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Lex Luthor's Biography

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Lex Luthor

The biography of Lex Luthor.

Pre-Crisis

Alexei Luthor

When Luthor first appeared in 1940,[1] he was portrayed with a full head of red hair; however, in 1941 Luthor came to be portrayed as completely bald after an artist's mistake in the Superman comic strip. Shuster preferred drawing bald villains anyway, and so following approval from Siegel, the more striking appearance was adopted and became a Luthor trademark. The change may also have been the result of confusion with another villain, the Ultra-Humanite, who was originally a bald scientist.

The origin of Alexei Luthor is unknown; even his nationality is not certain (He was first addressed only as 'Luthor', which is a German surname. 'Alexei', a Russian name, was revealed much later). Using his scientific genius, he attempted to sabotage a European peace conference, but was stopped by Superman. Although he discovered Superman's weakness to Kryptonite, Luthor ultimately failed to kill him. When the DC multiverse began to take hold in the 1960s, the red-haired Luthor was stated to be the bald Luthor's counterpart from another dimension, specifically Earth-Two. In his later years, he encountered his Earth-One counterpart, and they each attempted to defeat the other's version of Superman. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, when Alexei challenged Lex's partnership with Brainiac during the Villain War, Brainiac murdered Alexei to quell the dispute.

Lex Luthor

The original Luthor (who did not have a first name) was one of many pulps-inspired mad scientists who plotted to take over the world, or destroy it, through the use of various diabolical schemes. He donned disguises a few times, but generally he preferred to make himself known to the world as his master plans came to fruition... until he was foiled, time and time again, by the Man of Steel. In 1960,[2] it was explained that during his youth, Luthor had been friends with Superboy, but later blamed him for a laboratory accident that caused his hair to fall out. In trying to exact revenge on the hero, Luthor devolved into a criminal; Over time he became Superman's greatest foe, the antithesis of everything he stood for. Although his plots for world domination were repeatedly dashed, he always managed to get away (or escape from prison) to threaten the world time and again.

While he gained infamy as a rogue scientist on Earth, Luthor also went on to become savior - and then slayer - of the planet Lexor, marrying and siring a son there, both of whom died when Luthor's vendetta with Superman backfired on him (see "Hero of Lexor", below). Taking up Lexorian armor, an embittered Luthor renewed his extensive campaign against Superman, up until the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Following the change in DC continuity, this version of the character was altered to become the familiar, modern-day malevolent businessman.

Luthor's originally stated goals were to kill Superman and to take over Earth as a stepping stone to dominating the universe. In addition to using his technological prowess to trump Superman's abilities, Luthor showed himself to be a master of disguise, adopting all manner of wigs and aliases. Although none of his attempts to kill Superman worked permanently (though one classic non-canonical story from the 1960s entitled The Death of Superman has Luthor finally killing Superman after lulling him by pretending to go straight), Luthor's persistence has made him Superman's most troublesome foe.

Origin

In Adventure Comics #271 in 1960 (written by Jerry Siegel), the Silver Age origin of Luthor is retroactively revealed, along with Luthor finally gaining a first name, "Lex." It was revealed that when Luthor was a teenager, his family moved to Smallville, with Lex becoming a large fan of Superboy. In gratitude and to encourage Lex's scientific pursuits, Superboy built for Lex a fully stocked laboratory. There, Lex began an experiment in creating an artificial new form of life, along with a cure for Kryptonite poisoning.

However, when a fire caught in his lab, Superboy mistakenly used his super-breath to extinguish the flames. This rescue attempt spilled chemicals that caused Luthor to go prematurely bald and destroyed both his Kryptonite cure and his artificial life form. Luthor attributed Superboy's actions to jealousy and vowed revenge. First, he tried to show Superboy up with grandiose technological advancements to improve the life of Smallville's residents, which time and again went dangerously out of control and required Superboy's intervention. Unwilling to accept responsibility for these catastrophes, Lex rationalized that Superboy was out to humiliate him, and vowed to spend the rest of his life proving to the world he was Superboy's (and later Superman's) superior by eliminating the hero.

This origin first made Luthor's fight with Superman a personal one, giving him a dimension beyond his previous mad scientist archetype and suggesting that if events had unfolded differently, Luthor might have been a more noble person; these elements were played up in various stories in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Elliot S. Maggin's text novel Last Son of Krypton.

Hero of Lexor

Though he was a noted villain and an evil mastermind on Earth, Luthor was revered as a hero on the alien world of Lexor, where he used his scientific genius to rediscover the planet's technology and rebuild society for the inhabitants. After its debut,[3] Lexor appeared sporadically in various Superman comics, typically as a base of operations for Luthor as he rediscovered its long-lost but highly advanced technology and became a hero to the Lexorians for improving their lives from the stone-age level to which they had devolved. Luthor eventually marries a Lexorian female, Ardora, and fathers a son. Luthor escaped to Lexor after a battle with Superman[4] and used the planet's technology to create a "battlesuit" sufficiently powerful to let him face Superman in single combat. Superman pursued Luthor to Lexor and during their battle, an energy salvo from Luthor's battlesuit accidentally overloaded the "Neutrarod", a spire Luthor had earlier constructed to counter Lexor's geological instability. This led to the destruction of the planet, killing all of the inhabitants, including Ardora and her and Luthor's young child. Superman initially assumed Luthor had also been killed in the blast, but this was due to his unfamiliarity with the rugged design of the battlesuit. Luthor eventually returned to Earth, unable to accept his own role in Lexor's destruction and blaming Superman for it.

Although the post-crisis "reboot" removed Lexor from continuity, the battlesuit concept has been re-used on several occasions.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

During the Crisis on Infinite Earths Luthor allies himself with fellow Superman foe Brainiac during Crisis in order to recruit an army of super-villains spanning the DC Multiverse, taking advantage of the confusion caused by the Crisis for their own benefit. However, once it became clear that it was as much in their interests to save the multiverse as anyone else, Luthor and Brainiac reluctantly allied their faction with the Multiverse's heroes. The Silver/Bronze Age Luthor was involved in a battle on Maltus with other super-villains to prevent Krona from starting the experiment which created the multiverse in the first place (and in turn spawned the Anti-Monitor); instead, reality was altered so that the different universes fell into their proper place, converging into one. Afterwards, Luthor would be returned to prison with all his memories of the alliance forgotten. Luthor would remain a foe of Superman until DC Comics' continuity was retconned following the Crisis.

Personality

Superman himself acknowledged that the Silver Age Luthor was a man of his word who would honor promises he made. Lex is a man who prefers to follow his own personal code; on occasion, he came to the aid of innocents even when doing so would lead to his capture and inevitable return to prison. Shamed by his criminal acts, Lex's parents, Jules and Arlene, disowned him, moved away and changed their name to the anagram "Thorul". Luthor had a younger blond sister, Lena, an empath who grew up unaware of her familial connection with the noted villain. Protective of his sister, Luthor took measures to hide his fraternity, and had been assisted towards this end by both Superman and Supergirl. Luthor considered Albert Einstein a great personal idol, and would make a special effort to escape prison around the anniversary of Einstein's birthday each year, and visit places of significance in Einstein's life.

Post-Crisis

Modern Luthor

In 1986, John Byrne's "reboot" of Superman's mythos in the limited series, The Man of Steel, rewrote the character of Lex Luthor from scratch, intending to make him a villain that the 1980s would recognize: a corporate white-collar criminal (the idea was originally suggested by Marv Wolfman). Under the helm of other writers, he eventually became a criminal mastermind, ever-present but never fully defeated. Unlike other criminals Superman has faced, Luthor is often more insidious, operating mainly behind the scenes. Typically, Luthor enjoys the comfort of appearing legitimate and prefers not to get his hands dirty (although there have been exceptions).

Pre-Crisis details have occasionally appeared in altered but recognizable form. Among these, the battlesuit Luthor wore from Action Comics #544 onward appears as early as issue #5 of The Man of Steel, worn by a Luthor henchman who was apparently easily defeated by Superman (Luthor himself would wear a battlesuit resembling his Pre-Crisis one; see the 'Fall From Power' section for more details).

Origins

In the post-Man of Steel mythos, Luthor was born in the Suicide Slum district of Metropolis. In his younger years, Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor grew up in a household where his cruel and short-tempered father abused his mother and belittled his dreams of a better life. His only friend was schoolmate Perry White, who encouraged Lex's aspirations of escaping the slums and becoming a success.

During his teens, Lex's neighborhood environment cultivated in him a ruthless savvy and talent to manipulate. Lex took out a large insurance policy on his parents without their knowledge and sabotaged their car's brakes, killing them. Lex was put into a foster home where he would wait until he became of legal age to collect the insurance money. Lex soon discovered that his foster parents were even more brutal than his biological parents. Greedy and manipulative, they schemed to find out the location of Lex's money and steal it from him. Shortly after Lex turned the age in which he could have access to his money, he secretly put it in a savings account with the explicit instruction that only he be allowed to make withdrawals. When his foster parents found bank documents Lex had hidden from them, Lex's foster father confronted his daughter Lena and demanded that she seduce Lex (who had fallen in love with Lena) into giving her parents the money.

Lena, who had feelings for Lex, refused and for her trouble was beaten to death by her father. Lex was absent from the home at the time, having been talked into going to a football game by his friend Perry. When Lex returned home, he was heartbroken to find Lena murdered by her father. This event would serve as the turning point for Lex Luthor, who vowed to do whatever it took to gain power and absolute control over his surroundings. Decades later, on the day Lex's daughter was born; Lex hired his criminal foster father to assassinate the mayor of Metropolis. Following the killing, Lex met with Lena's murderer in an alley (under the pretense of payment) and personally shot him. Lex named his daughter Lena.[5]

Perry White was the first target of Lex's wrath once he became powerful. Lex blamed Perry for Lena's death, and retaliated by seducing Perry's wife, fathering a baby with her. The offspring Jerry White, would later learn of his true parentage during his late teens before being killed by a local street gang he had associated with. Years later, Lex would on several occasions purchase ownership of the Daily Planet and attempt to kill the newspaper out of contempt for Perry.

Rise to power

There are many tales, or 'interpretations' of how exactly Lex became rich. In some instances he was a scientific genius and gained his fortune via his inventions. Others (more commonly) explain Lex as a ruthless tycoon.

In the comics series, Lex used his money and natural genius to create the multinational corporation "LexCorp" that would ultimately come to dominate the city of Metropolis. One of his earliest projects was an experimental airplane and other similar cutting-edge enterprises would be the hallmark of LexCorp's high-tech output.

Superman

Several months after Superman first appeared on the scene, terrorists attacked a society gala aboard Lex Luthor's yacht.[6] Luthor observed Superman in action and then tried to hire him out after Superman dispatched the gunmen. But when Luthor admitted that he'd not only anticipated the attack but also had arranged for it to occur in order to lure Superman out, Mayor Berkowitz deputized Superman to arrest Luthor for reckless endangerment.

Luthor's (temporary) incarceration left him seething, and he swore to make Superman pay for the humiliation. He has since devoted much time and energy to that goal.

Luthor's motive for hating Superman varies over time. Contemporary stories portray Luthor as a man who sees himself as mankind's last best hope, and Superman as the threat. He was a man driven to succeed on his own, coming from nothing in a harsh environment; Conversely, Superman was granted power by random fate. Whatever his motivations, Luthor's hatred for the Man of Steel remains constant; When Superman was apparently "killed" in a battle with the alien monstrosity Doomsday, Luthor felt "cheated" that a "lifeless monster" had robbed him of his life's work,[7] and sank into a chronic depression until the 'reborn' Superman debuted again.

Cancer and cloning

Luthor acquired his first prized sample of Kryptonite from the cyborg Metallo, who was powered by a Kryptonite rock. Fashioning a ring from the alien ore deadly to Superman, Luthor wore it as a symbol that he was untouchable, even to the man of steel. Luthor eventually suffered from a severe cancer in the 1990s, caused by long-term radiation exposure to his Kryptonite ring.[8] (Before this, Kryptonite was assumed to produce a 'clean' radiation that was harmless to humans).

Luthor's hand required amputation to prevent the cancer's spread, but by then it had already metastasized; it was determined that his condition 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 the Andes, 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, Lex Luthor II; his deception helped by his vibrant new body and full head of red hair.[9]

Luthor retook control of LexCorp and seduced Supergirl,[10] so as to continue to torment Superman. However, Luthor's new clone body began to deteriorate and age at a rapid rate (a side-effect of a disease that affected all clones). Meanwhile, Lois Lane discovered proof that Lex Luthor had years earlier murdered a female LexCorp employee and framed an innocent man for the murder.[11] This led Lois to the truth regarding Lex's faked death and false new identity.

Luthor retaliated by trying to systematically destroy Lois' career, but Lois fought back and, with help from Superman, exposed the truth about Lex Luthor's faked death and criminal activities. During a last-ditch battle with Superman, one of Lex's employees snapped and accidentally triggered the activation of a LexCorp "failsafe": A barrage of missiles let loose on Metropolis, causing nearly the entire city to be leveled.[12] Luthor became a permanent prisoner in his cloned body, unable to even blink, and swearing vengeance on Superman.

However, aid would come in the form of the demon Neron; Luthor promptly sold his soul in exchange for Neron restoring his body to vibrant health, although he once more loses his hair.[13] 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 from Cadmus Labs and replaced with a clone, who was responsible for all the crimes he was charged with.[14] The emergence of an insane "clone" Luthor during his testimony cemented Luthor's innocence in the eyes of the law, and he was released.

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." Luthor also played an instrumental role in assisting the Justice League in recharging the sun during the Final Night storyline. Later, when Gotham City was destroyed by an earthquake and then abandoned by the American government in the early 2000s, it was LexCorp that took up the massive task of rebuilding the city. Unbeknownst to the populace, Luthor also took the opportunity to destroy property records so he could seize any land he wanted. By gaining a foothold in Gotham, Luthor made an enemy in Bruce Wayne, who publically denounced him.

Relationships

Despite his desire for revenge against Lois Lane for temporarily bringing down his empire, Lex has an unspoken love for her. On several occasions Luthor has commented that had Superman not arrived in Metropolis, Lex would have used his time and energy instead to win Lois and marry her (indeed, in his very first post-Crisis appearance he is actively pursuing her; Marv Wolfman originally planned for the two to have been actually romantically involved, with Lois leaving him for Superman, giving Luthor another reason to hate his foe, but Byrne modified the plan when he wrote the actual issue).

The post-Crisis Lex Luthor has been married eight times, though the first seven marriages occurred off-panel in Luthor's past. While his previous seven marriages were hinted to have been based on love (or as close to the concept of love as Lex Luthor understands it) Luthor's eighth marriage to Contessa Erica Alexandra Del Portenza[15] (or "The Contessa" as the characters call her) was a marriage that was based on mutual manipulation and greed.

The Contessa had bought controlling interest in LexCorp after Luthor was exposed as a criminal, forcing Lex into a marriage with her in order to regain control over the company. The marriage was seemingly doomed from the beginning; The Contessa became pregnant by Lex[16] and began using the unborn child to dominate Lex into doing her bidding. Luthor's response to imprison her while she was drugged during childbirth and lock her up, keeping her in a permanently drugged unconscious state.

Luthor took over as single parent to his daughter (named Lena after his childhood sweetheart) and vowed never to marry again, stating that he refused to share his daughter's affection with anyone else. The Contessa later escaped to an island mansion,[17] but upon being elected President, Luthor ordered her home targeted by missiles and destroyed.[18] To date, the Contessa's remains are still missing.

President of the United States

Lex became the president of the United States in 2000, winning the election on a platform of promoting technological progress (his first action as president was to take a proposed moratorium on fossil-based fuels to U.S. Congress).

Despite Luthor's more unsavory 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 the mishandling of the entire Gotham City rebuilding process was the fault of Luthor alone, resulting with Bruce Wayne severing all military contract ties between the U.S. government and his company Wayne Enterprises in protest of Luthor's election as President. Luthor responded in turn by ordering the murder of Wayne's lover Vesper Fairchild and framing Bruce Wayne for the murder.

An early triumph of his political career was the Our Worlds At War crisis, 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. Clark Kent took the fall for Lois when she published proof of President Luthor's unwillingness to provide advance warning, which led to Kansas being burned to the ground.

Fall from power

In 2004, 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. Superman and Batman were able to gain evidence by Luthor, via a mad confession during the battle on recorded to video, that Lex had traded arms with Darkseid on Apokolips, giving them the creature Doomsday in return for his aid during the "Our Worlds At War" crisis. The last nail in his coffin was the revelation that Talia Head, the acting CEO of LexCorp, had sold all the company assets to the Wayne Foundation. Luthor has since gone underground, leaving the presidency to his vice president, Pete Ross. Ross later resigned, however, leaving the presidency to a man named Jonathan Horne.

Birthright

The 2004 12-issue limited series Superman: Birthright once again altered aspects of Luthor's history, such as Luthor's youth in Metropolis and his first encounter with Superman, in favor of introducing elements from the 2001 television series Smallville. Among the elements of Smallville introduced into the comics' canon include Lex's problematic relationship with his wealthy father, Lionel Luthor. Birthright also reintroduced the notion of Lex spending a portion of his youth in Smallville, as well as befriending Clark Kent, who shares his interest in astronomy.

Birthright emphasizes Luthor's wasted talents, as well as his ill-fated friendship with Clark Kent. Despite being poised for greatness, Lex is fundamentally disturbed and alienated from people. During a failed experiment to communicate with a lost alien civilization (Krypton), an explosion erupts which singes off Lex's hair and kills his father. Lex refuses to take responsibility for the blaze and leaves Smallville forever, erasing any trace that he was ever there. By the time Clark meets him again in Metropolis, Lex has launched a billion-dollar business and is the foremost astrobiologist in the world, but has also become a corrupt sadist bent on acquiring power.

The changes in Lex's character and background were initially controversial among fans given contradictions with established Luthor history, but were quickly accepted when it was made public by Mark Waid that editorial had forced him to craft a new origin for Luthor that incorporated aspects from the Smallville television series. Waid has gone on the record as stating that his original outline for "Birthright" had Waid restoring Luthor's pre-crisis background as a mad scientist, jettisoning the entire notion of Luthor being a respected but evil businessman. In the retrospective section of the published "Birthright" graphic novel, Waid describes his view that Luthor operating free and unchallenged in Metropolis for years makes Superman look ineffectual. Waid's disdain for the Post-Crisis Lex Luthor is well-known amongst comic fans, as was his opposition to the original post-crisis reboot. Unfortunately for Waid, he was overruled by DC Editors, who ordered that any changes made to Lex Luthor's history must resemble his Smallville incarnation, due to the popularity of the show.

It was recently revealed that as a result of Superboy-Prime's attempts to escape reality, his hammering on the border between worlds created ripples that rewrote history, causing various revisions of events to occur; one of these was the changing of Luthor's origin from the Man of Steel version to the Birthright version.

Infinite Crisis

The Insiders

Lex Luthor went into hiding, preparing to activate a mind control program planted inside the brain of the current Superboy Conner Kent (created with 50% of Lex's and 50% of Superman's DNA) to help him gain revenge against Earth's mightiest heroes. Luthor has also been carefully surveilling the new Supergirl, but his attempt to split her personalities using Black Kryptonite backfired when the "evil" incarnation of Kara Zor-El rebelled against Luthor and nearly killed him.

The New Secret Society

Alexander Luthor, Jr., the son of Earth-Three's Lex Luthor, returned to the DC Universe along with other survivors from the Crisis on Infinite Earths as part of a scheme to create a perfect Earth, under the pretense of restoring Earth-Two. To this end, he assumed Lex Luthor's identity and created a new Secret Society of Super Villains.

The real Lex Luthor took on the identity of Mockingbird and formed a super-villain version of the Secret Six, whose purpose was to subvert the new Secret Society created by Alexander. Lex swore vengeance against the impostor for taking his place.

Infinite Crisis

In Infinite Crisis #3, Lex confronted Alex Luthor after tailing him for several months. Alex's identity was exposed to Lex during the following fight. He and Superboy-Prime managed to destroy his battlesuit, but Lex escaped via short-range teleporter.

Luthor then visited Conner Kent (in recovery at Titans Tower). Lex gave words of vengeance against Alex Luthor and Superboy-Prime, and slipped onto Conner's person a crystal shard (collected during his fight with Alex) showing the location of Alexander's Arctic Fortress. Conner later went to Nightwing and the two agreed to stop Alexander. At the end of Infinite Crisis #7, Lex Luthor oversees the Joker's execution of Alexander.

Luthor has shown an unusual (at least by his standards) compassion for Conner Kent; it seems that by watching Superboy throughout the course of his short life, Lex came to see Conner as his son. At one point, Luthor is shown visiting a memorial statue of Superboy in Metropolis and placed flowers there.

52

In 52 Week Three, the Gotham City Police Department finds a body in an alley that looks like Lex Luthor. John Henry Irons examines the body at S.T.A.R. Labs and notices that contact lenses were inserted postmortem to make the blue eyes appear green, like Lex's. Lex Luthor suddenly arrives with a throng of reporters, publicly stating that the body is that of an impostor from another Earth, the man truly responsible for his various crimes. Though Alexander's body had a missing finger and a different appearance from Lex at the time of his death, 52 editor Stephen Wacker has confirmed that the body found in Gotham is indeed Alex, and that Luthor had it altered before the police discovered it.[19]

Lex strives to rebuild his fallen reputation. In various news broadcasts throughout the country, he claims to have engineered a way to make meta-humans out of ordinary citizens, creating the possibility for everyone to have powers, not just a select few. However, during the autopsy of Alex Luthor, Lex secretly exposes John to the chemicals involved in his creating his new army of super-heroes, turning him into a literal man of steel. When approached by John's niece Natasha Irons, Lex gladly allows her to be one of his first test subjects. Thanks to Luthor, Natasha now has super-powers similar to those of Superman, after undergoing a treatment he referred to as "the full package", and acts as a spokesperson his new meta-gene treatment. Also, using Natasha and several other test subjects, Luthor has formed his own team of super-powered "heroes" which are now being called a new Infinity Inc.. In week #21, this new Infinity Inc. were battling a new Blockbuster, which Luthor had created as well, when he demonstrated that he could shut off their powers and had his speedster, Trajectory, killed. It is revealed in week #22 that Luthor himself, however, is not physically compatible with the treatment, despite repeated attempts.

At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Luthor sets in motion a calculated plot to discredit Supernova, a new hero who has taken over defending Metropolis in Superman's absence: Luthor triggers a mass-shutdown of the powers of everyone who has undertaken the Everyman program, except for the members of Infinity Inc. This results in a catastrophic disaster as multiple flight-powered Everymen plummet to their deaths, causing underground gas mains to rupture, which adds civilians to the death toll. However, Luthor's plot ultimately fails when Supernova is able to spectacularly minimize the disaster.

In week 39 of the series, Natasha Irons (in an attempt to better learn Luthor's motives) discovers that, in fact, Lex was compatible with the artificial meta-gene treatment, but that the scientist in charge had fabricated evidence to the contrary to deceive him. However, Luthor has subsequently learned the truth and performed the procedure on himself, allowing him to subdue Natasha before she can bring his duplicity to light. In week 40, John Henry Irons leads an attack on Luthor's building; despite the destruction of his armor during the fight, he confronts Luthor - only to find himself badly outclassed, as Luthor demonstrates nearly all of Superman's powers in a matter of moments - heat vision, x-ray vision, invulnerability, super-strength, flight, super-hearing, and the ability to see well beyond the visible spectrum. However, Natasha uses her uncle's hammer to trigger an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down the synthetic metagene long enough for Steel to knock Lex out. In 52 Week Forty Six, Lex Luthor is escorted out of the courthouse by Steel when Clark Kent relizes it is not him. They find him in a safe area down under the courthouse were he tries to plea, saying he didnt know the trial was today.

"One Year Later"

One year after the events of Infinite Crisis Luthor is cleared of over 120 criminal counts ranging from malfeasance to first-degree murder only to find that he's now unpopular with the public. Thanks to the machinations of Doctor Sivana, he is being bought out of LexCorp. He blames Clark Kent for writing articles unraveling his schemes, and pledges vengeance on Metropolis after an angry mob jeers him on the courthouse steps.

Earth-Three

In much the same way that Superman and other heroes have evil analogs on the parallel world of Earth-Three, Luthor had a heroic counterpart there. Alexander Luthor was the only superhero in that world's history, and reluctantly decided to adopt a heroic identity to combat his world's analog of the Justice League, the evil Crime Syndicate of America. This version, who eventually married the Lois Lane of Earth-Three, died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, but was survived by their son, Alexander Luthor, Jr., one of the most pivotal figures in Infinite Crisis.

In the late 1990s JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel, an updated version of Earth-Three and its version of Luthor were reintroduced to the post-Crisis DC Universe. The physical appearance of this Lex resembles the pre-Crisis Earth-One version from 1983s Action Comics (down to the battlesuit he wears). In this version of events, the heroic Luthor traveled from his Earth (located in the anti-matter universe rather than being an alternate positive-matter one) to the mainstream DC Earth, captured and posed as his villainous counterpart, and subsequently asked the Justice League to help him rebuild his world. However, since "evil always wins" in this alternate world, the attempt failed, and Luthor resigned himself to being the only noble character on his Earth, although the Syndicate Rules story arc in JLA showed another group of heroes on this world named the Justice Underground; there was also a mention of the Luthor of Earth Two awaiting a mock trial before his public execution.

However, at the end of the story, the JLA released all the CSA`s prisoners before returning to Earth One. It is not known, although very probable, that Luthor was among the released prisoners.

References

  1. Action Comics #23
  2. Adventure Comics #271
  3. Superman #164
  4. Action Comics #544
  5. Superman #131
  6. The Man of Steel #4
  7. Action Comics #685
  8. Action Comics #600
  9. Action Comics #670
  10. Action Comics #677
  11. Superman #77
  12. Action Comics #700
  13. Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow #1
  14. Action Comics #737
  15. Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow #5
  16. Superman #119
  17. Superman: The Man Of Steel #77
  18. President Luthor: Secret Files & Origins #1
  19. Newsarama interview with Stephen Wacker [1]

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