- "Alexander Luthor" redirects here. For the mainstream DC Universe character of that name, see Lex Luthor.
Alexander "Lex" Luthor Jr. is the fictional supervillain owned by DC Comics.
Lex Luthor has a tremendously brilliant mind, by far one of the greatest in the world, though it is hideously corrupted by his cruel and traumatic upbringing, horrifically unstable ego, and low morality. While he puts on a kindly, witty and charming façade that he is an altruistic man of and for the people (with Lex comparing himself to the enlightening gift-giving figure of Prometheus), Lex is actually full of rage, sadism, and ruthless malevolence behind closed doors, truly wishing to obtain ultimate power for himself, to control others, and to destroy those that he deems as his competition - namely his archnemesis Superman, but also metahumans in general (specifically Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg). Furthermore, Lex's attempts to acquire power are quite immoral and ruthless, as he has little care for the methods he uses, or their impact on others. Lex is even shown to have fits of psychotic frustration and rage when talking to a large group of people and not knowing what to say. Hence, when Lois Lane calls him "psychotic", Lex dismisses that word as merely referring to "any thought too big for little minds."
Lex is extraordinarily brilliant in sciences and business, as well as 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 "Winged demon" (which he uses to justify his threat of ruthlessly burning Martha Kent alive), and finally, to the biblical Devil Lucifer 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 misotheistic view of God, believing that if God were all-powerful, then He logically could not be all-good 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").
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, 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 sadly 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.
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, Satan, and Jehovah. He even compares himself to the biblical God in one way, claiming to hate "the sinner, not the sin."
Another factor of Lex's resentment towards Superman was how, all his adult life, Lex was determined to view himself as a superior, godlike being amongst humans (due to his virtually peerless intellect and great achievements), and his ego was damaged when an actual godlike being induced Lex to question his own deluded self-image. 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).
Lex carries out this malevolent plan with cold calculation and ruthless cruelty, being quick to murder anyone who comes in his way, such as Senator Finch and Wallace Keefe, his guilt-ridden hired actress Kahina Ziri, 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 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 crimes shortly thereafter, and gleefully awaits the imminent arrival of impending extraterrestrials.
The new extensive knowledge that Lex gains from the Fortress seems to have also made him incredibly bold, as he shows no fear (although his sneer momentarily disappeared with him showing signs of dismay when when Batman informed him about his transfer to Arkham Asylum) when ambushed in his Belle Reve jail cell and at the mercy of a furious Batman with a branding ring, with Lex going so far as smugly sneering at Batman's threats, and warning him with gleeful sadism about the imminent coming of a new, mysterious alien invader Steppenwolf, to whom Earth is now vulnerable to, due to Superman's death.
Lex also has a somewhat dry, black, and sadistic sense of humor, 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, manors 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", "Lolita" and the "Wizard of Oz."
Lex Luthor, Jr. is an slender, fair skinned man with the same hair and eyes color as his father. He dons a various colored shirt with a jacket and trousers.