LEX LUTHOR: Metropolis Mogul

LEX LUTHOR: Metropolis Mogul

"You've made a mistake, Superman. A big mistake. A potentially fatal mistake. I run this town, Superman. Metropolis belongs to me. The people are mine, to nurture, or destroy, as I see fit. And they've forgotten that. They've looked at you, with your costume, and your flashy super-human powers... and they've forgotten who their master is. Who is number one! And I intend to remind them, Superman. I'm going to show them you're nothing, Superman. A card-board cut-out. One day, very soon now, you're going to die, Superman. You're going to be destroyed and you'll know who's doing it. Everyone in Metropolis will know. But no one will ever be able to prove it. I'll not be arrested, Superman. Not ever again. Remember, Superman. You're a dead man. It's just a question of how soon!" --LEX LUTHOR
With SMALLVILLE finally over, this week "Know Your CBM Characters" will feature heroes and villains that has a history with the show.

LEX LUTHOR is one of the most gifted beings alive, whose hatred for Superman pushes him down the path of a sociopath. He is known for his "ends justifies the means" approach to life.

He is one of the most dangerously intelligent men on the planet, a super-villain, a brilliant scientist, a billionaire industrialist. This combination makes him an extremely powerful and formidable opponent; he is ruthless and efficient and creative. He despises Superman for contradicting his human achievements. LEX LUTHOR was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first appearing in Action Comics #23. (1940)

Early Appearances
The character's original incarnation, as drawn by Joe Shuster, appeared only twice between 1940-1941. In his debut, "Luthor" (who is referred to only by his surname) is a wily genius who resides in a flying city suspended by a dirigible. LEX LUTHOR has a full set of hair in his comicbook debut.

How he turned Bald
LEX LUTHOR was meant to have hair but due to an artist’s mistake he went bald.
The story goes, that the original Superman artist Joe Shuster hired a ghost-artist to draw for him, as he is already overwhelmed by all the work. The new artist mistook one of the bald henchman as LEX LUTHOR, so when he drew Superman #10 LEX LUTHOR is sporting a chrome dome.
Left: the bald Henchman. Right: the bald Luthor

1960s Scientist
In his 1960's origin story, young LEX LUTHOR is shown as an aspiring scientist who resides in Smallville, the hometown of Superboy. The teenage Luthor and Superboy during these times were friends. However, after an accidental fire breaks out in Luthor's lab, and some chemicals spilling over Luthor which turned him bald, Luthor blamed Superboy for his hair loss. Their friendship turned sour, and Luthor chose a path to villainy.

1980s Business Mogul
In the 1986 limited series The Man of Steel, John Byrne redesigned LEX LUTHOR from scratch, and made him an evil corporate executive. Initially brutish and overweight, the character later evolved into a sleeker, more athletic version of his old self. This time Luthor no lost his hair in a chemical fire; rather, his hairline is shown to be receding naturally over time.

In one story Luthor decides to fake his own death by crashing a prototype jet; this is merely a cover for the removal of his brain from his cancer-ridden body and the growth of a cloned body around it. He reemerges as LEX LUTHOR II, with the back story of being an illegitimate son. His deception is benefited by a vibrant new body with a beard and full head of red hair, as well as assuming an Australian accent as part of his fake backstory. Then a negative side-effect of cloning emerges and Luthor's body eventually begins to deteriorate, age and once again loses his hair at a rapid rate. He would later find himself in his old bald state.

President Luthor
In another story Luthor freely turns himself over to the police and is put on trial for the crimes he had commited. He is acquitted on all counts when Luthor claims to have been kidnapped by renegade scientists from Cadmus Labs, who replaced him with a violent clone that is allegedly responsible for all the crimes Luthor is charged with.
He then Decided to turn to politics, run for the Presidency of the United States, in which he won. President Luthor met a lot of opposition from the Superhero community, especially Superman. Eventually Luthor's evil ways were exposed to the people, and he was forcibly unseated from the Presidency. He served for less than 3 years.

During the 52 storyline, Luthor got involved with the Everyman Project, that engineers ordinary citizens to develop superpowers. Luthor was also secretly testing the program to himself, which gave him nearly all of Superman's powers. Though this newfound powers were again shutdown by the Superheroes Steel and her niece.

Orange Lantern
In the event "Blackest Night" a duplicate power ring that is fueled by avarice finds LEX LUTHOR. With the ring saying that he wants it all, LEX LUTHOR becomes an Orange Lantern. Although Lex does prove a good fighter in the Blackest Night, the orange light of avarice gets the better of him on many occasions. After "Blackest Night", Larfleeze owner of the original orange ring, manages to remove Lex's ring and render him back to his human self.

Phantom Zone God
Lex openned a portal to the Phantom Zone, which allowed a huge menacing being to escape and will bring about the destruction of the Universe. Luthor, using the technology he has at hand during that time, defeated the "being" and in turn it infuses Luthor with "godlike" power. Though, as always this newfound powers gets knock out of him, this time by his arch-nemesis Superman.

In his constant battle with Superman, LEX LUTHOR often utilizes a Battlesuit usually powered by Kryptonite to gain an upperhand against the Man of Steel.

Lyle Talbot
The first actor to play Luthor in a live-action film was Lyle Talbot. Who appeared in the 1950 serial Atom Man vs. Superman.

Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman portrays Luthor in the 1978 Superman film, along with two of its sequels, Superman II (1980) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). In the films, Luthor is established as an elusive, high-profile criminal who has taken refuge in an extensively restored abandoned subway station under the streets of Metropolis.

Scott James Wells and Sherman Howard
The TV show Superboy and Later the Adventures of Superboy will bring us two LEX LUTHOR. The first season he was played by Scott James Wells and the subsequent seasons by Sherman Howard.

John Shea
In the 1990s TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Lex is portrayed by John Shea. He is a charming and debonair philanthropist and polymath, the owner of the massive LexCorp. He is established early on as "the 3rd richest man in the world".

Michael Rosenbaum
Michael Rosenbaum portrayed Luthor in the series Smallville. In this 2001 series, Lex Luthor is sent to Smallville, by his father Lionel Luthor, to run the local LuthorCorp fertilizer plant. After driving his car off a bridge, he is saved by Clark Kent and quickly develops a new friendship with the farm boy. As the series unfolds, Lex's curiosity about Clark and all things connected to Clark ultimately destroys their friendship. Smallville's Lex Luthor is first introduced as a morally ambiguous character, who walks a fine line between good and evil. Lex is an inquisitive person, and it is that curiosity that drives him to attain as much power as possible as the series progresses - it will ultimately lead him to being Clark's greatest enemy. After Rosenbaum left the show, Lex Luthor made few appearances (with his face obscured) or had his presence felt by way of clones, or constant mentions of his intertwined destiny with Clark Kent. Michael Rosenbaum reprised his role of Lex Luthor in the two-hour Smallville series finale, which aired on May 13th 2011.

Kevin Spacey
In 2006, the role was inherited by Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns

Note: Due to the nature of comicbooks being an on-going tale, the character's powers along with his appearance, is in a constant state of flux.

Lex Luthor briefly acquired superhuman capabilities as a result of his company-sponsored Everyman Project.

AbilitiesGifted Businessman: Lex Luthor is one of the most shrewd businessmen in the world, a trait that has earned him an immense fortune. Luthor is uses cuthroat tactics, unethical practices and illegal operations to maintain the success of his business empire.

Seasoned Politician: Lex Luthor's corporate skills applied just as sharply in the political arena as they did in the boardroom. As President of the United States, he groomed the best candidates to serve as his cabinet members and knew the intricacies of bureaucratic politicking as well as any other former Chief Executive.

Genius-level Intellect: Enhanced physical and cognitive abilities due to his cloned body's specific genetic design construction. .

Trained Combatant: Lex Luthor is also trained in hand-to-hand combat, though his personal Amazon fighting instructors consider him a a sub-par combatant with poor form.

Sources: http://www.comicvine.com/lex-luthor/29-41952/ : http://www.comicvine.com/lex-luthor/29-41952/images/ : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_Luthor : http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Lex_Luthor : http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Alexander_Luthor_(New_Earth) : http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Alexander_Luthor_(New_Earth)/Gallery : http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/11/30/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-79/ : http://community-2.webtv.net/grandboysandgirls/LexLuthor/

This is the 61st article in my Know Your CBM Character series. Any requests and suggestions for an article for this series write it down in the comment section BELOW.

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Filed Under "DC Comics" 5/15/2011 Source: DCMU
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