Lex Luthor


Lex Luthor

infobox superhero


caption = Lex Luthor from "Superman Birthright" #5.
Art by Leinil Francis Yu.
full_name = Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor
publisher = DC Comics
debut = "Action Comics" #23 (April, 1940)
creators = Jerry Siegel
Joe Shuster
Base of operations = Metropolis
alliances=LexCorp Injustice Gang Secret Society of Super Villains Injustice League
Secret Six
aliases = Mockingbird

Lex Luthor is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, he first appeared in "Action Comics" #23 (Apr. 1940) ["Superman" #4 (Spring, 1940) is in fact believed by experts to actually have gone on sale first, making that comic technically Luthor's first appearance. However, the in-story events of Luthor's appearance in "Action Comics" #23 clearly occur before those of the stories in "Superman" #4. This, coupled with the ambiguity in precisely dating the release of the "Spring"-labeled "Superman" #4, mean that "Action Comics" #23 is nevertheless routinely listed as featuring Luthor's first appearance. See: [http://www.dcindexes.com/database/story-details.php?storyid=4794 Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics] : "Superman" #4 (Spring, 1940). Accessed August 3, 2008] and is one of the earliest enemies of Superman. Originally portrayed as a wily scientific genius with a desire to conquer the world, he was later rewritten as a well-meaning inventor and childhood friend of Superboy. During an experiment gone wrong, a chemical spill destroys a vital formula and removes Luthor's hair. Blaming Superboy for the accident, the embittered scientist turns to a life of crime.

Following the 1985 limited series "Crisis on Infinite Earths", the character was re-imagined as a Machiavellian industrialist and white-collar criminal, even briefly serving as President of the United States. In recent years, various writers have revised Luthor's original characization from the 1970's, most notably in the 2005 series "All Star Superman". "Wizard" magazine rates the character #8 on its "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list. ["Wizard" #177.]

Publication history

Creation

Luthor's first incarnation debuted in "Action Comics #23" as an archetypal megalomaniac with aspirations of world domination. He is initially found residing in a flying city suspended by a dirigible, having taken control of several European countries through his machinations. A self-professed genius, "Luthor" (then-known only by his surname) first tries to sabotage a peace conference between two fictional nations, but is stopped by Superman. He is later found hiding out in an underwater city, where he challenges Superman to a contest of strength versus science. ["Superman" #4] [Daniels, Les. "Superman: The Complete History: The Life and Times of the Man of Steel". Chronicle Books, 1998, pg. 13. ISBN 0811842312]

In his earliest comic appearances, Luthor is a middle-aged man with a full head of red hair. In 1941, an artistic goof resulted in Luthor being depicted as completely bald in a newspaper strip. Leo Novak was the second studio artist hired to work on the "Superman" comic strip, and it was then that the initial mistake appeared. One common theory is that the artist simply mistook Luthor for the Ultra-Humanite, a bald supervillain with a similar modus. Other evidence suggests Novak may have confused Luthor's appearance with that of a stockier, bald henchman in "Superman" #4. Luthor's next appearance occurs in "Superman #10" (1941), in which Novak depicts him as substantially heavier, with visible jowls. [Cronin, Brian (2006-11-26) [http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/11/30/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-79/ Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #79] . [http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/ Comic Book Resources] . Retrieved on 2007-7-18.] Ultimately, the error went uncorrected and became the character's iconic trait. The decision to keep Luthor bald also coincides with Siegel and Shuster's original short story, "The Reign of the Super-Man", which features a bald, villainous telepath. [Daniels (1998), p. 66.]

When the concept of the DC multiverse began to take hold in the 1960s, this incarnation of Luthor was rewritten as Alexei Luthor, Lex Luthor's counterpart from a parallel universe (specifically Earth-Two). In the lead-up to the limited series "Crisis on Infinite Earths", Alexei is killed by Brainiac after challenging Lex's authority over an army of supervillains. ["Crisis on Infinite Earths" #9.]

In "Adventure Comics" #271 (1962), Robert Bernstein wrote an origin story detailing how Luthor's hatred of Superman stems from a past encounter. [Adventure Comics #271.] During his youth, Luthor was a promising scientist as well as a fan of Superboy. During an attempt to create an artificial form of life, an accidental fire breaks out in Luthor's lab. Superboy uses his super-breath to extinguish the flames, inadvertently spilling chemicals which cause Luthor to go bald; The botched rescue also destroys Luthor's priceless life form. Believing that Superboy intentionally caused the accident, Luthor attributes his actions to jealousy and vows revenge. He first tries to show up Superboy with grandiose inventions which will improve the lives of Smallville's residents, but each goes dangerously out of control and requires Superboy's intervention. Unwilling to accept responsibility for these mishaps, Luthor rationalizes that Superboy is out to humiliate him. The revised origin makes Luthor's fight with Superman a personal one, and suggests that if events had unfolded differently, Luthor might have been a more noble person. These elements were played up in various stories throughout the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Elliot S. Maggin's novel "Last Son of Krypton".

"Man of Steel" revision

In the 1986 limited series "The Man of Steel", John Byrne rewrote Lex Luthor from scratch, intending to make him a villain that the 1980s would recognize: a power-hungry corporate criminal. Collaborator Marv Wolfman recalled:

The Modern Age Lex Luthor is a product of child abuse (a common archetype among supervillains) and early poverty. Born in the Suicide Slum district of Metropolis, he is instilled with a desire to become a self-made man. As a teenager, he takes out a large insurance policy on his parents without their knowledge, then sabotages their car's brakes, causing their deaths. Upon graduating from MIT, Luthor founds his own business, LexCorp, which grows to dominate much of Metropolis.

Lex Luthor does not physically appear in "The Man of Steel" until the fourth issue, which takes place over a year after Superman's arrival in Metropolis. When Lois Lane and Clark Kent are invited to a society gala aboard Luthor's yacht, terrorists seize the ship without warning, forcing Superman to intervene. ["The Man of Steel" #4.] Luthor observes Superman in action, and once the gunmen are dispatched, hands the hero a personal check in an attempt to hire him. But when Luthor admits that he had not only anticipated the attack, but had arranged for it to occur in order to lure Superman out, the Mayor deputizes Superman to arrest Luthor for reckless endangerment. This, coupled with the indignation that Superman is the only person he could not buy off, threaten, or otherwise control, results in Luthor's pledge to destroy Superman at any cost.

Despite general acceptance of Byrne and Wolfman's characterization, some writers have called for a return to Luthor's role as a mad scientist. Regarding the character's effectiveness as a corrupt billionaire, author Neil Gaiman commented:

Luthor's romantic aspirations toward Lois Lane, established early in the series, become a focal point of the comics immediately following it. ["Adventures of Superman" #424, January 1987.] He is shown making repeated attempts to court Lois during "The Man of Steel", though Lois plainly does not return his feelings. ["The Man of Steel" #2] Marv Wolfman originally planned for the two to have been engaged, with Lois leaving him for Superman, giving Luthor another reason to hate his foe. [ [http://www.marvwolfman.com/ MarvWolfman.com] ] Byrne, however, modified the story when he wrote the actual issue.

"Birthright" and New Earth

"", a 2004 limited series written by Mark Waid, offers an alternate look at Luthor's history, including his youth in Smallville and his first encounter with Superman. The story borrows heavily from the 2001 television series "Smallville", which follows Clark Kent's life as a teenager and into early manhood; Among the elements lifted from the show is Lex Luthor's problematic relationship with his wealthy father, Lionel. "Birthright" also reinvents the Silver Age concept of Luthor befriending Clark Kent as a young man. During a failed attempt to communicate with Krypton, an explosion erupts which singes off Luthor's hair. Waid's original intention was to jettison the notion of Lex Luthor being an evil businessman, thereby restoring his status as a mad scientist. However, he ultimately conceded that the CEO Luthor would be easier for readers to recognize. In the retrospective section of the trade paperback edition of "Birthright", Waid explains:

"Birthright" was initially intended to establish a new origin for Superman and Luthor. [Singh, Arune. (2004-3-11) [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=3256 Super-Stars (Part 1): Mark Waid's "Birthright," The Official Origin] . Comic Book Resources. Retrieved on 2008-9-10.] However, the canonicity of the series was eventually discredited by stories which followed it, to Waid's disappointment. [Alan Kistler (2005-10-30). [http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news/2005-news/2005-news-comic.php?topic=2005-news-comic/1030i Mark Waid Talks “Superman Returns” and “Birthright”] . Superman Homepage. Retrieved on 2008-10-09.] A concise biography for Luthor, later outlined in "Action Comics" #850, first appeared in the 2007 limited series "Countdown to Final Crisis". Luthor's current origin appears to be a synthesis of aspects from the Silver Age continuity and "The Man of Steel". Recent changes to the DC Comics continuity are revealed to be a result of the 2005 series "Infinite Crisis", which created an alternate timeline called "New Earth".

The Lex Luthor of current continuity is the son of business mogul Lionel Luthor and his socialite spouse, Leticia. As shown previously in "Superman: Birthright" and the pre-"Crisis" stories, he spends part of his adolescence in Smallville, Kansas. It is here that Luthor comes into acquaintance with Clark Kent, Lana Lang, and Pete Ross. He is described as having left Smallville "under a cloud of rumor and suspicion." He later resurfaces in Metropolis and founds LexCorp. Luthor's rise to the Presidency and his removal from office are also recounted in this biography. Interestingly, his hair is not shown being burned off in an explosion in Smallville (as in "Birthright"), instead receding naturally over time.

Fictional character biography

ilver age

In the pre-"Crisis" continuity, Lex Luthor's driving ambitions are to to kill Superman and enslave Earth as a stepping stone to dominating the universe. ["Action Comics" #294 (1962)] In "Action Comics" #271 (1942), Superman acknowledges that Luthor "could have been a mighty force for good in the world, yet he chose to direct his great scientific brain into criminal channels." ["Action Comics" #47 (1942)] Although none of his attempts to kill Superman work permanently (though a classic non-canonical story from 1961 entitled "The Death of Superman" has Luthor finally killing Superman after lulling him by pretending to go straight), [Daniels (1998), p. 109.] ["Action Comics" #225, Feb 1957: "The Death of Superman"] Luthor routinely manages to escape from prison and threaten the world again. [http://scifipedia.scifi.com/index.php/Lex_Luthor Scifipedia - Lex Luthor] . Retrieved on 2007-7-18.]

Though he is a noted criminal on Earth, Luthor is revered on the alien world of Lexor, where he rediscovered the planet's lost technology and rebuilt society for its inhabitants. As a result, he becomes a hero in the eyes of Lexor's people, whereas Superman is detested as a villain. ["Superman" #43/3, November/December 1946: "“The Molten World!”"] He eventually marries a local woman named Ardora, [Action Comics # 318, November 1964: "The Death of Luthor".] with whom he fathers a son. After its debut, ["Superman" #164.] Lexor appears sporadically in various Superman comics as Luthor's base of operations, where he wages assaults on Superman. During one such battle, an energy salvo from Luthor's battle suit accidentally overloads the "Neutrarod" — a spire Luthor had built to counter Lexor's geological instability — resulting in the annihilation of Lexor's inhabitants, including his wife and son. Luthor eventually returns to Earth, unable to accept his own role in Lexor's destruction and blaming Superman for it. ["Action Comics" #544/1, June 1983: "Luthor Unleashed".]

During the 12-issue limited series "Crisis on Infinite Earths", Luthor allies himself with fellow Superman foe Brainiac to recruit an army of supervillains spanning the DC Multiverse, intending to take advantage of the confusion caused by the Crisis. However, once it becomes clear that it is as much in their interests to save the multiverse as anyone else's, Luthor and Brainiac reluctantly ally their faction with Superman and the other heroes. At the conclusion of the series, reality is altered so that each of the different universes fall into their proper place, converging into one. Afterward, Luthor is subsequently returned to prison with all his memories of the alliance forgotten. Luthor's trademark battlesuit from this era, — a heavily-armored, flight-capable suit with kryptonite fixtures embedded in its gauntlets [Superman Homepage - [http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/who-classic/who-classic-intro.php?topic=luthor-lex Who's Who In the Superman Comics: Lex Luthor] . Retrieved on 2007-7-18.] — has reappeared in recent continuity, most notably during "Infinite Crisis".

Modern age

As part of the continuity changes which followed "The Man of Steel", Luthor is shown actively participating in the creation of two "Superman" villains, Bizarro (the failed result of an attempt to clone Superman) and the cyborg Metallo. Upon discovering that Metallo is powered by a 'heart' of kryptonite rock in "Superman" #22, Luthor steals it in order to fashion a kryptonite ring for himself. He wears the alien ore around his finger as a symbol that he is untouchable, even to the man of steel. ["Superman" #22, February 1987] Luthor eventually suffers from a severe cancer brought on by long-term radiation exposure to the ring; ["Action Comics #600.] before this, kryptonite was mistakenly assumed to produce a 'clean' radiation that is harmless to humans. His hand requires amputation to prevent the cancer's spread, but by then it has already metastasized and his condition is terminal.

Luthor decides to fake his own death by boarding a jet on a proposed trip around the world and crashing it in the Andes; this is merely a cover for the removal of his brain from his cancer-ridden body and the growth of a cloned body around it, whereupon he passes himself off as his hitherto unknown, illegitimate 21-year-old son and heir, Lex Luthor II. His deception is benefited by a vibrant new body with a beard and full head of red hair, as well as assuming an Australian accent as part of his fake backstory. ["Action Comics #670".] Luthor II inherits control of LexCorp and seduces the then current Supergirl, Matrix, due to his resemblance to her creator. ["Action Comics #677".] Luthor's clone body eventually begins to deteriorate and age at a rapid rate, a side-effect of a disease that affects all clones. Meanwhile, Lois Lane discovers proof of Luthor's clone harvesting and false identity; ["Superman #77".] with help from Superman, she exposes the truth, and a despondent Matrix helps apprehend Luthor. In the end, Luthor becomes a permanent prisoner in his own body, unable to even blink, and swearing vengeance on Superman.

Aid comes in the form of the demon Neron; Luthor promptly sells his soul in exchange for Neron restoring his body to vibrant health, though he once more loses his hair and a return to an older age than his 21-year-old cloned form, albeit one that is apparently still younger than before his cancer, or at any rate in far better shape. ["Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow #1".] Returning to Metropolis, Luthor freely turns himself over to the police and is put on trial. He is acquitted on all counts when Luthor claims to have been kidnapped by renegade scientists from Cadmus Labs, who replaced him with a violent clone that is allegedly responsible for all the crimes Luthor is charged with. ["Action Comics #737".]

President of the United States

Deciding to turn to politics, Luthor becomes President of the United States, 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 the U.S. Congress.

Luthor is assisted by the extreme unpopularity of the previous administration's mishandling of the Gotham City earthquake crisis. After six months, Gotham is restored and rejoins America. Ironically, Batman ultimately learns that the entire debacle was the fault of Luthor alone as he attempted to take control of Gotham by forging deeds for the land in his name, which results in Bruce Wayne severing all commercial ties between the U.S. government and his company, Wayne Enterprises, in protest of Luthor's election as President. Luthor responds in turn by arranging for the murder of Wayne's lover, Vesper Fairchild, and .

An early triumph of Luthor's first term occurs during the "Our Worlds At War" comic book crossover, in which he coordinates the U.S. Army, Earth's superheroes and a number of untrustworthy alien forces to battle the main villain of the story arc, Imperiex. As it is eventually revealed, however, Luthor knew about the alien invasion in advance and did nothing to alert Earth's heroes to it, leading to Topeka, Kansas being destroyed by an Imperiex probe.

Removal from office

A cadre of superheroes eventually break ranks from the Justice League to oppose Luthor. Batman, who had previously forbade any attempt to unseat Luthor from office by force, led the storming of the White House. This was predicated by an attempt on Luthor's part to link Superman to a kryptonite asteroid that is hurtling toward Earth; Luthor apparently intended to frame Superman for the catastrophe and use a boom tube to escape the disaster himself, but Superman, Batman and Captain Atom were able to stop the asteroid.

In a desperate gambit, Luthor uses a variant combination of the "super-steroid" Venom (a chemical associated with the Batman villain Bane), liquid synthetic Kryptonite, and an Apokoliptian battlesuit to fight Superman directly. The madness that is a side effect of Venom takes hold, and during the ensuing fight with Superman and Batman, Luthor admits he had traded the creature Doomsday to Darkseid in return for weapons during the "Our Worlds at War" crisis; in doing so, he inadvertently provides a confession which is captured on video by Batman. Returning to the LexCorp building to regroup, Luthor finds that the acting C.E.O., Talia Head, has sold the entirety of the company assets to the Wayne Foundation, forcing Luthor to escape and go into hiding. Following Luthor's bankruptcy and total disgrace, Vice President Pete Ross briefly assumes his place as President. Based on the official DC timeline, Luthor serves less than three years.

"Infinite Crisis"

Alexander Luthor, Jr., the son of Earth-Three's Lex Luthor, returned to the DC Universe along with other survivors from "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 Luthor's identity and created a new Secret Society of Super Villains. In response, the real Luthor took on the identity of Mockingbird and formed a super-villain version of the Secret Six in order to counter Alexander's organization.

Luthor confronts his impostor In "Infinite Crisis" #3, but is intercepted by Superboy-Prime, who is allied with Alexander. Luthor later visits Conner Kent, who is in recovery at Titans Tower. He slips Conner a crystal shard which shows the location of Alexander's Arctic Fortress. At the end of "Infinite Crisis" #7, Luthor oversees the Joker's execution of Alexander.

"52"

In the opening weeks of "52", the Gotham City Police Department finds what appears to be Luthor's body in an alley. John Henry Irons examines the body at S.T.A.R. Labs and notes that the corpse was altered postmortem to make it resemble Lex Luthor. During a press conference, the genuine Luthor publicly states that the body is that of an impostor from another Earth, and the true culprit of the crimes Luthor is being charged with. ["52": Week 3] 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. [Newsarama interview with Stephen Wacker [http://www.newsarama.com/dcnew/WAcker/Wacker03.html] ]

Luthor immediately sets out to rebuild his reputation; he becomes spokesman for a new procedure, created by the Everyman Project, that engineers ordinary citizens to develop superpowers. During the autopsy of Alex Luthor, he secretly exposes John to the chemicals involved in his creating his new army of super-heroes, turning John into a literal man of steel. When approached by John's niece Natasha Irons, Luthor gladly allows her to be one of his first test subjects. Using Natasha and several other volunteers, Luthor forms his own team of superheroes which are introduced as the new Infinity Inc. In week #21, Infinity Inc. is in the midst of a battle with Blockbuster (which Luthor has created as well), when he demonstrates that he can 'shut off' the powers of each of his agents; this results in the death of his speedster, Trajectory.

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. As multiple flight-powered Everymen plummet to their deaths, underground gas mains rupture from the impact, which adds civilians to the death toll. Luthor's plot ultimately fails when Supernova is able to minimize the disaster with a spectacular rescue.

While investigating Luthor in order to root out his motive, Natasha Irons discovers that Luthor has been testing himself to see if he is compatible with the artificial meta-gene treatment. ["52": Week 39] John Henry Irons leads an assault 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. 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 unconscious. ["52": Week 40] Lex is disgraced as a result, and later faces indictment when the members of the Everymen realize they have been used.

"One Year Later" and "Countdown"

One year after the events of "Infinite Crisis," Luthor has been cleared of over 120 criminal counts ranging from malfeasance to first-degree murder relating to the New Years Eve massacre from "52." However, his role in the massacre has permanently ruined his public image and thanks to the machinations of Doctor Sivana, he has lost most of his wealth and all of his control over his newly reformed LexCorp, which is now being run by Lana Lang. He blames Clark Kent for writing several articles unraveling his schemes and pledges vengeance on Metropolis after an angry mob jeers him on the courthouse steps. After amassing large quantities of Kryptonite, including kidnapping the supervillains Metallo and the Kryptonite Man, Lex uses it to power a Kryptonian battleship controlled through a "sunstone" crystal. ["Action Comics" #839>] Superman manages to destroy the Kryptonite-powered ship and recover the crystal, but Lex manages to escape custody yet again. ["Action Comics" #840]

Lex later sends Bizarro after the newly arrived "Superboy" only for the creature to be defeated by Superman. Undaunted, Luthor gathers together a new Revenge Squad to fight against invading Kryptonians led by General Zod.

In JLA, Luthor (alongside Joker and Cheetah III) gathers together a new "Injustice League" and, outfitted in a new version of his warsuit (although still green and purple, it no longer has clear design derivations from the pre-Crisis warsuit as the McGuinness design did), sets out to destroy the Justice League with them. On a related note during this section, he was responsible for creating the third Shaggy Man and the third Blockbuster.

Luthor plays a large role in the "Countdown to Final Crisis" tie-in event, "Salvation Run". Having been sent to the prison planet after his Injustice League was defeated, Lex quickly assumes control of the amassed villains, receiving competition only from Joker and Gorilla Grodd, who convince half of the villains to join them. He does fight the Joker until the battle was interrupted by an attack by Desaad's Parademons. After the attack, Luthor manages to get the villains off the planet with a makeshift teleporter, secretly powered by Neutron, Heatmonger, Plasmus, Warp and Thunder and Lightning. When called a "monster" by Thunder, Luthor claims it is the ones who sent them there who are the real monsters, and that he is the hero. He later sets the teleporter to self-destruct after he uses it, killing the attacking Parademons, and his living batteries.

Final Crisis

In "Justice League of America" #21, Luthor can be seen associating with Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains and placed in its Inner Circle. Lex Luthor wanted Libra to prove himself, so Libra sends Clayface to blow up the Daily Planet. As Lex Luthor attempted to ambush Libra after learning that he's a prophet of Darkseid, Lex Luthor soon ends up surrounded by Justifiers. Libra tells Lex Luthor to make a final choice....swear an oath to Darkseid or become a mindless slave.

Relationships and family

In the pre-"Crisis" continuity, Luthor is shown as having very few personal attachments. Shamed by his crimes, his parents (Jules and Arlene) disown him, move away and change their name to the anagram "Thorul". Luthor has a younger sister named Lena, an empath who grows up unaware of her familial connection with the noted supervillain. Protective of his sister, Luthor takes measures to hide his fraternity, and is assisted towards this end by both Superman and Supergirl.

In "The Man of Steel" contunity, Lex Luthor has been married eight times, though the first seven marriages occurred off-panel in Luthor's past. His eighth marriage to Contessa Erica Alexandra Del Portenza (aka the "Contessa") is based on mutual greed; ["Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow #5".] the Contessa buys controlling interest in LexCorp after Luthor is indicted, compelling him to marry her in order to regain control of his company. The Contessa becomes pregnant ["Superman #119".] and starts using the unborn child to dominate Lex into doing her bidding. Luthor's response is to imprison her while she is drugged during childbirth, keeping her in a permanently-unconscious state. The Contessa later escapes to an island mansion, ["Superman: The Man Of Steel #77".] but upon being elected President, Luthor targets her home with a barrage of missiles and destroys it. ["President Luthor: Secret Files & Origins #1".]

James D. Hudnall's "Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography" further expands on Luthor's origin. The story details how Luthor was sent to live with a foster family following the sabatoge of his parents' car. His foster parents, Casey and Emily Griggs, conspire to embezzle his insurance, and coerce their daughter, Lena, into seducing Lex in order to learn the location of the money. Due to her own romantic feelings toward Lex, Lena refuses, and is beaten to death by her father. Lex is absent from the home at the time of the murder, having been talked into going to a football game by a young Perry White. ["Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography". (1989)]

As an adult, this incident motivates Luthor to begin an affair with Perry's wife, Alice, during a period when Perry is missing and assumed dead. Alice becomes pregnant shortly afterward, though the timing of the conception means an equal possibility of either Luthor or White being the father. The child, Jerry White, later learns of his true parentage during his late teens, shortly before being killed by a local street gang he is associated with. The loss of a potential heir weighs heavily on Luthor's mind, particularly when he is dying of cancer; While mulling over his fate, Luthor visits Jerry's gravesite. ["Superman" #49.]

Luthor has shown an unusual level of compassion for Conner Kent, a hybrid clone created from the DNA of Superman and Luthor himself. After Connor's death at the conclusion of the "Infinite Crisis", Luthor is shown visiting a memorial statue of Connor in Metropolis and placing flowers there. ["Action Comics" #837] In the alternate future timeline of "Titans Tomorrow" [Teen Titans (vol. 3) #17-19 (2005)] , in which according the continuity used Conner doesn't die or is recloned again [Teen Titans #51 (2007)] , Luthor acts as a gentle, fatherly figure to him, suavely corrupting and influencing him rather than forcing his beliefs.

Appearances in other media

Lyle Talbot was the first actor to portray Lex Luthor in a live-action film, appearing in the 1950 serial "Atom Man vs. Superman". [Daniels (1998), p. 75.] The character continues to be associated with "Superman" media, most notably by Gene Hackman in the 1978 film ' and subsequent sequels, and Kevin Spacey in the 2006 film "Superman Returns". Other actors who have portrayed Luthor include Scott James Wells and Sherman Howard in the television series "Superboy"; John Shea in the 1990s series '; and Michael Rosenbaum in the 2000s "Smallville". He has also been voiced in animation by Stan Jones in the 1970s/80s "Superfriends" franchise and by Clancy Brown in the 1990s/2000s DC animated universe and a 2007 episode of "The Batman", among others. Luthor is also to appear in the upcoming Midway video game, Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe

ee also

*Alternate versions of Lex Luthor

Notes

References

*Daniels, Les. "Superman: The Complete History: The Life and Times of the Man of Steel". Chronicle Books, 1998. ISBN 0811842312

External links

* [http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/lex_luthor Lex Luthor at DCComics.com]
* [http://www.dcuguide.com/chronology.php?name=lexluthor Lex Luthor chronology index]
* [http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/comics.php?topic=special-reports/lex-luthor1 Superman Homepage - Lex Luthor biography]
* [http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Lex_Luthor Supermanica entry on Lex Luthor]
* [http://jl.toonzone.net/luthor/luthor.htm The Justice League Watchtower - Lex Luthor]


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  • Lex Luthor in other media — As Superman s most well known enemy, Lex Luthor has been portrayed in almost every Superman media tie in and franchise.Lex Luthor is a major supporting character within the Superman mythos and has appeared in many of Superman s adaptations into… …   Wikipedia


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