PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Lex Luthor is sporting a new title on his business card: Hero.
And, the way things are going in the wake of the Crime Syndicate's mayhem on earth, the erstwhile corporate titan and super hero-wary skeptic may find himself leading the Justice League, too. That would be much to the chagrin of some of its members, notably Superman whose visage is not among those featured on the cover of "Justice League" No. 30 due out April 23 and illustrated by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.
"Is he going to lead the Justice League? It depends on whom you ask on the team. Certainly, he thinks he should," said series writer Geoff Johns, who said the Justice League will have to rebuild its reputation and its dynamic among members Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Cyborg and former Flash rogue Captain Cold.
Hero and leader are new sobriquets for Luthor, a man better known for his wariness about costumed crime-fighters and super-powered champions.
Johns, who is DC Entertainment's chief creative officer, said this week that development will make for intriguing and unsettling events as the super group finds its place anew in a world wracked by the alternate-dimension Crime Syndicate from Earth-3 and the mayhem they wrought in the vast "Forever Evil" event that started in September and is heading toward its final conclusion this spring.
"The Justice League is going to go through a lot of changes, obviously, in the wake of 'Forever Evil,'" he explained this week. "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."
But amid the takeover, and the field day for the villains that went with it, Luthor seized the opportunity to become leader of the so-called Injustice League and a rallying point to reclaim the world from the Crime Syndicate's Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick and Atomica, Deathstorm and Power Ring.
Johns said readers will see "the post-'Forever Evil' world with the lines being a little bit blurry between good and bad and seeing what kind of heroes it will take to not just protect the world, but defend the world."
While it's not going to be a Luthor Legion, the team's dynamic is going to be tested with his presence and, Johns said, so, too, will he find himself facing different pressures commensurate with his new position.
"With fame and spotlight comes scrutiny and detractors," said Johns, adding Luthor is breaking new and unfamiliar ground.
"I think the most interesting thing is that Lex doesn't realize what it's like to be a super hero, 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," he said. "He has to deal with the ramifications of that."
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DC Entertainment is owned by Time Warner Inc.