COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN VOL. 5: PRESIDENT LEX

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

Superman Vol. 5 President Lex A Superman Vol. 5 President Lex BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on June 18, 2003
  • Original price $17.95
  • 240 pages
  • Cover by Tony Harris

Contents

  • The Why from President Luthor: Secret Files and Origins #1
  • Adversaries from Adventures of Superman #581
  • The Most Suitable Person from President Luthor: Secret Files and Origins #1
  • The American Dream from Superman (Vol. 2) #162
  • Where Monsters Lurk! from Superman (Vol. 2) #163
  • Soul of the City from Adventures of Superman #586
  • Metropolis is Burning from Superman: The Man of Steel #108
  • Tales From The Bizarro World from Superman (Vol. 2) #164
  • Lex Luthor: Triumph Over Tragedy from Superman: Lex 2000 #1
  • One or the Other from Superman: Lex 2000 #1
  • Where Were You? from Superman: Lex 2000 #1
  • He’s Heard The News from Superman: Lex 2000 #1
  • Lana’s Story from Superman: Lex 2000 #1
  • Help! from Superman (Vol. 2) #165
  • World Without Superman from Superman: The Man of Steel #109
  • Saints from Superman: The Man of Steel #110
  • Rocket’s Red Glare… from President Luthor: Secret Files and Origins #1
  • He’s Coming Mr. Lew-Thor! from President Luthor: Secret Files and Origins #1

Notes

  • There is a lot to say about this trade.  Some of it involving story and some of it involving the…mistakes made in how the issues were presented.
  • Let’s get the second one out of the way first with a quick history lesson in case you weren’t in the know.  As I have mentioned in previous editions of this series there used to be this thing called either the Triangle Numbering System or the Never Ending Battle System depending on who you were talking to.  It was a little triangle on the cover of every issue of the regular Superman books published from cover date January 1991 all the way to cover date January 2002 that gave the reader a road map of what order they should read the three then four then five then four Superman titles.
  • These were pretty essential through most of the ’90s but when Eddie Berganza took over as editor they became…less important as the creative teams wanted to focus on their own plot lines rather than producing what was ostensibly a weekly Superman comic.
  • In late 2000 this system was still firmly in place.  Which meant that there was a definite order in which the Superman titles of that era were to be read in.
  • I mean it was right there on the covers.
  • Which begs the question why…and I mean no true disrespect to the people that put this particular trade together…but why was Superman #164 (where Lex Luthor isn’t President-Elect yet) placed after the several pages worth of Adventures of Superman #586 and the entirety Superman: The Man of Steel #108 (where Lex was most definitely the President-Elect)?
  • It makes for a very confusing read.  One minute he’s the President-Elect, then he’s still President-Elect then he’s not President-Elect then he is again.
  • It’s kind of sloppy.
  • For those curious the correct reading order is Superman #164, Superman: Lex 2000 #1, Adventures of Superman #586 and Superman: The Man of Steel #108.
  • The reading order of this trade was a bit weird to begin with.  Many of the stories were taken from President Lex: Secret Files and Origins #1, which was more of a collection of stories and profiles than a special telling a linear story.  When you mix those with the stories from Superman: Lex 2000 #1 and it makes for a somewhat jarring reading experience.
  • Then there were the issues of Adventures of Superman where only two or so pages were reprinted.
  • This trade is kind of a train wreck at times.
  • Having written all of that there are some excellent stories in this volume and most of those are written by Jeph Loeb.  This is not a slight against Greg Rucka, J.M. DeMatteis, Mark Schulz, Karl Kesel or any of the other writers but as I have said and written a bunch of times in the past Jeph Loeb was my favorite Superman writer in this era so it makes sense I would favor the stories written by him.
  • One of the funniest elements about this whole storyline and era to me was the fact that I woke up on November 8th, 2000 and there was a definite President-Elect of the United States in the DC Universe but the same couldn’t be said for the real world.
  • For those of you that live in another country or are too young to remember or are too young to care or have managed to just block it out of your mind there was some level of controversy over who actually one the 2000 election here in the States and by some level of controversy I mean people were still complaining about it…well…now.
  • As to not bog these notes down with a real world history lesson there was some confusion about who won Florida’s electoral votes which led to several recounts and a legal battle that a month later decided that Bush won the electoral votes for Florida and therefore won the election to be the next President of the United States.
  • The President Luthor story was not without its own controversy.  There were a number of people that felt that Lex should never have been elected President for various reasons.  Oddly enough I feel the same way now that I felt then; it was an awesome story that followed the natural progression of the Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Lex Luthor.
  • He is a man that given his lust for power would eventually run for public office.  Sure you could have started with him running for Mayor or Governor but if you want to go for pure hyperbolic storytelling then you have him go for the highest office in the land.
  • And for the most part I think the various creators played with the idea rather well.  The stories following the election in this trade are some great examples of that.
  • I especially liked Superman #165 where Superman discusses the fact that Lex won the election with his fellow Justice League members. It was a great use of Superman’s membership in the Justice League to show what other heroes in the DCU thought of Luthor’s win.  Add to that all of the gifts he gave his friends and it becomes this action packed character piece, which is something that Loeb excels at.
  • Oh, and Rob Liefeld drawing the Aquaman chapter of that book?  Yeah, that caused a bit of a stir at the time.  It made perfect sense to me as Loeb and Liefeld had worked together on the Heroes Reborn Captain America series and Loeb was a big part of Liefeld’s Awesome Comics company.
  • There is a moment in Superman: The Man of Steel #109 where John Henry Irons really shines.  I ain’t sayin’ what that moment is.  Just…trust me.
  • If you ever want evidence that Loeb was heavily influenced by Superman: The Movie look no further than the final story from this volume.  Just the title alone is enough but the whole opening sequence is the type of homage to that version of the Man of Steel that I like to see.  It’s subtle and if you get it you get it and if you don’t it is still kind of funny.
  • Finally, I really don’t like the background image on this cover.  Bizarro looks…like a creepy stalker, not an imperfect copy of Superman.  (Insert Superman Returns joke here.)

To follow this particular line of trades follow the rest of the books in the series…

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