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YMMV / Lex Luthor

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  • Awesome Ego: Luthor is at his most entertaining when he's bragging about how great he is. And on his good days, the boasting isn't arrogance, it's statement of facts.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Chances are that Clancy Brown's voice is the one you'll hear in your head when reading his lines.
  • Complete Monster: Not usually, but it has happened. See here.
  • Dork Age: This was readers' general impression of Apex Lex, an incarnation that sees Luthor, a traitorous, egoist, human supremacist Magnificent Bastard, willing become the loyal half-alien minion of an evil goddess. It ended with her betraying him, which somehow comes as a shock to him.
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  • Draco in Leather Pants: Thank you, Michael Rosenbaum.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: ... A wide-collared purple and green jumpsuit. Purple. And. Green. What was he thinking in the 1970's? Well, it was the Seventies. In Lex's defense, purple and green is a very popular color scheme for villains. Just ask the clown.
  • Foe Yay:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the original Superman films, Luthor was played by Gene Hackman, who would later play the crooked U.S. President in Absolute Power and guess what Lex Luthor would later be running for.
    • Speaking of Presidents, in the "Lex 2000" series, he was running as a third party candidate in 2000. While no third party candidate even got electoral votes that year, it's worth noting that, in the story's election, "The Governor" failed to win California, "The Vice President" failed to win his home state of Tennessee, and the election was too close to call when most newspapers went to press.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • DC Comics: Lex Luthor has been frustrating Superman with his scientific acumen and brilliant intellect since the 1940s, and has run the gamut from Diabolical Mastermind to Mad Scientist to Corrupt Corporate Executive to President Evil and back, surviving every setback and always running the Man of Steel close. Firmly established as the leader of Earth's supervillain community, Luthor has led numerous incarnations of the Injustice Gang, Legion of Doom, and Secret Society of Supervillains, and has taken all-comers, emerging victorious over the likes of Brainiac, General Zod, Grodd and Vandal Savage to claim the title of Superman and one of DC Earth's most deadly villains, even briefly becoming a godlike being. Every bit as unstoppable as his archenemy, Luthor has proven time and again that his incredible mind is more than a match for Superman's physical might.
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    • Superman: Dawnbreaker, by Matt de la Peña: Lex Luthor is a rich young man visiting Smallville from Metropolis for mysterious reasons. Lex convinces young people in town (including a young Clark Kent and Lana Lang) to investigate the disappearance of Mexican immigrants in town, thinking that the powerful Mankins Corporation is responsible. After being caught flat-footed the first time he investigated a Mankins facility, he is better prepared the second time, having satellites spy on another Mankins facility, bringing a dart gun to take out guards, equipment to climb the facility's walls and camera equipment to capture footage of the Mankins Corporation's crimes. After Clark defeats the Mankins Corporation, revealing their crimes and leading to their major officials getting arrested, Clark discovers that Lex's company, Luthor Corp, bought up the Mankins Corporation's assets, with Clark unwittingly having helped Lex take down a powerful rival and setting up a more powerful enemy he will have to deal with in the future.
    • Justice League: Lex Luthor, after being pardoned by the US president for his aid of stopping the Justice Lords, finally becomes a Diabolical Mastermind like his comic book counterpart. He secretly finances Project Cadmus to be a constant thorn in the Justice League's side while also running a fake presidential campaign to personally rile up Superman, culminating into open warfare between the two factions. Luthor uses that conflict as a cover for his real plan: steal Cadmus technology and upload his mind in an immortal android body. When Brainiac took over his body as its new vessel, Luthor convinces the Kryptonian AI to share control and become a god together. After being defeated and exposed as a criminal, Luthor joins the Secret Society as Gorilla Grodd's subordinate, only for him to quickly usurp leadership after Grodd's plan to turn mankind into apes fails. To solidify his authority, Luthor creates secret contingency plans for each Legion member. In the series finale, when his plans accidentally revive Darkseid, Luthor and his followers team up with the Justice League to stop the New God's conquest of Earth. At the climax of battle, Luthor is able to convince Metron to lead him to the forbidden Source Wall. Despite the dangers, Luthor survives the ordeal and returns to Earth with a prize in his hand: The Anti-Life Equation. Knowing that Darkseid could not refuse the offer, Luthor is able to take the Lord of Apokolips with him into the Source Wall, thus putting an end to Darkseid's reign forever and saving the universe in the process.
    • Young Justice: Lex Luthor is as charming and intelligent as ever. Forming Project Cadmus to create Superboy with his own DNA, Lex constantly stays a step of the heroes, even filling Superboy himself with doubt over his true place. Organizing a peace treaty between the countries of North and South Rhelasia, Lex manipulates events so both will unite under the Light's guidance and constantly proves invaluable in assisting Vandal with the best of the Light's schemes. Upon realizing the danger of the Reach, he and Vandal help to form counter measures against them, ending the second season by escaping completely free of their own crimes and proving why Lex is always a match for any adversary.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: While Luthor does not go beyond his obsession with Superman (standard villainy), he is a big candidate of this. Some of his most depraved acts are listed:
    • His collusion with Brainiac and negotiating the planet Earth for him is the most infamous Moral Event Horizon.
    • The murder of his own father can qualify, depending on how bad Lionel is portrayed as being.
    • Under John Byrne, Luthor engages in quite a lot of For the Evulz manipulations of women, most infamously his "game" of finding married working-class women, offering them millions in exchange for one month in Metropolis as his consort, and then deliberately leaving before they can decide so that they'll be tormented for the rest of their lives. And as the head of Lexcorp, he's shown intimidating attractive women in his employ to sleep with him.
    • During The Death of Superman storyline, he murders one of his martial arts trainers for knocking him down during a sparring session, reveling in the idea that Superman's absence means he can get away with anything he wants. Oh, and just for added kicks, he makes sure an ex-con janitor at Lexcorp will be framed for it.
  • My Real Daddy: For Bronze Age Luthor, the Mad Scientist with at least a few genuinely redeeming traits, it's unquestionably Elliot S! Maggin. For Post-Crisis Luthor, the Corrupt Corporate Executive and Villain with Good Publicity, it's John Byrne. These days, he's usually portrayed as some blending of the two.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Can happen due to the nature of the conflict between an unpowered human and a demigod.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Not everyone is happy about Luthor's transformation from a high-tech inventor criminal mastermind to a Corrupt Corporate Executive. Neil Gaiman (who wrote this version of Luthor in his Black Orchid miniseries) laments that Luthor has become a "skinny Kingpin"note . Fans of the DCAU version noted that Luthor became more dangerous, intimidating and cool, when he shifted from The '80s Luthor businessman getup to his Silver Age Mad Scientist shtick.


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