- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Lex Luthor from the Arrowverse. The mainstream version can be found here: Lex Luthor.
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|“||He is not a man! I was the Man of Tomorrow! Not him! NOT! HIM!||„|
|~ Lex angrily expressing his hatred of Superman to his sister Lena prior to his arrest.|
|“||Your friends have been lying to you from the start. Your boyfriend, Jimmy. Alex. J'onn. That little alien runt, Brainy. Even your own mother. They mocked you, humiliated you, betrayed you. Every... last... one. Denial's a very powerful thing, isn't it? It's been standing right in front of you all this time and you chose not to see it. Kara Danvers is... Supergirl. I'm about to die, but at least I lived without ever being a fool. You're left with no one and nothing.||„|
|~ Lex's last words to Lena before his death just as he reveals Supergirl's identity to her.|
Lex Luthor is a supporting antagonist in the CW TV series Supergirl, being an unseen antagonist in Season 2, the main antagonist of Season 4 and a cameo antagonist in Season 5. He also returns in the 2019-2020 Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths as a major antagonist.
He is the former CEO of Luthor Corp (later L-Corp) and the archenemy of Superman as well as the half-brother of Lena Luthor and the son of Lillian Luthor. He is obsessed with destroying Superman by any means necessary as well removing all aliens on Earth in order to prove himself as the superior individual.
He is portrayed by Jon Cryer, who is best known for portraying Alan Harper on Two and a Half Men, and also played Lenny Luthor, Lex's nephew in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and voiced Freakshow in Danny Phantom.
Lex was born to Lionel and Lillian Luthor and hails from one of the most prestigious and wealthiest families in Metropolis. Even at a young age, he showed a high-level intellect which his mother saw him as a genius. When Lex was 7-years-old, his pet dog Ignatius was ill and needed to be put down. Although he wanted to be there, Lillian typically thought he was too sentimental and sent him on one of his father's business trip. Lionel introduced him to a woman, who was one of his affairs. Initially hating her, Lex learned to care for her and on the day Ignatius passed away, she comforted him. Therefore, Lex wished she was his mother instead, therefore possibly straining his relationship with Lillian.
After Lionel sent this woman away due to being pregnant, it is possible that Lex developed a bad relationship with his father due to how much he cared for her. After the unnamed woman's death, her four-year-old daughter Lena was adopted into the family. Remembering her mother's kindness, Lex made her feel welcome when they first met and played chess in which she eventually won. During their childhood, they were very close.
However, as he got older, Lex became more cold, power-hungry and delusional to the point of his relationship with his family becoming estranged. Due to his possible disdain for his parent's morals, Lex began to care little for his family name. When Lionel died, Lex inherited the family company, Luthor Corp. After this, he then hired Mercy Graves and her brother Otis as heads of his security. Lex's relationship with Mercy grew over time and eventually, she became his closest confidant and frequent dinner guest.
At some point during his adulthood, Lex became partners-in-crime with Bruno Mannheim, who then laundered money through Luthor Corp. The center of their scheme was the parking lots, which Bruno purchased through a subsidiary he bought off Lex. However, when Lex came under investigation by the state, Bruno dumped him. According to Lena, Lex's relationship with Bruno was the real reason he went down the wrong path in his life.
Rivalry with Superman
Later on, Lex became best friends with Metropolis's Kryptonian superhero Superman and the two of them agreed to work together and try to prevent any future alien invasion threats. However, despite Superman's protests to the contrary, Lex's methods were far crueler. Eventually, after years of deceiving the Man of Steel about how he can still change his ways, Lex's true nature was revealed to him, which instantly set the two of them at odds with each other. Lex then came to the belief that Superman's presence was the cause of alien terrorism on Earth and thus declared war on the Man of Steel. Lex's obsession with defeating him also soon dissolved his relationship with Mercy.
During his war with Superman, Lena grew concerned for Lex's well-being and tried to help him, but he ignored her and continued committing unspeakable crimes in the city. Amongst the crimes included triggering a fault line in California with an earthquake machine that Superman tended to, and another that involved Lex manufacturing and selling a series of battle armors he called "Lexosuits". He used these to gain the upper-hand on Man of Steel when in battle. Over the years, he built secret storage facilities around the world to house various arsenals of weapons to defeat Superman. Lex also converted his own cloaked mansion's basement into a bunker facility designed to protect him from any threats and only confided in Lena of its location. Lex also at some point injected himself with Kryptonite, hoping that it would keep Superman away from him.
Then, a year before Supergirl's arrival, Lex kidnapped Lena and engulfed Earth's atmosphere under the presence of a Red Sun. While watching news of anarchy and destruction across the world, Lex believed that the world will thank him as he wants to prove that Superman is a false god that can bleed and how humanity was better off without him. He displayed his ego about he was the "man of tomorrow", not Superman. Eventually, the police arrived and arrested Lex. It is presumed that Superman removed the Red Sun and saved all life on Earth.
Lex was finally defeated and his crimes exposed by Superman to the public, which resulted in the former being incarcerated and sentenced to Stryker's Island Penitentiary on 32 consecutive life terms. Mercy was a key witness in Lex's trial and betrayed him as she grew frustrated with his obsession with defeating Superman above anything else.
After Lex was sent to prison for his crimes, Lena took over the company and planned to rename it as L-Corp and cut off all ties from his name. Enraged by this, Lex hired the assassin John Corben to kill her. However, this plan was thwarted by Superman and his cousin Supergirl.
Even though he was in prison, Lex continued to operate in secret. He recruited Eve Teschmacher, a sycophant of his, to work for him, and frequently left the prison to train and befriend a doppelgänger of Kara Danvers (a.k.a. Supergirl). Lex formulated a plan to have Kaznia attack America, so he could foil the attack and be hailed as a hero. He had Otis recruit an anti-alien activist named Ben Lockwood as a patsy. Lex decided to remain in prison as it was the best alibi for him. He eventually took "Kara" to America to show it to her since she was curious about it and Kara. However, "Kara" showed up at L-Corp where Eve worked, prompting a panicked Eve to phone Lex, so he sent Eve and Otis to Kaznia where he had them kill a young boy named Mikhail that she had befriended. The plan backfired though when she went rogue and attacked a ship, forcing Lex to intervene and resulting in an argument between the two.
Even with Lex still in prison, his crimes forever tainted his family's name as nobody trusted a Luthor again. This is evidenced by his mother losing her medical license without even being granted a hearing, and when Lena was accused of breaking her out of prison, nobody began to trust her instantly due to being her daughter.
Following the defeat of Reign and Selena; Ben (as Agent Liberty) Otis, and Mercy (possibly unaware of her brother’s allegiance to Lex), stepped up and fulfilled Lex’s goal of causing chaos and division in America between humans and aliens. Otis and Mercy were supposedly killed, but Ben continued to work as Lex’s patsy, creating the Children of Liberty that continued even after Ben was defeated and incarcerated.
The Red Daughter became ill, which angered and worried Lex. He and Eve went to Kaznia where they argued over the lack of results that Eve and Lena had produced with Harun-El, which was Black Kryptonite and the only thing that could cure her. Eve and Lex realized he would have to work with Lena, but Lex knew Lena would never work with him under normal circumstances, so he gave himself cancer by exposing himself to the Harun-El. He then contacted Lena through a hologram, and explained he was dying, successfully convincing her to work with him to save his life.
Lex secretly started funding Lena's secret project to use the Harun-El to create an experimental drug and fulfilled his word to her that nobody else knows about it. Eventually, thanks to Lena tricking Lillian, Lex's partnership with Bruno and his involvement in the latter's money laundering business was exposed to the public and under investigation.
During his incarceration, Lex deteriorated and was left in a critical state to the point where he couldn't even stand up. Six weeks later, Lex decided to speed up Lena's progress by having a still-alive Otis shoot James Olsen in his office.
Return and Escape
Following this, Lex was secretly furloughed to his cloaked mansion where Lena was waiting for him. Upon arriving, they bickered about his predicament and how he was behind the funding of her project. Eve Teschmacher then arrived and told Lena that Olsen was shot. When she returned, she asks for his expertise on Kryptonite so she can separate the superpower effects from the serum. He mocks her relationship with Olsen and how she never told him about their secret partnership. Nevertheless, he agrees to help her finish the serum to save him as well.
Lex and Lena argued about their past partnerships and how she was driven to impress him. After he continued coughing up blood and assured her that he was never popular in prison, he explains that he was always proud of Lena and her intelligence. After Lena became uncertain of James' fate, Lex told him the story of his dog's passing and how he also met Lena's mother during one of his father's many affairs and that he was aware of Lena's true parentage. Eventually, the serum is complete and Lex tells her to go. Lex then secretly had the hospital's power cut off during Manchester Black's attack on the dam so it would force Lena to save James.
After Olsen was cured, Lena confronted Lex that she figured out he was behind the power cut during his operation to force Lena to test the cure on him. He admitted that he was behind it but he then reveals that he had James shot so he would be placed in that predicament. Enraged, Lena declares that she won't give him the cure and he would die in prison. Lex then quickly reveals that he predicted this and that he already took the cure, revealing Otis was alive and that Eve was working for him the entire time. After having Eve lock up Lena, Lex uses the security measures to kill the authorities and escape in the helicopter with Otis. After Supergirl arrives, Lex was pleased to finally meet her.
Lex jumped out of the helicopter, activated his exo-suit and flew away. Supergirl punched him out of the sky, destroying his armor in the progress. Super then knocked Lex away and went to hit him again, but Lex caught her first since the Harun-El had given him powers. He knocked Supergirl away and dragged the Daily Planet globe where he lifted and set it down on her to get away. He then returned to Kaznia and performed a blood transfusion, transferring the Harun-El serum into Kara’s doppelgänger and saving her life.
Some weeks later, Lena and Supergirl went to his cell at Stryker's Island Penitentiary in order to find evidence regarding his plans, triggering a secret alarm. Lex sent Otis to take care of them, however, when his henchman failed and the National Guard broke in to arrest the Girl of Steel as the Public Enemy No. 1, Lex called Otis via phone ordering him to enter his cell and detonate him to destroy all the evidence. He then had Eve rebuild Otis and resurrect him a second time as another Metallo.
Succeeding With His Plan
Later as Lex was working in his laboratory, Red Daughter arrived to tell him that Kara Danvers had escaped and she failed to kill her for him. However, he reassured her that she had not failed him, since she made her bleed and he knew that Kryptonite alone couldn't kill Supergirl, her heart could. He then ordered her to head to Kara's apartment and threaten to kill her mother, Eliza Danvers. Lex subsequently created a compact version of the Claymore satellite for his Lexosuit, powering it with energy extracted by the powers of all the aliens he kidnapped. As he experimented with alongside Eve, he successfully tested it on a random security officer. After Eve informs him that Lockwood has killed Otis, he orders his execution. He then asked Eve if she realized that the world was about to be theirs, prompting the girl to answer that she knew it and kissed him before leaving.
Five hours later, Lex went to the White House and met his secret accomplice, President Baker, who got nervous about Kaznian forces gathering at the border. Lex reminded him that his entire political career wouldn't have happened if it weren't for him and told him to never doubt his plan. He then received a phone call from a Kaznian General and gave him the green light for the attack, wishing him good luck. However, as Kaznia began its invasion on U.S. soil, Lex attacked them immediately, using his Lexosuit to annihilate their forces single-handedly. After Red Daughter arrives and informs him of Supergirl's "death", Lex shot her in front of the cameras, making it appear as if he had murdered her, thus accomplishing his plan and prompting the media to acclaim him as a hero with a special broadcast held by the President.
Afterwards, Lex transported Red Daughter to Shelley Island and imprisoned her in an Amertek containment cell designed to extract energy from her alien powers and convert it into a power source for a bigger and more powerful version of Claymore. As she regained consciousness, Red Daughter claimed that she had trusted him, prompting Lex to mock her stating that she should have been either stupid or naive, since she had access to the Internet and thus all his personal history and should have known that defending Kaznia was not something he would have done and, especially, that he hated Kryptonians like her. As Red Daughter told Lex that he should have killed her, he left the room stating that he had bigger plans for her.
Later on, Lex showed off various "proofs of magnanimity" including rebuilding and supplying energy to the houses that had been damaged by the Kaznian bombing, and the President announced his upcoming appointment to Secretary of the United States Department of Alien Affairs.
Defeat and Death
Lex settled at the Oval Office and summoned Lena and his mother for a private celebration, where he would got on to explain that his plans have been strategic in order to have their family's name rehabilitated and take their proper place in history by revolutionizing energy worldwide using aliens as batteries with his last discovery. When Lena stated how vile his plan was, Lex quoted responded that he "doesn't see why men shouldn't be cruel as nature", to which Lillian noted that he should not quote Adolf Hitler in public. After Lena pointed out how Superman would come back from Argo City to defeat him for supposedly killing Supergirl, Lex reveals that the first batch of depleted aliens would charge a satellite weapon to destroy both him and Argo City.
Hearing this, Eve asked Lex to speak privately and expressed her concern about wasting an amount of energy that should've lasted for decades because of his obsession on killing Superman. However, he stated that they weren't partners due to him being in charge and that all victories need fireworks. After Lex returned, he brought champagne and proposed a toast to his victory, assuring his mother that unlike the tea she offered him, it doesn't contain poison. As Lena told Lex that the public would find out the truth and his commitment to genocide, he replied that the truth was meaningless since everyone believed he was Earth's savior due to their need of a human hero, claiming that facts are irrelevant as people don't read and even if they do, they don't think since he was the leader of the country. Following his toast to victory, Lex turned on a monitor and tried to activate the satellite but it doesn't fire just as Eve returns to inform him of a problem at Shelley Island. Infuriated, he donned his Lexosuit and heads off to deal with it personally.
Upon arriving, Lex starts shooting the implant to stop the DEO team, only for him to be attacked by Supergirl and sent falling into a warehouse. Surprised, Lex commented how she and Superman were similar as they kept returning no matter how many times he tries to kill them. They started fighting and, despite Supergirl wearing a protective suit, Lex bested her and poisoned her with Kryptonite. However, just as he was about to kill her with a final Kryptonite blast, a freed Red Daughter shielded Supergirl and died, merging back into Kara and giving her enough power to reject his next blast with her heat vision and send him flying. Although he managed to escape, his suit was badly damaged and eventually fell only to be caught by Supergirl. Refusing to be saved by a Kryptonian, he unhooked his gauntlet and let himself fall to the ground while the crowd cheered the superheroine after Lex's crimes were exposed to the public by a blog posted by Kara.
Lex, however, used his teleportation device to escape his death to the cabin he and Lena loved when they were children. There, he was ambushed by Lena, who had removed his Harun-El powers from his system. Lex complimented her for having found his location and, as she pointed a gun at him, he arrogantly monologues that she wouldn't use it, only for her to surprise him by shooting him in the chest. On the verge of death, Lex accepts his fat with dignity as he tells Lena he was proud of her, admiring her abilities and that he had underestimated her all her life. He then shows her a video revealing that Kara Danvers as Supergirl and explains the fact that everyone in her life knew and kept that from her. Lex's last words to Lena before dying were that, unlike her, he hasn't lived as a fool and that she would have remained with no one and nothing.
Crisis of 2019
Later on, Lex's body was visited and revived by the Monitor, who saw Lex and his intellect as having a crucial part to play in the upcoming Crisis. Lex was left in the Monitor's realm with only intergalactic chess games to entertain himself, in which he always won. Eventually, Monitor returned and offered him the opportunity to finally become the hero he always thought he was. Though Lex claimed he always had been the hero, the Monitor's approach proved to be right and Lex happily agreed but first wanted to discuss his sister.
Equipment and Abilities
- Enhanced Physiology (Formerly): The Harun-El serum he injected himself with has given Lex great superhuman physical prowess. He was able to physically block Supergirl's punch, lift the entire Daily Planet globe and smash it down on Supergirl. The Harun-El serum he injects himself with has even granted Lex the power to regenerate from his failing health and even cure his self-inflicted cancer. He lost these abilities when Lena injected him with an anti-serum.
- Genius-Level Intelligence: Lex's primary asset is his astounding genius-level intellect, which even amongst the Luthor Family is unrivaled. Lex Luther has passed a genius-level intellect from a young age, making him a child prodigy during his youth.
- Scientific Mastermind: An extraordinary scientist, Lex is a genius expert on multiple scientific fields such as bio-engineering and biology. He was capable of injecting himself with Green Kryptonite and understanding the Harun-El much faster than Lena did. His mastery on extraterrestrials, especially Kryptonians, is even acknowledged by the governments of the world, being perhaps the greatest expert in the world.
- Master Engineer: Lex is a brilliant inventor with great specialization in multiple fields of engineering that Lena admits to surpass hers, being able to design many sophisticated devices such as an "earthquake machine" that triggered a fault line in California, a device to turn Earth's sunlight red, a warsuit to argument his physical attributes, and secret computer room inside his cell. He is also a master computer programmer, as he was able to turn his watch into a miniaturized computer with which he could seamlessly take over multiple complex devices.
- Master Manipulator and Strategist: Lex was personally trained in playing chess by a chess grandmaster named Anatoly Karpov, which he mastered enough to transfer the knowledge of checkmate to even dimwitted prison inmates. An extremely skilled strategist and manipulator capable of devising extremely complex plans that are backed up further with long term plans and manipulating and deceiving others Lex was able to first deceive Superman for years of his true nature and then stalemate him in their war for an extremely prolonged period of time before ultimately getting outsmarted and imprisoned. Lex was eventually able to successfully escape his imprisonment.
- Mentoring Capabilities: Lex is a capable teacher and has even spent his prison sentence, mentoring prison inmates to pass on some level of intelligence to them, particularly in playing chess. Lex even mentored red Daughter by sending her books and teaching her chess as well as honing her accent to speak English in a more Americanized accent.
- Miscellaneous Abilities: In addition to his scientific and strategic abilities, Lex also possesses other remarkable intellectual skills. He is an exceptional businessman, with his success in maintaining Luthor Corp's standing as a multi-billionaire corporation being famous throughout the world, and was able to continue this up until his arrest while also engaging in war with Superman with no problems at all. While not known to have either an M.D or doctorate, Lex was a sufficiently knowledgeable and skilled medic to be able to correctly diagnose his condition and heal himself. Lex speaks a variety of languages, particularly English, Latin, Kaznian, Russian, and has even managed to master Kryptonese. Lex also has incredible artistic skills, which he used during his prison sentence to sculpt impressive images on the walls to pass the time due to boredom, with him even noting painting was a mere geometry to him.
- Lexosuit Applications: Lex Luthor has built himself a technologically advanced exoskeleton which he uses during his crusade against Kryptonians and other extraterrestrials. While wearing the Lexosuit, Lex displays a strong mastery of its combat functions and weapons usage, when compared to other uses of his Lexosuit. The exoskeleton has the power to materialize and de-materialize on him upon his command. The Lexosuit greatly enhances his physical strength and resilience to the point where he can go toe-to-toe against solar-powered Kryptonians. The Lexosuit even possess onboard technology which projects Kryptonite-based energy beams and can manifest energy shields.
- Immense Resources: Even after his incarceration into a maximum-security prison, Lex has somehow maintained his dense network of commodities, assets, influence, information, and connections throughout the world. He was able to arrange for issuing assassination contracts and even manipulated the government to give his sister a position within the D.E.O.
- Unnamed Judge
- Unnamed Baliff
- Otis Graves
- Red Daughter
- Numerous unnamed Kaznian soldiers
- Numerous unnamed DOC agents
- Numerous unnamed humans
- Numerous unnamed aliens
- Countless versions of Superman
|Appearances of Lex Luthor|
- Luthor's previous friendship with Superman mirrors the same relationship his counterpart had with him in the Smallville series.
- Interestingly, Lex would go on to try and kill the Smallville's version of Superman during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- Long before he appeared in the series, he was repeatedly referenced and mentioned by many heroes and villains, and he was best remembered for his crimes of terrorism against both human and alien life as well as his rivalry with Superman.
- Although he only appeared in four episodes, Lex ultimately outranked Ben Lockwood, the Children of Liberty, Red Daughter and President Phil Baker as the main antagonist when it was revealed that they were pawns in his plan the entire season.
- Lex was also behind the formation of the Children Of Liberty and turning Ben Lockwood into Agent Liberty through Mercy Graves.
- He also knows Kara Danvers is Supergirl, which he later uses to his advantage. During the season finale, he revealed this information to Lena just before his death, ultimately driving a wedge between the two best friends.