Lex Luthor’s Nemesis Dog Isn’t Superman’s Krypto

The following contains spoilers for the “Hounded” Part Four story from Batman: Urban Legends #14, on sale now from DC Comics.

Superman and Lex Luthor are the fiercest rivals in the DC Universe. In many ways, their rivalry is the epitome of good versus evil. So much so that it has spread to many members of Superman’s family. Kara Zor-El, Conner Kent, and even Superman’s son Jonathan Kent have faced Luthor as a nemesis in some capacity, either directly or indirectly. Recently, however, Luthor’s plans have begun to expand beyond the Man of Steel, as he takes on other heroes from across the DC Universe.

The latter, however, is totally ridiculous. Fans of Krypton’s Last Son will know his pet dog, Krypto. The Kryptonian dog is even set to star in his own upcoming movie, voiced by black adamof Dwayne Johnson, alongside other super-powered pets, in DC League of Super Pets. So, one would expect that as soon as Lex Luthor got himself a dog, it would end up being Krypto’s nemesis, right?

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Batman Urban Legends 14 Hounded Ace, Bathound's nemesis, licks Luthor, Lex Luthor's dog

Bad; the Batman: Urban Legends #14 The “Hounded” Part Four story (by Mark Russell, Karl Mostert, Trish Mulvihill and Steve Wands) confirmed that Lex Luthor’s dog, Licks Luthor, has a nemesis in the form of Batman’s dog, Ace the Bat- Hound. While this seems like a strange turn of events, it actually makes total sense, and in more ways than one.

The most important point is the powers that these dogs possess. Krypto the Superdog has all of Superman’s powers. Meanwhile, Licks Luthor and Ace the Bat-Hound have absolutely none. Of course, both are trained by the best to help both a superhero and a supervillain, however, neither of them are enhanced in any way. If Licks Luthor were to face Krypto, he wouldn’t stand a chance. He would need some sort of power suit like Lex to survive a one-on-one clash with Superman’s best friend. In a fight against Ace, the playing field is level. It brings their fight back to training, skill, and determination.

This also lends itself to another essential element in building a durable enemy. If their skills are equal, there can be no clear winner. Their fights will end like their first here – in a draw. They were tied until one of Ace’s friends, a bear named Ursa, grabbed Licks and threw the dog back to his criminal cohorts. The fight could not continue, as the bad guys retreated.

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Batman Urban Legends 14 Hounded Ace, Bathound's nemesis, licks Luthor, Lex Luthor's dog 2

This leaves Ace and Licks in an interesting situation. It could be an ongoing rivalry. However, Licks Luthor’s past might point to another possible direction for this bitter rivalry. Lex wanted a dog that could do anything he asked of him, so Licks was trained to be for him and only him. Unfortunately, Luthor, upon meeting his new canine companion, discovered that he was allergic to dogs. Licks ended up abandoned and in the same cruel facility as the other super-animals in this story, including Ace. He may be fiercely loyal to Lex Luthor, but he can never serve his evil master.

This suggests that there could be a possible redemption arc for Luthor’s dog. His loyalty has always been to Luthor and him alone, not to the criminals he helped here. Once Licks finally realizes that Lex won’t bring him back, he won’t have to be a villain anymore. And if he’s not a bad guy, he won’t have to fight Ace the Bat-Hound either. With two parts remaining in this good boy story, it’s entirely possible that the final showdown of these two canines will see them put aside their differences and join forces.

Regardless of the outcome, Licks Luthor and Ace the Bat-Hound are sure to face off again before this story ends. It’s possible that Lex Luthor’s abandoned dog will find a new home with one of DC’s heroes, maybe even Superman himself. However, it’s also possible that he’s part of a building legacy for Ace the Bat-Hound, as his nemesis. If so, maybe one day Licks will face Krypto – on an Ace and Krypto team.

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