DC Elseworlds: Luthor
Episode 1: Power
20 years ago…
Lex wears a Legion ring as he places his right hand on top of the pregnant belly of his current wife. A purple glow comes from his hand as he marvels at what he is doing. The glow disappears and Lex kisses the belly of his wife.
The day of labor comes as Lex stands outside of the private room. His wife is giving labor not in a hospital, but in one of Lex's labs. The baby comes out crying as the doctor holds it up. "It's a girl, Mr. Luthor," said the doctor. "What do you want to call her?"
"Vanessa," said Lex.
10 years ago…
Lex is holding Vanessa's hand tightly as he shoves her out of his penthouse. Vanessa pounds on the door, trying to get Lex to open back up. "Daddy, let me in," shouts Vanessa as her long red hair blows into her face. "You will thank me someday, Vanessa, but for now you must fend for yourself." Vanessa walks away from the penthouse, wiping her tears and readies herself for the road ahead.
Vanessa is now 20 years old. Her father, Lex, had died in battle with Superman. Vanessa could care less about Lex dying since he left her out on the street. Unlike Lex, Vanessa doesn't have a burning, misplaced hatred for Superman; she thinks of him as an asset.
When Lex was alive, he experimented on Vanessa while she was in her mother's womb. She discovered a few years ago that she can create pocket universes, giving her endless resources. Vanessa gave one of her pocket universes to the military, and since you can't place a price on a universe, the military overrides her account and puts an infinity logo on her bank balance. With infinite money on her bank account, she is the richest woman in the world.
Vanessa now lies on the beach, wearing a bikini with orange stripes. Her body is now in peak physical condition and her red hair stretches down to her lower back. Her blue eyes stare into the clouds above as she thinks to herself. "Imagine being able to fly, like Superman. My father hated Superman, but I want him." Vanessa sits up as she pulls out her smart phone and speed dials a number. "Yes, put me through to General Lane."
Later, Vanessa stands inside of a war room with General Sam Lane standing next to her. Vanessa is now wearing a navy blue skirt suit with matching low heels. Vanessa holds a can of Bolt Cola energy drink in her hand. The two of them look at a giant, digital globe filling the war room. "I called you here because I needed you to work some of that voodoo of yours inside of that pocket universe that you gave us. It's just an empty plain whenever you're not around, and the powers that be don't like empty packages." Vanessa takes a sip from her can. "Well, considering our contract, General Lane, I have to help out with the endless land and resource that I have given you. You will go back to buying weapons and spending unnecessary tax dollars without it, and I would be out of a job."
"Cute," retorts General Lane, "but we want something other than weapons this time."
"Like what," asked Vanessa.
"It's a pocket universe, right? You made it, which means you can create life there, if you wanted to."
"You want me to give you super-powered soldiers, don't you?"
"If you wanted to, you could make them equal to or more powerful than Superman," said Lane.
"Aren't you getting a little greedy, General Lane," asked a suspicious Vanessa.
"It's called a contingency plan, Luthor. We need to be ready in case Superman ever turns on us, not to mention the reports we're getting on some gray skinned creature with bone spikes."
"Then why don't we go to the pocket universe right now, Sam?"
"NOW you answer my request," said General Lane.
General Lane and Vanessa now stand in a white containment chamber with a smooth white floor. At the center is what seems to be a 20 foot tall purple vortex that is touching the floor. Around 20 soldiers stand nearby, on guard with their M-16 rifles. Vanessa steps forward, approaching the purple vortex. "All I want you to do, Vanessa is to step inside, create a few soldiers with Superman's level of power, and then send them out."
"Should I click my heels 3 times while I'm at it," asked a joking Vanessa.
"Just get in there, smart ass."
Vanessa steps through, leaving the normal world and entering an empty plain with a vast, purple ocean of what seems to be stars in the distance. Vanessa focuses now, trying to fulfill her current objective. In mere seconds, she sees four Supermen standing in front of her. "Hey Sam, how many did you want?"
"How many did you make, Vanessa?"
"Well, we don't want to overdo it. That should be more than enough for now. If the need arises, I'll just call you back."
"Then I'm finished here?"
"I suppose now you'll just go back to sipping martinis and sunbathing in your bikini." Vanessa makes a fake gasp. "How did you know," answers a sarcastic Vanessa. Vanessa and the four Supermen step out of the pocket universe as Vanessa is walking toward the exit. "One last thing, Vanessa; in this line of work, you might need a bodyguard. Lex had Mercy Graves; who will you hire?"
"Thanks for your concern, Sam, but I got that covered already."
Vanessa goes back home to her penthouse in Metropolis. She walks through the front door and slams it behind her as someone greets her. "Welcome home, Vanessa. How was your day," asked her Superman clone. Vanessa sensually takes his hand and the two walk toward the balcony. "I just made some Superman clones for the U.S. military. They want a failsafe in case the real Superman ever goes rogue." Vanessa and Superman stand on the balcony, looking out over Metropolis on the 8th floor.
Later that night, Vanessa stands in front of TV cameras as she hands out a giant check with 20 million dollars on it to the Metropolis Orphanage. Vanessa then notices a female in the crowd, wearing a brown robe and keeping her face covered with a large hood. Vanessa can see hints of blonde hair on the woman and can tell that the woman is watching her with malicious intent. Vanessa watches the mysterious woman with concern as she leaves the building.
Vanessa goes to a nightclub in town, being Friday night and all. She sits at a table by herself, wearing a blue dress with no back and blue sandals with her toe nails painted blue. She takes a sip of her red wine from her goblet, observing the people in the establishment. Rather than sit with anyone else, she prefers to be alone; not because she wants to, but because she is a Luthor. The people of Metropolis now see Lex as a criminal and they have every reason to. Lex had been selling weapons to terrorist groups and doing illegal cloning experiments to make his own army of Supermen to enslave the world, and to top it off, he tried to convince everyone that it was for their "benefit", but it was all for himself. Vanessa is keeping her distance because some people may not trust her simply because her last name is Luthor.
Vanessa looks up on the second floor of the club, seeing the young woman from before. She still wears the brown robe and hood, but this time she sees what might be lingerie under the robe. Vanessa is now becoming a little unsettled by this woman following her. What does she want? The woman in the brown robe walks out of sight and Vanessa decides to leave herself.
Vanessa walks through the streets of Metropolis at night, expecting to see a few sights before calling the limo driver. She passes by a clothing store before reaching a dead alleyway. A young homeless woman covers her head with a hood as she approaches Vanessa. "Please ma'am, can you spare a dollar?" Vanessa takes out a $100 bill and hands it to the homeless woman. "Thank you." The homeless woman then takes out a giant flower and sprays a purple gas on Vanessa, causing her to faint. The homeless woman then speaks with a faded New York accent. "Sweet dreams."
Vanessa wakes up, finding herself tied down to a chair. Her clothes have been removed and she wears nothing except for a white hospital gown. Vanessa looks around, seeing that she is in her penthouse by the balcony. A figure approaches her from her right and bends down. She sees a young woman with blonde hair and pigtails with white face paint and blue eyes. She wears a pink lingerie dress and no footwear. "Wakey, wakey, eggs and bacey."
"Harley? What's going on?" Harley Quinn pinches Vanessa's cheek. "Oh, like you don't already know, V; I'm here to make an example out of ya."
"And by example, you mean kidnap me and then take me home? You really are an idiot, Quinzel, bringing me home? You call that kidnapping?" Vanessa clearly expresses her anger and disappointment with Joker's girl, which she responds by slapping her. "Shut up! I didn't bring you here out of courtesy, V; I brought you here to watch as I burn your house down."
"I've been meaning to ask you. Why the outfits? Why am I wearing a hospital gown, and why are you wearing lingerie?" Harley puts her knee on Vanessa's leg. "I thought it was symbolic. You're going to be in a morgue soon enough, so I saved the coroner some trouble; I also did it because I wanted to play doctor, since I used to be one. As for my dress… it's holds sympathetic value for me." Vanessa responds with a witty smirk. "You? Sympathetic?"
"SHUT THE HELL UP! I'm here because of you, because of what you did to Mr. J!" Harley begins to cry hysterically as she recalls the events from that day.
Joker sits in his warehouse, drawing on some blueprints. He is deep in thought on his next scheme of terrorizing Gotham when Harley comes in with her pink lingerie and jumps onto the table. "Hey puddin', whatcha' up to?" Joker motions his hand to shoo Harley away. "Beat it, Harl; I'm working." Harley then motions with her hands a motorcycle steering handle. "Come on, Mr. J! Don't you want to rev up your Harley? Vroom, vroom!" Joker continues to work on his blueprints as Harley lies down on her back and caresses Joker's face. "Come on, puddin, we can terrorize Gotham tomorrow. Let's get crazy… well, crazier." Joker stops writing and picks up Harley, then drops her on the floor and goes back to work. "That bat-crazed harlot keeps getting in my way. I need something that will finally do away with her, once and for all. I can't be distracted for some hanky-panky with you!"
"But puddin', come on!" A bullet flies right through Joker's skull. Harley's face seems to move in slow motion, the sudden twinge of horror on her face as the blood begins to trickle down his head. Joker's body finally collapses onto the floor and Harley looks out the window of the warehouse, seeing Vanessa with a sniper rifle and wearing black ops gear. Vanessa runs away and Harley slowly crawls over to Joker's body. Her hand shakes violently from fear as she places it on his body. "Puddin'?" Harley begins to shed tears as she screams in agony.
End of Flashback
Harley cries hysterically as she turns her attention back to Vanessa. "Joker was all that mattered to me. Without him, everything else is meaningless. I wear this dress as a reminder, to celebrate when we got together and to remind me of what you did." Harley begins to choke Vanessa as she struggles to breath. Harley's eyes continue to shed tears as they are full of hatred. "I want you to suffer. I want you to beg me for mercy. A quick death is too good for you, Luthor; I want to take away everything you own, everything you ever worked for, and then when you have nothing left, I. Will. Kill. You!" Harley releases, allowing Vanessa to breath again as she coughs.
"You crazy bitch! No one cares that Joker died. Your boyfriend was a mass murderer and a sadist. I did my job by taking him off the streets. The funny thing is that you too were on my hit list that night." Harley squints her eyes a little in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Don't you get it, Harley? The U.S. military wanted you dead. I was supposed to kill you that night."
"Then why didn't you? You had no problem killing Joker."
"Because I felt sorry for you, Harley; I knew that you were another of Joker's victims. That's why I spared you that night." Harley's eyes open wide for a moment, feeling a bit of shock but then the rage begins to come back, even more so than before. "You. You. YOU! You killed Mr. J right in front of me, and now you tell me that you feel sorry for me? WHEN DID I ASK FOR YOUR PITY? I hate you, Vanessa Luthor; I will always hate you, for killing my puddin' and for stealing my dignity." Harley runs over into the kitchen and frantically searches through the drawers for a knife. Harley finds a meat knife and storms back over to Vanessa as she holds the knife in an underhand stabbing motion. "I said a quick death was too good for you. I'm going to make you bleed out as I burn down your house, and then I'm going to kill everyone in this damn town." Harley makes a hysterical chuckle through her tears. Vanessa simply growls under her breath.
"Crazy bitch." Vanessa head butts Harley and takes the knife from her. Vanessa throws the knife away as Harley begins to recover. Harley cartwheels and spin kicks at Vanessa, who grabs her leg and throws her into the wall. Harley grabs her head for a second before standing back up. She reaches into her dress between her breasts and takes out a silver lighter. She flicks the lighter open, the flame illuminating the dark penthouse. Harley smiles with psychotic glee. "You smell that, don't you? While you were napping, I filled the place with gasoline. I said I wanted you to watch as your house burned." Harley drops the lighter and the penthouse immediately catches fire. Harley runs toward the balcony with Vanessa tackling her. Harley just laughs as the penthouse burns behind them. "What are you gonna do, V? Are you gonna kill me, like you did Mr. J? You'll be doing me a favor; I just want to be with my puddin'." Harley's voice had calmed down despite the evil grin on her face. The flames behind them begin to flare up, and Vanessa puts her arm up in defense. Vanessa grabs Harley and shoves both of their bodies off of the balcony, falling to their deaths below. Harley laughs psychotically as the two of them make their fall.
"Who's the crazy bitch now, Vanessa? You just killed the both of us!"
"Not yet." A large, purple portal opens below them and the two of them fall in as it closes.
The next morning, Harley is put into a straight jacket as she is taken away, back to Arkham Asylum. General Lane approaches Vanessa, who simply folds her arms. Vanessa observes as the armored truck rides off, seeing the sorrow in Harley's eyes. "I thought you said you had a bodyguard, Vanessa. What happened?" Sam notices that Vanessa is still watching the truck as it fades from sight. "I had sent him on patrol in another country."
"A Superman clone?"
"If that's the case, make another one." Vanessa simply smirks at his request. "Come on Sam, where's the fun in that?"
"I'm being serious here. If Quinn was able to get to you that quickly, imagine what might happen next time."
"I'm a Luthor, Sam; I trained myself with the best fitness and self-defense instructors that money can buy. I'm far from defenseless."
"That doesn't mean you're invincible. Did Quinn bother you about something?" Vanessa looks away toward the now gone truck. "Sam, I knew she was unstable, but… I think Joker's death made it worse. I saw the hate in her eyes, Sam; hatred of me and hatred for everyone and everything else. Joker was all that mattered to her and I took that away."
"Personally, you did us all a favor. Joker was a public menace; who cares what Quinn thinks? Besides, she is as guilty as her boyfriend."
"Maybe that's the problem; no one cares."
"Vanessa, I'm not going to stand here with you and argue on morals. No one was willing to do away with Joker. In fact, he should have been executed a long time ago, but the eggheads at Arkham kept saying that he was criminally insane and wanted to treat him rather than lock him up, or send him to death row. Over the years, all he ever did was break out and kill more innocent bystanders. You did what no one else would when you took the assignment: taking out Joker once and for all!"
"I know, Sam."
"Vanessa, you are not your father. Everything that Lex did, he did only for himself, but you're different. I can see that by talking with you. You still care about others, and that's why you're better than him!"
Vanessa unfolds her arms and looks down at the hospital gown that she is wearing. She opens a portal and walks through, then steps back out in a silk nightgown. "Well, I had one hell of a night and would like to get some sleep. Unfortunately, my penthouse apartment was torched by Harley, so I'll just rent a hotel room for now."
"Do you need a lift," asked Sam.
"I'm fine. I'll just call a cab."
"Well then, see you."
Sam gets into his combat jeep and drives off. Vanessa speed dials the number for the Metropolis Cab Service and places her order. She hangs up the phone and waits for her ride to reach her.