"A Lex": Clark Kent pours himself a cup of tea inside the Daily Planet when suddenly, a piercing hypersonic frequency reverberates through the building. Dropping his mug, Clark runs up the stairs and shedding his work clothes before the cup hits the floor.
Appearing in "A Lex"
- Lena Luthor
Synopsis for "A Lex"
Clark Kent pours himself a cup of tea inside the Daily Planet when suddenly, a piercing hypersonic frequency reverberates through the building. Dropping his mug, Clark runs up the stairs and shedding his work clothes before the cup hits the floor.
Arriving at the White House, Superman finds Pete Ross sitting in the Oval Office, with President Luthor no where to be found. Apologizing for the painful signal, Pete stands and leads Superman into a nearby conference room. Starting up a projector, Pete explains that Luthor has been spending a lot of time in Metropolis lately, in anticipation of the city's 260th anniversary. He has been organizing the launch of the new Lexwing airplane, as well as planning the revitalization of Suicide Slum. Pete explains that not everyone wants the Slum rebuilt, including the group Caeloss. There have been threats, but nothing confirmed. Calling up a slide, Pete shows Superman a slide of a woman kissing Luthor at a public address. The lady was questioned and released as just an overexcited fan. However, a few hours later Luthor vanished, evading his bodyguards. They've been hiding it from the public, but the President has been missing for three weeks. Superman promises to find him.
Somewhere in Metropolis, an explosion rocks the foundation of a large building. Inside the basement, four masked men climb through the newly-formed breach in the floor. Behind them, and bragging about his genius, emerges a fifth man. He tells them that they are at the front lines of the next wave of social unrest.
Inside Caeloss's formerly hidden base of operations, Superman questions their leader about Luthor's disappearance. The leader admits that while Caeloss is against the development of Suicide Slum, they didn't touch Luthor. Focusing in on his heartbeat, Superman confirms that he is telling the truth. Superman's hunt for Luthor continues.
Inside a plant in Suicide Slum, the mysterious leader from earlier speaks to a group of gathered people. He tells them that no longer will the rest of society control them with their pointless rules and limitations. With his leadership, they will destroy the corporate system that oppresses them. They won't conform to society's pointless rules, they are free men.
In Rome, Clark and Lois have lunch at a small restaurant. Meanwhile, half a world away, a group of men gather atop a roof, near a rail track. Their leader pulls out a control and, pushing the red button, sends the train careening off of its track and towards the pavement far below. Back in Rome, Clark quickly tells Lois about something in Metropolis and has his clothes off. Zooming across the globe, Superman arrives in Metropolis, catching the plummeting train cars long before they strike the pavement. Landing on the street, the four would-be saboteurs scatter off of the roof, desperate to escape capture. Down on the street, Superman hears their leader and recognizes Luthor's voice. As Superman takes to the skies, the mysterious leader runs though an alley and, at a vocal command, jumps through the opening manhole cover and disappears. Superman zips around the corner and examines the ground with his x-ray vision, and is surprised to find the ground lead-lined.
Back in Rome, Clark talks to Lois about his Luthor encounter. After a brief recap of Superman's origin, Lois hugs her husband and tells him to have faith.
Back in Metropolis, the leader is enraged at his defeat at Superman's hands. He realizes that he has just encountered his own arch-enemy. Inside LexCorp Tower, Superman visits company-head Talia Head and questions her about Luthor's disappearance. Superman expects Lex to pay his company a visit, but Talia says that she hasn't seen him.
At the Lexair Hangar, the new Lexwing sits on the pavement. In the sky above the jet, a hawk with suspiciously mechanical eyes watches the craft below.
After attending a press conference with Pete Ross, Clark and Jimmy Olsen drive back toward the Planet. Suddenly hearing Luthor's voice, Clark exits the taxi and runs toward a phone booth, leaving Jimmy perplexed behind him.
Heading down into the sewers, Superman is inundated with a rush of water. Standing his ground, the water rushes past him. Crashing through the wall, Superman comes face to face with the mysterious leader, who introduces himself as Alex Luthor. Examining Alex with his vision, Superman is shocked by what he finds. Before he can do anything about it, Luthor calls up a hologram of the city and asks his henchmen who owns Lexcorp. One of his stooges mutters that Luthor owns LexCorp. Enraged, and yelling that he is the only Luthor, Alex pulls a gun and fires at the man's head. Superman catches the bullet, but not before Luthor can grab his computer and detonate the bombs that are surrounding his hideout. As he escapes down a side tunnel, Superman is forced to shield Luthor's two henchmen from falling rubble.
In Monaco, Clark and Lois walk along a beach together. He tells her about his encounter with 'Alex'. His x-ray vision discovered a nanite lodged in his brain, probably delivered by the anonymous kiss, which probably accounts for the amnesia problem.
Back in Metropolis, the Lexwing goes for a test flight around the city, when the spy hawk from earlier dives into the intake of the jet engine. As the engine erupts in flames, the crew inside begins to panic as the jet heads toward the water. It suddenly levels out and begins flying on a steady course toward Metropolis. The perplexed crew cannot see Superman carrying the jet from beneath. After landing the jet, Superman helps the crew from the plane, and shows them the shattered remains of the hawk. He suspects that the jet strike was merely a distraction. Superman turns his gaze towards LexCorp Tower.
Arriving in the tower, Superman finds 'Alex' working away on the computer. He turns around to face Superman, and explains to him that the computer virus he is installing will delete the digital identity of everyone in the city. He will free them all. Superman tries to explain that 'Alex' is actually Lex, and that he built this corporation. In shock, Alex violently denies it. Superman offers his aid, but Luthor refuses to hear it. Suddenly, Talia enters the room, with Lena in her arms. Talia explains that Lena is Luthor's daughter. Rejecting this, Luthor continues to argue, until Superman places the child in his arms. As Luthor falls to the ground, his wig falls off of his head exposing him as Lex Luthor.
Three weeks later, Superman walks with Pete through the White House. Luthor had the nanite removed by Dr. Raymond Palmer and is himself again. They have no idea where the nanite came from. Pete doesn't believe that Luthor remembers any of the ordeal, and they both agree that it's probably a good thing.
Inside the Oval Office, Luthor watches Superman fly away. He quietly speaks to himself that he almost had it, he was free. Nothing could ever match the feeling of that freedom he felt. With an outburst, Luthor hurls the wig across his desk. Speechless, he looks down at the floor, and curses Superman.
- This book was first published on January 9, 2002.
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