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  1. #1
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    Default The “Build-the-perfect-Lex” Challenge thread!

    I enjoy creative writing challenges with known characters, and there’s now something like a strong tradition of merging previous versions of Lex into a new one. So... why don’t we see how we’d each construct our own “perfect” Lex? I’m going to create a “format” for mine to use, but you don’t have to follow it.

    Businessman, scientist, or both? Both, of course; it works too well to have a Lex who can build some powerful robot or design a clone to take on Superman, but also hang around as a supporting cast character challenging Suoerman’s impact on Metropolis as a businessman. Personally, I’d have him start as a genius inventor and oligarch, but a regular human one, who manage to elevate his intellect via a deal with Brainiac so he’s a full-fledged super-scientist, capable of analyzing and eventually understanding Coluan and Kryptonian technology as well as creating his own.

    Personality style, type of evil? Lex isn’t a born sociopath or psychopath, and should have a more fanatical personality philosophy driving his evil; he made a choice a long time ago that he was “right” to be ruthlessly amoral, and is in denial about how wrong he is, which is what causes his occasional psychotic breaks and famous obsessions. When calm, he’s actually very rational, sharp, and disturbingly charming and charismatic in a seemingly mellow way. But... inevitably, something happens that triggers his obsessions or denials.

    Close Associates and Family? Lex is almost always accompanied by his bodyguards, the cybernetically enhanced Mercy Graves and the exiled Amazon Hope; they’re genuinely able to slow down Superman and give him a run for his money if given back-up or tools to fight him specifically with. He was primarily raised by his grandfather Lionel in Smallville, who “mysteriously” passed away when Lex reached maturity. Lex also *does* have his daughter Lena, at least for a while, who he does love at first ... but exchanges with Brainiac for his upgrade in the ultimate horrifying display of how screwed up he is.

    Backstory and relationship to Clark/Superman? Lex *was* young Clark’s friend back in Smallville, and Clark was young Lex’s only friend. Lex’s parents were abhsive, and died in a fire in Metroplois that Lex didn’t wake them to escape from... but his grandfather Lionel was worse in his own ways, trying to mold Lex into his “perfect” successor. Young Lex was still in concert enough to try running away at one point, and wound up at the Kent’s for a while as he considered turning on his grandfather and entering some kind of foster good, possibly with the Knets themselves... but his pride made the pity they expressed unbearable, and he convinced himself to return to Lionel and prove him “all too right.”

    Lex then engineered his grandfather’s death, liquidated the family’s business holdings into his seed money for LexCorp... and brutally climbed his way to dominating Metropolis with it, taking every horrific shortcut and backstabbing route he could. His dominance was only challnabed by Superman, and what quietly sets off Lex is how altruistic and virtuous Superman is, because while he could roll with a demigod being as cruel and pragmatic as he is, seeing him be a hero forces Lex to confront his own denial, and he turns that into jealousy and hatred. His backstory with Clark, though, is why he refrains from treating him like he would any other inconvenient journalist - his pride and knowledge of his envy of the Kents would mean he would “lose” if he killed Clark and didn’t prove to himself he made the right choice.

    Business suit, armor, or costume? All three; he usually wears a suit or some kind of regular clothing, but when getting particualrly paranoid, wears a version of his “Justice” costume, which enables teleportation and intangibility so he can be “untouchable” to Superman, and his classic power armor for when he wants to fight.
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  2. #2
    Spectacular Member StrikeJP's Avatar
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    Lex Luthor would not only be a Superman's main villain, but practically a supporting cast member. He would also kind of have his own secret identity. Ruthless business man by day, evil mad scientist by night (this is when he would put on his power armor which would now have a helmet/mask).

    With Lex having a secret identity, I would play off of Lex and Clark being friends from the Smallville days, but Superman and Lex's secret identity hating each other.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrikeJP View Post
    Lex Luthor would not only be a Superman's main villain, but practically a supporting cast member. He would also kind of have his own secret identity. Ruthless business man by day, evil mad scientist by night (this is when he would put on his power armor which would now have a helmet/mask).

    With Lex having a secret identity, I would play off of Lex and Clark being friends from the Smallville days, but Superman and Lex's secret identity hating each other.
    Any code name he would use with the helmet, or would he just be some no-nonsense villain in that role?
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    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    The mad scientist vs businessman paradigm is a false choice. The classic mad scientist is a relic of the 1800’s. In those days scientists had to go rogue in order to get real science done (see grave robbers). Then came the post war years, where mad scientists( usually speaking in a German or Russian accent) became the face of nuclear fears.

    I said it’s a false paradigm, because if you look around you you’ll notice that our “mad scientists are our businessmen. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, the mad scientist of the 21st century is as much a creature of the corporation as he or she is of the lab.

  5. #5
    The Man Who Cannot Die manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    This is pretty cool.i would want more of this in any lex
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrikeJP View Post
    Lex Luthor would not only be a Superman's main villain, but practically a supporting cast member. He would also kind of have his own secret identity. Ruthless business man by day, evil mad scientist by night (this is when he would put on his power armor which would now have a helmet/mask).

    With Lex having a secret identity, I would play off of Lex and Clark being friends from the Smallville days, but Superman and Lex's secret identity hating each other.
    I'm not sure. CW has proven that it's nearly impossible to keep a major antagonist in the main cast without creating issues.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    I'm not sure. CW has proven that it's nearly impossible to keep a major antagonist in the main cast without creating issues.
    ...Eh, CW hasn’t proven anything other than their own inconsistency. And they managed Slade pretty well in Seasons 1 and 2 of Arrow, while STAS managed to prove Lex could work in that kind of role a decade before, as did Lois and Clark.

    Honestly, as long as you’re smart enough to build up a decent set of antagonists who Lex isn’t responsible for, it works great. He’s always plotting or scheming something, but not every plot and scheme is his. There’s nothing better than having Lois or Clark suspect him and get a “It's not me this time” response, only for his actual schemes to genuinely push the envelope.

    Lex as a supporting character works best when he can be in competition with Intergang, Brainiac, and others as well as Superman.
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    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    I'm not sure. CW has proven that it's nearly impossible to keep a major antagonist in the main cast without creating issues.
    This is basically how Lex was used for years (and if you excuse a few breaks, almost two decades) from the '86 Man of Steel reboot.

    The untouchable corrupt businessman/criminal mastermind is my favourite Lex, even though I do understand the argument that it makes Clark and Lois look dumb that they can never prove his crimes. It might work even better these days, as people seem to be more willing to ignore actual, provable evidence that conflicts with their worldview.
    Last edited by exile001; 04-14-2021 at 02:31 AM.
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  9. #9
    Spectacular Member StrikeJP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    Any code name he would use with the helmet, or would he just be some no-nonsense villain in that role?
    Heh, not sure. Maybe "Ruin." In the vain of Professor Hamilton.

    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    I'm not sure. CW has proven that it's nearly impossible to keep a major antagonist in the main cast without creating issues.
    Eh. While I love Superman&Lois at the moment, I wouldn't base CW's writing ability as a measure of whether it could be done or not.

  10. #10
    Spectacular Member The Frog Bros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile001 View Post
    This is basically how Lex was used for years (and if you excuse a few breaks, almost two decades) from the '86 Man of Steel reboot.

    The untouchable corrupt businessman/criminal mastermind is my favourite Lex, even though I do understand the argument that it makes Clark and Lois look dumb that they can never prove his crimes. It might work even better these days, as people seem to be more willing to ignore actual, provable evidence that conflicts with their worldview.
    Yeah good point. The Imperious Lex FS book got at this for sure, albeit in a future timeline on Lexor.

    I also like Lex as feeling intellectually superior to everyone, which fuels his personal drive/madness.
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  11. #11
    Fantastic Member ducklord's Avatar
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    Here's a Luthor I'd like to see:

    Lex Luthor is the smartest man in the world, and it's not even close. All he wants out of life it to know everything. Which would be fine, except for the fact that he's an utter sociopath. He views humans as nothing more than lab rats. Sometimes he develops an affection for a lab rat, and he despises wasting them unnecessarily, but he will kill thousands of them to complete an experiment without batting an eye.

    Years ago, while still a teenager, Lex realized that, in order to perform his studies in peace, he would need to disappear. He faked his death, erased his existence from the internet, and made himself obscenely wealthy by stealing rounding errors from the governments of the world (Superman III, people!). Now properly situated as the richest ghost in the world, he began his work.

    Science is not a solo sport. Lex farms out bits and pieces of his experiments to legitimate labs all over the world, under assumed identities and digital disguises. It's estimated that up to 10% of the research being conducted globally at any given moment could theoretically be traced back to Luthor... which no one ever has thought to do.

    Enter Superman. Luthor is intrigued by the sudden appearance of the alien, and begins using his underworld proxies to stress-test the hero in public, putting thousands of civilians in danger. Unfortunately for Lex, Superman is close friends with a couple of intrepid reporters, who eventually put some pieces together and reveal Luthor's existence to the world. Suddenly, Lex's accounts are dented. Laboratories are on the lookout for him. His ability to conduct his experiments in privacy is hobbled. Worst of all, he is a wanted man.

    Luthor flees into the shadows swearing revenge on Kent, Lane, and Superman. He is now a world famous mad scientist - the ultimate boogeyman for anti-science crusaders everywhere. He disappears for months at a time, then all of a sudden all the redheads in a village in France grow a third eye, or a town in Canada turns inside out, or the Moon goes backwards for a day. He's always out there, and he's almost impossible to catch, 'cause he's 18 steps ahead of everyone.

  12. #12
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    If you can't have Lex Luthor suit up in some green and purple battle armor and shoot Superman with crazy sci-fi rays and maybe a giant robot or two, what's even the point or having him?

  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    Lex is the ultimate Alpha Male. He has a need to be better than everyone. He has always been brilliant but has studied and learned to the point he is one of the smartest men on the planet. He has NO connection to Smallville or young Clark Kent. He was raised by a father that was always busy and had no time for him or his sister Lena. Lex builds his company from the ground up through innovation and ruthless business tactics until his company is one of the biggest on the planet with him having his hands in a little bit of everything. He also continues to experiment and fund projects off the books that are not fully legal or sometimes moral in the quest for more power. He is smart enough that he knows the law inside and out which is why people like Superman can never prove him guilty of anything. Deep down he hates Superman because Lex knows no matter what he does he can never surpass Superman which for a true Alpha Male personality is the ultimate insult.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    The mad scientist vs businessman paradigm is a false choice. The classic mad scientist is a relic of the 1800’s. In those days scientists had to go rogue in order to get real science done (see grave robbers). Then came the post war years, where mad scientists( usually speaking in a German or Russian accent) became the face of nuclear fears.

    I said it’s a false paradigm, because if you look around you you’ll notice that our “mad scientists are our businessmen. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, the mad scientist of the 21st century is as much a creature of the corporation as he or she is of the lab.
    That was more-or-less the idea behind the revamped Post-Crisis Luthor. Lexcorp was built by Lex making billions on his patents.

    If I recall correctly, the reason Wolfman wanted to revamp him was that Lex got into this cycle where he'd always get sent to prison by Superman and then break out at the beginning of his next scheme. Wolfman thought that if Lex was so smart, he'd be smart enough to not give Superman a viable target. And that's basically the issue with a villain who isn't remotely a physical threat but is supposedly super-smart. He's so weak that if he confronts Superman directly he's got a guarantee to go to jail every time. But if he's so smart he never actually enters the fight and just pulls strings from a distance. The thing that would really change the game for Luthor is if they could close the gap between the two. A Luthor who could pull strings if he wants to but if he chooses to confront Superman directly, he's not guaranteed to go to jail. And I can't think of a way to do that except to make Luthor super reliant on tech like carrying around a teleportation device or something.

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    The perfect Lex has the genius of the pre-Crisis Lex but is smart enough to use it to be a businessman. It doesn't make a lot of sense for the smartest man in the world to build a robot suit and rob a bank. He would use it to become a billionaire and set up mechanations behind the scenes to make it look like he wasn't the one behind trying to kill Superman. Maybe he would have said robot suit sitting down in a lab somewhere in case Superman ever "loses control" and he has to stop him. He would also go out of his way to try to make Superman go out of control so he would have to save the day.

    He would have the abusive childhood that made him a sociopath. I like the Smallville take where his father trains him to be a sociopath but not necessarily in Smallville. He might also have been a wild child rebelling against his father's control. I like the idea that maybe he killed someone in his youth and his father had to pay to get him out of trouble thus teaching him that you can buy your way out of any situation. I don't like the idea of him and Clark being friends. It's too convenient. For one thing, I don't think he should have any real friends. It fits the psychopath narrative. I also like the idea of his mother more or less not being in the picture. Either because she's dead or because she is cold and doesn't really love him. His parents marriage being one of business convenience and not love. Teaching him that every relationship is a transaction.

    He would be a narcissist. He hates Superman because Superman is more popular than he is. He owned the city before Superman showed up and now everyone loves Superman more. He is petty and vain and insecure. Maybe he sexually harasses his secretary and she loathes him but knows he can ruin her life so she puts up with it. Maybe he even forces her to sleep with him. He might have a sister but they have no real relationship. They are more or less estranged. Maybe he set his father up so he can take over the company. His father is either dead or in prison because Lex framed him. He believes in taking what he wants by whatever means necessary. He loves no one and no one loves him.
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