Comic books hold no inherent good or evil. However, people do, and occasionally they have evil thoughts. Lex knows about evil thoughts because Issue number 48 is obscuring his evil thoughts from view right now.
If Lex had laser vision he could smite the intruder, but that might singe the pages of his comic book. So instead Lex will just think lots of evil thoughts like Devilicus did when he got telekinetic powers in Issue number 26, and hope that he doesn't suddenly sprout the ensuing horns.
At least Lex is justified.
Here he is, sprawled in his office chair reading about Warrior Angel trying to thwart the Evil Zrog who's in league with Devilicus, and someone is lurking in the doorway distracting him. It's his extra-sensory perception coming to the fore, he's certain of it. Besides, it's a Saturday, and his father is in Metropolis and Enrique is off doing whatever he does. There is only one person who has any right to lurk in any doorway in this castle. If it is not Clark Kent, someone will be smote, or vaporized, or a bunch of brain-sucking starfish will fall from a trapdoor in the ceiling and take care of the problem.
"Am I disturbing something important?" Lex can hear the smirk in Clark's tone, but he's going to ignore it because this is the really good part where Devilicus plans to double cross Zrog and make off with his daughter, Periodonta. It doesn't matter that Lex has already read this series fifteen times, or fifty times. Each time he picks up on something new. That's the great thing about comics.
"Whether or not you're disturbing me depends on what I can do for you, Clark." Not that there's anything Lex wouldn't do for Clark, but did he have to show up now? Lex hardly ever gets to read his comic books anymore, and today he was planning on reading all the way through to the latest issue, number 179 where Devilicus is holding Warrior Angel captive in the Alabamus dimension.
"Did you need something in particular?" Lex inquires, hoping his tone is more obliging than he's feeling.
"No, I was just in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by." Right, because Clark lives so close by. Actually, Lex shouldn't be so cynical. Warrior Angel once said that cynicism was the sign of a closed mind. Lex doesn't think his mind is closed; it's just picky. However, no part of Lex is so picky that it can't see the good in Clark shedding his jacket, and sitting down across the desk from Lex. God, Clark has legs that go on forever -- just like Henry Constantinople, a sometime associate of Warrior Angel. Except that Henry Constantinople is like eight feet tall and from the Planet Tick. And he's blue, with a tiger tail, but if it doesn't bother Warrior Angel then it doesn't bother Lex.
Besides, Lex bets that Warrior Angel never had thoughts about Henry Constantinople, but that could just be because Henry is a hermaphrodite.
"Do you mind if I read one?" Clark says, reaching for Lex's stash with that smile that could blind Lex and half the galaxy. What Lex needs for occasions such as these is a eye guard, like the one that Pepper "Boom-Boom-Blast" Anderson has, except that Lex doesn't need his to read people's minds, although that would be a cool trick.
"Help yourself, Clark. What's mine is yours." Lex was going to finish that thought with something less sledgehammer-of-innuendo, but oh well. Fuck it. Warrior Angel always says that if you want something you should just go for it, or ask for it. But Lex is not going to ask Clark to fuck him after he's done reading his comics, because Lex really wants to have sex with Clark, but he wants to finish reading about Zrog as well.
'It's important to prioritize,' Warrior Angel number 54.
"Are we doing anything in particular, Lex, or are we just filling our brains with lots of drawings of your favorite bald superhero?" There's that sarcasm again, and Lex likes Clark, a lot, but there are some things that he won't stand for. Blasphemy against Warrior Angel is at the top of the list, right next to polyester.
"You know, Clark, no one is forcing you to read these if you don't want to."
"I know that, I was just wondering if we were going to go out, or play pool, or you know, do something." Normally, Lex finds Clark's fidgeting endearing. Today, he's a bit more concerned that Clark not do something that musses issue number 32, the one where Devilicus manages to shrink Warrior Angel and keep him trapped in a terrarium filled with black widow spiders.
"Clark, I do something every day of the week, normally for 14 plus hours of every day. This is what I want to do this weekend."
"But, Lex -" Christ, could Clark sound a bit more petulant. If Lex didn't really want to suck on that pouting lower lip, he'd kick Clark out on his tight little ass. But he's not going to have those thoughts right now. Lex is just going to finish reading this issue, and then he'll move on to issue 49 where Warrior Angel saves Periodonta from her father and her marriage to Devilicus, and she offers to --
"Lex?" He's not sighing, really, he's not.
"Is it just me, or are all these comics about Warrior Angel and Devilicus?"
"No, they're not all about Warrior Angel and Devilicus. If they were all about them then they would be called 'Warrior Angel and Devilicus,' right? There's this issue that I'm reading," Lex waves issue 48 with a little too much panache, and stops instantly, afraid that he might crease the pages. "In this one Devilicus plots together with the evil Zrog to kill Warrior Angel. There's Issue 95 where Warrior Angel meets the Ruttles. There's a mini-series, numbers 24-29, where Devilicus gets telekinetic powers and tries to rob the Galactic Treasury. There are lots of other bad guys too, but Warrior Angel and Devilicus are just. You know, they're fated foes."
"Fated foes, Lex?"
"Fated foes, Clark. You know, when people have a destiny, but it's destined for them to hate each other." Is it really that hard to understand? It's like he and Clark, only the complete opposite.
"It's like us, you mean, only in a bad way." Clark finally catches on.
"Okay," Clark begins, while rearranging his limbs in some pose that Lex doubts is comfortable. Maybe Clark is like Bender, the Contortionist Cop. "But don't you think that maybe there's something else going on with Warrior Angel and Devilicus?"
"What else could there possibly be going on, Clark? I mean besides Warrior Angel vanquishing his evil foe?" Considering that Clark has barely read an eighth of an issue, his insight can't be that profound.
"I was thinking more like homoerotic subtext," Clark says, reaching out and picking up issue number 98 where Devilicus and Warrior Angel duel for the freedom of Hector, Warrior Angel's faithful sidekick.
"Homo. Erotic. Subtext." Lex repeats slowly. If Lex looks half as horrified as he feels, there could be a problem.
Lex loves his comic books. He has a relationship with them that is mutually beneficial and right, and platonic. It's all very platonic, and Lex can't say that about much, but his comic books have been with him for as long as he can remember.
His mother brought him his first Warrior Angel comic when he was in the hospital, and he's been hooked ever since. Before she died, she bought him issue 66. Lex never planned to part with it, but then Ryan came along. Comic books teach about sacrifice. Comic books teach about tolerance and heroes in a world without them. Comic books have healing properties. Clark should learn more about them, they're not full of homoerotic subtext.
"Just because a man wears spandex, it does not make him gay, Clark," Lex finally says. He's not going to go into cardiac arrest. He's not going to flip out. Warrior Angel being gay is ridiculous, though, look at all the action he's gotten over the years: Hecate, Amy Von Trapp, Pepper 'Boom-Boom-Blast' Anderson, Periodonta, the Helfiken triplets - although one of them was a boy, but still.
"Lex, I'm not saying it has anything do with the spandex. It just seems that there's a lot of hatred going on between Warrior Angel and his arch-enemy, nemesis, foe-person. Maybe there's some repressed emotion as well." Clark seems a bit emphatic, and he's, no. He cannot use Issue number 7 to make his point.
"Clark, don't assault the comic book. I can see I've been making you read too much Greek history, haven't I?" Lex sighs. He had wanted Alexander and Hephaestion to wear off on Clark. He wasn't planning on Clark projecting this onto everything else he read, though.
"This isn't about Greek history, but his sidekick named Hector? C'mon, Lex. I'm wondering if Warrior Angel and Devilicus were ever friends, or if they worked together? Is there any time that they haven't hated each others' guts," Clark seems very interested all of a sudden, and for once Lex finds it a bit worrisome. Of course he's happy that Clark is taking an interest in Warrior Angel, but at this angle? If Lex didn't know better, he'd think that... but no.
"Yes, they were friends once. But that was a long time ago, Devilicus used to be a guy called Sean Devlin, and he and Ben, that's Warrior Angel to you, they were friends." Of course they must have had an extremely dysfunctional friendship if they hate each other that much now. Nothing could make Lex hate Clark that much, not enough to want to destroy him. Devilicus wants Warrior Angel dead. Very dead.
"And you never thought that there was something in their past. Something big," Clark offers, but Lex is not listening. It's not possible.
"That was a long time ago," Lex reiterates. "Next you'll be telling me that comic books made me gay." No time like the present for Lex to come out the closet to Clark, although there should have been more finesse involved. Definitely more finesse. Warrior Angel would have employed more finesse.
Actually, the more Lex thinks about it, perhaps that was the whole point of this conversation. Clark knew, and he was trying to out Lex, and he used Warrior Angel as his weapon of destruction. Like Devilicus.
A lack of exposure to comic books has obviously made Clark evil. Lex is going to give him his entire collection. He'll need them with thoughts like this.
"If it makes you feel any better, Lex. I've never read Warrior Angel in my life, so he couldn't be responsible for making me gay."
"That's because you're not gay, Clark."
"Okay, not gay. Bi."
Okay, bi. If Lex can deal with the idea of Warrior Angel being bi then he can certainly deal with Clark being bi. Plus, it means that all his efforts might amount to something, one day, eventually. If he doesn't get immolated by Warrior Angel's father.
"All right, I'll accept that, Clark. But if you're Warrior Angel, that does not make me Hector."
"Of course not, Lex. You're more like Devilicus, only without the horns."
"I am not Devilicus, Clark. Just because you have all the superhero techniques while I only have the bald head, does not mean that I'm an evil fiend." Lex has to have some standards. In the last thirty seconds he's outted himself, outted his best friend, and conceded that his favorite superhero might also need to be outted. Too much outing is happening, too much reading between the lines.
Stupid homoerotic subtext.
"Clark, now that you're out, and I'm out and Warrior Angel is out, perhaps you'd like to explain to me a bit more about your homoerotic subtext theory and how it's come about." Lex has to know -- since they're on the topic. A topic which Lex never would have thought they would come to if they spent a million light years hurtling through space locked in a waste receptacle.
Still, Clark seems fascinated by this topic, so who is Lex to judge.
"I think it's pretty obvious, Lex," Clark says, learning forward in his chair until he's able to perch his elbows on the edge of Lex's desk. If it's so obvious to Clark then maybe it's somewhere on Lex's desk, and he just hasn't seen it yet. Maybe it's under his stapler, he'll have to lean forward and look too.
"The way I see it is that when two guys are that involved, you know, emotionally and physically and stuff, there's bound to be some sort of attraction between them." Clark seems very certain of this idea, but he doesn't need to tap his fingers on Lex's comics to get his point home.
"And why's this, Aristotle?" he inquires, moving the comics out of Clark's immediate reach.
"I mean it has to make sense, doesn't it? When you care about someone that much - even if you despise them - you still want them around, you still want them with you. You may hate them, but you still want to be involved with them. I mean yeah, okay, Devilicus wants Warrior Angel dead, but don't you think if he really wanted him dead, he'd be dead by now?"
Clark is getting all of this from not even reading a whole issue? Lex is loath to see what would happen if he read more than one. "Maybe Warrior Angel isn't dead because then publishers would be out of a franchise, Herr Freud."
"Or maybe it's because it will never be over between them. Besides, Devilicus just tries to kill Warrior Angel because he's angry over something that Warrior Angel did to him -"
"And not just because he's the bad guy, Clark?" Lex can't believe that Clark is just pulling this out of, well, apparently not-so-thin air.
"Well, yeah, he's bad, but why is he bad? Maybe he's just bitter because Warrior Angel broke his heart, or left him, or wouldn't put his socks in the hamper."
"Those must have been some pretty smelly socks, Clark." Lex isn't quite sure why, but Clark seems very earnest about this conversation. Maybe it's not really about the comic books anymore.
"I just mean - I think that whatever it is that's between them, it isn't that simple, you know?" Clark is giving Lex this look, this very searching and hopeful look. Like he's waiting for Lex to say something, or get something. If Lex was a superhero, this would be a lot easier. Except he's not.
"I know." No, it's not about the socks, or Warrior Angel. Lex is quite certain of that now.
"I wouldn't want you to hate me that way, Lex."
"I could never - Clark, what makes you think that I would ever hate you that way?"
"I just. You're really important to me and I don't want you to ever think otherwise." Well, now that certainly came out of nowhere. Or somewhere. Maybe it's always been there and just materialized on top of Lex's comic books. There's a guy in Metro-verse that does that, Terry Prentice, the Transparent Spectre. Maybe Lex should look into buying some of those comic books for Clark.
"Then it's good that we don't have to worry about that, now do we, Clark?" Lex says, with a smile that thankfully reaches the corners of his eyes.
"No, of course not. No worries."
"You are really important to me."
"Same here, Clark."
"And you always will be, Lex."
Also, why not join
Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?