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The various versions of Lex Luthor.

Comics

Golden Age

Personality

Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor as he first appeared.

This version of Lex Luthor is portrayed more as a mad scientist and power hungry dictator than the Lex Luthor we're used to seeing.

Scientist

Lex is an incredibly skilled scientist, having used various inventions to conquer several minor European nations before being stopped by Superman and using the remainder of his resources to stop Superman.

President

This version of Lex Luthor became the ruler of numerous small European nations through his inventions before he was stopped by Superman.

Rivalry with Superman

Lex's rivalry with Superman stems from when Superman stopped him from causing a war within his small empire and has been his driving force throughout the rest of his appearances.

Silver Age

Personality

Lex Luthor2

Lex in his power suit.

This version of Luthor is portrayed as a vengeful scientist who goes mad trying to prove he's better than Superman, starting from when they were teenagers and lost his hair. He's also much more maniacal than the previous Luthor.

Scientist

Luthor is a very good scientist, having built various power suits to combat Superman and various other inventions. He also invents various other dimensions, even teaming up with Brainiac time to time. Being the greatest scientist is also one of his most important goals.

President

Luthor never becomes a president in this universe.

Rivalry with Superman

Superboy and Lex Luthor

Lex loses his hair because of Superboy.

Lex and Superman's rivalry in this universe began as friends when Lex saved Superboy from a Kryptonite meteor and work as friends. In return, Superboy helped Lex build a lab for him. However, an accident set the lab on fire, and Superboy put it out, causing Lex Luthor to go bald, and he dedicated his life to being better than Superboy, but as his experiments failed, it evolved into destroying Superboy, and in his adult life, Superman.

Modern Age

Man of Steel

Personality
Lex Luthor4

Lex Luthor's dream.

This version of Lex is more xenophobic about Superman, distrusting him at first for his alien origins, evolving to pure hatred for how easily people trust him. He is very charismatic however, becoming the President of the United States after Bill Clinton. However, his hatred for Superman leads to his downfall as putting a bounty on Superman ultimately leads to his ultimate defeat and impeachment. He's also very greedy, ending up as an Orange Lantern shortly after the Blackest Night began and becoming paranoid about his father attempting to kill him for murdering him to start LexCorp.

Scientist
Lex Luthor5

Luthor just before the end of his presidency.

Luthor is still a good scientist, having invented a power suit during Superman's bounty and being able to fight him for a short time with it. He also creates a combination of Kryptonite and Venom to increase his strength as well, which ended up driving Luthor insane. His science allowed him to overcome death as when he began suffering from Kryptonite poisoning, his brain was placed inside a younger clone body and has been keeping himself very physical and fit ever since.

President
Lex Luthor6

Lex Luthor during his prime as the president.

In 2000, Lex became the President of the United States. He led the country during the attack from Imperiex and respecting the apparent death of General Sam Lane. During his re-election, a huge Kryptonite meteor came to Earth, and he put a bounty on Superman before he and Batman revealed that he was still a criminal and had ended up framing Superman, ending his presidential career.

Rivalry with Superman
Superman and Lex Luthor2

Superman confronts Lex.

Lex and Superman's rivalry began when Superman arrived in Metropolis. As he got more and more obsessed with proving he was superior to Superman, he ended up becoming more and more frustrated with Superman always stopping his plans. This culminated when Luthor fought Superman above the Daily Planet just before the end of his presidency. Also, just before Flashpoint, Luthor used stolen Black Lantern Power to discover that Superman was Clark Kent, however, he ended up trapped in the Phantom Zone soon afterwards.

Birthright

Personality
Clark and Lex

Clark and Lex in their youth.

Lex's personality is primarily the same as the original Modern Age Lex, however, there are several points where he is altered. For one thing, as a young man and in later life, he had a fascination with extraterrestrial life that led to him trying to find out about it, resulting in Lex briefly seeing glimpses of Krypton's past before his equipment exploded, costing him his house, his father's life, and his hair. He did continue his experiments until he succeeded and tried using Kryptonian based machines to discredit Superman before he was stopped.

Scientist

Lex is incredibly intelligent, the most notable of his inventions being a device that can detect elements similar to the Kryptonite found throughout Smallville and creating a device to view Krypton's past and even communicate with it. In addition, he was able to fake an entire alien invasion through his studies of Kryptonian design and structuring.

President

As this Lex is meant to coincide with Lex's life before his rise to presidency, this Lex will become president and fall from grace in the same way.

Rivalry with Superman

Lex and Superman's rivalry began as friendship when Lex would hang out with Clark Kent in high school until the explosion that killed Lex's father and left him bald. When they met again years later, Lex denied knowing Clark, having used some of the insurance money to erase his Smallville life away. When Superman arrives, they instantly dislike each other, and Lex and Superman clash particularly when he tries to frame him for a Kryptonian invasion before being stopped by Superman.

Secret Origins

Personality
Lex Luthor7

Lex discovers a rock of Kryptonite.

Lex's personality is much the same as before, if made much less sympathetic than the Birthright version. He lived in Smallville with an alcoholic father and his little sister Lena, discovering a piece of Kryptonite and studying it. He also met Clark Kent, but rather than being friends, he's more of an acquittance, talking to Clark, but not actually being friends with him. He murders his father, disguised as a heart attack, and uses the insurance to start LexCorp in Metropolis. He's very egocentric, taking random people into LexCorp to help improve their personal health and the like, which led to the creation of Parasite. When Superman arrives, he's instantly distrustful of him and tries to destroy Superman and the Daily Planet because they praise him.

Scientist
Lex Luthor8

Lex displays his rock of Kryptonite.

Lex is very proficient with mechanics, having cut his father's brake cables to arrange a driving accident that was stopped by Clark Kent. As a LexCorp scientist, he extracted the radiation from a chunk of Kryptonite to study, and due to an accident, it creates Parasite. Lex also realizes that because Parasite hurt Superman, Kryptonite is Superman's weakness, reviving a recently injured John Corben as Metallo, powered by a Kryptonite heart.

President

As this Lex is meant to coincide with Lex's life before his rise to presidency, this Lex will become president and fall from grace in the same way.

Rivalry with Superman

Lex's rivalry with Superman began in Smallville where he met Clark Kent at the science fair, but he was very egotistical towards him and didn't even notice Clark groan when he got close to the Kryptonite. The rivalry wasn't explicit, but Clark began unknowingly thwarting Lex's plans when Clark saved Lionel from a car crash Lex orchestrated. Once Superman arrives, he quickly steals the adoration of the people, which by the end, only intensifies Lex's already existing hatred of him, which began with turning John Corben into Metallo after studies of Parasite.

New 52

Personality

Action Comics Vol 2 2

Lex observes Superman being tortured.

Lex is a businessman and scientist, and he's obsessed with aliens, particularly, Superman's old ship. He can be deceived however, mainly by Brainiac.

Scientist

Lex is an expert strategist, planning out how to incapacitate Superman, and he designed the Metallo suit before it was taken over by Brainiac. However, he is given to quick assumptions, assuming that Superman isn't actually humanoid, showing a possible return to the Silver Age Mad Scientist angle.

President

It's unknown if Lex has been or will be the president as aside from Action Comics, Lex has only made a cameo in Teen Titans, talking about aliens.

Rivalry with Superman

Lex's rivalry with Superman stems from an assignment by General Sam Lane and Brainiac to capture him, and he's convinced that Superman isn't even humanoid and more like some kind of goat creature. He also invented Metallo armor, designed to take down Superman.

Donnerverse

Personality

Lex Luthor Gene Hackman

Luthor during his first clash with Superman.

This Lex is much more outgoing and egocentric than most others, acting more like a Bond villain than the Lex Luthor we're used to. He's also obsessed with real estate due to the words of his father, "They'll always need land, and they'll pay through the nose to get it." He also doesn't focus specifically on Superman until he shows up and proves a threat to his plans.

Scientist

Lexluthor-themovie

Lex Luthor after Superman takes him in.

Lex is relatively smart, able to make a device to take control of two missiles at once as well as making a holographic recording of himself and Otis during their escape from prison. He also manages to use genetic material from Superman to create a villain called Nuclear Man.

President

LexHackman

Lex in the White House.

Lex is never the president in this universe, although he nearly becomes the ruler of Australia when he leads Zod's forces to Superman's Fortress of Solitude.

Rivalry with Superman

Lex's rivalry with Superman stems more from the fact that as long as Superman's around, he'll foil his schemes. The only time he goes directly after Superman as his main goal is the creation of Nuclear Man.

Superfriends

Personality

Lex Luthor (Super Friends)

Lex Luthor leads the Legion.

This Lex is vengeful and also charismatic enough to lead all other supervillains against Superman and the Super Friends. He also can be either calm enough to accept defeat or fly into a rage about a plan's failure.

Scientist

Luthor is a brilliant scientist, attempting to find a cure for Kryptonite poisoning before the loss of his hair, and developing seveal pieces of technology to bring down Superman.

President

Lex is never the president in this universe, the closest he gets being the leader of the Legion of Doom.

Rivalry with Superman

Like the Silver Age, Lex begins as a friend to Superboy in the town of Smallville, but when Superboy blows out a fire in his lab, he loses his hair and blames Superboy, vowing to spend the rest of his life trying to destroy him. From there, he does various things, altering the projection of Kal-El's ship to stop him from becoming more than just Clark Kent, and causing the sun to turn red to cut Superman off from his powers.

DC Animated Universe

Personality

Lex Luthor (Brainiac Attacks)

Lex watches Superman fight Brainiac.

This Lex is like a Bond villain, but he can also get jealous and vengeful, shown through various people from Superman to even Bruce Wayne. He's also charismatic enough to take control of the Legion of Doom from Gorilla Grodd, though his leadership does get sidetracked by his insane desire to rejoin with Brainiac, gaining god-like powers. He's also very calm most of the time, only losing his cool when dealing directly with Superman.

Scientist

Lex Luthor (Superman)2

Luthor shows off the suit.

Luthor is a brilliant scientist, having designed various inventions, like the Lexo-Suit, as well as orchestrating the placement of John Corben's brain into the Metallo body. He also even proved able to rebuild Brainiac's body and turn the Legion of Doom's headquarters into a space ship. He's also intelligent enough to learn the Anti-Life Equation, thus helping stop Darkseid.

President

Lex Luthor (Justice League Unlimited)

Luthor's presidential campaign.

Luthor runs a fake presidential campaign just to get to Superman, based on the fact that an alternate version of Luthor managed to emotionally destroy Superman by becoming the president. He revealed his faux campaign to Question while he beat him up.

Rivalry with Superman

Lex Luthor (Superman)3

Luthor uses Superman's brainwashing to sow distrust by the people.

Lex's rivalry with Superman begins when Superman destroys his Lexo-Suit and refuses to be bought by Luthor. Also, he had to buy the respect of the people of Metropolis while Superman's selfless actions simply lead to people loving him. Luthor's hatred of Superman leads to the discovery of Kryptonite's effects, the creation of Metallo, and the care and maintaining of Livewire. His rivalry grows when he begins developing cancer due to prolonged Kryptonite exposure until he's cured by Brainiac.

Smallville

Personality

Lex Luthor (Smallville Finale)

Lex after his revival.

This Lex began as a bassically good person, but through the events of the series, he slowly but surely becomes evil. He also is very distrustful once he perceives betrayal, particularly when his father is involved. He's also very well read, citing various fictional and real events to prove his point throughout the series. Lex gets obsessed very easily, such as when Clark saved him from drowning in a car crash. Even when Lex lost his memories, his obsessive nature endured.

Scientist

Lex Luthor (Smallville)

Lex at the Fortress.

Luthor is a brilliant scientist, having spent several years studying Kryptonite as well as creating Meta-Humans to combat Clark. He also managed to revive himself through a cloned body made of various pieces of other clones. He was also able to paint Superman in radiation, so he could follow him with his satellite.

President

Lex Luthor (Smallville)5

Lex as the president in 2018.

It's shown that Lex will become the President of the United States at several points in the series, including an alternate reality where Clark never came to Earth. In the prime reality, Lex will be the president by 2018.

Rivalry with Superman

Clark and Lex (Smallville)

Clark and Lex just after their friendship fell apart.

Lex's rivalry with Superman began as a friendship with Clark Kent that fell apart as Lex began suspecting that Clark had supernatural powers. They fully became enemies when Lex discovered Clark's secret and accepted his destiny as Clark's ultimate enemy. After his amnesia, Lex became sure that Superman would abuse his power, leading to him painting Superman in radiation, so that he could track him, which Superman has yet to remove.

Superman Returns

Personality

LexSpacey2

Lex Luthor with the knife.

This Lex is meant to be a continuation of Hackman's Lex following Superman II. However, this Lex, while still having a similar white to Hackman's Lex, is far more serious and sinister, implied to have come from his second prison stint. He's also far more comfortable with his bald appearance. He's also far more vengeful than the Hackman Luthor.

Scientist

Lex Luthor (Superman Returns)

Lex with one of the crystals.

Lex was able to decode the Kryptonian crystals in the Fortress of Solitude following his trip there in the second film. He's also able to find ways to utilize the crystals for profit, planning on using a crystal to have a continent replace America. He also has the foresight to lace it with Kryptonite, so Superman can't use his abilities there.

President

Lexluthor-returns

Lex talks with Lois.

Lex has never been the president, though he did plan on ruling the new continent he'd make with the crystals.

Rivalry with Superman

SR Lex Luthor thumb

Lex when he faces Superman.

Lex's rivalry with Superman is his main reason for his schemes. He uses technology from Superman's homeworld to destroy the country he loves, and stabs him when he arrives with a jagged piece of Kryptonite, taking pleasure in beating Superman while he's down.

The Batman

Personality

Lex Luthor (The Batman)

Lex during his appearance in The Batman.

This Lex is both a businessman and a mad scientist. He's also obsessed with protecting Earth from alien threats, stemming from his hatred of Superman. He's also very egotistical, which the World's Finest Heroes always manage to exploit.

Scientist

Lex was able to combine Kryptonite with Poison Ivy's spores to take control of Superman's mind. He also developed several robotic suits in response to the Joining that he planned to use to overtake Earth's governments that can go toe-to-toe with Superman.

President

Lex never becomes president in this universe.

Rivalry with Superman

Superman and Lex Luthor (The Batman)

Lex with Superman under his control.

Lex's rivalry with Superman lead him to hiring out Black Mask to have several Gotham villains to try and kill him. However, after being approached by Poison Ivy, Lex used her spores and Kryptonite to take control of Superman's mind as a better alternative, though this plan ultimately fails.

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