Lex Luthor Is Our Only Hope
One could argue that Superman’s arch enemy, Lex Luthor, is the most psychologically complex of all comic book villains. He’s like Bruce Wayne on meth, consumed by a hatred of Superman and waging his war with nothing but wits, money and gall. Lex is necessarily more complicated than villains who fight regular superheroes; Lex is fighting a god. Comparisons to Paradise Lost are dead-on.
The only thing I have to add to these excellent discussions is a realization I had while watching Superman: Doomsday. Lex is the only thing standing between us and Superman. Sure, Superman seems good and pure and benevolent… but that’s the crux of the problem. Everyone explicitly trusts Superman to do what’s right. No one questions him.
But what’s “right?” Appearances can be deceiving, and if your view of “what’s right” doesn’t conform with Superman’s, you’re hosed. All you’ve got is Lex Luthor: the only man wise enough to appreciate the peril of Superman and brave enough to fight him before it’s too late. Yes, Lex does some questionable things along the way, but the stakes are certainly high enough to justify his means. Superman’s very existence jeapordizes the freedom of everyone on earth. Lex is the hero, Superman is the threat and the rest of us are fools.