Superman’s Nemesis Joins ‘Justice League’

Lex Luthor goes from super-villain to superhero in the pages of 'Justice League,' confirmed by DC Comics and writer Geoff Johns.

Superman’s worst enemy is about to become a reluctant ally, as DC Comics and writer Geoff Johns have announced that Lex Luthor is the newest member of the Justice League.

Luthor makes his superhero debut in the pages of April’s “Justice League” #30, written by Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. Details on Luthor’s role on the super-team are unclear, but it’s not a massive surprise to those currently reading “Forever Evil,” DC Comics’ latest event that sees Luthor and others battling the alternate-dimension Crime Syndicate.

“The Justice League is going to go through a lot of changes, obviously, in the wake of ’Forever Evil,'” said Johns. “A lot of the blame can be put on their shoulders for what has happened: They were infiltrated and they fought each other and that led to the unleashing of the Crime Syndicate and the evil that took over the world.”

In the aftermath of “Forever Evil,” the DC Universe’s lines between good and evil will become “a little bit blurry,” opening the door for folks like Luthor to denounce their villainous past and embrace a heroic future. Just don’t expect Luthor’s longtime nemesis, Superman, to be on board. The Man of Steel is nowhere in sight on the “Justice League” #30 cover, with the apparent roster consisting of Luthor, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Captain Marvel and Cyborg — as well as Captain Cold, one of the Flash’s most memorable villains.

“I think the most interesting thing is that Lex doesn’t realize what it’s like to be a superhero, what the life is like. You make enemies, they attack you on a personal level. And he’s just Lex Luthor. He has no codename, no mask,” said Johns. “He has to deal with the ramifications of that.”

Luthor is far from the first super-villain to take a heroic turn. DC Comics pulled a similar trick recently with Sinestro, the fear-mongering ex-Green Lantern who rejoined the Corps at the start of the publisher’s New 52 relaunch. Over at Marvel, “X-Men” villain Magneto has oscillated between friend and foe more times than you can count on a single hand, while Doctor Octopus recently claimed the Spider-Man mantle for himself — albeit under considerably unfriendly circumstances.

While there’s precedent for villains to become heroes, change rarely sticks where comic books are concerned. Even if Lex is on the side of the angels for now, it won’t be long before he’s back to his old tricks — indeed, with the character’s rumored role in the “Man of Steel” sequel, it’s fair to expect that Lex will return to his bad habits in time for the movie’s release in July 2015.

What do you make of Lex Luthor’s turn for the heroic? Let us know in the comments section below!