Warning: contains spoilers for Future State: Superman Vs. Imperious Lex #1
In the newest issue of Future State: Superman Vs. Imperious Lex, Superman outsmarts Lex Luthor by using his own ‘Kryptonite’ to best him. The rivalry between Superman and his nemesis might be fierce in the main DC Universe, but their neverending struggle just grew a whole lot worse in DC’s future as Lex is prepared to make billions suffer to fuel his own greed.
After pleading to the United Planets for acceptance as a member, Lex is visited by Lois Lane. He welcomes her to Lexor, his new planet, with open arms as he puts a show to display how great it is to live there. Throughout their many conversations, it becomes obvious that Lex is just toying with Lois to approach his endgame. And that no matter what path it takes, he only cares about what will benefit him. The charade is broken when the United Planets’ survey team finds a rare crystal. As soon as Lex is notified, he orders the killing of the survey team so that he can secure the crystals for himself. In an instant, Lex drops out of their partnership, locking Lois in with his robotic assistant X-99. Threatening to starve her if she doesn’t agree to let Lexor out of the United Planets, Lex sets up his downfall. He is insistent on getting his clutches on all of the crystals as all he sees are dollar signs, missing the bigger picture.
In Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2 by writer Mark Russell, artist Steve Pugh, and colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., Lex’s greed shoots to the surface as he comes face to face with a devastated Superman at the scene of Lex’s massacre. Shocked by Lex’s actions, Superman tries to put an end to his tyranny. Yet, he is unable to as Lexor’s red sun dwindles his powers. Additionally, Superman is overtaken by an army of Lexor’s citizens. After letting his ‘minions’ take swings at the Man of Steel, Lex takes over as he exploits his suit’s strength and Superman’s weakness. However, this all changes as Lois punches Lex and saves Superman. Shortly after, they swiftly make their exit off of Lexor, but not without doing one crucial thing that allows Superman to beat Lex at his own game.
Superman’s greatest weakness is Kryptonite, being exposed to it can cause excruciating pain and can kill the Man of Steel. Over the years, Lex has regularly used the substance to balance the playing field against the Man of Steel. Now, Superman uses Lex’s own version of Kryptonite against him. Having released Lexor from the United Planets’ agreement and leaving the crystals, Lex believes that he’s going to be rich. However, as he celebrates his supposed win, Lex asks X-99 for the statistics on the Deuterium crystals. To his surprise, they’ve sold none as it’s revealed that Superman had synthesized the crystals. Superman’s use of Lex’s own Kryptonite is a fitting twist to end the two-part series.
By utilizing Lex’s greed, Superman’s selfless and heroic act provides the United Planets’ member worlds with synthetic energy crystals that single-handedly solved their energy crisis. Additionally, with Superman being the hero that he is, he doesn’t take any credit as he dedicates it to the lives lost on Lexor. Superman’s actions render Lex’s crystal stock useless, taking away the one thing that he values most. Lex is known for being a schemer, but Future State shows that Superman can scheme too, exploiting Lex Luthor’s fatal flaw, his greed.