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Quote1 Have you ever been in the room alone with Lex Luthor? He has this aura. It's terrifying, like you're in the presence of the Devil himself. To this day that man is the only person in the world who scares me. Quote2
Peia Mannheim src

Lex Luthor is an old enemy of Superman and Lois Lane. He has recently been released after seventeen years in prison.

Origins

Luthor was both the chief executive of Luthorcorp, a major conglomerate with interests in multiple industries; and the leader of a criminal syndicate that controlled most organised crime in Metropolis.

Luthor and rival crime lord Boss Moxie were feuding over territory in Hob's Bay when he was murdered, and Luthor was heard bragging about killing Moxie on a phone line that was being monitored by police. In reality Moxie had been killed by his lieutenant Peia, who then used her sonic powers to mimic Luthor's voice and give a false confession. Moxie's death left the way open for Peia's boyfriend Bruno Mannheim to take over Intergang.[1][2]

Prison

Lois Lane reported on the apparent evidence that Luthor had killed Moxie. Luthor went to her personally and told her that he was innocent but she did not believe him. The media pressure she created was instrumental in driving the authorities to arrest and charge Luthor for Moxie's murder. He was convicted and imprisoned at Stryker's Prison in Kansas. His forces withdrew from Hob's Bay, giving Bruno a free hand to reshape the neighbourhood according to his vision.[3][4] His daughter cut off all contact.

On his first day in prison, Luthor offered to buy a set of clippers from another inmate for $5. The other prisoner demanded thousands, and he and two others beat Luthor when he refused. Luthor went to complain to the warden, who tried to solicit a bribe in exchange for protection, but Luthor instead handed him a piece of paper with a phone number on it and told him to call it. The number was the warden's home phone number, and when he called it his son begged him to do whatever Luthor wanted, as Luthor's henchmen had broken into his home and taken him and the warden's wife hostage.

The warden had the guards pull the three men out of their cells in the middle of the night and viciously beat them, leaving one of them paralysed. He then personally handed Luthor the clippers, which Luthor then used to shave his head. From that moment Lex had total control over both the guards and the prisoners: forcing the three who had assaulted him to become his personal servants, getting his food cooked to order for him, having wine delivered to his cell and making the entire cell block watch him eat at his leisure before they were allowed to get their own meals. Despite apparently being able to get whatever he wanted in prison Luthor left his cell bare, with a single picture of his daughter as the only decoration.[5]

Release

Lois and Clark Kent eventually realised that Luthor had been framed.[2] Bruno Mannheim was himself arrested after he broke Peia out of DoD custody. He confessed to all his crimes, including framing Luthor, in exchange for his son being released without charge. Despite the fact that Luthor had gotten away with far worse crimes than Moxie's murder, Lois felt morally obligated to report that he had been wrongly convicted. The rest of the media picked up the story and Lex was freed after seventeen years in prison.

The warden arranged for Luthor to leave prison early in the morning to avoid the media. He walked alone from the prison to the Kent Farm in Smallville to confront Lois and ordered her to retire from journalism, obliquely threatening that he would harm her or her children if she didn't. He was picked up in a limousine by his henchman Otis, who drove him back to Metropolis. Luthor had heard of Mannheim's experiments with creating metahumans and that he had captured Bizarro, and went to the ruins of Mannheim's lab to see it for himself. They found Bizarro, alive but reduced to a feral state. Bizarro attacked Otis in a frenzy of rage and tried to eat him.[5]

Luthor shot and killed Bizarro with an X-Kryptonite laser, but the creature returned to life. Intrigued, Luthor killed him again and saw Bizarro not only return to life, but his flesh ripple and change as he did. Luthor realised that Bizarro became stronger every time he came back to life. He chained Bizarro up and offered to "help" him by killing him over and over until he became so strong that he was unstoppable and Bizarro seemed to agree. Luthor and his men spent the next thirty-three days sealed in Mannheim's bunker, repeatedly killing Bizarro in as many ways as possible. As a result, Bizarro gradually mutated into a hulking monster who could resist the most powerful weapons they had.

Lois did not retire as Luthor had ordered her to, and so he murdered the judge who had sentenced him and left her body in an alley near the Daily Planet to send a message to Lois. Luthor knew he would need to eliminate Superman and Sam Lane to get to Lois and so sent Gretchen Kelley, one of his employees, to date Sam. When he believed Bizarro was ready he had Gretchen kidnap Sam and deliver his ELT, a device Sam used to summon Superman, to him. Luthor returned to the Kent Farm, where Superman flew down and confronted him. Superman repeatedly asked where General Lane was, but Luthor refused to answer and told Superman he was just a fool in a cape. He summoned Bizarro and set the monster on Superman.[4]


Abilities

  • Business Management
  • Intimidation: Luthor has a naturally intimidating presence and is skilled at identifying and exploiting people's weaknesses. Peia Mannheim, a powerful metahuman, was afraid to be alone with him even though Luthor had no powers of his own.[6] The other inmates and even guards were afraid of him in prison.[5]


Related

Footnotes


Villains-secret-files
Superman Villain(s)
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This character has been primarily an enemy of Superman in any of his various incarnations, or members of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Villains category."

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