In Batman V Superman, Lex sent some photographs to Clark and some papers written with "You let your family die" to Bruce?

Later in the movie, they both realized that it was all planned by Lex, but who did they think the sender was, at first?

  • Because they were busy with other stuff May 17, 2017 at 7:01

1 Answer 1


As you correctly point out, for Lex's frame job to work, it must be believable that a responsible party other-than-himself would take the actions meant to provoke both men. In the case of the red notes, Bruce believed, appropriately, that the notes were sent by Wallace Keefe. I believe, in fact, the majority of the notes WERE sent by Wallace Keefe and NOT by Lex Luthor... and I do not believe Lex Luthor intercepted Wallace Keefe's Victims Fund Checks for the sake of a plan that wouldn't come to fruition 2 years later.

Even if you disagree, again, for the sake of the question, from LEX'S PERSPECTIVE the frame job has to make sense... he has to be putting forwards a narrative that Bruce would believe... so if you say it's impossible or unthinkable that Wallace would return the checks with the notes, you're saying it's an unbelievable frame up that Lex intended... which isn't the case. Instead, from Bruce's perspective (Lex's narrative, and largely what- I, in fact, believe happened):

  1. Keefe loses his legs and is embittered.
  2. A few months after the BZE, Bruce starts the Victim's Fund and sends checks.
  3. Keefe cashes the first few checks to support his family, but his complex of being less-than drives away his family, embittering him further.
  4. Keefe sees Bruce as moving on and ignoring casualties like himself, ignoring Superman, and just using money to bury the issue.
  5. Keefe's grudge grows against Bruce too, which is why Bruce is on the wall along with Superman.
  6. Keefe begins to reject the checks with little red notes.
  7. No one from the Fund cares because it's a callous kind of charity to begin with, they didn't find Keefe a new meaningful position, counseling, support, or health care... they fired him and cut him checks. If he rejects their money, they're not in a position to offer anything else anyways so they ignore his notes.
  8. Keefe protests in the manner for 8-10 months max, not all ~24 months since the BZE.
  9. After the African Incident hits the news, Keefe's had enough and stages his public Superman statue protest in broad daylight, in front of cops and cameras, aware of the consequences, hoping to spur awareness.
  10. Keefe screams "I work for Bruce Wayne!" to incite Bruce to action and to make others think Bruce Wayne endorses this action.
  11. The televised arrest brings Keefe to Lex's attention.
  12. While Keefe is incarcerated, Lex does his homework and figures Keefe the perfect patsy.
  13. Keefe keeps meticulous records of every Superman story, so he probably keeps records of his notes to Bruce as well.
  14. Lex offers Keefe a platform to be seen and Keefe accepts the wheelchair and the appointment with Finch.
  15. Lex sends the final red note on a newspaper clipping to coincide with the bombing.
  16. The day of the bombing, while Keefe is in Washington, Lex plants incriminating evidence in Keefe's apartment (additionally graffiti, bomb materials, etc)
  17. On the helipad, Lex's statements are mere establishes awareness of the notes and not an explicit statement taking responsibility for them all.

The line on the helipad is what causes so many people to leap to the conclusion Lex started stealing checks from this random employee for a long distance plan based on facts Lex couldn't know and factors Lex couldn't control. But given how that all comes from an INTERPRETATION of an incredibly vague line, why cling to an impossible, inconsistent interpretation of ONE LINE... rather than re-interpreting the line in a way that's logistically possible?

Otherwise, you must ask:

  1. When did Lex start to target Keefe and why? Two years removed from the Senate bombing, before the Committee on Superman had even been formed and before Finch was an enemy, why would Lex persecute an otherwise stable blue collar employee with a family?
  2. Did Keefe ever know about the Victims Fund and how could Lex keep Keefe from learning about it, speaking up about it, or being contacted by the Fund or other victims, etc?
  3. So did Keefe sit in silence for 24 months without checks? What if Keefe just got another sufficient job? How does JUST intercepting checks produce exactly the outcome you want two years later?
  4. Did Lex return the checks monthly? Why would he call attention to his patsy before his plan? What if the Fund intervened in response to the notes, made Keefe whole, and undid the whole point of this?
  5. How do you interpret Keefe crying out, "I work for Bruce Wayne!" If it is for his checks, aren't there better and more reasonable avenues that would have worked earlier? How could Lex control what Keefe would say? If Keefe blurted out, "I want my checks!" wouldn't that ruin Lex's plans?
  6. How did Lex know Keefe would use red wording and abstract phrasing in protest, such that his red notes are consistent with that? What if Keefe wrote glowing letters and testimonies about Bruce online or had some sort of contradictory behavior with the notes? Does it make more sense for the red notes to have predicted Keefe's protest OR for the red notes to come AFTER his protest and ape his style... if the latter, why would Lex intercept checks in ADVANCE of a protest, to send a message via checks using a style he wouldn't know was coming?
  7. Etc.

There's just so many logical inconsistencies with the idea that Lex started stealing checks from this random employee for a long distance plan based on facts Lex couldn't know and factors Lex couldn't control... but people cling to this all out of an interpretation of an incredibly vague line. Seems to me, it's way easier to adjust our interpretation of the line than try to work out logistics for a plan that doesn't make sense.

In sum, Bruce thinks it's Wallace Keefe.

For Clark, his obituary reveals the won the "Elliott Prize for Investigative Journalism" which means he could be known to the public as someone who breaks stories. The photographs clearly have direct access to the body while on the mortuary slab (you can see a forensic ruler in one of the shots). Clark has already experienced resistance to telling this story from his own editor. And Clark comments:

And, as far as I can tell, the cops are actually helping [the Bat vigilante].

So it wouldn't be surprising if corrections, cops, or coroner were in Batman's corner... BUT, like himself, there might be whistle-blowers within questioning whether this is the way things should be. They would reach out to a journalist in an anonymous fashion... and that idea gets reinforced when Clark goes to the precinct and is stonewalled.

I can't give out that information.

But someone behind the counter with a conscience gives Clark a subtle nod where he should direct his questions. So it's entirely believable that Clark would believe the photos came from a whistle-blower within wanting to challenge Batman's "justice".

In sum, Clark thinks it's a whistle-blower.

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