A Deceptive Brilliance <!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">
by Dennis Power<![if !supportNestedAnchors]><![endif]>
The biography that you are about to read is one that could very well cost the author his life, as it has cost others their lives. The subject is one of the most powerful and dangerous men alive today, yet most people regard him with awe, envy and admiration. They think of him as a fabulously successful businessman whose ruthless business acumen is outweighed by his philanthropies. He is regarded on the same level as Donald Trump, Bill Gates, or Rupert Murdoch. Yet imagine if Donald Trump had killed his parents to gain his initial fortune or that Bill Gates routinely had people who annoyed him destroyed, humiliated, physically tortured or even eliminated or if Rupert Murdoch secretly ran a criminal empire in addition to his legitimate business. While Trump, Gates or Murdoch most certainly have not committed any of these horrific deeds, Alexis Luther has done all of these; and much more.
His career began much earlier than has been depicted in the comics but it was not until the mid-eighties that Alexis Lutherís skillfully created faÁade of a philanthropic millionaire began to crack and his true nature began to come to light. While it is true that for years Alexis Luther was under deep suspicion of being corrupt by the business community, by members of the press and by law enforcement officials there was never any solid proof against him. Unlike his relatives he preferred to confront his great enemies by proxy rather than expose himself.
Alexis Lutherís life has been depicted in the comics even less accurately than some of his relatives because the depiction of Alexis Luther in the comics was a direct result of the Crisis. The Crisis was ostensibly DC Comics method of resolving continuity issues that had crept in their many titles up over the years. In the 1950ís DC had started publishing biographies of second generation heroes but even then the editorial staff had believed that it was better to start fresh and pretend that this was a new character without any ties to previous works, they felt this way new readers would not become confused by previous history and the characters would remain young and fresh. Yet older fans wanted to see the heroes that they had grown up with, so DC created another problem for itself by designating the first generation of heroes as existing on a parallel world. They kept adding parallel worlds whenever they wished to do variations on their existing characters or whenever they acquired another comic book company and added their characters to their rosters. In such a circumstance characters published by Fawcett publications were designated as having lived on Earth S (for Shazam). Although there was interaction between their various rosters of heroes via inter-dimensional travel this was deemed as too complicated for the writers and readers to follow. So it was decided that the DC universe would be compressed into one universe and its history re-shaped to allow for all of the characters that DC owned or had license to print to exist in it. Towards the end of the series however an editorial decision was made to erase the generational aspect of some of the costumed vigilantes currently active, so the back histories of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and a few others would be totally revised so that it appeared as though their origins were contemporary. It was then necessary to revise some of the histories of their great enemies. This is where Alexis Luthor came in.
Although Alexis Luthor had opposed Superman and a few other costumed villains both openly and clandestinely for many years prior to the publishing event of the Crisis, he was not so depicted in the comics. One reason was because his similarly named father Alex Wainwright (Luthor) was one of Supermanís greatest enemies. Another reason was that David Warburton and then Lionel Luthor were the secret owners of DC comics and Alexis was in partnership with them in several businesses, despite being outwardly rivals on some fronts. Warburtonís oil interests under the name Haliburton worked in concert with Lexxon Oil, or as Lexxon Oil was known in Marvel comics Roxxon Oil, to open foreign markets and commandeer foreign oil resources. This changed as Lionel grew ever greedier and decided to use the platform of the comics as a means to discrediting Alexis Luther under the aegis of satireÖ which was protected by the first amendment.
One of the main reasons for Alexis Lutherís not being depicted in the comics until the mid-eighties is because his relatives, Alexei Luthor and Alexander Wainwright Luthor were already being depicted by the comics, films and television as ďLex LuthorĒ and DC did not want to confuse their readers with yet another Lex Luthor. Also since the Lex Luthors they were depicting were convicted criminals the comics could depict them as criminal masterminds without being sued. On the other hand although Alexis Luther was greatly suspected of criminal activity he had never been charged with anything other than a minor infraction of the law, to depict otherwise could tie the company up in annoying lawsuits.
Although the stated reasoning behind the Crisis was to make the comic universeís history have a cohesive and comprehensible continuity it also was a ploy designed by Lionel Luthor to free DC comics from the contractual licenses that the company had made with costumed vigilantes. Since they would not longer be publishing biographies of real people but rather fictional stories, satirical perhaps of characters that may or may not have been based on reality, they were no longer bound to any existing contractual agreement. To back this case up he used the fact that most of the comic stories written about the licensed characters had not ever been factual documentaries. They were basically fictions based on the likeness of a person. However since the identities of these persons were unknown, deliberately unknown, and since they were public figures that DC comics was not in the least bit legally obligated to license their images or to allow them to have any editorial control over how that public image was portrayed in a fictional format. In other words DC comics could and would depicted costumed vigilantes however they liked without paying them a thin dime. Eventually Marvel comics and other companies followed suite. The histories of the costumed vigilantes changed and often bore very little resemblance to reality, although to be fair, the comic book depictions of the heroesí lives had always been wildly exaggerated fantasies. This time however the vigilantes had little say in how they were portrayed. Stories were written that portrayed them as buffoons, overly violent and various other subtle ways that maligned their characters.
Although the word is no longer to appropriate to describe a child born out of wedlock, Alexis Joseph Luther was born a bastard and remained one the rest of his life.
Some time in the forties, between matches with Superman Alexander Wainwright Luthor was engaged in one of the semi-legitimate enterprises that provided him with legal capital. This legal capital allowed him to build weapons and set up elaborate death traps for Superman. During this time Alexander Wainwright/Lex Luthor fathered another child. This child was born in 1946 and was the child of Wainwright and his laboratory assistant, Nadine Dillon. Nadine left Luthor when it became apparent that he would not marry her. She bore the child on her own and intended to raise it on her own. She named the child Maxwell Dillon. However a tragic accident occurred and Nadine broke her neck while taking a bath. Alexander Wainwright Luthor took the child and had found two people name Jules and Arlene Luther to raise the child as Alexis Luther. He had false papers created to reflect the child's new origin and bribed the hospital records clerk to make it appear as though baby Maxwell Dillon had died at birth.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Wainwright Luthor felt little paternal feelings for the child but did not want
his child to grow up in foster homes. He chose Jules and Arlene Luther to raise
his son because they came from a prestigious family with an impressive
pedigree, Lutherís had been among the founders of
A couple of years after Jules and Arlene Luther adopted Alexis Joseph Luther, their world went to hell. Jules had tried to expand his fatherís business by speculating on a new product combining plastics and steel. He scoffed at young Alexisí prediction that the process was doomed to fail. When debts began to mount, Jules tried to recoup his losses through gambling. Jules not only lost the steel plant but became indebted to loan sharks and the Mafia. He was forced to sell everything and still did not have enough to cover their debts. Penniless the Luthers were forced to hide in Suicide Slum. Having lost everything Jules and Arleneís marriage was held together by shared misery, loathing and alcohol dependency. Jules worked as a part time laborer and Arlene worked at a sweatshop sewing factory. Jules also forced Arlene to prostitute herself to pay the rent or is his bar bill. He would then beat her up as a tramp. Since their fortunes had begun to turn about the time that they gotten Alexis, they equated their misfortune with his arrival and so began to hate him, ignoring him for the most part or smacking him about when he became smart mouthed.
Young Alexis, like many abused children, grew up mean and resentful of those around him. He did not make many friends of his own age because his brilliance overshadowed his classmates. His best friend in school was ďDanny TaylorĒ<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> whom he could convince to join him in all sorts of mischief. Two bullies, Edward Kelly and Richard McGuire, began to torment Alexis after he had ridiculed their science projects. When they laughed at his demands to cease bothering him, he took matters into his own hands. Alexis had contact with several shady characters through his father who often did side jobs for extra booze money. Lex planned a swindle for two men in exchange for them giving Kelly and McGuire a beating that they would remember for a long time. Kelly and McGuire never bothered Alexis again.
Another early incident that provides insight into Alexis Lutherís character was how he won a school chess championship. Although Alexis was the favored to win the chess match between his greatest rival in the school chess club, Alexis decided to make certain of his victory. He stole his rivalsí dog, slit its throat and planted the dog in his rivalís locker the day of the chess competition. The rival was so upset at the death of his pet that Alexis won handily.
When Jules took a side job running errands for a couple of connected guys, he had to buy a car. It was however not in the best of shape. Upon seeing the condition of this car, young Alexis began to formulate a plan to use this car to get himself out of Suicide Slum and to separate himself from his parents once and for all.
Forging his parentsí signature on an insurance policy, Alexis tried to convince his parents to take a trip to Atlantic City, that he had a sure fire way to win at blackjack. He had to convince his father of this system first. Accompanied by Alexis, Jules won a thousand dollars at blackjack at an illegal gambling joint. Alexis did not really have a gambling system; this was all part of his plan. The game was rigged with the promise that Alexis would eventually give the dealer twice what he had given Jules. With the prospect of such great wealth before him, Jules became riotously drunk. He began playing Russian roulette, telling Alexis that his luck had changed. He spun the gunís chamber and fired it at his head. He had failed to remove all the bullets however and so shot himself in the head. Arlene rushed into the room and saw her husband lying dead with a gun in his hand. She blamed Alexis for Julesí suicide and grabbed the gun intending to kill Alexis. Alexis swung a chair at her as she leveled the gun. The gun discharged and the bullet entered her chest.†
His plan in disarray, Alexis worked quickly. Using kitchen utensils he removed the bullets from his parentsí bodies. He dragged the bodies to the family car and drove to a steep hill. Placing the bodies in the driving and passenger seats Alexis tampered with the brakes and set the car loose. Once the car was crashed Alexis made certain that the injuries were consistent with the crash and impact and then set the car afire, taking the bus home.
made certain the house was cleaned up before calling the police, worried that
his parents were over due in
insurance pay off was 300,000 dollars, but Alexis had to wait until he came of
age to receive the money. Meanwhile the welfare services placed him in the
foster care of the abusive Casey Griggs. At the foster home Alexis met and fell
in love with fellow foster child
Alexis was not allowed to gain access to the insurance money until his 21st
birthday, he needed a source of capital to fund his education and so turned to
illegal activities to do so. Under an alias he became involved in narcotics
trafficking, creating what would later become called designer drugs that were
not strictly speaking illegal, since they the FDA had yet to know about them. It was then, around age 17, Alexis started
his criminal empire. With a
flair for designing weapons, Alexis caught the eye of Wang Fong, the leader of
The Cartel, a crime ring that ran organized crime all around the city of
Lexcorp as a small office in the Daily Planet building. He designed a plane
that was an early prototype of the stealth plane. To demonstrate the
feasibility of his plane, he flew non-stop from
receiving his first government contract in 1967 Alexis Luther planned out a
strategy to make his company the foremost in government contracts. He purchased
the ďDaily PlanetĒ and the building that in which it was housed. He began to
weed out the old style journalists to make his new paper more dynamic. Among the
journalists urged to go were the Editor-in-Chief
and City Editor of the Daily Planet, Clark Kent (Hugo Danner) and
was becoming harder for Clark and Lois to explain the puzzling vitality they had
for their age and since they also need a change of scenery, feeling old beyond
their years, Danner discussed the problem with his ďbrotherĒ Clark Kent who
came up with a solution. Clark and his Lois are feeling stagnated in their
professional lives; the Chicago Daily Star for which they worked had been
turned into a weekly paper focusing on local news.† They wanted to work on a daily metropolitan
newspaper. In lieu of taking a large lump sum to be bought out of their
contracts, Clark Kent (Danner) and Lois Lane Kent want to be allowed to hire
two journalists they felt could eventually take their places. When
Alexis Luthor had no intention of making this new
A few months prior to departing
Alexis Luther was also rather egotistical, he was
certain that the absence of Superman had to do with Alexisí new found celebrity.
Superman, like anybody else, could not stand to share the spotlight. Alexis
believed that Superman had realized that Alexis Luther could do more for
As Lexcorp began getting government contracts, Alexis used the aerospace company as the foundation of his expanding business empire. He bought scores of businesses and created vast networks of dummy corporations to hide his ownership of other not so legitimate businesses. The key to Luthor's power was intelligence. He made it his business to know every indiscretion that his opponents had ever made and then coerced and blackmailed them into submission. Those that disagreed either had their public reputations destroyed or simply vanished. A few in the media and the police suspected Luthor's methods, but he made sure there was never any evidence of his involvement.
good friends with Mayor John Lindsey and supported many of his reforms,
believing that these reforms would enrich him in the long run whether they were
successful or not. While publicly supporting the social programs, the law and
order message of Lindsey, Alexis Luthor also began to make inroads in
illegitimate businesses, making alliances with a group called Inter-gang and a
few of the Mafia families. The version in the comics books in which he became
the undisputed and unknown leader of organized crime in
Aiding Alexis Luther in steering Lexcorp into becoming one of the largest conglomerates in the world was Sydney Happersan, a genius in his own right who was slightly older than Alexis. Happersan was a medical doctor, physicist and financier and became Alexis Lutherís right hand man. He was the liaison between the various holdings of Lexcorp and was aware of most of Lutherís business dealings. One of Alexis Lutherís first moves was to get involved in the petroleum business. He bought up many small oil companies and began operating them under the umbrella name of Lexxon Oil. Lexxon Oil began to implement innovative drilling techniques and began using satellite technology to locate possible oil fields. Lexxon would then make deals with small nations not affiliated with the United Nations for drilling rights. In essence they would seize control of these smaller nations by making their nominal rulers puppet of Lexxon Oil through bribery or extortion.
Jonas Cord II died of a heart attack in 1966, Lexcorp acquired Jo-Ann Cord
Parrishís shares of the Cord holdings. Over the next year Lex played a
strategic financial war against Jonas Enrique Raul Cord y Batista or Jonas Cord
III. As Lexcorp acquired the Cord technological and industrial holdings, Luther
and Cordís rival Howard Hughes began acquiring the Cord entertainment holdings
In late 1969 Alexis Luther became aware that someone was making war upon the Kingpinís organization. This was a new person who called himself The Schemer. Through intermediaries, Alexis Luther made a tacit alliance with the Schemer to aid him in his war against the Kingpin. Luther believed if the Schemer crippled the Kingpin enough, he would be vulnerable for a take over or if the Schemer actually did succeed in overthrowing the Kingpin, then Luther could crush the smaller organization of the Schemer. However his alliance with the Schemer worked even better than he had expected. Both the Schemer and the Kingpin disappeared and their organizations began to fall apart into internecine combat. Luther set up intermediaries such as Bruno Mannheim a racketeer and a television executive who was called Morgan Edge by the comics. His real name cannot be divulged since he has never been formally charged with any crimes. This ďMorgan EdgeĒ should not be confused with the criminal named ďMorgan EdgeĒ depicted in the Smallville television series.
restructured organization which operated through out the five boroughs and in
after Alexis Luther became the pre-eminent crime boss in
Alexis Luther came up with a simple solution to a complex problem, one that perhaps had never been tried because it was so simple. Contain and control Superman by putting him on the payroll.
In early 1970 Alexis Luther had a party on his yacht to celebrate the re-election of Mayor John Lindsay. The yacht was invaded by Front de Libťration du Quťbec terrorists. Lutherís security forces failed to act and the FLQ took the guests as hostages. Superman arrived and made short work of the terrorists. Alexis Luther gave Superman a million dollar check and welcomed him to the Lexcorp payroll as television cameras rolled. Superman declined the offer. Luther insisted that Superman take the check, that he earned it. Superman noticed that the check was dated from the day before and asked Luther why his security forces had not stopped the yacht invasion. He asked Luther if he knew about the FLQ attack beforehand. Taken aback, Luther stated that he had known that the attack was a possibility and had ordered his men to stand down if there was an attack so that Superman could be welcomed to the Lexcorp Security team. Superman balled up the check. Mayor Lindsay had Superman hold Luther in custody until police boats could arrive and take Luther into police custody for reckless endangerment.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Alexis Luther became obsessed with having Superman under his control. He had his scientists look into the feasibility of creating clones of Superman. The cloning process was only theoretical and would only produce a baby copy of Superman. However Sydney Happersan had discovered through their contacts in the government that the government agency known as CIALD had a method of creating identical duplicates of their agents. Luther had Happersan get the specifics of this process and had Dr. Teng make a duplicate of Superman. A series of confrontations was staged against Superman with the blame being laid variously on Lex Luthor, The Toymaker or the Prankster. The purpose was to gather cell samples. Dr. Teng and Happersan made several attempts to create a LMD from the pod plants obtained from CIALD. However the dense tissue structure and bioengineered cellular structure of the Kryptonians was not something that the pods could easily copy and all of the duplicates were malformed. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. All LMDs eventually degraded but it took years for those duplicated from normal human beings to degrade yet those created from Supermanís tissue samples degraded extremely rapidly.†
Luther was impatient for the process to be perfected. When he was informed that
the duplicates could last up to two days before disintegration occurred, he
ordered that a duplicate be made. The duplicate came out of the pod perfectly
but its skin began to crystallize after a few moments. Enraged that this
process was so flawed after having spent ten million dollars on it, he had it scrapped
and all of the pods and duplicates ordered destroyed. The existing duplicate
however had many of Supermanís powers and invulnerability. He successfully
escaped and went about the city saving people as best as his ill formed mind
could manage. He then tried to go to the Daily Planet disguised as
Unable to place Superman under his thumb or replace him with a malleable copy, Alexis Luther decided to destroy him. His various companies began looking for devices created by Lex Luthor or any of Supermanís enemies that had given Superman the most trouble. He also spared no expense to locate the rarest of minerals on the earth; Kryptonite. The search turned up three items that Luther put together in concert to create the ultimate Superman killing device. These objects were a small piece of kryptonite ore, the robotic body of Metallo and the head of Brainiac. The head of Brainiac had been knocked off by Superman during one of their fighting bouts. A quick thinking citizen had thrown the head in a nearby container of wet cement, imprisoning the stunned head in an airtight prison of cement. Luther had the head placed in a sealed room where remote controlled lasers cut the cement from Brainiacís head. As Luther had believed once the head was free of its cement shackles, the wire net encircling the skull disengaged and began walking about like a spider.
Luther spoke to the net stating he knew that the neural net was supposed to be all but indestructible but could it withstand a continual sequence of exposure to liquid nitrogen followed by high intensity laser beams? The neural net stopped moving which demonstrated to Luther that Brainiac was listening. He offered to help Brainiac rebuild his cybernetic body or to give him a limitless supply of human hosts, all he had to do was something that he should enjoy, kill Superman. Brainiac reluctantly agreed to the bargain.
The newly remade Metallo was covered in a synthetic skin and hair so that it looked like a normal man. As with the previous model it was powered by kryptonite. To prevent Brainiac from having a change of his kryptonite heart after being released to kill Superman, Luther informed it that the Metallo body also contained several micro-explosives that would destroy body should Metallo try to bolt. Lutherís scientists had also rigged up a system so that Brainiacís cognitive functioning was dependent on the operation of the kryptonite heart. Although they did not know all the intricacies of his neural net they had designed devices to make the neural netís power source dependent on the kryptonite. Brainiac would shut down even if by some chance the neural net did come off of the head.
Brainiac/Metallo went on a rampage in downtown Metropolis to attract Superman attention. Because Brainiac/Metallo generated a field of kryptonite radiation Superman became weaker and sicker as they battled. He maneuvered Metallo into an area designated for demolition and began burying him in rubble. Leaving one of his limbs exposed which Superman then wrenched off. At the end of the battle Metallo was a limbless torso buried in cement and brick rubble. Metallo however disappeared from the police evidence laboratoryÖ being an artificial being he was not considered a sentient being. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
When the Metallo torso arrived at Lexcorp, Alexis Luther plucked the kryptonite out of the power unit, effectively shutting down Brainiac. He had a portion of the chunk of kryptonite fashioned into a signet ring so that Superman could never personally manhandle him again. Part of the kryptonite was fashioned into bullets. Over the next six months, special psychological tests were given to prospective employees of all of the Lexcorp holdings. Once the candidate was found he was hired by a subsidiary of Lexcorp. Robert Dubois was a young man who had avoided the draft to Viet Nam by getting an educational deferment; however he had paid to have his records altered to meet the requirements. His brother had not been able to get a deferment and was drafted. He returned home without his legs. Robert Dubois felt a great guilt at having avoided the draft while his brother could not. He had a great resentment against those people like himself who had so avoided the draft. Lexcorp psychologists under Alexisí direction began to ďtreatĒ Robert as a requirement for employment. They were able to turn his resentment against draft dodgers against the biggest draft dodger of them all, Superman. When he was conditioned, Robert Dubois went hunting Superman with kryptonite bullets.
Dubois hit Superman in the shoulder giving him Kryptonite poisoning. It took the facilities at Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories to remove the Kryptonite bullet. Metropolis Special Crimes Unit discovered Dubois identity and contacted his paraplegic brother to talk him into surrendering.† A bomb planted in Robert Duboisí stomach exploded as he was being transported to holding and killed him instantly. The materiel that he used was reported as having been stolen from Lexcorp weeks before. Once again nothing could be traced to Lexcorp.
Lexxon profits dipped slightly in late 1971 Alexis Luthor knew that the although there was a finite supply of oil in the world fossil fuel reserves were vast yet the general belief was that there was finite amount of oil which would be running out shortly. Lexcorp began funding environmentalists with an anti-fossil agenda and also began to research methods for alternatives to fossil fuels. Alexis intended to promote the idea that fossil fuels were nearing depletion to drive up the price of oil and create a false sense of demand, at the same time he also intended to profit from the those people who sought alternative solutions to fossil fuels.
Arthur Dearborn, a scientist working at the Brand Corporation, a subsidiary of Lexxon, had the idea of creating a series of satellites that would collect solar radiation and then covert it to energy which could be broadcast in the form of energy waves to power plants based on the Earthís surface. Alexis liked the idea, but wanted Dearborn to run the main satellite array.
For this reason, Dearborn volunteered to lead the crew of this solar space station. Lexxon placed the first few satellites and the small manned space station in orbit. The space station was provided with radar jamming devices to prevent intervention from governments or rival corporations. As part of the Lexxon funding agreement Dearborn had to use the space stationís apparatus to focus pure solar radiation on a specific area of the nation and if possible on a specific individual. It was well known by this time that Supermanís powers were in part derived from his ability convert solar radiation. Alexis Luther planned to bombard Superman with so much concentrated solar radiation that his body would overload and his powers would go haywire. While his powers were uncontrollable Luthor would then have Superman attacked, Superman would either be destroy and/or blamed for the destruction that his uncontrolled powers had caused.
A bit earlier than
calculated Superman flew above the city with his heat vision seemingly out of
control, as buildings became incinerated. Alexis Luthor sent the signal and
Superman was attacked by a person in a suit of powered armor based on the Iron
Man designs (actually stolen from Hughes International) and improved by Alexis
and Dr. Dearborn. The armor was solar powered and converted solar energy into a
variety of energy forms. However Superman was feigning his trouble and soon
defeated his foe.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Desperate to turn the tide of battle, Luther had his combatant flee and take
Evidence surfaced that proved that the late Sandra Vincent had acted entirely on her own and had gone rogue to satisfy some eco-terrorist impulse.
Because the solar
radiation project was a joint Lexxon and
After three attempts were
made to kill Sandra Vincent while in protective custody, her best friend was
killed as a warning not to testify. Sandra broke out of protective custody and
stole the Stratosfire suit. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
With the Stratosfire suit she attacked the
In order to accomplish several goals Alexis Luther began supplying various rival juvenile gangs with weapons far superior to those currently on the street. He wished to wreck the Mayoral career of John Lindsay. He wanted the various juvenile gangs to eliminate each other so that his organization could mentor that is control the rest of the juvenile gangs. He wanted to escalate the crime problem to such a degree that he could convince the New York Metropolitan Police department to buy advanced and expensive weaponry for its Special Crimes Unit from Lexcorp. He wanted the increased gang activity to keep Superman busy and away from Lexcorpís other interests. Among the juveniles caught up in the gang wars was Jerry Taylor, son of Danny and Alice Taylor who became involved with a juvenile gang as part of his teenage rebelliousness.
so easily defeated Brainiac/Metallo, Alexis Luther sent Brainiac to attack a
rival company Caulder Logistics which he had tried to buy out. They had bought
some robotic servomechanisms from Lexcorp, according to some sources; Caulder
had been able to create viable humanoid robots which could function very
smoothly. Caulder Logistics refused to sell out. Alexis Luther set the stage
for a hostile take over by whipping up public sentiment against Caulder
Logistics by giving out false information as to what the company was doing and
about the toxic wastes that the company would be dumping from their production
facility. Luther hoped that the visit by Brainiac/Metallo would be a
combination strong arm tactic that would convince Arani Caulder to sell. Luther
also believed that the damaged incurred during Metalloís rampage would further
demonstrate to the good people of
Brainiacís/Metalloís attack on Caulder Logistics did not go as planned. Caulder Logistics had its own security team of people who either used advanced technological weapons or unbelievable as it sounded various intrinsic abilities to slow down Brainiac, although Brainiac was able to establish an electronic lock-on to the body of Caulderís Robot and force it to aid him in battling against Caulderís security force. Caulderís security force was aided in stopping Brainiac by Superman. During the battle Brainiac/Metallo had his body attacked by extremes of heat, cold and electrical energy. These overloaded the fail safes that Lexcorp had installed into Brainiac/Metalloís body and so when Superman knocked Brainiac/Metalloís head off from the body, the head continued to function and scrambled to safety, hiding from Superman.
had attacked Caulder Logistics using a body made of parts from Lexcorp,
although Lexcorp was certain to make certain it was known that the parts had
been stolen from Lexcorp warehouses. Even though Lexcorp bore no financial
responsibility for Metalloís attack Alexis Luther felt quite badly and gave
Caulder Logistics computers and equipment from Lexcorp. He made a personal
visit to make certain that the parts had been installed correctly and to Arani
Caulderís specifications. While Luther was touring the facilities a maniac with
some type of powered axe began attacking
One inadvertent result of having sent Brainiac/Metallo against Caulder Logistics was that it freed Brainiac from Lutherís control. The neural net sought a new victim and found one in a drunken carnival performer named Milton Fine. When the Black Beller neural net joined with the brain of mind of Milton Fine, it was unable to override and erase the mind of Milton Fine, rather unholy symbiosis was created. Milton Fine was a latent telepath as well as having other psionic powers. His heritage is unknown he may have been an Oddian mutant such as Odd John Wainwright or just one of those very rare people born with psionic powers such as Jean Grey. Unlike his other victims, the extrusion of the neural net into Fineís brain stimulated rather than paralyzed his brain function. The introduction of Brainiac into Fineís mind unlocked his latent powers. Through his telepathy Fine could communicate with the Brainiac mind. While Brainiac could not control the body or even Milton Fineís brain functions, he could stimulate Fineís pleasure or pain centers in his brain. In this way Brainiac was able to control Milton Fine and through him Miltonís psionic powers.
Brainiacís control of Milton Fine first manifested at the circus where Fine worked as a mentalist. The Circus was currently visiting Metropolis. Clark Kent was at the circus investigating a story of animal abuse. Brainiac recognized Clark Kent from previous encounters and knowing of his friendship with Superman, caused a physically abused elephant to break its chain and go on a rampage. Kent escaped from being trampled and Superman arrived upon the scene to render the elephant unconscious. Brainiacís involvement was however not suspected since there were many signs of physical abuse on the Elephant. As Superman began to fly away Brainiac felt his rage and hatred for Superman build into a crescendo. A blast of telekinetic force knocked Superman from the sky.
Brainiac/Fine began pummeling Superman with psionic blasts and he battered him with large objects such as circus wagons picked up and thrown with telekinetic force. When Milton Fineís girlfriend was accidentally hurt by one of these thrown objects, Milton reasserted control. The inner struggle between Brainiac and Milton Fine caused the body to go into a catatonic state.
Eventually Brainiac/Fine would escape from the Mental Health facility where he was being held. Milton Fineís resistance to Brainiacís control of his mind and body had for the first time in decades caused a brain to reject the implants of the neural net. This rejection caused for some reason Fineís Cerebral spinal fluid levels to drop, seriously impairing his health. Brainiac/Fineís temporary solution to this was to steal cerebral spinal fluid from others to off set Fineís condition. Being a wanted vagrant himself he preyed upon homeless people. This brought him in direct conflict with Superman. Brainiac tried to use Milton Fineís abilities to take over the mind of Superman however Kryptonians had long ago bioengineered themselves to prevent this very thing. The psionic backlash sent Brainiac/Fine into a coma.
Among the acquisitions that Alexis Luther made in the early 70ís were properties owned by Scientific and Technical advanced Research Laboratories. Lexcorp made a run on the publicly owned and privately owned stock of Star Labs and talked of a merger this drove the price of the stock up. Luther then backed out of the possible merger making the stock price plummet. He then acquired several of the Star laboratory properties at a reduced rate. Among these were the sentient robots called the Metal Men, the United States Courts continued to rule that they were property and not individuals. Hughes Corporation had sold them to Star Labs, which gave them quite a bit of autonomy, but to fend off Lutherís leverage buy out, Star had to give up the Metal Men. Although they were not polymorphic shape changers as depicted in the comics, Luther knew that they were possessed of sentience. He had his scientific crew assemble a large powerful robot coated with a kryptonite alloy and placed the microchips containing the personalities of all of the Metal Men inside the robot. They were told that unless they destroyed Superman they would never get their original bodies back.
Superman defeated the massive robot with the kryptonite sheath despite it being guided by several minds. The kryptonite sheath was not enough to kill Superman just make him ill. He fought off the illness and broke the robot into pieces. He rescued the microchips and placed them in the Metal Menís original bodies. Luther fled the scene.
Alexis Lutherís plan to foment a continual juvenile gang war continued but it did not have the desired result of getting the Metropolitan Police Department to buy weaponry from Lexcorp to battle the gangs. One of the roadblocks was the head of the Special Crimes Unit who balked at buying such weaponry from Lexcorp. She had convinced her superiors that this was just one step towards becoming the private security force of Lexcorp. Luther had his detectives find out everything that they could about Maggie Sawyer. When he discovered that she was a lesbian, he threatened to expose her unless she stopped her efforts against Lexcorp. Sawyer spat in his face.
If Alexis Luther hadnít had other, direr problems crop up, he would have put forth every effort to destroy her. As it was however, Alexis Luther learned that the signet ring with the kryptonite stone had caused bone cancer in his hand. His hand had to be amputated to stop the spread of the cancer. This made his hatred for Superman grow all the greater for in his mind, Superman had caused him to get cancer by forcing him to wear the kryptonite ring.
When Milton Fine had gone into a catatonic state following his second encounter with Superman, Alexis Luther had immediately taken a special interest in Mr. Fineís welfare, getting his attorney to have Mr. Fine released to a Lexcare private hospital so he could receive the expensive medical treatment that the state of New York could not afford. Alexis Luther promises to use all his scientific resources to help Brainiac eradicate the persona of Milton Fine from their shared brain without causing the loss of the brainís psionic abilities. To seal the bargain, Brainiac goes after a costumed vigilante called Gangbuster. Gangbuster kept breaking up the gang fights and destroying weapons caches in an attempt to quell Lutherís promoted juvenile gang war. Brainiac fought Gangbuster and broke his back, paralyzing him from the waist down.
Brainiac returned flush with victory and tried to take over Lutherís mind. Brainiac was gassed into unconsciousness and kept sedated.
The Gangbuster was a youth counselor named Jose Delgado; Luther offered to repair his broken back and paralyzed legs with mechanical implants. Unable to deal with the loss of his legs Jose Delgado agreed. However his first order of business as Lutherís controlled vigilante was to attack and destroy Dr. Emil Hamilton, a scientist whose work Luther had stolen. Hamilton defeated Gangbuster and Luther responded by disabling Delgadoís implants, leaving him crippled once more.
Brainiac overcame his sedation and took over the Lexcare facility where he was being held. He also took over the minds of several of Lutherís most trusted employees, including Lutherís right hand man, Sydney Happersan. Happersan had a deeply buried resentment towards Luther which Brainiac uncovered and exploited, making Happersan a semi-willing victim. Brainiac took control of Lexcorp. Alexis Luther was shut up in a small room and Brainiac kept filling his mind with illusions. Brainiac turned the resources of Lexcorp towards one goal to duplicate the process in which he had created a synthetic body that would be immortal and to find a way to either duplicate Milton Fineís brain or to have that brain transplanted into the synthetic body. Some of the components needed for the synthetic body were owned by STAR Labs and they were not about to sell anything to Lexcorp. Brainiac had several mind controlled Lexcorp employees wearing experimental power suits break into STAR Labs to steal the components. This brought Superman into the equation. Superman defeated the power armor wearing individuals and then battled with Brainiac.
Superman defeated Brainiac only to discover he had beaten an illusion. The synthetic body and Brainiac/Fine had disappeared.†
Without the Gangbuster to quell things and with Superman temporarily out of town, the juvenile gang war reached a crescendo.†
In addition to losing his hand, Alexis Luther also lost his son and heir. This was again his fault although indirectly. Jerry Taylor and his friend whom the comics call ďJimmy OlsenĒ were wounded in a street battle between two gangs. Jerry Taylor died of his wounds.
Alexis Luther learned that the cancer in his hand had metastasized and had turned into a full blown case of bone cancer. He visited Jerry Taylorís gravesite lamenting on the fact that he would have no heir to inherit his empire when the cancer did him in.
One of the by products of Brainiacís search for the components of the body he had created years before, turned up some interesting items. Among them was a force shield belt, which seemed to be of alien origin.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>†
Luther believed that the belt could slow down the progress of his cancer but it was stolen from the facility where it was being studied. It ended up in the hands of an Iraqi-American teenager who used it to defend his family and neighbors against hate crimes targeting the Iraqi immigrants. These hate crimes were instigated by Luther out of spite for Lexxon having lost lucrative revenues when itís oil companies in Iraq were seized and nationalized. Luther used his influence with the media to have the teenager labeled a soviet backed Iraqi terrorist. Luther made a desperate attempt to regain the belt but endanger much of the Iraqi section of New York. The teenager is forced to overload the belt to save as many people as possible. The overloaded belt ceased functioning. The Iraqi teenager destroyed it so that not even the non-powered belt would fall into Lutherís hands.
Alexis Lutherís cancer was getting worse and he searched high and low for a cure. He was in such a desperate state that he was willing to consider Sydney Happersanís plan in which Alexis Luther would be forced to trust Brainiac. Happersan believed that he had found a way to stop the cellular decay that affected LMDís. Happersan believed that he could create Luther a perfect body from cell samples fed into a LMD pod. Brainiac would then use his mental powers to transfer Alexis Lutherís mind from the cancer ridden body to a new, healthy LMD with a blank mind. Luther agreed to the insane project believing that he had no other available options.
They arranged to make it seems as though Alexis Luther knowing he was dying of cancer, had decided to replicate his early aviation success before he died. The plane crashed en route, killing Alexis Luther.
The actual operation took place in Australia. Brainiac was amenable to the task once he had been given assurances that he would really receive a synthetic body this time. Brainiac scanned Alexis Lutherís mind and replicated it onto the blank mind of the LMD. This LMD was taller, stronger and had a full head of hair. Alexis Luther realized once the LMD sat up that he had been tricked.
Brainiac and Happersan were working together, Happersan still under Brainiac thrall. They replicated Lutherís mind onto a LMD which Brainiac and Happersan controlled through various implanted commands. Luther was taken to a safe house in Australia where he was kept imprisoned but was well treated. He learned that his cancer had actually not been immediately life threatening, Brainiac had made Lutherís doctors and Luther himself believe that it had been. Luther received treatment for the cancer during his confinement. Luther realized that he was being held captive for the time when Brainiac and Happersan would need to create another Luther to take over.
A cover story was put out that Alexis Luther was older than he claimed, in his forties. It was then later revealed that he had had a son by Gretchen Kelly his doctor. This son had been raised in Australia by foster parents so that young Alexis Luther II would not have to grow up with the pressure of being the worldís richest manís son.
Sydney Happersan had arranged events to that Alex Luther II would be hailed as near hero rather than immediately disliked because of his father. Happersan had allowed crucial Lexcorp owned utility companies and companies providing goods and services to falter due to a lack of leadership. This lead to power outages, a great diminishment of trucking services carrying foodstuffs or picking up garbage and the like. Alexis Luther immediately took control of the situation and returned all power to the city and made Metropolis the primary destination of his transportation companies until all depleted food, medical and retail supplies had been replenished.
Alexis Luther II was to a large extent autonomous yet ultimately Sydney Happersan controlled him. Happersan used all of the resources available to Lexcorp to build Brainiac a stable synthetic body, using the same technique that he had gotten from Dabney Donovan, the renowned geneticist, to create the body of Alexis Luther II.
Once he had his new body however Brainiac turned on Happersan and on the Earth. He made a mental alliance with Ming III of Mongo and with the High Council of ZíNox to launch an attack on Earth, convincing them that with his help victory would be assured. Brainiac gained Ming IIIís trust by getting many of Ming IIIís erstwhile enemies such as the Hawkmen, Lion Men and Clay People to not only swear allegiance to Ming but to join in the invasion. The Invasion or Panic From the Sky incident took place on three fronts.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Mongo tried to establish a foothold in Australia. The ZíNoxians tried to establish a foothold in Antarctica, where they had previously established an outpost. The owners of Caulder Logistics and several of their staff were near the Antarctic when the Invasion took place. They used the resources at their disposal to drive the ZíNoxians away. As a result the wife of Niles Caulder died as did one of his young aides. Another staff member was left in a coma.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>†† Alexis Luther II joined in the defense of Metropolis and suffered a broken leg as a result, yet his efforts brought him to the attention of Supergirl.
After Brainiac was rendered unconscious, the Invasion force fell apart as the Mongovians revolted against Ming III and returned to Mongo to continue their revolution. The ZíNox also fled.
At the time Supergirl (Kara Kent) was experiencing a break in her long time relationship with Bruce Wayne Jr. They were both seeing other people and so when the handsome, exotic Alexis Luther jr. began to flirt with her she responded in kind. They began a short relationship. Superman tried to warn Supergirl about this relationship but Kara responded angrily, believing that her father was being overprotective and trying to control her by picking her boyfriends. Kara soon realized that Lex was even more controlling than Bruce Wayne jr. had been. She began to feel as though she had become Lexcorpís private security force. Alexis also became rather distant towards her, spending much time away on business. She overheard a conversation between some Lexcorp employees that made her wonder just how Alexis Luther referred to her outside of her presence.
Supergirl looked around Lexcorpís main headquarters, sneaking into areas not open to the public. She discovered a room where there were dozens of versions of her growing in LMD pods. Sydney Happersan discovered her in the room and explained that they had used cell samples from her skin to grow these LMDís in an attempt to save Alexis Luther who was dying from a rare disease. Supergirl refused to believe this story and destroyed all her duplicates. However Happersan showed her the dying Alexis Luther. Kara felt guilty and vowed to use all her efforts to save Alexis Luther jr.
Kara Kent consulted her father and her ex-boyfriendís father, Bruce Wayne, currently head of the government agency CIALD. Both men were very intrigued by her account of the dying Alexis Luther jr. She was asked to describe his condition in great detail. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent recognized the symptoms of an LMD degradation but wondered at how rapidly it had come about on this ersatz Luther. Wayne believed that since there were significant differences between it and the original Luther that the tinkering involved had compromised the stability of the LMD. Clark Kent had his wife dig hard into the background of Alexis Luther II with the intent to expose him as a fraud, perpetuated by the man who was now for all intents and purposes controlling Lexcorp, Sydney Happersan.
Happersan had in Alexis Lutherís name tried to get in contact with Dabney Donovan. Donovan was involved in a project involving genetics through cloning and the use of the LMD pods. The project was known as Manticore or Cadmus depending on the source but they denied knowing the whereabouts of Dabney Donovan. When Happersan continued to seek Donovan various Lexcorp installations on the East Coast reported acts of vandalism, sabotage and firebombing by oddly shaped people or animals. Happersan knew that Donovan was experimenting with recombinant DNA, gene splicing and other Moreau type experiments and believed that he was behind them. He had Lexcorp security forces attempt to contain and capture any creature seen perpetrating these acts.
The ďwarĒ between Donovanís freaks and Lexcorp reached such a state that the Special Crimes Unit and Superman became involved.
After Lois Laneís story broke which proved that Alexis Luther II was an imposter and followed Happersanís money trail, blaming Happersan for perpetuating the fraud, Sydney Happersan. Alexis Luther II was arrested. Happersan eluded capture and initiated several of Alexis Lutherís last stand devices that he had intended to use if ever cornered by Superman. These destroyed many buildings in New York city. Happersan perished in one of these building collapses.
Once Happersan was dead and the imposter Alexis Luther jr. in custody, the search for Alexis Luther began. He turned up in a sanitarium in Westchester New York. He began therapy for his cancer which had spread during his captivity. It was during this treatment that he made a deal with the devil. Although in the comics, he is seen making a deal to sell his soul for a younger body to a malevolent entity known as Neron, the real devil he made a deal with was the group known as The Nine. Although six of the original and oldest members of the Nine had been killed off in a war raged against them by Doc Caliban and Lord Grandrith, two of their former Servants, the three remaining members had formed a new Nine gathering old and new servants by promises of the elixir, a drug that slows down the aging process to the extent you age one year for every 300. The elixir also confers upon the recipient perfect health and the ability to regenerate body parts. As a servant of the Nine, Alexis Luther would also gain access to world political power. Although Alexis Luther was loathe to be anyoneís servant, he also did not wish to die. Also with his supreme ego, he believed that it would be only a matter of time before he was running things.
While Alexis Luther was convalescing, receiving the elixir and having his hand regenerated, a woman from his past, the Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenza re-entered his life. The Contessa met Alexis Luther in the late sixties during a meeting about expanding Lexcorp and Lexxon Oilís operations to Europe, working in partnership with some of the Contessaís businesses. They fell into a romantic relationship because they shared many qualities, ruthlessness, business acumen and a great hatred for Howard Hughes. They had a brief, torrid romance
Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenzaís hatred for Howard Hughes had begun in the late fifties. Upon the death of her father Whitney Frost received a shock when the will was read. It told her that she was in fact the adopted daughter of Byron Frost. Her true father was Count Luchino Le Portenza, a notorious figure in international criminal circles, and her true name was Erica Giulietta Le Portenza. The Count told her that she had been placed with Frost for safe keeping but now that Frost was dead and could no longer protect her, she would have to return to her family. Although she balked at this the Count told her that he would expose her as his daughter unless she cooperated.
The Count trained Whitney in criminal strategy, managing underworld operations, and combat skills, all of which she mastered rapidly. The Count was captured during one of his criminal endeavors and Erica found herself in charge of the Camorra family, although only nominally. Her fatherís consigliore actually led the family. It was decided by the consigliore that the Le Portenza Camorra family would do something to set them above other criminals. It was well known that Hughes International had designed the rocketpacks of the Air Patrol and was working on even more high technology designs. Erica was entrusted to lead a raid against Hughes International and steal as much of this technology as her men could carry. Erica and her men made it into the Hughes Long Island complex and loaded their planes with material but the planes were shot down by the East Cost Rocketmen led by Commander Barr. Her plane was damaged and crashed over the Atlantic crashed and Erica was horrifically injured.
She was found by one of the ships of Golden Shipping Lines, owned by Mordecai Midas. Midas learned of her background and arranged for her medical treatment. Her face was horrifically scarred so Midas gave her a golden mask to wear over the injury. Midas hired her as a criminal operative; planning and carrying out operations that would net him gold. One of Midasí personal plans was to have her meet Howard Hughes get him alone and then kidnap him, without implicating Midas. Although Hughes was a recluse he could sometimes be induced to attend certain charitable functions for appearances sake. Midas arranged for both Hughes and Erica to be invited to a masquerade ball. At the ball, Erica maneuvered Hughes into an unused room. Since Hughes was a well known lothario this was a relatively simple task. Once there however Erica allowed herself to be seduced by Hughes.
During their tryst she drugged and captured Hughes. Hughes was then replaced by a LMD who had been conditioned to turn Hughes International over to Midas. However Erica fell in love with Hughes and could not be a party to destroy him. She helped his escape and the LMD was exposed as a fraud.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
She terminated her employment with Midas. Hughes however reacted with great revulsion when, at his insistence she came to bed unmasked.†
Scorned and enraged, Erica vowed to have revenge on him. However she received word that her father had escaped from jail and was dying. She hurried to his side. The Count was a wizened old man, aged decades since last she saw him only a year past. The Count revealed a final shocking truth to Erica.
The Portenzas were not like other people. They had been cursed by a Druid back in the days when Britain had been a Roman colony, cursed with long life, a long life that would end as abruptly has it was given. When the life ended it would end with all the accumulated years taking their toll in a few days and the person would suffer an incredibly painful death. The Count and his family had been of the Lepidius family, descendents of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, a supporter of Julius Caesar and Octavius who had become governor of the western provinces of Hispania and Africa. His descendents had been among the first to colonize Britain. Lucca Lepidus had cleared a forest for the building of their villa over the protestation of the locals. A druid priest had cursed Lucca Lepidus and his family which included his son and daughter. His son had enjoyed being youthful for decades when he grew depressed because his family aged and died. He joined the army stationed in Britain but soon discovered that most injuries would eventually heal. After the Romanís left Britain, young Lepidus refused to go. He instead shut himself up in a cave, awaiting for the day for Rome to return. Lucca Lepidus learned that his son had been awakened from his hibernation in 1899 but had after a short time begun to wither and die as Lucca was now doing. Lucca told Erica that she was his daughter and had been likewise cursed.
Erica had married at the turn of the century and had tragically saw another husband age and wither before her eyes. This one she had loved so profoundly that his death was too much for her withstand. Erica had had a mental breakdown, becoming amnesiac. It was decided that she would live with the Frosts as her daughter for her own protection until she recovered or it was necessary to force her to remember. The Count was only telling her this now because he could no longer protect her. The Count died shortly after this and Erica irrationally blamed Hughes for her fatherís death.
She met Alexis Luther after she had regained control of her fatherís business interests and after her face had healed of its horrific scarring. Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenza used the pretext that after Happersan and Luther, she was the person that held the most amount of Lexcorp stock and so took over the reins of the company in Lutherís absence. She used Lexcorpís resources help clean up the debris left over from Happersanís rampage.
In what many considered a publicity stunt, she gave leadership of Team Luther, Lexcorp private security force to hire Marcus Aelius, an immortal Roman from the time of Hadrian. The comics gave Marcus Aelius, the backstory that an alien race, the Virmiru offered to exchange representatives between their world and the Roman Empire, Marcus was the one chosen to represent Rome. When Aelius returned to Earth some two thousand years later it was take his place as Earthís protector. However Marcus was actually one of the few Romans to escape captivity from an Alien trader who had kidnapped a Roman Legion to conquer primitive planets for him. The Roman soldiers were given a treatment that would prevent them from aging and were repaired when wounded but were not allowed their freedom. Marcus Aelius survived a battle and was picked up not by his owner but rather by one of his ownerís rivals. This rival did not share Marcusí ownerís point of view about enslaving primitive populations and so when they had traveled near Marcusí home planet they gave him a shuttle ship to return home.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>† Although Marcus had known the Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenza back when she was Julia Lepidus, neither of them disclosed that information.
When Alexis Luther was cured of his cancer and had re-grown his hand, he returned to New York to retake control of Lexcorp. During his convalescence he had a planned out an agenda that would ultimately lead him to controlling the world. However the Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenza did not wish to relinquish her position as head of Lexcorp so readily. In lieu of a drawn out corporate battle that could seriously disrupt Lexcorp, they agreed to a partnership. She would help him attain his goals and in return Lexcorp would allow her to obtain some of hers. Once Alexis Luther returned on the scene Marcus Aeilius was persuaded to go to Washington, D.C. to work for CIALD. Unfortunately he was too ethical to be a spy for Lexcorp.
The first business that Alexis and the Contessa Erica did together was to take down their mutual enemy, Howard Hughes.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> They first used their influence to bring pressure on the United States government to get Howard Hughes back into the United States. Hughes was purportedly living in seclusion in London, at the Inn on the Park. Hughes had left the United States feeling persecuted and betrayed he felt that he had bought the Presidentís ear by his lavish contributions and wanted an end to nuclear testing in Nevada. When Nixon failed to acquiesce to Hughes wishes, he felt that the United States was no longer safe for him. There were also some legal problems such as an ongoing TWA lawsuit and lawsuits from some of Hughes former employees that had prompted Hughes to leave the United States. Hughes name also came up in another major legal battle in 1974; the Watergate Hotel Break-in. Lexcorp prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to also indict Hughes for fraud in the Air West airline acquisition. Hughes had knowingly manipulated the stock price of Air West to force the companyís sale. Of course this was a business practice that Luther also engaged in but any bit of ammunition against Hughes was fair game. Hughes left London for the Bahamas which had a non-extradition policy. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Luther also put pressure on the various city governments where Hughes had holdings in which he was regarded as an absentee landlord. Las Vegas especially felt slighted that Hughes after making such a huge investment in the city had just picked up and left. Luther was able to get Hughes properties in Las Vegas such as the Desert Inn, Sands Hotel, Hughes television station, North Las Vegas Airport and many other properties citied for safety and building code violations. The Internal Revenue Service also began an extensive audit of Hughes recently formed Summa Corporation.
Luther learned that many of Hughes papers were held in a haphazardly guarded building. He arranged for the Hughes Romaine Street headquarters to be burglarized in June 5, 1974. Many of the papers were released to the media to discredit Hughes, such as Hughes involvement with the CIA however this backfired and Hughes was regarded as a patriot for his involvement with the CIA.
Given this it is little wonder that Alexis Luther did not release one vital bit of information that these papers contained, a piece of information so bizarre that Alexis Luther could scarcely credit it as being true.
The identity of Hughes Internationalís protector Iron Man was none other than Howard Hughes!
There had been rumors for years that Howard Hughes had lost control of his empire and was a virtual prisoner of his staff. A putative autobiography of Howard Hughes scheduled to appear in print had been quickly quashed by Hughes in 1971. The autobiography and subsequent rumors claimed that Howard Hughes was a drug addict with a morbid fear of germs. He lived in a darkened room, sleeping on a barcalounge and spent his time in a narcotic haze watching film after film. He was supposed to be so emaciated that his bones poked through his thin skin, his back and legs were covered with bed sores, he refused to cut his hair or his nails and he kept his urine in mason jars. Although he lived among unclean squalor he insisted everything that he touched had to be touched with many layers of Kleenex.
These stories were partially true. Hughes did live in such a state but only during those times when his Iron Man suit was being repaired or upgraded. The suit isolated Hughes from the rest of the world keeping him safe from germs, radiation and contact with unclean humanity. The suit also gave him the ability to do the one thing that he really loved to do but was physically unable to do on his own, fly. Yet there was a price for being in the suit so long. When Hughes had been injured in the mid-sixties the mechanics of the suit had been improved to respond from very slight movements from Hughes, this allowed the suit to do most of the actual moving for Hughes and a result his muscles began to atrophy. As his body began to atrophy the suit did not fit as well yet Hughes refused to have suit that would better fit his new form built, believing that his underlings would screw it up. As a result padding was placed into the suit to make the suit fit better around Hughes, this padding chafed and gave Hughes serious sores along side his body. Hughes had become something of an addict after a life threatening plane crash in 1946 so he used large amounts of codeine to offset the pain that his body was experiencing. The suit apparently had a built in hypodermic system. When it came time for Iron Man to go into action, Hughes would add Dexedrine to his drug mixture to make him alert. Although the drugs made him able to function through the pain, his body continued to be damaged during his fights as Iron Man. During one such fight despite the Iron Man armor, Howard Hughes shattered his leg to the extent that a pin had to be put in his hip.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The stories of Hughes living in Nicaragua, London, the Bahamas and Mexico were true to the extent that he did have his employees set up such bases for him but the most part Hughes lived in the United States in hiding.
While attacking Hughes on the financial front Luther also decided to attack Hughes on a physical level by drawing Iron Man into a series of destructive battles.
He sent an agent code named Tattoo to bring about wide spread sabotage at Hughes Internationalís California Headquarters. The saboteur was easily defeated by Iron Man and as per Lutherís usual method of operation died when taken into custody. Tattooís true mission had been to place a small device on the Iron Man armor.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Luther then had Jose Delgado in a combat armor suit based on the Iron Man armor kidnap one of Hughes old flames. Jose Delgado had sought help from Alexis Luther II to have the implants that had given him mobility restored. Alexis Luther had restored Delgadoís mobility but had also added implants that could control Delgado through the pain centers of his brain, Delgadoís limbs could also be remotely controlled, however only to a limited duration and limited extent. If that failed there were secure locks on his implants that ceased their functions freezing Delgado in place. Instead of using the code name Gangbuster Delgado used Lutherís chosen code name of Force.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Hughes fought Delgado and freed the hostage. During the fight, Delgado placed another micro device on the Iron Man armor. The hostage was Erica Portenza revealed to Iron Man that she knew his secret identity. She attempted to break through his self imposed isolation and succeeded in gaining visiting rights to Hughes by being allowed to take rooms in an adjoining suite. Once in the hotel the Contessa used her access to let in some of Lutherís technicians.
However Hughes left the hotel where he was staying without informing the Contessa. His presence was noted in Scotland. Luther arranged for another of his power armor suited employees to attack Hughes in Scotland. Another micro devise was planted on the Iron Man armor. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
From the Contessa Luther learned that Hughes was learning to fly helicopters and so arranged to a helicopter presented to him as a gift from the Contessa for having saved her life. Hughes was nearly killed when the Luther seized control of the helicopter by remote control and caused it to lose power in mid-air. Hughes was able to guide the helicopter to a safe landing. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Hughes battled two more of Lutherís agents in separate incidents in the Bahamas and Nevada. Jose Delgado, who had learned to temporarily disarm the security lock on his exo-skeleton, visited Hughes. He told Hughes how he had been forced to attack him and told Hughes who was behind the attacks. Hughes and Delgado were attacked by three of Lutherís agents whose orders were to kill Delgado. Hughes and Delgado sustained injuries. Delgado reportedly died of his wounds.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Having learned who was behind his attacks Hughes contacted Alexis Luther by telephone and told him in no uncertain terms what he planned to do to Lutherís financial empire. Luther laughed at this and told Hughes that he would be a poor, homeless dying wretch when he was finished with him.
Agents of Luther caused an industrial accident in a Hughes owned plant in Japan, which Hughes International covered up at a great cost. By late 1975, Americaís first billionaire was having great financial strains due to the various sabotages, lawsuits and other actions that Luther had manipulated against Hughes, his cash reserves were ten million below the annual running costs of his various enterprises. His personal expenses were not included in this and they were nearly 30,000 per deim.
The constant battering of his Iron Man suit had left his frail body in great pain, to which he responded by increasing his codeine intake. This was so great that had he not built up a great tolerance over the years it would have immediately killed him. He was so doped up however that not even the Benzedrine could offset the codeine to make him somewhat alert. He stayed more and more in the Iron Man suit and had two more encounters with agents of Luther.
The end for Hughes career as Iron Man came in December 1975. Hughes while heavily under the influence of a drug concoction of his own mixture attacked a Hughes factory in California, believing that it was the headquarters of his archenemy or the source of radiation spawned germs. Hughes was subdued by one of Hughes Internationalís other Iron Men. Had Hughes known the identity of the other Iron Man he would have died of apoplexy and mortification. After the other Iron Man had subdued Hughes, and went to seek help something very strange happened. Hughesí suit began firing its weapons at the Hughesí suit, scoring and scarring the suit in an attempt to destroy it. When this ultimately failed, the laser aimed at the eye slits of the suit. The other Iron Man had returned in time to wrestle with the hand laser, taking damage before breaking it. Having failed to cause Hughesí suit to kill him, Luther activated the explosive charges on the micro devices. They shattered Hughesí armor. Hughes was miraculously still alive because of all of the interior padding inside the suit.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Hughes was in a bad state yet refused medical attention believing that all hospitals were now compromised. He had his staff fly to his last refuge, the Acapulco Princess Hotel suite in Mexico where they took the entire top floor. Having lost his one true refuge from the world, Hughes knew that he would soon die of the vast amounts of radioactive germs in the air. His drug intake increased, which was one of the reasons for having moved to Mexico. He neglected his businesses and the only calls in or out to his room concerned his last will and testament.
Luther and Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenza discovered Hughes whereabouts in late March of 1976.
On April 4th, Howard Hughes awoke to find Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenza sitting by his bedside. She told him that the time for final revenge was at hand. For his hand in her fatherís death, Hughes would die in torment and great horror. Hughes felt movement on his feet. He saw dozens of spiders of various sizes crawling upon his bed. The Contessa informed him that the spiders were not venomous per se, but that they had been infected with various lethal diseases. She kissed her fingers at him and departed his room. Howard Robert Hughes jr. found that he could not scream as the filthy germ infested spiders crawled over his body biting and contaminating him.
On April 5th, his staff found Howard Hughes stiff and dead, frozen in a tableau of horror as dozens of spiders crawled over his still form.
Yet Howard Hughes had one final salvo in his battle with Alexis Luther. Prior to his death, Hughes had caused to be planted a series of bogus last wills and testaments that tied up his estate for years. In the end, his largest profitable enterprise Hughes Aircraft was owned by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Luther and the Contessa were able to purchase bits and pieces of the Hughes financial empire but not the majority of it; they merely had to be content with killing him. Yet eventually Luther would discover that the reports of Hughes death were as Mark Twin said, greatly exaggerated. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
During his several year battle with Howard Hughes Alexis Luther also had to deal with some other Öproblems.
In 1975 Wilson Fisk returned to New York City to avenge himself on old enemies before retiring from a life of crime. Luther knew that Fisk had gone to Las Vegas after being forced out of New York by the joint Luther-Schemer operation but the Las Vegas venture had ended badly. Fisk killed many of his old foes who were members of various mobs. Luther did not care about this because it allowed him to take over these organizations. Fisk also concentrated his hatred upon two costumed vigilantes the Spider-Man and the Daredevil who Fisk blamed for his earlier fall, although it had actually been through the machinations of Fiskís son that Fisk had lost his organization. Considered the Spider-Man and Daredevil as two minor annoyances but did not at the time hate them with the intensity that he hated Superman. However Luther did not care if Fisk eliminated them either. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
After achieving some measure of vengeance, Fisk and his wife retire to Japan. Fisk used legitimate Hydra contacts to establish business interests there.
Fisk was however not done with his enemies; he planned to turn over all the evidence that he had accumulated on his former colleagues and enemies to the United States Department of Justice. His courier was his wife Vanessa, who he believed nobody would dare touch. He was wrong however. Alexis Luther did not know what was in those documents and so was concerned about their very existence. He did not know how much of his business dealings that Fisk had known about but was not about to take the chance. He gave orders through channels that ended up with several of his criminal employees kidnap Vanessa Fisk from her hotel room. As planned this brought Fisk from Japan. Luther arranged for an exchange, Fisk could have Vanessa back if he handed over the incriminating files. Whatever else could be said about him Wilson Fisk loved his wife more than wealth or power and so agreed to the deal. Once the deal was accomplished, Luther had the building that Fisk and his wife were staying blown up.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Fisk survived the building collapse but his wife did not. His wife had been the driving force behind him leaving a life of crime. Without her he had no reason not to go back into it. He also wished to avenge Vanessaís death.
Having made certain that his involvement in the assassination attempt on Fisk and his wife was kept secret, Luther ignored Fiskís attempts to rise to power once again and his vengeance against Daredevil who he blamed for Vanessaís death, although it is more likely that Daredevil had learned of the plot against the Fisks and tried to warn them. Fisk began to organize the small criminal organizations of the leaders he had killed into a larger organization. However when Fisk also used his wealth to put up a political candidate of his choosing for the Mayor of New York, Luther decided this had gone too far. He leaked information about Fiskís candidateís connection to crime. When Fisk turned his wrath on the reporter who had written the expose, since Daredevil was guarding the reporter, Luther stayed out of this business.
Luther heard a rumor that the Kingpinís wife might not be dead that she had fallen into the sewer system when the building had collapsed and she had wandered through the sewers and began living with tunnel derelicts. Luther sent his men to capture Vanessa Fisk, especially when he heard that the Daredevil was also seeking her. Daredevil battled Lutherís men and found Vanessa Fisk. He turned her over to Fisk in exchange for Fisk having his Mayoral candidate resign and for Fisk to leave the country. He only did the latter because Vanessa Fiskís ordeal among the tunnel derelicts had traumatized her and she needed a great deal of psychological help. Fisk agreed and departed the United States once again. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Luther quickly seized control of Fiskís fledgling crime organization. Yet he was not done with the Fisk family.
Richard Fisk hated his fatherís criminal legacy and wanted it destroyed, even if Fisk was no longer running it, he wanted it destroyed. Richard Fisk worked his way up through Lutherís criminal organization under the name Rose. With a turncoat long time member of Lutherís empire named Sam Silke Richard Fisk seized control of part of Lutherís criminal empire declared himself the new Kingpin. Fisk began warring on his fatherís old enemies with the intent of destroying them while at the same time destroying his fatherís former operation, like grinding two object together until both are worn down to nothing. Luther intervened and brought down Richard Fisk and his allies. Richard Fisk went into the Federal Witness Protection program for divulging incriminating evidence about the New York crime situation to the law enforcement officials. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Alexis Luther would patiently wait to get revenge on the Fisk family.
During his ongoing battles with the Fisks and Howard Hughes, Alexis Luther had little time for anything else although he did carry out the occasional plot against Superman. In one such plot shortly after his return to New York City his security forces captured the being known as the Parasite. In an effort to discover how it functioned, Luther had one of the Doctors who had failed to cure him during his cancer treatment fed to the Parasite. The Parasite absorbed Dr. Freemanís memories and knowledge as it digested the body. Alexis Luther then set the Parasite free on New York City, knowing that Superman would show up to fight the Parasite. Superman defeated the Parasite with help of Super-girl. The Parasite was deemed too dangerous to be held in regular lock up and so was remanded to the custody of STAR laboratories.
Alexis Luther waited a few weeks but then had a STAR Laboratory custodian on his payroll free the Parasite and several other prisoners held in of STAR Laboratories special prisonersí wing.
This kept Superman busy capturing them while Alexis Luther arranged a break in at STAR Laboratories, which shared information with Cadmus. Although Superman returned in time to capture the burglar, he had managed to send the information that STAR Laboratories had gathered on Supermanís genetics. He learned something that stunned and outraged him. He thought about exposing the Superman fraud but realized that he could do so in a public manner that would not only expose Superman for the fraud that he was but would literally destroy him before the eyes of his worshipping, gullible public.
During the late seventies and early eighties, Alexis did not have many confrontations with Superman, since he avoided having them. However the depiction of Wilson Fiskís activities in New York after 1976 were actually based on those of Alexis Luther. He encouraged the misinformation that Fisk was in New York and carrying out these criminal deeds as one more means of shielding himself from criminal investigation or prosecution. Alexis was busy carrying out missions for the Nine and setting up events for his taking over governing of the planet. Since Alexisí activities are mostly unknown during this period, the comic portrayals of him are few and far between and those that did occur were highly exaggerated.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Alexis Luther married the Contessa Erica Giulietta Le Portenza in 1979 and together they planned for his rise to power. A wrinkle arose however in that Erica became pregnant. Alexis was pleased to have a true heir to inherit his empire.
As soon as their daughter Lena was born, Alexis Luther would have no competition for the affection of his daughter, not even from his wife. He had Erica sedated and kept in a hospital after she gave birth to Lena. She came out of her coma in spite of the fact that she would have to be superhuman to do so. She escaped when the hospital burned down. In league with Dabney Donovan, she had a LMD of Superman made and as par for the course it became a crystallized Bizarro copy. She sent it to kidnap her daughter Lena from Alexis Luther. Although Alexis retrieved the child the Contessa waited to strike, wanting Alexis to worry about when she would strike next.
Alexis Luther began to plan his Doomsday plan in 1980, a plan that would culminate in destroying the costumed vigilantes that had most plagued him in one fell swoop and clear the way for him to have unimpeded power. To achieve this goal turned his investigative teams loose to discover every scrap of information about those people he wished to destroy. He also had to make hidden alliances with a couple of criminals who were archenemies of his targets. One of these was the man whom Alexis was convinced was his biological father, the criminal called Lex Luthor. Another was the psychotic criminal known as the Joker. He also had to find the whereabouts of Dabney Donovan, make amends with him and use his particular gifts for a special project.
One of the first parts of the project was to capture the criminal known as Mr. Hyde. Because of his seeming resistance to injury and simple-minded brutality, Alexis Luther believed that the criminal could be turned into a killing machine that could kill Superman. He thought about trying to capture the legendary Hulk but believed that being would not only prove too powerful but too intractable and impossible to control. Donovan actually agreed to the specifications for which Alexis Luther asked. Mr. Hyde had cybernetic implants put into his body which would have killed a normal person. These protected his internal organs and increased his strength and stamina. His bones were made to absorb kryptonite and he was made to grow sharp bone spurs through out his body.
Alexis Lutherís partner Lex Luthor had induced the Ultra-Humanite to join the alliance. The Ultra-Humanite had brought in his grandson, Lionel Luthor. Alexis Luther found it ironic that his rival/partner was unknowingly assisting him in bringing down his greatest enemy.
In 1985 The Doomsday Plan was enacted, its purpose was to eliminate and destroy Lutherís hated enemies. Although ultimately it failed, it did achieve some measure of success. For nearly a year Alexis Luther could glory in the fact that he lived without real interference from Superman and his odious family, Batman and his ilk, Daredevil and the Spider.
TO BE CONTINUEDÖ..
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> My fellow researcher Al Schroeder believed that this child was Maxwell Dillon who later became the supervillain Electro. This was due to Luthor having "derived great strength and electrical powers from a special treatment. He worked with a female researcher named Dillon at the time. Anybody else would have been satisfied with tremendous strength and electrical abilities (which would repel bullets, shock others, and render him invigorated by the electric chair) but since it didn't quite equal Superman's power, it wasn't enough for Luthor. It formed only a passing phase of his quest for power, but it left one inheritor... Their child, Max Dillon, suffered side-effects from the electrical treatment they underwent. He didn't gain the Thing-level strength that Luthor had after each electrical treatment, nor did he inherit his father's genuis." as quoted from The Luthor Legacy by Al Schroeder
†As demonstrated in the Spider Man article Max Dillon was actually Dan McCormick.. McCormick was briefly involved with Alexander Wainwright's half brothers as seen in the Lawrence Luthor section of this article. In a bizarre twist of events McCormick was given the identity of† Maxwell Dillon, the child of Lex Luthor's† former assistant, Nadine Dillon. According to the existing records the child had been born dead and then Nadine had died tragically shortly thereafter. The government altered the birth certificate to reflect that the child had been born alive and altered the date to fit Dan McCormick's apparent age.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In his well researched article Superman's Pals, Jimmy Olsen (And Bosses, Perry White) Al Schroeder speculates† ĒThe names "Jimmy Olsen", "Perry White", and "The Daily Planet" were all used originally by the radio show. So when it came time for Siegel to change the names of the paper Clark worked for, and to indicate he was working under a new boss, he adopted the names of the radio show, and did similarly when it was time to relate a story about a young copy-boy who worked for Clark's paper. When the TV show increased the public's ease and familiarity with such names, he saw no need to change. So "Perry White" became the name of any boss Clark had after George Taylor. "The Daily Planet" became the name of any newspaper Clark worked for after the "Daily Star". "Jimmy Olsen" became the name of any young friend that Clark worked with.Ē We agree that this system of coding was used by DC comics and other media in which† Superman appeared. However he further speculates that each place that Clark Kent and Lois Lane worked there were people named some variation of Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, although an interesting theory, it seems too coincidental and too pat. Since Schroeder claims that his information comes directly from Superman one can only wonder if Superman had worked with Schroeder to place another layer of secrecy over the true identities of the various Jimmy Olsens, Perry Whites, Morgan Edges, and Lana Langs etc. to keep their identities secret. In the DC comics the post Crisis Luthorís best friend was Perry White. The post crisis Luthor was based on Alexis Luther and research has uncovered the true identity of the person called Perry White as well as the true name of the Daily Planet. Daniel Taylor who worked for the New York Globe. A brief television series, called The Reporter †was based on Dannyís first few years on the Globe, although he was played by someone twice his age.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The mechanic who examined the car for the Insurance company quit his job two days after the insurance settlement came in. He opened the first of a chain of auto parts stores shortly thereafter.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Lex's revenge was decades coming -- he set Griggs up as an expendable puppet to assassinate the Mayor of Metropolis and then personally killed Griggs with a single bullet
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> These atrocities were committed by a super-powered man and a Danner to boot. Hugo Dannerís great-grandson, Steve Danner had enlisted in the army under a false name, that of Todd Holton. He joined the Green Berets. After his team was wiped out, Holton went on a rampage, using his super strength to wipe out entire villages. He was the legendary Super Green Beret.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Luther held a long grudge against Mayor Lindsay. When the Mayor tried to run for President in 1972, he was soundly defeated in the two primaries in which he took part. Lindsay finished out his second term as Mayor and retired from public life. Although it was never proven it was long rumored that Alexis Luther had an active part in destroying Lindsayís political career. This represented metaphorically in Superman (issue? ) when Mayor Frank Berkowitz was assassinated by a Luther hired hitman.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> While it is true that the pods were derived from the
Parasite and the parasite could duplicate Superman in essence becoming a true
doppelganger of Superman it should be remember that the Parasite was a being
nearly like the Founders of the Gamma Quadrant, if not one.. Like the pods it
was also never able to perfectly duplicate Superman. The pods were created when
the Parasite was destroyed in 1955. Tissue from the Parasite fell to the earth
and formed a bizarre synthesis with a field of bean plants out side of Santa
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Although the comic book version, Superman Vol. 2, No. 1 shows Metallo being teleported away from Superman at the final stages of their battle, this was a comic book exaggeration. Lexcorp did not possess teleportation technology, if they had Luther would have used it for commercial gain and revolutionized the transportation industry.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Superman had realized what was happening when he felt the increase of solar radiation around him, his foe Alexander Wainwright Luthor had tried something like his a few times before because they misunderstood the process by which Superman absorbed solar energy. The biogeneticists who had designed the Kryptonian body had of course created built in regulators that would prevent this very thing from happening. Superman was surprised when Alex Wainwright Luthor had believed that his powers would become uncontrollable by solar radiation. Having felt the increase of solar energy Superman feigned losing control over his powers to draw out his opponent. The building he incinerated were earmarked for demolition. In DC comic version of this event he fought a Lexcorp robot named Klaash, as seen in Superman vol 2, No 10
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Sunturionís battle with Iron Man was depicted in Iron Man 143 1981
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> How she was able to do this is still under investigation. It is believed that she bribed one of her guards.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The WNUís Brooklyn Naval Yard was not decommissioned in 1966 as happened in our universe however the damage that Stratosfire did to the yard did bring about its decommissioning.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Marvel Comicís depiction of Stratosfireís brief career was in Iron Man Annual#9 (1987)
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> This belt seems to have either been of Thokkina manufacture akin to the ones worn by Thor and Wonder Woman or related to the alien artifacts found by the group that called itself T.H.U.N.D.E.R. The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> DC Comics would portray this alien invasion as two separate incidents, probably for marketing reasons, They were the Invasion crossover 1988 and the Panic in the Sky storyline 1990. The Invasion miniseries would also involve alien cultures that existed in the far future, culled from Legion of Super Heroes comics.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Caulder Logisitics was the home company of the group called The Doom Patrol in DC comics. In the Invasion/Doom Patrol Crossover Arani Caulder died. Scott Fisher also died during this crossover and Rhea Jones was placed in a coma for years.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> This was depicted in Iron Man V1 17-19
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The story of a similarly kidnapped Roman Legion is portrayed in Ranks of Bronze by David Drake, Baen,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The Alexis Luther-Contessa Portenza war against Howard Hughes were depicted in Marvel Comics as Tony Starkís battles against Justin Hammer and Obadiah Stane. Countess Portenza was portrayed in Marvel Comics as the Countess Nefaria/Madam Masque. Although Alexis Luther had bought into Marvel Comics had a good deal of influence in the various storylines, he did not resist having his epic battle and destruction of Howard Hughes depicted in such a way, so long as† he and Lexcorp remained unconnected to these events. His ideas about the character of Obadiah Stane were bits and pieces of his own life.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Hack, Richard Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos And Letters, New Millennium Press 2001
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The public story was that Howard Hughes slipped in the bathroom and broke his hip.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Fictionally depicted in† Iron Man† Volume 1, 162 September, 1982
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Depicted in Iron Man, Volume 1, 141 December 1980
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Depicted in Iron Man Volume 1, 164: November 1982
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Depicted in Iron Man, Volume 1, 217 †April 1987
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Depicted in Iron Man Volume 1, 223-224 October-November 1987
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> This was depicted in part in the wrap up of the Stane-verus Stark storyline in Iron Man Volume 1, 200. In this issue Stane had created his own power armor and fights against Stark. When Stark defeated Stane, Stane killed himself with his own repulsor ray. However Alexis Luther did not directly confront Howard Hughes. The man in the second Iron Man outfit was John Henry Irons, a Hughes International engineer who had improved on Hughes designs. He was also one of Hughes Internationalís cadre of Iron Men that had begun to operate without Hughes direct knowledge. He had authorized the creation of the Iron Man team but as with many things he did not follow through with them. In Marvel Comics John Henry Irons was depicted as James Rhodes, Tony Starkís best friend. Howard Hughes best friend, if he had one, was fellow pilot Jack Real. Hughes would have had a stroke had he known how he was depicted in Marvel Comics especially with Starkís best friend being an African-American. Hughes feared and to some degree hated African-Americans, had he known they were taking part in his beloved Iron Man program he would have had the armor they used scrapped because of contamination. In the comics it was James Rhodes who was subjected to the spider torture but Hughes never met Irons, he never even knew he existed.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Luther would discover years later when he attended one of the annual visits to the caves of the Nine, that Howard Robard Hughes, was a servant of the Nine under a new name, Stark. Hughes had been rescued in the ninth hour by the Nine who had substituted a LMD of Hughes grown from his current state. The LMD was killed by a massive overdose of codeine.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Fiskís return to New York was depicted in Amazing Spider-Man Volume† I 187, October 1979
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Daredevil† Volume 1, 170 May 1981
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Daredevil Volume 1, 180, March 1982
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The ďRoseĒ storyline, in which Richard Fisk wad depicted as a costumed hero/villain was played out over nearly a decade in various Spider-Man titles starting in Amazing Spider Man 253, June 1984 and ending in Web of Spider-Man 100, May 1993. The story line in the comics was incredibly drawn out with and often contradictory. This was deliberate to hide the true facts of the case. Although Richard Fisk did use the name Rose, he did not adopt a masked appearance or did he have a friend of his undergo plastic surgery to look exactly like him as depicted in the comics.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The depiction of Wilson Fiskís activities in New York after 1976 were actually based on those of Alexis Luther. He encouraged the misinformation that Fisk was in New York and carrying out these criminal deeds as one more means of shielding himself from criminal investigation or prosecution.
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