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Lex Luthor
Superman Unchained Vol 1-4 Cover-1 Teaser
General Information
Real name: Alexander Joseph Luthor
First Appearance: Action Comics #23 (April, 1940)
Created by: Jerry Siegel
Joe Shuster
Affiliations: Injustice League
Formerly Superman Revenge Squad
Injustice Gang
Secret Six
Abilities: Gifted Businessman
Seasoned Politician
Genius-level Intellect
Trained Combatant
Portrayed by: Stan Jones (Voice)
Clancy Brown (Voice)
Scott McNeil (Voice)
James Marsters (Voice)
Powers Boothe (Voice)
Lyle Talbot
Scott James Wells
Sherman Howard
John Shea
Gene Hackman
Kevin Spacey
Michael Rosenbaum
Anthony LaPaglia (Voice)
Jesse Eisenberg


History

Origin

The current Luthor family has a long history with the city of Metropolis. Some of Lex's ancestors were with the Pilgrims who came to the island, and other ancestors of his were among the Native Americans who met them. As the centuries went on, the Luthor family grew in prominence and wealth. Luthor's great-grandfather, Wallace Luthor, was a millionare steel industrialist/tycoon at the beginning of the 20th century. An ardant pacifist with dreams of a united society, Wallace was distressed when America was pulled into World War I. He reluctantly agreed to sell his steel for the manufacture of allied ships and weapons. In the stock market crash of '29, Luthor lost his entire fortune and was forced to declare bankruptcy. He went to his grave a penniless old man, believing that it was divine punishment for his part in the war.

Somehow, the family fortune was rebuilt by the latter part of the 20th Century, by Lex Luthor, who was born to abusive alcoholic Lionel Luthor, and his wife Letitia. His sister Lena was the only relative that he truly cared about. In his late teens, he spent time in Smallville, Kansas, under the care of his Aunt Lena. His parents thought that fresh country air would cure the young Lex of his propensity for acting like he was the smartest guy in the room. However, Lex went on to prove that he was the smartest guy in most rooms, soon becoming head of his own corporation, naming it LexCorp. It was here that he met the younger Clark Kent, Lana Lang, and Pete Ross. Although Lex was friendly with the bespectacled young farm boy, contrary to the Birthright depiction, Clark was not his only friend and confidante, nor did he get blamed for the loss of the older Luthor's hair. After some months, Lex left Smallville "with a full head of hair, and under a cloud of suspicion." He settled in Metropolis following his father's mysterious death (engineered by Lex, though this could not be proved), leaving his sister behind, and creating LexCorp. As he grew further into adulthood, his hair receded over time.

Luthor the Businessman

Lex turned the company into a multi-national corporation that would ultimately come to dominate the city of Metropolis. The one paper outlet that continued to not be bought by him was the Daily Planet (he would come to buy it much later). One such critic was the young reporter and Editor In Chief Perry White, whom Luthor detested, due to his outspoken attitudes, even when the Planet condemned his actions with an outrageous editorial signed by White himself. As a result, when Clark Kent is first inducted into the Planet, the newspaper is almost bankrupt, dilapidated and unable to afford new reporters. Luthor made many criminal connections and industries, anything to help him rise to be the unchallenged master of Metropolis. His legitimate businesses attached to LexCorp stretched from anything from telephone companies to personal gaming devices. As part of his image, Lex created the illusion of being a caring philantropist He became the most powerful man in Metropolis, both financially and in the world of organized crime. Lex would create havoc on the streets by selling weapons to the gangs of Metropolis and using his primarily female staff of underlings to keep blackmail files on all of the major organized crime groups in the city, so that Lex could use them to further any schemes he had planned. However, this all ended with the arrival of Superman.

Superman Arrives

Lex Luthor-6

Lex Luthor during Superman's Early Years, along with Parasite and Metallo.

During the several months after Superman first arrived in Metropolis, as part of his philanthropic image, Luthor, by this time the most powerful man in Metropolis, had taken to picking a recent person from the supplicants who gathered at LexCorp's gates every morning in order to bestow the chance of a new life upon them. His choice on this occasion, though, was Rudy Jones who, after eating a donut contaminated by an unknown chemical compound, was transformed into the Parasite. Superman stopped the Parasite's rampage, overshadowing Luthor and infuriating him. Lex contacted General Sam Lane, Lois Lane's father, who was convinced Superman was a threat, even to his own daughter, and informed him that Superman was an alien. He transformed one of Lane's men, Sgt. John Corben, who was a previous love interest to Lois, into Metallo and sent him out after Superman, but Metallo was defeated and Superman, previously an object of suspicion in the city, feted as a hero. When Luthor came to bestow his gifts on a grateful populace the next day, no-one was there; Lex was no longer the most powerful man in Metropolis. This cemented Lex's lifelong hatred of the Man of Steel. Next, he created Bizarro, an imperfect clone, to try and destroy Superman for good, but this was also not successful. Luthor vowed to destroy Superman for this humiliation, and he has since devoted much time and energy to that goal. Luthor was a man driven to be the best, having fought his way up from lowly beginnings by his own (dubious) efforts, and was resentful of how Superman was given his powers by random fate of birth. Superman survived subsequent attempts Luthor made on his life, but he had never been able to prove Luthor's role in the attacks. Aside from Lex's immense wealth and connections, he was able to weasel his way out of trouble due to the fact that Superman, being liable as a witness, would have to reveal his true identity in court to testify against him. Eventually, Luthor would soon go on from being hero of the people to public enemy number one.

Kryptonite Power

Luthor soon acquired the only known sample of kryptonite on Earth from the Kryptonite-powered cyborg Metallo, whom LexCorp abducted just before Metallo succeeded in killing Superman. Fashioning a ring from the alien ore deadly to Superman, Luthor began wearing it constantly to ward off his enemy. Unfortunately, Luthor suffered from a severe cancer in the 1990s, caused by long-term radiation exposure to his kryptonite ring. Before this, kryptonite exposure had not been thought to be harmful to non-Kryptonian life forms. Later, he would find a way to protect himself from its side effects, and he discovered more than one kind of Kryptonite, which he would later use in his battles against Superman.

Faking His Own Death

Luthor's hand soon had to be amputated to prevent the cancer's spread, but unfortunately by then it had already metastasized; it was eventually determined that the disease was terminal. Luthor faked his own death shortly afterward by taking his personally designed jet, the Lexwing, on a proposed trip around the world and crashing it in some mountains, using this as cover for the transplant of his brain into a healthy clone of himself which he then passed off as his hitherto unknown, illegitimate Australian son and heir, his deception helped by his new body having a full head of red hair and a beard.

Send In The Clone

Luthor used his new identity as his own son to seduce Supergirl and continue to torment Superman from the shadows. However everything quickly fell apart, when Luthor's new clone body began to deteriorate and age at a rapid rate. This caused Luthor to begin to slip, as Lois Lane discovered proof that Lex Luthor had years earlier murdered a female LexCorp employee and framed an innocent man for the murder. This led Lois to find out the truth about Lex faking his death and being his own son, which caused Luthor to systematically destroy Lois' life and have her fired from the Daily Planet. Lois fought back and with help from Superman, exposed the truth about Lex Luthor, his faked death, and his evil criminal activities to the public. Luthor, right before his body became so old that he couldn't move or communicate, activated a "Doomsday Plan" to destroy Metropolis. The city was burned to the ground and thousands killed as Luthor became a permanent prisoner in his cloned body. However, aid would come in the form of the demon Neron; Luthor promptly sold his soul in exchange for Neron restoring his body to perfect health. Returning to a rebuilt Metropolis, Luthor turned himself over to the police and was put on trial, where he was acquitted of all crimes when Luthor claimed to have been kidnapped by renegade scientists who replaced him with a clone, who was responsible for all the crimes he was charged with.

Luthor the Philanthropist

Lex Luthor had cultivated a popular image as a great philanthropist. He had been instrumental in reverse-engineering alien technology for use in general consumer goods, upgrading Metropolis into a true "city of tomorrow." When Gotham City was destroyed by an earthquake and then abandoned by the American government, it was LexCorp that took up the massive task of rebuilding the city. Later, Luthor also played an instrumental role in assisting the Justice League in recharging the sun during the Final Night storyline. Despite his hatred for Lois Lane for temporarily bringing down his evil criminal empire down, Lex Luthor has a unspoken love for her. On several occasions Luthor has commented that had Superman not arrived in Metropolis, Lex would have used his time and energy instead to romantically pursue Lois and marry her. He has been married eight times in his life, though the first seven marriages occurred off-panel in Luthor's past sometime after he left Smallville and before Superman showed up in Metropolis. While his previous seven marriages were hinted to have based on love (or as close to the concept of love as Lex Luthor understands it) Luthor's eighth marriage to Contessa Erica Alexandra Del Portenza (or "The Contessa" as she was called) was a marriage that was based on mutual manipulation and greed. The Contessa had bought controlling interest in LexCorp after Luthor was exposed as evil, forcing Lex into a marriage with her in order to regain control over the company. The marriage was doomed from the beginning as the two fought constantly and never loved each other. The Contessa quickly became pregnant with Lex's child and began using the unborn child to dominate Lex into doing her bidding. Luthor's response to Contessa's actions was to use her desire to be unconscious during child birth to lock her in the basement of his corporate headquarters in a permanantly drugged unconscious state. Luthor took over as a single father to his daughter (named Lena after both his adopted sister and aunt) and vowed never to marry again, stating that he wanted to never have to share his daughter's love with anyone else. It was later implied that Lex killed the Contessa months afterwards, although no body was ever found.

President of the United States

Lex Luthor-4

Lex Luthor as President of the United States.

Lex became the President of the United States, winning the election on a platform of promoting technological progresses for the common people (his first action as president was to take a proposed moratorium on fossil-based fuels to U.S. Congress in hopes of putting "a flying car in every garage"). Despite Luthor's more villainous traits, he was assisted by the extreme unpopularity of the previous administration due to its mishandling of the Gotham City earthquake crisis. Ironically, Batman would ultimately learn that Luthor was involved in the mishandling of the entire Gotham City rebuilding process, resulting in Bruce to sever all military contract ties between the U.S. government and his company Wayne Enterprises in protest of Lex Luthor's election as President. Luthor responded in kind by ordering the murder of Batman's lover Vesper Fairchild and framing Bruce Wayne for the murder. An early triumph of his political career was his handling of the Imperiex War, in which he coordinated the U.S. Army, Earth's superheroes and a number of untrustworthy alien forces to battle the story's villain, Imperiex. However, as it would later be revealed, Lex knew about the alien invasion in advance and did nothing to alert Earth's heroes to it.

Lex Luthor finally accepted Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent which he had been aware of from almost from their earliest meetings but refused to accept for his own personal belief that people of power always crave and reflect themselves as people of power, never as one of the masses, thus to Luthor a being like Superman would never try to pass himself off as Clark Kent who was no one of extreme note. In a story published in 2002, when a lowly scientist was able to get a meeting with Lex and reveal top secret government documents showing the rocket containing baby Superman crashing near the farm of Martha and Jonathan Kent. Killing the scientist, Lex surprisingly decided to keep the knowledge a secret even as Clark Kent took the fall for Lois publishing proof that Lex Luthor knew of the alien invasion of "Our Worlds At War" but had opted not to make any defensive plans to save the people of Kansas from attack. Clark was fired from the Daily Planet as a result of the flap, when another Superman villain, "Manchester Black", used his telepathic powers on an unknowing Lex to allow him to pass an assortment of lie detector tests (including Wonder Woman's lasso of truth) to prove that Lois and Clark's story was a lie. When Manchester Black tried to kill Superman and his friends and family members, Luthor surprisingly came to Superman's aid when Black tried to kill Lois. In the end, Manchester Black was defeated and as revenge for Lex helping Superman defeat him, Black erased all knowledge that Clark Kent was Superman from Lex's mind before taking his own life.

Later, Luthor once again overplayed his hand, as his success at framing Bruce Wayne for the murder of Vesper Fairchild caused him to get arrogant. In an attempt to blame Superman for a kryptonite meteor approaching the Earth, he instead raised questions about himself as Superman and Batman uncovered a plot of Luthor's to further torment Batman that involved tricking Batman into thinking that the Superman villain Metallo was the man who killed Batman's parents. In desperation, he used a variant combination of the "super-steroid" Venom (a steroid mainly used by Batman villain Bane), liquid synthetic green kryptonite, and an Apokaliptian battlesuit to battle Superman directly. Unfortunately, the madness that is a side effect of Venom took hold, and he revealed his true colors during the battle. The final straw was the revelation that Talia Head, the acting CEO of LexCorp, had sold all the company assets to the Wayne Foundation. He has since gone underground, leaving the presidency to his vice president, Pete Ross.

Infinite Crisis

Lex Luthor had retreated into recluse before the events of Infinite Crisis, as he prepared to try and activate mind control programming inside the brain of then current Superboy (Conner Kent) (created using Lex's DNA) to help him gain revenge against Earth's mightiest heroes. He also was revealed to have orchestrated, with help from the newly created robotic Brainiac, the murder of Teen Titan member Donna Troy, who is destined to play a critical role in "Infinite Crisis". He's also been carefully surveilling the new Supergirl, and has plans for her involving his newly-acquired black kryptonite. With Lex Luthor acting in secret, Alexander Luthor Jr. returned to New Earth and began his own plot that was interfering with LEX's own plans. Assuming the Post-Crisis Lex Luthor's identity, Alexander began an elaborate scheme with help from the erased Earth-Prime Superboy-Prime and Kal-L, the Earth-Two Superman that he wanted to restore the original Multiverse, but his intentions was not just to recreate them as they once were but only as the basis of his ultimate goal, as he told Superboy-Prime Kal-L would help them "whether he likes it or not".

As one of the premier reformers of the "Secret Society of Super-Villains", Alexander Luthor, Jr. recruited Black Adam, Doctor Psycho, Calculator, Talia Head, and Deathstroke as his inner circle. The new Society exploited the villain community's fear of mind-wipes at the hands of the Justice League to recruit a literal army of villains under the guise of creating their own "mind-wipe" device designed to erase the memories of Earth's heroes as payback. However, this was just another cover for his even darker scheme involving the kidnapping heroes, each representing alternate earths, to power the giant tower being used to perform a major act of alteration to reality. Alexander Luthor Jr. formerly of Earth-Three had decided to restore the previously existing multiverse as a base selection to create a so-called "perfect" universe from as the current reality seeemed to be failing and in Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s own words "was a world of villians". Abandoned by his allies, Alex Jr. was depowered, in part due to the villians that Lex assembled under his alias of Mockingbird. Lex tracked down the supposedly depowered Alex Jr and allowed the Joker in a fit of revenge kill Alex. Lex used Alex's corpse as evidence that he had an imposter who responsible for all his recent illegal activities. He was cleared of many of the criminal actions he was accused of.

52

Lex Luthor-5

Lex Luthor during 52.

Through his still impressive financial resources, Lex has engaged in a public promotion campaign to regain his popularity through the Everyman Project, a scientific process that could grant superhuman powers to non-metahumans. The first several subjects of his process became the latest incarnation of Infinity, Inc. Luthor's own body, however, was not compatible with the process, a fact which pained him greatly. When newly minted meta humans began falling out of the sky, the media-named Fall Of The Supermen, Luthor’s building was attacked by John Henry Steel and his niece. Steel confronted Luthor and was beaten, Lex having found a way to gain meta powers of his own. Lex was still defeated however and arrested. It was later found that the Lex that was imprisoned was, in fact, Everyman a shape changer from the Everyman project. Lex was found in a hidden room still inside the Lexcorp building.

Later, Luthor had managed to get his hands on a Kryptonian crystal, which he used to attack Metropolis when Superman ‘came back’. As giant crystal formations began to appear through the ground, Superman tried to save as many people as he could whilst trying to find the source of the attack. When he found Lex, the former industrialist was high above the city in a ship made of the crystal where he was controlling it all from. Lex turned all of the crystal into kryptonite, forcing Superman to stay away from Metropolis and the ship, but he didn’t count on Superman charging him. Superman knew Luthor would have some form of personal shielding and was right as they both fell down towards the ground. Luthor had time to say one thing: “I hate you. So much.” Superman was again powerless and Luthor’s shield was weak when they struck the ground. They both rose, weak and injured, and Lex began to fist-fight with Superman. With each traded punch, Lex spoke of how if Superman hadn’t arrived on Earth and come to Metropolis, he would have made so many scientific breakthroughs, instead of trying to come up with ways to destroy Superman. It was all Superman’s fault that Lex wasn’t the top of the food chain anymore. Superman countered with the fact he had been away for an entire year, yet Luthor had acomplished none of these things he claims he could have done had there been no Superman. The fight ended with Superman victorious. No doubt the current Luthor will continue his personal vendetta against Superman and the world at large in his never ending desire to rule it as conqueror as his effective ruling it as administrator during his tenture as United States President was unfulfilling. Only time will tell his ultimate fate and success in that end goal....

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Lex Luthor briefly acquired superhuman capabilities as a result of his Company-sponsored Everyman Project.

Abilities

Gifted Businessman: Lex Luthor is one of the most shrewd businessmen in the world, a trait that has earned him an immense fortune second only to entrepreneurs like Bruce Wayne and Steve Dayton. Unlike Wayne however, Luthor is not above using cuthroat tactics, unethical practices and illegal operations to maintain the success of his business empire. At the height Lexcorp's power, Lex Luthor virtually owned every business enterprise in the city of Metropolis.

Seasoned Politician: Lex Luthor's corporate skills applied just as sharply in the political arena as they did in the boardroom. As President of the United States, he groomed the best candidates to serve as his cabinet members and knew the intricacies of bureaucratic politicking as well as any other former Chief Executive. Although Luthor's tenure as president ended in scandal, he successfully guided the nation during the massive alien invasion that came to be known as "Our Worlds At War".

Genius-level Intellect: Enhanced physical and cognitive abilities due to his cloned body's specific genetic design construction. Although Luthor possesses a genius level intellect, his scientific prowess is not as refined as his Earth-One, Earth-Two and Earth-Three counterparts who were able to create artificial lifeforms from scratch, interdimensional travel and functional time travel.

Trained Combatant: Lex Luthor is also trained in hand-to-hand combat, though his personal Amazon fighting instructors consider him a a sub-par combatant with poor form.

Strength

  • In his original body, Lex Luthor possessed the strength level of a middle-aged man who engaged in minimal regular exercise. He routinely works out with state of the art bodybuilding equipment, and has hired Amazon warriors to put him through a thorough exercise regiment.

Weakness

  • His own Arrogance, Megalomania, Jealousy, Ruthlessness.

Equipment

Weapons

In Other Media

  • Coming Soon

See Also

Notes

  • In addition to the details of Luthor's early life and upbringing having been changed somewhat by the events of Infinite Crisis, his hair color has also changed; in the former timeline, he had red hair, but the current Luthor's hair was brown. Since his hair eventually receded leaving him bald in both versions of his history though, this is largely unimportant.

Personality

Luthor is commonly seen as a power-hungry and sadistic villain of pure evil. His sole ambition in life is to destroy Superman so that he can become humanity’s rightful champion. Luthor was already antisocial and bitter during his childhood. Having endured continuous abuse from his father, Luthor murdered him and made his death look like an accident. Since then, Luthor has become more and more ruthless, seeing people as tools to be manipulated or as enemies to be destroyed. His hatred grew even more when Superman first appeared, as Luthor believed the people of Metropolis had replaced him for Superman as the city’s savior. Swearing vengeance on Superman, Luthor has tried to destroy the Man of Steel for an eternity. Ironically, Luthor even discovered Superman’ secret identity, but dismissed this knowledged, as he believed that someone with the power of Superman would not want to live a life as plain Clark Kent. For all his attempts to destroy Superman, Luthor sees himself as a hero and Superman as a villain. He believes Superman’s heroic acts are an obstacle for human progress. Luthor has stated in many occasions that after he destroys Superman, he will work towards the betterment of mankind. However, Superman has proven that Luthor will not keep this supposed promise. Despite his crimes, Luthor has established an image as a wealthy philanthropist and manages to maintain a notable political popularity.

Trivia

  • Lex's birthday is September 28th.

Links

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