There have been many versions of Lex Luthor throughout the years; scientist, businessman, over the top, genius. He has been adapted and changed throughout the ages, with various successes and failures peppered in between.
I think though, that the Lex Luthor of Lex Luthor: Man of Steel gives you one of the greatest, if not the best, ways to look at the character.
The Lex Luthor of this story is a beautifully complex man. He sees Superman, not a possible savior, but as a dangerous alien who might turn on humanity any day. However, the way this is presented is truly unique and striking.
Every Lex Luthor I have seen has hated Superman yes, loathed him, or was jealous of the world's adoration of him. The reason for his hate has been from his own ego, his own quest for power, or hatred based on past actions between the two. This is the first time I found the enmity based on feelings for the world, not himself. This Lex despises Superman because he shows man's limitations, stops the world from advancing and becoming greater. And what's chilling is, in a way, the reader feels he's right. I won't go completely into detail about how and why because I'm sure new readers don't want an adventure spoiled for them.
Something I've heard complaints about for this book is the lack of explanation. Certain things occur and happen without a full backstory or step by step analysis. To me, that is a strength here. The first time I read the story, I loved it, but I had questions. I read it again. Things popped out at me that I had never noticed the first time, words suddenly had double meanings and hit harder than before, enough to shock me. The parts of the book that I had been unsure of were no more, because I was able to understand and draw my own conclusions. It's a blessing when a book let's you think instead of hammering the answer into your skull on its own.
The unexplained scenarios of this tale do not hamper the story. Full explanations would have taken away from it.
Another thing that must be touched on is the art. It is, truly, stunning. The style is one of which I have never seen before this artist, and I found it many different things at once. Beautiful, somehow realistic, horrifying. It's a privilege to look at honestly. Superman is drawn in such a way that I found myself afraid to imagine such a creature, as Lex, with his mindset, must be when he sees him flying through Metropolis. It added so much to what would have been an already fabulous plot.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone, any place, comic readers or not. It shows us a version of Lex that we can come to fear for his paranoia, respect for his sacrifice, pity for his unseen ego, and ache for his passion. We see Superman through different eyes, a very different Man of Steel. The text strikes a chord, proposing lessons and ideas that apply to much more than only Superman.
I have read many comics, from those proclaimed to be the greatest, to those that are pushed to the back of the shelf. I can truthfully say this is the best comic I have ever read, one of the best books I have ever read in my life. I hope everyone who has the chance to pick it up will, because it would be a shame not to.