CREDITS: Written by Mark Millar; art by Aluir Amancio and Terry Austin.
REVIEW: This issue has a lot going on, and makes you think it's about a replacement Superman based on Rob Liefeld's Supreme who turns out to be Metallo in disguise, until you realize it's actually about Lex Luthor and why he hates Superman so much. And while all the Superior Man stuff gets the reader's attention, it's really the Luthor character study that makes the story rise above even mainstream Superman tales of the era.
From the first page, I love Luthor's nonchalance when Superman delivers mercs armed with LexCorp battlesuits to his office. As usual, he's covered his bases legally. The untold stories then referenced put me in mind of the show I was promised and didn't really get, in which Luthor is a much more nagging thorn in Superman's side, week in and week out. He certainly has the budget for it. But it's the ending that really does it. After Metallo is exposed and turns against Lex, Superman asks an important question: Why do you hate me so much? We flash back to Lex's childhood when he was already planning his business empire, and the tower from which he would look down on Metropolis, and everyone else... would look up at him. Cue Superman flying above, in the face of that childhood ambition. Is that as glib as "you made me bald"? It might be, but there are subtle hints that Lex learned he needed power over other people at a young age - he doesn't want to play baseball with other kids which he might have experienced as a bullying environment, and his father is seen with a bottle in his hand.
Superior Man may be Metallo under synthetic skin, but he's really Lex's proxy, a superior man dethroned by somehow who isn't actually a (hu)man. And rather than learn his lesson and quit spending billions of dollars on destroying Superman, these events only affirm that he should be spending more. Lex is superior only in the amount of hate he can muster.
REREADABILITY: High - Superman vs. anti-Superman is nothing new, but this issue hits a home run by saying something important about Lex Luthor.