It happened a little over two weeks ago. DC Comics announced that Lex Luthor would be joining the ranks of the Justice League as the new leader. I was intrigued. I always really liked Lex Luthor, not only as a villain, but as a character. I started chatting with my one of my fellow comic book geeks on his thoughts about this drastic change. We got onto the topic of villains in general. My friend compared Lex Luthor joining the Justice League to Norman Osborn taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. during Dark Reign. I thought it was more than that. I said that Lex Luthor was a more noble man than Norman Osborn, that maybe he actually has good intentions.
I look at Lex Luthor as someone who has always lived in the shadow of someone else. He is a genius, a man with unlimited potential. But his obsession with getting out of Superman's shadow drives him down dark paths. He has done some despicable acts, I mean really awful stuff. If Superman didn't exist, I believe Lex Luthor would be the hero of Metropolis and, to greater extent, DC Comics. This isn't to say Lex Luthor is a good guy.
As I talked to my friend something happened. I realized I was defending the villains. The bad guys that cause strife in the lives of millions. Why? Why was I defending these people who have done horrible things? People who have killed innocent people and put our heroes through hell? Well, I realized something. I identified more with these villains than I did with the heroes. 3 years ago I was the villain in my own life. I did some awful stuff: Manipulated friends and family, stole money, and other things I am not proud of. I bawled my eyes out. It was a difficult realization to have.
In the middle of high school I had a mental breakdown. I felt I didn't have control over my life. I blamed my fellow students, very much like Lex Luthor blames Superman. I was picking fights and isolating myself from my friends and family. But the only person to blame for my life spiraling out of control was me. I went to emotional rehab for about a year and a half and worked on myself. It was a lot of hard work.
But I believe I changed and am still changing for better.
A villain's redemption renews hope. No matter how far gone you are, you can still turn your life around, you can still start over, you can change into something you've always wanted to be. You can choose to be the hero in your story.
Your actions define you; past, present, and future. We all have regrets, mistakes we have made. We are only human after all. We look back and learn from them. We try to do better. Striving for greatness.
Lex Luthor may not be the best role model, but I hope he redeems himself in the coming months. All I know for sure is I am currently in the middle of my redemption story.
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