|“||Metropolis and her people are mine -- and they'll live or die as I see fit!||„|
|~ Lex Luthor|
|“||One day, very soon now, you're going to die, Superman. You're going to be destroyed. And you'll know who's doing it. Everyone in Metropolis will know. But no one will ever be able to prove it. I'll not be arrested, Superman. Not ever again. Remember, Superman, you're a dead man. It's just a question of how soon!||„|
|~ Lex Luthor to Superman.|
|“||'Similar'?! You've been mocking me, right in front of my face, all these years, and you say--?! I now have the power to save him, do you realize that? I could go further back in time! But I'm not going to. I was happy to be rid of what I had for a father! But you... you got them! You're not human! You don't deserve to be Clark Kent! I'll punish you with every ounce of pain and humiliation and regret from an entire human lifetime. Don't you understand?! I'll never stop! What will it take to break you?! Why won't you break?!||„|
|~ Lex Luthor to Superman.|
Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor, or Lex Luthor for short, is a highly intelligent supervillain who originated from DC comics and is one of the main antagonists of the DC universe.
He serves as one of the three main antagonists (alongside Darkseid and Brainiac) of the Superman comic series, as well as the the main archenemy of Superman. Luthor is also a major antagonist in the Justice League series being the leader of many supervillain groups, most notably, the Legion of Doom.
He is a genius billionaire and the owner of LexCorp, who possesses an undying hatred of his archenemy, Superman. He will stop at nothing to kill his archenemy, and then rule Metropolis and the world. That said, some incarnations of him are willing to risk their life if it means protecting Metropolis.
He was created by the late Jerry Siegel and the late Joe Shuster, and first appeared in Action Comics #23 in April of 1940.
Lex Luthor is an extremely intelligent, calculating, duplicitous and unpredictable man of immeasurable ruthlessness. He was a mechanical, strategic and scientific genius, maintaining a series of accomplishments in his life. However, due to his intelligence, he is extremely arrogant and narcissistic. He is also wrathful, often lashing out at others he dislikes and holding an unjustified hatred towards Superman.
He has an incessant habit of flaunting his own intelligence, referring to himself in the third person and creating monuments to himself. He also believes himself to be the greatest criminal mind of his time. As such, he is a complete megalomaniac. He seeks to control everything he sees due to a delusional sense of entitlement. In fact, part of the reason he wants to Metropolis, is that he thinks that he will be a better ruler than Superman despite Superman helping the city instead of ruling it.
With no sense of empathy, he cares nothing for his fellow man and only keeps people alive if they benefit him. Lex is completely obsessed with destroying Superman because the latter threatens his power and sense of supremacy. This leads to him referring to the Man of Steel in diabolical terms, indicating an obsessive hatred of the Kryptonian. However, he has shown several times that he does care about Metropolis deep down as he often defends it whenever a bigger threat shows up. Furthermore, he is capable of expressing thanks towards people including Superman. However, the amount politeness he displays depends on the writer.
Lex Luthor's history and origin was altered during the New 52. In this continuity, Alexander "Lex" Luthor was born and raised in Smallville with his sickly sister Lena before moving to Metropolis where he got into contact with the extraterrestrial villain Brainiac.
As the pair secretly traded information between one another, Lex was recruited into an alliance with General Samuel Lane and Glen Glenmorgan to bring down Superman. But Luthor instead betrayed them by stealing their Kryptonite and having the plot leaked to Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent.
Eventually, Brainiac found his way to Earth and Lex tried to aid the invader in shrinking Metropolis. However he was caught and accused with endangering the city. During this time, Glenmorgan was also facing criminal charges, and his mind snapped under the pressure.
Meanwhile, Lex was let go due to lack of evidence and decided to fill the power vacuum left by Glen, who was Metropolis' corporate master at the time. Fours years after the foundation of the Justice League, Lex Luthor masterminded an invasion in order to sell superweapons to the army. It was this crime that had him come to blows against Superman for the first time. The ensuing fight between them resulted in Luthor receiving a scar across the left side of his face, his defeat, and his imprisonment for a year.
In other media
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
In the TV show Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Lex is a criminal tycoon posing as a legitimate businessman. His main goals were to have Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane for his own and destroy Superman and would go to extreme dangerous lengths to do it.
He was portrayed by John Shea.
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Smallville)
In the TV show Smallville, young Lex Luthor (portrayed by Michael Rosenbaum) became best friends with Clark after the farm boy saved his life during a car accident. Nevertheless, he envied Clark's happy family life, as he had a dysfunctional relationship with his abusive father, Lionel.
Their relationship crumbled, and Lex was set on the road to evil. He would use and abuse people with meteor powers, just as his dad would do, until one day he decided to murder his father. He later found out Clark's secret and was seemingly killed in the Fortress of Solitude's explosion. He was revealed to be alive but severely injured.
He had to rely on life support through tubes and breathing machines and his face was partially scarred and wore a kryptonite ring with an L insignia. He used Winslow Schott to assist him in his revenge. Wanting revenge, Lex killed all of his previous staff when he attempted to murder Oliver Queen. Watching a view screen connected from Schott's puppet eye, he monitored Schott's setup of a meteor-rock bomb on the roof of the Daily Planet. Knowing Lana had stolen his Prometheus suit, he set Clark and Lana up so that she would have to absorb the meteor rock to diffuse the bomb, and as a result, never be able to go near Clark again.
Just when Clark was about to confront Lex, a toy bomb of Schott's that Oliver put there caused a nasty truck explosion with Lex inside, killing him. Lex's remains from the charred truck were later scattered by Clark. Sometime later, Lex was hallucinated in Oliver's reflection. Lex was mentioned by Doctor Fate as Clark's ultimate opponent in the future, but assured him that he would one day finally triumph over Lex. Clark questioned this, believing Lex had been killed to which Doctor Fate did not respond.
While in a spiritual cornfield, Lex was seen amongst the stalks of corn by Clark. He then disappeared while Clark returned to life. Afterwards, it was discovered Lex used Cadmus Labs to create many clones of himself with the intent to use the clones' body parts to heal his own injuries.
Unknown to anyone for some time, Lex took his failed clones' best pieces to create a perfected, composite clone LX-Ø. Unfortunately, he was unable to successfully duplicate a heart at the time. After Lex's "masterwork" is discovered by a Lionel Luthor of an alternate reality, Lionel's biomedical research company tried to locate Conner Kent for a heart to give LX-Ø but Tess' efforts to hide Conner forced Lionel decide to use Tess as a last resort.
While Apokolips was approaching the Earth and after Tess escaped and shot Lionel for planning on using her heart to revitalize Lex, Lionel desperately crawled toward Lex to which Lionel and Darkseid made an exchange: Darkseid would give Lionel's heart to Lex while Lionel surrendered his own soul to Darkseid in the process. Completely restored, Lex noticed the alternate-Lionel's change of heart and met with Clark at the Luthor Mansion's remains. Lex told Clark that he embraced his destiny as Clark's nemesis. He was then able to encourage Clark to go fight Darkseid, saying that Clark couldn't defeat Darkseid but they both knew who could.
Lex later arrived at LuthorCorp and confronted Tess, revealing he knew that she was his sister all along and the fact that she shot the alternate-Lionel (who only wanted Lex back). He told her he loved her and the two siblings embraced. Subsequently, Lex stabbed Tess with a long blade. As Tess died, Lex said he was saving her from becoming him, to which she said Clark already has. Tess then rubbed Summerholt's neurotoxin on his face, which interfered with his memory. She told him he had 30 seconds until his memories were wiped. He forgot everything that happened throughout his life in Smallville. Lex looked out of the office window at the coming Apokolips while its chaotic damage "destroyed" LuthorCorp, leaving behind LexCorp in its place.
DC Animated Universe
- Main article: Lex Luthor (DC Animated Universe)
In the DC Animated Universe, Lex Luthor grew to resent Superman when he stole his spotlight as the hero. He usually invested heavily in some of the Man of Steel's greatest foes such as Metallo and Livewire. Lex Luthor was also known for his betrayals on many associates, causing many to leave LexCorp. The only one left was Mercy Graves on Lex's side.
Lex Luthor later fought the Justice League, where he was subsequently defeated. It was then he was exposed as a crook and taken into prison. Graves took over LexCorp affiliations in his absence. He paired up with other villains in an attempt take down the Justice League.
Lex Luthor redeemed himself in aiding in the defeat of the Justice Lords and was given full pardon. However, still bent on destroying Superman, Lex created project Cadmus and succeeded in ruining the Justice League's reputation twice: once by causing Superman and Captain Marvel fight each other and again by having the Watchtower fire at a Project Cadmus related building in New Mexico. After being exposed for his malevolent plans by Batman, Brainiac revealed he had been dormant inside Lex Luthor for some time. Lex Luthor convinced Brainiac to fuse with him because both would reach their ultimate goals, he served as one of the Justice League most difficult foes. However, Flash was able to separate the two after breaking the speed force. Lex went back to jail with a damaged psyche.
After escaping prison again and eluding the cops, Gorilla Grodd offered Lex to become a major player for the newly formed Legion of Doom. Joining only to revive Brainiac (after growing an obsession with him), Lex eventually overthrew Grodd and set the course of the mission toward Apokolips. There he found a version of Brainiac that had been destroyed years earlier. Trapping and absorbing Tala's magic to resurrect Brainiac, to his surprise, he had accidentally recovered Darkseid instead. Warning the Justice League due to him wanting to kill Superman first, he joined them to fight against Darkseid. Lex Luthor later left the battle by Metron and discovered the Anti-Life Equation. Returning to Earth with the Equation, he offered to share the knowledge with Darkseid. The Equation supposedly destroyed (or absorbed) both Lex and Darkseid.
Krypto the SuperdogLuthor makes occasional appearances in the show Krypto the Superdog where he is show to own a iguana named Ignatius who is enemies with Superman's dog Krypto.
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Young Justice)
Justice League Action
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Justice League Action)
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Arrowverse)
Lex Luthor is portrayed by Jon Cryer on the CW TV series Supergirl. While he is an unseen antagonist in the Season 2 premiere, he is the main antagonist of Season 4 and a cameo antagonist in Season 5. He also appears in the 2019-2020 Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths as a major antagonist.
Harley Quinn (TV series)
Lex Luthor appear in DC Universe's adult animation series Harley Quinn.
Superman film series (1979 - 1987)
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Superman Films)
Lex Luthor appeared as the main antagonist (despite being outranked by the villains of the sequels) along the years in the Christopher Reeve starred as Superman, the titular hero, as he portrayed by Gene Hackman. In these films, Luthor was introduced as a wealthy manipulative businessman who did everything to destroy his archenemy Superman.
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Superman Returns)
DC Extended Universe
- Main article: Lex Luthor (DC Extended Universe)
Luthor appeared in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as the main antagonist. He later returned as a minor antagonist in the 2017 film Justice League.
He was portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg.
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Mortal Kombat)
DC Universe OnlineLex Luthor is a major antagonist in DC Universe Online and acts as the mentor for villains who choose the path of the "metahuman" (genetic-based), he is also notable as being one of the prime villains of an alternate future in which he successfully kills Superman only to have Earth invaded by Brainiac.
Knowing that he had doomed humanity future Lex returns to the modern age and coats the world in exabytes that unleash a new generation of heroes and villains - despite this, the modern Lex decides to exploit the situation for his own insidious goals.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
In the original dimension, he fights alongside the villains to take down the Justice League but failed after he was defeated by Batman.
Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes
- Main article: Lex Luthor (Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes)
- Joker (greatest ally and sometimes rival)
- Harley Quinn
- Bizarro (his creation)
- Captain Cold
- Gorilla Grodd
- Mister Mxyzptlk (sometimes)
- Vandal Savage
- Darkseid (at times)
- Black Adam
- Black Manta
- Dr. Light
- Bruce Wayne
- Wayne Enterprises
- The Joker (sometimes)
- Superman (arch-enemy)
- Red Robin
- Batman (heroic counterpart)
- Power Girl
- Wonder Woman
- The Flash
- Ambush Bug
- Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
- Green Arrow
- Darkseid (sometimes)
- Lex Luthor was the first primary antagonist of the Superman franchise, the second being Brainiac.
- Lex Luthor has become an inspiration to many villains in most media.
- He was originally going to be a minor recurring villain with Ultra-Humanite being the arch-enemy of Superman. However Lex Luthor manage to become popular and would go on to become a major villain in the DC universe and becoming Superman's arch-enemy ever since.
- Lex Luthor represents the Deadly Sin of Wrath. He shows this with his unjustified anger towards Superman, and habit of lashing out at those who he dislikes.
- Ranked 4th on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time".
- Ranked 8th on Wizard's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time".