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Lex Luthor

DC Direct Public Enemies
by Monkey Boy

To avoid the confusion that arises from decades and decades of continuity, DC Comics periodically stages some sort of "crisis" during which its characters go through a multi-dimensional clusterfarm that's theoretically supposed to simplify everything. Thing is, usually it makes it a lot trickier. First of all, characters who were phased out or re-imagined keep popping up all the time. Second, most characters whose personalities or origins were retconned end up going back to their old ways sooner or later. Why does this happen? Because new writers are nostalgic for the old versions.

Case in point, Lex Luthor. Superman's ultimate nemesis. Bald guy. Originally an archetypal mad scientist, he was whiz-banged into a shrewd and ruthless businessman Lex Luthor who would eventually assume the throne as President of the United States of America. It was a pretty brilliant move, polarizing the (super)man who stood for truth, justice, all that crap against the head of the very country he served. Lex was smarter as a businessman than he ever was as a scientist, and his schemes infinitely more successful.

But this is DC Comics, so it was only a matter of time before Lex Luthor strapped himself into a big restrictive green suit of armor. Goofy as it sounds, the Superman/Batman "Public Enemies" storyline saw the president shooting himself up with liquid kryptonite and donning the biggest, clunkiest suit ever - tailored for him in the firepits of Apokalips - in order to go toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel. Old habits and all that.

DC Direct finally gives us this shining monument to Lex Luthor's insanity in plastic form for Superman/Batman Series 3, also known as Public Enemies 2... deal with it. Based on the art of Ed McGuinness, Superman's greatest foe wears a suit of somewhat minimalist designs. It's got lots of expansive, uninterrupted surfaces, which can be harder to pull off in toy form than one may think. DCD pulls it off nicely for the most part, at least sculpturally-speaking. The figure is big like Hawkman, but here it makes sense. He's in a giant suit! Of course he's going to loom. His head is about as big as Superman's from the first series.

Speaking of heads, he's got two and they're both sculpted awesomely. Nng! His default head is chock full of crazy goodness, with the toothy smile and pointy eyebrows of a madman. He's hopped up on goofballs, and he's not afraid to flip out! I actually prefer the alternate head, which features a much calmer Luthor quizzically cocking one eyebrow, as if he's wondering just what he's doing in this ridiculous shiny green get-up. Both heads pop on and off fairly easily considering the neck is nestled way down in that ridiculously high collar. The swtich is simple if you can actually get your fingers in there.

And what a shiny green get-up it is. The paint is mostly glossy metallic green and matte metallic purple. Since there are lots of large, uninterrupted expanses, consistency of color is key. For the most part the paint pulls it off well, but there are some errant marks here and there, beats a business suit particularly right smack dab on the front of my Luthor's bulbous chest piece, that kind of ruin the uniform goodness. The faces are both painted great, with multiple shades of kryptonitey green in his irises and nice, crisp black eyebrows. The Kryptonite he was freebasing was also mixed with Venom, the stuff that gave Bane his boost.

In the package, it looked like this guy was going to be a quasi-statue, so it was actually surprising that he has quite a bit of articulation throughout his bulky frame. Not all of it is particularly useful, but kudos for DCD for trying to include as many joints as they did in a figure that looks like this. This thing could have easily been a hollow rotocast husk.

Lex has a peg joint in his neck, a limited balljoint where each arm pops out of the triangular shoulder pads, limited balljoints in the wrists, a balljoint in the chest, v-crotch style hip joints, limited balljoints at the knees, and limited balljoints at the ankles. Limited balljoints seem to be the order of the day, but the v-crotch is more useful than most, and you can actually get some decent poses out of him. He's not going to make it against a ToyBiz Spidey figure, and he's not going to be sitting down, but he trumps most DCD figures in sheer number of joints. Oh, no waist though, but don't tell me you were expecting one - the balljointed torso makes up for it.

bringing new meaning to the term ''balljoint'' The shoulders look like they'd be immobile, but not so! Each one actually moves in a "cross-shaped" track, like the chest joints in Marvel Legends 1. The chest of the armor is a perfect sphere, so you can even rotate the shoulders around a bit, allowing Lex to raise his arms. Nice!

Other than the aforementioned interchangeable head, Luthor's only accessory is the standard Superman/Batman base. It's not too bad considering what a package-filler this guy is (he's got a lot of heft to him) but I would have liked to see something else. Maybe a removable forearm blade for stabbing Batman, or some of the pop-up armaments seen in E McG's design sketches for the armor? Alas, no. Still, I'm surprisingly pleased with how this guy turned out, and given my recent disappointment with DCD in general, that's saying quite a bit.


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