Often when the protagonist of a speculative narrative must struggle against an unfeeling world, that world is represented by a faceless conglomerate, a near-governmental corporation which seems to control facets of society wherever the character looks.
So in Stock and Trade, our latest genre fiction feature series, we’re looking at fictional corporations. Today, we’re featuring LexCorp.
As most superhero story canons, Superman’s story has many branches, and the official story changes frequently. In the 80’s it was decided that Lex Luthor wasn’t believable as just a mad genius, he needed some 80’s level greed to really make him evil. They made him a CEO, and put most of his power into the money and technology that the power over industry granted him.
In the current official cannon, Luthor started the business after graduating from MIT. As capital, he had the money he got when he took out a life insurance policy on his parents before sabotaging their car.
The company quickly began working its way up through many acquisitions, eventually acquiring an airline, then the Oil company to fuel it, and through that, the company began to have great influence over corporations and countries all over the world, becoming the ubiquitous entity we see in the DC universe
Though it was founded in blood, and Luthor might use LexCorp as a front for his many illegal deals, most of what LexCorp does is legal. It serves not as an example of the evils of corporate greed, but is itself a symbol of what’s wrong with capitalism.
Often the characters realize that it’s not Luthor that is to blame for LexCorp’s power. The blame lay with the system which allowed it to happen.
In the current storylines, LexCorp is suffering, however. Without Luthor’s guidance - he was ousted from the company some time ago, and most of the company’s failures have occurred under other CEOs, including, most recently, Lana Lang.
Conveniently, most of the holdings that LexCorp is selling off are being purchased by Wayne Enterprises, the company which was founded by Bruce Wayne’s father, and from which Batman gets most of his toys, but that’s the subject of another article.
This all ties into the Superman story neatly as a part of the greater Superman theme of power vs. intellect. Superman’s powers are basically magic, and most of the major villains are the same way, each one having some strange supernatural gift, which superman’s strength must overcome.
LexCorp is, in a sense, Lex Luthor’s superpower. He can’t throw people through buildings or control toasters with his thoughts, instead his genius business acumen is his weapon, and he wields it well. It’s this that is Superman’s true weakness, not kryptonite, but a shrewd and truly devious opponent
Come back tomorrow, when we’ll be taking a look at Omni Consumer Products. If you have an idea for a corporation we could feature in this series, let us know in the comments.