|“||I own Metropolis. My technology built it, my will keeps it going, and nearly two-thirds of its people work for me whether they know it or not.||„|
|~ Lex Luthor boasting about his money and power|
Lex Luthor is one of the main antagonists of the DC Animated Universe.
He served as one of the main antagonists of Superman: The Animated Series, the main antagonist of Justice League and one of the two main antagonists of Justice League Unlimited (along with Brainiac). He was a billionaire and a brilliant criminal mastermind and one of Superman's greatest enemies.
He was voiced by Clancy Brown, who also portrayed Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants, Savage Opress in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Byron Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption, Viking Lofgren in Bad Boys, The Kurgan in Highlander, Undertow in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Long Feng in Avatar the Last Airbender, Dr. Neo Cortex and Uka Uka in Crash Bandicoot, Hades in God of War, Mr Freeze in The Batman, Grune in Thundercats, Mr. Sinister in Wolverine and the X-Men, the Evil Entity in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Rahzar in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok, Edgar Volgud in Atlantis: Milo's Return, General McGuffin in Wander Over Yonder, and Kojak in Recess: School's Out.
Superman: The Animated Series
Lex Luthor is the founder and CEO of LexCorp. He grew to resent Superman when he stole his spotlight as Metropolis' savior and usually invested heavily in some of the Man of Steel's greatest foes, such as Metallo and Livewire. He sought to kill Superman for shutting down his major operations and costing him a lot of money. Although Superman already put away many of Luthor's co-conspirators, he could never convict Luthor himself due to lack of evidence. He was also known for his betrayals on many associates, causing many to leave LexCorp; the only one left was Mercy Graves. Lex also is shown to hate Batman as well, as he is an intellectual rival who teamed up with Superman to fight him when he and Joker teamed up, preventing Superman from being killed by Joker's kryptonite in the process. In Legacy, he was thrilled that the whole world turned against Superman when Darkseid brainwashed him and let him loose to take over and invade Earth. But Superman snapped out of it and earned the world's trust back and dismissed the charges against him.
Luthor later fought the Justice League, but was subsequently defeated, exposed as a crook, and sentenced to prison. He also learned that he had a terminal form of radiation poisoning as a result of carrying around a chunk of Kryptonite for years, leaving him with only a few more months to live. He then joined up with Cheetah, Star Sapphire, Shade, Copperhead (who would be in jail and replaced by the Joker), Solomon Grundy, and Ultra-Humanite, forming the Injustice Gang, in an attempt take down the Justice League, but failed. Luthor later "redeemed" himself by aiding the Justice League in defeating the Justice Lords and was given a full pardon.
Justice League Unlimited
After being freed from prison and cleared of all charges, Luthor reestablished his company and later entered politics and ran in the U.S. Presidential Elections. However, still bent on destroying Superman, he created Project Cadmus and succeeded in ruining the Justice League's reputation twice: once by causing Superman and Captain Marvel to fight each other, causing great destruction in the city, and again by taking control of the Watchtower's orbital cannon and causing it to fire on a Cadmus-related building in New Mexico.
Luthor's malevolent plans were later exposed by Batman and the Justice League, only for Brainiac to reveal that he had been dormant inside Lex ever since the episode Ghost in the Machine. Luthor later convinced Brainiac to fuse with him because they both could reach their ultimate goals to gain universal knowledge then destroy the universe and recreate it in their image. He then battled the Justice League, proving to be one of the group's most difficult foes. However, the Flash was able to separate the two after tapping into the Speed Force.
Luthor went back to jail with a damaged psyche. After Luthor escaped prison again thanks to The Key, Gorilla Grodd offered him membership in the newly formed Legion of Doom. Joining only to revive and refuse with Brainiac, Luthor eventually overthrew Grodd and took over the Legion (who did not oppose him after they learned Grodd's ultimate plan was to turn humanity into apes). Eventually, Lex's quest to revive Braniac lead the Legion into space, where he found a version of Brainiac that had been destroyed years earlier. However, Tala freed Grodd and he and a faction of the Legion fought Luthor and his supporters (which included the likes of Giganta, Bizarro, Toyman, Sinestro, Cheetah, Star Sapphire, Evil Star, etc.) After killing Grodd and trapping and absorbing Tala's magic to resurrect Brainiac, Lex discovers that he had accidentally resurrected Darkseid instead.
Luthor and the rest of the surviving Legion members barely escaped from Darkseid and made their way to Earth, where Luthor warned the Justice League, and he and his allies reluctantly team-up with them to fight against Darkseid and his army. Before the battle against Darkseid, Luthor points out to the Justice League that he doesn't want to help them save the world, but get revenge on Darkseid for destroying Brainiac and ruining his plans, before he and the Justice League go back to being enemies again as usual. He later left the battle with Metron and discovered the Anti-Life Equation. Returning to Earth with the Equation, he offered to share the knowledge with Darkseid, and they both disappeared in a spark of light. While they are presumed dead by the public, members of the Justice League have theorized they will eventually return yet again. However, both Luthor and Darkseid were absorbed into the Source Wall, as such is the fate that occurs to those who solved the Anti-Life Equation, where they will stay for all eternity.
Equipment and Abilities
- Scientific Deity Physiology/Brainiac Fusion: In order to Transcend his own mortality and limitations, Lex Luthor bargained to fuse with Brainiac, so that Brainiac can grant him all of his knowledge, powers, and immortality; and Lex Luthor can allow Brainiac to transcend his programming's limitations and proposed to combine Brainiac's vast information and resources with his own imagination the AI lack. Luthor's body also had glowing red circuit patterns over all parts of his body during his battle with the Speed-Force empowered Flash. However, the fully empowered Flash was able to destroy Brainiac and separate Lex form it, returning Lex back to normal with damaged sanity.
- Immortality: Even before transcending into a complete Scientific Deity, Hamilton also stated that Lex had a body of a 20-year-old. Lex has stated that he has finally become immortal and can live forever.
- Superhuman Strength: Even before transcending into a complete Scientific Deity, Brainiac endowed Lex with incredible superhuman strength, being able to lift up large objects and toss them easily. He could even take down Batman with his brute strength alone and rag-dolled The Question until the Question had sustained multiple painful injuries. However, he turned out to be outclassed by an empowered Flash.
- Superhuman Speed: Even before transcending into a complete Scientific Deity, Lex was able to grab Batman's batarang and it didn't leave any marks after it explodes. The fusion of Lex and Brainiac can react and move at super speeds. However, Lex/Brainiac couldn't keep up with the fully empowered Flash.
- Superhuman Durability: Even before transcending into a complete Scientific Deity, Lex was able to withstand an explosion from Batman's batarang. The fusion of Lex and Brainiac could take the strongest and focused strikes of Superman with little damage. However, powerful blows from a fully empowered Flash was able to destroy Brainiac and all the cybernetics of his body.
- Superhuman Intelligence/12-Level Intellect: The fusion of Lex and Brainiac had the collective knowledge of Brainiac as well as Lex Luthor's innovative faculties, allowing Brainiac to transcend his limitations and become extremely powerful. Brainiac himself also possessed all the knowledge and history from several thousand planets/worlds before he came to earth. While Brainiac possessed Luthor, Luthor's intellect was significantly enhanced due to having access to Brainiac's knowledge. Their combined intelligence made Lex the smartest being in the universe until Brainiac's death.
- Regenerative Healing: The fusion of Lex and Brainiac can regenerate at a fast pace. Brainiac was able to heal both his technological parts as well as Lex's biological parts. Brainiac was also able to augment/increase Lex's health to supernaturally to cure Lex of his Kryptonite-poising cancer. When Brainiac what shot in the face by Amanda Waller he quickly regenerates his face.
- Technology Manipulation: The fusion of Lex and Brainiac can manipulate and absorb technology into their database as well as instantaneously understand its operations, no matter how advanced. Brainiac was also able to assemble the Dark Heart nano-technology, adding it to his database to control the Dark Heart. The fusion of Lex and Brainiac can even create constructs and objects out of nanotechnology such as copies of Brainiac, a copy of the Justice Lords, soldiers, as well as a shotgun to try to execute The Flash.
- Energy Projection: The fusion of Lex and Brainiac can project powerful blasts of energy which could even bypass the near invulnerability of Superman. While inside of an energy orb he was able to blast tons of beams of energy that can take out all the original members of the Justice League nearly at the same time.
- Genius-Level Intellect: Lex's most primary asset is his astounding genius-level intellect which is barely rivaled by Mr. Terrific and Batman. He can hack into the Justice League Watchtower's cannon and frame them for committing attacks on the government as well as creating complex plans and strategies. He also has a photographic memory and was able to instantly memorize all of the details of the Amazo Android's blueprints after reading them once and recreating an android of the same design for himself. He even orchestrated a false presidential campaign to gain more political and financial resources as well as manipulate the entire press into defaming Superman. He also outsmarted Amanda Waller until Batman confronted her. Due to having traces of Brainiac that left in him, Lex's twelfth level intellect and willpower were enhanced, allowing him to retain his sanity to get the Anti-Life Equation and present the equation to Darkseid to stop the invasion.
- Influential Speaker: Another one of Lex's primary assets is his charismatic and influential nature of speaking. Lex alone was able to calm down and bestow wisdom upon Amazo for having an immortality crisis. Lex was even able to convince Brainiac to do something outside of his programming and he even negotiated with Darkseid to spare the heroes and Earth in exchange for the Anti-Life Equation.
- Near-Inexhaustible Wealth: Another one of Lex's assets is his near inexhaustible financial and technological resources as well as his incredible level of influence over big businesses, education institutions, tech giants, and even governments and criminal organizations.
- Advanced Technologies: Lex Luthor has a vast array of technology available at his command. He can even create armors, weapons, and other equipment for his fights against the Justice League. His mechanical suit allows him to fly, gives him enhanced strength, durability, speed, agility, and reflexes to go on pair with Superman and the other Justice Leagues. One of his well known inventions to combat the Justice League was the Energy disruptor that can deprive beings of their powers regardless of whether they were born with their abilities, or if something else was the source, such as the Green Lantern's power ring. After he got Kryptonite-induced cancer, Ultra-Humanite gave him a special vest which he later used as part of his mechanical suit. He was even able to build himself a body similar to Amazo to gain superpowers before it was destroyed. Luthor also put an override switch on each Legion of Doom's powers when he upgraded them, including Grodd.
- High-Tech Suit: Lex invented a high-tech mechanical suit which grants him abilities like Enhanced Strength, Durability, Reflexes, Speed, Agility, and Flight to go on pair with the Justice League. In Justice League Unlimited, Lex seems to wear a simple war suit with just using twin guns for combat. The suit also has a belt which is mechanical.
- Override Switch: Lex Luthor's scientific genius managed to successfully enhance many of the Legion's powers. Lex had also installed an override switch as a "fail-safes" so the Legion could never use their newly augmented abilities against him, giving him an advantage if they turned against him. This was first used on Doctor Polaris when he decided to kill Luthor to take over as leader of the Legion, but, Luthor triggered the fail-safe measures he had secretly installed in Polaris's enchantments and turned his own power against him, trapping him in metal shards. The second time he used it was when he took down both Goldface and Grodd by simply pushing a button on his belt. This allowed him to defeat Grodd and sent him sucking into space by using the gorilla's telepathy against him. However it is implied Lex didn't have one for Tala since she has magic abilities and Lex used a medallion to reflect her abilities.
- Mystic Medallion: Despite Lex does not like using magic, as he feels it is "unknowable, unpredictable, and not to be trusted", preferring the more refined, controlled nature of science to solve problems. He was also not above resorting to magic, as evidenced by his acquisition of a certain gold mystic medallion (similar to one belonging to the Phantom Stranger, but instead of a star it has different symbols on it) in order to defend himself from magic-users such as Tala. When Tala tried to blast Lex with her magic, the magic/mystic amulet/medallion appeared to created some kind of invisible force-field/shield that made her energy bolt rebounded off of him and went back to Tala, knocking her out.
- Kryptonite-induced Cancer: His extremely long exposure to Kryptonite's radiation has given him an unknown form of cancer which also involves blood poisoning. While he wore a high tech vest/chest plate (which was also part of a suit) designed by the Ultra-Humanite to act as life support and to inhibit/suppress the disease in his body, buying Lex some more time. Unknown to Luthor (at the time), Brainiac, who was inside him, healed/cured him of his cancer and gave him some upgrades.
- Mental Instability/Hallucinations: After the Flash stripped Brainiac from Luthor, Lex suffered from hallucinations of Brainiac and he believed that it's as Brainiac always by his side, advising him and calling out to him. Lex also became obsessed with Brainiac to the point where it damaged his sanity and he began constantly hallucinating Brainiac is by his side, guiding Lex back to Brainiac. Once Darkseid was resurrected, the hallucinations stopped.
Friends and Allies
- Mercy Graves - Personal Bodyguard, Most Trusted Employee, and Chauffeur.
- Bizarro - Creation, and Ally.
- Metallo † - Hitman and Ally.
- Toyman - Friend and Ally.
- Livewire - Friend and Ally.
- General Hardcastle † - Ally and Associate.
- Giganta - Teammate and Ally.
- Sinestro - Friend and Ally.
- Joker - Greatest Ally and Brief Enemy.
- Cheetah - Friend and Ally.
- Solomon Grundy † - Teammate and Ally.
- Star Sapphire - Teammate, On and Off Employee, and Ally.
- Evil Star - Teammate and Ally.
- Killer Frost - Teammate and Ally.
- Atomic Skull - Teammate and Ally.
- Volcana - Teammate and Ally.
- Brainiac † - Friend, Ally, and Assimilation.
- Superman - Archnemesis and Greatest/Most Respected Foe.
- Lois Lane- Enemy.
- Daniel Turpin † - Enemy.
- Supergirl - Enemy.
- Batman- Second Archenemy/Heroic Counterpart.
- Wonder Woman - Enemy.
- The Flash - Third Archenemy and Seperator.
- Green Lantern - Enemy.
- Hawkgirl - Enemy.
- Martian Manhunter - Enemy.
- Gorilla Grodd- Enemy and Former Leader.
- Tala - Enemy and Former Ally.
- Darkseid- Enemy, Attempted Killer and presumed victim
- Amanda Waller - Enemy and Former Ally.
- Justice League - Sworn Enemies.
- Clancy Brown later reprised his role as Luthor in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- His fusion with Brainiac is a reference to an idea that film director Tim Burton had for his unmade Superman Lives film. According with Burton's idea, Brainiac and Luthor would merge and became a creature named Lexiac.
- Although both Luthor and Darkseid's fate are left unexplained in the series, show's late writer Dwayne McDuffie explained in his own website that Luthor and Darkseid are now part of the Source Wall because they solved the Anti-Life Equation. It's completely unknown if this means that they are dead or not. Though it is highly possible.