Action Comics Annual #13 is a bombshell. Writer Paul Cornell takes comic book readers down two memory lanes where the young Lex Luthor became an intern of Darkseid and, in the second story, an apprentice to Ra’s Al Ghul. But I must admit that to understand how these two stories play into Luthor’s persona that we know today, one may need some familiarity with the Superman saga.
In this annual issue of Action Comics, we see Lex Luthor in his early years, but with the same conceitedness and arrogance. Even back then, he was preoccupied with the idea of attaining ultimate supremacy. But just like any young man, Luthor still lacked the prudence and the far-sightedness that he is known for today. So, we’re basically seeing the hasty or even foolish side of one of the world’s greatest criminal masterminds. If you have been wondering how Luthor lost his hair, I think this issue started it all.
In the first feature, we see Lex Luthor in his very first meeting with Perry White, a newspaper reporter (who would later on become the big honcho at the Daily Planet). Their encounter will put criminal boss Bruno Mannheim in the picture, which will ultimately lead to Luthor working for Darkseid in Apokolips. Meanwhile, the second story gives us a glimpse on Luthor’s stint under Ra’s Al Ghul where Lex almost lost his life due to his unquenchable curiosity.
Overall, this issue dishes out a unique but very interesting style of storytelling. Paul Cornell is a very innovative writer. The art by Marco Rudy is also something to look forward to in this Action Comics Annual issue. His work has that retro feel, with a little dash of noir visual style which I like.