Saturday, March 18, 2006
Lex Luthor's Desk in JLA: Earth 2
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's JLA: Earth 2 is the best part of Morrison's JLA run, a fantastic comic book. In a smart move -- one unfortunately not emulated by Marvel Comics for Morrison and Quitely's New X-Men -- DC comics released this as a stand alone graphic novel. It could have been part of Morrison's JLA run, which he was doing at the time, but the graphic novel form better accommodates Quitely's speed. I want to draw attention to a small but brilliant Quitely detail: Lex Luthor's desk.
Punch Drunk Love opens with a calm morning and suddenly out of nowhere a car crashes. The crash is not part of the story of the film; it is there to establish, as economically as possible, the universe of the film: you IMMEDIATELY get that this is a universe where violence can come out of nowhere and you begin to fear for your main characters (a brilliant way to jack up the stakes of the romantic screwball comedy, which is what Punch Drunk Love is). Lex Luthor's desk has a similar brilliant economy: this is the first time we see Luthor in the book and you look at that image, the cavernous room with the empty desk carved from an endangered redwood tree (we must assume) and you know EVERYTHING you need to know about this character: he is rich, wasteful, arrogant, powerful, has very good taste, and doesn't love anything (nothing personal is in the room or on that desk).