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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 38,283
Subj: Re: I Asked Something Like That Already Once. I'm Surprised That He Hasn't Really Done Anything.
Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 at 01:55:29 pm EDT (Viewed 118 times)
Reply Subj: Re: I Asked Something Like That Already Once. I'm Surprised That He Hasn't Really Done Anything.
Posted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 at 02:39:26 pm EDT (Viewed 113 times)

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    I can't help but point out some simple facts that are hard to deny.

    1. The difference between the Kingpin or Normon Osborn finding out the secret identity of Daredevil or Spider-Man is that they each did something about it whereas when Lex found out Superman was Clark Kent, he did hardly anything.

    2. The first time Lex found out Clark was Superman in the Post Crisis Continuity, he deleted the information because he found it impossible that Superman would be posing as a human Reporter. Nothing was done to try and ruin Clark's life, no boasting was done that he knew. And this story was done by John Bryne and I've asked the question, "What was the point?" I asked that because nothing was done about it.

The threat is both real and there nontheless, and it is a powerful one, which is my point. The dilemma of a super-villain discovering the hero's secret identity was a plot element that traditionally ended with the Villain either dying or losing their memory, hence the actual intensity of the threat was always a brief one and in the end wouldn't derail either character or book. By the 1980s all that began to change as the audience shifted and the story delivery became more sophisticated to match that audience expectation.
Lex Luthor could discover Superman's secret. That was the point of Superman #2. At that time and in that context he evaluated the facts presented to him and found the idea of a godlike alien choosing to lower himself to day-to-day drudgery and hide in menial work and surroundings too improboble - would J Jonah Jameson readily believe that The Mighty Thor might demean himself to humdrum anonymity and adopt the guise of a lame and rather wet Doctor of healing after all?
But the threat remained, and one can see in subsequent encounters (Adventures #467 for one) that Clark Kent remained both aware and nervous of that fact. That danger...

    4. The third time Lex found out Clark was Superman was about 2010, early 2011, when Lex gained godlike powers. But instead of ruining Clark's life by going after Lana, Lois, his parents, etc, he tries to kill just Superman, not bothering to do anything about Clark's secret.

Was this Action #900? Please bear in mind that Lex had this power and status only very briefly and lost his memories when stripped of the power. In the short meantime he did indeed try to break Superman, and one can well imagine that he would indeed have turned his attention to relatives and family if the encounter had not ended when, and how, it did.

    Where the Kingpin and Normon actually tried to ruin Daredevil and Spider-Man's lives by going after their loved ones, Lex did not. He did hardly anything with that information. He's a lion without teeth because the writers are too afraid to do anything with it.

I will meet you halfway on this as it is perfectly true that Luthor has never really reached the levels of sheer psychotic hatred and vindictiveness of his pre-1985 incarnation and therefore never gone to the same extremes. Norman Osborn is an unwise comparison as he traditionally loses his memory of Peter Parker's significance when not dressed in Green and Purple, The Kingpin is a fairer comparison, and yet given Daredevil's secret Identity has been so compromised and unveiled over the years the threat of discovery no longer has any weight to it. This is not to say that Luthor cannot, or should not, discover the secret, after all he did deduce Bruce Wayne's secret around three to four years ago. But look to that example and consider the probobilities and options open to Luthor and in terms of threatlevel to Superman would this discovery of his actually amount to a major crisis? Any moreso that Luthor's discovery of The Batman's secret?
It hinges on writing prefence, that is one possibility, based on the modern Lex Luthor. Traditionally speaking though Luthor would eventually exploit such a discovery to the hilt, John Byrne's Generations series offered one very credible and cruel scenario for Luthor's ultimate revenge on his hated nemesis...

    So, Comicguy has a very good point. Both Doomsday and Cyborg Superman (Henshaw) both have had more of a personal impact on Superman than Lex ever has. Even Kenny Braverman AKA Conduit has had a more personal impact. They all did what Lex never did and that was going after the people Clark loved.

Sure. That's one avenue to revenge. Discover the secret and target the heroes loved ones and personal life. And as I keep stressing Luthor could so that, the potential is real and always there. In the meantime he operates in the modernday as a manipulator and untouchable threat to Superman who can, and does, use the infrastructure of the city and media against him, as well as more direct physical threats. Conduit, Doomsday, Manchester Black, all are more immediate and forceful opponents, none of these are sustainable threats however as they challenge Superman head on. Opponents like the Kingpin and Luthor on the other hand operate on a whole different level, partly as they are not super-powered and therefore reliant on using a good deal more intelligence and patience to reach their objectives. Which is the reason for their omnipresent sustainability and appeal - they are very credible opponents.

    If we're all being perfectly honest with the points I made above, it's completely out of character of Lex to sit back and do hardly anything about his knowledge that Clark is Superman without trying to ruin Clark's life by going after who Clark loves or even threatening to expose his secret. As I said, Lex is a lion without teeth. He barks but doesn't have any bite.

To some extent I do agree yes. What can he do to Superman? What HAS he done to Superman, other than inconvenience him?
But what the appeal is is his potential for threat. Here is one opponent Superman cannot punch in the face, or talk into penetance, or even outwit. Indeed much of the time he cannot even prove his hand is involved in an affair. And so it is this sustainability as a threat, a perrenial threat, that makes Luthor both appealing and perhaps the greatest threat of all. As one day he may well succeed...

Deep down inside thought, does Lex really want to kill/destroy Superman, or does he want to have Kal agree that Lex is the better man, and the superior of the two of them?

That seems to be the common thread running between likes of Lex and Supes, bruce and Joker, Doom and Reed,Moriarty and Holmes, do they really want to kill off their enemies, or have them forced to admit their superiority?

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