Who's Who in the Superman Comics

Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor Luthor spent some of his youth in Metropolis's Suicide Slum area. His parents died in a car crash when he was 13, shortly after Lex had taken out an insurance policy on them (Unauthorized Biography). The design of a sub-orbital aircraft dubbed the LexWing made Luthor famous as an engineer. His success gained him defense department contracts for his new company LexCorp. Originally a simple aerospace firm, Lex diversified his holdings and grew in power, fame, and wealth, making Metropolis his center of operations. Despite frequent criminal allegations, he managed to keep himself 'clean' in the eyes of the law.

Luthor had been married eight times and was pursuing Lois Lane (unsuccessfully) when Superman debuted. After staging a test for Superman, Luthor hoped to persuade Superman to assist him, but instead the Mayor deputized Superman and had Luthor arrested for reckless endangerment. Being arrested, even on a minor charge, enraged Luthor, and so began his campaign to destroy Superman, he vowed one day to see Superman dead (Man of Steel miniseries #4).

Luthor's early efforts included creating Bizarro, and trying to learn Superman's identity. When his agents decided Superman must be Clark Kent, Luthor chose to believe the analysis wrong, rather than believe someone with such superpowers would adopt such an identity. Lex obtained Kryptonite from Metallo, and used a piece to make a ring, which he wore to protect himself from Superman. It kept Superman at bay, but eventually the Kryptonite affected him as well, and he first lost his hand, and then became terminally ill from lengthy exposure to the Kryptonite radiation.

In a desperate attempt to survive, Luthor faked his death by testing one of his own experimental jets. During that flight, the world mourned as Lex Luthor apparently died in a fiery plane crash. Unknown to everyone save his small circle of conspirators, Luthor had his brain placed in the body of a newly grown clone, created by Dabney Donovan. With the sudden loss of Luthor, his holding in Metropolis began to unravel and the economy was paralyzed further when LexCorp closed without an heir. Shortly thereafter, an "heir" to LexCorp was found, Lex Luthor II, the city welcomed him as a hero (ACT #671). Lex Luthor II appeared to be a young, redheaded Australian, anxious to live down his father's reputation, but in reality, he was Lex Luthor I in his conveniently cloned body.

Lex Jr. soon took over LexCorp in Metropolis and seemed quite respectable. Supergirl was taken by his resemblence to the Lex Luthor of her Pocket Universe and eventually fell in love with him for a short time (ACT #677). However, a disease started killing all the clones in Metropolis, and when Luthor found himself getting ill, he began getting desperate. Lois Lane uncovered evidence that Lex Luthor Jr. was really Lex Luthor I, causing his reputation to be ruined and his loss of control over LexCorp. As he was dying, he caused the destruction of much of downtown Metropolis (ACT #700). Luthor's body fell into a coma, and it was taken to a S.T.A.R. Labs facility. Slowly, he began to recover, but accepted the offer of instantly being healed in exchange for his soul by the demon Neron. Luthor scoffed at the concept of losing his soul, since he didn't feel that was such a big price to pay (MOT #1). Bald again, but healthy, Luthor joined forces with the Contessa and resumed plotting against Superman. He and the Contessa were secretly married (MOT #5), and they seemed to have a very volatile, albeit satisfying, relationship. However, after the birth of their daughter, Lena, Lex had the Contessa imprisoned. She escaped, and was biding her time, until Lex organised her ultimate death (President Luthor: Secret Files and Origins #1).

Luthor returned to public life during the Final Night crisis, trying to help save the sun. Arraigned for his many crimes, he managed to convince the court that his clone in fact committed all his crimes. All charges were dismissed as an enraged clone was brought into the courtroom as 'evidence' of his innocence (ACT #737). During the legal proceedings, Luthor convinced the court to analyze the Kryptonite that, he claimed, had caused his illness. Superman turned the ring over to the court, and during the analysis, Luthor's agents managed to exchange the ring for a fake (SUP #126).

Luthor jumped at the chance to put the Daily Planet out of business when it went up for sale. Luthor bought it, and closed it down, firing almost all the employees, including Clark Kent. Luthor created LexCom, a news conglomerate that was completely Internet based. Lois Lane was one of the few employees who was offered a job at LexCom. Luthor tried to control Lois, by keeping her under his control in the office, and by keeping her husband, Clark Kent, unemployed (MOT #12). Lex mysteriously sold back the Daily Planet, allowing Lois, Jimmy, Perry and Clark to again work together for the great metropolitan newspaper. The only catch and therefore the reason behind the sale was a shadow deal with Lois Lane. Under the terms of their agreement, Lois would bury one story of his choosing in the future (SUP #151). During the Brainiac 13 saga (Superman Y2K), Lex sacrificed is daughter Lena to ensure his continued control over Metropolis. Amazingly enough, the day after Metropolis was upgraded Luthor registered an enormous number of patents, over 500, on all of the B13 technology.

The desire to be more the center of attention than Superman ever was entered Luthor's mind soon after when he began to realize how much of America's attention was dedicated to the Man of Steel. After reading an article in the local paper about Superman's dedication to the most powerful office in America and the man that held that post, he felt there was only one thing to do... run for President.

Lex Luthor To everyone's immense surprise, not only did Luthor pick former Senator Pete Ross to be his running mate, but he actually pulled off winning the entire election! While the ballots were being counted in Florida, the one Luthor conceded that Bush and Gore could fight amongst themselves for, Luthor ran away with the election. He was quick to make improvements in security after a pre-announcement visit by Batman, who demanded the Kryptonite ring back from Luthor for his own safekeeping. Luthor defied the caped crusader and threatened to use all of his newfound clout to hunt down and exterminate the 'Gotham Vigilante' if he persisted in this pursuit. (Batman confided in Superman that they would have to be ever watchful of Luthor and when the moment came, the would remove him from office.) Through his election Luthor has plans to share his good fortune with every American citizen through vast economic restructuring and major healthcare reform. He's promised that no child will go hungry and neither an innocent suffer under the watchful eye of his administration. He actually plans to bring more involvement into the government by earths many meta-humans, and has encouraged young people across the country to embrace their examples.

Privately, Luthor was overjoyed at the fact that he had outdone the 'alien' (as he refers to Superman). He made improvements in other areas concerning security too as he had the White House repainted... with lead paint. He felt that with the United States under his direct control the country would rise to heights not seen in the 211 years there have been Presidents in office.

After several seasons of waging a shadow war against Superman, Lex Luthor's true nature was exposed to the world. In a dramatic battle over Metropolis, Luthor was defeated by Superman, and his presidency was impeached. Using his vast fortune and presidential authority, Luthor attempted to finally destroy the Man of Steel in front of the world. A titanic meteor of kryptonite was imperiling the planet. Rather than use the metahumans to destroy it, Luthor concocted an elaborate scheme to blame Superman for the impending disaster.

As President of the United States of America, Luthor ordered Captain Atom to gather a group of super agents, and arrest Superman. With Batman's help, Superman avoided detention. He also managed to gain more incriminating evidence on President Luthor. A series of major events led to Superman finally confronting Lex Luthor in the sky over Metropolis. Injecting himself with a combination of the physical enhancer called venom, and kryptonite, Lex Luthor adorned a battlesuit and personally engaged Superman in combat.

While fighting the Action Ace, Luthor revealed to Superman his affiliation with the New God Darkseid. His delusional behavior was revealed to all. A final blow by Superman sent Luthor into LexCorp Towers, where Batman awaited. Noticing the building was empty and abandoned, the Dark Knight informed Luthor that Talia Head (who operated as interim C.E.O. of LexCorp) sold off the corporation's assets, and depleted Luthor of his personal fortune. A short battle followed, and led to Lex Luthor's escape. In dramatic symbolism, Luthor's own escaped led to the destruction of his own LexCorps Towers. With his presidential regime toppled in disgrace, and his personal wealth apparently gone, Luthor was now a penniless man. He was also wanted by international authorities.

(The fall of Lex Luthor was chronicled in Superman/Batman #1-6)

During the 52 weeks when Superman was powerless, Lex Luthor resurfaced, somehow proving that the individual responsible for his wrongdoings during his Presidential term was in fact a duplicate of him from an alternate reality, thereby clearing himself of criminal activity. Luthor was once again reinstated as Lexcorp CEO and though he was mistrusted by many, he was still able to begin his dubious operations once more.

Another Luthor's schemes centered on developing a serum that would grant meta-human powers to the everyman. Luthor's true purpose in the whole experiment was to gain powers himself, but he felt he needed to work out the kinks on others first. In truth, the serum wasn't working with Luthor's DNA so he was trying various forms of it on others, hoping to find the reason. Eventually, still unsuccessful at gaining meta powers himself, Luthor scrapped the program, killing many of those who had gained superpowers but was found out by John Henry Irons and his niece Natasha, who had both been infected by the program. Luthor was brought down once more and arrested.

Par for the course with Luthor though, none of the charges would stick, his lawyers expertly working their way around the system to somehow clear him, Lex regained his position at Lexcorp once more. However, because Luthor had fallen so many times of late, he had now lost any respectability or reputation of being a decent man. Almost every citizen of Metropolis figured the truth about him was painfully obvious and the city he once loved turned on him. This drove Luthor to start a new campaign of destruction on the city who's people had dared to tread on his ego.

Lex Luthor Luthor started by threatening Clark, who was still powerless, telling him to stop writing stories about the Fall of Luthor. At the same time, Lex was working under Metropolis in a series of labs trying to discover the secrets of a "sunstone" he'd recovered from the ruined Fortress of Solitude. This investigation into the powers of the sunstone involved the Prankster, the Toyman, a new Kryptonite Man and even Metallo. Luthor gathered seemingly endless piles of Kryptonite and used them to create a "K-cannon," enhanced by the Kryptonite Man and focused it to find a Kryptonian artifact, which he later transformed into a vehicle, through the use of the sunstone, a Kryptonian battle Cruiser in fact, that he used to attack Metropolis. Superman, newly re-powered, defeated him. Luthor's lawyers issued a statement that Lex was under mind-control, that the ship had taken him over and that he was trying to stop it. Luthor, being held at Stryker's Island Prison, was then teleported away by some flying robots.

Luthor, now a known criminal and hiding from justice, has been forced to relinquish control of his businesses to those he would certainly deem unworthy. Because he still harbors an intense hatred of Superman and the other heroes, Luthor recently gathered together a large group of super-villains (again), and named them The Injustice League or Society. Luthor, and other villains, such as the Joker, Bizarro, Giganta, Mr. Freeze, Mongul, Poison Ivy and Solomon Grundy came together, captured several Justice Leaguers and then were summarily defeated by the League and taken into custody by Amanda Waller to places unknown.

First Appearance: MOS #2 (July 1986)
First Appearance (Lex Luthor II): ACT #670 (Oct. 1991)
First Appearance (rejuvenated body): MOT #1 (Summer 1995)
First Appearance (President Luthor): Superman: Lex 2000 (January 2001)

Who's Who in the Superman Comics


This is a listing of many of the notable characters and a few places that have appeared in the Superman comics from the 1986 revamp up until around 2008.

NOTE: A new, and more current version of the Who's Who is currently being worked on and can be accessed by clicking here.

Although Superman often appears in other DC Comics, this text's information is limited mainly to what has occurred in the regular Superman comics.

Many thanks to Scotty V, Derrick Lyle Coleman, Dean Vanek, Genevieve Clemens and Benjamin Grose who all helped out at one time or another with writing and updating these Who's Who descriptions.

The listings are displayed as follows:

  • Surname, Firstname - Text describing the character, place, object, etc...

Relevant issues of the Superman comics are listed as such:
  • SUP = Superman
  • MOS = Man of Steel
  • AOS = Adventures of Superman
  • ACT = Action Comics
  • MOT = Man of Tomorrow

The Issue Number for each of these titles is written in this manner: “#000”. (e.g. SUP #123)

“First Appearance” refers to the issue since 1986 unless otherwise noted.