WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Wonder Woman #75 by G. Willow Wilson, Xermanico, Jesus Merino, Vicente Cifuentes, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Pat Brosseau; Action Comics #1013 by Brian Michael Bendis, Szymon Kudranski, Brad Anderson and Dave Sharpe; and Batgirl #37 by Cecil Castellucci, Carmine Digiandomenico, Jordie Bellaire and Andworld Design, in stores now.
Lex Luthor has sent his offers out into the world, hoping to incite the villains of the DC Universe and lead the world closer to Doom. He's evolved himself beyond that of a mere human, and he's looking to bring as many as he can over to his new world order. Now all the bad guys have to do is accept his terms to receive a significant gift that could help them take power.
While offers have been sent to characters across every DC comic in the month of July, it's still unclear exactly what Luthor is promising here. It's mostly been vague promises to the likes of Black Manta, Ra's al Ghul, Catwoman and others. Even Lois Lane received a mysterious package in Superman #13, but we don't know what it is.
So far, the only villain to actually receive a real gift is Shadow-Thief in the pages of Hawkman #14. His powers were greatly upgraded, allowing him to best Carter Hall easily. Now, in Action Comics #1013 and Wonder Woman #75, there are more powers being handed out to some of the world's greatest villains.
A Final Form Finally Revealed
Superman's latest nemesis gained a massive power upgrade in the most recent issue of Action Comics. For months we have known that Robinson Goode, the newest reporter for the Daily Planet, is secretly the villain Red Cloud. Under the employ of the Invisible Mafia operating inside Metropolis, Goode has gone up against Superman himself and proven herself to be more than a match.
Unfortunately for her, the Red Cloud's powers seem to be out of control, manifesting when she least expects it. Luthor comes to her with a simple offer that will not only cure her recent problems, but also make her even more powerful than she was before. As the issue comes to an end, we see that she has been completely changed by Luthor's intervention. But that's not all.
There appears to be more to Robinson Goode than initially believed. Luthor didn't give her new power as much as he unlocked abilities that were hidden within her all this time. The issue ends with him promising to reveal her full origin. With her new demonic appearance that gives her horns and an extra set of arms, could the Red Cloud actually turn out to be an alien or magical creature?
With the Power to Kill a God
Wonder Woman #75 saw Diana reunite with her mother and liberate her Amazonian sisters from the clutches of the evil Grail. However, the issue also saw Lex Luthor gift the villain Cheetah an instrument that can actually kill gods. With this new weapon in hand, she sets her sights on Wonder Woman and the Amazons.
The item in question is a legendary sword created by the gods called the God Killer. It was previously in the possession of Grail (and Deathstroke in the New 52) before Luthor stole it from her just prior to her defeat. Luthor gifts it to his acolyte Cheetah so that she can take her hatred of Diana to a new level and destroy the Amazons once and for all.
It's unclear what Lex gets out of this plan, especially since Cheetah is still in his service, but it could all just be about spreading as much chaos and destruction as possible. While Cheetah herself has not been upgraded with any new power, the God Killer has the ability to actually kill gods. Equipped with this sword, Cheetah will prove to be a dangerous foe to Wonder Woman.
These Offers are Contagious
Even when a villain doesn't receive an official offer from Lex Luthor, it still raises them up beyond their previous capabilities. In Batgirl #37, it is clear that the criminal community is aware of what Luthor is doing. Killer Moth is typically seen as a loser by heroes and villains alike. No matter how hard he tries, his general ineptitude at crime leaves him a laughing stock of the DC Universe.
However, things are different now. Hoping to make a name for himself and become worthy of one of Luthor's offers, Killer Moth has dramatically upped his game. In a fight with Batgirl, he shows off his vastly improved body armor and more dangerous weaponry. In the end, he proves far superior to Batgirl in their fight. He ultimately leaves her for dead, hoping to attract the attention of Luthor.
While the offer ultimately goes to a robot who is revealed to be Oracle, Killer Moth's actions could be far more dangerous that anything Luthor could come up with. If the bad guys of the DCU are motivating themselves to improve their game, even without an offer, that could make things a lot more difficult for the heroes.