Prior to Comics
Luthor was initially a high school friend of both Superman and Lois Lane, and was one of the few that knew Kent's secret identity. Secretly, he was jealous of Superman because of Lois's affections. When Superman was killed by Doomsday, Luthor could not imagine a world without Superman, so he created a copy by mixing his DNA with Clark's to create Superboy. Enraged by this, Clark later destroyed Luthor's data to prevent anymore cloning but was enthusiastic about meeting the clone.
The parallel universe Lex Luthor (who never took to a life of crime) survived the destruction of Metropolis by having a speedster on his payroll quickly move him into a secure bunker in his Lexcorp tower. Lex survived a month in the bunker before managing to repair his emergency radio and issue a single broadcast to all radios across several states and even reach the Justice League's Watchtower. Lex's bunker was found by Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern under the ruins of his tower, with the Man of Steel shocked then quickly overjoyed to discover his friend was alive.
Lex explains his contingency plan that ensured his survival before asking what has happened since the nuclear blast. Superman promises to tell him later, as Lex is still in danger from the lingering radiation in the city. Once he's out of the city, Lex requests a meeting with the Justice League, explaining he knows what they're trying to do, before pointing out that it's still a lot of work, even for them. He offers them assistance by helping them form better plans for their mission, though Wonder Woman is quick to ask if they can trust him.
Lex stuns everyone in the Watchtower by revealing their secret identities one by one. He points out that because of his intelligence, their secret identities "Are no secret to me." He reveals that he's protected their identities and loved ones for some time, and that they've "Had to trust me for a long time. You just didn't know it." He then asks to join them.
Lex is seen among the gathered Justice League, listening to Flash reveal Hawkgirl's kidnapping at the hands of Captain Atom, Black Lightning, and Huntress. When they can't figure out why they would be working together, Luthor calmly points out, "It's Batman." When Green Lantern points out Batman wasn't seen there, Luthor uses this as his argument that the Dark Knight was involved. After explaining that the League is too thinly spread out and that Batman will use this to pick them all off one by one, he suggests to Superman that he needs more people.
The Flash angrily disagrees with this idea and says they need to find Hawkgirl, but to the heroes shock, she appears before all of them.
Lex is in disbelief that Batman just returned Shiera, and silently listens to the League as they begin to argue after Hawkgirl gives Batman's message of working with the world instead of for it. Once Damian points out his father's plan of having the League fight amongst themselves, Lex confirms the young boy's words and suggests to Superman that he let him help shape the League's message of peace by promoting a press conference in Paris. Superman agrees to this, and also suggests other members of the League accompany him.
Sometime later, Lex checks on Superman as he dresses in a suit, and eases his worries by reminding him, "I think this is one of those jobs for Clark." Luthor then introduces Clark to the gathered crowds before the conference and stands by his side while Clark delivers his speech to the people. Lex is next seen barely avoiding a blast from a Parademon as they begin their full assault in Paris.
After Superman has wiped out the entire invasion force of Parademons, Lex happily presents the victorious Man of Steel to the cheering masses.
Sometime afterward on the Watchtower, Lex approaches Superman and Wonder Woman as they discuss raising an army to enforce the peace they've created, correcting Diana after she says there are no more like them to create such an army, with Lex saying, "Not yet. But there will be."
Lex is present at the Hall of Justice as Superman arrives with Lobo. Murmuring, "This can't be good..." he approaches the Man of Steel and bounty hunter, he asks Superman if everything is ok, with Kal-El assuring his friend that everything is fine. When Lex points out the company Superman has, the Man of Steel explains that Lobo will be doing a little work for him.
When Lex mockingly declares he hopes Lobo will be a model employee, the Main Man snatches him by the collar, infuriated by Luthor's tone and sarcasm. Superman pulls Lobo back but the bounty hunter has taken notice of the nanotech pill Luthor is carrying and takes interest in it, forcing Lex to explain its purpose and function before he decides he wants it as his payment.
Though Superman is concerned about Lobo having one, Luthor assures him that the pill would most likely not work on him. After this, Lobo identifies Harley's scent, as well as her insanity through her scent, which Lex finds ridiculous until Lobo calls him for his nervousness in his own scent. Superman quickly sends Lobo off, leaving Lex to ask his friend if letting him loose is a good idea. Superman assures him he has Lobo under control.
Lex has completed the first of the enhancement pills within the Fortress of Solitude, and is in awe of his work. Jonathan Kent then asks him if he's proud of himself, with Luthor admitting he is, having adapted alien technology to enhance the human race even further. Martha Kent tells Lex that Clark doesn't need such a thing but needs someone to talk to. Lex disagrees, saying Superman is doing something far greater than they can comprehend.
The Kents disagree, with Martha insisting that her son is hurting and Jonathan saying he's lost control after losing Metropolis and Lois.
Martha then tells Lex of the first time she and Jonathan witnessed Clark using his superstrength as a child after he lost a blanket. Luthor is puzzled that she's calling her son a frightened child, asking if what Superman is doing is some kind of super-tantrum. Jonathan then asks him if he honestly can't see that Clark needs help. Lex is silent, unable to reply.
As he looks on Superman's insignia on a wall in the Fortress, Lex admits that he wants to believe in Clark's cause and that he doesn't want what happened to Metropolis to happen again. When Martha asks him if he feels guilty for surviving Metropolis while others died, Lex admits he does.
The Kents then tell Lex that Superman's actions may become even more drastic in the near future, and when he asks what they would have him do, Jonathan tells him he expects him to do what's right and that by creating the pill, he's created a means that will put power back in the hands of the common people. Jonathan then asks that on the day the world needs that technology to fight against his son, Lex will find a way to save him.
Lex is wrapping up his presentation of the completed nanotech enhancement pill before the gathered Justice League, explaining its qualities to a confused Damian Wayne. He next suggests they draw up a list of candidates to recruit and disperse out the pills to as to begin forming their ground troops and corrects Green Lantern when he calls it an army, insisting that the recruits would be a peace-keeping force only.
Lex is among the small group of League members who learn Batman has been spying on them by using Martian Manhunter to disguise himself as Hawkgirl. Lex is silent for a while as he takes every word in before suggesting to Superman that they call everyone back in, saying that no one should be alone and they need a plan to protect the others close to them, though Superman disagrees with this, saying it's exactly what Batman wants.
Instead, the Man of Steel attempts to publicly oust Batman's identity but just as he is about to, the Watchtower goes offline entirely. Lex keeps a cool head, asking if the teleporters are still online before saying they need to get the Watchtower down to Earth before they run out of oxygen. Superman refuses at first, insisting they reveal Batman's identity first. When Cyborg says there's no way, Damian reminds them that Lex is the smartest man in the world, causing Lex and cyborg to share a look before placing Batman's identity on the internet.
Lex is aiding in the repair of the Watchtower alongside Cyborg and Shazam when Hawkgirl returns. Understandably distrusting, Lex showed Hawkgirl a match to make sure she was who she claimed to be. After Shiera easily puts the match out, Lex confirms her identity.
Though unconfirmed, it is hinted that the person who appears in the Batcomputer to Batman before his fateful confrontation with Superman was Lex, who desperately warned the Dark Knight to escape the Man of Steel's wrath, and was also the one who gave Manhunter the information regarding the Kryptonian pills in the Fortress of Solitude.
Lex stands along with the Justice League and Superman before the United Nations as the Man of Steel announces Batman as a terrorist and unveils his growing army.
Lex is seen paying his respects to the fallen Oliver Queen before leaving.
Lex reappears alongside Superman explaining the functions of their soldiers and how they have chosen Gotham to be the first city to receive a new form of protection of enhanced soldiers constantly patrolling and protecting the city. Lex is silent as Superman and Gotham's mayor discuss Commissioner Gordon's failure to clean up Gotham.
Lex is with Superman and the Flash in the Hall of Justice with Sinestro imprisoned in a special cell designed by Luthor. Lex is in agreement with Flash on how dangerous it is to keep Sinestro on Earth. Luthor listens to Sinestro as he relegates his origins to the three, comparing his downfall similar to Superman's, but he is still firm in his belief that they cannot trust him.
Sinestro suddenly easily walks out of his cell, surrounded by the yellow power of fear, shocking Lex, who calls it impossible. Sinestro tells him he has no idea what he can do, and Lex agrees, and Sinestro threatens to kill him with a thought but Flash quickly moves between the two. Sinestro realizes they fear him, with Luthor agreeing easily, and so the alien hands his ring over to the human, shocking Lex, and Sinestro returns to his cell, vowing that they will need his help when the Guardians come for Superman.
Luthor is observing Sinestro through his cell in the Hall of Justice when Hawkgirl walks up to him, asking if Sinestro really gave up his powers and allowed himself to be imprisoned. Though Lex confirms her questions, he still suspects Sinestro has another play planned, though the alien warlord only reiterates that the Green Lanterns will come for Superman and that they will free him to help the Man of Steel fight them.
Lex stands vigilant outside of Sinestro's cell in the Hall of Justice. Sinestro realizes the Green Lanterns have arrived and tells Luthor that Superman will need his help. Turning away, Lex says he will not let Sinestro out of his cell. Sinestro suddenly questions Lex over his own ambitions and suggests he wants Superman to fail against the Green Lanterns so that he may have the world for himself.
Lex warns Sinestro, but the alien warlord tells him that if the Corps gets Superman, his dreams for this world will die, but he can stop them. As Luthor ponders over Sinestro's ring, Sinestro asks him if he doesn't want Sinestro to save Superman. Reaching a decision, Lex frees Sinestro from his cell and hands his ring over to him, but warns Sinestro, "I won't let you corrupt him." As Sinestro takes his ring back, he tells Luthor that Superman doesn't need him to corrupt him.
Seven months later, Lex is among the Regime forces stationed outside the Hall of Justice, silently observing the sky as it turns green. When the Gotham resistance launches its attack on the Hall of Justice, Cyborg protects Luthor in the ensuing conflict until Lex gives him the order to retreat using the teleporter to get to the Watchtower, saying he's cannot be taken as he is needed to coordinate their forces. Cyborg reluctantly complies, but right before he teleports, he informs Lex that he has discovered someone monitoring their communications.
As Lex beats off advancing GCPD forces, he orders Cyborg to shut down their communications, but Cyborg refuses, saying their forces will be blind. Cyborg assures Luthor he will find whoever is monitoring them, but Lex continues to order him to shut the communications down, only to be ignored as Cyborg teleports away. Lex is then overwhelmed and subdued by the resistance, with Harvey Bullock holding him down.
When Lex sees Commissioner Gordon, he declares surrender and asks to speak to him about Oracle. Gordon lets him up, and Lex asks to speak to him alone. After the two step off to the side, Lex reveals to Gordon that he has been the one supplying them with information before telling him that Cyborg knows that they are listening in and that he will soon find Oracle.
Gordon feigns ignorance, but Lex whispers to him, "He's going to trace the program back to Barbara." Lex explains to a shocked Gordon that it took him years to uncover her identity and that while she is very good, he's underestimated Cyborg, explaining his half-machine status and that if he finds her identity, she'll never be safe. Gordon then demands to be taken to Cyborg, and Lex complies, leading him to the teleporters.
Lex explains to Gordon that they will only teleport him to the Watchtower if Gordon accompanies him. Lex then explains that it has to look like he was taken against his will, saying that if they lose the war, the Regime cannot learn the truth. Gordon then asks him if he knows how advanced his cancer is, and after Lex gives his condolences to him, Gordon assures his secret his safe, as dead men don't tell secrets. The two men then teleport to the Watchtower.
Luthor feigns unconsciousness while Gordon confronts Cyborg. When Gordon manages to knock Cyborg out and stop him from tracing Barbara, Lex collects the Commissioner's discarded glasses before going over to him, telling him his daughter is now safe. When Gordon asks about Cyborg's condition, Lex tell's him he's still alive, but out of action.
Lex then asks Gordon if he understands why he couldn't act directly, Gordon tells him he does understand, and Lex helps him to his feet. Luthor points out that Gordon doesn't look well, before asking him if he knew that the super-pills were increasing the strength of his cancer. Gordon reveals he did before asking Lex to take Cyborg back down using the teleporter to allow him a moment to himself. Understanding the Commissioner's request, Lex agrees and leaves with Cyborg.
Luthor is among the few of Superman's allies remaining after the war with the Green Lantern Corps and he appears in the damaged Hall of Justice, standing alongside Hawkgirl and Shazam before Superman's throne. When Superman questions Lex on any word of their missing allies, Lex responds that they've investigated every avenue and come up with nothing and says, "It's like Batman took our friends and simply vanished."
Luthor is visibly surprised when a loud voice echoes through the hall, calling out to Superman, and Lex is not present, being unable to fly, as Superman and his allies confront the Spectre outside.
Lex stands by a computer monitor in the Hall of Justice when the Spectre arrives, informing them that Superman has gone missing. When Yellow Lantern asks Lex if they can track Superman via his com-link, Luthor informs him, "He hasn't activated it. No communication. No location." Though Superman manages to reactivate his communicator, Lex is not seen again.
Lex quietly communicates with Batman over a new plan as magic was no longer a viable option against the regime. While Batman tells Luthor the new plan of working with the Greek Gods, Luthor simply notes that desperate times call for desperate measures. After which, Lex begins pushing on with the creation of a new Superman clone. When Superman calls on his allies to confront the Gods, Lex receives the call, but does not answer it.
After the Gods overthrow the Regime, Luthor meets with Ares and Superman to discuss their plan of restoring power back to the Regime. Though he agrees to the idea of using Posseidon, he does not accompany Superman, and chooses to remain in his labs instead. After the Zeus returns back to Olympus, Luthor and Batman agree that using Gods is now out of the question. As he hangs up, however, Luthor finds that his clone has now broken out of the containment tube.
Luthor begins interacting more physically with Batman during Year Five. Luthor is seen researching what caused the breakout until Superman arrives with Doomsday, asking his friend to find a way to control the monster for themselves. When Catwoman is abducted by Bane, Luthor sees little difference between Batman and Superman now employing criminals, but Batman insists that he doesn't hire killers, which makes the biggest difference between them. He also mentions that the shortage of the green pills is also forcing Superman to make such compromises.
Lex later asks Flash to help build a new lab to be able to resume production of the pills, but Superman argues with Flash over the employment of criminals like Bane.
When Superman arrives to find Heat Wave and Weather Wizard's charred corpses, he learns that an impostor pretending to be him is running amok, and Luthor is immediately questioned for information. Despite the accusations, Luthor denies any knowledge as to who the impostor is or if he was involved in anyway. After this, Superman then deliver's Solomon Grundy's headless body to Luthor, asking him to Grundy into a usuable asset for them. Cyborg later sends Lex files of multiple captured convicts that could be potentially repurposed.
While working, Lex's laboratory is breached by Bizzaro, asking him to fix the deceased Trickster. Though Trickster is already dead, Lex questions Bizzaro why he chose to visit him, and learns that Bizzaro was the escaped clone. Testing him and confirming him to be the real clone, Lex is dismayed at being unable to dispose of the clone before Superman will learn of Bizzaro's origins. Instead of disposing of Bizzaro himself, Luthor instead sends Bizzaro to the Fortress of Solitude to combat Doomsday, who has since been moved there. As Superman arrives, Lex asks his friend to stand down and allow him to test their ability to control Doomsday.
As Bizzaro has the upper hand, Superman joins the fight, but Lex discreetly programs Doomsday to attack Clark instead. Unable to kill his friend, Luthor eventually has Doomsday target and kill Bizzaro instead. After Bizzaro's death, Superman drops his impostor's body on Luthor's desk, asking for tests on the corpse, Due to Cyborg's abduction, Flash visits Luthor to talk about reasons why Cyborg was taken, and both agree that he has information that Superman wants to keep hidden.
Luthor gives a diagnostic to Superman over his condition the next day, after he is weakened from fighting Hawkman with a Kryptonite mace, but Luthor confirms that the kryptonite was only syntethic. After leaving, Luthor is met by Batman, who reveals that he has real Kryptonite hidden deep inside the Batcave, but the DNA needed to access it are all from members of the Justice League that work with Superman. Luthor, however, realizes that they don't need to use the Justice League from their Earth.
Learning about the possibility of other universes, Luthor intends to harness Speed Force energy he gathered from Flash when he tasked the speedster with building the new laboratory, but the tranporter is in deep security. Deathstroke is later pulled out of retirement and sends plans of the machine over to Luthor. Monitoring a fight between the target universe's league and a group of villains, Barbara informs them that someone has ratted them out, and that Superman is already on his way. Luthor is immediately transported away to keep his involvement secret
The Prime Earth's Lex is first found speaking to unite the other villains to make an attack on the Justice League. While one party is sent to fight at Earth, Luthor joins another to attack the Justice League's watchtower. He is eventually defeated by Batman, and his suit is depowered.
Most of Luthor's roles are retained from Gods Among Us. Luthor first speaks with Clark over the information from the Prime Earth's Batman. After, he secretly talks with Deathstroke on their options against Superman, but are attacked by the Prime Earth's Cyborg. With Batman's death meaning the end of the insurgency, Luthor asks Deathstroke to send to Kryptonite to him instead of the Bat, volunteering to kill Superman once and for all. Defeating Harley and Joker before preparing his laser, he inspires Harley to finally move past the Joker in her life.
The laser eventually proves ineffective, and Luthor is killed by Superman in public. After the fall of the Regime, Luthor is mourned by the Prime Earth's Cyborg.
Predicting his own demise, Luthor quietly made a transmission to be given to Bruce after the Regime's dissolution. Acting as his last will, Luthor passes all his remaining fortune and assets to Bruce instead, hoping that this will help him and the remaining heroes rebuild the world.