Eisner award-winning Batman writer Tom King has a surprising yet logical suggestion for a new nemesis for the famous Caped Crusader that completely alters one of comicdom’s classic hero/villain rivalries: Lex Luthor.
Since beginning his decorated run on Batman, King’s tenure has seen the iconic hero face off against a host of classic and fearsome villains including Bane, The Riddler, Catwoman, Hugo Strange, and fearsome archnemesis The Joker. Debuting years following The Dark Knight’s original comic introduction, The Joker has remained a constant Batman nemesis for decades and their relationship has transcended the works of comic books and into film, television, as well as video games. Due to the Joker’s increasing popularity over the years, it’s no wonder that The Joker has often overshadowed other villains and become a constant for Batman stories. This has enabled writers, such as King, to find inventive new ways to expand and make use of Batman as well as his civilian alter ego Bruce Wayne’s rich rogues’ gallery.
A new angle that Tom King has proposed is Batman going head-to-head with foes outside of his own rogue’s gallery, perhaps a nemesis from another equally iconic DC Comics hero Superman. King (Batman One Bad Day: Riddler) took the opportunity to discuss his personal choice of Batman nemesis for Screen Rant at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
SR: If you had complete creative control, what other classic DC villain would you want to elevate to the level of Batman’s new nemesis?
Tom King: This has been done 1000 times, but Lex Luthor versus Bruce Wayne. I think, like, it’s always been brains versus brawn in the Superman books for 80 years. So brains versus brains. Corporate Executive versus Corporate Executive. Corporate secret life versus corporate secret life, right? Like they’re almost like evil reflections of each other.
Though existing in separate domains, a Batman and Lex Luthor rivalry is far from uncharted territory for DC Comics. While Lex is most often associated with the “Last Son of Krypton,” Luthor is a billionaire who has proven to be a major threat against Superman’s closest allies, chiefly the Justice League of America. Like Batman himself, Luthor is a non-powered individual who relies on his own intellect and business connections, only advancing to his weaponized war suit as a last resort. Serving as the head of multinational conglomerate LexCorp, Luthor often butts heads with Gotham’s own billionaire Bruce Wayne and his business Wayne Enterprises in the corporate arena.
A continuous Batman and Lex Luthor face-off has been decades in the making. While The Joker may often test the mental stability of his foe, the “clown prince of crime” is not a villain that tests Batman in both his superhero and civilian guise. Batman and Lex Luthor have come to blows in several crossover titles but Luthor has yet to truly make a significant mark in the Dark Knight’s mythos, which may all change in the coming months. With his hands in both supervillainy and corporate enterprise, there is no end to the threat Lex could pose to Batman.