Lex Luthor becomes Batman … well, almost … in Batman #120

Update: DC shocked readers when it solicited March’s Batman #121. It suggested that Lex Luthor might assume the identity of Batman (see this story below).

Readers of Batman #120 (opens in new window) may be more shocked to learn that Lex is a Dark Knight one month earlier than expected.


Newsarama readers will see Batman #120 in preview. After Bruce Wayne is rendered blind and incapacitated during a fight against the new villain Abysss, Lex says that the world needs Batman. But he wonders if it really needs to be Bruce.

LexCorp Tower is allegedly infiltrated simultaneously by Abyss, and Lex decides to take matters into his own hands.

The full five-preview is available below. However, the preview ends at the image above. We’ll have to wait to see if Lex-Batman will make a full appearance in Batman #120.

Batman #120’s main story was written by DC’s all-guy Joshua Williamson. Jorge Molina has drawn it. It also features covers by Francesco Mattina and Dan Hipp. Karl Kerschel also illustrated the backup story.

Jorge Molina, series artist for March’s Batman #121, has created a striking cover that shows Lex Luthor dressed up as Batman. This issue is the fourth in the current ‘Abyss’ storyline. While the story’s title refers to a new Batman enemy, Lex is actually the greater threat, according to Joshua Williamson.

“When we first started talking about ideas [for the first Batman arc], my first question was, “What if someone is trying to kill Batman Inc.?” It’s all Batman Inc. stories, and we’ve seen it before. “Oh no, Batman Inc. has killed someone and now Batman must deal with it?” I needed a bad guy so I asked myself who I wanted him to fight against, who would be entertaining, and who we hadn’t seen Batman with in a while. I can still remember landing on Lex and thinking, “Yeah, this is it.

Although this idea of Lex-as Batman might seem like a one-off, subsequent announcements – including the’death of the Justice League storyline in Justice League #75 — suggest that Bruce Wayne/Batman is at least 90% likely to be killed by DC in April. If that is the case, DC will need to find a successor. Lex Luthor could be the man for the Batman position on an even longer-term basis.

Lex and Batman met in January’s Batman #19. Williamson told Newsarama that this scene was the first thing he had written for Batman.

Williamson explained to Newsarama that Batman #119 features a scene with Bruce and Lex. “The conversation is about Batman being broke. Batman doesn’t have any money anymore. It’s basically Lex taunting Bruce and poking at Bruce; trying to crack Bruce’s exterior.

“Bruce is trying out to be Bruce but Lex is doing everything he can to piss him off; the Batman needs to come out.”

It turned out that Lex was Batman Inc.’s primary investor. He swooped in after Bruce Wayne/Batman had lost his fortune in “The Joker War” arc.

Molina’s Batman #121 Cover is worth noting. It’s not a traditional Batman suit. It’s a mix-up of John Byrne’s Lex armor, with elements from the Bat-suit, including the Bat Insignia.

DC describes Batman #121 as part of Lex Luthor’s “dangerous masterplan for Batman Inc.” The description suggests that a new member of Batman Inc. has been added, but the inclusion of Ghost-Maker appears to suggest that the Gotham hero is the new inductee. However, Lex can’t tell you what’s up.


Batman #121 on Sale March 1.

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