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Quote1 You've taken my family from me... You've taken my world from me... Until now, I always thought I hated you as much as any one human being could hate another! But I was wrong... Until today, I didn't even know the meaning of the word! I'm coming for you, Superman... And I have only just begun to hate! Quote2
Lex Luthor src

Lex Luthor was a criminal scientist and Superman's greatest enemy.


Alexis "Lex" Luthor was born into a middle-class family household supported by his absentee father, a traveling salesman. Because his father was rarely around, it fell to Lex to take care of the family at home and cultivate the family's fields. However, in spite of his humble farmboy lifestyle, Lex entertained a variety of esoteric interests, chiefly a keen fascination with all manner of scientific disciplines and an obsession with the exploits of the neighboring town Smallville's resident hero: Superboy. As his hero-worship grew, Lex badgered his parents into moving to Smallville so that he could be even closer to his hero. Over some amount of time, Lex accumulated a small gallery of souvenirs from Superboy's adventures and constructed a hidden shrine to the Boy of Steel in a barn.[16][17]

One day, Lex happened upon Superboy while working in the family fields on a tractor, where an undiscovered Kryptonite meteorite was sapping his strength away. The quick-thinking Luthor removed the meteorite from the vicinity by using his tractor to push the Kryptonite into a nearby quicksand bog, and introduced himself to Superboy, eagerly showing the Kryptonian teenager his collection. The flattered Superboy repaid his fan for saving his life by creating a miniature hi-tech laboratory and gathering chemical substances, some unknown to the scientific community at large, to stock it with. With the materials at his disposal, Lex succeeded in a magnificent project: He synthetically created protoplasmic life. Ecstatic at his achievement, Lex prepared to return the favor to Superboy by creating a serum that would make him immune to Kryptonite radiation. However, in his excitement, Lex accidentally knocked over a beaker containing a flammable liquid and caused a chemical fire. Noticing this, Superboy arrived at the scene to extinguish the flames with his super-breath, but in the process he inadvertently blew a vial containing a strong acid into the proto-lifeform, disintegrating Lex's creation and causing Lex's hair to fall out from the resulting fumes.[16][17]

Lex confronted Superboy in his grief and anger, accusing him of intentionally destroying his creation and making him bald out of envy. Convinced of his idol's betrayal, Lex vowed that he would have his revenge upon Superboy someday.[16][17]

Luthor vs. Superboy

Initially, Luthor sought to outdo Superboy as Smallville's hero through philanthropic acts making use of his scientific expertise. However, every endeavor by Luthor to improve the town's prosperity ended in calamity, and it was none other than Superboy whom the townspeople relied on to restore peace and order. Luthor inadvertently not only helped Superboy's already excellent reputation with the people of Smallville but also made himself the most reviled man in town, denounced as a good-for-nothing crackpot at best and a public menace at worse.[16]

Already unstable since the accident that made him bald, Luthor's psyche finally cracked under the weight of his frustation and increasing monomania, and he soon began to resort to petty villainy and acts of violence. When Superboy approached Luthor again, seeking to offer his condolences for his former friend's misfortunes, Luthor tried to kill Superboy with a Kryptonite trap, even as he dangled the only existing sample of his Kryptonite-poisoning antidote just out of Superboy's reach to torment him. However, Superboy used the suction of his super-breath to smash the beaker containing the antidote against his face and ingested droplets of the liquid, saving himself from certain death. Upon regaining his strength, Superboy refused to arrest Lex, recalling how Lex saved his life from the Kryptonite meteorite in his field not long ago, but also making clear that he owed Luthor nothing going forward from that moment.[17]

Still thirsting for the bittersweet nectar of revenge, Luthor used a telekinetic helmet to animate and control an army of Kryptonite humanoids and set them to attack Superboy and his Superdog, Krypto, in outer space. In all likelihood, Luthor would have killed the Boy of Steel if it were not for the timely intervention of Lightning Lad of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who overloaded Luthor's machine.[18]

Lex would continue to plot scheme after nefarious scheme against Superboy, but not without cost to his own public persona and mental health. In the process of waging a one-man war against Superboy and his allies, Luthor earned the mistrust and spite of Smallville's townspeople and other people his age, even alienating his family. Desiring to have nothing to do with their son and his tarnished name, Lex's parents kicked him out of their house and changed their last name to "Thorul": an anagram of "Luthor." As Lex's sister Lena was too young to remember anything at the time, her parents successfully convinced her when she grew older that her brother died in a car accident. This was in spite of the fact that Lena was one of the few people that Lex genuinely still cared about at that point, and probably only fed into his growing misanthropy. In time, Luthor's criminal actions would catch up with him, and he would be remanded to the Smallville Juvenile Detention Center[16] and later to the Soames Reform School.[19][20]

Even while confined for much of his teenage years to a reform school, Luthor made his reputation as the caped Kryptonian's greatest nemesis during their adolescence, plotting numerous schemes to dispatch the Boy of Steel. Such attempts on Superboy's life included casting a pseudo-Green K effect over Smallville using an orbiting satellite[13][14], tricking Superboy into passing the event horizon of a black hole[21], causing Superboy's powers to run out of control[22], and trapping Superboy in a day-long time-loop.[19][23] Lex never forgot how one of his earlier plans was ruined by the Legion of Super-Heroes either, on one occasion sending an android named Urthlo to the 30th century to exact his revenge[24] and on another traveling to the Legion's future personally, pretending to be a version of himself predating the lab accident that made him bald.[25] Beyond Luthor's direct attacks on Superboy and the Legion, Luthor's discovery that a Legion of Super-Heroes existed a millennium into the future inspired his quest to make contact with a parallel Legion of Super-Villains that Luthor reasoned must logically also be destined to exist.[18]

In one of Superboy's final Smallville-era adventures, Luthor marked his escape from juvie by stealing a helicopter and a 20-megaton bomb from a military base, using them to goad Superboy into yet another confrontation. With his incredible powers, Superboy snatched Lex from the pilot's cockpit as soon as the bomb was detonated and neutralized the sound, fallout, and concussive power of the nuclear explosion.[16]

When Jonathan and Martha Kent contracted Fever-Plague from a diary note originated by 18th Century pirate "Pegleg" Morgan, Lex Luthor made an agreement with the authorities to be allowed to try his induced healing device on the Kents, confident that Jonathan would put in a good word with the juvenile detention facility's parole board as a sitting member should he be successful. Unfortunately, Luthor's machine was ineffective in stimulating the deathly ill Kents' recovery, and shortly thereafter, both Jonathan and Martha died.[26] Soon afterwards, a now-college-aged Clark Kent moved to Metropolis to go to journalism school, and Metropolis would become the new hub of Superboy's activities.[27]

After his next escape from juvie using a set of spring-loaded shoes, Luthor transferred criminal operations to Metropolis in pursuit of Superboy. Learning that the Metro Bank was switching over to using a computerized banking system connected to the city's phone lines, Luthor manipulated it by sending electric singals through the phone lines into transferring $48,000 in cash into a bank account he held under a false name and identity. Before long, a disguised Luthor made his withdrawal of the cash, which appeared to be legal in the system. When that money was inexplicably detected as physically missing, however, the bank president and Inspector Bill Henderson summoned Superboy, who summarily arrested Luthor after he made a second illicit withdrawal. Things were different this time in one respect: Both Superboy and Lex were 21 at the time. As a result, when Luthor was found guilty in a court of law, he was sentenced to do time in the state penitentiary, not a reform school as before during the Smallville days.[20]

A few weeks later, an again-escaped Luthor contrived to launch a network of satellites into Earth's orbit. These satellites would be capable of a world-destroying orbital bombardment, as well as channeling their energies into Luthor to grant him abilities equivalent to a Kryptonian's under Earth-conditions. Luthor then hijacked every TV and radio broadcasting frequency worldwide using his satellite network and presented an ultimatum to Superboy. Either he would track Luthor down to his base and fight him in one-on-one combat, or Luthor would activate his satellites and rain fiery doom down on the Earth. Accepting the challenge, Superboy engaged Luthor in battle and ultimately defeated him, not through force so much as trickery. Having matured greatly over the course of the previous months on account of other developments, Superboy made the decision to rename himself as "Superman." Under that name and the shield of the "S," Kal-El would lead the vanguard of a new age of heroes. On the reverse-side of the coin, Luthor would remain the Kryptonian hero's most implacable foe, at the head of a growing tide of creative villainy.[28]

Early Battles With Superman

Being considered as one of the most dangerous criminals of the age, Luthor would make the acquaintance of a number of others belonging to the same ilk.

Most of Luthor's earliest outings against Superman involved the creative usage of some hi-tech trap or gimmick to neutralize the obvious advantage that Superman's awesome arsenal of super-powers granted him. The copious quantities of Kryptonite that fell to Earth, thanks to the space-warp used by the Kryptonian Rocket which brought Superman himself to Earth[29], would supply Luthor with an invaluable resource to draw upon in his wicked endeavors. Unlike common criminals, however, Luthor had a vast intellect to draw upon to aid him in his war on the Man of Steel.

On one occasion, Luthor set a series of catastrophes in motion in Metropolis to bring Superman into action to stop them, storing Superman's expended energies in a suit of armor that Luthor then used to go on a rampage. Superman crippled this plan once he realized that he was being used as Luthor's energy-source, subjecting himself to controlled Kryptonite exposure until Luthor's power reserves depleted.[30]

Luthor briefly pretended to go straight and successfully applied for a manufacturing license, opening up a factory with his unlikely business partner, The Joker. Luthor and Joker manufactured a line of super-strong, humanlike automatons as part of a scheme to discredit Superman, Batman, and Robin. Luthor and Joker planned to publicly conduct tests on their "Mechano-Men" which would appear publicly to the heroes as criminal acts. After humiliating their enemies repeatedly by this strategy, Luthor and Joker planned to distract the World's Finest team with a demonstration of their Mechano-Men while they used the automatons elsewhere in an act of grand larceny. This time, the heroes outwitted the villains, having lifelike android duplicates take their place watching the demonstration while waiting for the villains to show their true intent.[31]

Later, Luthor devised a serum that would give him the power to passively emit K-radiation and challenged Superman, calling himself "The Kryptonite Man." In addition, Luthor pre-empted Superman's predictable decision to charge into battle with lead armor by bathing the Earth in an effect induced by an orbiting satellite which coverted much of the Earth's lead into plain glass. This time, Superman outwitted Luthor by deceiving Luthor into believing that his serum had become inert and ingesting the antidote to the serum's effects.[3]

Using a false identity as a scientist who discovered a cure for Kryptonite poisoning, Luthor tricked Superman into entering his lab and allowing himself to be exposed to the dysfunctional Duplicator Ray invented years ago in his youth by Professor Dalton. Consequently, Luthor spawned a Bizarro Superman into existence from inorganic particulate matter stripped from the air, but while Luthor hoped Bizarro would be sufficiently pliable to direct against Superman, Bizarro quickly elected upon his own priorities and abandoned Luthor, who was snatched up by Superman and returned to police custody.[32]

After Superman recovered the bottle-city of Kandor from the clutches of the space-villain Brainiac, Luthor masterminded a plot to shrink himself and a small army of henchmen, trick Superman into bringing them to the Fortress of Solitude, and take over Kandor themselves. Then, when Superman entered the bottle-city, Luthor took advantage of his enemy's powerlessness under the simulated Krypton-like conditions and held him captive. Fortunately, Batman and Robin used a lead from one of Luthor's hired guns to trace Luthor to the Fortress and lent Superman the helping hand necessary to flush Luthor out.[33]

Luthor simulated the landing on an alien craft in Metropolis in another incident, drawing Superman into the capsule's interior. Once inside, Luthor revealed his treachery and informed Superman that breaching the exterior wall of the capsule would activate a nuclear device hidden beneath the foundations of the city. Luthor then used an android duplicate of Superman to swipe the nuclear arsenals of the world's nations and hold it hostage, although Superman escaped his predicament by short-circuiting the mechanisms within his prison-capsule and saving the day.[34]

During one of his stints in prison, one of his cellmates absconded with schematics to one of Luthor's anti-Superman weapons: Weapon X -- a contraption which could contain Superman's energies and direct them back at him in the form of a concentrated concussive ray. As a cover to gain the opportunity to siphon Superman's power, this overambitious con maqueraded as a photographer and requested to get "pictures" of Superman as he performed feats of incredible strength. Eventually, Superman caught wise and sent his hidden nemesis up the river, provoking remonstrations from the angered Luthor at his device's misuse.[35]

After his next jailbreak, Lex got the inspiration from Superman's Arctic Fortress to set up his own secret headquarters for strategizing Superman's downfall. By financing the construction of a museum smack-dab in the heart of Metropolis using a front group, Luthor managed to hide in plain sight from the Man of Tomorrow, as the museum obscured a sequestered hideout known simply as Luthor's Lair. Luthor's Lair was both a repository for Luthor's super-weapons and Kryptonite reserves, as well home to a "Hall of Heroes" containing wax statues in the images of Attila the Hun, Captain Kidd, Al Capone, Julius Caesar, and Genghis Khan. The first excursion launched by Lex from his new base of operations involved the theft of gold from Fort Knox, armed with an illusion-projector that could not only simulate the appearance of Kryptonite, but also induce Superman to feel the effects of K-radiation exposure. Although victorious, Luthor was enraged to later discover that he did not defeat Superman, but a Superman Robot programmed to react to the presence of Kryptonite in the same way as the real Man of Steel. Exasperated at the elusiveness of his triumph, Luthor returned the stolen bullion, deciding that the value of the gold meant nothing to him so long as he could not best Superman.[36]

At some point, Luthor was returned to prison, giving Lex time to work on reaching out to the Legion of Super-Villains that he had always guessed had existed in the 30th century. Lex communicated with Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen, and Cosmic King and brought them into the 20th century, orchestrating a plot to bring Superman into outer space and into the future, where they victimized the Last Son of Krypton with a Kryptonite trap. Superman was only rescued by the last-second intervention of Lightning Man, Saturn Woman, and Cosmic Man of the adult Legion of Super-Heroes, and Superman shifted the alignment of Saturn's rings to free Saturn Queen from the influence of her evil split-personality.[37]

Luthor was visited in his prison cell one day by an individual claiming to be Supergirl, whose existence was not yet known to Luthor, as Superman kept Supergirl in the shadows to be his "secret emergency weapon" until she fully adjusted to her powers on Earth. This Kryptonian villainess, actually the criminal Kandorian scientist Lesla-Lar disguised as the true Supergirl, proposed an alliance with Luthor, whereby she would help Luthor build a Kryptonite ray to use against Superman and make her first public appearance afterwards, posing as an agent of the law while furtively scheming with Luthor. Although this was the version of the plan that Lesla-Lar gave to Luthor, she actually planned to murder Luthor and make it look like an accident after Luthor used the Kryptonite ray to murder Superman, after which the entire Earth would be at her mercy.[38] However, Lesla-Lar's plan, which partially relied upon brainwashing the real Supergirl to believe herself to be "Lesla-Lar" in Kandor while the real Lesla-Lar was outside the bottle claiming to be "Supergirl," was put on ice prematurely by the Kandorian authorities, leaving Lex perplexed at the lack of corroboration by the so-called "Supergirl" on their mutually agreed-upon course of action.[39]

Apparently disregarding his prior encounters with a super-powered woman calling herself "Supergirl," Luthor decided upon the public unveiling of the real Supergirl to the whole world that her existence was a hoax perpetuated by Superman to make criminals second-guess their movements during periods while Superman was known to be off-planet. Using a shrink-ray reverse-engineered from Brainiac's more famous version, Luthor miniaturized a bank franchise and tried to steal the whole building in its puny state. Luthor ran afoul of Supergirl, predictably, and accidentally killed himself with a death-ray that he intended to use against the Maid of Might. Feeling obligated to preserve all life, even Luthor's, Supergirl scoured alien worlds for a treatment that could restore Luthor from clinical death before it was too late. Luthor did not appreciate that he now owed the Girl of Steel, figuring that it would make him the laughing stock of the entire underworld, but regardless, Luthor was carted away back to prison.[40]

In one instance, Lex blasted Superman with a molecular rearranger ray intended to render him unto an incorporeal, formless, powerless state, although due to an internal defect it instead materialized a "negative-duplicate" of Superman, which Batman and Robin were called upon to help Superman stop.[41]

At a later date, the Metropolis Police Department discovered the location of Luthor's Lair and surrounded its museum building, forcing Luthor to blast off with the compact rocket ship secreted inside the statue standing atop it. Luthor's journey brought him to Roxar, a planet ruled by a race of sentient robots called Automs. Luthor callously destroyed one of the robot units and was quickly captured and put on trial for his life by the rest of the Automs. Superman tracked Lex to Roxar and was compelled to advocate for Luthor as his attorney, in order so that Luthor could be returned to Earth to serve out the rest of his pre-existing prison sentence. Superman accomplished this by rebuilding the Autom that Luthor had destroyed using the Radium power-supply of Lex's spacefaring vessel, exonerating Luthor. Before Superman could bring him back to Earth, Luthor indicated that Superman had no authority to do so, not having legal jurisdiction outside of the Solar System. Superman therefore left Luthor on Roxar, albeit not without letting Lex know that he would be stranded on the alien planet without the Radium power-core.[42]

Luthor decided to endear himself to the Automs in order to facilitate his eventual departure from Roxar by developing a defense for them against an endemic species of metal-devouring insects. As such, the Automs decided to trust Luthor to make use of their futuristic machinery, which Luthor used to free three members of Roxar's android underclass from cryogenic suspension and transform them into animate constructs of lead, diamond, and Green Kryptonite. With his three new reluctant partners-in-crime, Lex betrayed the Automs and absconded from Roxar with a new Radium power-source for his ship. Luthor then used his android slaves to perpetrate acts of piracy on interstellar shipping lanes, hoping that one of Superman's liaisons from an extraterrestrial planet would request his aid. Luthor's gambit was a success in bringing Superman into his midst, and his androids would have defeated Superman, if not for their decision to turn on Luthor due to realizing his malignant nature. Though destroyed in the way of defying Luthor's will, they gave Superman the chance to turn the tables and apprehend Luthor.[43]

Back on Earth, Lex Luthor continued to hatch clever schemes against Superman. Using a perfected version of his molecular rearranger, Lex tried to defeat Superman again and rob a Gotham City gem exhibit in league with the Joker, but he was outmaneuvered by Superman's alliance with Gotham's defenders, the Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin.[44] Luthor subsequently created an android duplicate of Superman and sent it on a spree of thefts of silver-containing valuables, while Superman was distracted by a group of aliens from a planet where silver was the most valuable precious metal. The scheme was to frame Superman for having gone rogue against the law, while doing so in a way which would automatically recompense Lex's extraterrestrial co-conspirators for performing their part. Once again, Batman and Robin's interference was pivotal to clearing Superman's name and unraveling Luthor's plot.[45]

In spite of his consummate criminality, Lex Luthor retained one closely guarded soft spot in his heart, reserved for his younger sister Lena. Lena had no recollection of being related to the infamous Lex Luthor, only knowing what her late parents told her about her brother having died in a car accident. When it briefly seemed as if Lena had fallen in with a gang of bank-robbers (although it was a ruse meant to prove her skills as a potential FBI agent), Lex privately met with Supergirl and compelled her to swear that she would keep Lena's relationship to him a secret, even from Lena herself.[46] When Lesla-Lar escaped from captivity in Kandor and struck back against Supergirl, she exchanged Lena for herself in the bottle as she had once done with Supergirl herself, seeing as how the three of them shared an uncanny resemblance to one another. Lesla-Lar went on to free General Zod, Jax-Ur, and Kru-El from the Phantom Zone, proposing an alliance with them to recover the Kryptonian Weaponry Cache that Superboy deposited on the Atlantic Ocean floor years ago and divvy up Earth into spheres of influence. The Phantom Zoners turned on Lesla-Lar after the cache was retrieved and opened, killing her without a second thought using a disintegrator-ray. It then fell to Supergirl and Superman to check the mad Kryptonian archvillains' world-dominating ambitions, a fight in which Lex sided with the super-cousins for Lena's sake.[47][48]

Luthor, Hero of Lexor

After breaking out of prison again, Lex hijacked radio and TV broadcasting frequencies worldwide and and alleged that all of Superman's prior victories over him had been solely on account of his superior physical abilities under yellow-sun environments. Calling into question Superman's heroic credentials by indicating how Superman had a distinct advantage over Earth-people in Earth-like environments, Lex challenged Superman to fight him in single combat on a desert planet in a distant red-sun system, as Superman's powers would be negated under such conditions. After an initial battle ending in Superman's triumph, the two archfoes wandered through the desert for days until Luthor discovered the remnants and people of a great civilization, which had been annihilated in a massive war long ago. Out of pity, or perhaps simply seeing the opportunity to play the hero for once, Luthor helped these benighted aliens regain some of the technical standards of their vanished civilization, but Superman ultimately found and captured him. Before returning to Earth, however, Luthor convinced Superman to recreate the now-barren world's natural bodies of water using icebergs from a neighboring frigid planet, as Luthor had promised the planet's natives that he would do this for them before his departure. Luthor was credited with this magnanimous deed by the aliens, who would rename their planet Lexor out of gratitude. Over the years, Luthor made frequent visits to Lexor, where he was regarded as a hero and a savior while Superman was thought of as a villain for opposing him.[49]

In Luthor's first encounter with Brainiac, Luthor used a mental probe to determine Brainiac's true origins as a Coluan "living computer" and conspired with him to shrink, paralyze, disempower, and imprison Superman. Luthor and Brainiac's search for the ingredients to their anti-super-power serum incidentally brought them to both Colu and Lexor. On the latter planet, Luthor checked Brainiac's attempt to requisition materials from the natives, now feeling protective towards them. In addition, Luthor encountered a woman indigenous to Lexor, named Ardora, who unsubtlely came on to Luthor and earned his appreciation. Luthor also managed to get Brainiac to agree to a procedure whereby he would enhance the android's intellect to a 12th-level intelligence, though it was merely an excuse to implant a device in Brainiac that would cause him to deactivate in the event that Brainiac double-crossed Luthor. Subsequently, Brainiac mesmerized Luthor into removing the device and losing all memory of his secret origin. The villains defeated Superman with the anti-super-power serum, but their victory was cut short by arrival of the Superman Emergency Squad, who captured them and brought them to Kandor for Brainiac to be judged under Kryptonian law for the city's abduction. Luthor agreed to serve as Brainiac's defense attorney, but all reasoned arguments to vindicate Brainiac before the Kandorians rang hollow. With Brainiac's (and his own) incarceration seeming inevitable, Luthor blackmailed the Kandorians into allowing them to escape unpunished, pointing out that they still held Superman captive and helpless and would be required to put him back to normal. Reluctantly agreeing to the villains' terms, Kandor released them. Surprisingly, the villains held up their own part of the bargain by restoring Superman, then fleeing.[50]

Shortly after his recovery from the anti-super-power serum, Superman reneged on his deal with Luthor and Brainiac, heading after the first of the two villains by piloting a spacecraft to Lexor, where Lex had accepted full dictatorial powers in the meantime. During his sojourn on the still-underdeveloped planet, Superman realized that the Lexorians paid tribute to Luthor using a jewel-currency which emitted an intelligence-sapping radiation, which Superman theorized was responsible for Lexor's civilizational decline. As a result, Superman made an effort to confiscate all reserves of the jewel-currency, branding him as an outright criminal on Lexor. In response, Luthor used a machine of Ancient Lexorian manufacture to grant himself temporary super-powers equivalent to Superman's own under yellow-sun environments, making his main priority to capture Superman and, ironically, to bring him to justice. However, Luthor decided to allow Superman to abscond with the jewels once Superman convinced him of their detrimental effects. Still though, Luthor was unhappy with his stalemate against Superman and synthesized a large supply of Red Kryptonite dust that would negate Superman's powers even on Earth. While piloting a starship with the Red K dust back to Earth, Lex inadvertently passed through a space-warp that took him back in time to the year 1906. After arriving on Earth in San Francisco, Luthor learned that the Daily Planet was published on the West Coast in the first half of the 20th century and stole the identity of the paper's editor-in-chief Cyrus Groat, who had recently been killed when his horse threw him and broke his neck. Superman pursued Luthor into the past to recapture him, now that he was on Earth again, and sought to insinuate himself into the society of early-20th century California by applying for a job at the Planet using the identity of Clark Kent. Unbeknownst to Superman, his new boss was Luthor in disguise and deduced that "Clark Kent" must actually be Superman. Taking advantage of Superman's cluelessness, Luthor neutralized his powers with the Red K and rowed him out to the island of Alcatraz, where Luthor had a time-machine set up to bring them to contemporary times, after which Luthor would bring Superman to Lexor and publicly execute him. However, the time-machine suffered from a crippling malfunction, sending a massive seismic shockwave for the mainland just as it transported Luthor into the relative future. Thus, without Lex's knowing, he became responsible for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After providing assistance to the city's natives in the wake of the disaster, Superman followed Luthor to their own time-period, finding to his amusement that Luthor rematerialized several days before him -- trapped in one of the cells of the by-then-abandoned Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.[7]

Timing his actions to coincide with a period while neither Superman nor Supergirl were Earth-bound, Luthor broke jail yet again and hijacked a NASA space-probe to return him to Lexor, where he would once more be protected by the adoration and appreciation of the planetary natives. Upon arrival, Lex took his budding relationship with Ardora to the next level, arranging to wed her in the traditional Lexorian custom. In spite of his joy at finding success and fulfillment among people that revered him and a wife who wholeheartedly loved him, Lex could not put the fly-in-the-ointment of Superman's inevitable pursuit out of his mind. Furthermore, Ardora compelled Luthor to vow not to kill Superman when and if he did return, but instead to leave his fate to the appropriate juridical powers of state. Lex decided to interpret this promise in as creative a manner as he could envision, feigning his own death in his fight with Superman upon the Man of Steel's arrival. Luthor accomplished this death-like coma using a specially synthesized drug, knowing that a court of law would swiftly sentence Superman to death in the time before his system fully metabolized the drug. This plot was executed impeccably with the unwitting complicity of Lexor's wrathful, infuriated populace, but Superman managed to escape from his prison on the day prior to his execution and revived Luthor prematurely using the antidote to his drug. In spite of the revelation that their leader had manipulated the entire planet's population to demand his death, Lexor's courts continued to side with Luthor, dropping charges against Superman for Luthor's "murder" but banishing the Man of Tomorrow from the planet as punishment for accusing their beloved protector. This was the first, and one of very few, genuine victories over Superman that Lex Luthor would relish over the course of his career.[51][52]

Luthor evidently returned to Earth and was reincarcerated in an undocumented confrontation with Superman, after which he swore that both great loves of Superman's life -- Lois Lane and Lana Lang -- would die by his hand upon his next breakout. After learning that Superman's powers were negated by the radioactive trail of a comet on a space-mission, Brainiac busted Luthor free and forged an alliance to exact Luthor's vengeance. Meanwhile, Superman had used the rare isotope Illium 349 to enlarge Ar-Val, a suitable member of the Superman Emergency Squad of Kandor, and tasked him with the responsibilities of Superman. When it became obvious that Ar-Val did not take his position seriously, Kal-El made use of 30th century tech borrowed from the Legion of Super-Heroes to come to Lois and Lana's rescue. Ultimately, Ar-Val came to realize what being Superman was truly about and drove Luthor and Brainiac off, saving Lois and Lana. Afterwards, Ar-Val sacrificed his life to facilitate a power-transfer procedure whereby Kal-El would regain his Kryptonian super-powers, allowing Kal-El to be Superman again at a grave cost.[53] Superman refused to let Ar-Val's sacrifice be in vain and tracked his archfoe to Lexor once again, in disregard of the planetary ruling body's exile mandate. Instead of capturing Luthor, Superman inadvertently revealed a cache of artifacts and tapes kept by Luthor which exposed his extensive career of criminal acts on Earth, shattering Ardora's image of the man she loved and destroying their marriage. Swearing even an more vindictive retribution than before, Luthor initiated a psychological warfare scheme against Superman, by taking up seemingly contradictory actions. Although Luthor's plan had early success at making Superman second-guess his actions and ruin his efficacy as a hero, he pressed the strategy too far and tipped Superman off at what has happening. Luthor (in the company of Brainiac) fled for Lexor once the jig was up, but Superman elected not to pursue, instead granting his two greatest enemies a temporary reprieve and erasing Ardora's memories of Lex's true nature with an Amnesium gas-capsule.[54][55][56]

Doctor Destiny briefly impersonated Lex Luthor among other villains using his Materioptikon to lure Green Arrow into a confrontation, take him out, and switch their superficial appearances around, intending to take Green Arrow's place and infiltrate the Justice League of America. Because Green Arrow learned about this plan before it began and sent a cryptic warning to the rest of the League, every member of the JLA decided to attempt an impersonation of Green Arrow to get to the bottom of the real GA's caution. When Superman fought "Luthor" as "Green Arrow" and fell in battle, Destiny took on the appearance of Green Arrow and projected the appearance of Luthor around Superman to get him incarcerated. Similar actions ensued in Doctor Destiny's encounters with the other Justice Leaguers, although the real Green Arrow put a stop to it by waylaying the real Doctor Destiny and dragging him to the Secret Sanctuary. When Destiny regained consciousness, he revealed to the JLA that he had mesmerized all the villains he had impersonated earlier and hid them in the Secret Sanctuary as a contingency plan. Luthor and Destiny's other mind-controlled knaves fought the Justice League and lost, being returned to prison with only vague, dream-like recollections of what had been done to them.[57]

Lex opened up a period of collaboration with the insane ventriloquist and would-be crimelord named Ventor. Together, the villains plotted to infect Superman with a biological agent that could kill even him: The deadly "Kryptonian leprosy" microbe Virus X. Luthor managed his part of the plan by convincing prison authorities to give him access to a microbiology lab, in order to work on a cure for a plague afflicting exclusively cattle. With his enormous scientific prowess, Luthor was able to reverse-engineer a reasonable duplicate of the original Virus X pathogen endemic to Krypton and surrepitiously passed the vial containing the plague off to Ventor in the middle of a puppetry show put on by Ventor for the ostensible entertainment of the inmates. Ventor then kidnapped Clark Kent, having chosen him to be the unwitting agent of Superman's doom, and tried to brainwash Clark to infect Superman with the Virus X sample using a mind-control machine built from scavenged parts of broken Superman Robots. The mesmeric effect was sufficient to obliterate Clark's memory of his other identity as Superman, although not to make Clark hate Superman enough to deliberately infect him with Virus X. However, Clark decided that he would never get to the bottom of Ventor's plans unless he acted his part convincingly enough, causing Clark to inadvertently brainwash himself into hating Superman through unconscious use of his super-hypnosis and instruction from a self-hypnosis manual. Afterwards, Clark carried out his mission on behalf of Luthor and Ventor -- By infecting himself with Virus X, upon which his mental programming broke and Superman suddenly comprehended the gravity of his actions. Over several days, Superman tried to find a cure for Virus X and isolate himself from humans to prevent them from contracting the disease. Luthor claimed public responsibility for creating the virus and promised to release the antidote in exchange for $1,000,000. After the requested sum was pooled from donations by Superman's supporters, Lex gleefully revealed that there was no cure, forcing Superman to program a one-way course for Flammbron, the hottest star in the universe, by way of rocket. There, the Man of Steel would meet his end by cremation, though this miserable fate was fortunately averted by the inhabitants of the Bizarro World, who threw shards of White Kryptonite in the rocket's path to "celebrate" Superman's death. The White K radiations had the effect of purging the Virus X particles from Superman's system, restoring him to full health. News of Luthor's cruel treachery simultaneously reached Lexor, and the populace revolted against their old way of life, toppling the statues they had erected in Luthor's honor. Ardora was the only one on Lexor who still believed enough in Lex Luthor's benevolence that she could not accept secondhand reports of his villainy, urging the population to mitigate their furious reaction.[58][59][60][61][62]

Back to Basics

Unable to rely on Lexor any further as a platform for his anti-Superman campaign, Lex Luthor returned to the type of strategies that he had implemented during the earlier part of his career as an criminal scientist and mastermind. This period can be thought of a period of languishing in the broader picture of Luthor's villainous career.

After Mordru entrapped Superman in a magic vault made of Supermanium, Supergirl and Brainiac 5 teamed up to deceive Luthor into cracking open the vault for them. They accomplished this by unveiling the vault to the public as receptacle of a "last gift to humankind" that would only open once Superman's heart stopped beating. By impersonating Superman and faking his own death at Luthor's hands, Brainiac 5 exasperated Luthor into using other extreme conditions to test the integrity of the vault, eventually splitting it open and releasing Superman from captivity.[63]

Later, Lex was embarrassingly outwitted by the forces of good once again, as Superman faked his own murder by a vicious alien warlord named Motan the Ruthless and wrote a false will donating his organs to Batman. The super-organs, actually synthetic replicas of real Kryptonian organs belonging to a Superman Robot, were stolen by Lex, who auctioned them off to a gang called the Big Four Syndicate, consisting of Big Dan Clay, King West, Brian Lewis, and Ace Shane. Lex surgically replaced the four gangsters' human organs with their pseudo-Kryptonian counterparts, granting each one of the four the ability to duplicate one of Superman's powers. Batman and Robin scrambled to capture the Big Four before it could be too late, but the synthetic super-organs within their bodies began to deteriorate before that could happen, resulting in the instantaneous death of Ace Morgan, who had received "Superman's lungs." Just then, the real Superman returned to Earth to reveal his farce, stating that the long-con was a plan set up with Batman and Robin's willing engagement to flush the Big Four Syndicate out and keep Luthor occupied while Superman was seeing to a greater concern in the Andromeda Galaxy.[64][65]

Luthor's attentions briefly shifted to Supergirl, as his niece Nasthalthia "Nasty" Luthor conceived of an idea to flush her out and trick her into providing clues to her secret identity. As Nasty had a belief that Supergirl was secretly another student at Stanhope College like her, she tried to rustle up enough discontent to draw Supergirl out by using a biker gang to bully other students. This tactic failed when Supergirl merely captured Lex and embarrassed Nasty and her gang in public.[66] Determined to prove that Supergirl was truly Stanhope alumnus and KSF-TV camerawoman Linda Danvers, Nasty pulled strings with her uncle Lex to get her a job at KSF-TV using his connections.[67]

Lex Luthor forged a new set of underworld connections using the false name and disguise of electronics specialist "Mister Slesar." After professional criminal King Andrews struck upon the coordinates of the Fortress of Solitude by pure chance, he contacted "Slesar," unknowing of his true identity as Luthor, to help him break inside. Then, Andrews enlisted the help of his son Michael to kidnap Clark Kent, hoping to forestall Superman in case he interrupted their break-in by holding Clark hostage. Once inside, Luthor showed his true colors and shot King Andrews dead, having no interest in plundering the Fortress's trophy rooms per Andrews's designs, but intent on planting an antimatter bomb in the Fortress keyhole to annihilate Superman utterly once he attempted to interact with it. Little did Luthor know that he already had Superman right where he wanted him, in the form of Clark Kent. However, Clark thought up a way to cover his quick-change into Superman by simulating a cave-in that buried him alive and seemingly killed him. Superman then arrived in time to disarm Luthor and safely dispose of the antimatter bomb, fabricating the explanation that he rescued Clark from the falling debris "just in the nick of time" -- although Superman was not in the nick of time to save the life of King Andrews, a tragedy which Superman hoped would make an impression on Michael not to make the same decisions that led his father down that road.[10]

Revisiting the concept of an obedient monster with the raw power to destroy Superman after the failure of Bizarro, Luthor crafted a "Galactic Golem" using stellar plasma extracted from the heart of the universe and animated this creature with a primordial, visceral drive to break down and consume any matter that had been infused with so-called "hyperstellar energy." It was a simple matter, having accomplished that, for Luthor to bombard Superman with hyperstellar energy over long-distance from his lair and wait for the Golem to reach Superman's location and begin a tussle. The Golem proved to be one of the most fearsome adversaries Superman had ever engaged with, while a speaker implanted into the Golem's throat enabled Luthor to taunt Superman every second of the battle. Guessing that the galaxy-shaped marking on the Golem's forehead might be a weak spot, Superman aimed his punch for there, only to recognize at the last second that the moment of impact would spark a huge explosion. Superman decided to shift the entire population of Metropolis into another dimension and out of harm's way right before his fist connected, intending to achieve this by using the radiation emitted by the Golem's aura to amplify his own vibrational frequency as he attuned it to another dimensional plane. However, Superman miscalculated and accidentally shunted the entire population of Earth into the alternate dimension, with the exception of Luthor, who was shielded from the effect by the force-field in his lab. Luthor spent hours filled with despair in the belief that Superman's clash with the Golem ended all life on Earth, though his illusions were shattered when the Golem breached his lab's outer defenses in search of the hyperstellar energy source contained there. Against Luthor's expectations, Superman reappeared and held the Golem off as Luthor frantically shot his entire hyperstellar energy supply into a flock of meteoroids drifting through space, causing the Golem to fly off into the empty void in pursuit of his "food." Once the Golem was dealt with, Superman revealed that he restored the Earth's entire population when he returned from the alternate dimension, making Luthor honestly relieved for once that he had been defeated.[68]

A short time after this incident, Luthor learned of a self-proclaimed magician called "Doctor Mystir," who had a record of success in handicapping Superman using a voodoo-doll. After a brief personal meeting with "Doctor Mystir," Luthor deduced that Superman's new nemesis was in fact an old nemesis: Brainiac, using a human disguise and concealing his sensory manipulation device in the artifice of a fetish. "Mystir" quickly dropped the act and let Luthor in on his next attack on Superman's senses, but to both villains' misfortune, it was on that occasion that Superman got wise to the gimmick and put a stop to it. Brainiac decided that he preferred death to capture and engulfed both Luthor and himself in a burst of energy that seemingly disintegrated the both of them.[69]

Before long, Luthor's and Brainiac's deaths were shown to be a hoax, and the energy-burst was revealed to have merely rendered the two of them temporarily incorporeal before reintegrating the molecules making up their bodies. Luthor and Brainiac resumed their renewed alliance, inviting Brainiac's 20th-level-intellect rival Grax and Viking-themed space-pirate The Marauder. The four villains announced their continued existence to the world by freezing Niagara Falls solid and broadcasting their images against the ice. Surprisingly, the villains' sole demand was to sue for peace with Superman, which the Metropolis Marvel initially turned down on suspicion of duplicity. Mounting public pressures forced Superman's hand, and contrary to his inclinations, Superman decided to hear Luthor and his cohorts out at Luthor's newest Andes Mountains-based lair. The villains told Superman that a trip to a planet inhabited by intangible beings, known as the Phantom-Planet, had a strange effect on Superman that caused him to generate ghost-like emanations of his power with every super-feat. Furthermore, the villains alleged that Superman's innocuous visit to another world had consigned it to its doom as the "phantom-Supermen" wreaked havoc in his wake. Luthor and company then convinced Superman to let them help in ridding the Earth of the phantom-duplicates, with the rationale being that the Earth could not be conquered if the phantom-Supermen destroyed it first. Nevertheless, Superman's initial suspicions were validated, and the phantom-Supermen turned out not to have been extensions of himself after all, but rather creations of a device within Luthor's Lair controlled by the Marauder's helmet. The villains were able to defeat Superman by staging an ambush with their mastery over the phantom-doppelgängers, but the other three members of the villain team-up subsequently turned on Luthor and threw him out of their circle, on account of viewing him as a lesser being due to his human origins. As such, Luthor was forced to cooperate with Superman to secure their freedom and drive Brainiac, Grax, and the Marauder on the run, while Luthor was taken back to prison in the aftermath.[70][71]

Lex Luthor's next couple of outings saw him return to a modus operandi of going solo. Luthor finally acknowledged that most of his defeats by Superman were on account of his passionate hate for the Last Son of Krypton. Luthor's next strategy therefore depended upon making Superman more irrational and emotionally driven in their encounters, which Luthor accomplished by exposing Superman to a mallet-shaped, brain-activity-altering device called the Hammer of Hate. After failing to capture Luthor several times due to his out-of-control rage, Superman mistakenly allowed his induced hatred to slip into his occupation as Clark Kent, TV anchorman, as Clark graced the nightly 6 o'clock news with a vehement speech denouncing Luthor and calling for his arrest. It was after being reprimanded by Josh Coyle that Clark realized that something was wrong with him. After piecing together that Luthor had unbalanced his mental state to render him ineffective, Superman used an emotion-interpreting machine called the Mento-Graph to drain off his hateful feelings, then directed news reports to draw out Luthor by falsely reporting that he had killed the S.T.A.R. Labs scientist who invented the Mento-Graph. After Luthor arrived at S.T.A.R., ready to batter Superman to death with his Power-Glove, Superman revealed the deception and made short work of Luthor, who once more succumbed to his own hatred.[72]

Back in prison, Lex pulled strings with Zeke Corey, an ex-con with established ties to Luthor who obtained employment with Galaxy Communications as a technician. Per Lex's instructions, Zeke wired a bug into a WGBS telecom satellite to convert it into a mass-hypnosis ray, using it to brainwash everyone on Earth to believe that Superboy disappeared before he ever had the chance to become Superman. To Superman's amazement, no one could acknowledge his presence while outside in full costume, and even super-heroic deeds performed by him were attributed in the minds of onlookers to extraordinary natural events. Superman suspected Luthor's responsibility from the first, although Lex appeared not to respond when confronted personally by the Man of Steel. However, Superman managed to get Luthor to crack when he impersonated a security guard posted outside Luthor's cell and pretended not to acknowledge Luthor's existence, causing Luthor to conclude that Zeke Corey had betrayed him and programmed the mass-hyponosis ray to erase the world's memory of Lex Luthor as well as Superman. Luthor's unsuppressed monologuing gave Superman all the information he needed both to pinpoint the source of the effect and to identify Luthor's co-conspirator on the outside, and Superman addressed both in short order, restoring the world to normalcy.[73]

Up Close and Personal

The next challenge that Luthor posed to Superman represented a game-changer with regard to his M.O. While his previous career in villainy had consisted mainly of clever scheming and acting through proxies, the following phase in Lex Luthor's career saw Luthor adopt a more personal, confrontational approach to his battles with Superman, relying more on hi-tech accoutrements that could be wielded against Superman directly to deadly effect.

The most recognizable example of this was Luthor's Battle Array Suit, a costume of sorts integrating various destructive anti-Superman devices into its components. Lex's first outing with the Battle Array Suit was designed to stack the odds even further in Luthor's favor by exposing Superman to an experimental ray that reduced Superman's physiological age and psychological judgement to their adolescent levels. Luthor then hit Superboy with a gravity-amplification ray that would increase Superboy's weight until he was unable to move. While his opponent was helpless, Lex then readied himself to scalp Superboy with a laser-knife, only for the gravity ray to have the unanticipated effect of increasing Superboy's weight well beyond when he was paralyzed. Before Luthor could react, Superboy was heavy enough to drive the both of them straight into the Earth's core, where only Luthor would perish, and the gravitational pull of Superboy's body was also sufficiently great that the rocket-thrusters in Luthor's boots could not exert enough lift-force to save him either. Faced with the prospect of an ugly demise, Luthor yielded and undid the effect of the de-aging ray. Unlike his younger self, Superman had the experience to pull out of his plummet towards the Earth's core and direct his path towards an undersea volcano, saving Luthor's life.[74]

While touring the Superman Museum incognito, Lex bumped into another visitor that he failed to recognize at the time as the Parasite, clad in a trenchcoat. By duplicating Luthor's fingerprints and voice-print, Parasite was able to deceive Lex's army of goons into giving him control over Lex's latest project in the works, a fleet of flying-saucer-type hovercraft with disintegrator beams. Impersonating Lex's physical appearance, the Parasite gave the city of Metropolis an ultimatum to either surrender to a wave of unrestrained pillage or face total annihilation. When Superman flew into action, Parasite made short work of the Action Ace by absorbing the strength from his punch and redirecting it back at Superman, knocking him into a semi-unconscious state. Feeling obligated to knock the Parasite down a peg for infringing on his operations and misusing his gadgetry, Lex entered into a sort of alliance with Superman to stop him. Using his scientific know-how, Luthor devised a means whereby Superman's thoughts could animate a statue made in Superman's image from alien metals with aberrant properties. Using the Superman statue as an avatar, Superman succeeded in laying waste to the flying-saucer fleet and temporarily nullified Parasite's powers. While the Parasite was picked up by the police, Luthor saw his opportunity and got away without a trace.[75]

Lex enacted another plot, prerequisite to which was manipulating the President of the United States into granting him a full pardon. Needing a compelling reason for the President to bestow such a privilege upon a notorious, recidivistic felon, Luthor directed his minions to trigger the descent of a number of Luthor's satellites into the Earth's atmosphere while Superman was away on a Justice League mission. As this crisis threatened to contaminate the entire world with lethal radiation. Luthor offered to destroy the satellites in exchange for the presidential pardon, which ultimately Lex was able to wring out of the man in the Oval Office. Afterwards, Lex Luthor set about to destroy the satellites with an energy-cannon attached to a rocket-ship and struck up an unlikely new romance with Lois Lane after regaining his freedom. The burgeoning relationship between Lois and Lex was illusory on both ends, sadly. While Lex planned to get Superman to agree to be his best man, only to hypnotize him into revealing his secret identity to the world on live television, Lois intuitively knew that Luthor was up to no good and used the idea of a relationship as a means to get close to him. Luthor found out Lois's deceit after catching her snooping in his private quarters and brainwashed her into keeping silent. However, Superman independently suspected something and arranged to secretly switch places with Johnny Nevada at the wedding ceremony. When Luthor sprung his plot, he was somewhat nonplussed to learn that "Superman's" real name was -- Arnold Nadakowski, Johnny Nevada's off-stage handle.[76]

Luthor was put away again, but like always, he was out of prison almost immediately after he returned there. Luthor drew Superman into yet another battle by using a gyroscopic disequilibrator to endanger plane launches and landings at Metropolis International Airport and turned the device on Superman to disable the hero with a vertigo spell. Nevertheless, Superman was able to deal with Luthor in spite of his artificially induced handicap, generating sufficient vibrations through the ground and surrounding buildings that falling debris knocked out Lex for him.[16]

Luthor was then dragged into the game played by the alien espionage operative Mister Xavier for the future of planet Earth. Along with Brainiac, Mister Mxyzptlk, Terra-Man, Parasite, Toyman, Amalak, Prankster, and Kryptonite Man, Luthor was congregated by Xavier, put under a mental spell, and made part of a gauntlet of villains that Superman had to fight for the Earth's survival. Unbeknownst to Superman, victory over all 9 opponents was the condition which would destroy the world, as Superman had been infused without his knowledge with a potent energy-signature that would detonate his body like a planet-busting impact-bomb upon the exertion of energy involved in the defeat of the 9 villains. Luthor was teamed with Parasite and Mxy and sent off to the Rocky Mountains and attacked Superman with a laser-beam, although Superman ducked and caused the beam to hit the Parasite instead. Immediately addicted to the foreign power-souce, Parasite forgot about the fight and wrestled with Luthor to keep him from turning the ray off, resulting in a feedback blow-out that knocked both of them unconscious.[77]

Luthor hired a gang of thugs in clown disguises to kidnap late-night TV stand-up comic Danny Harris during a telethon hosted on his show to raise charitable donations for medical research. Although the kidnappers claimed to want ransom money, the true purpose of the crime was to lure either Green Arrow or Black Canary into a pursuit. After Black Canary boarded the kidnappers' helicopter and wiped out the goons, Luthor revealed himself and brainwashed Canary with a Hypno-Beam into taking a lethal blow at Arrow once he arrived, in addition to being mentally incapable of raising a hand against Luthor. Using her martial arts training, Black Canary hypnotized herself to see Luthor as Green Arrow, causing Luthor's mental programming to kick in and compel her to attempt to kill him. This forced Luthor to make a vanishing act using an invisibility device, and the effect of the Hypno-Beam wore off afterwards.[78][11][12]

On still yet another occasion, an experimental mishap caused Lex and the Joker to swap personalities, with the Joker being granted Luthor's mental clarity and genius-level intelligence and Luthor being cursed with Joker's crippling insanity and murderous psychopathy. Of course, things were back to normal for both Luthor and the Clown Prince of Crime before long.[79]

Lex used a ray on Superman to induce hyperpituitarism, in particular hypersecretion of growth hormone. Unlike in human beings, this condition reflected itself across fantastic proportions within Superman's physiology, giving him "super-gigantism" on such a scale that his body would become too massive for his nervous system to support. The overexertion of Superman's nervous system, resulting in coma or death, was Luthor's desired outcome. Luckily, Superman returned himself to regularity and dismantled Luthor's plot with help from the Atom.[80]

Going back to his earlier de-aging ray concept, Luthor fabricated a series of events to suggest to Superman that both Batman and the Flash had fallen victim to this device and reverted to prepubescent children. Luthor then cornered Superman and exposed him to the de-aging ray a second time, this time making him even younger physically than he had been reduced to last time. Luthor proceeded to torment Superboy across a variety of circumstances, crushing his hand using the Power-Glove and later striking at the assembled "super-children" with an onslaught that apparently killed Batman and Flash. Superboy nearly gave in to the panic and despair of seeing his best friends callously murdered before his eyes, before he re-established the presence of mind to analyze what he saw and realized that the child Batman and child Flash must have been androids, judging by "Batman's" lack of any emotional response whatsoever upon witnessing "Flash's" death. Ruling the de-aging ray out of the relevant events, Superboy grasped that Luthor had been exploiting the power of suggestion using hypnotic tricks from the very beginning and deduced that all that would be necessary for him to stop "being" Superboy would simply be to believe he was Superman instead. This simple tactic worked and empowered Superman to defeat Luthor with relative ease.[81][82][83]

During one of Luthor's stints in prison, Supergirl hatched a plan with NASA to root out a spy Luthor was believed to have in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA leaked a fabricated story that there was a vein of Kryptonite on Mars, which given the relative recency of the transmutation of all Kryptonite on Earth into iron[84] made a tempting target for Luthor. Kolpan, Luthor's infiltrator in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, smuggled rocket components and assembled them into a space-module to retrieve his employer from prison and bring him to Mars. Only too late did Luthor and Kolpan realize that they were being tricked, and both criminals were grabbed by Supergirl.[85]

Luthor learned of the Secret Society of Super-Villains and its internal leadership crisis at some point. Seeing an opportunity to usurp the Society for his own ends, Luthor broke Copperhead free from prison and pummeled the Wizard in a bout of fisticuffs to assert his superior claim to direct the group. Interested in the resources of the Secret Society's magic-users, Luthor teamed Wizard, Felix Faust, and Matter Master and dispatched them to Sapporo, Japan, to ambush Superman during the filming of a Superman movie in that country. Unfortunately for Luthor, the Society unleashed their assault not upon the true Superman but rather his professional impersonator, the actor Greg Reed. Regardless, the Secret Society bit off more than they could chew, as Greg's powerlessness was made up for by the punctual response of Justice Leaguers Hawkgirl and Captain Comet to the disturbance. After the trio of magic-users were routed, Luthor threw a fit and angrily condemned the Society for their incompetence, aiming to clandestinely expose their Sinister Citadel to the police once he was out of the building. However, the Society's self-proclaimed "public relations man," con artist Funky Flashman, got the idea to do the same to Lex and reached for the phone sooner. Lex was therefore arrested right outside of the Loman Building in San Francisco, unable to leak the Society's location on his own terms.[86][87]

In a separate incident, Lex pleaded guilty to killing the Batman in an underground "court of law" headed by Ra's al Ghul, which comprised of several of the Dark Knight's enemies. He claimed that he launched a satellite into Earth's orbit intended to simultaneously fire two rays: one to erase Batman's mind, and another to transfer Superman's mind into Batman's wholly vulnerable body. Claiming that he had then gone on to murder Superman in Batman's body, Luthor announced to Ra's and the jury of villains that his next move would be to transfer his mind into Superman's body and conquer the universe, but at that moment, Superman crashed on the scene to apprehend Luthor, assuring him that Batman learned of his plan before it could be enacted and arranged to trick Luthor into believing he had succeeded. Tipped off by Batman, Superman masqueraded as Batman when the satellite activated, evaded its ray's effects, and pretended to be killed by Luthor when he arrived to murder him. In actuality, the real Batman was secretly disguised as Two-Face in the very jury hearing Luthor's case and explained to Luthor, without giving away his true identity, exactly how he had been duped by the World's Finest duo.[88]

Through his own exploits, Lex Luthor discovered an undersea civilization in the Pacific Ocean known as Quorxa, which was populated by the descendants of other-dimensional alien humanoids who arrived on Earth in the Mesozoic Era to witness Superman performing a super-feat during a time-travel adventure. In all the millions of years since, the legend of Superman evolved in the culture of Quorxa into the concept of a deity called Sonzrr, whom the Quorxans entrusted to guarantee their immortality. This "immortality" was actually granted by fractions of Superman's ectoplasmic energy which an extremely rare metal ore embedded in the Earth's crust had absorbed. The ore was used by the Quorxans to create their religious pendants, which they bent in the shape of an S after Superman's emblem. While revolted at the concept of an entire civilization with a religion based on his arch-enemy, Luthor stole the Quorxans' holy text and presented it to Brainiac to interpret its contents. Together, the villains pieced together that the metal ore which absorbed Superman's ecto-energy had been blasted out of the Earth's crust all those millennia ago by the eruption of an undersea volcano. Determined to use the ore to weaken Superman to the brink of defeat, Luthor and Brainiac stimulated another eruption of an undersea volcano in the proximity of Quorxa, bringing Superman there and reducing his powers with the ore. After Luthor and Brainiac vanquished Superman, Brainiac turned on Luthor, intent on using Superman's ecto-energy within the ore to power a shrink-ray cannon and turn it against the Earth. The Quorxans then discarded their religious pendants by Superman, allowing Superman to re-absorb enough of his ecto-energy to intercept the shrink-ray before it could hit and absorb its power source to restore himself to full power levels. Superman struck down Luthor and Brainiac without much fuss and left the Quorxans, who were once more grateful to their "god" for their renewed immortality.[89]

Luthor conceived of another ambitious masterwork of subterfuge, starting with the kidnapping of wealthy philanthropist J. Robert Arngrim and his replacement with a mentally conditioned clone-slave. The real Arngrim had donated considerable funds to the construction of a Superman-themed pavilion and offered to make a large donation to Superman's chosen charity, but with the clone replacing him, the purpose for the tour was subverted, in order so that Luthor's machines could process Superman's memories as he recollected his life story for the benefit of the crowd. These memories, and Superman's DNA sample, were used in an underground lab built by Luthor beneath the pavilion to grow and mentally program a clone of Superman himself. At a certain point in the tour, Luthor dropped Superman through a trap-door and into a cell permeated in red-sun rays. Luthor revealed his endgame to the helpless Man of Steel: The Superman clone's memories were subtlely altered from the real version's to make him more pliable for Luthor to control, and a laser tripwire would be crossed at the end of the guided tour to blow up the entire pavilion and kill everyone in the tour group, including Lois Lane and Lana Lang. The Superman clone seamlessly assumed the place of the real Superman at the head of the tour group in the meantime, though he inadvertently caused furor among the crowd by making conciliatory statements about Luthor. While this disturbance diverted Luthor's attention, the real Superman shattered the red-sun lamp holding him helpless, disarmed the bomb attached to the laser tripwire, defeated his clone doppelgänger and destroyed his powers through Gold Kryptonite exposure, and exposed Luthor for attempting to replace him with a suggestible substitute.[90]

Ever so briefly, there did seem to be a time when Luthor changed for the better. One day, Luthor spotted a terminally ill patient from a Metropolis hospital named Angela Blake, who was being transported by Superman even as Luthor had the Man of Steel in the crosshairs of a weapon powerful enough to kill him. Unable to bring himself to shoot Superman as long as it would endanger Angela, Luthor had his androids kidnap her so that he could devise a cure for her illness. Afterwards, Luthor fell in love with Angela and publicly professed that finding true love motivated him to rehabilitate himself. Now ostensibly a force for good, Lex aided Superman in drawing out and rounding up Metropolis's major mob bosses, and then helped Superman fend off Terra-Man and his super-strong extraterrestrial partner when they came to Earth to express their disgust in Luthor for giving up crime. Luthor and Angela finally decided to be wed, but on the day of the wedding ceremony, Angela and Superman abruptly disappeared in a flash of light. Luthor was manhandled by his own androids and taken to his hideout, where it was explained to him that he kidnapped, killed, and cloned the real Angela Blake weeks ago, infected the Angela clone with a deadly disease that he knew how to cure, and gave himself amnesia regarding these events, all as a setup to lure Superman into a trap. The trap evidently did not work, as Superman immediately burst into the room to arrest Luthor. Ironically, Luthor was denied his redemption by none other than himself in the end.[91][92][1]

Luthor's next outing was one of his most deranged: Taking the identity of a new villain named Dominus, Luthor warned Superman of an asteroid that was set to collide with the Earth in a matter of minutes, attracted by a magnetic beacon on the planet's surface. In outer space, Superman smashed the asteroid to infinitesimal space-debris, but Dominus followed up by showing Superman a horrific vision of the Earth's destruction only one hour into the future. Superman noticed that the epicenter of the foretold devastation occupied the same location on the Earth's surface as the Fortress of Solitude, leading Superman to believe that tampering with something in the Fortress was the means by which Dominus meant to destroy the Earth. After spending nearly the whole hour in contemplation and self-reflection, Superman projected several possible methods by which a combination of circumstances in the Fortress could culminate in an Earth-shattering explosion, and then cross-referenced all the hypothetical scenarios in his computer-like mind to determine the single common denominator shared by the projections. It was a simple matter from that point for Superman to knock the pivotal element responsible for the hypothetical catastrophe out of place, thereby saving the world from its cataclysmic doom. It was only after tracing Dominus's broadcasting signal to a space below Lex Luthor's cell in Metropolis Penitentiary that Superman realized Dominus was Luthor though. Even still, Superman was incredulous that Luthor was willing to go so far as to destroy the planet just to get at him, as Luthor had never attempted an atrocity of that magnitude and never would again.[5]

At some point in between jailbreaks, Lex hired the team of industrial saboteurs known as the TNT Trio to cause a nuclear reactor to go meltdown. While Superman put the breaks on this scheme as usual and nabbed two of the three saboteurs, the TNT Trio's final member Nat Tryon was left behind, pinned under a gigantic plate of lead shielding and bombarded with neutronic emissions that no other man could possibly survive. Stumbling awkwardly to Luthor's Lair, Tryon begged his employer to save him. Luthor decided to humor this request, placing Tryon inside an environmental suit and subjecting him to constant radiation treatments to stabilize Tryon's condition. Tryon did not at the time realize that this was not done out of human charity on Luthor's part, but rather simply to convert his mutation into something which could be of use to Luthor in the near future. This never came to pass, as Luthor was captured by Superman shortly afterwards, and Tryon recovered from a weeks-long coma in a mentally unbalanced state, swearing deadly vengeance on Superman and the other two members of his crew for leaving him behind. Acting independently from Luthor, Tryon embarked on his own agenda of destruction as the menace called Neutron, the Living Bomb.[93]

Later, during a time when Superman believed Lois Lane and Lana Lang were going to die from the same microbe that killed Jonathan and Martha Kent, Superman was forced to consult with Lex for his assistance in finding a cure. Naturally, Luthor refused to comply simply out of his desire to see Superman suffer. To rub it in by making a mockery of Superman's moral principles, Luthor even threatened to shatter the glass container of the microbe against the nearest wall and contaminate himself, only to laugh contemptuously in Superman's face when Superman stopped him from going through with it.[94] This encounter was very illustrative of the depths to which Luthor had sunk from the days of his youth: Where once Luthor had virtues, aspirations, a family that supported him, and a future, Luthor's inability to let go of his grudge turned all his talents over into the service of evil causes and reduced Luthor's reason for being to an all-consuming hate.

Lex's buried humanity was resuscitated when Lena regained memory of her familial connection to Lex following a hemorrhagic stroke and emergency brain surgery. During Lena's convalescence, Lex apologized to his sister by a long-distance video call that she had to find out the truth that way, but by then, it did little to soothe Lena's irritable demeanor at realizing that Supergirl and her late husband Jeff Colby had conspired to keep it secret from her for years.[95][96]

Lex also entered into a brief partnership with the Luthor of Earth-Two and the Crime Syndicate's Ultraman, with the goal of using their combined power and resources to destroy the Supermen of Earth-One and Earth-Two. However, the Luthor of Earth-Two and Ultraman settled on a plan to obliterate Earth-One and Earth-Two realities with a doomsday weapon and consolidate supreme rule over Earth-Three, which not even the Luthor of Earth-One was so cold and heartless to accept. Fortunately, the Earth-One and Earth-Two Supermen, assisted by the heroic Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three prevented the deaths of two realities.[15]

The New Luthor

After one particularly painful defeat at Superman's hands, Lex decided to abandon his struggle against the Man of Steel, and abandon the Earth entirely, in favor of taking up permanent residence on Lexor. In the years since Lex's last visit to Lexor, Ardora seemingly managed to restore Lex's reputation with the planet's inhabitants, permitting Lex to return to his former position as Lexor's ruler. Lex was also happy to learn that Ardora gave birth to their infant son during his absence. In spite of the recognition he received from the people, Luthor remained secretly unhappy with his venerated status and his new family as long as his long-running conflict with Superman remained unresolved. One day, Luthor stumbled upon an ancient yet sophisticated subterranean laboratory within Lexor and found a hi-tech battlesuit capable of projecting enough raw power to put its user on equal footing as Superman. Knowing that Superman would eventually catch up with him, Luthor tested out his new battlesuit's capabilities on shipments of goods, becoming known in his armored alter ego to the people of Lexor as the "Mystery Marauder." When Superman finally did arrive on Lexor to take Luthor in, motivated by one of Luthor's still-active machines threatening mass destruction on Earth, Luthor unveiled his suit of armor and attacked Superman in it. The people of Lexor, horrified that their beloved defender and champion was secretly the Mystery Marauder the whole time, immediately lost their faith in Luthor, their spirits crushed by the apparent betrayal. Mere moments later, an energy blast fired by Luthor reflected off of Superman's body and hit the Neutrarod, a tower-like construction of Luthor's design which stabilized Lexor's internal vibrations. The immediate result was the complete destruction of Lexor and all of its native inhabitants, including Luthor's wife and child.[6]

Consumed by hatred and grief like never before, Luthor became even more determined to destroy Superman and his loved ones. Relocating a chunk of Lexor's crust to the Atlantic Ocean, Lex established his new base of operations there, naming it as L-Island. Then, Luthor confronted Lois Lane with the intention of killing her, hoping to make Superman suffer as he had suffered. Fortunately, learning that Superman was no longer romantically interested in Lois convinced him to spare her and try something else. Ultimately, Luthor settled on building a fake Neutrarod on Earth and waiting for it to grab Superman's attention, reasoning that the Last Son of Krypton would think he was trying to replicate the cataclysm that destroyed Lexor. The ploy worked, and Luthor fought Superman again, this time being forced to flee from an inferno created by Superman's heat vision.[97] [98]

In Luthor's next scheme against Superman, the criminal mastermind's goal was to entrap Superman in his own battlesuit, which he modified to possess limited artificial intelligence and new hologram-projection features. After encasing the Man of Steel, Luthor's semi-autonomous battlesuit proceeded to negate any of Superman's attempts to escape or damage it, simultaneously projecting a hologram of Lex around Superman within and modifying Superman's voice to sound like Lex's. Everyone, including Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen, was deceived into thinking that Superman was Lex Luthor for a day, to the Man of Steel's chagrin. Only a ruse perpetrated by Superman with the collusion of Supergirl tricked Luthor into releasing Superman. In spite of his failure to contain and humiliate Superman, Luthor nonetheless obtained the vital information about Superman's physiology that he hoped to acquire, which he went on to use in his next plot to defeat the hero.[99]

Luthor used a ray capable of altering Superman's perceptions and memories to trick Superman into "relaying" a hallucinatory adventure in which he saved a NASA satellite to his "friend," Clark Kent. When this story was published in the Daily Planet, NASA issued a statement denying the veracity of the story, prompting Morgan Edge to question Superman about whether he gave Clark the bogus story or not. Forced to save the reputation of one of his alter egos and forsake the respectability of the other, Superman told Edge that he relayed no story to Clark Kent, causing Clark to be fired from WGBS and the Daily Planet. Furthermore, although Lex remained unaware that Superman and Clark Kent were really the same person, his plan worked perfectly from his own perspective: To Luthor, Superman fraudulently blamed Clark Kent with making up the satellite story in order to spare his own reputation with the public, and his intent was to wrack Superman's conscience with guilt for condemning his "friend" Clark.[100]

Fortunately for Clark, he found employment at a sporting goods store owned and run by former WGBS sportscaster Steve Lombard, yet as Superman, he still remained a victim of the condemnation of Lana Lang, who refused to believe Clark was dishonest, and of Lex Luthor's mind-games, among them a hallucination that he killed Luthor and accidentally triggered a bomb that destroyed the Earth. Luthor's final attempt to drive Superman insane focused on using his ray to make Superman perceive that the entire world was vanishing around him, leaving him locked within a blank limbo of his own perception, where only Lex Luthor's mocking jeers existed. Superman managed to break through the illusion by focusing on the super-hearing-detectable sounds of his Daily Planet comrades, who were gathered at a celebration held in Clark Kent's honor many miles away. Before Superman and Luthor could get to trading blows, Luthor was teleported away by Brainiac to help plan a course of action for the impending Crisis.[101] [102]

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Aboard Brainiac's Skull Ship, Lex gathered villains from across the Multiverse into a single world-conquering army, even as the Multiverse's heroes expended their energies in war against the Anti-Monitor and his hordes of Shadow Demons. The sacrifices of the Monitor and Earth-One's Flash and Supergirl earned the Multiverse a reprieve from the Anti-Monitor's onslaught. Even still, only five universes (Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, Earth-S, Earth-X) remained in existence, and the means by which these worlds were saved made their continued survival a precarious matter at best. Nonetheless, it was then that Luthor and Brainiac chose to make their move, unleashing the villain army upon the worlds in a grandiose bid for total conquest. Luthor and Brainiac's leadership of the villainous offensive was challenged by Psimon of the Fearsome Five and the Earth-Two Luthor, who were mercilessly exterminated for their defiance.[103] [104] [105] [106]

The climactic war between good and evil was interrupted by the Spectre, who warned that reality would be doomed unless heroes and villains put aside their differences and worked together to put a permanent stop to the Anti-Monitor. While the Spectre, supported by the Multiverse's heroes and sorcerers, traveled to the dawn of time to confront the Anti-Monitor head-on, the Multiverse's villains, once more led by Luthor, were sent back aeons ago to the planet of Maltus in order to stop Krona from witnessing the dawn of time through his forbidden experiments. Due to the villains' crippling indecision and pettiness, they failed in their task, and by a cosmic fluke, reality was shattered and reconstructed in that moment. In the present, the five surviving universes were no more, at least in their original differentiated state. In the place of a Multiverse was a New Earth with topographical characteristics and a timeline formed from the merger of the five worlds. Only the individuals present at the dawn of time at the moment of the universal reset could remember that there ever even was a Multiverse, and certain individuals were no longer accomodated by the new timeline and ceased to exist completely. The reset's initial effect was to wipe out all versions of Lex Luthor from time and space except for the Earth-One Luthor, who reappeared in prison with no knowledge or memory of the events of the Crisis or the Multiverse.[107]

For some months after the Crisis drew to a close, Luthor continued to match wits and blows with Superman on a number of occasions.[2] [108] When the timeline of New Earth stabilized,[109] the history of Superman and the many individuals connected to his life story was radically altered. Among these changes to the timeline, the past history of Lex Luthor was changed completely.[110] The continuation of Luthor's original Earth-One timeline would have seen his future rehabilitation and the foundation of his company LexCorp.[2]


  • Although Luthor have no powers, he can use his scientific knowledge to get temporary superpowers. Once, when he was a teenager, he was able to use chemistry to get the Elasticity power.[111] He was also able to gain Kryptonian-level powers in his adulthood.[112]


  • Genius Level Intellect: Lex Luthor was one of the most brilliant minds on Earth, or indeed on any Earth in the vastness of the Multiverse. His genius approached and possibly surpassed that of even super-intelligent alien beings such as Brainiac.
    • Gadgetry
    • Science: Luthor's comprehension of the sciences is virtually omnidisciplinary.
    • Robotic Engineering: Lex Luthor was an expert in the field of engineering and manufactured no small number of robots and automatons in his lifetime.
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic)
  • Leadership


  • Obsession: Luthor's hatred of Superman is so deep and all-consuming that it compels Lex to commit to self-destructive, irrational, and petty behaviors in the service of his grudge. This has cost him happiness, victory, and peace of mind on multiple occasions.[6][99]


  • Jet Boots: Lex Luthor's later costumes and armors used jet propulsion units in the boots to propel Luthor through the air, beginning with his green and purple Battle Array
  • Various hi-tech weapons and gadgets
  • Various android and robot minions


  • Lex Luthor's Warsuit: An extraterrestrial, highly advanced suit of hi-tech armor found on Lexor prior to that planet's destruction. The warsuit gave Lex physical strength to trade blows fairly evenly with Superman, and its energy weapons proved more than capable of rendering super-powered beings unconscious and inflicting serious pain on Superman himself. The warsuit also gave Luthor roughly an equal degree of invulnerability to Superman, seeing as both of them survived the explosion of Lexor. Later modifications made to the warsuit by Luthor gave it a sort of limited artificial intelligence, enough to follow commands and directives delivered by Luthor himself, and also project a holographic representation of Luthor's image inside the cockpit, enabling Luthor to make Superman appear to be him once Superman was inside. The warsuit was durable enough to resist all of Superman's efforts to escape from it during his time locked inside against his will.[6][99][108]
  • Various forms of hi-tech aircraft and spacecraft


  • Battle Array: When Lex Luthor went to physically confront Superman, he told his aides to bring him his Battle Array[74] — a green and purple suit with interchangeable and deadly devices.
    • Gloves
      • Cold Shoulder Ray: A freeze ray capable of freezing opponents or large volumes of water.[76][113]
      • Gravity Caster: Whatever Luthor pointed it at would grow in mass until it weighed the same as the entire planet.[74]
      • Hypnotic Gas Glove: Lex used it to get Lois Lane to marry him.[76]
      • Kid Gloves: An early form of Power Glove that gave Lex Luthor incredible physical strength.[80]
      • Laser-Knife Glove: Capable of cutting Superman after the Pain Glove removed some of his invulnerability.[74][79]
      • Pain-Inducing Glove: Looking like a set of brass knuckles, this glove caused unimaginable pain in any being, even Superman.[74][79]
      • Pituitary Growth Gland Device: A ray that made Superman's body grow in size without a commensurate growth in brain size.[80]
      • Power Gloves: A pair of gauntlets vastly increasing the concussive force of Luthor's punches, and also capable of draining the power away from Superman upon physical contact to accomplish this feat.[89][83][90]
      • Truth Beam: A ray that would force anyone, even Superman, to reveal the truth when asked.[76]
      • (Vertigo Ray): It could destabilize the equilibrium of gyroscopes or organic beings.[16]
    • Boots
      • Jet Boots: Enabled a limited power of flight.[74][79][114]
      • Power Boots: Similar to Power Gloves, the power boots increased Lex's strength so that he could stomp open a chasm in the ground or disintegrate an imitation Batman.[83]

  • Luthor was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, first appearing in Action Comics #23. However, the Earth-One version of Luthor first appeared in Action Comics #125 by Al Plastino.
  • There is a noted discrepancy between Lex Luthor's chronological age in relation to that of Superman's. Both men are approximately the same age, as revealed when they first met as teenagers in Adventure Comics #271. However, in Adventure Comics #253, Superboy passed Luthor on the street, and Luthor was significantly older than the Boy of Steel, and still had a head full of hair (even though he had lost it during his first encounter with Superboy). This appearance has since been retroactively assigned to Earth-Thirty-Two.
  • Lex Luthor originally had brown hair unlike his other dimensional counterparts who had naturally red hair. Alexei Luthor of Earth-Two for example had a full head of hair and was clean shaven; Alexander Luthor, Sr. of Earth-Three was bald with a red goatee; and the New Earth incarnation of Luthor was first shown with a receding mane of red hair.
  • The Earth-One Luthor's first name in full is actually Alexis, not Alexander. See, for instance, Superman #416.
  • The Pre-Crisis Earth-One Lex Luthor was not characterized as an "untouchable" corrupt corporate magnate, as later incarnations of Luthor would exemplify, starting with the Post-Crisis/pre-Infinite Crisis version introduced in The Man of Steel. Rather, the Earth-One Luthor was a mad scientist, a master criminal, and an occasional would-be world-conqueror. The Earth-One Superman villain who came the closest to the dynamic which the New Earth Luthor would create with Superman (from his debut in the late-80s to the early-00s) was Vandal Savage, who transmigrated from Earth-Two to Earth-One in the early-80s (to evade the complications of his Earth-Two criminal record) and matched wits with the Earth-One Superman for a time as an "evil executive"-type villain.
  • This version of Lex Luthor, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths event and later restored following the rebirth of the infinite Multiverse during the Dark Crisis of 2022-2023. Even though other versions of the character may have appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
  • In 1986, author Alan Moore wrote a two-part imaginary tale which represented the swan song saga of the Pre-Crisis Superman family of characters. Beginning in Superman #423 and concluding in Action Comics #583, the story revealed that Lex Luthor had cybernetically interfaced with his old partner Brainiac. This plot device was later revisited in several of the final season episodes of Justice League Unlimited, in which Luthor was the leader of a cadre of super-villains. Luthor's team was reminiscent of the Legion of Doom from the Challenge of the Super Friends animated series.
  • In the WB/CW television series Smallville, a young Lex Luthor (played by Michael Rosenbaum) becomes close friends with Tom Welling's Clark Kent. Their friendship (and subsequent falling out) is similar to the original flashback meeting between the Silver Age Luthor and Superboy. Like the original story, young Clark is indirectly responsible for Luthor's hair loss, although in Smallville, it is actually radiation from the meteor shower (caught in the wake of Clark's rocket ship) that ultimately causes Lex's hair to fall out.
  • After a time-traveling adventure with Superman, Lex Luthor inadvertently caused the infamous San Francisco earthquake of 1906.[7]
  • Lex Luthor is averse to the habit of smoking.[115]
  • He has a great respect for Albert Einstein.
  • The scene with him and Dr. Octopus fleeing prison from Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man is shown in Issue 8 of Avengers Forever. He is referred to as "A striking looking bald man".[116]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Action Comics #512
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Superman #416
  3. 3.0 3.1 Action Comics #249
  4. Superman Family #182
  5. 5.0 5.1 DC Special Series #26
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Action Comics #544
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Superman #168
  8. Superboy #115
  9. Superboy #177
  10. 10.0 10.1 Action Comics #407
  11. 11.0 11.1 Action Comics #457
  12. 12.0 12.1 Action Comics #458
  13. 13.0 13.1 Adventure Comics #454
  14. 14.0 14.1 Adventure Comics #455
  15. 15.0 15.1 DC Comics Presents Annual #1
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 Superman #292
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Adventure Comics #271
  18. 18.0 18.1 Superboy #86
  19. 19.0 19.1 Superboy (Volume 2) #38
  20. 20.0 20.1 Superman: The Secret Years #1
  21. Superboy (Volume 2) #11
  22. Superboy (Volume 2) #14
  23. Superboy (Volume 2) #39
  24. Adventure Comics #300
  25. Adventure Comics #325
  26. Superman #161
  27. Superman #359
  28. Superman: The Secret Years #4
  29. World of Krypton #1
  30. Superman #106
  31. World's Finest #88
  32. Action Comics #254
  33. World's Finest #100
  34. Action Comics #271
  35. Superman #144
  36. Action Comics #277
  37. Superman #147
  38. Action Comics #280
  39. Action Comics #282
  40. Action Comics #286
  41. World's Finest #126
  42. Action Comics #292
  43. Action Comics #294
  44. World's Finest #129
  45. World's Finest #137
  46. Action Comics #295
  47. Action Comics #297
  48. Action Comics #298
  49. Superman #164
  50. Superman #167
  51. Action Comics #318
  52. Action Comics #319
  53. Superman #172
  54. Action Comics #331
  55. Action Comics #332
  56. Action Comics #335
  57. Justice League of America #61
  58. Action Comics #362
  59. Action Comics #363
  60. Action Comics #364
  61. Action Comics #365
  62. Action Comics #366
  63. Superman #213
  64. World's Finest #189
  65. World's Finest #190
  66. Adventure Comics #397
  67. Adventure Comics #406
  68. Superman #242
  69. Action Comics #411
  70. Action Comics #417
  71. Action Comics #418
  72. Action Comics #423
  73. Action Comics #428
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 74.3 74.4 74.5 Superman #282
  75. Superman #286
  76. 76.0 76.1 76.2 76.3 Superman Family #172
  77. Superman #299
  78. Action Comics #456
  79. 79.0 79.1 79.2 79.3 The Joker #7
  80. 80.0 80.1 80.2 Superman #302
  81. Action Comics #464
  82. Action Comics #465
  83. 83.0 83.1 83.2 Action Comics #466
  84. Superman #233
  85. Superman Family #182
  86. Secret Society of Super-Villains #6
  87. Secret Society of Super-Villains #7
  88. Batman #293
  89. 89.0 89.1 DC Special Series #5
  90. 90.0 90.1 Action Comics #500
  91. Action Comics #510
  92. Action Comics #511
  93. Action Comics #525
  94. Superman #363
  95. Superman Family #213
  96. Superman Family #214
  97. Superman #385
  98. Superman #386
  99. 99.0 99.1 99.2 Superman #401
  100. Superman #410
  101. Superman #412
  102. Superman #413
  103. Crisis on Infinite Earths #6
  104. Crisis on Infinite Earths #7
  105. Crisis on Infinite Earths #8
  106. Crisis on Infinite Earths #9
  107. Crisis on Infinite Earths #11
  108. 108.0 108.1 Superman Annual #12
  109. All-Star Squadron #60
  110. The Man of Steel #4 is the first encounter of Superman and Lex Luthor in Post-Crisis continuity and changes the nature of their relationship.
  111. Superboy #96
  112. Superman: The Secret Years #3
  113. Justice League of America #154
  114. Action Comics #486
  115. Secret Society of Super-Villains #7
  116. Avengers Forever #10 source notes

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