Lex Luthor has a conniving and Machiavellian personality. He is calm, soft-spoken, and unfailingly polite, thus manipulating unwitting people into getting his way. His soft-spoken nature and charm places him in a positive light to the public.
Despite his resplendent appearance to the public, behind the scenes, his goals are almost always motivated by profit. This amoral desire to maximize profits has typically put him on the wrong side of superheroes.
Luthor is the CEO of LexCorp, a sizable conglomerate based in Metropolis, as well as a founding member of the Light. Behind the facade of honest business, Luthor also organized black market arms trades and other shady deals. He was the founder and first chairman of Cadmus, and initiated Project Match and Project Kr. To prevent another genetic failure like Match, Luthor gave his DNA to combine with Superman's to create the Weapon of Project Kr.
When Aqualad, Robin and Kid Flash broke into Cadmus, Mark Desmond requested an audience with the Light, and briefed them on the incident. He informed them that the three heroes had been apprehended and asked what to do with them. Luthor ordered him to clone them.
This plan ultimately came to naught, and the heroes broke out with Superboy, after terminating Desmond's regime. Luthor dismissed Vandal Savage's concerns about leaving Guardian in charge of Cadmus without the influence of the Genomorphs, claiming that they had subtler means of control. However, he expressed some apprehension with the Justice League employing youth to do their "dirty work".
Luthor was brought in as an independent arbitrator in the peace talks between North and South Rhelasia, but he was not impartial: together with Ra's al Ghul, he planned an intricate gambit that would reunite the two under the Light's "guidance". The League of Shadows would attack the summit, driving the two feuding leaders together. Red Arrow became an unwitting pawn in this game, as he was tracking the assassin Cheshire at the time. Luthor dragged him further into it and even offered to hire him, but Red Arrow refused.
After the summit was saved by Red Arrow, Aqualad and one precision shot from Luthor's driver and bodyguard Mercy, both Rhelasians signed the treaty and multiple LexCorp contracts as well. The Light was quite pleased.
After the arrest of the Injustice League, Luthor was present with the other members of the Light to hear Vandal Savage's view of the Kobra Venom Plant test and the heroes believing they had exposed the Secret Society.
Lex Luthor contacted Superboy with an ultrasound frequency; because Superman was off-planet, Superboy would be the only one to hear. Luthor wanted to meet him in East Potomac Park.
Luthor told Superboy that he, as new director of Cadmus, had discovered there was another super-clone. This caused Superboy to investigate. However, Luthor full-well knew about "Match"; he simply lured Superboy back to Cadmus make him investigate missing genomorphs. In the process, he wanted to make Superboy dependent on him. He revealed that Project Kr worked with incomplete Kryptonian DNA, and the gaps were filled with human DNA. Special Shields could suppress these genes and give Superboy his full Kryptonian powers.
Superboy eventually found out that he had been played, but Luthor had still won. He not only revealed that he himself was the donor of Superboy's human DNA, but confronted Superboy with the fact that Superman would never accept him with that pedigree. Superboy was about to assault Luthor when he managed to escape by speaking a code word, "Red Sun".
Luthor ordered Superboy to Santa Prisca, with the promise of more shields. It was part of the Light's plan to force him, Miss Martian and Artemis to change sides, lest their secrets be revealed. Once there, Luthor made sure to stop Superboy with "Red Sun".
It didn't go as planned: the rest of the Team were nearby, and ambushed them. Luthor had to evacuate, and took the injured Queen Bee with him. Though Aqualad barred their way, Mercy blasted him away. They escaped by helicopter, despite Rocket's attempt to stop them.
In his office, Luthor was busy with late night paperwork for the Light when Mercy handed him a note revealing Speedy had left his hospital bed. Moments later, they were startled by a rocket, fired from an adjacent rooftop. Both could make it safely under Luthor's desk in time.
Mercy was concerned with Luthor's safety, but he insisted on getting a briefcase from his vault first. He gave Otis the order to look for the would-be assassin, and then followed Mercy to the car park. Speedy confronted them, and ordered them to disarm. Instead, Mercy attacked him. While the two fought, Luthor stood by unmoved. He commented the boy on his strategic skills.
He eventually defeated Mercy by blowing up her cybernetic arm with detonation cord. He quickly pulled the same move on Luthor, and threatened to blow his arm off. Luthor was still unmoved, and showed Speedy they were not alone. Otis and his men had arrived, and aimed at Speedy. Luthor revealed he had another trick up his sleeve: preparation. He had anticipated an attack by Speedy ever since he was liberated from his freezing cell in Tibet, and acquired the perfect bargaining chip: a cybernetic arm, more advanced than Mercy's, to replace the arm they stole from Speedy. Settling for satisfaction over vengeance, Speedy accepted.
The members of the Light met with Sportsmaster, who wanted reparations for the death of his daughter. Luthor offered monetary compensation, but Sportsmaster demanded the death of Kaldur'ahm, a suggestion that was rejected and was followed by Deathstroke replacing Sportmaster as the Light's enforcer.
Lex was in an office at LexCorp Farms when the alarm sounded. Suspecting the security cameras had been hacked, he told Mercy to try a frequency override, which revealed the presence of several Team members. Mercy was about to call security, but Lex told her it was unnecessary, as Black Beetle soon arrived on the scene.
LexCorp Farms April 8, post-23:13 CDT
Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage surveyed the damage left by the Team, with Luthor noting the Team never touched the most profitable product, a line of Reach fruit drinks. Luthor remarked one bottle contained everything the body needed, with Savage adding that it contained everything the Reach needed it to need. Back in Lex's office, Luthor suggested to Savage that the Light needed its own team of young operatives.
Lex Luthor arrived in his limo at a bus station. He told Mercy that sending Red Volcano to attack STAR Labs had worked marvelously and now he wanted to seal the deal with the four teens who had been abducted by the Reach and, more recently, were being tested at STAR Labs. He got out and approached the four. Virgil Hawkins recognized him and Lex said he knew about the four, had been watching them for weeks and arranged to have the power cut off at STAR Labs and the arrival of the press to distract Blue Beetle, telling the four teens that Beetle was now an agent of the Reach. Eduardo Dorado Jr. retorted that Lex had been working with the Reach and made their drink, to which Lex replied he suspected he was being used by the Reach, a feeling he believed the runaways were familiar with. He told them he had the resources to protect them and allow them to control their own destinies.
Luthor called the four runaways because he had a gift for them: a Father Box. With that, they were to infiltrate the Warworld and rescue the Team. What he didn't tell them was that they would be a distraction, so Deathstroke could steal the Warworld's crystal key.
Unspecified location May 30, 00:33 MDT
As soon as the four heroes returned to their hideout, Luthor welcomed them home with a video feed. Arsenal, who had tagged along, was quick to tell them of Luthor's evils, but Luthor rebutted. He had promised the runaways a possibility to deal a blow to the Reach—which they did. For the teens, it was a reason to sever their ties with Luthor.
After the Flash and Impulse were too late to shut down the final MRD and prevent it from going chrysalis, Luthor advised them to run in the opposite direction of the vortex's energy flow to siphon off its energy. Kid Flash later arrived to assist and the three speedsters were able to absorb the chrysalis' energy, but it came at the cost of Kid Flash's life.
The Watchtower July 4, 21:16 EDT
Justice League members watched footage of G. Gordon Godfrey's show, who announced Tseng's resignation as UN Secretary-General and suggested his guest, Lex Luthor, take Tseng's place.
Lex Luthor is Superman's most prominent enemy. Originally he was created as a simple bald mad scientist, similar to Doctor Sivana and the Ultra-Humanite. In the 1980s however, Luthor was re-imagined as a corrupt businessman whose hatred of Superman is more due to a xenophobic dislike of an alien being held in a higher regard than himself.
Young Justice marks Lex Luthor's fourteenth animated appearance. Previous portrayals of Luthor have included The New Adventures of Superman, Super Friends, the Ruby/Spears Superman animated series, the DCAU (Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited), Superman: Brainiac Attacks, Krypto the Superdog, The Batman, Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: New Frontier, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, All-Star Superman and Batman: Brave and the Bold.