Lex Luthor makes his first appearance in this book in Batman 293 (Nov. 77), the third installment of “Where Were You on the Night Batman was Killed?”, by Reed, Calnan and Blaisdel.
Lois Lane has a cameo as well, and Luthor wears the most garish outfit he ever has, as he explains to Two-Face and the court how Batman was merely a sidelight in his plot to kill Superman.
Using a satellite and a gang to lure Batman into the right location, Lex Luthor claims to have switched the minds of Superman and Batman, leaving Superman in a powerless and vulnerable body.
Then, using his amped up gloves, Luthor beats Batman to death, in order to kill Superman.
Unlike the previous two stories, we learn, from Superman, that all this did occur just as Luthor explained. At least, so far as Luthor knew. Batman had infiltrated Luthor’s gang early on, and learned the entire plan. He kept his eyes insulated from the satellite’s effects, so the heroes brains were never switched, and Batman only pretended to let Luthor kill him, with his suit also reinforced against the power gloves. Superman gives the rest of the villains present immunity (which is a darn good hint that something much bigger is really going on in this story arc), but takes Luthor away.
The storyline concludes in the next issue.
Robinson and Chang bring the Last Stand on New Krypton towards its conclusion in Superman 699 (June 2010).
Battles take place left right and centre in this issue. The Legion of Super-Heroes who are in the present: Element Lad, Sensor Girl, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, Tellus, Quislet and Chameleon Boy are fighting Brainiac’s drones and the various alien races from the previous issue. They are aiming to free Mon-El, although once again the hero frees himself.
They manage to retrieve Kandor, which Brainiac has shrunk and bottled once again, this time with Superboy trapped inside. Brainiac 5 and Supergirl take the city to expand it again.
Brainiac is too busy to stop them, being all caught up in a fight with Zod.
Luthor, never one to miss an opportunity for destruction, chooses a bottled city at random and enlarges it while it is still on Brainiac’s ship.
As the issue ends, the enlarging city rips through the hull of the ship, which is located directly above the restored Kandor.
The story concludes in the final issue of Last Stand of New Krypton.
Superman returns to his own book with issues 698 (May 2010), as the Last Stand of New Krypton pits him and Mon-El against Luthor and Brainiac in a story by Robinson, Pina and Chang.
Brainiac has sent robotic drones to New Krypton, slaughtering the citizens as Zod and Ursa try to determine how to strike back.
Superman is being held captive aboard Brainiac’s headship, and Mon-El comes to the rescue. But before he reaches the hero he has to face much nastier versions of Brainiac’s classic pet Koko.
Brainiac tries to draw all the knowledge Superman has gained about New Krypton, but the hero manages to break free of his restraints.
Mon-El winds up not only fighting against the white apes, but also the four alien races from the 1960s origin of Ultra – The Multi-Alien. The telepathic aliens in one of Brainiac’s bottle cities send out a plea for help.
But before they can do anything about the bottled cities, Superman and Mon-El have to face a horde of killer robots.
The story continues in the next issue of Adventure.
The battle between Superman and Atlas just keeps going in the Robinson, Guedes and Magalhaes story from Superman 679 (Oct. 08).
Both Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen head out to watch and cover the battle between Superman and Atlas.
Lana Lang attempts to send Lexcorp troops out to help Superman, but in doing so activates a holographic program left by Lex Luthor. She has violated her contract. No Lexcorp properties must ever be used to help Superman, and Lana loses her post as CEO.
Jimmy Olsen spots a mystery man watching the fight from above, but the man disappears.
Supergirl arrives to help Superman, but gets injured by a ray that blasts down from a satellite. Superman sends her away for her own safety, which leaves him crushed by Atlas.
The story ends as Krypto shows up. To save the day?
The story continues in the next issue.
Vito Delsante, Julian Lopez and Javier Bergantino have a one-shot story that pits Superman against his old (70s) foe, Solomon Grundy in Superman 676 (July 2008). There seems to be a bit of a 70s revival in these issues.
The story has Luthor send his men after Grundy, finding him in the sewers of Gotham City. They later release him in Metropolis.
Clark Kent happens to be interviewing Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, getting his views on the modern heroes. This gets interrupted by a crazed horde running in terror. Green Lantern shoots into action against Grundy, but gets taken down.
So Superman gets some solo play fighting the marshland monster. One might expect Superman to do a bit better in this struggle.
But it does take the two heroes together to take down Grundy. Alan is sure he will return, he always does. There is a nice touch in their final conversation, as Superman reveals that Green Lantern was Pa Kent’s favourite hero from the Justice Society. But Superman preferred Starman.
The story ends with Luthor and Dr. Teng, and the creation of Bizarro. This is sort of implied to have some connection with experiment on Grundy, even though that makes no sense in the chronology.
Busiek, Johns and Woods share the penultimate chapter of Up, Up and Away in Superman 653 (Aug. 06).
Luthor has taken control of a Kryptonian warship he has uncovered, and is using it to attack Metropolis, and Superman.
Superman, while fighting back, throws at Lex his constant refrain about all the good he could do if Superman were not around, pointing out than in the year he was gone, Lex did nothing but prepare to attack him.
The Justice League, Justice Society and Teen Titans come to enter the fray, but Luthor has a energy dome sealing off Metropolis.
And though the Kryptonian warship has plenty of nifty abilities, it was not designed to withstand the powers of a Kryptonian under a yellow sun.
Luthor reconfigures the craft into a battle suit, and amps up its kryptonite power source, shooting high intensity kryptonite beams. Jimmy Olsen runs interference for Superman, who still manages to smash the craft, sending both him and Luthor plunging into the harbour.
The story concludes in the next issue of Action.