Lex Luthor is Superman's arch-rival, but he'll become his "old friend" Bruce Wayne's problem in January 4's Batman #119 (opens in new tab). As seen his this five-page, fully lettered preview by writer Joshua Williamson, artists Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto, and Mikel Janin, and colorist Tomeu Morey, Lex is now in charge of Batman, Inc. to the surprise of the world's greatest detective.
The preview even features an appearance by Alfred, in a flashback to the day Bruce decided to become a Batman to strike fear in Gotham City's criminal underworld.(opens in new tab)
Batman #119 is part 2 of 'The Abyss' story arc and itself titled 'Old and New Enemies,' playing on the fact Bruce lost the Wayne family fortune in 'The Joker War (opens in new tab),' and has even left Gotham City following the more recent 'Fear State (opens in new tab).'
"There's a scene in Batman #119 with Bruce and Lex," Williamson tells Newsarama. "The conversation is about how Batman is broke; Batman doesn't have money anymore. It's essentially Lex taunting Bruce, and just poking at him; trying to crack the Bruce exterior.
"Bruce is trying to be Bruce, but Lex is doing everything to piss him off; he wants the Batman to come out."
Check out a preview of the beginning of their encounter, along with a couple of unlettered preview images from Batman #119:
Williamson revealed to Newsarama that this was actually the first bit of his Batman run that he figured out, and wrote - outside of the Abyss and Batman Inc. elements presented in the recent first issue, Batman #118 (opens in new tab).
"There's a part where Lex talks about Bruce not having any money - even joking about his clothes and him needing a tailor," says the writer. Then he starts talking about Nightwing - 'I heard Dick gave away the butler's money to charity. That's what finally gets the Batman to come out - 'Don't talk about my kid like that."
Williamson explains that he's leaning in on Lex's affluence - even his past as a former US President.
"It also brings Batman back into the DCU," the writer explains. "So if I reference that, and what happened in Scott Snyder's Justice League run in the past couple years, I can show the other pieces of Batman outside of just the Bat-family corner of things."
Jock has drawn the primary Batman #119 cover along with a variant, and he's joined with variants from Dan Hipp and Francesco Mattina. Check the variants out here:
Batman #119 also features the backup story 'They Make Great Pets' by writer and artist (and letterer) Karl Kerschl and colorist John Rauch.
Batman #119 goes on sale on January 4.
Keep track of this and all the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2021 and beyond.