Lex Luthor is known as the Great Man of Steel Superman's arch enemy. Lex Luthor is president of the United States. He is currently leader along with the Joker of the DC Universe Villains.
Origin and Popularity Edit
The character was originally depicted as a mad scientist who, in the vein of pulp novels, wreaks havoc on the world with his futuristic weaponry. In his earliest appearances, Luthor is shown with a full head of red hair; despite this, the character later became hairless as the result of an artist's mistake. A 1960 story by Jerry Siegel expanded upon Luthor's origin and motivations, revealing him to be a childhood friend of Superboy who lost his hair in a chemical spill.
Following the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the character was re-imagined as a Machiavellian industrialist and white-collar criminal, even briefly serving as President of the United States. In recent years, various writers have revived Luthor's mad scientist persona from the 1940s. The character as ranked as the eighth greatest villain by Wizard on its "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list. IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villians Of All Time List ranked Lex Luthor as #1.
Creation and Dvelopment Edit
By some accounts, the seeds for Luthor's character first appeared in The Reign of the Super-Man, also written by Siegel and Shuster. In the original short story, a bald scientist uses a piece of alien meteor to give a vagrant named Bill Dunn telepathic abilities, which Dunn abuses for personal gain. Although Luthor would not appear until two years after Superman's debut, a central theme to his character—a dichotomy of science versus superpowers—was in place. The character's original incarnation, as drawn by Joe Shuster, appeared only twice between 1940-1941. In his debut, "Luthor" (who is referred to only by his surname) is a wily genius who resides in a flying city suspended by a dirigible. Having taken control of several European countries through his machinations, he tries to provoke a war between the two fictional nations of Galonia and Toran, but is stopped by Superman.
In his earliest appearances, Luthor is shown as a middle-aged man with a full head of red hair. Less than a year later, however, an artistic goof resulted in Luthor being depicted as completely bald in a newspaper strip. The original error is attributed to Leo Novak, a studio artist who illustrated for the Superman dailies during this period. One theory is that Novak mistook Luthor for the Ultra-Humanite, a frequent foe of Superman who, in his Golden Age incarnation, resembled a balding, elderly man. Other evidence suggests Luthor's design was confused with that of a stockier, bald henchman in Superman (vol. 1) #4 (1940); Luthor's next appearance occurs in Superman (vol. 1) #10 (1941), in which Novak depicted him as significantly heavier, with visible jowls. The character's abrupt hair loss has been made reference to several times over the course of his history. When the concept of the DC multiverse began to take hold, Luthor's red-haired incarnation was rewritten as Alexei Luthor, Lex's counterpart from a parallel universe. In 1960, writer Jerry Siegel altered Luthor's backstory to incorporate his hair loss into his origin.
In the origin story printed in Adventure Comics #271 (1960), young Lex Luthor is shown as an aspiring scientist who resides in Smallville, the hometown of Superboy. Luthor saves Superboy from a chance encounter with Kryptonite. In gratitude Superboy builds Luthor a laboratory, where weeks later he manages to create an artificial form of life. Grateful in turn to Superboy, Luthor creates an antidote for Kryptonite poisoning. However, an accidental fire breaks out in Luthor's lab. Superboy uses his super-breath to extinguish the flames, inadvertently spilling chemicals which cause Luthor to go bald; in the process, he also destroys Luthor's artificial life form. Believing Superboy intentionally destroyed his discoveries, Luthor attributes his actions to jealousy and vows revenge. That revenge first came in the form of grandiose engineering projects in Smallville to prove his superiority over the superhero, only to have each go disastrously out of control and require Superboy's intervention. The mounting embarrassments further deepen Lex's hate for Superboy for supposedly further humiliating him and he unsuccessfully attempted to murder the superhero. This revised origin makes Luthor's fight with Superman a personal one, and suggests that if events had unfolded differently, Luthor might have been a more noble person. These elements were played up in various stories throughout the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Elliot S. Maggin's novel Last Son of Krypton.
In the 1986 limited series The Man of Steel, John Byrne rewrote Lex Luthor from scratch, intending to make him a villain that the 1980s would recognize: an evil corporate executive. Initially brutish and overweight, the character later evolved into a sleeker, more athletic version of his old self. In a example indicative of Byrne's realistic approach, Luthor is no longer recounted as having lost his hair in a chemical fire; rather, his hairline is shown to be receding naturally over time. Collaborator Marv Wolfman recalled:
|“||I never believed the original Luthor. Every story would begin with him breaking out of prison, finding some giant robot in an old lab he hid somewhere, and then he'd be defeated. My view was if he could afford all those labs and giant robots he wouldn't need to rob banks. I also thought later that Luthor should not have super powers. Every other villain had super powers. Luthor's power was his mind. He needed to be smarter than Superman. Superman's powers had to be useless against him because they couldn't physically fight each other and Superman was simply not as smart as Luthor.||”|
The Modern Age Lex Luthor is a product of child abuse and early poverty. Born in the Suicide Slum district of Metropolis, he is instilled with a desire to become a self-made man. As a teenager, he takes out a large insurance policy on his parents without their knowledge, then sabotages their car's brakes, causing their deaths. Upon graduating from MIT, Luthor founds his own business, LexCorp, which grows to dominate much of Metropolis.
Luthor does not physically appear in The Man of Steel until the fourth issue, which takes place over a year after Superman's arrival in Metropolis. When Lois Lane and Clark Kent are invited to a society gala aboard Luthor's yacht, terrorists seize the ship without warning, forcing Superman to intervene. Luthor observes Superman in action, and once the gunmen are dispatched, hands the hero a personal check in an attempt to hire him. But when Luthor admits that he had not only anticipated the attack, but had arranged for it to occur in order to lure Superman out, the Mayor deputizes Superman to arrest Luthor for reckless endangerment. This, coupled with the indignation that Superman is the only person he could not buy off, threaten, or otherwise control, results in Luthor's pledge to destroy Superman at any cost.
Despite general acceptance of Byrne and Wolfman's characterization, as evidenced by subsequent adaptations in other media, some writers have called for a return to Luthor's original status as a mad scientist. Regarding the character's effectiveness as a corrupt billionaire, author Neil Gaiman commented:
|“||It's a pity Lex Luthor has become a multinationalist; I liked him better as a bald scientist. He was in prison, but they couldn't put his mind in prison. Now he's just a skinny Kingpin.||”|
Luthor's romantic aspirations toward Lois Lane, established early on in the series, become a focal point of the stories immediately following it. He is shown making repeated attempts to court her during The Man of Steel, though Lois plainly does not return his feelings. Marv Wolfman originally planned for the two to have been engaged, with Lois leaving him for Superman, giving Luthor another reason to hate his foe.
Superman: Birthright, a limited series written by Mark Waid in 2004, offers an alternate look at Luthor's history, including his youth in Smallville and his first encounter with Superman. The story has similarities to the 2001 television series Smallville, which follows Clark Kent's life as a teenager and into early manhood; among the elements shared with the show is Lex Luthor's problematic relationship with his wealthy father, Lionel. Birthright also reinvents the Silver Age concept of Luthor befriending Clark Kent as a young man. During a failed attempt to communicate with Krypton, an explosion erupts which singes off Luthor's hair. Waid's original intention was to jettison the notion of Lex Luthor being an evil businessman, restoring his status as a mad scientist. However, he ultimately conceded that the CEO Luthor would be easier for readers to recognize. In Birthright, Luthor remains a wealthy corporate magnate; in contrast to Byrne's characterization, however, LexCorp is founded upon Luthor's study of extraterrestrial life, thereby providing a link between himself and Superman. In the retrospective section of the Superman: Birthright trade paperback, Waid explains:
|“||Despite my own personal predjudices, I say we leave Lex the criminal businessman he's been for the past 17 years. The Lois & Clark producers liked it, the WB cartoon guys liked it... so clearly, it works on some level. My concern is that, at least in my eyes, the fact that Luthor's allowed to operate uncontested for years makes Superman look ineffectual.||”|
Birthright was initially intended to establish a new origin for Superman and Luthor. However, the canonicity of the series was eventually discredited by stories which followed it, to Waid's disappointment. A concise biography for Luthor, later outlined in Action Comics #850, first appeared in the 2007 limited series Countdown to Final Crisis. Luthor's current origin appears to be a synthesis of aspects from Silver Age continuity and The Man of Steel mini-series. Recent changes to DC Comics continuity were revealed to have been a result of the 2005 Infinite Crisis mini-series.
As outlined in a backup proflie in the 52 weekly series, the post-Action Comics #850 Lex Luthor of current continuity is the son of business mogul Lionel Luthor and his socialite spouse, Leticia. As shown previously in Superman: Birthright and the pre-Crisis stories, he spends part of his adolescence in Smallville, Kansas. It is here that Luthor comes into acquaintance with Clark Kent, Lana Lang, and Pete Ross. He is described as having left Smallville "under a cloud of rumor and suspicion." He later resurfaces in Metropolis and founds LexCorp. Luthor's rise to the Presidency and his removal from office are also recounted in this biography, however contrary to Birthright his hair is once again shown to have naturally receded over time, as also shown in The Man of Steel.
In the pre-Crisis continuity, Lex Luthor's driving ambitions are to kill Superman and enslave Earth as a stepping stone to dominating the universe. In Action Comics #271 (1960), Superman acknowledges that Luthor "could have been a mighty force for good in the world, yet he chose to direct his great scientific brain into criminal channels." Although none of his attempts to kill Superman work permanently (though a classic non-canonical story from 1961 entitled "The Death of Superman" has Luthor finally killing Superman after lulling him by pretending to go straight), Luthor routinely manages to escape from prison and threaten the world again.
Though he is a noted criminal on Earth, Luthor is revered on the alien world of Lexor, where he rediscovered the planet's lost technology and rebuilt society for its inhabitants. As a result, he becomes a hero in the eyes of Lexor's people, whereas Superman is detested as a villain. He eventually marries a local woman named Ardora, with whom he fathers a son. After its debut, Lexor appears sporadically in various Superman comics as Luthor's base of operations, where he wages assaults on Superman. During one such battle, an energy salvo from Luthor's battle suit accidentally overloads the "Neutrarod"—a spire Luthor had built to counter Lexor's geological instability—resulting in the annihilation of Lexor's inhabitants, including his wife and son. Luthor eventually returns to Earth, unable to accept his own role in Lexor's destruction and blaming Superman for it.
During the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Luthor allies himself with fellow Superman foe Brainiac to recruit an army of supervillains spanning the DC Multiverse, intending to take advantage of the confusion caused by the Crisis. However, once it becomes clear that it is as much in their interests to save the multiverse as anyone else's, Luthor and Brainiac reluctantly ally their faction with Superman and the other heroes. At the conclusion of the series, reality is altered so that each of the different universes fall into their proper place, converging into one. Afterward, Luthor is subsequently returned to prison with all his memories of the alliance forgotten. Luthor's trademark battlesuit from this era—a heavily-armored, flight-capable suit with kryptonite fixtures embedded in its gauntlets—has reappeared in recent continuity, most notably during Infinite Crisis.
As part of the continuity changes which followed The Man of Steel, Luthor is shown actively participating in the creation of two Superman villains, Bizarro (the failed result of an attempt to clone Superman) and the cyborg Metallo. Upon discovering that Metallo is powered by a 'heart' of kryptonite rock in Superman (vol. 2) #2, Luthor steals it in order to fashion a kryptonite ring for himself. He wears the alien ore around his finger as a symbol that he is untouchable, even to the Man of Steel. Luthor eventually suffers from a severe cancer brought on by long-term radiation exposure to the ring; before this, kryptonite was mistakenly assumed to produce a 'clean' radiation that is harmless to humans. His hand requires amputation to prevent the cancer's spread, but by then it has already metastasized, and his condition is terminal.
Luthor decides to fake his own death by boarding a jet on a proposed trip around the world and crashing it in the Andes; this is merely a cover for the removal of his brain from his cancer-ridden body and the growth of a cloned body around it, whereupon he passes himself off as his hitherto unknown, illegitimate 21-year-old son and heir, Lex Luthor II. His deception is benefited by a vibrant new body with a beard and full head of red hair, as well as assuming an Australian accent as part of his fake backstory. Luthor II inherits control of LexCorp and seduces the then current Supergirl, Matrix, due to his resemblance to her creator. Luthor's clone body eventually begins to deteriorate and age (and lose its hair) at a rapid rate, a side-effect of a disease that affects all clones. Meanwhile, Lois Lane discovers proof of Luthor's clone harvesting and false identity; with help from Superman, she exposes the truth, and a despondent Matrix helps to apprehend Luthor. In the end, Luthor becomes a permanent prisoner in his own body, unable to even blink, and swearing vengeance on Superman.
Aid comes in the form of the demon Neron; Luthor is offered full health in exchange for services and his soul. Not believing in the existence of souls, he agrees. Returning to Metropolis, Luthor freely turns himself over to the police and is put on trial. He is acquitted on all counts when Luthor claims to have been kidnapped by renegade scientists from Cadmus Labs, who replaced him with a violent clone that is allegedly responsible for all the crimes Luthor is charged with.
Deciding to turn to politics, Luthor becomes President of the United States, winning the election on a platform of promoting technological progress. His first action as president was to take a proposed moratorium on fossil-based fuels to the U.S. Congress.
Luthor is assisted by the extreme unpopularity of the previous administration's mishandling of the Gotham City earthquake crisis. After six months, Gotham is restored and rejoins America. Ironically, Batman ultimately learns that the entire debacle was the fault of Luthor alone as he attempted to take control of Gotham by forging deeds for the land in his name, which results in Bruce Wayne severing all commercial ties between the U.S. government and his company, Wayne Enterprises, in protest of Luthor's election as President. Luthor responds in turn by arranging for the murder of Wayne's lover, Vesper Fairchild, and framing Wayne for the murder.
An early triumph of Luthor's first term occurs during the Our Worlds At War comic book crossover, in which he coordinates the U.S. Army, Earth's superheroes and a number of untrustworthy alien forces to battle the main villain of the story arc, Imperiex. As it is eventually revealed, however, Luthor knew about the alien invasion in advance and did nothing to alert Earth's heroes to it, leading to Topeka, Kansas being destroyed by an Imperiex probe.
A cadre of superheroes eventually break ranks from the Justice League to oppose Luthor. Batman, who had previously forbade any attempt to unseat Luthor from office by force, led the storming of the White House. This was predicated by an attempt on Luthor's part to link Superman to a kryptonite asteroid that is hurtling toward Earth. In a desperate gambit, Luthor uses a variant combination of the "super-steroid" Venom (a chemical associated with the Batman villain Bane), liquid synthetic Kryptonite, and an Apokoliptian battlesuit to fight Superman directly.
The madness that is a side effect of Venom takes hold, and during the ensuing fight with Superman and Batman, Luthor admits he had traded the creature Doomsday to Darkseid in return for weapons during the Our Worlds at War crisis; in doing so, he inadvertently provides a confession which is captured on video by Batman. Returning to the LexCorp building to regroup, Luthor finds that the acting C.E.O., Talia Head, has sold the entirety of the company assets to the Wayne Foundation, forcing Luthor to escape and go into hiding. Following Luthor's bankruptcy and total disgrace, Vice President Pete Ross briefly assumes his place as President. Based on the official DC timeline, Luthor serves fewer than three years.
Alexander Luthor, Jr., the son of Earth-Three's Lex Luthor, returned to the DC Universe along with other survivors from Crisis on Infinite Earths as part of a scheme to create a perfect Earth, under the pretense of restoring Earth-Two. To this end, he assumed Luthor's identity and created a new Secret Society of Super Villains. In response, the real Luthor took on the identity of Mockingbird and formed a supervillain version of the Secret Six in order to counter Alexander's organization.
Luthor confronts his impostor In Infinite Crisis #3, but is intercepted by Superboy-Prime, who is allied with Alexander. Luthor later visits Conner Kent, who is in recovery at Titans Tower. He slips Conner a crystal shard which shows the location of Alexander's Arctic Fortress. At the end of Infinite Crisis #7, Luthor oversees Alexander's execution at the hands of the Joker.
In the opening weeks of 52, the Gotham City Police Department finds what appears to be Luthor's body in an alley. John Henry Irons examines the body at S.T.A.R. Labs and notes that the corpse was altered postmortem to make it resemble Lex Luthor. During a press conference, the genuine Luthor publicly states that the body is that of an impostor from another Earth, and the true culprit of the crimes with which Luthor is being charged. Though Alexander's body had a missing finger and a different appearance from Lex at the time of his death, 52 editor Stephen Wacker has confirmed that the body found in Gotham is indeed Alex, and that Luthor had it altered before the police discovered it.
Luthor immediately sets out to build a church, which he names the Luthoran Church; he becomes spokesman for a new procedure, created by the Everyman Project, that engineers ordinary citizens to develop superpowers. During the autopsy of Alex Luthor, he secretly exposes John to the chemicals involved in his creating his new army of super-heroes, turning John into a literal man of steel. When approached by John's niece Natasha Irons, Luthor gladly allows her to be one of his first test subjects. Using Natasha and several other volunteers, Luthor forms his own team of superheroes which are introduced as the new Infinity Inc. In Week 21, Infinity Inc. is in the midst of a battle with Blockbuster (which Luthor has created as well), when he demonstrates that he can 'shut off' the powers of each of his agents; this results in the death of his speedster, Trajectory.
At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Luthor sets in motion a calculated plot to discredit Supernova, a new hero who has taken over defending Metropolis in Superman's absence. Luthor triggers a mass-shutdown of the powers of everyone who has undertaken the Everyman program, except for the members of Infinity Inc. As multiple flight-powered Everymen plummet to their deaths, underground gas mains rupture from the impact, which adds civilians to the death toll. Luthor's plot ultimately fails when Supernova is able to minimize the disaster with a spectacular rescue.
While investigating Luthor in order to root out his motive, Natasha Irons discovers that Luthor has been testing himself to see if he is compatible with the artificial meta-gene treatment. John Henry Irons leads an assault on Luthor's building; despite the destruction of his armor during the fight, he confronts Luthor - only to find himself badly outclassed, as Luthor demonstrates nearly all of Superman's powers. However, Natasha uses her uncle's hammer to trigger an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down the synthetic metagene long enough for Steel to knock Lex unconscious. Lex is disgraced as a result, and later faces indictment when the members of the Everymen realize they have been used.
One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Luthor has been cleared of over 120 criminal counts ranging from malfeasance to first-degree murder relating to the New Year's Eve massacre from 52. However, his role in the massacre has permanently ruined his public image and thanks to the machinations of Doctor Sivana, he has lost most of his wealth and all of his control over his newly reformed LexCorp, which is now being run by Lana Lang. He blames Clark Kent for writing several articles unraveling his schemes and pledges vengeance on Metropolis after an angry mob jeers him on the courthouse steps. After amassing large quantities of Kryptonite, including kidnapping the supervillains Metallo and the Kryptonite Man, Lex uses it to power a Kryptonian battleship controlled through a "sunstone" crystal. Superman manages to destroy the Kryptonite-powered ship and recover the crystal, but Lex manages to escape custody yet again.
Lex later sends Bizarro after the newly arrived "Superboy" only for the creature to be defeated by Superman. Undaunted, Luthor gathers together a new Revenge Squad to fight against invading Kryptonians led by General Zod.
In JLA, Luthor (alongside Joker and Cheetah III) gathers together a new "Injustice League" and, outfitted in a new version of his warsuit (although still green and purple, it no longer has clear design derivations from the pre-Crisis warsuit as the McGuinness design did), sets out to destroy the Justice League with them. On a related note during this section, he was responsible for creating the third Shaggy Man and the third Blockbuster.
Luthor plays a large role in the Countdown to Final Crisis tie-in event, Salvation Run. Having been sent to the prison planet after his Injustice League was defeated, Lex quickly assumes control of the amassed villains, receiving competition only from Joker and Gorilla Grodd, who convince half of the villains to join them. He does fight the Joker until the battle was interrupted by an attack by Desaad's Parademons. After the attack, Luthor manages to get the villains off the planet with a makeshift teleporter, secretly powered by Neutron, Heatmonger, Plasmus, Warp and Thunder and Lightning. When called a "monster" by Thunder, Luthor claims it is the ones who sent them there who are the real monsters, and that he is the hero. He later sets the teleporter to self-destruct after he uses it, killing the attacking Parademons, and his living batteries.
In Justice League of America (vol. 2) #21, Luthor can be seen associating with Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains and placed in its Inner Circle. Lex Luthor wanted Libra to prove himself, so Libra sends Clayface to blow up the Daily Planet building. As Lex Luthor attempts to ambush Libra after learning that he is a prophet of Darkseid, Lex Luthor soon ends up surrounded by Justifiers. Libra tells Lex Luthor to make a final choice... swear an oath to Darkseid or become a mindless slave. In Final Crisis #5, Lex Luthor is seen when Libra blames Calculator for cracking the computer codes that will help the resistance. Lex Luthor is silent on the matter, but has been picked to lead the rearguard action against the heroes at Blüdhaven. He assumes it's an honor, but he doesn't look very pleased. During Final Crisis #6, Libra figures out Luthor had been the mole in the Society of Supervillains. Luthor, in league with Doctor Sivana, seemingly destroys Libra and overturns the Anti-Life Equation being broadcast into the Justifiers' helmets.
Luthor ended up imprisoned for his crimes, but rather that going to jail General Sam Lane had him serve out his sentence working for the secretive Project 7734. While still forced to wear chains, Luthor was assigned the job of accessing the knowledge stored within the captured Brainiac who had recently been defeated by Superman (as seen during the Brainiac storyline). Luthor successfully accessed Brainiac’s brain and after Metallo and Reactron were taken to Kandor as prisoners of the Kryptonians who had now settled on Earth he used Brainiac to reactivate the Coluan’s ship that was also being held in Kandor. Brainiac’s robots attacked the Kryptonians, providing a distraction as Metallo and Reactron used their Kryptonite hearts to kill their captors and murder Zor-El.
After his success with Brainiac, Luthor was given the seemingly dead body of Doomsday, who had been defeated by the Kryptonians, to study as it had “potential”.
Luthor later manages to use Brainiac's connection to his ship to kill the soldiers assigned to watch him. Brainiac manages to free himself from Luthor's control, forcing him onboard the ship, and the two make their escape. The two are later shown to have entered into an alliance, with Brainiac promising Luthor the Earth when he is done with it. While reading newspapers to catch up on what happened during his imprisonment, Luthor learns of the resurrection of Superboy.
In the pre-Crisis continuity, Luthor is shown as having very few personal attachments. Shamed by his crimes, his parents (Jules and Arlene) disown him, move away and change their name to the anagram "Thorul". Luthor has a younger sister named Lena, an empath who grows up unaware of her familial connection with the noted supervillain. Protective of his sister, Luthor takes measures to hide his fraternity, and is assisted towards this end by both Superman and Supergirl.
In The Man of Steel contunity, Luthor was childhood friends with Perry White and it was revealed that Luthor was the actual father of Perry's dead son Jerry White. Lex Luthor has been married eight times, though the first seven marriages occurred off-panel in Luthor's past. His eighth marriage to Contessa Erica Alexandra Del Portenza (aka the "Contessa") is based on mutual greed; the Contessa buys controlling interest in LexCorp after Luthor is indicted, compelling him to marry her in order to regain control of his company. The Contessa becomes pregnant and starts using the unborn child to dominate Lex into doing her bidding. Luthor's response is to imprison her while she is drugged during childbirth, keeping her in a permanently-unconscious state. The Contessa later escapes to an island mansion, but upon being elected President, Luthor targets her home with a barrage of missiles and destroys it.
James D. Hudnall's Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography further expands on Luthor's origin. The story details how Luthor was sent to live with a foster family following the sabotage of his parents' car. His foster parents, Casey and Emily Griggs, conspire to embezzle his insurance, and coerce their daughter, Lena, into seducing Lex in order to learn the location of the money. Due to her own romantic feelings toward Lex, Lena refuses, and is beaten to death by her father. Lex is absent from the home at the time of the murder, having been talked into going to a football game by his schoolmate Perry White. Once he has established his preeminence in Metropolis, Luthor takes vengeance on Griggs, secretly hiring him to assassinate Frank Berkowitz, the city's popular four-term mayor, who refuses to knuckle under to Luthor's dominance, then personally killing him once the deed is done.
As an adult, this incident motivates Luthor to begin an affair with Perry's wife, Alice, during a period when Perry is missing and assumed dead. Alice becomes pregnant shortly afterward, though the timing of the conception means an equal possibility of either Luthor or White being the father. The child, Jerry White, later learns of his true parentage during his late teens, shortly before being killed by a local street gang he is associated with. The loss of a potential heir weighs heavily on Luthor's mind, particularly when he is dying of cancer; while mulling over his fate, Luthor visits Jerry's gravesite.
Luthor has shown an unusual level of compassion for Conner Kent, a hybrid clone created from the DNA of Superman and Luthor himself. After Conner's death at the conclusion of the Infinite Crisis, Luthor is shown visiting a memorial statue of Conner in Metropolis and placing flowers there. In the alternate future timeline of Titans Tomorrow , in which Conner still exists, Luthor acts as a caring, fatherly figure to him.