Lex Luthor--probably one of the most well know DC villains, if not the most well known (it's probably a toss up between Lex and The Joker). He's given Superman more grief than could be imagined. He's a diabolical mastermind that's bent on bringing the man of steel to his doom. He wasn't this evil when he was young, though, was he? Maybe something in his childhood turned him into the person he is today. It's this theory that this prestige format one shot from DC attempts to tackle.
Now I realize that this one shot came out long before the tv show Smallville, but I can't help making some comparisons. Smallville portrays the character of Lex so perfectly that I don't really want to imagine his younger years being any different. Here we are presented with a Lex who was born into a seemingly normal family only to have them murdered so he could collect the insurance money. He also paid thugs to beat up a kid who was causing him trouble at school. There were some other various things that he did in youth as well that are explored, but none of them really make a whole lot of difference.
The problem that this story has is that what Lex did as a child isn't really all that terrible. Yes, I realize having your parents killed is not exactly nice, but when I think about how diabolical and maniacal that the grown up Lex is, I thought for sure that he'd have some ever darker secrets in his past. If he does, they aren't explored here.
It also doesn't help that the end of the story doesn't feel like an ending and it brings the story to a close pretty abruptly. The actual story is of an author who was researching Lex. He dies and Clark Kent is blamed for the murder. Throughtout the interrogation, the story of the autobiography of Lex that the author was writing is conveyed. Since I didn't care about the story of Lex's youth very much, I was hoping that there would be some clever way that Clark would prove his innocence, but instead Lex simply pays to get him released with the condition that he won't explore any further. This wasn't a satisfying ending at all. Oh well, at least I can always go watch another episode of Smallville!