Supervillain Origins: Lex Luthor (Redux)
VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
He is a rare case in the world of supervillains, especially as he has no super powers, and instead relies on his superior intellect and vast wealth. The bald villain made his first appearance with a full head of red hair and most of Europe under his control, before attempting to provoke a war between nations. Superman was able to stop his plan, and in the process earned himself a long-term nemesis. Lex later built alliances with other super-villains, and created various technologies in order to take on the Man of Steel, before undergoing numerous re-imaginings. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origin of Lex Luthor. Special thanks to our user ClassicToonFan64 for submitting the idea on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!
*Script written by Clayton Martino
Supervillain Origins: Lex Luthor
Not only is he a billionaire industrialist and a brilliant scientist, he is also Superman’s greatest enemy! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of Lex Luthor.
As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the original storyline which unfolded in 1940’s “Action Comics” #23 and was expanded upon in 1960’s “Adventure Comics” #271.
Luthor is a rare case in the world of supervillains, especially one with such enemy; he has no super powers, and instead relies on his superior intellect and vast wealth. He made his first appearance in “Action Comics” #23 with a full head of red hair. With most of Europe under his control, Luthor attempted to provoke a war between the fictional nations of Toran and Galonia in order to engulf the entire continent in warfare. Superman was able to stop the impending war, but the uneasy truce between the two nations was soon broken. Disguised as Clark Kent, he questioned Galonian Geneal Lupo, who claimed the broken truce was mere an accident.
Superman pursued Lupo to a hidden cave, where it was revealed he worked for a man called “Luthor”. Luthor wanted to silence Clark and sent his thugs to his hotel room to murder him. Instead, they found Lois Lane, kidnapped her, and brought her back to Luthor to be questioned.
Lois was able to send a message to Superman, who came to her rescue immediately and confronted Luthor in the first of what would become many confrontations between the two men. Luthor used a ray gun to significantly weaken Superman, but, using his last ounce of strength, Superman was able to destroy the machine. Superman was able to escape with Lois before the dirigible exploded, having left Luthor to die.
Of course, we know that not only does Luthor not die, but would later become the arch nemesis of the Man of Steel. Luthor’s origin story was expanded upon significantly in “Adventure Comics” #271. In this version, Luthor and Superboy are actually friends after Luthor saved Superboy from an encounter with Kryptonite. To show is appreciation Superboy built Luthor a laboratory, which Luthor used to create artificial life.
After an accident at the lab, however, Luthor was nearly killed, but Superboy was able to blow out the chemical fire with his mighty breath. In the process, Luthor’s formula was destroyed, and he lost all of his hair. An enraged Luthor blamed Superboy for destroying his work, and claimed that he did so out of jealousy. Luthor attempted to prove his superiority over Superboy with his engineering skills, only to be thwarted by Superboy at every turn. Luthor eventually tried to kill Superboy with kryptonite, only to have Superboy escape once again.
Like many comic book characters, Lex Luthor has gone through numerous re-imaginings, with one of the most famous being 1986’s “The Man of Steel” storyline. Creator John Byrne wanted to make Luthor into a more recognizable character, and thus turned him into a powerful corporate executive. In this brief storyline, Luthor attempted to seduce Lois Lane and also tried to coerce Superman onto his payroll, but Superman declined and had Luthor arrested. After being let out of prison, however, Luthor confronted Superman and reminded him that it was he who controlled Metropolis.
While Lex Luthor is definitely no physical match for Superman in most normal circumstances, he often dons a super powered battle suit in order to properly throw down with the man of steel from time to time - along with anyone else who stands in his way. Although the origins of his suit vary even more than the details of his past, one of the more popular incarnations explains that the suit is Apokalyptian – a gift from the all powerful Darkseid.
Another popular storyline even saw Lex become the president of the United States for a few years, a position which put him at odds with the other DC heavyweight hero, Batman.
As one of the most famous comic book villains in history, Lex Luthor has appeared in various media, including everything from live-action television and animated series to big-budget blockbusters. Luthor has appeared in all but two modern Superman films, with actors such as Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey portraying the character. Jesse Eisneberg will play Luthor in the upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” film.
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