WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Justice League #25 by Scott Snyder James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Javier Fernandez, Alejandro Sanchez, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
There are some dark days ahead for the heroes of the DC Universe. The cracking and subsequent destruction of the Source Wall has released new dangers into the DCU, causing the Justice League to fight multiple battles on different fronts. A galactic team is in deep space patrolling the Ghost Sector in Justice League Odyssey, magic is running amok in Justice League Dark and the Legion of Doom is growing stronger by the minute in the main title.
Right when it seems the Justice League has gained a win by adding the World Forger to its ranks, the team get smacked with reality the minute it arrives back on Earth. While the Justice League was away in the Sixth Dimension, the magical imp Mister Mxyzptlk was creating havoc for Starman and Mera. However, a secret weapon utilized by Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom not only propels him into DC's Year of the Villain, but also sets up a new status quo for the Superman villain that eerily mirrors another villain's game-changing moment in Marvel Comics' Secret Invasion.
Lex Luthor Saves The World
Norman Osborn's claim to fame has come as the arch-nemesis of the Amazing Spider-Man. The man behind the Green Goblin mask is responsible for the death of Gwen Stacy, along with making the web-slinger's overall life a living hell. However, Osborn's ranking in the Marvel Universe's pecking order of villains took a dramatic increase during 2008's Secret Invasion, which featured the shape-shifting alien Skrull secretly infiltrating the superhero community.
With all eyes on the final battle between Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Skrulls, a fatal kill shot was landed on the head of the Skrull Queen. But instead of someone like Wolverine or Iron Man saving the day, the role of hero was filled by Norman Osborn. To make matters worse, news cameras caught footage of Osborn single-handedly stopping the alien invaders. Osborn was able to manipulate his new public approval rating into becoming the new Director of H.A.M.M.E.R., a replacement for S.H.I.E.L.D.
These events made the world believe Osborn was truly a good guy, leading to an era of the Marvel U known as the "Dark Reign," highlighted by Osborn forming a new Avengers team with supervillains. A similar scenario is playing out in the DCU for Lex Luthor, after he used Bat-Mite to defeat Mxy. As a newly-minted savior, Luthor made a public announcement revealing to the world what the Justice League did to Source Wall, and the upcoming death of the Multiverse.
Banking on society's fear of the unknown, Luthor urges the world's population to embrace its inner villain. He also sweetens the pot by dissolving LexCorp and giving up his multi-billion dollar fortune. Of course, we all know Luthor isn't really looking to donate his money to scientific research. "The Offer" is secretly being sent out to the villain community in order to give them the means to finally defeat their heroic rivals.
It remains to be seen if Luthor will rise to the ranks of a governmental director like Osborn, but so far he's positioned himself to once again save the world if Doom wins out over Justice when the cosmic judges deliver their final judgment of the Multiverse. And if Luthor is right, "Year of the Villain" may be a precursor to a DC-styled "Dark Reign."
Justice League #26 is on sale now. Justice League #27 releases July 3.