Lex Luthor is the most intelligent being on Earth. His intellect even surpasses that of Bruce Wayne, as he was chosen by Ozymandias in the recent issue of Doomsday Clock over Batman himself. Considered as probably the greatest foe to the Man of Steel, Lex Luthor has gone to some unimaginable levels to rid the planet of Superman.
Whenever Lex Luthor is not busy in scheming grand plans to get rid of Superman and other superheroes, or, feeding his megalomaniac self, he has achieved some impressive feats to be a successful businessman or a politician. While most of his actions have made him a worthy inhabitant of Arkham Asylum, there have been some instances when Lex Luthor was actually a better superhero than the existing heroes. No matter, some of them were obviously for his own selfish interests; his actions have rightfully placed him in the place of heroes. Here are 10 instances where Lex Luthor was a better superhero than heroes like Superman.
Lex Luthor Helps to Rebuild Gotham
In the 1998 series of Cataclysm, a massive earthquake lays waste to Gotham City. In the aftermath, the government abandons Gotham, leaving Batman and his allies to protect the survivors from the rampant crime wave. With most of his resources directed towards protecting the civilians, the rebuilding of Gotham becomes a dream, until Lex Luthor arrives.
The arrival of Lex Luthor helped to rebuild Gotham from its ruins, thanks to his enormous wealth and vast connections. His own company Lexcorp helps to rebuild the city in record time, thus winning the people’s faith and kickstarting his political career.
Lex builds a Utopia
In Mark Millar’s Superman: Red Son, an alternate timeline is shown where the pod containing Kal-El lands in Soviet Russia instead of America. Under the tutelage of Joseph Stalin, Superman grows up with Russian values and succeeds Stalin as the next leader of the Soviet Union.
Lex Luthor is a leading scientist in the United States who eventually becomes the President. Also, when Superman attacks America, Luthor successfully thwarts his advances, thus protecting millions from perishing. After the war, Luthor establishes Luthorism and the Global United States. This ultimately accomplishes his plans for a utopia; a place without wars and diseases.
Lex Stops the Phantom Zone God
In Action Comics #890-900, Lex Luthor is the main character who is on a quest to wield the power of a Black Lantern. After his success, Luthor accidentally opens up a new portal with the help of the Black Lantern ring, letting a monstrous inter-dimensional threat run amok. The monster wants to destroy everything living as negative emotions bring pain to it.
With the help of a Kryptonian technology, Luthor manages to subdue the threat. But after the process, Luthor keeps the Black Lantern for his own selfish agenda.
Lex Saves Nightwing
In Forever Evil, the Crime Syndicate captures Batman’s favorite protégé Dick Grayson aka Nightwing. Also, to humiliate him further, they unmask him on live television. When Batman and Lex join their forces to find Nightwing, they find him trapped in a Murder Machine, which was originally built to capture Darkseid. Unless Dick dies, the machine would self-explode.
Having no other alternative, Luthor decides to stop Grayson’s heart, only to be attacked by an emotional Batman. But with his cold logic and genius intellect, Lex manages to convince Batman that it’s the only way to save Dick. After taking out Dick from the machine, Lex defuses the bomb which could have killed millions. Then, Lex uses his super-suit to restart Dick’s heart, thus saving the day single-handedly.
Lex Kills Mazahs
Lex once again became the hero in the climax of Forever Evil. In the climax, Lex fights his Earth-3 counterpart Alexander Luthor. Alexander Luthor uses the power of Mazahs, an evil counterpart of Shazam to absorb powers and kill others.
In the fight against Mazhas, both Deathstroke and Bizzaro meet their fatal ends, leaving Lex to protect the Earth. Using his genius wit, Lex determines that his counterpart shares his voice. Hence, he uses his voice to negate the power of Mazahs by bringing down the lightning. Before Alexander can regain his powers, Lex strikes him down.
Lex the Liberator
In Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, the villain Libra re-organizes the Secret Society of Supervillains and makes them more effective and deadlier than before. They manage to kill Martian Manhunter and bomb The Daily Planet, almost killing Lois Lane.
As Libra is working for Darkseid, he enslaves all the other villains using Justifier helmets which broadcast the Anti-Life Equation to its wearers, robbing them of their free will. Lex once again uses his intellect to free the universe from Darkseid’s tyranny. In the process, he kills Libra. In the end, it turns out Lex was actually working for the resistance against Darkseid all along.
Lex Thwarts General Zod’s Invasion
In Superman: Last Son, the Phantom Zone criminals General Zod, Non, Ursa and an army of Kryptonians level the city of Metropolis. As Superman is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, the team led by Zod don’t face any major opposition. In an attempt to save the planet, Lex teams up with Bizzaro, Parasite and Metallo to fight back.
When Superman finally reaches Earth, Lex makes him work on his side to fight against Zod and his army. After the battle, Lex manages to send the criminals back to the Phantom Zone, but also devises a plan to send Superman back to the Zone. Though his plans get thwarted, he gets partial credits for saving the day.
Lex Finds the Cure
After the events of Forever Evil, Lex becomes a member of the Justice League. But after the events, a deadly virus infects the superhumans, granting them freakishly new powers before ultimately killing them.
During the story, Lex attempts to find a cure for the disease. It turns out, the virus was originally created by Lex himself to attack Superman and his resilient Kryptonian DNA, but the virus became more dangerous than it was intended to be. Though Lex was voted out of the group after this shocking revelation, he manages to find the cure by using Superman’s blood.
Super-Lex Saves the Day.
Following the death of the New 52 Superman, Lex takes the responsibility to be the new saviour of the planet. Donning a super-suit with the House of El emblem on it, Lex tries to become the new Superman. Also, he tries to determine the identity of the next Man of Steel.
While addressing to the public, the pre-Flashpoint Superman arrives, making things uglier than before. But before they go all guns out, Doomsday appears and the responsibility to protect Metropolis befalls on the two Supermen. Though Lex’s suit didn’t take Doomsday’s blows well, he managed to provide the necessary support to the pre-Flashpoint Superman by saving civilians.
Lex Kills Darkseid
In the series finale of Justice League Unlimited, Darkseid sets out to destroy world with his army. With the League members having their hands full in trying to stop the army from Apokolips, Lex and the remaining Legion of Doom take the responsibility to save the planet.
Luthor manages to reach the Source Wall, thanks to Metron. Upon reaching the other side, Lex finds the Anti-Life Equation, which was sought by Darkseid since ages. Lex arrives just in time to save Superman from Darkseid and uses his newly found powers to make both him and Darkseid disappear from reality. In a final attempt, Lex becomes the greatest hero doing the ultimate sacrifice to protect the world.