One particular point that really drew my attention revolved around Lex Luthor. From the pitch:
Though even he doesn’t consciously realize it, every iota of Luthor’s self-esteem was pinned to achieving that most lofty goal: to be considered the greatest man who ever lived. And he was on his way--until Superman appeared and outclassed him, triggering the scattershot sociopathic tantrum that is his criminal career.
Here’s another secret. Luthor's Lexcorp empire? All the corporate-baron stuff we see him doing routinely? Six minutes of his day, maybe less. He’s not the Kingpin. He only pretends to be.
Nevitt, in his assessment states:
I'm actually not a fan of the idea that Luthor only spends "six minutes of his day, maybe less" on Lexcorp, but I've always found that aspect of the character to be far more interesting than Luthor as supervillain. One thing I thought the creative team of Jeph Loeb, Joe Kelly, Joe Casey and Mark Schultz did right was making Luthor president since that demonstrates the level Luthor plays on, which is one entirely different from other villains.
I couldn't agree more. But it seems the current PTB at DC don't agree, as over the past few years, starting with the atrocious "Batman/Superman: Public Enemies" (both the comic and its animated adaptation) they have been utterly keen on bringing back the early 80's rocket-suited Luthor, and many writers with their "Superfriends fixations have been chomping at the bit to toss him in a purple jumpsuit. Though I haven't been reading it, I'm pretty sure Geoff Johns has once again retconned in the young Clark/Lex Smallville rivalry where Superboy is responsible for Lex losing his hair. Correct me if I'm wrong, just spare me the details.
John Byrne's de-powering of Superman in 1986 was right for the time, and in the midst of Reganomics, a corporate villain was apt. But that was then, this is now. Wait a tic, given the Wall Street shenanegans of recent years, an evil corporate supervillain is exactly what we need. But really, think about it. Superman isn't stupid, he's the son of a farmer, yes, but also the son of a scientist. He's able to view the world on a molecular level if he chooses, he can view people on any spectrum, he understands the world both scientifically and emotionally. But one thing Clark isn't is cunning. He, unlike Batman, isn't thinking steps ahead. Superman has generally always been reactive rather than proactive, and though he can see the world in a thousand different ways, he just can't see the world like Luthor can. Luthor can manipulate the world through his corporate structure. Through globalization and international laws of trade he can affect things in an manner that's vague and, in a sense, intangible. What Luthor can do, Superman would have a hard time to follow. Bruce Wayne might not even be able to see it. If Luthorcorp is a privately held company, which it most likely is, Luthor can keep the books off the public record and really get away with doing whatever he wants. How can the Man of Steel battle economic disruption? He can't. Through this kind of maneuvering Lex can have his way with the world outside of Superman's near omnipotent grasp.
Compared to that we otherwise have a Lex Luthor who is trying to destroy an indestructible man, time after time, going after the big red "S" with munitions and kryptonite, physical attacks that have proven time and time again ineffective. What if Superman developed Kryptonian-enhanced Rogaine® and Lex could grow his hair back? Having taken away Luthor's raison d'etre could they be friends again? I think, (especially given the interaction between Lex and Superman in All-Star Superman) that this kind of "mad scientist" Luthor doesn't inspire any fear in Clark, just pity and sympathy. Corporate Luthor, on the other hand, scared him, because he was playing a completely different game.
Give me the bald, overweight, cigar-chomping Boss Hogg-style Lex Luthor over the Purple and Green Luthor any day. It may not make for better fight scenes, but if you want drama, intrigue, and a real nasty rivalry that's what he delivers.
So Second Printers, I've had my say, which do you prefer and why?
Supervillain Lex Luthor or Corporate Lex Luthor?