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Lex Luthor: Cornell’s Man of “Action”

by  in Comic News Comment

Things get hairy for Lex in this week’s “Action Comics” #893

Whodathunkit? Paul Cornell is delivering a monster DC Universe spanning epic story in “Action Comics” every month and Superman is nowhere in sight, let alone former “Action” headliners like Congo Bill and Tommy Tomorrow.

Nope. Cornell, the first person in the history of the Hugo Awards to be nominated for prose, comics and TV writing, is telling his opus with Lex Luthor as his leading man, and fans and critics alike are loving every issue.

Lex, for those living under a rock since his debut in “Action Comics” #23 in 1940, is Superman’s follically-challenged arch enemy. And while he possesses no superhuman powers, he has from time to time over the past 70 years worn a super-powered exoskeleton.

But that power surge is nothing like the one he experienced during “Blackest Night” when he briefly served as an Orange Lantern alongside Larfleeze.

Since then, Luthor has been criss-crossing the DCU in search of similar powers, along the way crossing paths with some of the biggest supervillains on the JLA’s most wanted list, including Master Mind and Deathstroke. Things don’t get any easier for Lex in the months ahead, either, as he’ll be facing off against Vandal Savage, Secret Six and Death herself.

But first, he’s got to face off with Gorilla Grodd. CBR News checked in with Cornell to get the definitive Tale of the Tape and the acclaimed writer also shared news about the upcoming “Action Comics” Annual #13 and how his story in the ongoing title ties into the incoming Jimmy Olsen co-feature by Nick Spencer and R.B. Silva

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CBR News: We wanted to ask you about the upcoming “Action Comics” annual, of course, but first off, this week in “Action Comics” #893, Lex is up against Gorilla Grodd – my all-time favorite supervillain. What kind of threat is Grodd for your man of action?

Paul Cornell: [The story is] about two master strategists playing against each other. Grodd is every bit Lex’s intellectual equal, and he won’t let him near his base, so something’s got to give. A battle of wits is always my favorite thing.

Looking ahead, which villains will Lex face in 2011? And will you get a chance to write Superman next year too?

I can only tell you that we have some stellar and strange villains ahead. I will indeed get to write Superman after this Lex story is over, and I’m really looking forward to it.

You’re obviously busy with “Action Comics” and “Knight and Squire,” but do you have any other projects coming in 2011?

I’ll keep on doing two DC comics a month as part of my exclusive, so there will indeed be something exciting after “Knight and Squire.” And 2011 is also when my novel comes out.

“Action Comics” #893 by Paul Cornell and featuring art by Sean Chen is in stores now.