- "We must put faith in ourselves, but instead, we look up to him, with big glassy eyes because we think he's invincible. It's my duty to dispel the world of that notion. And when he dies, they will finally wake up and see him for what he really was: a false god."
- —Lex Luthor to Lena Luthor[src]
Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor (c. 1984-2019) was a billionaire industrialist, inventor, and scientist, as well as one of the most intelligent people in the world. He was the best friend-turned-archenemy of Superman, whom he viewed as an obstacle to his megalomaniacal plans and as a threat to the very existence of humanity. A charismatic and well-known, yet controversial public figure, Lex was the CEO of Luthor Corp until he was succeeded by his half-sister Lena following his incarceration of 32 consecutive life sentences at Stryker's Island Penitentiary. Lex later managed to escape from prison to continue his war against Kryptonians, eventually being killed by his half-sister. Lex's body was later found by Mar Novu and began to wave his hand with inter-dimensional energy while standing over it.
Lex Luthor was born in Metropolis to billionaires Lionel and Lillian Luthor. He hails from one of the city's wealthiest and most prestigious families. Since early childhood, Lex exhibited an extremely high intellect, which made his mother greatly proud of him, often referring to her son as a "genius" and being very close to him as he grew up.
During his early childhood, Lex learned to play chess from Russian grandmaster Anatoly Karpov. An introverted child, Lex had a dog named Ignatius, whom he considered his closest companion. When Lex was 7 years old, Ignatius fell ill and had to be put down. Lex wanted to be present at the procedure, but Lillian felt that her son was too sentimental and forbade it, forcing him to go on a business trip with his father instead. There, the duo were accompanied by a woman to whom Lionel gave all of his attention. At first, Lex swore to himself that he would loathe the woman for taking his father from him when he needed him the most, but couldn't keep his promise because of how kind she was to him. On the day they put down Ignatius, the woman embraced Lex and sang him a beautiful Irish song in order to comfort him. By the end of the trip, Lex wished that the woman was his mother.
In 1997, after Lena (whom Lex figured out early on was secretly Lionel's illegitimate daughter with the woman on their business trip) was adopted into the Luthor family after her mother's death, Lex made her feel especially welcome. When they first met, he invited her to play a game of chess that the four-year-old girl eventually won. After this, they started to playing chess together very often, regularly leaving secret notes for each other inside chess pieces. Sometime later, at the age of 13, Lex read the entire biography of Oscar Wilde and began impersonating him to the point of asking for weeks to being called with the author's pseudonym: Sebastian Melmoth.
During their youth, Lex and Lena were very close; he affectionately referred to Lena as "The Lost Princess" like the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanova, and would always challenge her to succeed in her inventions. Despite constantly being very hard on her, Lex acknowledged Lena's potential and considered his behavior the best way to ensure that his sister would keep getting better.
According to Lena, Lex would build anthills for days in order to make ants believe they were coming back home before setting them on fire. Also, in their school days, both he and Lena had a Latin tutor named Ms. Krinick who, every time Lex misquoted Salutati, sent him to a corner and forced him to repeat "Ego me non placebo" ("I don't like myself") until his Latin improved.
Despite being deeply loved by his mother and half-sister, Lex had a difficult relationship with his father, as Lionel was distant and favored Lena over him. Their relationship worsened when Lionel started heavily drinking eventually becoming an alcoholic, Lex grew to hate his father because he stayed with the family, making their lives miserable.
On one occasion, Lena stole Lionel's prized fountain pen, a gift he received from the King of Jordan, in order to please Lex. However, Lex deemed the gesture "pathetic" since if Lena knew how brilliant she was, she didn't have to cry to gain attention. To escape their father's wrath, they hid on their tree house, where Lex would comfort Lena, assuring her that Lionel could not climb when he was drunk. Lex promised that one day, he would have had all the money in the world and build a house on the Alps for his sister in order to keep her safe.
Lex inherited the family company, Luthor Corp, after his father passed away, becoming the new CEO. He then hired Mercy and Otis Graves as head of the company's head of security and a member of security, respectively. Over time, Lex's relationship with Mercy grew deeper and she eventually became his closest confidant and frequent dinner guest. It was even strongly implied that there was a romantic connection between them.
Illegal business with Bruno Mannheim
At some point, Lex became partners-in-crime with Bruno Mannheim for illegal schemes related to Luthor Corp. With Lex's help, Mannheim laundered money through Luthor Corp, but he soon dumped Lex as his partner when the latter was investigated by the state. The center of the scheme were parking lots which Mannheim purchased through a subsidiary he bought from Lex. According to Lena, it was Lex's affiliation with Mannheim that sent him down the wrong path in his life.
Dealings with Superman
Years later, as the Kryptonian superhero Superman made his debut in Metropolis, Lex kidnapped and interrogated Jimmy Olsen, the young photojournalist who took the 1st photo of Superman, in order to find out what he knew about the superhero. In spite of this, Lex and Superman would later become best friends and they initially worked together to repel the threat of alien invasions. However, Lex's methods were far crueler than Superman's, which set them at odds. Although Superman tried hard to trust his friend, defending him against the accusations of others and continuing to give him several chances to atone for his wrong deeds, Lex ultimately proved unable to forever deceive Superman, who eventually realized his true nature; this consequently resulted in a falling out between the pair. Shortly after this, Lex came to believe that Superman himself was the cause of alien terrorism, since his presence attracted extraterrestrials, and declared war on his former friend, becoming his greatest enemy. Lex's obsession with taking down the Man of Steel soon dissolved his relationship with Mercy.
After Lex started targeting Superman, Lena grew concerned for her brother's well-being and tried to help him, but he ignored her. Thus, their relationship quickly fractured as Lex kicked Lena out of Luthor Corp and proceeded with his plans to destroy Superman, committing unspeakable crimes. One such endeavor involved triggering a fault line in California with an "earthquake machine", which was tended to by Superman. Another incident involved Lex creating and selling a series of battle armors he called "Lexosuits", which Superman was not happy about. Lex would use the Lexosuit to even the playing field when facing the Kryptonian. Also, Lex wrote on his journals several possible methods to defeat Superman, one of which involved a crippling overdose of the drug of a certain Doctor Crane, while another consisted in using a sample of Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy's pheromone in an attempt to mind control his nemesis, he also had notes of his own way to do so using Q waves to get past Superman's invulnerable skin.
Over the years, Lex built many secret storage facilities around the world, where he kept arsenals of weapons that he collected to defeat Superman once-and-for-all. He also converted his own cloaked mansion's basement into a bunker designed to protect him from any threats, only confiding in Lena of the mansion's location.
After several years and various brutal encounters resulting in numerous fatalities, Lex and Superman had a final confrontation sometime in 2015, prior to which Lex turned Earth's yellow sun red in an attempt to de-power the Kryptonian, consequently causing destruction on a global scale.
Lex took Lena captive in his office in Metropolis while observing the results of his work from various monitors, as his half-sister tearfully told him that he didn't have to go through with his actions, Lex, quoting a sentence from Epicurus, claimed he was doing it for the entire human race, then, taking her in front of the window to listen to the citizens' cries of pain, commented that they were already cheering. When Lena angrily replied that he would kill millions of people as the world couldn't live under a red sun, Lex responded that not even Superman can and explained that humans had grown complacent and they must put faith in themselves instead of looking up to Superman. He considered it his duty to dispel the world of the notion that Superman was invincible since, by killing the Kryptonian, Lex would finally wake them up and show them what Superman really was; a false god.
Shocked after seeing him shoot down a Metropolis Police Department helicopter during his monologue, Lena commented in disgust that at least Superman was a good man, causing Lex to yell in anger that he wasn't and he (Lex) should be the "Man of Tomorrow" instead. Lena then asked if then was all about his ego, to which Lex answered it was for science as he wanted to see if the Kryptonian could bleed, since even gods can die. Then, a team of agents stormed into the office and Lex calmly allowed them to arrest him, telling his half-sister that one day everyone would thank him for what he had done.
Lex was somehow able to escape from them, being subsequently recaptured at his mansion after Superman managed to thwart his plans and finally defeat him.
Two months later, he underwent a trial in which Mercy was a key witness, betraying him, also both James and Lena (the latter revealing she was wearing a wire when he turned the sun red) testified about his actions. Lex scribbled in Kryptonese on a sheet for the duration of said testimonies and as before reading the verdict, the judge asked him if he had any statements, he replied that "Superman made him do it" stating that he was trying to protect humanity from extinction since aliens lived among them and there would always be a "before" and an "after" Superman.
After the judge condemned him to 31 consecutive life terms, she and the jury started to cough and eventually died poisoned, to which Lex pointed sarcastically that maybe 32 was better, being consequently dragged away by the guards.Lex was incarcerated for said consecutive life terms in Stryker's Island Penitentiary. There he was visited by Eve Teschmacher whom he noticed amongst the crowd, calling out to him while being taken away from court, prompting him to have Otis recruit her since he recognized her as the fangirl who sent him several letters over the years. During their meeting, Lex asked her to infiltrate CatCo Worldwide Media to spy on James Olsen.
After Lena took over Luthor Corp, with plans to rename it to "L-Corp" and atone for Lex's crimes, he hired the international assassin-for-hire John Corben to kill her in National City. However, his plan was thwarted by Superman and Supergirl, leading Corben to be nearly killed and later turned into the Kryptonite-powered cyborg known as Metallo by Project Cadmus, headed by Lillian.
Plotting with Kaznia
While in prison, Lex spent the next few years planning his escape, corrupting the warden, as well as the guards and the other inmates; furthermore, to alleviate boredom, he began to engrave on the wall of his cell a bas-relief depicting Hannibal crossing the Alps and building a secret computer room inside it, he also wrote dozen of diaries. Then, in mid 2018, he was informed by Kaznia's Minister of Defense about the existence of the copy of Supergirl and, after leaving an hologram in his cell at his place, he leave prison for seventy-two hours and reached for her in Kaznia, eventually founding the girl in a cabin in the woods after she saved a young boy from some thieves, due to her only memory: the name "Alex". Relying on this, Lex convinced the copy to be "Alex" and accepted the offer of the Kaznian government to condition her in order to make her a weapon, then, after Eve recognized a soldier who had made the copy "uncomfortable", Lex ordered for him to be executed and later scolded Eve for flinching during this.
He got close to the copy and asked her if she would like to learn how to control her strength, then having a first training session with her, and beginning to instruct, promising her to explain everything regarding her origins and sending her books and other material before departing due to his seventy-two free hours having nearly expired. Moving away, he asked Eve how the copy's existence could be possible, to which she replied revealing him about the Harun-El and her experiments with Lena. Lex complimented her and ordered her to ensure she got results with her research, then explained his plan to force a war between United States and Kaznia to foil it and become a hero in the eyes of public opinion, ordering Otis to manipulate his sister to create the Children of Liberty placing Ben Lockwood as their leader to serve as the "All-American Hero" to use as a scapegoat, while Lex came back to prison since considering it "the best alibi". On October 10, 2018, Lex bought a missile base in Kaznia using the pseudonym of Sebastian Melmoth and ArmeTek as a cover.
Some weeks later, he came back to the copy in Kaznia, to control her training and continue to teach her English, during a game of chess, Lex told the copy to consider her very similar to his sister, who, however, had disappointed and abandoned him; after which he scolded her for appreciating The Great Gatsby (one of the books he had sent her) instructing her on how capitalism makes men weak and that the only reason he has money is to fight them.
Later, as the Children of Liberty released Kryptonite into the Earth's atmosphere, Lex placed the copy into a special confinement cube to protect her and pierced her ears to make her more similar to Supergirl. Lex decided to spend the time necessary for the cloud to clear up to tell the copy that she was one of the last Children of Krypton and that her task was to start a period of peace on Earth by bringing together all the peoples and fighting the champions of corrupt governments: Superman and Supergirl. He also told her that Supergirl was her sister and robbed her of her place in the World.
After a month, he took the copy to National City under the alias of "Linda Lee", in order to let her see how dissolute are the lives of the people that Supergirl protected. Lex also brought "Linda" to see Kara Danvers' apartment (revealing to know her secret identity) so that she learned her way of thinking and developed disgust for her counterpart's luxurious lifestyle. While there, Lex and "Linda" were almost caught by Alex, but the copy managed to deceive her posing as Kara. A few hours later, he was informed by Eve that the copy "has a conscience" and it could be a problem for their project, as she founded her while trying to approach Lena at CatCo, so, in order to strengthen her resentment towards the Americans, Lex ordered her and Otis to stage the bombardment of the house of the child that the copy saved, by an American aircraft carrier.
However, after she discovered it, she attacked the aircraft, ignoring Lex's advice not to do it, and, after he stopped her and staged her attack at the platform to seem like an accident, he scolded her for having risked compromising all their work due to a moment of weakness, after the copy confronted him about everything he wasn't telling her, Lex simply replied she had "disappointed" him.
Meanwhile, he ordered the abduction of numerous aliens, having them deported to Kaznia with the secret support of the U. S. government, in order to perform various experiments on them and their powers.
Months later, Lex was informed that the copy was sick due to some sort of disease and, against all of Eve's advises not to do it, he decided to enter a radioactive chamber in order to developed an inoperable cancer telling everyone that it was due to having previously injected himself with Kryptonite.
His plan worked and he eventually suffered a stroke, so he contacted Lena for assistance and she decided to help him. Knowing that Lena was working on the Harun-El in search of a cure for cancer, Lex pulled some strings, arranging for her to work with the D.E.O. and use their resources, with Colonel Lauren Haley oblivious to the fact that he was behind it. He also sent Eve, to shoot James Olsen and use his signal watch to call Supergirl onto the scene as part of a larger plan.
Cure and escape
Freed from prison on a mercy furlough, Lex was transported to his mansion on a helicopter, escorted by a massive deployment of FBI agents. After he arrived and Lena coldly asked if he wanted to see her so badly, Lex sarcastically answered he missed her.
After he was escorted inside and handcuffed to a wheelchair by the federal agents, Lex explained that they never let him out of their sight as if they feared he would escape like a dog without a leash, to which Lena told him he would have done it, causing Lex to smile and told her he couldn't due to his condition, reminding her that he was dying. Lena replied sarcastically that she knew it, since in the past six weeks he only spoke about that during their phone calls. Lex told her that he was not accustomed to needing help, telling he considered it "weak" and "pathetic", as well that he would be saved if she tested the Harun-El on humans. After Lena firmly refused, he asked her what was the meaning of all he had done to help her have better resources to her work then, asking if everything she really wanted was "a front row seat to watching him die", to which she replied that despite everything he was her brother and she wanted to save him. They were interrupted by Eve Teschmacher, who entered the room in a panic to inform Lena about James, and was mocked by Lex who asked for a macchiato, telling her to call him "Lex" as it was easy to write.
Once Lena came back from the hospital and asked him to help her work on the Harun-El in order to save James' life as well as his own, Lex commented on the irony of the two of them working together to save "Superman's pal," wondering what would their mother had think, all while staring at a painting of Lillian. While working at the Harun-El remembering the times they "worked together" as children, Lex felt sick and started coughing up blood, so Lena called a guard to bring him a glass of water but he let it fall to the floor, saying he could lick it like a dog. Before Lena could react, Lex told her that he was used to it since "he wasn't very popular in prison." He then told her that he was proud of her and her accomplishments, right before saying to get back to work as sentimentality would have killed him faster than his cancer.
Lex was subsequently assaulted by an utterly indifferent government agent and, while Lena helped him by telling the agent to gave her the keys to his handcuffs, he told his sister not to blame the man as "He knows not what he does," comparing himself to Jesus. Later, while Lex and Lena were testing the Harun-El drug on tumorous hearts while reminiscing about their childhood, they finally managed to shrink the tumor but, moments later, Lena received a phone call from Alex Danvers and was informed that James was about to undergo a surgical operation with a high risk of death. As she fell depressed and stated she couldn't save James anymore, Lex told her that he always knew she was his half-sister and revealed the beautiful memory he had of her mother, stating that, unlike him who was born from hate, Lena was born from love and even if the rest of their family lurked in darkness with pride, she would always fall into the light. Then he urged her to reach for James, telling her that he needed her.
After Lena left, Lex remotely cut off the backup power of the hospital during the power outage caused by Manchester Black, forcing his sister to inject James with the Harun-El in order to save his life. However, Lena realized what he had done and confronted him while he was having a cup of tea. Lex immediately admitted that he was responsible for the hospital's blackout as well as James' shooting in order to give Lena the incentive and a human test subject on which she could test the Harun-El to guarantee its safety to be used as a healing agent. When a disgusted Lena replied that she would never give him the cure, Lex, not surprised, revealed that he already had someone administer it to him.
The FBI agent in the room then revealed himself to be Otis, thought to be dead and disguised by an image inducer, and he restrained Lena to Lex's wheelchair after the latter stood up and tore off his prison garb to reveal a sharp suit. Lex then called for Eve, who entered and shot another federal agent, revealing she was working with Lex all along. Lex revealed he had no intention of killing Lena, then ordered Otis to chloroform her and Eve to "take care of her." He then left the mansion, killing a handful of federal agents with the mansion's security systems and another group of agents with landmines hidden in the ground. Then, Lex prepared to flee by helicopter, only to be intercepted by Supergirl, whom he was happy to finally meet in person.
Lex quickly jumped out of the helicopter and donned his Lexosuit being chased by Supergirl through Metropolis' skies and over the roof of the Daily Planet, there Lex had a brief confrontation with her revealing to have developed powers thanks to the Harun-El and then lifting the Daily Planet's globe to smash it on Supergirl. A few hours later he arrived to Kaznia and gave Supergirl's copy a blood transfusion in order to restore her health, apologizing with her for having leave, giving her a suit and calling her his legacy: his Red Daughter.
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.
"Hero" of his Country
Later as Lex was working in his laboratory, Red Daughter reached for him to inform him that Kara Danvers had escaped her and she failed him, however he reassured her that she had not, since she made her bleed and he knew that Kryptonite alone couldn't kill Supergirl yet her heart could, so he ordered her to head to Kara's apartment and threaten to kill Eliza Danvers.
Lex subsequently created a compact version of the Claymore satellite for his Lexosuit powering it with the energy extracted by the powers of all the aliens he has kidnapped, then, as he was experimenting with it alongside Eve, he tested his function ordering to a random security officer to "stand very still" and then kill him by firing to him an energy blasts from his gauntlet. He then scolded Eve again for having flinched, but she reassured it was not because of the murder but for Otis, who was killed again by Ben Lockwood; Lex ordered the man's execution and asked Eve if she realized that the World was about to be theirs, prompting the girl to answer that she knew it from the very first time they met, they shared a kiss and then the woman departed to deal with Lockwood.
Five hours later, Lex went to the White House and met his secret accomplice, President Baker, who since Kaznian's forces were gathering at the border has begun to be doubtful of the plan, Lex reminded him of everything he had done for his political career and to never doubt the success of his plans, then he received a phone call from a Kaznian General and gave them the green light for the attack, wishing him good luck.
However, as Kaznia began its invasion on the soil of the United States, he attacked them immediately, annihilating single-handedly their forces and, when Red Daughter reached the battlefield late due to her battle with Supergirl (in which she had supposedly killed her) 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 ArmeTek's containment cell designed to extract energy from her alien powers and convert it into a power source for a bigger and most 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. Red Daughter told Lex that he should have killed her, however, 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.
Descending upon Washington, D.C.
He then settled at the Oval Office and summoned his mother and half-sister for a private tea party, commenting that three Luthors in said place was something that could happen only in America as they entered the room. After Lena asked him if he had tied the President in a closet, Lex stated that "puppets don't need to be tied"; then Lillian asked her children to play nicely as that was their first family reunion in years, stating her murderous son having duped the Earth to think he was a hero was something completely normal for the Luthor family, suggesting they had a cup of tea while Lex explained that everything he had done was for all of them, 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 Hitler in public.
Lena pointed out that since he had (supposedly) killed Supergirl and took over America, Superman would come back from Argo City in order to defeat him, however, Lex stated that the first batch of depleted aliens would have charged the satellite weapon that would have destroyed both Argo and his nemesis. Hearing this, Eve asked Lex to speak privately and expressed her concern about wasting an amount of energy that should have lasted for decades because of his obsession on defeating Superman, however, he remained that they weren't partners due to him being the boss and that all victories need fireworks.
After Lex came back to Lena and Lillian inside the Oval Office, he brought champagne and proposed a toast, assuring his mother that, unlike the tea she had offered to him, it doesn't contain poison; Lena then told him that what he was about to do was genocide and the public would eventually found out the truth, however Lex replied that the truth was meaningless since everyone believed he was Earth's savior due to their need of a human hero, he claimed 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.
Battle of Shelley Island
Following his toast to victory, Lex turned on a monitor and tried to activate the satellite but it doesn't fire, so Eve informed him of the Superfriends having attacked Shelley Island and he immediately donned his Lexosuit to take care of the matter personally. After he arrived at the island and started to shoot the implant, Lex was intercepted by Supergirl, who sent him falling to the ground into a warehouse. Surprised, Lex commented how similar she was with her cousin, stating that no matter how many times he got rid of her, she would always resurface. They started to battle and, despite Supergirl was wearing her protective suit, Lex managed to best her and poison her with Kryptonite, however after he was ready to kill her with a final Kryptonite blast, Red Daughter (who was freed alongside the other aliens prisoners) shielded Supergirl from his shot and died, merging back into Kara and giving her enough power to reject his next blast with her heat vision, sending Lex through the window.
Although he managed to escape, his Lexosuit was badly damaged and eventually he fell into the void and his grabbed to the arm by Supergirl but, 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 Luthor, however, managed to survive the impact and teleported himself to one of his secret hideouts thanks to a device of his suit. There, he was ambushed by Lena, who extracted the Harun-El from his system removing his superpowers. Lex complimented his half-sister for having found that location and, as she pointed a gun at him she stated that she was unable to harm him, being sincerely surprised when she shot him in the chest.
On the verge of dying, Lex accepted his fate with dignity telling Lena that he was proud of her, admired her abilities and had underestimated her for all their life, right before to showing Lena a video footage that revealed Kara Danvers' true identity as Supergirl and the fact that everyone in her life has hidden that secret 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. Later on, Lex's body was visited by Mar Novu who is ready to use it for something and began to wave a hand with inter-dimensional energy while standing over it.
In Lex's final moments, Lex spitefully revealed to his half-sister, Lena Luthor, that her best friend Kara Danvers is Supergirl and that the Kryptonian has been lying to her from the beginning; thus, damaging Lena's friendship with Kara. It also led to Lena to go down a dark path; similar to her half-brother, however, unlike Lex; Lena took steps to avoid falling into madness.
- "He is not a man! I was the Man of Tomorrow, not him! Not him!"
"So it's all ego, then?"
- "No, it's science. I want to see if the Kryptonian pretender can bleed. Even gods can die. You'll see. Everyone will see. And then, they're gonna thank me."
- —Lex Luthor and Lena Luthor[src]
Lex is a human supremacist who genuinely believes his crusade against aliens to be a righteous one, as he committed unspeakable acts in his attempt to protect Earth from alien invaders. He is a narcissist and a psychopath, with a complete lack of conscience, empathy, and remorse for his actions. Lex's sociopathy stems back to his childhood, where he would frequently torture and murder animals, as well as constantly criticize his half-sister to push (manipulate) her. According to Lena, Lex has always been a lunatic and because of this is willing to do anything or hurt anyone to achieve his goals. He schemes, manipulates, tortures, and kills without conscience or empathy for his victims. Lex is extremely callous towards the well-being of others as, despite claiming that he wants the best for humanity, he displayed no qualms about murdering millions in order to accomplish his goals, he considers himself the real "Man of Tomorrow" and is so misguided in said beliefs that he was sure, in the end, people would understand and thank him for his actions.
Lex often presents himself as a calm, level-headed, patient, and sarcastic man, but he is very prone to losing his temper and yelling in a delusional manner. His ego, conceit and megalomaniac trends are so great that, even while suffering a seizure under the watch of an utterly indifferent government agent, he couldn't help but compare himself to Jesus Christ, muttering to Lena, "Don't blame him. He knows not what he does".
Lex was once best friends with Clark Kent (under the persona of Superman) as the two initially tried to work together to repel the threat of alien invasions, but his methods were far crueler than Clark's, despite Clark doing his best to trust Lex, defending him against accusations of others and continuing to give him several chances to atone for his wrong deeds; the two ultimately fell out and became bitter enemies once Clark realized Lex's true nature, with Lex, for his part, coming to believe that Superman himself was the cause of alien attacks, which led him to declare war on Superman, committing unspeakable crimes in his relentless crusade to take down the Kryptonian.
Lex is ruthless not only towards aliens and humans, but also towards his own family as well, as he hired Corben to kill Lena simply because she was going to rename the family company, which did not sit well with Lex as he was proud of his family's name, these negative traits of his are what eventually led to Lex's incarceration. Despite this, he has proven to care for Lena as he does have a link he can't break with her and to some degree, he acknowledges that she is incredibly gifted as an intellect and a scientist, so he loves her in a twisted and narcissistic way due to finding them both "alike".
Despite having a difficult relationship with his father and falling out with his half-sister, Lex remained fond of his mother, since she seemed to agree with his views, he even kept a portrait of Lillian in his mansion. However, when he met Lena's mother during childhood, he wished she was his, though this may have merely been a young Lex's attempts to manipulate his family. In truth, even his bond with Lilian was a facade. As he was more than willing to murder her in cold blood while she was imprisoned, as Lena explained to her, the clincher being that her cell number on a Blueprint of the prison they shared, while handing it to her mother showing the name Lilian written beside it in bright red. A sign of which is known to indicate of Lex's giving a kill order in his family.
Part of this familial enmity stems from the years of harsh tutorship his mother paid for to which, in his sister's words, damaged his already demented psyche even more; Lena stating how it contributed to him becoming a sociopath when a particularly shrill instructor of his would make him stand in a corner while repeating the phrase "I do no like myself" in perfect Latin whenever he messed up his studies. Resentments which're made extant by punching the eyes of her aforementioned portrait out once after he was cured of his cancer.
Overall, Lex is completely capable of committing horrible crimes, such as mass murder, without conscience or hesitation, and displays a sadistic side to him, such as when he gleefully took down federal agents using his mansion's security systems while calmly strolling out of his house. He has proven to be several steps ahead of his opponents, even having had a hand in the events of surrounding the rise of the Children of Liberty and Lena's experiments with the Harun-El.
Due to Lex's profound derangement, he is unable to form any real attachments with those around him and will do anything to complete his goals, and according to Lena, Lex has always been unstable, and is incapable of truly empathizing or caring for anyone, Lex shows this by manipulating Red Daughter and attempting to murder a child, the one person she cared for most, just to get her to start a war with Supergirl, Lex is seemingly incapable of genuinely caring for anyone and uses those around him for his own means, which he is very good at disusing as caring. Also, he gives apparently no value to life at all, as he planned to eradicate Argo City solely because his mortal enemy, Superman, was there, completely disregarding the fact there are thousands of people there. Putting his preeminent hatred of kryptonians ahead of the loss of innocents.
Despite Lex's intelligent and calculating traits, he is extremely arrogant to the point of being delusional, as Lex believes himself to be the most intelligent individual on the entire planet, completely disregarding the fact that Clark Kent (under the persona of Superman) is slightly more intelligent than him; which eventually led to his downfall at the hands of the Kryptonian, even after being defeated by Clark, he still believes himself to be wiser than the latter; a sign that Lex is not only incapable of acknowledging his mistakes, but he is also incapable of learning from them as well.
Lex is proven to be extremely overconfident; for example, he believed no matter how much Lena despised him, she would never kill him, he not only finds out the hard way that he was wrong, but he also realizes that he has been underestimating his half-sister from the beginning, despite this, Lex accepts his fate with dignity.
Lex is proven spiteful and vindictive; for example, in his final moments, he revealed to Lena that her best friend Kara Danvers is Supergirl and that the Kryptonian has been lying to her from the beginning; thus, damaging Lena's friendship with Kara.
Powers and abilities
- Lexosuit application: Lex is masterful in using his Lexosuit, a battle armor he created to suit his needs and protect himself against Kryptonian-level threats. He further improved his suit by equipping it with a self-created compact version of the Claymore satellite, which converts aliens powers into kinetic energy in order to defeat them.
- Harun-El mutation: Lex had given himself the Harun-El serum in order to save Red Daughter from Harun-El withdrawal, by giving the cure to her through a blood transfusion. By injecting himself with the drug, he acquired the following abilities:
- Accelerated healing factor/Cancer immunity: The Harun-El mutation allowed Lex to cure his self-inflicted cancer and regenerate to full health.
- Superhuman strength: Under the Harun-El's effects, Lex was able to achieve great strength, being able to lift the Daily Planet globe, and smash it on top of Supergirl.
- Superhuman durability: Lex was able to block a punch from Supergirl without suffering damage.
- Flight/Levitation: Lex could levitate by using his flight abilities.
- Genius-level intellect/Great business acumen/Master tactician/Leader: Lex's intelligence is nearly unrivaled, even among the highly notorious Luthor family, a nearly flawless planner, able to assess and account for the numerous variables and from this effectively manipulate the situation to unfold as he sees fit, Lex is also an exceptional tactician, leader, and businessman. In addition to being among the greatest CEOs of Luthor Corp, his intellect having been more than enough to successfully oversee for years the company's daily activities and maintain its status as a multi-billion dollar corporation, Lex successfully set up hideouts all around the world and led his minions in it to collect weapons successfully in secret to defeat Superman or any sort of alien-related threats. His immense intelligence and strategical abilities were seen in his years-long war with the tremendously powerful and notoriously intelligent Superman, as lex was able to stalemate the Man of Steel with many complex plans, plots, and attacks against him, although in the end, Superman ultimately defeated and exposed his true nature to the public. Lex was also able to efficiently and patiently program his escape from prison despite his failing health, infiltrating Eve Teschmacher at Lena Luthor's side to get her research, having himself placed under house arrest in his mansion, curing himself of his disease, effortlessly kill his handlers with the mansion's secret defenses, and finally escaping by helicopter, catching his extremely intelligent sister completely off-guard, proving he is more intelligent than her. Lex was personally trained in playing chess by grandmaster Anatoly Karpov and was able to transfer his knowledge to dim-witted prison inmates to teach them to achieve checkmate. Lex may be one of the most, if not the second most intelligent individual on Earth-38; with the only individual capable of outsmarting him being Clark Kent.
- Master of deception/Manipulator: Lex is exceptionally talented in the art of deception, as he is able to fool and convince many others of his agenda, to the point that he was able to keep up the façade of being merely a normal person of extreme intelligence and a famous CEO of Luthor Corp while simultaneously fighting Superman to a long standstill, only being exposed as a criminal after Superman defeated and revealed his crimes to the public. Lex's great proficiency as a manipulator and deceiver was so great that even Superman, despite his exceptional perception, was fooled into trusting him for years.
- Master scientist: Lex has a great aptitude in the field of bioengineering; for example, he was able to inject himself with Green Kryptonite and understand Lena's research on the Harun-El with ease, despite the fact that it took her months to study it. Lex is also an extremely capable biologist and is considered among the greatest living experts on Kryptonians, having studied them intensively due to his obsession. His mastery regarding said aliens is acknowledged even by various governments over the world.
- Master engineer: Lex is a brilliant inventor, specializing in various scientific fields. An extremely talented engineer, he was 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, a secret computer room inside his cell, and many other weapons. Lena herself admitted that Lex outshines her in some fields of engineering.
- Medical knowledge: Though he was never explicitly stated to have an M.D. or doctorate, Lex demonstrated satisfactory resourcefulness and remarkable knowledge in the medical field, as he was able to make a correct diagnosis on his condition, as well cure himself.
- Computer specialist/Master computer hacker: Lex was able to build a miniaturized computer into his watch and use it to take control of various complex devices, such as Luthor Corp's and his mansion's security systems.
- Multilingualism: Lex is capable of fluently speaking English, Latin, and Kaznian-dialect Russian. He can also read and write in Kryptonese.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Lex is highly trained in close combat. While wearing his battle armor, which gave him the necessary physical powers needed to combat a Kryptonian, he proved to be able to single-handedly compete against Superman. Despite being able to put up a fierce fight to the point of stalemating the superhero many times, Lex is (seemingly) ultimately less skilled as his ex-best friend-turned-archenemy, as Superman was eventually able to best and incarcerate Lex in their final and presumably prolonged encounter.
- Artistic: Lex is an incredibly skilled painter, considering it to be "mere geometry".
- "Lex is completely unhinged. His obsession with Superman is out of control. He'll stop at nothing to kill him and I am very afraid that a lot of people are going to get hurt... or killed in the process."
- —Lena Luthor to Andrea Rojas[src]
- Indomitable will/High tolerance for pain: A driven and determined person, Lex is nearly fearless and almost never gives up, as proven by his lifelong feud with Superman. Lex's willpower is so strong that he managed to enter a radioactive chamber - voluntarily poisoning himself with radiation - in order to get cancer, without having the slightest hesitation, as well as to orchestrate the rest of his master plan despite his failing health. Later on, despite being mortally wounded by Lena Luthor, Lex refused to give in to his wounds until he revealed to a dismayed Lena that her best friend, Kara Danvers, is Supergirl - successfully damaging his half-sister's friendship with Kara.
- Intimidation: Lex is universally regarded as an extremely dangerous individual and among Earth's most feared men; he commands an intimidating presence, to the point where most humans and aliens are afraid of him.
- Network: Lex had a dense network of information throughout the world; despite being in a maximum security prison, he maintained enough influence and connections to hire the professional assassin John Corben to kill Lena, orchestrate the assassination attempt of James Olsen, manipulate the government to have his sister work with the D.E.O., and organize his escape from house arrest.
- "Lex went insane."
- "Exactly. And if they could take the brightest mind on Earth and drive him crazy defending himself, imagine what they could do to you."
- —Lena and Lillian Luthor on Lex Luthor[src]
- Mental instability: Lex is extremely arrogant, erratic, cruel, and unstable, believing himself intellectually superior to the rest of the world and the real "Man of Tomorrow". He grew to resent Superman's popularity with the public and his animosity against the superhero eventually corrupted him, resulting in all of Lex's personal relationships collapsing, including that with his half-sister Lena and then-girlfriend Mercy Graves. Lex even went so far as to inject himself with Kryptonite to keep his obsession at bay. He is also very overconfident about his schemes and takes no further caution beyond his initial plans, greatly losing his temper if something happen beyond his expectations. The fact that Lex had not learned from Clark's ability to defeat him - not only in direct combat but also outsmart and reveal his crimes to the public - also proves that he cannot learn from his mistakes, as Lex still proclaims to be the strongest and most intelligent individual on the entire planet.
- Failing health: After voluntarily locking himself in a radioactive chamber, Lex had a stroke and developed inoperable cancer. However, he was able to cure his condition after hijacking his sister's research on the Harun-El.
- Lexosuit: Lex has created a high-tech battle suit, nicknamed "Lexosuit", which gave him enhanced strength, durability, flight, energy blasts and advanced weaponry, among other capabilities. He used it to better match Superman.
- Watch: Lex always carries with him a special watch of his own invention with whom he is able to remotely control various devices.
- Guns: Lex is expert in using multiple types of guns. He keeps a pistol holstered inside his jacket, though only used it in emergencies.
- In the show, it's strongly implied that Lex's baldness is an inherited trait which he gained from his father instead of something caused by an accident as generally represented.
- Interestingly enough, this is the first live-action adaptation of Lex Luthor with facial hair.
- Lex and Superman once being best friends is likely a reference to the TV series Smallville, which started with Lex and Clark being best friends before the duo eventually developed the classic animosity between Superman and Lex Luthor.
- Lex having an inoperable cancer after injecting himself with Kryptonite is a reference from the original comics, where he discovered that Kryptonite radiation was deadly to humans (if not quite so fast-acting as it is with Kryptonians) after he began wearing a Kryptonite ring to keep Superman at bay and later developed cancer.
- In a flashback from "", Lex turned Earth's sunlight red in a bid to de-power Superman. This is a nod to the Superman: War of the Supermen storyline of 2010, when he briefly turned the sun red to save Earth from an invasion of hostile Kryptonians.
- Having killed millions of people during the years of his war against Superman, as well as dozens of F.B.I. agents in his first physical appearance, Lex is arguably the main villain with the highest body count in the shared multiverse, alongside Vandal Savage.
- Lex Luthor is the third known human capable to understand Kryptonese, after Winn Schott and Thomas Coville.
- In "", it was mentioned that Lex was named after Alexander the Great, a reference from the DC comic books.
- It is stated in "", that Lena had already been adopted when Lex was 13, thus, placing his birth year as 1984 at the earliest, making him around 9 years older than Lena and at least 5 years younger than Superman.
- This also makes him the second version of Lex Luthor who is younger than Superman, after Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal in the DC Extended Universe.
Behind the scenes
- Lex Luthor first appeared in Action Comics #23 (April, 1940) and was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He is considered to be the intelligent and ruthless archenemy of Superman. He usually appears as a brilliant scientist and sometimes corrupt billionaire industrialist, with a personal vendetta against the Man of Steel. Even though Lex has always been a controversial figure in the public eye, he has also maintained political popularity, once serving as the President of the United States.
- Lex's act of creating an earthquake in California is a reference to the original 1978 Superman film, where Luthor's master plan was to use the quake to sink the West Coast and turn the near-worthless desert real estate he'd bought up into valuable water-front property.
- Jon Cryer also portrayed Lex Luthor's nephew, Lenny Luthor, in the 1987 DC film, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which is widely regarded as the most disappointing Superman movie ever.
- According to Cryer himself, the film's less than sterling reputation was half the reason he accepted the role, alongside his love of the first Superman movie and the comics, as he wanted the opportunity to do the Luthor name justice.
- Lex served as the main antagonist of the second arc of Season 4 of Supergirl, but is revealed to be the hidden mastermind and is the true main antagonist of Season 4.