- 'Similar'?! You've been mocking me, right in front of my face, all these years, and you say--?! I now have the power to save him, do you realize that? I could go further back in time! But I'm not going to. I was happy to be rid of what I had for a father! But you... you got them! You're not human! You don't deserve to be Clark Kent! I'll punish you with every ounce of pain and humiliation and regret from an entire human lifetime. Don't you understand?! I'll never stop! What will it take to break you?! Why won't you break?!
- — Lex Luthor src
Lex Luthor was born and raised in the poverty stricken area of Metropolis known as Suicide Slum, the child of abusive parents, with a fierce desire to better himself. Cunning, vengeful and ambitious even at a young age, Lex was every bit the charismatic and malicious manipulator he is in his adulthood. Such that he could enlist the ne'er-do-well's of the ghetto to dispatch bullies for him, was a habitual misogynist who was cruel to the girls of his classroom, his own teachers were even frightened by him. And as a teenager, young Lex engineered the deaths of his parents by paying off or threatening their auto-mechanic to sabotage their automobile in order to profit from a large life insurance policy he had taken out in their names, and went on to found his own company LexCorp.
Luthor the Businessman
Lex turned the company into a multi-national corporation that would ultimately come to dominate the city of Metropolis. With it he owns every media corporation in the city and uses them to reinforce his public image as a wealthy benefactor. The one paper outlet that had always stood free was the Daily Planet (he would come to buy it much later). One such critic was the young reporter, and Editor In Chief, Perry White. Luthor detested White, due to his outspoken attitudes and a release by the Planet condemning his actions with an outrageous editorial signed by White himself. As a result, when Clark Kent is first inducted into the Planet, the newspaper is almost bankrupt, dilapidated, and unable to afford new reporters. Luthor made many criminal connections and industries, anything to help him rise to be the unchallenged master of Metropolis. His legitimate businesses attached to LexCorp cover a variety of enterprises ranging from telephone companies to personal gaming devices. As part of his image, Lex created the illusion of being a caring philanthropist. He became the most powerful man in Metropolis, both financially and in the world of organized crime. Lex would create havoc on the streets by selling weapons to the gangs of Metropolis and using his primarily female staff of underlings to keep blackmail files on all of the major organized crime groups in the city. Lex could use them to further any schemes he had planned. However, this all ended with the arrival of Superman.
Several months after Superman first arrived in Metropolis, terrorists attacked a society gala aboard Luthor's yacht. Lois Lane, whom Luthor had tried to romance as a ninth trophy wife some time before, was present during the attack which was stopped by Superman. Luthor tried unsuccessfully to hire Superman as a bodyguard. But when he admitted that he had known the attack was to occur and had allowed it to proceed in order to see Superman in action first hand, Mayor Berkowitz deputized Superman on the spot to arrest Luthor for reckless endangerment. He avoided prison thanks to a legal technicality, but still had to endure the humiliation of being publicly led away under arrest.
Luthor vowed to destroy Superman for this humiliation, and he has since devoted much time and energy to that goal. An early attempt led to the creation of an imperfect clone of Superman meant to destroy him, but was unsuccessful because Superman's alien DNA made the clone unstable. Luthor continued his vendetta. He was a man driven to be the best, having fought his way up from lowly beginnings by his own (dubious) efforts, and was resentful of how Superman was given his powers by random fate of birth. Superman survived subsequent attempts Luthor made on his life, but he had never been able to prove Luthor's role in the attacks. Aside from Lex's immense wealth and connections, he was able to weasel his way out of trouble due to the fact that Superman, being liable as a witness, would have to reveal his true identity in court to testify against him.
Luthor soon acquired the only known sample of Kryptonite on Earth from the kryptonite-powered cyborg Metallo, whom LexCorp abducted just before Metallo succeeded in killing Superman. Fashioning a signet ring from the alien ore deadly to Superman, Luthor began wearing it constantly to ward off his enemy. Unfortunately, Luthor suffered from severe cancer in the 1990s, caused by long-term radiation exposure to his Kryptonite ring (before this, Kryptonite exposure had not been thought to be harmful to non-Kryptonian life forms). Later, he would find a way to protect himself from its side effects. He also discovered more than one kind of Kryptonite, which he would later use in his battles against Superman.
Faking his Own Death
Luthor's hand soon had to be amputated and replaced by a prosthetic version (hidden under a black leather glove) to prevent the cancer's spread, but unfortunately by then it had already metastasized. It was eventually determined that the disease was terminal. Luthor faked his own death shortly afterward by taking his personally designed jet, the Lexwing, on a proposed trip around the world. He crashed it in the Andes of Peru as a cover for the transplant of his brain into a healthy clone of himself which he passed off as his hitherto unknown son and heir by Dr. Gretchen Kelley, Lex Luthor II. The young Luthor had apparently been secretly raised by foster parents in Australia to protect him from his father's enemies. This deception was bolstered by his new body having a full head of red hair and a beard, as well as the appropriate Australian accent created through use of audio teaching tapes.
Send in the Clone
Luthor used his new identity as his own son to seduce Supergirl and continue to torment Superman from the shadows. However, everything quickly fell apart when Luthor's new clone body began to deteriorate and age at a rapid rate. This caused Luthor to begin to slip. Lois Lane discovered proof that Lex Luthor had murdered a female LexCorp employee and framed an innocent man for the murder years earlier. This led to Lois finding the truth about Lex faking his death and being his own son. This caused Luthor to systematically destroy Lois's life and have her fired from the Daily Planet. Lois fought back, and with help from Superman, exposed the truth about Lex Luthor, his faked death, and his evil criminal activities to the public. Luthor, right before his body became so old that he couldn't move or communicate, activated a "Doomsday Plan" to destroy Metropolis. The city was burned to the ground and thousands killed as Luthor became a permanent prisoner in his cloned body. However, aid would come in the form of the demon Neron. Luthor sold his soul in exchange for Neron restoring his body to perfect health. Returning to a rebuilt Metropolis, Luthor turned himself over to the police and was put on trial. He was acquitted of all crimes when Luthor claimed to have been kidnapped by renegade scientists who replaced him with a clone responsible for all the crimes he was charged with.
Luthor the Philanthropist
Lex Luthor had cultivated a popular image as a great philanthropist. He had been instrumental in reverse-engineering alien technology for use in general consumer goods, upgrading Metropolis into a true "City of Tomorrow." When Gotham City was destroyed by an earthquake and abandoned by the American government, it was LexCorp that took up the massive task of rebuilding the city. Later, Luthor also played an instrumental role in assisting the Justice League in recharging the sun during the The Final Night storyline.
Despite his hatred for Lois Lane for temporarily bringing down his evil criminal empire, Lex Luthor has an unspoken love for her. On several occasions Luthor has commented that had Superman not arrived in Metropolis, Lex would have used his time and energy to romantically pursue Lois and marry her. He has been married eight times in his life, though the first seven marriages occurred off-panel in Luthor's past sometime before Superman showed up in Metropolis. While his previous seven marriages were hinted to have been based on love (or as close to the concept of love as Lex Luthor understands it), Luthor's eighth marriage to Contessa Erica Alexandra del Portenza (or 'The Contessa' as she was called) was a marriage that was based on mutual manipulation and greed. The Contessa had bought controlling interest in LexCorp after Luthor was exposed as evil, forcing Lex into a marriage with her in order to regain control over the company. The marriage was doomed from the beginning as the two fought constantly and never loved each other. The Contessa became pregnant with Lex's child and began using the unborn child to dominate Lex into doing her bidding. Luthor's response to the Contessa's actions was to use her desire to be unconscious during childbirth to lock her in the basement of his corporate headquarters in a permanently-drugged unconscious state. Luthor took over as a single father to his daughter (named Lena, after both his adopted sister and aunt) and vowed never to marry again, stating that he wanted to never have to share his daughter's love with anyone else. The Contessa faked her death in a hospital fire months later.
President of the United States
Lex became the President of the United States, winning the election on a platform of promoting technological progresses for the common people. During this time (possibly during his post-inauguration party), he had his ex-wife, the Contessa, killed via rocket strike (the bioscans confirmed that it was her). His first action as President was to take a proposed moratorium on fossil-based fuels to U.S. Congress in hopes of putting "a flying car in every garage". Despite Luthor's more villainous traits, he was assisted by the extreme unpopularity of the previous administration due to its mishandling of the No Man's Land crisis. Ironically, Batman would ultimately learn that Luthor was involved in the mishandling of the Gotham City rebuilding process, provoking Bruce Wayne to sever all military contract ties between the U.S. government and Wayne Enterprises. Luthor responded by ordering the murder of Batman's lover Vesper Fairchild and framing Bruce Wayne for the murder.
One of the greater successes that came with his emancipation presented itself in the form of the ultimate revelation. A CIA informant presented him with the surveillance footage of an extraterrestrial object landing near Smallville, Kansas. Wishing to keep this information personal, Lex disintegrated his lowly whistleblower while pretending it was a mess to be cleaned up as he ruminated over the epiphany of "Clark Kent is Superman". He would soon lose this information along with any memory of extra backups of it when Manchester Black, former head of his presidential sanctioned Suicide Squad, erased it from his mind moments before committing suicide.
An early triumph of his political career was his handling of the Imperiex War, in which he coordinated the U.S. Army, Earth's superheroes and a number of untrustworthy alien forces to battle the story's villain, Imperiex. However, as it would later be revealed, Lex knew about the alien invasion in advance and did nothing to alert Earth's heroes to it.
Superman and his supporting cast had their origins revised in the Superman: Birthright series written by Mark Waid in 2003. This rewrote the previous definitive origin story, John Byrne's 1986 mini-series The Man of Steel, to include more elements from the Silver Age character. It would remain in continuity until Infinite Crisis in 2006 established Geoff Johns' Superman: Secret Origin.
Main article: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Lex Luthor finally accepted Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent. He had been aware of this from their earliest meetings but refused to accept it for his own personal belief that people of power always crave and reflect themselves as people of power, never as one of the masses. Thus, to Luthor, a being like Superman would never try and pass himself off as Clark Kent who was less than extraordinary. In a story published in 2002, a lowly scientist was able to get a meeting with Lex and reveal top secret government documents showing the rocket containing baby Superman crashing near the farm of Martha and Jonathan Kent. Killing the scientist, Lex surprisingly decided to keep the knowledge a secret. He did so regardless that Clark Kent took the fall for Lois publishing proof that Lex Luthor knew of the alien invasion of "Our Worlds At War," but had opted not to make any defensive plans to save the people of Kansas from attack. Clark was fired from the Daily Planet as a result of Manchester Black using his telepathic powers on an unknowing Lex to allow him to pass an assortment of lie detector tests (including Wonder Woman's lasso of truth) to prove that Lois and Clark's story was a lie. When Manchester Black tried to kill Superman and his friends and family, Luthor came to Superman's aid. He admitted that he had kept Superman's identity as Clark Kent secret both out of a sense of nostalgia for their past confrontations and the knowledge that revealing the truth about Superman would endanger Lois, nearly the only woman he cared for. In the end, Manchester Black was defeated and as revenge for Lex helping Superman defeat him, Black erased all knowledge that Clark Kent was Superman from Lex's mind before taking his own life.
Later, as his success at framing Bruce Wayne for the murder of Vesper Fairchild caused him to get arrogant, Luthor once again overplayed his hand in an attempt to blame Superman for a kryptonite meteor approaching the Earth. Initially convinced that everyone would listen to his claims against Superman simply because he was President despite his failure to produce any evidence of Superman's 'guilt', he instead raised questions about himself as Superman and Batman uncovered a plot of Luthor's to further torment Batman that involved tricking Batman into thinking that Metallo was the man who killed Batman's parents. In desperation, he used a variant combination of the "super-steroid" Venom, liquid synthetic green kryptonite, and an Apokaliptian battlesuit to battle Superman directly. Unfortunately, the madness that is a side effect of Venom took hold, and he revealed his true colors during the battle. The final straw was the revelation that Talia Head (New Earth), the acting CEO of LexCorp, had sold all the company assets to the Wayne Foundation. He has since gone underground, leaving the Presidency to his Vice President, Pete Ross.
Lex Luthor had retreated into obscurity before the events of Infinite Crisis, as he prepared to try and activate the mind control programming inside the brain of then current Superboy (Conner Kent) to help him gain revenge against Earth's mightiest heroes. He was also revealed to have orchestrated, with help from the newly created robotic Brainiac, the murder of Teen Titan member Donna Troy (New Earth), who is destined to play a critical role in "Infinite Crisis". He's also been carefully surveilling the new Supergirl, and has plans for her involving his newly-acquired Black Kryptonite.
With Lex Luthor acting in secret, Alexander Luthor, Jr. returned to New Earth and began his own plot that was interfering with LEX's own plans. Assuming the Post-Crisis Lex Luthor's identity, Alexander began an elaborate scheme, with help from Superboy-Prime and Kal-L, to restore the original Multiverse. His intentions were not just to recreate them as they once were, but as the basis of his ultimate goal, as he told Superboy-Prime that he would help them "whether [he] likes it or not".
As one of the premier reformers of the "Secret Society of Super-Villains", Alexander Luthor, Jr. recruited Black Adam, Doctor Psycho, Calculator, Talia Head, and Deathstroke as his inner circle. The new Society exploited the villain community's fear of mind-wipes at the hands of the Justice League as a means to recruit an army of villains under the premise of creating their own "mind-wipe" device to erase the memories of Earth's heroes as payback. However, this was just another cover for his even darker scheme involving the kidnapping of heroes, each representing alternate Earths, to power the giant tower being used to alter reality. Alexander Luthor, Jr., formerly of Earth-Three, had decided to restore the previously existing multiverse as a base selection to create a so-called "perfect" universe, as the current reality seemed to be failing. It was, in Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s own words, " a world of villains". Abandoned by his allies, Alex Jr. was depowered, due to the villains that Lex assembled under his alias of Mockingbird. Lex tracked down the supposedly depowered Alex Jr. and allowed the Joker to kill him in a fit of revenge.
Lex used Alex's corpse as evidence that he had an impostor who was responsible for all his recent illegal activities. He was cleared of many of the criminal actions he was accused of.
Post Infinite Crisis Origin
The events of Infinite Crisis and Alex Luthor's attempts to rewrite history actually led to alterations in Lex Luthor's personal history. In the newly created time line, the current Luthor family has a long history with the city of Metropolis. Some of Lex's ancestors were among the pilgrims who founded the city, others were amongst the Native Americans who were there to meet them. Over the centuries, the Luthor family became wealthy and influential. Lex's great-grandfather Wallace Luthor being a millionaire industrialist at the beginning of the 20th Century. He lost his fortune though, in the stock market crash of 1929, and went to his grave a pauper after having to declare bankruptcy. The family fortune would not be rebuilt until the arrival of Lex Luthor, the son of abusive alcoholic Lionel Luthor and his wife Letitia. Lex cared little for his parents, though he did love his sister Lena. In his teens, he lived for a time in Smallville with his aunt, also called Lena, and there met the young Clark Kent and his friends Lana Lang and Pete Ross. The stand-offish and superior Lex was friendly with Clark for a time, but eventually left Smallville under a cloud of suspicion after his father died in mysterious circumstances (engineered by Lex, though this could not be proved). Leaving his sister in Smallville, Lex went to Metropolis and, as before, founded LexCorp.
Superman Arrives (Again)
In this new timeline, Luthor's first meeting with Superman was also somewhat different. As part of his philanthropic image, Luthor had taken to picking a random person from the supplicants who gathered at LexCorp's gates every morning to bestow the chance of a new life upon them. His choice on this occasion, though, was Rudy Jones who, after eating a doughnut contaminated by an unknown radioactive chemical compound, was transformed into the Parasite (Rudy Jones). Superman stopped the Parasite's rampage, overshadowing Luthor and infuriating him. Lex contacted General Sam Lane, who was convinced Superman was a threat, and informed him that Superman was an alien. He transformed one of Lane's men, Sgt John Corben, into Metallo and sent him out after Superman. However, Metallo was defeated and Superman, previously an object of suspicion in the city, feted as a hero. When Luthor came to bestow his gifts on a grateful populace the next day, no-one was there. Lex was no longer the most powerful man in Metropolis. This cemented Lex's lifelong hatred of the Man of Steel. Eventually, as before, Luthor went from hero of the people to public enemy number one.
Through his still impressive financial resources, Lex has engaged in a public promotion campaign to regain his popularity through the Everyman Project, a scientific process that could grant superhuman powers to non-metahumans. The first several subjects of his process became the latest incarnation of Infinity, Inc. Luthor's own body, however, was not compatible with the process, a fact which pained him greatly.
When newly minted meta-humans began falling out of the sky, the media-dubbed Fall Of The Supermen, Luthor's building was attacked by John Henry Irons (New Earth) and his niece. Steel confronted Luthor and was beaten, Lex having discovered a way to gain meta-powers of his own. Lex was still defeated, however, and arrested. It was later found that the Lex that was imprisoned was, in fact, Everyman. Lex was found in a hidden room still inside the Lexcorp building.
One Year Later and Countdown
Main article: One Year Later
One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Luthor had been cleared of over 120 criminal counts ranging from malfeasance to first-degree murder relating to the New Year's Eve massacre from 52. However, his role in the massacre has permanently ruined his public image and, thanks to the machinations of Doctor Sivana, has lost most of his wealth and all of his control over his newly reformed LexCorp, run by Lana Lang. He blames Clark Kent for writing several articles unraveling his schemes and pledges vengeance on Metropolis after an angry mob jeers him on the courthouse steps. After amassing large quantities of Kryptonite, and kidnapping the supervillains Metallo and Kryptonite Man, Lex uses it to power a Kryptonian battleship controlled through a "sunstone" crystal, using it to lash out at Metropolis for 'forgetting' him. While giant crystal formations began to appear throughout the ground, Superman tried to save as many people as he could and find the source of the attack. He found Lex high above the city in a ship made of the crystal where he was controlling it all from. Lex turned all of the crystal into kryptonite, forcing Superman to stay away from Metropolis and the ship, but he didn't count on Superman charging him. Superman knew Luthor would have some form of personal shielding and was right as they both fell down towards the ground. Luthor had time to say one thing: "I hate you. So much." Superman was again powerless and Luthor's shield was weak when they struck the ground. They both arose weak and injured, and Lex began to fist-fight with Superman. With each traded punch, Lex spoke of how if Superman hadn't arrived on Earth and came to Metropolis, he would have made so many scientific breakthroughs instead of trying to come up with ways to destroy him, claiming that it was all Superman's fault that Lex wasn't the top of the food chain anymore. Superman countered with the fact that he had been away for an entire year, yet Luthor had accomplished none of these things he claimed he could have done, simply finding a big machine so that he could break things. The fight ended with Superman victorious.
Luthor was subsequently abducted from prison and drafted in Project 7734 under General Lane. He had hopes of using the project to fulfill his goals against Superman, but Lane had been keeping him on topic.
Lex later sends Bizarro after the newly arrived "Superboy" only for the creature to be defeated by Superman. Undaunted, Luthor gathers together a new Revenge Squad to fight against invading Kryptonians led by General Zod, working alongside Superman only so that Superman can see that Luthor was right about the threat he poses to Earth.
In JLA, Luthor (alongside Joker (New Earth) and Cheetah III) gathers together a new "Injustice League" and, outfitted in a new version of his warsuit, sets out to destroy the Justice League with them. On a related note during this section, he was responsible for creating the third Shaggy Man and the third Blockbuster.
Luthor plays a large role in the Countdown to Final Crisis tie-in event, Salvation Run. Having been sent to the prison planet after his Injustice League was defeated, Lex quickly assumes control of the amassed villains. He received competition only from Joker and Gorilla Grodd, who convince half of the villains to join them. He does fight the Joker until the battle was interrupted by an attack by Desaad's Parademons. After the attack, Luthor manages to get the villains off the planet with a makeshift teleporter, secretly powered by Neutron, Heatmonger, Plasmus, Warp, Thunder and Lightning. When called a "monster" by Thunder, Luthor claims it is the ones who sent them there who are the real monsters, and that he is the hero. He later sets the teleporter to self-destruct after he uses it, killing the attacking Parademons, and his living batteries.
Main article: Final Crisis
Luthor associated with Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains and placed in its Inner Circle. Lex Luthor wanted Libra to prove himself, so Libra sends Clayface to blow up the Daily Planet building. As Lex Luthor attempts to ambush Libra after learning that he is a prophet of Darkseid, Luthor soon ends up surrounded by Justifiers. Libra tells Lex Luthor to make a final choice... swear an oath to Darkseid or become a mindless slave. Later, Lex Luthor witnessed Libra blaming Calculator for cracking the computer codes that will help the resistance. Luthor was silent on the matter and was picked to lead the rearguard action against the heroes at Blüdhaven. He assumed it as an honor, but he didn't look very pleased. A short time later, Libra figured out that Luthor had been the mole in the Society of Supervillains. Luthor, in league with Doctor Sivana, seemingly destroyed Libra and overturned the Anti-Life Equation being broadcast into the Justifiers' helmets.
Main article: Superman: New Krypton
Luthor ended up imprisoned for his crimes, but rather than going to jail, General Sam Lane had him serve out his sentence working for the secretive Project 7734. While still forced to wear chains, Luthor was assigned the job of accessing the knowledge stored within the captured Brainiac who had recently been defeated by Superman. Luthor successfully accessed Brainiac's brain and after Metallo and Reactron were taken to Kandor as prisoners of the Kryptonians who had now settled on Earth, he used Brainiac to reactivate the Coluans ship that was also being held in Kandor. Brainiac's robots attacked the Kryptonians, providing a distraction as Metallo and Reactron used their Kryptonite hearts to kill their captors and murder Zor-El.
Luthor later manages to use Brainiac's connection to his ship to kill the soldiers assigned to watch him. Brainiac manages to free himself from Luthor's control, forcing him onboard the ship, and the two make their escape. The two are later shown to have entered into an alliance, with Brainiac promising Luthor the Earth when he is done with it. While reading newspapers to catch up on what happened during his imprisonment, Luthor learns of the resurrection of Superboy.
Main article: Blackest Night
During the Blackest Night event, when word gets out that apparently everyone around the world are rising as undead Black Lanterns, Luthor isolates himself in his safehouse in fear of all the people he had murdered over the years seeking revenge on him. In Blackest Night #6, it is seen that Luthor is being attacked in his safehouse by Black Lanterns, including his father. An Orange Lantern Ring arrives and attaches itself to Luthor, inducting him into the Orange Lantern Corps as a deputy member, only for him to attack Scarecrow and Mera to claim their Yellow Lantern Corps ring and Red Lantern Ring before his own was taken from him by Larfleeze, the only true member of the Orange Lantern Corps, who subsequently dismissively dropped Luthor in front of the other Lanterns (Sinestro noted that it was the first time Larfleeze had ever given anyone anything).
Main article: Brightest Day
After the conclusion of the New Krypton event, Luthor grew more aggressive for the lust for power after his exposure to a power ring during the Blackest Night. After being infused with the Orange Light of Avarice, Luthor begins a universal quest to locate the energy of the Black Lantern Corps.
During the midst of the Brightest Day, Deathstroke and his new team of Titans are hired to assassinate Luthor while he is visiting Midway City with Nava Mendelssohn, his new personal assistant and bodyguard. When the Titans ambush Lex's convoy and begin killing his hired mercenaries, Nava takes him into the sewers, where she is shot and apparently killed by Deathstroke. It is then revealed that Luthor himself had paid the Titans to fake an attempt on his life, in hopes that it would draw out conspirators within LexCorp. Nava's injuries soon heal, and she reveals herself to be a shapeshifter named Facade, who had murdered and impersonated the real Nava in order to get close enough to Lex to kill him. After a massive battle, Deathstroke and Osiris are able to defeat Facade and turn him over to Lex. In the end, LexCorp scientists are shown performing experiments on the captured Facade. Luthor assembles his staff and reveals that he knows that it was one of his employees who had hired the creature in the first place. Luthor warns them not to try such a tactic again, as he will turn them into his next morbid experiment if they do.
With the aid of a robotic duplicate of Lois Lane created to give him an honest opinion on his actions, Luthor searched for the energy of the Black Lantern in space. In doing so he sent Doomsday 'clones' created from the original to distract Earth's heroes. There Luthor encountered Brainiac in while attempting to alter the last of the Black Lantern energy, acting upon an unspoken theory of his. Brainiac revealed that Loisbot was an unwilling pawn in his bid to hijack Luthor's quest. Luthor then replied that he had anticipated this for some time, he then attacked Brainiac and snapped his neck, temporarily incapacitating him. Loisbot pleaded for Lex's forgiveness, and he accepted her apology. After he altered the four remaining black spheres, he opened a Phantom Zone portal which unleashed an extremely powerful, monstrously large being which intended to kill all life in the universe because the negative emotions of sentient creatures hurt it. Luthor promptly impaled Loisbot's head, allowing himself to be infected with Kryptonian technology. He used it to engage the monster on a mental plane of existence. Grappling with the creature, Luthor's body and mental essence suddenly fused with it. Luthor learned that it evolved in the Phantom Zone and now seeks to escape from the grief and anger of the Zone prisoners. Using this new power, Luthor draws Superman to him, attempting to drive Superman mad by forcing him to experience the human emotions that he believes the alien merely fakes to blend in. However, Luthor is outraged when he learns that Superman's defining moment of tragedy is the loss of his father, confirming his true identity as Clark Kent. Being unable to cope with the fact that not only was his greatest enemy an old associate who was raised by humans, but he also had a father he would actually mourn rather than the anguish Luthor endured in his own relationship with his father. As Luthor becomes one with the creature, Superman and Mr. Mind, who had been aiding Luthor's search, realize that the creature allows Luthor to create a feeling of peace and bliss throughout the entire universe at the cost of never allowing him to cause any harm to another being at the same time. Superman attempts to appeal to Luthor about the potential of doing something even he never accomplished, but Luthor is unable to let go of his hate for Superman, his subsequent attack costing him control of the entity, as well as his memory of everything he learned or did while he was merged with it. It departs for another part of the universe. Luthor is ultimately defeated when he falls into one of the Phantom Zone holes created by the creature, seemingly forever, as the timeline was altered by both The Flash (on accident), causing the Flashpoint Paradox, and the further efforts of a nigh-omnipotent interdimensional being creating an entirely new timeline.
Luthor is commonly seen as a power-hungry and sadistic villain of pure evil. His sole ambition in life is to destroy Superman so that he can become humanity's rightful champion.
Luthor was already antisocial and bitter during his childhood. Having endured continuous abuse from his father and mother, Luthor murdered them and made their deaths look like an accident. Since then, Luthor has become more and more ruthless, seeing people as tools to be manipulated or as enemies to be destroyed. His hatred grew even more when Superman first appeared, as Luthor believed the people of Metropolis had replaced him for Superman as the city's saviour. Swearing vengeance on Superman, Luthor has tried to destroy the Man of Steel for an eternity.
For all his attempts to destroy Superman, Luthor sees himself as a hero and Superman as a villain. He believes Superman's heroic acts are an obstacle for human progress. Luthor has stated on many occasions that after he destroys Superman, he will work towards the betterment of mankind. However, Superman has proven that Luthor will not keep this supposed promise, noting that Luthor did nothing during Superman's year-long absence after his fight with Superboy-Prime but find an old Kryptonian warship to break things (As well as the self-sabotaged 'Everyman' project).
Luthor's primary handicap in facing Superman and other heroes has always been his arrogance. As he fundamentally defines himself by his opposition to Superman, he believes that the reverse is also true, convinced that most of Superman's actions are simply to prove that he is 'better' than Luthor, incapable of recognising how Superman and other heroes would do good for the sake of it.
Despite his crimes, Luthor has established an image as a wealthy philanthropist and manages to maintain a notable political popularity.
Powers and Abilities
- Genius Level Intellect: Luthor's intelligence is nearly unrivaled, making him one of the smartest minds on Earth. His many plans and plots to attack, maim, and generally bring ill will towards Superman were all subjects to a major plan to find a way to end the idea of Superman as well as the Kryptonian himself. Luthor has solved complicated equations in a few minutes and holds a myriad of masters and degrees. He's found cures for diseases in deep thought and found ways to better mankind while still profiting from its destruction.
- Business Management: Lex Luthor is one of the most shrewd businessmen in the world, a trait that has earned him an immense fortune second only to entrepreneurs like Bruce Wayne and Steve Dayton. Unlike Wayne however, Luthor is not above using cutthroat tactics, unethical practices and illegal operations to maintain the success of his business empire. At the height of Lexcorp's power, Lex Luthor virtually owned every business enterprise in the city of Metropolis.
- Political Science: Lex Luthor's corporate skills applied just as sharply in the political arena as they did in the boardroom. As President of the United States, he groomed the best candidates to serve as his cabinet members and knew the intricacies of bureaucratic politicking as well as any other former Chief Executive.
- Leadership: Although Luthor's tenure as president ended in scandal, he successfully guided the nation during the massive alien invasion. He's led a large amount of supervillain teams and done so quite effectively.
- Science: Lex has solved complicated chemical equations in seconds. He understands the variety of powers associated with the human metagene and manipulated it for his own purposes. He claims he found a cure for cancer as well as AIDS but holds them in his personal notes to better bank on it's research.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic): Lex Luthor is also trained in hand-to-hand combat, though his personal Amazon fighting instructors consider him a sub-par combatant with poor form. Lex has also been trained by Sasha Green and a few other instructors, who stated he keeps daydreaming while the middle of their sparring session. Encompassing on Lex's poor status as a fighter, due to his lack of focus. He has single-handedly fought with Nightwing and Batman, although he was only capable of winning one of these fights due to such advantages as Nightwing being drugged and him still wearing parts of his old armor when he fought Batman.
Luthor's primary weakness is consistently portrayed as a combination of his own arrogance and inability to comprehend his enemies. When he initially took charge of the latest version of the Injustice Gang, he failed to subvert the current Justice League because he couldn't comprehend what truly motivated heroes such as the new Green Arrow, and even failed to realize Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent for years, simply because he couldn't imagine why someone as powerful as Superman would even want to be a frail human like Clark.
- The character of Luthor was originally created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
- The revised Luthor was created by John Byrne.
- In addition to the details of Luthor's early life and upbringing having been changed somewhat by the events of Infinite Crisis, his hair color has also changed. In the former timeline, he had deep red hair, but the post-Infinite Crisis Luthor's hair had a lighter, more ginger hue. Since his hair eventually receded leaving him bald in both versions of his history, this is largely unimportant.
- Lex's birthday is often given as September 28th.
- Lex Luthor self-identifies as an atheist.
- Lex once sold his soul to Neron for youth and vigor.
- Luthor wears reading glasses, as shown in "Metropolis - 900 Mi."
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