WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for DCeased #5 by Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudiano, Rain Beredo and Saida Temofonte, in stores now.
The animosity between Superman and Lex Luthor is one of the most defining elements of both characters. Even when the world is on fire, the pair have been at each other's throats. While Superman is usually willing to bury the hatchet to deal with the crisis at hand, Luthor just can't help himself most of the time.
But in DCeased #5, Lex is finally faced with a catastrophe that forces him to bend the knee, bow down and honestly work with the Man of Steel: a full-on zombie apocalypse.
After stopping an infected Captain Atom, Superman and Wonder Woman look around at all the devastation that had occurred in the wake of their battle. When they attacked the zombified hero, he exploded, and the ensuing blast wiped out three major cities: Washington D.C., Baltimore and Metropolis. Returning to Metropolis, the pair find that the city is largely destroyed and the population wiped out. The only confirmed survivors are the people who'd been on the roof with the other remaining heroes, protected by Black Canary's Green Lantern ring, and two people wearing Lextech mech suits.
One of the two is Lex Luthor himself, who calls out to Superman. Superman initially expects the kind of nonsense that Luthor always pulls. But instead, Lex pleads that he doesn't want to fight. He literally falls to his knees in front of Superman. He doesn't attack him or blame him. Broken by the sheer scale of destruction and death around him, Lex seems to give up any ambitions of trying to beat Superman. In fact, he soon follows the rest of the heroes to the Fortress of Solitude, a place he would have literally murdered someone to get into before.
But even while working with the heroes to try and devise a means to save humanity, Lex can't help himself from acting up. While debating the merits of constructing arks so that humanity can try to escape the ravaged planet, Superman argues against it. He doesn't want to give up on the Earth. Luthor smirks and points out how "careless" it is for Superman to have now lost two homeworlds, and this gets him a swift punch from Lois Lane, who tells him that if he speaks out again she'll just have to keep hitting him.
However, Luthor's point about the arks seems to resonate with the other heroes, who help him begin construction on the project. Luthor isn't shown acting out again, even working alongside Cyborg and openly admitting how talented the young hero is.
However, this relatively happy moment quickly unravels when the Martian Manhunter, now himself corrupted, arrives at the Fortress. His first act is not to infect Lex Luthor, but instead, fly through him. This ends the Lex Luthor/Superman team-up, just in time for Flash and then subsequently Superman become infected with the virus themselves.
DCeased #6 is scheduled to be released Oct. 30.