DC's Year of the Villain one-shot ties together all main evildoers across the entire DC Universe, painting a bigger -- and very dire -- picture of the terror to come. The issue showcases the rise of Leviathan, Bane and his assault on Gotham City, and many more evildoers plotting to bring down heroes left, right and center.
But in reconciling this issue with Perpetua breaking free from captivity within the Legion of Doom's chambers in Scott Snyder's Justice League, there's one villain who benefits the most -- Lex Luthor, who's now been turned into a stronger villain than ever before, thanks to his own death.
Solicits for Justice League hinted Lex would become something more, but what happens to him here is still a pretty big surprise. While the League struggles with the World Forger's plan to rewrite their universe from the Sixth Dimension, Year of the Villain sees Lex taking over the White House, running calculations with Brainiac and extracting key data from the mind of Amanda Waller. To top it off, he's divested himself of all his money, giving it to DC's major villains so they can level-up and kill the heroes they've feuded with for years. This chaos is what he and Perpetua needs to end this reality, but when Lex returns to his tower, the plans seem too be thrown for a loop as Lex blows himself up before Captain Atom can arrest him.
But as DC has hinted, he'll become the "Apex Lex" -- a predator unlike anything we've ever seen. He won't need those robotic suits anymore because he's set to become the cosmic herald of Perpetua, evidenced by her growing a Lex in an incubation tank of her own. She even calls him her "chosen son," which reflects how she's trying to fashion him as a true weapon after being betrayed by her children: the Anti-Monitor, Monitor and World Forger. It's clear Lex's death was part of some deal they struck to achieve perfection through this rebirth.
Th comic further teases a Martian-Lex hybrid in its appendix, which hearkens back to the Justice League story where it was revealed Lex had old memories locked away, where he found out his dad was part of a project where humans and Martians shared a genetic connection. With both species so intrinsically linked, Lex as this hybrid brings his rivalry with Martian Manhunter full-circle, apparently transforming him into what mankind was truly meant to be.
But we must also remember that Lex achieving his full potential here might be more than just him and Perpetua course-correcting reality. She may have ulterior motives of her own, as Justice League did show her secretly creating Earth away from the gaze of the Source, its cosmic judges and her own sons. Seeing as the plant was meant to be some sort of weapon, and she was making a secret army to take on these judges so she could live forever and even usurp the Source, Martian Lex may well be the ultimate soldier she requires for the battle to come.
So while he thinks he's going to be her chosen one, Lex might have miscalculated and may end up being nothing more than a pawn. He wants power and Perpetua wants a general, so it seems to be a perfect fit. But as we know with both of them, their lust to play god might not only see them turn on each other, it could result in the universe -- and the entire DC Multiverse -- being devoured in a galactic tug-of-war.