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DC has a new Batman - Lex Luthor

Batman #121 cover
Batman #121 cover (Image credit: DC)

Iconic Superman villain Lex Luthor has been called many things - Apex Lex, Mockingbird, The Kryptonite Man, President - but in 2022 he'll have a new moniker: Batman.

Batman #121 cover (Image credit: Jorge Molina (DC))

In the just-released DC March 2022 schedule, Batman #121's primary cover by series artist Jorge Molina gives a startling sight: Lex Luthor suited up as a Batman. This issue is the fourth part of the current 'Abyss' storyline, and while the story's name refers to a new Batman adversary, Lex is the bigger threat according to series writer Joshua Williamson.

"When we were first talking about ideas [for first Batman arc], I asked 'what if there's someone trying to kill Batman Inc.? Then I realized we've seen that - it's every Batman Inc. story. 'Oh no, what if Batman Inc. killed someone and now Batman has to deal with it?' I needed a bad guy, so I asked myself who do I want him to go against, who would be fun, and someone we hadn't seen Batman against much recently. I remember landing on Lex, and said to myself 'Yeah, I think I got this.'"

Batman and Lex will cross paths in January 4's Batman #119, with a scene that Williamson tells Newsarama was actually the first thing he wrote for Batman.

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Batman #121 variant cover

(Image credit: Jock (DC))

Batman #121 variant covers

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Batman #121

(Image credit: Jay Anacleto (DC))
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Batman #121

(Image credit: Lee Bermejo (DC))

"There's a scene in Batman #119 with Bruce and Lex," Williamson told 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."

Now, it seems Lex is wanting to get in on the Batman Inc. enterprise - he is a businessman, afterall. Take note of Molina's Batman #121 cover though - it's not just a classic Batman suit - it's a mash-up of the Lex armor first designed by John Byrne, with elements of the Bat-suit - especially the Bat insignia.

As DC describes Batman #121, this is all part of Lex Luthor's "dangerous master plan for Batman Inc." While the description refers to a new member of Batman Inc. joining the fold, the appearance of Ghost-Maker on the cover seems to lead credence to that Gotham hero being the new inductee - although with Lex, you can never tell what's up his sleeve.

Batman #121 goes on sale on March 1.

Keep track of this and all the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2021 and beyond.  

Newsarama Senior Editor Chris Arrant has covered comic book news for Newsarama since 2003, and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)