- "See, what we call God depends on our tribe, Clark Joe, 'cause God is tribal, God takes sides. No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from daddy's fist and abominations! I figured it out way back! If God is all-powerful, he cannot be all-good. And if he is all-good, then he cannot be all-powerful...and neither can you be. They need to see the fraud that you are. With their eyes. The blood on your hands."
- ―Lex Luthor to Superman[src]
Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor Jr. is a megalomaniacal multi-billionaire businessman, as well as one of the smartest individuals in the world by far. He is the current owner and CEO of LexCorp Industries. Lex Luthor also becomes the archnemesis of Superman, whose very existence makes Lex feel threatened, which makes the malevolent supergenius go out of his way to expose the godlike alien superhero as a fraud, and to subsequently destroy him, by first pitting Superman against Batman, and then his monstrous creation Doomsday. Lex, however, is ultimately jailed as a supercriminal for his exposed numerous unspeakable crimes, first in Belle Reve supermax, and then in Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Following the founding of the Justice League and defeat of Steppenwolf, Lex escapes captivity, acquires a private yacht, and meets up with Deathstroke to discuss their upcoming partnership.
Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor, Jr. was born in 1984, in Metropolis to Alexander Luthor, Sr., an East German-born billionaire petrochemical and heavy machinery developer, and was subsequently named after his father. While the family's company, LexCorp Industries, was in fact named after Lex's father, the elder Luthor claimed at investor pitches to have named it after his son as well, while Lex himself often mused at how wealthy old women found his father "[writing] checks for Lex" adorable.
While publicly popular and affable, Luthor Sr. was a very cruel and despicable man behind closed doors, with Lex later remarking in outrage that no "man in the sky" would ever come to save him from "[his father's] fists and abominations". This induced a traumatized Lex to gain a militantly misotheistic view of God, believing that if He were omnipotent, then it would be logically impossible for Him to be omnibenevolent and vice versa, thereby solidifying his belief that power cannot be innocent (referring to the antithesis of that as the "oldest lie in America"), and that all individuals with great power and popularity must be evil by definition.
By age 16, the wunderkind Lex was left with the legacy of LexCorp as its only heir shortly after his father passed away unexpectedly, taking control of the business and success fully transformed it from a petrochemical and heavy machinery dinosaur into a cutting-edge Fortune 500 technology giant. In fact, the very considerable business achievements of his father pale in comparison to the astonishingly prolific accomplishments of the younger Luthor, who thus became the youngest person ever to be named Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year and included in Fortune's list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Among other things, Lex also inherited his father's world-famous collection of meteorite crystals, which, as he would later learn, included Kryptonite minerals.
Lex is known to have at one point encountered Amanda Waller and familiarized himself with her organization, ARGUS, and also learned of her Task Force X idea, as he subtly refers to all three while conversing with Ron Troupe.
Interview with Ron Troupe
Shortly before the release of his company's revolutionary new operating system Lex/OS, Lex Luthor was approached by reporter Ron Troupe, and agreed to meet him for 15 minutes at the opulent Royal Penthouse Suite at the Park Metropolis Downtown. Lex was then promptly interviewed on a number of subjects, including the alien hero Superman and the Gotham City vigilante Batman. Right afterwards, Lex offers to play bowling with Troupe, confident in his ability to "destroy" the latter.
After Hanford Technologies was successfully exposed by Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane, Lex arrived at a construction site of the company, and announced that LexCorp Industries was purchasing all of Hanford's holdings (including the site), as well as retaining all of Hanford's employees, as he claimed that the employees should not suffer from the immoral actions of their former CEO. Lex proceeded to admit that despite his failings, Mark Hanford had been a good CEO, whose big mistake was selling illegal Kryptonian technology. Later, in the privacy of his car, with only his personal assistant Mercy Graves there to hear him, Lex finished - because there were so many more interesting things that could potentially be done with it.
Due to Lex Luthor's prolific philanthropic efforts to help financially support the rebuilding of Metropolis (as well as his company, LexCorp Industries), local politicians and media personalities called the companies that left Metropolis traitors, while a growing number of corporations (including Kord Industries), inspired by Lex Luthor, decided to follow his example, with some of them who had previously planned to pull out of Metropolis reversing course, and others, that had never been in Metropolis at all, choosing to expand there. In addition, while funding the rebuilding of Metropolis, Lex also had the Lexor Hotel built, thus naming it after himself. Indeed, due to his actions, some even claimed that Lex was as much a hero to Metropolis as Superman himself. Lex, however, dismissed the comparison, claiming that the alien superhero was a figure too mysterious and controversial for him to be a good comparison, but in light of Superman's debut, Lex claimed that recognizing the importance of the "ordinary" citizens of Metropolis (such as rescue workers, first responders, and countless ordinary citizens, who also helped save others in the Battle of Metropolis) had become more important than ever.
Lex then proceeded to return to his LexCorp facility, admitting to Mercy Graves that while him not knowing much about Superman is in fact completely true, he has been "working on changing that." With those words, Lex enters a private room with CCTV screens (displaying the corpse of General Zod, the Fortress of Solitude, and a Kryptonian DNA double helix), asking Mercy to make sure he isn't disturbed, as he plans to spend the rest of the day in there.
During this time, Lex had a woman named Teri meet with Professor Garcia and another man, who discussed the video footage of Superman saving a runaway train full of passengers. Teri spoke the words spoken to her through an earpiece by Lex (who had her appear to agree with Garcia), while the latter viewed the entire meeting from another CCTV screen.Firefly was paid to blow up a merchandise warehouse in Gotham City, in order to test out the capabilities of the infamous Batman. Lex set up another CCTV at the warehouse beforehand, in order to watch events unfold.Hence, it would be around this time that Lex learns everything about Batman and Superman (notably their alter-egos, powers, abilities, physical and emotional weaknesses, relationships, and psychological profiles), as well as that of other metahumans: the immortal Amazon demigoddess Wonder Woman (a World War I era photo of whom, together with Steve Trevor's team, which he obtained with facial recognition software), the Atlantean Aquaman (footage of whom he found in the Pacific with the NSA's UUV drones), the speedster Flash (footage of whom he obtained from a Central City pharmacy's security camera), and the technologically enhanced Cyborg (footage of whom he obtained from a video log on the S.T.A.R. Labs database).
Framing Superman for Nairomi
In order to carry out his plan, Lex employs Anatoli Knyazev and his men, arms them with innovative alloy bullets, and orders them to murder all of the men of the Nairomian terrorist warlord Amajagh as soon as Superman arrives (to save a captured Lois Lane), and for Knyazev to mutilate the corpses with his flamethrower, in order to make it look like Superman had murdered them with his heat vision.
Shortly thereafter, Lex hires and blackmails a Nairomian woman, Kahina Ziri, to lie and testify against Superman's actions in Nairomi to the US Senate, giving her a specific script to follow when speaking to Senator Finch. Hence, Kahina claims that her parents were among those killed in the incident after Superman's involvement.
Meeting Finch and Barrows
Lex Luthor himself is visited at LexCorp Industries by senators Finch and Barrows, and he proposes to them the idea of using the recently acquired Kryptonite xenomineral as an official "silver bullet" deterrent against Superman, to hold him in check if the alien superhero were to ever decide to turn against humanity. In order to forge such a "silver bullet", Lex requests Finch to grant him an import license for the large piece of Kryptonite (nicknamed "Emerald City" by Lex) lying in the Indian Ocean (at the wreckage of General Zod's World Engine). Finch leaves, considering the request, while Barrows stays, clearly intrigued by Lex, and intent to continue a discussion.
Lex quickly manages to persuade the good-natured senator Barrows to grant him access to the Fortress of Solitude, and to the corpse of General Zod. Lex rewards the cooperative politician with the cherry-flavored Jolly Ranchers, and is quick to exploit his new access - taking a good look around the Fortress, and subtly peeling off the fingerprints from General Zod's corpse (with a Kryptonite-bladed scalpel).
The Red Capes are Coming
Finch promptly tells Lex that she's decided not to grant him the import license. Lex is visibly enraged and sneers, beginning to nervously tap his fingers, begins to tell her what he considers to be the "oldest lie in America", but Finch physically stops him, letting Lex know that she sees right through his altruistic façade, telling him that he can "Take a bucket of piss and call it Granny's peach tea, take a weapon of assassination and call it deterrence", but that she wouldn't "drink it." Lex gives her a sinister grin, and states that he has considered turning an old picture of his father's (depicting a battle between Heaven's angels and Hell's demons) upside down (leaving the demons above, seemingly prevailing over the angels), and enigmatically telling her that "the Red Capes are coming." Finch then promptly departs.
Meeting Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent
Lex organizes a fundraiser event at the Metropolis library, with the invited guests including Gotham City billionaire Bruce Wayne, Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent (with Lex specifically anonymously requesting Perry White that Clark be the one to attend and cover this even in the press), and Louvre Museum antiquities curator Diana Prince.
Lex, as the event's organizer, is therefore invited to make a speech. In it, he mentions the poor origins of his father, Alexander Luthor Sr. (who had once had trouble affording books in East Germany), and makes an allusion to the Ancient Greek story of how the Titan Prometheus was brutally punished by Zeus, King of the Old Gods, for enlightening humankind (much to the visible chagrin of Diana Prince, Zeus' daughter). Near the end of his speech, Lex acknowledges the "bittersweet truth" that knowledge is power, but he then suddenly stumbles over his words, internally realizing their contradiction when applied to him. Lex is then quick to end his address and excuse himself from the stage, successfully covering up his blunder.
Lex then promptly walks up to Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, interrupting their somewhat uncomfortable conversation about Batman and Superman. Lex enthusiastically introduces himself to them (aware that he is in fact speaking with Batman and Superman's alter egos), and, in order to continue slyly manipulating them into a conflict, complements the exceptional firmness of Clark's handshake, and therefore jokingly advises Bruce not "pick a fight with [Clark]." Determined to have Batman obtain the information regarding the Kryptonite and Metahuman Thesis, Lex invites Bruce to visit the LexCorp Industries research and development facilities. However, at that moment, Mercy Graves comes up and lets Lex know that a governor wants to speak to him. So Lex is forced to excuse himself, with Bruce offering to possibly visit the facilities another time. Lex's plan, however, was still successful, as Bruce still obtained the information, having uploaded it unto a hacking device, though it was temporarily borrowed from him by Diana.
Bribing Keefe and bombing the Capitol
Lex then has Knyazev organize Cesar Santos to be murdered by his fellow Blackgate Penitentiary inmates, while Lex himself pays the bail of embittered cripple Wallace Keefe (who was in the same prison as Santos) and invites him to visit his villa. Lex wants Keefe to testify against Superman in the upcoming Senate committee, and he gifts Keefe with a motorized wheelchair (made of an innovative metal alloy) to sweeten his deal.
Right after a guilt-ridden Kahina Ziri has left the US Capitol (managing to tell Senator Finch about Lex's exploitation of her), Lex arrives (just in time to see Finch whispering about Kahina's revelation to a fellow senator), and is present when Superman himself arrives to the hearing. However, before it begins, Lex asks Mercy Graves to reserve him a seat, before speaking to Senator Finch with an air of thinly-veiled condescension. Before leaving, Lex finally tells Finch the "oldest lie in America" - the belief that power can be innocent.
Shortly after the committee begins with the address of Senator Finch, Lex still hasn't arrived. Finch then suddenly notices a jar of urine standing on her desk, labelled "Granny's Peach Tea" (an epithet that she herself had used not along ago), which visibly startles her, making Finch pause mid-speech, horrified at the realization of what was about to occur. At that moment, a bomb (secretly planted inside Keefe's wheelchair by Lex) explodes, killing all present, except for the invulnerable, yet very mortified and heartbroken Superman. Because the wheelchair was lead-lined, Superman believed that it was his fault for purposely passing it. In order to tie up the last loose end, he has Knyazev permanently silence Kahina Ziri by pushing her under an incoming train, killing her.
As the news ponders over the tragedy of the bombing and speculates about Superman's possible involvement behind it, Lex ominously stands atop the LexCorp Tower, and looks at the setting sun with a gleeful sneer on his face.
Entering the Scout Ship
With Finch and Barrows out of the way and most of the public in hateful opposition to Superman, Lex finally uses the fingerprints of General Zod to enter the Fortress of Solitude, and re-insert Zod's command key into it, bringing the dormant starship online again. The AI's voice inquires if Lex intends to assume command, to which he answers affirmatively, though Lex is visibly somewhat nervous at first.
Lex quickly learns that the starship's Kryptonian archive has accumulated knowledge from 100,000 alien worlds, and he demands to be taught all of it, further enhancing his already brilliant mind to supergenius level. Among the tremendous amount of new knowledge Lex gains, he learns of the ancient Kryptonian monster Doomsday, and of invading extraterrestrial Parademon army of the New God Steppenwolf, of Steppenwolf's fearsome master Darkseid, and of the Unity. Lex seemed so excited about his discoveries concerning the New Gods and Apokolips, that he draws symbols of the 3 Mother Boxes compromising the Unity numerous times in coded notes.
Lex then decides to re-create Doomsday as a second contingency plan, in case Batman fails to bring Superman down. In order to begin the lengthy process, Lex brings in General Zod's corpse (lamenting that the Kryptonian invader had "[flown] too close to the sun") into the Genesis Chamber, cuts his own palm, and pours his own blood onto Zod's face. The starship's AI warns Lex that re-creating the fearsome monster was forbidden by the Kryptonian Law Council long ago, but Lex notes that the council is long-gone, along with its destroyed planet, and therefore orders the process to commence.
Ultimatum for Superman
While Doomsday is still forming, Lex continues his first contingency plan by having Knyazev's men kidnap Martha Kent, and later kidnap Lois Lane and bring her before him, to the top of LexCorp Tower. When joined by her, Lois angrily confronts Lex about the innovative metal fired during the Nairomi Incident, and calling him psychotic. Lex, however, dismisses that as a mere "3 syllable word for any thought too big for little minds." He then seemingly digresses, starting to talk about circles and triangles, eventually ending with Euclid's triangle inequality: "the shortest distance between any two points, is a straight path. And I believe the straightest path to Superman is a pretty little road called Lois Lane." As he utters the last word, Lex promptly pushes Lois off the ledge of LexCorp Tower.
Just as Lex had anticipated, Superman promptly arrives, saving her just in time. Superman flies back up, and angrily threatens to bring the malevolent supergenius in "without breaking [him]". However, Luthor confidently retorts by revealing that he is aware of Superman's secret identity, and proceeds to tell Clark about his views on both him and God, stating that "God is tribal." Lex then reveals that his father, Alexander Luthor Sr., while seemingly affable in public, was egregiously cruel and evil behind closed doors, thereby abusing his defenseless son with both fists and "abominations." Due to there having been no "man in the sky" to protect Lex from this suffering, he subsequently became a traumatized militant misotheist, burdened by the theological problem of evil (that if God is truly omnipotent, then He cannot be omnibenevolent, and vice versa), and concluding that power cannot be innocent. Hence, Superman (whom Lex compares to the deities Horus, Apollo, and Jehovah), due to his own godlike power, has the same problem of evil applicable to him in Lex's eyes, and Lex is now determined to prove this to the world by having him engage Batman in a mortal duel, the "greatest gladiator match in the history of the world."
When Superman attempts to refuse, Lex reveals that the former's mother, Martha Kent, is held in captivity in a top-secret location by Knyazev (producing several photos of a horrified Martha tied up with the word "Witch" written on her forehead in her own blood as proof). An incredibly furious Superman seems ready to destroy Lex with his heat vision, but the latter says that if Superman attempts to kill him or fly away, Martha will be burned alive, and the only way for Superman to save her, is to fly to Gotham City, fight and kill Batman in a vicious duel to the death, and subsequently bring the vigilante's head to Lex. Regardless of how the fight ends, however, Lex is confident that it will still expose the theological problem of evil represented by Superman - if Superman defeats and kills Batman (to save his mother's life) he will prove to be supremely powerful yet not supremely good, and if Superman loses (due to holding back, and his weakness to Kryptonite) to Batman and dies, he will prove to be supremely good yet not supremely powerful. And in turn, which ever one of the two heroes survives the mortal duel and confronts Lex, is destined to be destroyed when Lex unleashes Doomsday.
An incredibly furious Superman is left with no choice but to comply with Lex's ultimatum, and he flies off, much to the delight of Lex, who gleefully muses that now "God bends to [his] will."
Lex then goes to the Fortress of Solitude, awaiting Superman's return, as Doomsday's animation is nearing completion. As the clock reached its end, Lex picks it up from the table and casually shrugs as time runs out. Having mostly recovered from Batman's Kryptonite gas grenades, Superman flies to the Fortress and smashes through the starship's hull to face Lex. The oblivious Luthor then proceeds to the phone to contact Knyazev, only to find out that the mercenary was dead, Batman allied with Superman and Martha was safe. The malevolent supergenius, however is unfazed by the news of his failed plan, claims not to know how to lose, reaffirms his unconditional misotheistic hatred of Superman (who's "sin" is his very existance), and is quick to reveal his secret contingency plan - a massive hybrid Kryptonian monster grown from General Zod's corpse and Lex's blood, Superman's "Doomsday". Lex gleefully added that now God (represented by Superman) was "as good as dead", since the "Devil" (represented by Doomsday) would succeed in "killing God" where Batman had failed.
The gigantic monster then proceeds to swiftly break out of the ship's birthing matrix and hurls a monstrous punch at Lex. However, the punch is intercepted by Superman, who blocks and counters with a mighty blow of his own. The battling duo then proceed to break out of the Fortress, continuing their mortal duel, much to Lex's delight.
Lex's grandiose contingency plan is ultimately successful, as Superman is ultimately killed while taking down the monstrous Doomsday, to the dismay of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lois, who all witness his final heroic sacrifice.
Communion and Arrest
Shortly after Superman's death, Lois is quick to expose all of Luthor's unspeakable crimes, so a SWAT team sets out to imprison him.
As they enter the Fortress of Solitude's Genesis Chamber, the team briefly sees Lex sitting in front of a Liquid Geo projection of the massive alien New God Steppenwolf, holding three Apokoliptan Mother Boxes. However, the projection is dispersed almost at once, and Lex turns, to face them, with guns aiming all at him. The supercriminal surrenders without a fight.
Visited by Batman
Escape from Arkham
- "I was just celebrating God's return out of the ground and back up into the sky. He and his odd little friends are forming some sort of league. You better not be wasting my time. No, I have too much to live for and more important things to do. We have to level the playing field Mr Wilson. To put it plainly, Shouldn't we have a league of our own?"
- ―Lex Luthor and Deathstroke[src]
Shortly after the formation of the Justice League, resurrection of Superman, and defeat of Steppenwolf, Lex responds by deciding that this is the optimal time to enact his contingency to escape Arkham Asylum. To keep the guards none the wiser, Lex somehow had another bald male inmate put in his place – inside a straight-jacket.
With the help of off-shore accounts with spare money, Lex retreated to a lavish private yacht, with a group of female bodyguards. Shortly thereafter, Lex contacted the notorious mercenary Deathstroke, inviting him to his boat. Deathstroke, however, was cold upon arrival, warning Lex not to waste his time. Lex however, calmly pointed out that upon "God's" return, the latter and his allies had formed a league, so he inquired if the Deathstroke wished to join in the new "league of [their] own" that Lex was building in response.
- "The bittersweet pain among men is having knowledge with no power... Because that is paradoxical!"
- ―Lex Luthor[src]
Lex is phenomenally brilliant in sciences and business, as well as tactics and strategy (to the point that he claims not to know how to lose), and is thereby practically always the smartest man in a room, but his God complex persona makes Lex very envious and bitter towards the godlike alien Superman, even going so far as openly describing the latter in infernal and diabolical terms, subtly comparing Superman to a werewolf (by referring to Kryptonite as a "silver bullet"), a "flying demon" (which he uses to justify his threat of ruthlessly burning Martha Kent alive), and finally, to the biblical Satan himself, who had originated not in "Hell beneath [Lex]", but had come "from the sky" (as a fallen archangel), inducing humanity to admire him.
This immense hatred of powerful individuals with popularity seemingly stems from the great amounts of hatred and resentment that Lex harbors for his late father, Alexander Luthor Sr., as the latter, while both powerful and popular, was extremely cruel and egregious behind closed doors, physically abusing his young and helpless son with both fists and "abominations." Thus, Lex's experienced abuse, without any intervention from any "man in the sky", immensely traumatizes him, which in turn induces Lex to gain a militantly misotheistic view of God, believing that if God were omnipotent, then he logically could not be omnibenevolent and vice versa (the theological problem of evil), thereby solidifying his belief that power cannot be innocent (referring to the antithesis of that as the "oldest lie in America").
Somewhat ironically, despite his misotheism, Lex has a penchant for constantly implementing allusions to major figures of both pagan and biblical theology, with him notably comparing himself to Prometheus, General Zod to Icarus, and Superman to Zeus, Horus, Apollo, Jehovah, and Satan. He even compares himself to the biblical God in one way, claiming to hate "the sinner, not the sin", and plays God by creating the monster Doomsday. When making these allusions, however, Lex tends to cast these theologies' supreme gods in a not very discreet negative light (expertly finding the right myths for that, as he did with Zeus' punishment of Prometheus), to the point that Wonder Woman was visibly enraged by Lex's description of Zeus and the Old Gods.
Ironically, while the egregious abuse would make Lex immensely despise his father, he would eventually come to share some of his father's traits as an adult, with Lex's exceptional intelligence, ruthless malevolence, and use of an affable façade all mirroring those of Luthor Sr., though it could be argued that Lex took all of these traits even further, as he would notably become more intelligent, skilled, malevolent, and powerful than his father had ever been. Hence, Lex projects his childhood trauma and theological resentment onto the godlike Superman, determined to prove to both himself and to humanity at large that the alien superhero, while being supremely powerful, is actually not supremely good, and is in fact an abominable fraud. Hence, while Lex claims to hate "the sinner, not the sin", he specifies that Superman's sin is existing. However, Lex notably does not have the same hatred towards General Zod, and actually seems to admire him, with Lex tearfully remarking that the latter had "[flown] too close to the sun." This is most likely due the the fact that General Zod, unlike Superman, did not contradict Lex's worldview, due to Zod's godlike power being used for malevolent purposes.
Ultimately however, while Lex does somewhat admire General Zod, he proves himself to be considerably more evil than the latter, and thus an even greater enemy for Superman. Zod, after all, had initially tried to persuade Superman to side with him, and had genuinely cared for his allies (especially his closest and most trusted one, Faora), all while seeking to protect, save and resurrect what remained of his destroyed beloved world and his race, with only Zod's methods of doing this actually making him evil. Lex, by contrast, is purely evil and irredeemable, as he instantly resolves to become enemies with Superman (viewing the latter's very existence as a "sin"), was willing to become a supercriminal, committing unspeakable crimes against peace and humanity, all for the sheer purpose of destroying his archnemesis (and what the latter represents), of proving his cynical ideology and points (based in the theological problem of evil), and of reaffirming his deluded, megalomaniacal godly self-image to himself, while ultimately being egregiously egotistical, not caring about anyone other than himself, as even Doomsday (Lex's own Frankensteinian creation, whom Lex thought of as a surrogate son of sorts) and Mercy Graves (Lex's closest and most trusted ally) were ultimately disposable to him, being but means to an end. Lex even shows himself to be a psychopath on a level comparable to that of the Joker, since right before Lex is about to ruthlessly have Senator Finch killed, and later when he threatens to ruthlessly burn Martha Kent alive, Lex actually manages to find both situations funny, and cracks several sinister black humor pun jokes, with gleeful sadism. In addition, while all of Superman's other haters and detractors were guilt-ridden following his death and mourned him, with even the exceptionally amoral Amanda Waller posthumously respecting him, while even the brutal and cynical Batman was inspired by him to better himself, Lex was as gleeful as ever, in utter defiance of himself being exposed as a supercriminal and incarcerated in Belle Reve supermax.
Also, despite his purely and egregiously malevolent egotistical nature as a deceitful supercriminal, Lex views himself as a heroic, enlightening, and altruistic humanist, even comparing himself to humanity's savior Prometheus, since Lex does indeed actually firmly believe in the importance of bettering humankind to its peak, and Lex claims that he wants to "elevate the right people, the right human people" in order to "leave the planet in better shape for the next generation, to make the world and its children safer." Indeed, his LexCorp Industries mission statement is: "Let's build a better tomorrow today", while the specified one for Lex/Os is: "Help us build a more human system." Due to Batman epitomizing many of these humanist beliefs (having bettered himself both mentally and physically to his peak, without any superhuman assistance, making him capable of pulling off terrific feats without actually being superhuman), Lex somewhat admires him, despite Batman being his enemy and business rival, and Lex therefore selects the tremendously skilled vigilante to be his (discreetly manipulated) champion against Superman and the metahumans. Lex does not, however, view Batman as an equal, as he takes pride in his intellectual superiority, smugly proclaiming how easy it had been for him to deceive the vigilante into unknowingly becoming his pawn. Lex appears to respect Deathstroke for similar reasons.
Another factor of Lex's resentment towards Superman was how, all his adult life, Lex was a megalomaniac and xenophobe, determined to view himself as a superior, godlike being amongst humans (due to his phenomenal intellect and achievements), and his ego was damaged when an actual godlike being induced Lex to existentially question his own deluded self-image. Hence, much like Enchantress, Lex has a superiority complex. Due to this, Lex, despite his ability to kill Superman himself (with the acquired Kryptonite), instead waits for the opportune moment to manipulate Superman and Batman into a fierce mortal duel, in order to first discredit the Man of Steel, so as to avoid Superman becoming a martyr, and to simultaneously humiliate Superman, by having a being of godlike power killed by an ordinary man (supported by Lex' many biblical allusions when gloatingly describing the heroes' planned mortal duel). Overall, while actually sane and only feigning insanity during his Belle Reve supermax imprisonment, Lex had in fact grown increasingly unhinged, due to the existential crisis that opposing Superman induced within him.
Lex is also incredibly brave, almost completely fearless, showing no signs of fear when confronted by an angry Superman, and even when unexpectedly ambushed in his Belle Reve supermax jail cell and at the mercy of a furious Batman with a branding ring (although Lex's sneer momentarily disappeared when Batman informed him about his transfer to Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane), with Lex going so far as smugly sneering at Batman's threats, gloating over Superman's death with gleeful sadism, and equally sadistically warning Batman about the imminent coming of a new, mysterious alien invader, the New God Steppenwolf, to whom Earth is now vulnerable to, due to Superman's death.
Lex does, however, have several prominent fears, the biggest of which, even more than that of losing his own life, being his fear of losing power and control, so yet another factor of Lex's resentment towards Superman was his outrage over the latter not deserving his godlike power, while feeling that instead, he is the one that deserves it, due to Lex being a self-made man (amassing his supergenius intellect, building up LexCorp Industries, and earning himself a phenomenal fortune in a superhuman business feat) from a difficult and traumatic upbringing. Indeed, due to this existential sense of entitlement, Lex epitomizes the Easterlin Paradox - being absolutely tormented, miserable, and full of rage, despite also being tremendously rich and successful Therefore, Lex values control above all else, so much so, that he places himself above Superman, and almost asks Superman to tear him apart, in their first confrontation. Hence, when confronted with his greatest fear, Lex shows himself to be a fatalist, as he used Doomsday as his last-ditch effort to destroy his archnemesis.
While Lex's god complex does occasionally make him arrogant and overconfident, this weakness of his (unlike with supervillains like Ares, Enchantress, General Ludendorff, or Amanda Waller) is ultimately an insignificant one, as Lex's tremendous intellect and cold calculation allow him to very effectively compensate for this at almost all times, mastering almost any situation with his numerous tactical contingencies. Hence, when Senator Finch unexpectedly refuses to grant Lex an import license for the Indian Ocean Kryptonite, he promptly smuggles it in instead; when a guilt-ridden Kahina Ziri unexpectedly confesses her lies to Finch, Lex promptly has them both killed; when Batman and Superman unexpectedly stop their duel, team up and save Martha Kent, Lex promptly unleashes Doomsday upon them, killing Superman; when Lex's numerous unspeakable crimes get exposed and result in Belle Reve supermax imprisonment, Lex promptly makes himself unfit to stand trial by convincingly feigning insanity; and when Lex learns of his unexpected transfer to Arkham Asylum, he regains his confidence mere seconds later, due to Lex having adapted a contingency plan for a break-out from Arkham (and subsequent retreat to a contingency private yacht) at the optimal time. Even after Superman is resurrected from the dead more powerful than before and cements together the Justice League, Lex is as confident as ever in face of this greater challenge, and swiftly chooses this as the optimal time to escape Arkham, retreats to the contingency yacht, and meets up with Deathstroke to discuss founding "a league of [his] own".
Hence overall, Lex Luthor is extremely unpredictable, as he often has numerous back-up plans to his back-up plans, accounting for numerous possible scenarios with efficient contingencies. Indeed, Lex's unparalleled ability to plan, strategize, restrategize, and break down his opponents grants him power that surpasses even that of Superman and metahumans, since Lex's ability to predict and gather information on his many opponents allows him to easily outstrategize any of them one-on-one, thereby making it almost impossible for them to succeed against Lex. As a result, Lex caught both Batman and Superman off-guard with the revelation of his endgame - Doomsday. Even Lex's personal assistant, confidant, and right-hand woman Mercy Graves, who knew him best, was ultimately not privy to all of Lex's master plans, and therefore was unable to correctly predict his future actions.
Much like his archenemy Superman, Lex has tremendous determination and strength of will, since he absolutely refuses to ever hunker down and give up, even when placed against seemingly insurmountable odds, with Lex mastering almost any situation with his numerous tactical contingencies, and even going so far as to claim that he doesn't know how to lose. Indeed, Lex even resolves to dominate in something as trivial as a bowling game with Ron Troupe. Hence, Lex managed to successfully transform his father's company, LexCorp Industries, from a petrochemical and heavy machinery dinosaur into a cutting-edge Fortune 500 technology giant (in a stupendous, what some call a superhuman, business feat), and being willing to use illegal operations to maintain the success of his oligarchical business empire. Later, despite the seemingly impossible task of bringing down the godlike Superman without having metahuman powers himself, Lex refuses to back down from it, and resolves to utilize his phenomenal intellect to devise complex and intricate plans to bring down his archenemy, along with back-up plans, and back-up plans to his back-up plans, for good measure, with Lex ultimately succeeding in defeating and killing Superman with his personal Frankensteinian creation Doomsday.
Lex carries out this malevolent plan with cold calculation and ruthless cruelty, being quick to murder anyone who gets in his way, such as the militantly oppositional Senator Finch, his guilt-ridden pawn Kahina Ziri, his unsuspecting pawns Jimmy Olsen and Cesar Santos, his no longer useful pawns Senator Barrows and Wallace Keefe (along with the 66 other attendees of Superman's hearing), Amajagh's Nairomian soldiers, and even his own loyal assistant Mercy Graves is likewise shown to be disposable to Lex, as she is likewise killed off along with them. Lex even goes so far as to sadistically threaten to burn the kidnapped Martha Kent alive unless Superman "bows to [his] will" by killing Batman. This meticulous and brilliant plan behind Lex's ultimatum was to expose the theological problem of evil in Superman regardless of the fight's outcome - if Superman were to win and kill Batman (to save his mother's life) he would prove to be supremely powerful yet not supremely good, and if Superman were to lose (due to holding back and his weakness to Kryptonite) to Batman and die, he would prove to be supremely good yet not supremely powerful.
In the meantime, Lex continues to garner as much power as he can get his hands on, being quick to order the Fortress of Solitude to teach him all about the knowledge from 100,000 alien worlds, thereby expanding his already brilliant mind to supergenius level, finally becoming even more godlike in his own eyes. Despite the failure of his initial grand plan, Lex's far more grand and extreme contingency plan of unleashing Doomsday succeeds, with Superman seemingly being killed by the bloodthirsty monster. Indeed, Lex appears to be so satisfied with his success (as he claims not to know how to lose), that he cares little about being imprisoned for his numerous unspeakable crimes shortly thereafter, and gleefully awaits the imminent arrival of Darkseid.
Lex also has a somewhat dry, black, and sadistic sense of humor (similar to that of the Joker and General Ludendorff), and love for both witty puns and visual metaphors, shown when Lex mockingly imitated a Kentucky accent when speaking with Senator Finch; when Lex told the wheelchair-bound Wallace Keefe that he wanted to help the latter "stand" for something; when Lex claims that the shortest road to Superman is "Lois lane"; when Lex mentions "civilizations of the wane, manners out the window" to Batman (subtly revealing that he knows of Bruce Wayne being the Dark Knight's alter ego); when Lex had a jar of urine placed upon Senator Finch's desk, labelled "Granny's Peach Tea" (illustrating an epithet that she herself had used against him not along ago) before coldly murdering her with a hidden bomb; and when Lex described the upcoming battles between Superman and Batman, and later Superman and Doomsday with dramatic and sadistic glee, mockingly incorporating antique and theological metaphors (such as describing the first battle as the "greatest gladiator match in the history of the world"). In addition, Lex seems to be well-versed in American pop-culture, making quite a few references from it as well, notably "The Midnight Ride", "Alice in Wonderland", "Lolita" and the "Wizard of Oz." Following his incarceration in Belle Reve and the shaving of his head, Lex retained his sadism, but also paired it with a far more confident, cold and calculating attitude than before, in contrast to his previous darkly humorous persona.
- Genius-Level Intelligence: Lex Luthor is a supergenius of phenomenally outstanding, wunderkind level intellect (known to be a polymath and bibliophile, making numerous eclectic references), quite possibly the most intelligent human being in the world, with his phenomenally eclectic intellect virtually unrivaled, with Lex standing out even among other geniuses (notably being in many ways considerably intellectually superior even to a genius polymath like Batman, whom Lex outsmarted with ease, and with Lex referring to even the exceptionally smart and insightful Lois Lane as having a "little mind" compared to his) with his ability to master nearly any situation, usually against staggering odds, which makes the virtually peerless malevolent supergenius a worthy opponent even for Superman himself (despite his lack of metahuman powers), being as intelligent as Superman is powerful and far more intelligent than the latter despite Clark's own profilic intelligence inherited from his father Jor-El, the greatest scientist in all of Krypton and its greatest mind, making him more than able to gain the upper hand over the superhero and he was eventually able to kill him. Hence, Lex was notably not deceived by Batman's inhuman and supernatural façade (being quick to deduce via CCTV that the Dark Knight is actually only a mere man without any metahuman powers) and Flash's momentum negation mirage (still capturing footage of the speedster's powers by accessing the pharmacy's security cameras), and was able to easily outsmart and keep tabs on not only Batman, but also Aquaman, the Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman simultaneously (despite all of those metahumans, as Lex dubs them, attempting to maintain their secret identities with discreet power usage), with only Wonder Woman eventually figuring that out (due to having been tricked before by another deceitful supervillain, Ares), but even she did so too late, and was unable to figure it out fully. In addition, after entering the Fortress of Solitude, Lex orders to be taught the vast amounts of knowledge that the starship's archive had from 100,000 alien worlds, with apparent success. As such, Lex's already pheneomonal intelligence became much greater than ever, effectively a supergenius, and he now has obtained tremendous amounts of knowledge regarding extraterrestrial beings, including that of the imminent threat posed by the New God invader Steppenwolf, coming to Earth (due to the Old Gods' and Superman's deaths having left the planet vulnerable), which Lex proclaims to Batman with glee. Lex's tremendously eclectic intellect extends itself to his unparalleled leadership, tactical, strategic, demagogic, deceptive, mathematical, scientific, engineering, computer science, computer programming, cryptographic, robotics, hacking, criminology, genetics, neuroscience, political science, literary, mythological, theological, exploitative networking, and oligarchical business skills, in addition to his phenomenal idiosyncratic wordplay skills with witty puns and malapropisms (allowing Lex to subtly reveal things he is aware of, with people only realizing it when he intends them to).
- Master Tactician: Lex Luthor, as a megalomaniac, is an phenomenally formidable tactical and strategic supergenius, to the point that he claims not to know how to lose. Given his lack of metahuman powers, Lex, much like Batman, often uses cunning and planning to successfully outwit stronger and more powerful foes, gaining leverage over them rather than simply out-fighting them, often using any of their exploitable weaknesses (such as Kryptonite, Lois Lane, and Martha Kent in the case of Superman and manipulation-inducing tunnel vision in the case of Batman) to his advantage, though Lex's approach is even shown to be far more effective, intricate, and complex, and also more ruthless than Batman's, with Lex often having numerous back-up plans to his back-up plans, accounting for numerous possible scenarios with efficient contingencies, making him extradionarily versatile and unpredictable. Indeed, Lex's unparalleled ability to plan, strategize, restrategize, and break down his opponents grants him power that surpasses even that of Superman and metahumans, since Lex's ability to predict and gather information on his many opponents allows him to easily outstrategize any of them one-on-one, thereby making it almost impossible for them to succeed against Lex. And Lex is almost always tremendously successful in the long-term (claiming not to know how to lose), as even after his initial plan of having Senator Finch publicly support his Kryptonite "silver bullet" deterrent against Superman (which would have forced the godlike alien to be subjugated and forced to answer to the deterrent-wielding government) fails, Lex is unfazed, and sets a grander contingency plan into motion by changing tactics - learning everything about both Batman and Superman. This allows Lex to successfully manipulate not only Superman into killing Batman (by having Cesar Santos murdered in jail, sending Clark photos of Santos' corpse, and finally, by kidnapping Clark's mother), but also to successfully outsmart and manipulate even the extremely experienced tactical genius Batman (with Lex notably even claiming that this was an easy feat for him) into killing Superman (by sending Bruce notes with provoking "red note" messages with "from" Wallace Keefe about the death of his employees in the Black Zero Event, allowing Bruce to steal his data on Kryptonite and metahumans, and later, to steal the Kryptonite itself), without Batman ever suspecting it until after his duel with Superman was over. This meticulous and brilliant plan behind Lex's ultimatum was to expose the theological problem of evil in Superman regardless of the fight's outcome - if Superman were to win and kill Batman (to save his mother's life) he would prove to be supremely powerful yet not supremely good, and if Superman were to lose (due to holding back and his weakness to Kryptonite) to Batman and die, he would prove to be supremely good yet not supremely powerful. And even when Lex's grand contingency plan of pitting both superheroes against each other ultimately fails (and that being only due to Superman saying Martha's name just in time to stop Batman's killing blow), a once again unfazed Lex reveals his far more grand and extreme second contingency plan (by promptly unleashing the mighty monster Doomsday), a plan that ultimately succeeds in carrying out Lex's goal of killing Superman, leaving Lex victorious. Furthermore, when Batman unexpectedly has Lex transferred from Belle Reve supermax to Arkham Asylum, Lex is yet again mostly unfazed, due to him having adapted a contingency plan for a break-out (and subsequent retreat to a contingency private yacht) at the optimal time. Even after Superman is resurrected from the dead more powerful than before and cements together the Justice League, Lex is as confident as ever in face of this greater challenge, and chooses this as the optimal time to escape Arkham, retreating to the contingency yacht, and meeting up with Deathstroke to discuss founding "a league of [his] own" as a contingency against the Justice League.
- Expert Deceiver: Lex Luthor is pheneomonally skilled in deception, far surpassing even deceptive genius Batman himself in that regard, as he was, much like Ares, notably able to successfully hide his internal pure malevolence under a kindly and altruistic façade, which was convincing enough to initially fool Wallace Keefe, Senator Barrows, the extremely perceptive Senator Finch, the insightful and brilliant reporters Superman and Lois Lane, and even the extremely experienced tactical and detective genius Batman, with none of them initially suspecting him to be a psychopathic supercriminal. In addition, Lex deceived Amajagh and the entire CIA (by having Anatoli Knyazev and his men discreetly infiltrate the Nairomian warlord's ranks and incriminate Superman in the resulting bloodshed), was able to deceive the entire US Senate and general public (by having his discreetly hired manipulatee Kahina Ziri read the memorized deceitful script that Lex had written for her, while addressing the Senate and a live news reporter), was able to masterfully deceive Wallace Keefe into siding with him (by bribing him with a high-tech wheelchair and convincing him that he is a useful asset for Lex in changing the world's perception of Superman, while in fact he was a mere disposable pawn), was able to superbly deceive Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg (by successfully keeping discreet tabs on them without their knowledge, with only Wonder Woman figuring it out, but only when it was too late), was able to deceive the Fortress of Solitude's entrance into allowing him to pass (by posing as General Zod, using the fingerprints previously sliced off the latter's corpse), was able to mostly deceive the brilliant reporter Lois Lane (by leaving behind so few loose ends, that she was only able to identify him as the main supercriminal culprit behind Superman's framing after receiving some assistance from from Jenet Klyburn and Secretary of Defense Swanwick, and even then she was unable to uncover his entire endgame, until it was too late), was able to masterfully deceive Superman into perceiving Batman as a threat and into angrily confronting the latter (by having Cesar Santos murdered in jail, and anonymously sending Clark photos of Santos' corpse), was able to superbly and easily deceive even the extremely experienced Batman himself into becoming his champion against Superman (by sending Bruce notes with provoking "red note" messages with "from" Wallace Keefe about the death of his employees in the Black Zero Event, by allowing Bruce to steal his data on Kryptonite and metahumans, and later, by allowing him to steal the Kryptonite itself, thereby convincing him that he genuinely, of his own accord, wished to kill Superman, while in fact he was a mere discreetly manipulated pawn), and was able to deceive even his personal assistant Mercy Graves, who knew him best, into getting killed (by having her attend Superman's hearing and convincing her that she is his right-hand woman and confidant, privy to all of his master plans, while in fact even she was a mere disposable liability). Lex's phenomenal deception supergenius was even effective following his imprisonment in Belle Reve supermax, as Lex very convincingly feigned insanity, thereby making himself unfit to stand trial for his numerous unspeakable crimes.
- Master Escapologist: Lex Luthor, much like Joker, although he may very well be even more skilled than the psychopath, is exceptionally skilled at escaping unscathed in highly unlikely situations, with him notably somehow escaping from a straight-jacket in Arkham Asylum (covertly leaving another bald inmate in his place), and from the asylum itself without anyone noticing until it was too late, and despite Batman having promised to keep constant surveillance on Lex, with Lex having enough of a head-start to comfortably retreat to a private yacht.
- Master Demagogue: Lex Luthor is a superbly skilled demagogic supergenius (more so than even Ares and Amanda Waller), as his intention is to come off as an altruistic humanist of and for the people (with Lex comparing himself to the enlightening gift-giving figure of Prometheus), so he therefore masterfully appeals to popular desires and prejudices when addressing people, often championing the cause of the common (non-metahuman) people, with his usage of seemingly rational arguments making Lex's method even more effective. Indeed, his LexCorp Industries mission statement is: "Let's build a better tomorrow today," while the specified one for Lex/Os is: "Help us build a more human system." Lex's most notable demagogic demonstrations were when he both spearheaded prolific philanthropic efforts to rebuild Metropolis and stressed that recognizing the importance of the "ordinary" non-metahuman heroes of the city (such as the countless citizens who also helped save others during the Black Zero Event) had become more important than ever in light of Superman's debut (all of which inspired Kord Industries and other corporations to follow his example, and even made many people think of Lex Luthor as being as much a hero to Metropolis as Superman himself), when Lex easily manipulates Senator Barrows into giving high-level clearance (to both the Fortress of Solitude and General Zod's corpse) without the latter even uttering verbal consent, and when Lex attempts to manipulate Senator Finch into utilizing Kryptonite as a deterrent against Superman (by attempting to appeal to a fear of merely having to depend upon "the kindness" of Superman, who could potentially become a "monster"). It should be noted that Lex failed only with Finch, and only because the latter had been both a long-term adamant supporter of Superman and exceptionally perceptive. When openly discussing his motives with fellow supervillains, Lex is no less eloquent and persuasive.
- Master Social Intuit: Lex Luthor, as a very outspoken humanist, has an incredible degree of social confidence, allowing him to intuitively determine how to interact with others, gain their respect and get his point across with a calmness, eloquence, and charisma that belie his sadistic malevolence, megalomania, psychopathy, and actual emotional state. Hence, Lex diplomatically greeted Clark Kent upon first meeting him (despite his incredible misotheistic hatred for the latter and plot to get him killed), diplomatically stated his hopes and ambitions in an interview with Ron Troupe, and successfully appealed to the bitter Wallace Keefe, ignoring the latter's initial vulgar insults (despite merely desiring to him as a disposable pawn). In one of the extremely few instances when Lex makes a slight social blunder (by being unable to improvise a captivating fundraiser speech on the spot) it is only because his mind was otherwise occupied at the moment (with sadistic glee at all the pieces of his grand plan finally beginning to fall together), and he was visibly upset at contradicting his own ideology with a paradoxical statement, but Lex swiftly regains control of the awkward situation by politely excusing himself from the stage. Only when finally confronted by Superman does Lex not hold himself back in conversation for the first time, passionately expressing his immense misotheistic hatred for the alien superhero, and everything the latter represents to him. As a result, Lex remains extremely well-respected not only by his LexCorp Industries employees (especially Mercy Graves) and criminal allies, but (right up until Lois Lane exposes his supervillainous actions) even by most politicians and the general public. Following his incarceration in Belle Reve and the shaving of his head, Lex retained his social confidence and wit, but also paired them with a far more confident, cold and calculating attitude, in contrast to his previous darkly humorous persona.
- Master Word-Player: Lex Luthor, as a meglamoniac, is phenomenally skilled with wordplay, with it granting him the unique idiosyncratic ability to subtly reveal things that he is aware of, with people only realizing it if he intends them to (thus allowing Lex to openly and smugly flaunt his knowledge to their faces with them remaining ignorant of it all, even people as perceptive as Batman and Senator Finch), with Lex employing witty (occasionally transpositional) puns, malapropisms, discreet black humor, and layered pop-culture references.
- Master Mathematician: Lex Luthor is a supergenius mathematician, with him being able to effortlessly verbally extemporize computer code, akin to Miles Davis improvising a trumpet solo, being able to pick up on patterns others do not notice, having a penchant to make even something as casual as sports scores sound like algebraic integers, and being able to casually tie mathematical references into conversations while remaining relevant, such as with Euclid's triangle inequality in relation to Lois Lane and Superman.
- Master Scientist: Lex Luthor is a supergenius scientist, pheneomonally skilled and knowledgeable in a vast array of scientific fields (including physics, chemistry, biology, genetics, neuroscience, computer science, psychology, and many others), even more so after absorbing new knowledge from the Fortress of Solitude's Kryptonian archives (of 100,000 alien worlds), which allowed him to correctly postulate the "Metahuman Thesis" (coining the scientific term personally), to discover and re-purpose Kryptonite (coining this scientific term as well), to ultimately create the monstrous Doomsday after studying the alien corpse of General Zod, to understand the extremely powerful and futuristic Mother Boxes' function without actually observing them (subsequently making many detailed coded notes about them and the Unity, which even Batman and Alfred had trouble deciphering), and to reverse-engineer an extremely futuristic and advanced Kryptonian Genesis Chamber from the one in the Fortress.
- Master Engineer: Lex Luthor is a pheneomonally brilliant and profilic supergenius engineer, computer scientist, computer programmer, cryptographer and robotics technician, a wunderkind prodigy as a child, even more so after absorbing new knowledge from the Fortress of Solitude's Kryptonian archives (of 100,000 alien worlds), since his company, LexCorp Industries is the world's premiere one in high-technology defense innovation (surpassing Wayne Enterprises, Kord Industries, STAGG, Queen Industries, and Geschäft-Krieg), specializing in new disruptive technologies, notably creating the revolutionary new operating system Lex/OS (the world's first neural network-based operating system), the innovative alloy bullets he provided Anatoli Knyazev with, and the high-tech wheelchair he provided Wallace Keefe with, in addition to Lex being able to effortlessly verbally extemporize computer code, akin to Miles Davis improvising a trumpet solo, and also able to fully understand how to utilize extremely futuristic and sophisticated Kryptonian technology (centuries more advanced than that of Earth), and even managing to successfully integrate it with his own LexCorp technology and scientific apparatus before starting the procedure of reverse-engineering the Genesis Chamber and creating Doomsday.
- Expert Hacker: Lex Luthor, as a prolific computer scientist and programmer, is an immensely formidable supergenius hacker, cryptographer and cybercriminal, notable for his phenomenal skills of intelligence gathering, and data interpretation, his ability to hack into most computer systems without tripping any firewalls or security, as well as his superb pattern recognition and analysis skills, with Lex therefore being able to pick up on patterns others do not notice. Hence, Lex was able to hack into several Gotham City CCTVs (successfully catching shots of Batman in action, despite the latter's immense stealth skills), into a Central City pharmacy's security camera (successfully catching shots of the Flash's supersonic speed), into several high-clearance NSA UUV drones in the Pacific Ocean (successfully recording Aquaman, despite the Atlantean's attempts to destroy the drones with his trident, and avoid them, with his tremendous swimming speed), into the CIA database (learning of the CIA's intention to have Jimmy Olsen infiltrate Amajagh's Nairomian forces via Lois Lane's credentials), into the highly classified S.T.A.R. Labs video log of Dr. Silas Stone (successfully capturing footage of Cyborg's enhancement by a top-secret Apokoliptan Mother Box), and also into high-clearance government facial recognition software (successfully managing to determine that the Amazon demigoddess Wonder Woman from an old World War I photo with Steve Trevor's team, is in fact still alive as the Louvre Museum antiquities curator "Diana Prince", and also learning the secret identities of both Batman and Superman). Hence, Lex swiftly becomes one of the extreme few individuals to know not only Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash's secret identities (the first one to know the secret identities of the entire future Justice League), but also the first to learn practically everything about both Batman and Superman (notably their powers, abilities, physical and emotional weaknesses, relationships, and psychological profiles), which allowed Lex to discreetly outwit, manipulate, and gain the upper hand against both superheroes with ease.
- Expert Cryptographer: Lex Luthor is a pheneomonally skilled cryptographer supergenius, since he was able to code the writings on the notes about the Mother Boxes and their Unity to such effiency to the point that even the extremely experienced Batman and Alfred had little success deciphering them until learning additional Mother Box lore from Wonder Woman.
- Master Businessman: Lex Luthor is a pheneomonally brilliant, supergenius oligarchical businessman, a wunderkind prodigy, quite possibly the best currently alive in the world, managing to successfully transform his father's company, LexCorp Industries, from a petrochemical and heavy machinery dinosaur into a cutting-edge Fortune 500 technology giant (in a stupendous, what some call a superhuman, business feat), helping the company grow and get more business partners (notably quickly absorbing Hanford Technologies), as well as considerably expanding the already massive wealth inherited by him from his father to phenomenal levels that makes him quite possibly the wealthiest man in the world, with his wealth being great enough to easily rival, if not, surpass even the likes of Bruce Wayne and Lex's company far surpasses the latter's company, Wayne Enterprises (along with Kord Industries, STAGG, Queen Industries, and Geschäft-Krieg) in terms of R&D budget than LexCorp and in the field of military defense contracts, making LexCorp the world's premiere company in high-technology defense innovation. In fact, the genius business achievements of his father Alexander Luthor Sr. (which were very considerable in their own right) pale in comparison to the astonishingly prolific accomplishments of the younger Luthor, who became the youngest person ever to be named Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year. As a result, Lex has considerable oligarchical influence, and is extremely well-respected in the business world. Unlike Bruce Wayne however, Lex is not above secretly using ruthless cutthroat tactics, unethical practices and illegal operations (with his ties to criminal underworlds) to maintain the success of his oligarchical business empire. Indeed, Perry White feared that if threatened by Lois Lane through the press, Lex could sue the Daily Planet "out of existence" with his tremendous funds.
- Master Leader: Lex Luthor is a phenomenally skilled and brilliantly talented leader, a wunderkind prodigy, becoming the youngest person ever to be included in Fortune's list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, due to him spearheading LexCorp Industries with consistently tremendous effectiveness. After breaking out of Arkham Asylum, Lex is confident in his ability to bring together and lead "a league of [his] own" against Superman and the Justice League.
- Expert Criminologist: Lex Luthor, quite ironically, is an extremely skilled and knowledgeable criminologist, at least on par with, if not even superior to, that of Batman, since he has great insight into and understanding of Gotham City's criminals and their mindsets, which allows him to understand how Batman consistently overpowers and undermines their operations. As a result, Lex is superbly adept at keeping his own supercriminal status covert (even from Batman), keeping his oligarchical business empire booming with illegal operations (thanks to his ties to criminal underworlds), and easily orchestrating the death of Cesar Santos in Blackgate Penitentiary, at the hands of the latter's fellow inmates.
- Expert Literarian: Lex Luthor, as a famous bibliophile, has an encyclopedic knowledge of literary works, with him being particularly well versed in American pop culture, notably hosting a fundraiser for the Metropolis Public Library, being famously recognized as a true friend of said library, and making numerous layered references to various books in conversation, including "The Midnight Ride", "Alice in Wonderland", "Lolita" and the "Wizard of Oz."
- Master Theologian and Mythologist: Lex Luthor, despite being a militant misotheist, has an encyclopedic knowledge of both pagan (particularly Egyptian and Greco-Roman) and biblical creeds, myths, and theology, as he is able to understand how metahumans are the basis of many pagan myths (with Enchantress and Incubus notably inspiring the pagan myths of the ancient Pre-Columbian Maya and Incas), and he also has a penchant for constantly implementing allusions to major figures of those theologies. Notably, he compares himself to Prometheus, General Zod to Icarus, and Superman to Zeus, Horus, Apollo, Jehovah, and Satan. Lex even compares himself to the biblical God in one way, claiming to hate "the sinner, not the sin", and plays God by creating the monster Doomsday. When making these allusions, however, Lex tends to cast these theologies' supreme gods in a not very discreet negative light (expertly finding the right myths for that, as he did with Zeus' punishment of Prometheus), to the point that Wonder Woman was visibly enraged by Lex's description of Zeus and the Old Gods.
- Master Political Scientist: Lex, as an oligarchical supergenius businessman, has a pheneomonal understanding of political science, such as the inner workings and intended goals of both political structures and intelligence agencies - notably the US government (whose Senate Lex easily deceived and manipulated), ARGUS (being privy to Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad pitch to the Pentagon, understanding her motives), and the CIA (whose covert Nairomian operation, with Jimmy Olsen, Lex easily thwarted without detection). Hence, Lex fully understood the paradigm shift that the goals of modern politics took after the emergence of Superman and metahumans, with him expertly using this to his own benefit, by openly addressing the newfound political concerns in a demagogic speech when meeting Senators Finch and Barrows, and then effortlessly manipulating Barrows into granting him high clearance. Indeed, Ron Troupe would go so far as to say that Lex's ideology of humanism makes the latter sound like someone running for political office.
- Master Networker: Lex Luthor, as a supergenius manipulator, deceiver, and oligarch, uses a vastly dense network of professional and social contacts to further both his business and supervillain ambitions with outstanding skill. This is notable through his influence of prominent politicians (like Senator Barrows), other supervillains (like Deathstroke), other powerful companies (like Kord Industries), powerful intelligence agencies (like ARGUS, the CIA, FBI, and NSA), and formidable criminal underworlds (like Anatoli Knyazev and his men), as well as his many covert moles and pawns in various places (like Teri, Wallace Keefe, Cesar Santos, Jimmy Olsen, Kahina Ziri, Mercy Graves, and Batman) that do Lex's malevolent bidding for him, sometimes unknowingly. Hence, Lex is able to discreetly keep tabs on numerous people and things that interest him, was able to illegally smuggle in a Kryptonite nugget into the United States of America (to a LexCorp facility), and have Blackgate Penitentiary inmates murder Cesar Santos in prison, without any of it getting tied to Lex. Indeed, Lex seems to remain confident in his eclectic network even when imprisoned in Belle Reve supermax, and later Arkham Asylum, and indeed he manages to quickly contact Deathstroke following his escape from the asylum.
- Eidetic Memory: Lex Luthor, as a supergenius, has a photographic memory and perfect recall, which greatly aided him in mastering a vast array of eclectic fields to the highest level as a polymath, while also allowing him to make numerous layered references (to pop-culture, to biblical and pagan theology, to mathematics, to computer science, to famous books, and etc.), and to know seemingly random facts, such as the scores of recent basketball games.
- Expert Basketballer: Lex Luthor, despite his relatively short stature, is a highly accomplished basketballer, easily scoring while in his personal LexCorp basketball court, and he apparently fancies the sport and has great knowledge of it in general, quoting the score of a recent (Metros vs Guardsmen) basketball game while interviewed by Ron Troupe.
- Expert Bowler: Lex Luthor is a highly skilled bowler, confident in his ability to "destroy" Ron Troupe in a game.
- Indomitable Will: Lex Luthor, much like his archenemy Superman, has tremendous determination, fearlessness, and strength of will, since he absolutely refuses to ever hunker down and give up, even when placed against seemingly insurmountable odds, with Lex mastering almost any situation with his numerous tactical contingencies, and even going so far as to claim that he doesn't know how to lose. Indeed, Lex even resolves to dominate in something as trivial as a bowling game with Ron Troupe. Hence, Lex managed to successfully transform his father's company, LexCorp Industries, from a petrochemical and heavy machinery dinosaur into a cutting-edge Fortune 500 technology giant (in a stupendous, what some call a superhuman, business feat), and being willing to use illegal operations to maintain the success of his oligarchical business empire. Later, despite the seemingly impossible task of bringing down the godlike Superman without having metahuman powers himself, Lex refuses to back down from it, and resolves to utilize his phenomenal intellect to devise complex and intricate plans to bring down his archenemy, along with back-up plans, and back-up plans to his back-up plans, for good measure, with Lex ultimately succeeding in defeating and killing Superman with his personal creation Doomsday. Lex remains fearless and incredibly resolute even while imprisoned in Belle Reve supermax, and confronted in his cell by Batman, only showing unease at the news of being transferred to Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, but nonetheless swiftly regaining his confidence mere seconds later even then, due to Lex having adapted a contingency plan for a break-out from Arkham (and subsequent retreat to a contingency private yacht) at the optimal time. Even after Superman is resurrected from the dead more powerful than before and cements together the Justice League, Lex is as confident as ever in face of this greater challenge, and swiftly chooses this as the optimal time to escape Arkham, retreats to the contingency yacht, and meets up with Deathstroke to discuss founding "a league of [his] own".
- Human Vulnerabilities: Lex Luthor's greatest weakness is that he is a human with no enhanced strength, speed, durability, or metahuman powers, therefore making him quite vulnerable to the physical attacks of stronger and more powerful opponents. Lex, however, usually compensates for this quite well with his tremendous intellect, since when he first directly faced Superman, while the latter was easily capable of "taking [Lex] in without breaking [him]", and of destroying Lex with his heat vision, Lex's phenomenal tactical genius had accounted for this in advance, and rendered Superman unable to do so, since if Superman were to injure or kill Lex, Superman's mother Martha Kent would be brutally killed by Lex's loyalist Knyazev. This, in turn, empowered Lex to issue his ultimatum to Superman. When faced by the godlike alien for the second time, Lex again avoided defeat by unleashing his monstrous creation Doomsday against him just in time. In addition, Lex compensates with incredible escapology skills, with him notably somehow escaping from a straight-jacket in Arkham Asylum, and from the asylum itself without anyone noticing until it was too late.
- Arrogance: Lex Luthor's other main weakness is his overconfidence and arrogance (stemming from his megalomania and god complex), with him even going so far as to claim that he doesn't know how to lose. Hence, Lex is somewhat caught off-guard when an unexpected turn of events causes his plans to not work out the way he intended and he is forced to resort to one of his contingency plans. However (unlike with supervillains like Ares, Enchantress, General Ludendorff, or Amanda Waller), this weakness of his is ultimately an insignificant one, as Lex's tremendous intellect and cold calculation allow him to very effectively compensate for this at almost all times, mastering almost any situation with his numerous tactical contingencies. Hence, when Senator Finch unexpectedly refuses to grant Lex an import license for the Indian Ocean Kryptonite, he promptly smuggles it in instead; when a guilt-ridden Kahina Ziri unexpectedly confesses her lies to Finch, Lex promptly has them both killed; when Batman and Superman unexpectedly stop their duel, team up and save Martha Kent, Lex promptly unleashes Doomsday upon them, killing Superman; when Lex's numerous unspeakable crimes get exposed and result in both Belle Reve supermax imprisonment and the possibility of execution, Lex promptly makes himself unfit to stand trial by convincingly feigning insanity; and when he learns of his unexpected transfer to Arkham Asylum, Lex regains his confidence mere seconds later, due to Lex having adapted a contingency plan for a break-out from Arkham at the optimal time - indeed, Lex chooses to break out of Arkham after Superman's resurrection and the establishment of the Justice League.
As the CEO of LexCorp Industries, Lex Luthor has earned himself a phenomenal fortune (considerably expanding upon that which he has inherited from his father, Alexander Luthor Sr.), making himself one of the wealthiest people in the world, rivaled only by extreme few (like his business rival Bruce Wayne), with Lex renting the opulent Royal Penthouse Suite at the Park Metropolis Downtown (with 11 lavish bedrooms, each with its own floor-to-ceiling Italian marble bath, a 100-seat cinema/lecture hall, a four-lane bowling alley, twin helipads and its own private Caffè Bene) just for his 15 minute interview with Ron Troupe, greatly financially contributing to the post-Black Zero Event rebuilding of Metropolis (naming the new Lexor Hotel after himself in the process), and with Perry White fearing that if threatened by Lois Lane through the press, Lex could sue the Daily Planet "out of existence" with his tremendous funds. Also, his inheritance and wealth allows Lex access to some of the most sophisticated technology in the world, as well as some other useful equipment, some of it innovative and futuristic. These resources, along with his immensely formidable hacking (enough to discreetly learn classified secrets from the CIA, FBI, NSA, DARPA, ARGUS, and S.T.A.R. Labs databases) and exploitative networking skills (enough to influence prominent politicians, other powerful companies, intelligence agencies, and criminal underworlds), allow Lex to be extremely well-informed in regards to individuals (be they human, metahuman, or otherworldly) who could potentially pose a threat to him (allowing Lex to keep discreet tabs on all of the future Justice League members, among others), along with Lex's knowledge of many, classified, global security secrets. Hence, Lex is one of the extreme few to know the secret identities of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash, being one of the extreme few to know of Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad idea before it's implementation, and also being the first known human on Earth to learn the Fortress of Solitude's knowledge of 100,000 alien worlds (thus learning of Doomsday, of Steppenwolf's imminent invasion, and of the Unity). Despite having not yet regained control of LexCorp Industries following his escape from Arkham Asylum, Lex still seemingly had enough money in off-shore accounts to comfortably retreat to a private yacht, with a group of female bodyguards.
- Yacht: An opulent private yacht, equipped with a swimming pool and a group of femle bodyguards. Lex boards it after escaping from Arkham Asylum, and meets with Deathstroke in it.
- Kryptonite: A glowing green radioactive xenomineral from the planet of Krypton, discovered in the the Indian Ocean, a side effect of the World Engine's attack. As Kryptonite is the greatest weakness of all Kryptonians, Lex effectively wields it against them, with him using it to peel off the fingerprints from General Zod's corpse. It is later stolen and weaponized by Batman (turned into the Kryptonite spear), just as Lex had intended.
- Kryptonite Scalpel: An innovative extremely sharp bladed instrument, with a blade of Kryptonite xenomineral, capable of cutting right through Kryptonians, with Lex using it to peel off the fingerprints from General Zod's corpse, so as the enter the Fortress of Solitude.
- Wheelchair: A fancy high-tech a chair with wheels, capable of quick rotation, with Lex using it to easily bribe Wallace Keefe into testifying against Superman. As noted by Jenet Klyburn, the wheelchair was composed of the same innovative unknown metal alloy as the LexCorp bullets, while it's interior was lined with lead (so as to render the bomb concealed within invisible to Superman's X-ray vision).
- Innovative Alloy Bullets: Sophisticated high-caliber bullets, produced by LexCorp Industries, and supplied to Anatoli Knyazev and his men by Lex, used by them in Nairomi. As noted by Jenet Klyburn, they are composed of an unknown innovative metal alloy.
- Lex/Os: Revolutionary new high-speed computer operating system developed by LexCorp (it's mission statement being: "Help us build a more human system"), the world's first neural network-based operating system, capable of gradually becoming more and more intelligent each time human beta testers volunteer.
- CCTVs: Many video cameras that Lex has a penchant for setting up in locations of interest, in order to watch events unfold from within his private room in the LexCorp facility. He has thus successfully spied on Batman, Professor Garcia's footage of Superman, research on the corpse of General Zod, as well as the Fortress of Solitude. He is later revealed to have also successfully spied and kept tabs on the Amazon demigoddess Wonder Woman, the Atlantean Aquaman, the speedster Flash, and the mechanically enhanced Cyborg, with Lex dubbing them all "metahumans".
- Lex is the first person in the DCEU to coin the terms "metahuman" and "Kryptonite".
- Lex, Superman, and Deathstroke share the same middle name: "Joseph".
- Lex is the youngest person ever to be both named Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year and included on the magazine’s list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
Behind the scenes
- This version of Lex Luthor is inspired by the comics Adventure Comics #271 and real life Silicon Valley CEOs.
- Lex is 31 in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, four years younger than Superman, when in most forms of media, he is either slightly or much older than Superman.
- Before Jesse Eisenberg was casted as Lex Luthor, Tom Hanks were in early talks for the role of Lex Luthor. Later on Matt Damon, Bradley Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix, Adam Driver and Jean Dujardin were on the final shortlist for the role.
- Jesse Eisenberg was uncredited for his appearance in Justice League.
- Lex Luthor in the DC Extended Universe is the sixth live-action incarnation of the character, following incarnations portrayed by Lyle Talbot, Gene Hackman, John Shea, Michael Rosenbaum and Kevin Spacey.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Wallace, Daniel (February 16, 2016). Time Out Shortlist Gotham and Metropolis (Metropolis). United States: Time Out. p. 45.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Lex Luthor Jr.: Not Just His Father’s LexCorp - Fortune
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Lexical Analysis
- ↑ Gage, Christos (w), Bennett, Joe (p), Parsons, Sean (i), Hi-Fi (col), Bennett, Deron (let) & Antone, Alex (ed). "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Lois Lane" Warner Bros. Pictures Presents Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2: (January 2016), Burbank, CA: DC Comics
- ↑ Metropolis - Turkish Airlines
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Gage, Christos (w), Bennett, Joe (p), Parsons, Sean (i), Hi-Fi (col), Bennett, Deron (let) & Antone, Alex (ed). "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Lex Luthor" Warner Bros. Pictures Presents Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 5: (January 2016), Burbank, CA: DC Comics
- ↑ Gage, Christos (w), Bennett, Joe (p), Parsons, Sean (i), Hi-Fi (col), Bennett, Deron (let) & Antone, Alex (ed). "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Superman" Warner Bros. Pictures Presents Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 4: (January 2016), Burbank, CA: DC Comics
- ↑ Gage, Christos (w), Bennett, Joe (p), Parsons, Sean (i), Hi-Fi (col), Bennett, Deron (let) & Antone, Alex (ed). "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Batman" Warner Bros. Pictures Presents Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 1: (January 2016), Burbank, CA: DC Comics
- ↑ Terrio, Chris, Whedon, Joss (writers) & Snyder, Zack (director) (November 17, 2017). Justice League.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 The Empire of Luthor - Batman vs Superman
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 MOSAIC Episode 50 - Endgame
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 “BATMAN V SUPERMAN” LAUNCH VIRAL LEXCORP WEBSITE
- ↑ Metropolis - Turkish Airlines
- ↑ Everything That All 5 Chapters of the Prequel Comic Taught Us About the World of Batman v Superman
Alexander Luthor Sr.
|CEO of LexCorp Industries|
c. after 2000–present