Sam was born in the fifties into a military family. When he was a kid, his father used to bring he and his sister to the movies every Sunday, during one of this occasions they seen "The Day the Earth Stood Still", which strongly impressed and convinced him that aliens are the biggest threat to both the country and the whole planet, as their technology and their powers could wipe out the human race in a few moments.
Growing up, Lane followed the family tradition by joining the U.S. Army and climbing the hierarchy until he got the rank of general. He fathered two daughters; Daily Planet's reporter Lois Lane and military lawyer Lucy Lane, who also served as a legal attaché on his staff. However, over the years, his relationship with Lois became estranged, due to his immorality and control issues over her life.
Due to Sam's strong anti-alien ideas, he viewed even Superman as a potential threat to the country and the world. Furthermore, Lane had tried to establish a relationship of enmity with the D.E.O., which he considered inadequate to handle the alien threats.
Due to Sam's immorality, many of the men in his unit (genuinely) do not have any loyalty or respect for him, as they are more than willing to disobey or refuse to follow his orders, mainly due to their morals, honor and principals; traits that Sam completely lacks, as he is not well-respected among the military.
Arriving in National City
General Sam Lane came to National City, as he wanted "Hank Henshaw" to transfer Supergirl to his unit. However, Hank could not, as she did not technically work for the D.E.O. Then, he demanded that Supergirl fight their field robot Red Tornado. Supergirl won the battle, breaking off the android's arm with her freezing breath, and causing damage in his system. As Red Tornado flew, Dr. Morrow said his robot activated the self emergency protocol, so General Lane fired Morrow because he did not cope with the task. The next day, the general had dinner with Lucy and James, to whom he told (in an arrogant/disrespectful manner) that James is not worthy of his daughter - that James surrounded himself with special people because he's not good enough himself. Later, General Lane, Lucy and James were attacked by Red Tornado, and Supergirl rescued them but is forced to allow the android to escape in order to diffuse a tornado it caused. Later, "Henshaw" suggested using alien technology that created the hologram of General Lane to draw out Red Tornado, and Supergirl destroyed it.
Acting director of the D.E.O.
When "Hank Henshaw" was captured by Astra and Non's army, General Lane returned to National City to temporarily perform his duties as director of the D.E.O.; he tortured Astra by injecting her with liquid Kryptonite to learn the location of their base, but she gave them a false position, which turned out to be a trap. Then Supergirl decided to make an exchange of prisoners; despite the fact that the general was against it, he was forced to retreat as Kara stood her ground. After his return, "Henshaw" (coldly) told General Lane that his presence at the D.E.O. was no longer required, and General Lane and his team left.
When National City was put under the influence of Myriad, Supergirl contacted General Lane and asked him not to let anyone enter the city as she didn't understand what was happening. Later he called her back saying that he had done his duty and asked her to fulfill hers.
Later, Lucy asked his father to release J'onn J'onzz (whose Martian identity had been previously revealed making him a fugitive), but the general (arrogantly) refused to do so. However, he allowed J'onn to go with Supergirl to fight Non and Indigo. After their victory, General Lane told J'onn J'onzz that the President granted him a full pardon and re-instated him as the director of the D.E.O. He then took Non's apocalypse device, the Omegahedron, under military custody and later delivered it to Maxwell Lord.
Housing Daxamite technology
General Lane aided in the safekeeping of a Daxamite ship following their invasion. However, after it was hijacked by Robert DuBois, J'onn J'onzz called Lane and gave him a stern talking to, threatening to have his stars stripped from him.
Sam is extremely arrogant, self-righteous, short-sighted and disrespectful, although he (genuinely) cares about the welfare of his country, he is also quite selfish; as never takes responsibility or even admits to his own mistakes, always trying to shift the blame on others, he is incapable of showing gratitude, even towards individuals who had saved his life, viewing their actions as only acting for their own selfish reasons, his elitist views even show their nature when it comes to his parenting, regularly outright noting his disapproval of would-be suitors to his daughters that do not meet his overly-high standards. It can be assumed that he does not have a good relationship with his daughter, Lois; due to the fact that he interferes in her relationships with men and mainly because of his immoral traits; as he has an anti-view on aliens in general.
Sam has a strong hatred for aliens for no clear reason; simply because they are different, regardless of whether or not they are a threat to the human race, he even dislikes anyone who associates themselves with aliens for no clear reason, like James Olsen; due to the latter being close friends with Superman. Though he does imply that watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" left a haunting impression on him as a child; this fear could explain why he grew up so distrusting of extraterrestrial life.
Sam is quite immoral, as he had Astra tortured with liquid Green Kryptonite, to try and get the location of where her comrades were keeping Hank Henshaw (J'onn J'onzz) he had no guilt or remorse for this vile act of his; this shows his hatred for aliens, which goes so far as to (arrogantly) believe they don't deserve civil rights.
Because of these negative traits of his, many of Sam's men in his unit (genuinely) do not have any loyalty or respect for the latter, mainly due to their morals, honor and principals.
Adventures of Supergirl
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, General Sam Lane is an antagonist to Superman, father of Lois Lane and Lucy Lane and husband of Ella Lane. He is a great military leader and believes that people with as much power as Superman prove an ongoing threat to humanity stemming from his natural distrust. A true patriot, he is willing to cross many lines and even go to his death in the defense of his country. This includes working alongside Lex Luthor on several occasions. There is irony in that his daughter is married to Clark Kent, secretly his greatest enemy. Although he appeared to die fighting Imperiex during Our Worlds at War, New Krypton showed that he had faked his own death. Later he committed suicide during the War of the Supermen. He was also the leader of Project 7734.
- Originally he was introduced as a horse farmer from the town of Pittsdale, before later being reinvented as a U.S. army general.