Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Smallville season 10 Fantasy: President Lex Luthor

I had posted this on the fan community site, Kryptonsite.

I believe that upon Lex Luthor's return in season 10, the writers need to either draw the roadmap of his journey to the oval office, or show him assuming the presidency.

I have three reasons for this:

1) It completes Lex's Arc.
2) It sets Lex up as an antagonist worthy of superman, and fulfills Dr. Fate's prediction that he'll be his "greatest adversary".
3) It's more current than Lex's traditional power base of a megacorporation.

The completion of Lex's Arc
The series finale must be a notch greater than the usual predicted vision of showing superman flying in his tights, and showing Lois Lane's cover story. It needs to show Lex completing his journey as well.

Most fans think of Smallville as Clark Kent's journey, and it is that, but it is also more. It's the formation of the superman universe. Season 1 and 2 of smallville where set up as a comparative study between Clark and Lex, with Lex getting many storylines independent of Clark. What they had in common was friendship, and strong [albeit different] father figures, tremendous talent, and they were on their way up. The ladder they were climbing was different though, Lex was climbing the ladder of power, and Clark was climbing the ladder of influence.

In episode 1x06, "Hourglass", a woman predicts the futures of Clark and Lex, or rather, she sees them. Clark's future is one of great influence, she tells him she's seen him many times before, saving other people. Lex is seen as president of the united states, surrounded by death. Her predictive powers, in this show, are shown to be absolute. He needs to become president. I suppose the death surrounding him could be due to his failed defense of Earth during Darkseid's invasion, but that can be left to fanfiction.

Lex's dream in Smallville is to step out his father's shadow. To be his own man. In seasons 1 and 2 he sets up LexCorp, and helps the plant employees buy out their plant. He sets up Cadmus labs to investigate the meteor rocks independent of his father. He eventually assumes management of LuthorCorp, when his father goes to jail, and he keeps it through continued blackmailing of his father. He eventually kills his father, to step out of his shadow. How can he step out of the shadow of one of the world's most connected businessmen? He cannot do it by becoming one of the world's most connected businessmen, as he has in the comics. Pretty much the only way up is the presidency.

In the pivotal Lex episode of the series, 5x09, "Lexmas", Lex chooses the path of power. The presidency is the office that best personifies power.

It sets Lex up as an antagonist worthy of superman, and fulfills Dr. Fate's prediction that he'll be his "greatest adversary".

Clark's main adversaries thus far in the series:

A) Lex and Lionel Luthor - corporate executives
B) Brainiac - Artificial Intelligence
C) Davis Doomsday - Ultimate Soldier
D) Major Zod - General

I can think of no greater power base that one-ups the above occupations and power base than that of president. First, it directly incorporates the power bases of A and D. The government is in many ways just the largest corporation, and it has several generals working for it.

It has many great minds working for it, none as great as Brainiac's but it doesn't suffer Brainiac's and Davis' biggest weakness - they worked alone. There is no banishing the president to the phantom zone, there is no burrying the president underground and there is no having the legion capture the president and send him to the future for reprogramming. Smallville has hinted that Superman will suffer in his quest for public acceptance because he's an alien. The legion told him in season 8 that he was the one responsible for bringing acceptance to alien. In 8x15, Infamous, we see an alternative reality where he is rejected, and it's a probable eventuality. Clashes with the president will never help his public image, even if the president is unpopular.

In order to withstand a Luthor powerbase enshrined in the oval office, he will not just need the brawn to fight billion dollar military machines, he'll need to win the hearts and minds to appeal the public, to keep their trust, and the brains to keep those two goals in harmony.

It's more current than Lex's traditional power base of a megacorporation

Superman was written in and is a product of the 1930s, in the era where companies made things but the economy was run into the ground by robber barrons . 75 years later, the economy has again been run into the ground by robber barrons (they're called banksters now), but there are no longer many American companies that make things. The sectors in the USA that do, such as pharmaceuticals, software developers and defense contractors, do so almost entirely because of the pork barrel and protectionism they receive from Washington, not due to the ingenuity of their CEOs. Lex Luthor, supervillain and CEO, does not make sense in a world with no Henry Fords.

By and large, the government has become the central processing unit of American capitalism, and it is responsible for a disproportionate amount of the good and the bad going on. It is a logical powerbase for a supervillain.

There are a few responses to this. The first, and weakest, is that 2011 (season 10) is not an election year. Whatever, if they don't show Lex winning the white house they can show him running seriously. Additionally, it's a parallel universe, so maybe they're having elections in 2011.

Another one, more substantial, is that the president is perhaps just a lackey of the system, a figurehead, and that neither Bush or Obama have any power. That is true, they are both expert followers of the wind. I do not believe Lex Luthor would be that kind of president. I think he would be the smartest man in the room, the most well-connected, and that would allow him to access the constitutional powers of his office in a way that recent presidents have not been able to. A good example of this would be Cheney. I believe Lex would command authority in the office, he already knows the generals from his work as a defense contractor, and he already has some connections in Washington.


  1. I read your President Lex one on K-Site, and I would agree that it would be very interesting. However, one fact remains, you can't have Lex be the president yet.

    It will ruin the set up. He can only be the president after the age of 35, plus, I don't see the big deal of making him the president without regarding the entire set up that it would take.
    Even a billionaire like Lex can't spontaneously become the president. There would have to be a lot of episodes with him building up to becoming the President.

    Far more than Michael is willing to be on. :)
    It would literally stress the bounds of common sense and logic to have him suddenly become the president.

    Also, let's face it, just because Clark Kent is a nice guy doesn't mean he won't remove Lex to prevent his insanity becoming President.
    I really don't see Clark on Smallville standing by and letting Lex be president. He would remove him, in probably a not nice way.

    The man comes back from the dead, he should be open game anyway. :)
    Yes, I know, it's more than likely a clone they killed, but the clone thing is so silly.

    Not to mention impossible with our current technology...which is why I hate all clone stores that are set in the current year. :)

    I can say that it would be interesting to see him be President Lex, but it really would need a long, long arc, like 30 episodes or so. :)

    He can't just jump in the presidency.
    And again, Clark wouldn't let him. :)

    Superman may not kill often, but to prevent Lex from being president, I can see Smallville's Clark sabotaging his chances. :)

    To be brutally honest, the entire President Lex arc of the comics is really silly.
    I mean, Clark just stands by and does nothing while Lex runs and becomes President? Silver Age, Bronze Age, hell, even Golden Age Superman would pull no punches to stop Lex Luthor from being president.

    Even if Lex chose the death of Superman days in order to run, it still doesn't make a bit of sense.
    Really, I hate to say it, but I would make a better president than Lex. For one, I'm not almost literally insane, I'm not a sociopath, and to round it all up, I'm not a criminal mastermind.

  2. Long post continuation is long.

    There are many things I hate in the modern era of Superman, his being able to be knocked out by me of all people is one of them. :) He's almost that weak... :(

    At least the Bronze Age Superman was more of a normal type. He was weaker than the Silver Age, but he could hold his own against anything Modern Age fought.

    Lex Luthor was in the beginning a mad genius, but he hardly wanted to become the President. He wanted to conquer the world. But still.

    I would like to see the arc, but again, it needs to be fleshed out in a long arc. Not 7 episodes, not 4, not even 18. It would take a long time for Lex to become President.

    Plus, are we forgetting about Chloe? Lex tries to become President and she'll lob a Davy Crockett at his head. :)
    One of the smallest nuclear weapons ever built, the Davy Crockett was developed in the late 1950s for use against Soviet troops had war broken out in Europe. Small teams of the Atomic Battle Group (charged with operating the device) would be stationed every few kilometers to guard against Soviet attack, using the power of their nuclear artillery to kill or incapacitate advancing troop formations and irradiate the area so that it was uninhabitable for up to 48 hours, long enough to mobilize NATO forces.

    Please do not look directly at the blast. Also, if you're about 2000 feet away, you'll be fine. okay, you might be sterile, but still.

    Trust me, Chloe wouldn't stand for Lex to be President, and Oliver, with his vast resources wouldn't let him either.

  3. DavidB,

    I'm not too concerned about the age 35 thing, though I guess it might bother many people. It's a parallel universe, maybe it's 25 in their world. If it is that big a concern, I think it would be satisfactory to have him run for Senator or Governor.

    I don't think Clark would kill Candidate Lex. He can't, not this version of Superman :P He doesn't kill. Not only can he not emotionally or psychologically, but he cannot as it's not destiny. We've seen that it's destiny, in my opinion firm destiny, for Lex to become president. We saw it in "Hourglass" and if I recall correctly we saw it in Lexmas.

    Chloe is a better counterargument. Somehow she won't stop Lex from becoming president. It could be that she dies at the end of the season. I think something very different, I think she would support candidate Lex. Lex would make a better president than you think imo, he is well-connected and intelligent, and he understands the business world. I think his anti-alien, "Earth-first" platform would appeal to Chloe Sullivan, this is the same Chloe Sullivan who is stockpiling weapons made of green kryptonite.

  4. Clark can kill, he has the potential, but I can assure you right now that Chloe will not let Lex be president as long as she is breathing.

    Same with Oliver.
    And it may be destiny in the comics and all, but I really don't see it being done on Smallville. Sorry.

    I grant you that it would be interesting. But no, it cannot happen. For reasons I have already explained.