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Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Joe Bennett
Inker: Sean Parsons
Colorist: Hi-Fi

You know the oldest lie in America, Senator? That Dr. Pepper has 23 flavors

If you’re reading this review, it is probably not because you’re the sort of person who will just happen to buy a 20oz bottle of Dr. Pepper and then decide to redeem the code on the bottle to unlock a digital comic (using some app called Blippar). No, if you’re reading this review, you’re probably a comic fan who visits Batman News for its world-class comic reviews and frequent whispers of all things Batman. And if that’s you, then let’s be honest: you aren’t expecting much out of these Batman v Superman prequel comics. And if you’ve never read a comic before, stick around or head to the end of this review. I’ve got a few recommendations of recent titles that do Lex a bit more justice than a Dr. Pepper marketing campaign.

If man won’t kill god, the Dr. will do it

This wasn’t bad. It wasn’t particularly good, either, but it was much better than I was expecting for a movie tie-in comic. Lex Luthor’s attitude towards Superman gains a bit of nuance that is missing from the trailers for the film, and while he’s still an arrogant egomaniac, his reservations about the Man of Steel seem more intellectually honest than even Batman’s (at least according to what we’ve seen so far in trailers).

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The red cans are coming

The art is pretty average. The figure and facial work isn’t bad, but there are a few funky panels. And the layouts aren’t particularly inspiring, either. There are too many shots of Lex’s face in closeup, and most of the time, the camera is aimed straight at the side or the front of its subject. I get that the tiny scope of the book presents a challenge to the artists, but I would have liked a bit more variety in perspective.

Spoiler

Dr. Pepper, on the other hand, is unquestionably refreshing. I don’t know if it actually has twenty-three flavors, but I have tasted it at least twenty-three times in the past year, and there is no denying its quality. Is there a Dr. in your house?

Recommended if…

  • You want to know a (teensy, tiny, itty-bitty) bit more about Lex Luthor’s character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • You want to make up your own Dr. Pepper/Lex Luthor crossover jokes.
  • You bought the 20oz anyway and you don’t mind installing a viral marketing app on your phone.
  • You saw the Batman News article announcing these prequel comics and you don’t mind clicking through a photo gallery.

Recommended elsewhere…

If you want to see some interesting takes on Luthor in the comics (well, the other comics–the ones that people who read comics read when they aren’t reading comics that come with a soda bottle), here are a few of my recent favorites (but he’s been around forever–if you dig these, there’s a long history). You should be able to find these (and lots of other comics) in your local library, or on the cheap at secondhand book stores.

Overall

Don’t go into this expecting too much. It’s a free digital comic that you get for buying a bottle of soda. Enjoy the soda. And when you’re done, give the comic a read. It hasn’t got the substance I expect in a quality comic book, but it’s enough like the real deal that you can tell the resemblance. This is pretty much the Diet Dr. Pepper of comic books. And some people like Diet Dr. Pepper, right?

SCORE: 5/10