Lex Luthor
Action Comics Vol 1 890 Textless 2nd Printing

Full Name

Alexander Joseph Luthor


Lex Luthor, Mr. Luthor


Defeat Superman and conquer the world



Death by Kryptonite. I'll do it with irony. Then I will save the world from all its ailments. And humanity will embrace its true altruistic inspiration. Lex Luthor.
~ Lex Luthor

Alexander " Lex" Luthor is a comic book super villain in the DC Comics universe, and is mainly the arch-nemesis to Superman. In the books he has been commonly conceived as either a mad scientist or a billionaire tyrant bent on world domination. 


Born and raised in an abusive household in a poverty-stricken area of Metropolis, Alexander Luthor, nicknamed Lex, became driven by a desire to better himself. In his adolescence, Luthor engineered the deaths of his parents in order to profit from life insurance policy, and went on to become the founder of LexCorp, which would soon come to dominate the city of Metropolis. Owning every media corporation in the city, Luthor's public image is that of a wealthy benefactor. Despite this, however, Luthor was also involved in many criminal activities, selling weapons to gangs to sow terror in the city to further his own schemes. 

When Superman arrived in the city, he immediately invoked hatred from Luthor, who viewed him as a rival in his attempts to become the most powerful man in Metropolis. The two soon became bitter enemies, with Luthor making repeated attempts to kill the Man of Steel. In his attempts to destroy Superman, Lex Luthor has repeatedly harnessed the use of kryptonite, which was deadly to the Man of Steel. 

President of the United States

At one point, Luthor became the President of the United States after winning an election. After Bruce Wayne cut off all military ties between the U.S. government and Wayne Enterprises, Luthor responded by having his lover Vesper Fairchild assassinated and framing Bruce Wayne for the murder.

Luthor also took aprt in the Imperiex War, in which he helped coordinate Earth's forces to fight back against the alien invasion. However, it was later revealed that Luthor was aware of the alien invasion and didn't alert Earth's heroes to stop it. 

Luthor briefly allied with Superman to defeat Manchester Black, and revealed that he knew his secret identity as Clark Kent, but kept it a secret as he knew that exposing Superman's secret would put Lois Lane in danger, one of the few people Luthor cared about. Though Manchester was defeated, he erased all knowledge of Superman's secret identity from Luthor's mind before commiting suicide. Luthor later battled Superman directly utilizing a Venom steroid and a battlesuit, but the Venom took a toll on Luthor's mind and he was forced to go into hiding, leaving the Presidency to his Vice President, Pete Ross.

Infinite Crisis

While in hiding, Luthor attempted to activate the mind control programming within the brain of Superboy in an attempt to exact his revenge against Earth's heroes. He was also revealed to have orchestrated the death of Teen Titan-member Donna Troy. Luthor's schemes were hampered, however, by the arrival of Alexander Luthor, Jr., who assumed Lex's identity and formed a new Secret Society of Super-Villains. Alexander intended to restore the previous multiverse and then create a "perfect" universe. However, he was abandoned by his allies, and was tracked down by Luthor, who allowed the Joker to kill him. He then claimed that Alexander was responsible for his illegal activities, and was cleared of most of his criminal charges.

One Year Later

A year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Luthor has been cleared many of his criminal charges, but his past villainy has ruined his public image and he is stripped of his wealth and power. Blaming Clark Kent for his misfortune, Luthor vows vengeance against all of Metropolis. Amassing a large amount of kryptonite and kidnapping Metallo and Kryptonite Man, Luthor uses it to power a Kryptonian battleship, and launches an attack on Metropolis. Superman arrived to stop him, but was weakened by the mass amount of kryptonite. He engaged Luthor in a fist-fight, during with Luthor vented to Superman that if he had never showed up, Luthor would've made many scientific achievements, but Superman countered that he had been gone for a year, and Luthor hadn't amounted any of that. Eventually, Superman emerged victorious. 

Final Crisis

Luthor joined Libra's Secret Society of Super-Villains and became a member of its Inner Core. Luthor pushed Libra to try and prove himself, leading him to send Clayface to destroy the Daily Planet. Upon learning that Libra is allied with Darkseid, Luthor turns on him, but is unable to stop him. He was later sent to lead a faction of the Super-Villains in an assault against the heroes, but was later revealed to have been a mole, secretly in league with Doctor Sivana. After supposedly destroying Libra, Luthor turned overturned the Anti-Life Equation being broadcast in the minds of Libra's minions, freeing them from his control.

Other appearances

  • He was initially played by character actor Lyle Talbot when the character went up against Kirk Alyn's Superman in the 1950's, and was the lead villain in the animated "Superfriends" series. But it wasn't until Academy Award Winner Gene Hackman was cast as Lex Luthor in Richard Donner's "Superman" that the character first appeared on the silver screen.
  • Hackman's Lex Luthor was a criminal mastermind bent on gaining top beachfront property after demolishing California with a hijacked nuclear missile. He attempts to destroy Superman with a kryptonite rock in order to see his plans through, but alas both plans failed. He returned in Richard Lester's "Superman II" where he escaped from prison and allied himself with Kryptonian arch villains General Zod, Ursa, and Non in order to see Superman suffer. Once again his efforts failed. Hackman would make one final appearance as Luthor in "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace".
  • In the mid 90's Deborah Joy LeVine developed a romantic-comedy/action series called "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" which focused on the romance between Lois Lane and Clark Kent. It is here that Lex Luthor is portrayed as a wealthy and powerful businessman who quietly yearns for more power, and runs various criminal organizations around Metropolis. LeVine cast actor John Shea to play the role. Though she didn't have Shea shave his head, nor wear a bald cap, insisting that she wanted her Lex to be a more romantic suitor for Lois, and thus a threat to Clark as well as Superman. Shea was unable to commit to the long commute the show required and thus the character was killed off in the Season 1 finale. His character returned to wreak havoc 3 more times before the show was cancelled.
  • Clancy Brown was cast as the voice of Luthor in "Superman: The Animated Series" and subsequently the "Justice League of America" and the "Justice League Unlimited" series'. As of 2009, Brown has played Lex Luthor more than any other actor when he played the role one more time in "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies". His character spanned the entirety of his comic book arcs, as he began as a corporate titan, then President of the United States, a mad scientist, and finally leader of the Legion of Doom. 
  • The character saw life on the big screen again as Academy Award Winner Kevin Spacey took on the role in Bryan Singer's 2006 "Superman Returns". Here, Luthor is out of prison after 5 long years and is eager to get his revenge on his returning enemy. While Spacey's Luthor is essentially a follow up to Gene Hackman's Lex, the humor is cut to a minimum, and his menace is pushed aggressively forward.


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