When it comes to DC comic book characters, it’s a big Multiverse, and it’s growing every day. We’ve seen some amazing characters spring to two-dimensional life throughout the years, imagined into existence by talented writers and artists, and we thought it might be fun to occasionally spotlight some of our favorites here on DCComics.com. Whether it’s a hero, a villain or someone not so easily defined, these are characters that we’ve enjoyed getting to know, and we think you will too. Maybe you’ve met them already. If not, we’re happy to introduce you…
If you’ve been reading the digital first INFINITE CRISIS: FIGHT FOR THE MULTIVERSE, you’ve been treated to a fantastic new spin on one of our most iconic characters: Lex Luthor. Hailing from a DC Universe driven by Victorian-influenced steampunk technology, Gaslight Lex Luthor is a brilliant inventor who finds himself teaming up with an informal league of heroes from all throughout the Multiverse. But that doesn’t mean Gaslight Lex is a hero himself. In fact, at this point it’s hard to tell what he is. He seems to have our best interests in mind, but he’s also ambitious and morally complex. Plus, he has a mustache that’s just so perfect for twirling…
To learn a bit more about Gaslight Lex Luthor, we spoke with two of the guys who brought him to the page, Infinite Crisis: Fight for the Multiverse writer Dan Abnett and editor Jim Chadwick.
Tell us a bit about Gaslight Lex Luthor. How would you describe this guy?
Dan Abnett: He’s not so much of a villain as Prime Lex. He’s a genius inventor, and, I think, more inspired by the sheer wonder of invention than Prime Lex (who invents in order to be empowered). Alexander has a little more innocence about him. However, he’s ambitious and ruthless. He wants to do good, but it’s driven by self-interest. He wants to do good… but he’s bad at it.
What chapter did Gaslight Lex debut in?
Jim Chadwick: Chapter 13. It wasn't our first visit to the Gaslight world, but was the first time we encountered Alexander Luthor. Artist Freddie Williams II drew his first adventure and did a lot to reinforce his visual look in the comic.
How did he come together? Did you have him in your story, or were you given the design and asked to write a story for him?
DA: I wanted to include a ‘villain’ on the team simply to reinforce the idea that Infinite Crisis combines heroes and villains, and forges odd alliances because of the common threat. I chose Lex in when I saw the character design, and Jim was all for it. Freddie then developed his look further. The character, the manners, the Victorian inventor, grew from that, and I realized how much I liked him, and how interesting he could be. I think he should have his own series.
Jim, you mentioned that Gaslight Lex Luthor is one of your favorite characters in Infinite Crisis: Fight for the Multiverse. Why is that?
JC: First, there's his speech pattern. Dan's done a terrific job of setting him squarely in the Victorian-based Gaslight world and this sets him apart from any other incarnation of Luthor we've ever seen, creating a wholly unique character. I also like his ambiguity. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? We still don't know. He's very unctuous in how he addresses all the other characters, but you get the impression that this might be him feigning being humble. There have been enough glimpses that he's really a bit of a badass, in spite of his deferential manner. He fights these universe-threatening menaces right alongside the super powered characters, using only his intellect and his steampunk technology and he never flinches.
How does Gaslight Lex Luthor differ from the DC Universe version of the character?
DA: Less obviously ruthless or cruel, and less pompous, I think, or as spiteful. But absolutely not to be underestimated. You do not want to get in his way.
So if he were to come up against the regular DC Universe version of Lex Luthor, who do you think would have the upper hand?
JC: Tough one. DC Universe Luthor seems genuinely more ruthless. But I also think he might underestimate his Gaslight world counterpart, which would be a serious mistake and might give our Luthor the upper hand.
What’s in store for Gaslight Lex going forward?
DA: He has a major role in this story arc, and it will answer the question… is he a hero or a villain? Then again, is he just a very ruthless genius who wants to take control of the world? There are a few of those about, and none are more capable than Alexander.
Look for Gaslight Lex Luthor in the current Infinite Crisis: Fight for the Multiverse storyline, which continues this week in Chapter #26.