The Flash. In an interview with Nerdist, former Flash comics writer Johns answered a question about the lighter tone of the new The Flash TV series by saying that Barry Allen simply can't be a gloomy character.
In a new interview in Total Film magazine, actor Jesse Eisenberg, who will portray Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, gives the movie and its writers more than just a ringing endorsement. He says he'd do the movie for no money at all if it was some low-budget flick. "I really liked it on its own terms. I would do it if it was for free and it was tiny."
That seems like quite a stamp of approval. Sure, actors have to talk up their movies for promotion, but saying, "I'd do this for no pay" is a fairly extreme endorsement. And it turns out from the rest of the interview that Eisenberg isn't exactly a fan of the superhero genre -- but he may be coming around.