<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">The Lethal Luthors:
A Deceptive Brilliance

by Dennis E. Power



Alexander Wainwright 1894-1990


Alexander Wainwright shared with his brothers, his full brothers and his paternal half brothers, brilliance and a propensity towards baldness. If there is such a thing as a genetic predisposition to crime, it had not manifested in Alexander Wainwright until his mid-forties. that is unless you can consider an overactive libido as being criminal. While at Columbia University, he had a series of affairs with students and associates of the faculty. This first affair was with the wife of one of his professors, a Professor Harmon of the psychology department. Mrs. Harmon gave birth to a child named Damien Harmon in 1916. [1]

In 1920 Alexander Wainwright had been put on the faculty. Since he was a biologist and a physicist and a well regarded researcher, this was considered to be true catch. Despite his initial acclaim he proved to be very secretive about his work and his research moved slower than his sponsors would have liked. There were also continual rumors about his personal life. It was believed that while he was working as an instructor that he had an affair with one of his students. She was one of his lab assistants and also the young wife of an antiquities professor named Kojak. She gave birth to a boy named Theodopolous in 1924. Theo Kojak would grow up to become one of the foremost detectives on the New York City Police force. Although Professor Kojak remained oblivious to the fact, Theo was the son of Alexander Wainwright.

In early 1932 Alexander Wainwright learned from his colleague Nathaniel Roberts that there had been an alien life form in the arctic that had nearly wiped out a meteorological station. Dr. MacReady had taken a sample of the material with him. Wainwright tried contacting this Dr. MacReady, or as has he was commonly known, Doc Savage[2] to see if he could get a sample of the tissue to do research. Savage denied Wainwright's request, citing that it was much too dangerous for Wainwright to work on it. Wainwright paid several of the employees of the Empire State building to keep tabs on Savage for any sign that might be working on the mysterious alien tissue sample. .

During the next few years Professor Alexander Wainwright had a four year affair with another one of his students. She became pregnant and rather than even attempt to make Alexander Wainwright marry her she married a boy of her own age named Thorsen[3]. She also believed that Thorson had better financial prospects than Wainwright. She gave birth to a daughter named Lena. Alexander Wainwright felt a connection to only two of his children. Lena was one of them, possibly because he had actually loved her mother or because having been denied access to Lena made her a prize to be won.

In 1939 the stake out of Doc Savage and his associates paid off. While Savage did not let Wainwright borrow the tissue sample, Savage did let his cretinous, sub-human associate Mayfair to experiment on it. Wainwright had a few crooks break into Mayfair's Queens laboratory and take several pieces of laboratory equipment, parts of ongoing experiementa and the alien tissue samples that Mayfair had been given.

Wainwright tookthe alien tissue samples that he had acquired to Chicago where he had a laboratory built inside an old warehouse. He believed that the distance from New York would prevent Savage and his men finding him and from taking back the tissue samples. Wainwright attempted to revitalize the tissue sample in a vat of electrically charged fluid. The alien tissue, a proplasmic being revived a bit when it was fed raw meat but it remained in a dormant state. Wainwright felt he was making real progress when tragedy struck.The warehouse in which he was conducting his experiments caught fire. The costumed vigilante hero in Chicago, Superman demolished the warehouse to prevent the burning structure from spreading into other older warehouses in the district. All of Wainwright's fortune and his years of research were destroyed in that fire.[4]

The remnants of the burning building however left enough clues to tip police that Dr. Wainwright, the owner of the building had been involved in shady doings and criminal activities. His reputation was also ruined by this fire which seemed deliberately set. Alexander Wainwright blamed Superman. Since Chicago was no longer a safe haven Dr. Wainwright returned to New York, he found that his activities in Chicago had caught up to him. He was dismissed from the University faculty. Having few prospects of achieving another academic career or even one as a legitimate scientific researcher Alexander Wainwright became one of the laboratory assistants to the red-headed criminal scientist Alexi Luthor. It also appearsed as though Superman had followed Wainwright to New York.

During one such case he posed as the eminent scientist Dr. Martinson, who had invented an earthquake machine. Martinson may have hit upon a similar method as that used by Dr. Alex Zorka in New York or by the Little White Brother down in Chile a few months prior to this event. While Alex Wainwright was posing as Dr. Martinson, a snooping reporter named Clark Kent came asking questions. Wainwright knew that Kent was a friend of Superman's. While Kent's back was turned, Wainwright coshed him and threw him out the window of Dr. Martinson's laboratory which was in a high rise. Kent however was saved by Superman who then climbed up the building and jumped into the window of Martinson's laboratory.[5] Wainwright however had disappeared as per Luthor's orders.

Wainwright was a loyal henchman of Lex Luthor's until Luthor's disappearance in 1942 shortly after the incident called The Heat Horror by the media.

For some reason the press and the comic book accounts, which were in part based upon newspaper and radio accounts, had begun depicting Alexander Wainwright as Lex Luthor, altering the descriptions and pictorial representations from a youngish man with reddish hair to an older, stockier bald headed man. Alexi Luthor did not mind this since it took the heat away from him and paved the way for him to use Alexander Wainwright as a future fall guy. Alexander Wainwright did not mind since it established the idea that he was the leader of the Luthor organization so that when made his move to take over, it would be less messy.

As it turned out Alexander Wainwright did not have to stage a coup d'etat for the control of the Luthor organization, Alexi Luthor disappeared after being taken into custody by Superman in 1942. Alexander Wainwright assumed control and adopted the Luthor name [6]

Alexander Wainwright as Lex Luthor continued his predecessor's campaign against Superman. His predecessor had chosen Superman as a target because he assumed that his contests against Superman symbolized intellect pitted against physical prowess. The first Lex Luthor did not have a personal grudge against Superman any more than he did against the rest of humanity. Alexander Wainwright on the other hand did hate Superman above anyone else, blaming him for the loss of his reputation and livelihood. At first he too wished to use his intellect to dominate the world but as time went by dominating the world became a distant goal, the first and foremost one was to destroy Superman. Unlike the first Lex Luthor, Alexander Wainwright did have some qualms about hurting innocent people but would do so if unavoidable.

Although many of his schemes to destroy Superman did involved powerful weaponry, often advanced for the time period, it should be remembered that the adventures depicted in the comic books were often exaggerated beyond recognition. Examples of the comic book excesses would be Lex Luthor's constant use of time travel, his alliance with the futuristic Legion of Super Villains, the notion that he built devices which could shrink or enlarge objects or people at will, the use of 30th century technology etc. A blatant example of one of the comic book depictions of Lex Luthor was his Luthor's Lair, which contained statues of his heroes, Attila, Captain Kidd, Genghis Khan and Al Capone. This was just one of the great lengths to which the comic books went to tailor their depiction of Lex Luthor as the polar opposite of Superman. Superman was totally good and Luthor was evil, even worshipping evil, so far as the comic book code would allow him. The truth was of course more complex than this. One shred of truth to the matter is that Alexander Wainwright Luthor did consider Albert Einstein to be one of his intellectual heroes.

In between his matches with Superman, Alexander Wainwright would become involved in semi-legitimate enterprises which provided him with some legal capital that allowed him to build the weapons and set up the elaborate death traps for Superman. During one of these times 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 had 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 to make it appear as though baby Maxwell Dillon had died at birth. [7]

The child would be raised by the Luthers until their own untimely demise in a car accident in 1959. Oddly enough their deaths would enable young Alexis Luther to become one the premier businessmen in world, their hefty insurance policy payoff giving young Alexis the starting capital for a distribution business.

Alexander Wainwright continued to harry Superman and sometimes Superman's fellow crime fighter Batman with various schemes throughout the late forties and fifties.

In late 1948, Luthor held the city of Metropolis hostage for several million dollars. He often used trickery to achieve his threats such as a claiming that he had disintegration ray that could destroy any building of his choosing. He shot the ray at a building to destroy it and it appeared to work but actually the building was destroyed by explosives set inside the building, set off by remote control when the ray struck it. Despite the often exaggerated extent of Luthor's super science, in some cases these devices were fairly accurately depicted. He did seem to invent a crude dematerializer appeared to break down the atomic structure of someone and reconstruct them wherever he chose. The dematerializer's power was channeled through a helmet that Alexander Wainwright wore. However this device did not function for anyone but Alexander Wainwright, so the helmet may in fact have augmented Alexander's latent psionic powers of teleportation or perhaps the helmet merely needed the correct level of brain activity to power it. This incident was known as the Atom Man vs. Superman. It is worth mentioning because in it Lex Luthor owned a television station, although in actually he did so under an assumed name. Yet this was one of the first times in which the Luthor family bought their way into the media so as to control how the media spun stories.

In 1955, Mike Andrews, a gangster discovered the secret location of the arctic Fortress of Solitude. Andrews enlisted his son and a specialist (who turned out to be Alex Wainwright Luthor) to help him get in, and, for a hostage, took Superman's friend Clark Kent along.[8] This Fortress of Solitude was actually Doc Savage's Fortress which Superman was using since Doc had pretty much retired from adventuring, or so the public was told.[9] Once Andrews and Wainwright Luthor had entered the Fortress, Wainwright/Luthor told Kent to contact Superman. When kent refused Wainwright turned his gun on Mike Andrews and his son  and made them into hostages. When Kent still refused Wainwright Luthor shot and killed Mike Andrews and threatened to do so to Andrews' son. Kent contacted Superman and when Superman arrived, Kent and Superman managed to capture Wainwright Luthor.[10] Superman moved Doc's Fortress of Solitude a few miles after this and constructed his own Fortress out of Kryptonian materials once his cousin Kara had showed him how.

Although Lex Luthor is depicted in the comics as having created Bizarro or rather having recreated the experiment that created the first Bizarro, this was not the case. Bizarro as will be revealed in further depth elsewhere was not a manufactured imperfect duplicate of Superman nor was he a clone of any sort. Rather Bizarro was Superman's brain damaged older step-brother. On one occasion Alex Wainwright Luthor managed to convince this brain damaged step-brother that he was the real Superman and that Superman was an evil copy. The comic book however had Luthor creating an evil duplicate, a negative Superman. [11]

In 1960 Lois Lane discovered something shocking about Lex Luthor's family. Researching an article on witchcraft, Lois Lane came to believe that Cardiff librarian Lena Thorul (Thorsen) may be the reincarnation of an executed witch Louella Thompson. According to this comic tale the reality was far stranger: Lena was really the sister of Lex Luthor, who sought to discourage Lois from writing the story for fear it would reveal their parentage to Lena.[12] Although Lena is depicted as Lex's sister in the comics (due to the revision of his origin in the fifties) Lena was actually Alexander Wainwright Luthor’s daughter, for whom he would go to any lengths to keep from knowing that she was born out wedlock and that her real father was a criminal. As the years progressed and Lena Thorsen married and had a child, Lex would also make an effort to keep this information from his grandson, Val.

Later in 1960 Supergirl encountered a female biker gang who terrorized the Stanford College campus. The leader of Nasty's Nasties was a niece of Luthor's who had been paid by Luthor to terrorize Stanford University. Natasha, according to "the letters column of issue #401, it is explained that Nasty is really the daughter of Luthor's older sister, who married a "European gentleman and has been living abroad." The editor goes on to say that Lex's and Lena's parents disapproved of the marriage and cut off communication with her, so that Lena knows nothing of her. Such a person, however, has never been depicted or referred to in the Superman family stories." [13] The truth is even odder. Although the girl had no true biological connection to Alexander Wainwright Luthor, she was the daughter of his half brother Lawrence Luthor, conceived and delivered while Lawrence Luthor inhabited the body of former screen actress Dolores Winters. Supergirl succeeded in frightening Natasha and her gang into going straight. [14]

A couple of the outlandish tales from the comics in the 1960s have a grain of truth behind them. In one such case Lex Luthor escaped from Metropolis Prison again and looted Fort Knox with a giant mechanical arm, defeating a Superman robot with a device that manufactures synthetic Kryptonite. However, when he learned that he has only bested a robot and that Superman was still on a space mission, Luthor angrily gave the gold back to Fort Knox. [15]

Superman did not actually go on space missions as will be explained in detail elsewhere. Suffice it to say that he would not have been able sustain flight for that long, he could not reach superluminal speed as depicted in the comic books, he would have had to carry a massive air supply with him, etc. However the comic book is correct in that Superman was not involved in this particular case much to Luthor's chagrin, but neither was Wainwright Luthor directly involved. In 1958 Auric Goldfinger was looking for partners in a scheme to rob Fort Knox and had contacted Luthor's organization. Luthor agreed to the scheme although he did not think it would be successful. He convinced Goldfinger that instead of robbing the bank they should instead contaminate the gold with radiation. Luthor believed that Superman would attempt to stop the atomic bomb from detonating and so had "Kryptonite" placed in with the bomb so that Superman would be weakened and be killed when the bomb went off. As it turns out, BSS agent James Bond single-handedly disarmed the bomb and saved Fort Knox. Luthor did not return the gold because he never had it.

Another sixties story was part of a two part tale. In Part One Luthor leaves Earth in a rocket of his own devising, ends up on a world of robots, and is brought in on murder charges when he destroys one of them. Superman defends Luthor at his trial and gets his sentence communted when he rebuilds the wrecked robot with parts from one of the Superman robots. However, Superman leaves Luthor stranded on the robots' world. In Part Two Lex Luthor performs a boon for the Automs and is rewarded with a laboratory of his own. In it, he fashions three criminal androids into a Diamond Man, a Lead man, and a Kryptonite Man. With their help, he manages to return to his rocket and escapes with all three of them. The foursome begin a spree of space piracy. Superman intervenes and destroys the Diamond Man, but the triple-strength rays of the Kryptonite Man prove too much for him. However, the Lead Man sees a former Superman robot sacrificing itself heroically for its master, has a change of heart, and melts itself over the Kryptonite Man, neutralizing its radiation. Superman captures Luthor and returns him to prison on Earth. [16]

While it might have been possible for Alex Wainwright Luthor to have devised a warp drive vessel of some type that would have taken him to a planet ruled by robotic intelligences, Superman would not have been able to travel the intergalactic distances. Nor would he have been able to stop Luthor's forays into space piracy, he probably would not even have known about them had they actually occurred. This story, what truth there is of it actually took place on Earth. Lex's fashioning of three Robots; a Diamond Man, A Lead Man and a Kryptonite man, also echo another set of characters that were depicted in DC Comics in the Mar/April 1962 issue of Showcase. This debuted the appearance of the Metal Men which were sentient robots created by Will Magnus, Iron, Gold, Lead, Tin, Mercury and Platinum. [17]

Alexander Wainwright Luthor captured Lead of the Metal Men and examined him thoroughly and learned from him the process by which the thought transference had occurred and other details of the construction of the robots. Luthor built two androids using a material by which he could naturally replicate effects of the liquid polymer of the metal men, this was crystal. One of the androids was a hard white crystal, not a diamond but still rather hard the other was the white crystal infused with kryptonite crystals, recreating his synthetic kryptonite. He had two henchmen of his replicate their minds in the androids. He then had them killed. Luthor controlled Lead through his responsometer and had the three androids attack Superman. Superman did destroy the white crystal android but succumbed to the radiations from the Kryptonite Man. Lead managed to overcome Luthor's control of his responsometer and once again possessed free will. He covered the Kryptonite man as a soft form and then slowly crushed it. Superman recovered in time to capture Luthor. This incident took place in 1960 and was the inspiration for the two part story cited above and also for the Superboy story, The Army of Living Kryptonite Men[18]

 In 1962, Alexander Luthor learned that Superman had provided a homeland for the Bizarro creatures by finding a planet for them to inhabit in another dimension, in a universe in which all of the planets were square. Superman suspected that like the Tower of Babylon shaped world he had glimpsed when looking for such a home planet in the dimensional scanner that such worlds were not naturally formed. Luthor offered a challenge to Superman. Superman should find a habitable planet where his powers would be negated. Luthor and he would then fight it out man to man. The loser would stay on the extra-dimensional world, the winner would return unmolested to Earth.[19]

Superman knew that there was more to this challenge than Luthor was letting on, especially when he claimed that he would set off two thermonuclear devices one in Metropolis and one in Los Angeles unless Superman agreed to the challenge. If Superman won the contest, Luthor would give him the exact location of the devices; if Luthor won he would disarm them upon his return to Earth.

Superman agreed to the challenge and traveled with Luthor to the world of Luthor's choosing, a desert planet with high gravity and a red sun. It also had a soil that had a background radiation with a similar wavelength as kryptonite, so Superman was weakened by the planet. Even though Superman was sick and weakened, Luthor was unable to do any serious damage to Superman's super dense tissue so he ran away.[20]

Lex discovered a city in the desert, the remnants of a highly advanced civilization that was dying due to a lack of water. Lex told Superman that he would forgo their challenge if Superman would allow him to stay and help these people. Superman agreed but insisted on knowing the location of the thermonuclear devices he had planted. Luthor admitted that there weren't any such devices but that it had been an idea of his for some time.

Luthor helped the people of this desert planet by building devices that melted the polar caps and created great underground reservoirs. He had stayed on this planet not so much out of kindness and compassion, although there was some of that still left in him, but rather upon seeing the lost city on this planet, Luthor began making several long range plans almost immediately. By helping these people he would become a hero to them, and eventually they would accept him as their leader. He could shape public opinion against Superman. This extra dimensional planet upon which he was exiled would provide a base of operations for schemes to be carried out on Earth. He believed that the advanced technology on this planet would allow him to devise a means to travel back and forth between there and the Earth. The planet also seemed to be a natural source for a Kryptonite like substance that he could use in his constant struggle against Superman.

While helping his adopted planet to reroute and store their meager water supply, Luthor also used the technology available in the lost city to build a version of an interdimensional scanner. While searching for Earth he stumbled across the pocket universe in which Superman had imprisoned Brainiac. Luthor marked that site for further exploration. Having located the Earth, Luthor explained that to his adopted world that he needed to return to his home planet for necessary tools and technical manuals. This was true but he also went to carry out an attack on Superman. He took with him some of the synthetic kryptonite from this planet's surface. Luthor failed to kill Superman with a Kryptonite missile.[21] He decided to contact Brainiac and form an alliance to destroy Superman, to rule the Earth and all of the extra dimensional worlds that the two can conquer. Brainiac agreed to the plan especially when Luthor offered to augment his cybernetics. Once Luthor's improvements are made however Brainiac tried to kill Luthor, who responded with a device that stopped the functioning of the cybernetics in Brainiac's body, in effect shutting him down. Brainiac was thus placed under Luthor's control. Luthor had discovered a gate in the lost city by which he could travel back and forth to this pocket universe.

In the comics Brainiac and Luthor travel the galaxy scouring for materials to create a gas which would take away Superman's powers and also materials for shrinking ray. They returned to Earth with Brainiac's ship disguised as a meteorite. They lured Superman to a secluded location and then gassed him with superpower removing gas. After beating up the sudden vulnerable Superman, Brainiac and Luthor subjected him to a shrinking ray that made him a couple of inches tall. After putting Superman in a birdcage they went to build an elaborate device to destroy him, merely crushing the powerless, tiny man was not appealing to their sense of sadism. Instead of building a weapon to destroy Superman Brainiac built a device to instantly hypnotize Luthor so that Luthor would remove the controlling device on Brainiac. While they were tinkering with their device Superman escaped and managed to get off a signal to the bottle city of Kandor. The bottle city sent out several of the Superman emergency squad. The tiny superpowered men were able to use the shrinking ray on Luthor and Brainiac. However Brainiac had used his coma ray ring to place Superman in a coma. Once in Kandor Brainiac only agreed to cure Superman if he would allow them to leave Earth in peace. The Kandorians agreed and once Superman was cured, Superman, Luthor and Brainiac were restored to normal size. Superman did as the agreement stated and watched Luthor and Brainiac leave in his ship. Luthor returned to his adopted home world. [22]

The truth of the story seems to be as follows, Luthor and Brainiac returned to Earth from their worlds of exile in pocket universes. They lured Superman and did manage to overcome him with a gas. Luthor created this gas from the synthetic kryptonite on his adopted world. Although the Kryptonite did make Superman weak and did prevent him from using his super vision powers, any effect on his muscular density would had to occur over a long period of exposure, by which time he certainly would have been dead from the adverse radiation. So while Luthor and Brainiac might have pounded on the unconscious Superman, it is unlike that they did any damage unless they were using cannon. They also did not shrink him. The fact that they could not harm him was the reason for Brainiac to suggest building a device that could cause Superman physical harm. Brainiac did indeed trick Luthor by building a device that compelled Luthor to remove the controlling device over Brainiac. While this was being played out Superman still being subjected to gas, did manage to signal Kandor, although this was probably accomplished by a device on his belt rather than by launching one Luthor's missiles as in the comic book. Kandor did send a couple of Kandorians to help Superman. Since Luthor and Brainiac had lured Superman to a spot near where Luthor remembered the Fortress of Solitude to be it did not take that long for the Kandorians to get to Superman from the Fortress. Superman was by this time in a coma from the effects of the gas. The Kandorians captured Luthor and Brainiac; they all traveled to Kandor.[23]

Brainiac stated he would cure Superman, if they were allowed to go free. The Kandorians agreed and Brainiac and Luthor negated the effects of the synthetic kryptonite gas. Superman however interpreted their agreement a bit differently than they did. To him going free meant being allowed to return to the other dimensional realms of exile rather than jail. Luthor and Brainiac were returned to their worlds of exile. Luthor was hailed as hero when he returned with various technical manuals. The citizens of his adopted world renamed it Lexor. One of the women of Lexor offered herself to him in marriage, which Luthor accepted.

While Alexander Wainwright Luthor was on Lexor, his daughter Lena Thorsen received a degree in criminology and joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Although the comics played up the angle of her being nearly rejected because of being Lex Luthor's "sister" despite her not having known that, this actually did not have any bearing on her hiring. Lena's being a woman was why she was regarded a bit suspiciously in J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Although Lena had esper abilities she hid them well. She was in fact a friend of Supergirl/Power Girl, they had met during Kara's brief stay at the orphanage. Despite the various shenanigans depicted in the comics by Supergirl/Powergirl to hide her identity from Lena, Lena actually knew Power Girl's identity.

It was through this friendship that Lena had learned of her relationship to Alex Wainwright Luthor, via Lois Lane. Knowing that her father was one of the world's master criminals was one of the driving forces behind her desire to join the FBI. One of Lena's first assignments was to infiltrate a group of bank robbers named the Bank Busters. She used her esper abilities to great advantage.[24] FBI Director Hoover was however not pleased at Lena's upstaging of veteran male agents and made her a liaison her with the Central Intelligence Agency, hoping she would be consigned to desk work. However the CIA assigned her help track down a Communist spy cell in Central Africa who were also poaching animals and ivory. They poached to get needed monetary support and to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the capitalistic regime. Lena posed as a jungle girl who could talk to the animals, using her esper talents she could to a degree. The trail lead back to the United States at a major Circus.[25] A major circus star, an animal trainer, a supposed Soviet defector was actually head of a soviet intelligence operation in the United States and Africa.

Lena fell in love with CIA operative Jeff Colby, the son of Admiral Colby and the brother-in-law of Admiral Don Winslow who had married Mercedes Colby.[26]  Supergirl encountered Jeff Colby on one of his undercover operations and believed that he was a traitor. Her interference with this case and her near blowing of Colby’s cover was one of the reasons that Director Hoover remained adamant about not cooperating with other agencies and not using costumed freaks to fight crime.

Lena and Jeff Colby were married in 1964.

Alex Wainwright Luthor was next heard of in the beginning of 1964 when he lured Superman to Lexor on the pretext that he had unwittingly infected people with an Earth disease and needed medicines. Over the past two years Luthor had shaped public opinion on Lexor against Superman. Luthor made it appear as though Superman had poisoned him and went into a death-like coma. Superman was imprisoned and kept in chains of synthetic kryptonite. Superman was put on trial for the death of Alex Wainwright Luthor. His defense attorneys came to believe Superman’s innocence and arranged for him to escape from jail. Superman used some of the drugs he had brought from Earth to force Luthor into consciousness proving his innocence or at least “curing” Luthor. Luthor feigned innocence and Superman was forced to accept this because of the public opinion of Lexorians who viewed Lex as a hero. Superman left Lex to his exile on Lexor.[27]

Later in 1964 Superman would discover that this had been a mistake. Alexander Wainwright Luthor once again traveled back to Earth. He was bored with Lexor and tired of the constant adulation. He also wished to implement a plan he had thought about for several years. This was to reshape the continental shelf of the United States using earthquakes. He had gotten the idea for this scheme because of the then predictions that California would have a big earthquake very soon. He had also acquired the machine which the terrorist Little White Brother had terrorized Chile in 1933. The machine had the ability to cause earthquakes but only in certain geological regions. For his plan, which was to cause a massive series of earthquakes all along the Western continental shelf of North America, he would also have to trigger fault lines using other methods as well. Luthor's organization hijacked two atomic missiles. One missile was a decoy deliberately sent towards a heavily populated area New York City a.k.a. Metropolis. The other was sent towards the San Andres Fault while Luthor used his earthquake machine on the New Madrid and Cascade faults using sound vibrations to create fault instability.

While the two nuclear missiles were stopped from reaching their targets, the earthquake on the Cascade plate had triggered a large fault instability along the Pacific Rim, which triggered an earthquake of 9.2 magnitude to hit Alaska. The earthquake caused a great deal of damage and 106 deaths in Alaska, 4 in Oregon and 13 in California, the deaths in the latter two states occurred from the resulting tsunami. Given the magnitude of the earthquake there could have been many more deaths, millions if Luthor had successful triggered all of the plates he had planned to trigger. Because it was a holiday, (Good Friday) because it was after 5:30 p.m. and because of Alaska's low population density the tragedy was not as profound as it had been.

After this thwarted scheme of Luthor's Superman believed that prison was the best way to keep Luthor out of mischief. He also made it his business to inform the people of Lexor just what type of man they had believed to be a hero. Many of the Lexorians, most of them in fact, refused to believe these tales.[28]

In his jail cell, Alexander Wainwright Luthor plotted a suitable revenge. Through an intermediary, he got Superman to infect himself with Virus X. This was a highly contagious, ultimately fatal virus. Luthor falsely claimed that he could cure Superman for a million dollars and his freedom. The comic book story arc plays out over five issues of Action comics[29] and has Superman boarding a rocket heading for Flammbron the hottest sun in the Universe where he will incinerate himself rather than infect anyone else. He even passed by the Bizarro world where Bizarros flung red and white kryptonite at him in tribute. At Flammbron his ship was shielded by fire creatures, one of whom Superman had saved years before. Superman discovers that the white Kryptonite from the Bizarro world had cured him.

Superman did not leave the Earth in a rocket. He used the modified phantom zone projector to travel to various pocket universes seeking a cure. He did visit the Bizarro world on his travels. His travels culminated on Oz. Not the Oz described by L. Frank Baum but rather the one described by Philip Jose Farmer. Superman landed in the deadly desert where he had to contend with several of the electrical energy beings. They were attracted to his physiology for some reason and many of them exploded against him tearing his containment suit. He was shocked several times before leaving this particular universe. He discovered that he had been cured. Whether the virus had run its course and had not really been fatal, whether it was his Kryptonians nanites finally adapting to the infection, whether a substance on earth Htrae had cured him or the shocks from the fizhanam had cured him, he did not know and did not care. [30]

To Alexander Wainwright Luthor's dismay Superman returned to Earth hale and hearty.

When Superman had disappeared Alex Wainwright Luthor had claimed that Superman was dead and had his body to prove it. Luthor offered parts of Superman body to the highest bidders, who were four of the richest criminals in America. The recipients got the heart, lungs, kidneys and eyes of Superman. They soon realized that there was a cost. Luthor had also implanted devices in the new organs to control the recipients of the organs. According to the comic book versions of these events Atom, Hawkman, Green Arrow and Batman and Robin stopped the crime sprees of the four organ recipients. Batman and Robin did indeed stop one of these men. The Green Arrow, despite his current troubles in 1968- (See Green Arrow for details) also managed to stop one of the recipients. Hawkman and Atom also stopped one of these recipients. This Hawkman and Atom were not the comic book created Silver Age versions of the heroes but the older, real versions of these characters. Although they were retired from crime fighting and did not actually don their costumes anymore they accidentally participated in this incident. Hawkman just happened to be visiting the Atom when they got caught up in a hold up. Despite their age and lack of conditioning they stopped the hold up. The other recipient or the organ transplants refused to accede to Luthor's demands and so died when Luthor caused the transplanted lungs to fail. It was eventually revealed that this was not Superman's body but rather one of the Parasite's satellite Superman bodies, one of the Bizarro Supermen. The comic book version stated that they were mechanical organs from a space android.[31]

In May of 1969 Alex Wainwright broke out of jail again to see his daughter on her birthday. As he covertly observed his daughter Lena Thorsen Colby he discovered she had a young son, Val Colby[32], who had incredible psychokinetic powers. Luthor deduced that Val's powers came partly from inheritance from his mother, who displayed some of the powers of Wainwright's brothers Henry King and John Wainwright.

According to the version in the comics When Val was almost hit by a car he had levitated out of harm’s way. Wainwright had broken cover to rescue him. Although Wainwright’s efforts had not been needed his actions had gained Val’s trust. Supergirl jailed Wainwright shortly afterwards. When Val saw him on television, he levitated to the prison and broke Luthor out. Luthortook Val to a remote island where he had a secret laboratory, and made plans to use the lad against Superman and Supergirl.

Next according to the comics, Alex Wainwright tried to train Val Colby to be his secret weapon against Superman, Supergirl, and the forces of law and order. He had Val levitate Kryptonite blocks around the island to demonstrate his power. Val’s power was not weakened by kryptonite exposure. Supergirl was though, and she went to Luthor's island to check things out. She disguised herself as Linda Danvers, appealed to Val, and got on his good side. Though Luthor wanted to toss Linda off the island, Val prevailed. Linda treated Val in a kindly fashion while Luthor was rather abrupt and harsh. Linda won out. Finally, a freak accident with an "imago-helmet" of Luthor's creation short-circuits Val's power, and Supergirl pushes Luthor's island within the legal boundaries of the United States. Captured, Luthor snarls at his nephew, saying that he is not really his uncle, deliberately lying to keep him away from a life of crime. Approving of Luthor's unselfish act, Supergirl flies Val back to Lena Colby. [33]

Luthor did in fact get Val Colby to place blocks of Kryptonite around the island that kept out Superman, Supergirl, Powergirl etc. However it was not Linda Danvers that visited Val Colby and Alex Wainwright on the island but Carol Danner [34] who had been contacted by her great-grandfather, Superman. Carol also possessed psychokinetic powers but was more practiced in their use. She befriended Val and showed him that his grandfather was a bad man. Luthor coerced Val into using one of Luthor's machines designed to augment Val's psychokinetic powers. It appeared however as though an accident removed Val's abilities. What had happened was that Carol Danner used her telepathic skills to place mindblocks on Val that prevented him from using his powers. These mindblocks were designed so that he could not use his powers until he was mature enough to do so.

When Val failed Luthor he disowned him. Although the comics ascribe noble motives to this disowning, it appears that Wainwright actually meant to disown Val Colby since he had failed to do as required.

As Alexander Wainwright Luthor languished in prison the next few years, he escaped several times and plagued Superman with various troublesome schemes, many of which seemed frivolous or doomed to fail. He was merely testing Superman and he was having fun annoying him

As described in the comic book Lex Luthor created an android powered by galactic energy and sent it to kill Superman. Superman was opening a celebrity golf tournament when the Galactic Golem showed up to battle him. The great energies released by the Galactic Golem eradicated all life on Earth. In remorse Lex Luthor was prepared to leave Earth and make his peace with God. However as it turns out the energy release had merely transported every living thing except Luthor, Superman and the Galactic Golem into a parallel universe. After Superman defeated the Golem and sent it careening into outer space all of the life on earth phases back into its own plane of existence.[35]

What seems have actually occurred is that Luthor had discovered one of the Creatures formed by Victor Frankenstein's reanimation process. He decided to make the Creature bigger and better by channeling cosmic energy, as described by Reid Roberts, into the Creature. He then sent it to kill Superman. This appears to be the genesis of the more sophisticated killer drones sent after Superman in the eighties.

Although in the comics Luthor was depicted as directing the action from his laboratory, luring the creature towards Superman by channeling galactic energy, he was actually very close by. He wanted to witness the death of Superman first hand. The release of energies between Superman and the cosmic energy charged creature enveloped Superman, Luthor and the Creature sending them into a pocket universe. This was a barren lifeless world but still able to support life, either it was a universe which had been started but not completed by one of the Thoan or else had been wiped clean of life for some reason. Luthor's first thought was that he had destroyed all life on Earth in his mad quest to destroy Superman. Superman and the creature continued their battle on this world until the creature ran out of energy. The pocket universe did not supply the type of energy that the creature needed. Although the creature had been driven temporarily insane by the influx of cosmic energy, he was sentient and he was aware of what was transpiring. One final onslaught against Superman was enough to once again open up a small rift that sent Luthor and Superman back to Earth. The "Galactic Golem" was left behind, as he desired. Luthor was returned to jail.

In 1972 Alexander Wainwright Luthor was able to manipulate the mystery man Thor into attacking Superman and vice versa. Mjollnir was able to hurt Superman. Because of Thor's exclusive contract of Marvel Comics he was entirely cut out of the comic's depiction of the event. All that remained was his hammer, and that became the central focus of the storyline. According to the DC depiction Luthor found a way to channel all of his hatred into an energy hammer which when it struck Superman filled him with rage and hatred.[36]

Luthor hired several men to have them surgically altered to look like Jimmy Olsen and sent them on a crime spree. This was designed to harry Superman and cast aspersions on Jimmy Olsen.[37].

Alex Wainwright Luthor joined forces with Superman to defeat the Parasite who has absorbed Superman's powers and Luthor's intelligence and hatred for Superman[38] Alexander Wainwright Luthor was awarded a parole.

Bits and pieces of the truth filtered into the series of comic stories featuring Alex Wainwright Luthor. [39] As presented during this parole he did good works, including helping to repair the ozone layer, helping to clean up toxic and nuclear waste (in the comics he deactivated all nuclear weapons but no government would have allowed this in reality) and helping Superman fight various criminal elements. Luther was going to marry Lois Lane or a young woman named Angela Blake. Angela Blake was purported in the comics to be a clone of a real girl named Angela Blake.

Angela Blake was actually Luthor's wife Ardora from Lexor. Luthor's apparent turning over of a new leaf was portrayed in the comics as an elaborate plot to kill Superman. However it appears that Alexander WainwrightLuthor's rehabilitation was apparently genuine. He had established a closer relationship with Lena Thorsen Colby, after the tragic death of her husband during an intelligence operation, and was trying to become a solid upstanding citizen for her sake and the sake of his grandson. However public opinion damned him and every move he made was looked at with suspicion. Someone used Luthor's name and some of his equipment to make Superman lose control over his powers. This was seen as a violation of his parole and Luthor was returned to jail.

In January of 1976 the super sons were tricked into helping Luthor escape from prison.[40] Luthor and Ardora returned to Lexor immediately after his escape. The comic version of this event has the super sons being tricked by Lex Luthor's daughter who was depicted as being at least 19 years old. She was the daughter of Lex and Ardora and she too was named Ardora. Lex had never known about her because her mother was ashamed she was Luthor's daughter. Lex remarked about her resemblance to her. His daughter had broken Lex out of prison because a plague was devastating Lexor and they needed his help. According to the story Lex had deliberately infected the Lexorians with the plague so that the super sons would rescue him. First of all Lex's daughter would have had to have been born as early as 1956 to be anywhere near the age the woman in the story. Lex had not even traveled to Lexor for the first time until the early sixties. Secondly despite his sociopathic tendencies, the Lexorians were the one population safe from his depredations; he would never have infected them with a virus deliberately.

The woman who tricked the super sons into helping Lex escape from prison was Lex's wife Ardora, not his daughter. The super sons traveling to Lexor is also fictional. The plague however was not entirely fictional; a contagion was spreading through Lexor like wildfire. Although the comic book version had the people of Lexor being transformed into fifteen foot giants with swollen limbs and faces, only part of this was true. The Lexorians suffered from swollen limbs and faces that eventually caused death. Luthor asked Superman for access to Kryptonian medical records hoping to find a cure. However Luthor had already used a plague on Lexor ploy on Superman before so he refused Luthor access. This flamed anew Luthor's hatred for Superman. Although he eventually found a cure for the plague many Lexorians had died by the time the cure had been found. In his search for a cure on Lexor, Luthor had stumbled onto an underground lair of advanced technology that seemed to pre-exist the people on Lexor. He had discovered the world making machines of the Thoan Lord who created this universe. It took years of study before Luthor began to understand what he had discovered.

During this extended period of Luthor's exile on Lexor, a number of copycat Luthor's, some former gang members using Luthor's name and equipment, some related to Luthor,  plagued Superman in the late seventies and early eighties.

By the time had learned how the devices he had discovered on Lexor functioned Luthor's family included a son. He knew that he owed it to his son to create a kingdom where he would never have to be bothered by the possible interference of Superman. Lex realized that he had the power to make Lexor into a paradise planet and conversely make the Earth into a desert planet. In late 1981, Lex contacted Superman telling him he wished to demonstrate what he had discovered which could be a boon for the Earth as well as Lexor. Wary of a trap, Superman agreed to visit Lexor. He wore a containment suit that filtered out the artificial kryptonite on Lexor, so he was able to keep his full range of power and strength. Superman was amazed when Alex Wainwright Luthor transformed large sections of Lexor from desert into a variety of environmental climates, creating a viable ecosystem.

Luthor then told Superman that unless Superman submitted to being executed on Lexor, he would use the terraforming machines on Earth to eradicate all life. Superman refused, tired of Luthor's extortions. He also did not feel that he could take the chance that Luthor would not go ahead with his evil plan after Superman had been executed. He tried to take Luthor into custody. Luthor had built a power suit that made him the equivalent of Superman's strength and could withstand Superman's vision powers. However despite Luthor’s advanced technological suit, Superman beat Luthor and Luthor retreated to the cavern where the terraforming machinery was hidden. In the ensuing fight between Superman and Luthor inside the cavern the machines were destroyed and Superman captured Luthor. They exited the caverns onto a dead world. During their fight and inside their containment suits they had not taken note that the atmosphere of Lexor had been transformed into a deadly gas wiping out all life on Lexor, including Alex Wainwright Luthor's family. Lex blamed Superman for destroying the terraforming machines even though it had been both of their doing.[41]

To Superman's point of view, Luthor had been to blame for carrying out reckless experiments with alien technology. [42] Superman took Luthor back to Earth and back to prison.

Alexander Wainwright Luthor spent little time in jail. He escaped almost immediately and began a campaign to destroy Superman not merely physically but emotionally and mentally. His first part of the campaign was to project illusions of himself everywhere on a wavelength only Superman could see. Superman was constantly plagued by the image of Luthor. [43]

Months later Alexander Wainwright Luthor trapped Superman and gassed him. He used a dream inducing machine created by his brother Henry King to implant the dream that Superman had killed Luthor which in turn set of a series of nuclear explosions all over the world, destroying the planet. Superman believed he was all alone on his adopted planet. [44]

Luthor then launched a campaign against two of Superman's close friends.

Luthor kidnapped Lois Lane. He fought Superman with a recreation of his Lexorian power suit. Luthor was defeated and Lois Lane was rescued. However there was a hidden plan in this scheme. Lois Lane, that is Mrs. Clark Kent, was thoroughly savaged in the public eye by proof that she was having an affair with Superman. Luthor had taken photos of her and Superman embracing as if they were lovers after he had rescued her. He had released them to various tabloids.[45]

Clark Kent was fired from his dual job as a television anchorman and newspaper reporter for having plagiarized several stories and also having filed many false stories[46]. This later incident occurred in early 1984 and although Kent proved his innocence of the false stories he did not return to "WGBS" because "Morgan Edge" had refused to stand by him.[47]

In early 1985 Clark Kent began working at the "Daily Planet". Shortly after this the Daily Planet was taken over by D.D. Warburton and his daughter Lacy Warburton. [48] The Warburtons were business people who were interested in maximum profit and maximum circulation. Journalism was only to entertain, not to inform and the truth was relative to the profit margin. Although the scandal against Kent was bogus, Warburton and his daughter would have looked the other way had Kent not opposed their tabloid style journalism.

Alex Wainwright Luthor escaped from jail for the final time in 1985, aided by his nephew "Lenny Luthor" This incident was portrayed in a distorted fashion in the film, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Warner Brothers 1987. Much of the story related in the film was tailored to reflect several concerns other than historical veracity; a  message that the star wanted to convey about nuclear proliferation, obfuscating the true identities and motives of some wealthy and powerful individuals involved and to make the film a special effects blockbuster.   [49]

Luthor had a burning obsession to kill Superman. His nephew shared the desire to be rid of Superman as well, and financed Luthor's experiments in creating a being that could destroy Superman. It is true that Lex engineered a break into the Metropolis Museum to steal a strand of Superman's hair. It is however not true that his strand of hair was holding up a thousand pound weight, Kryptonian hair is stronger and more resilient than Earth human hair but not that much more. Using the strand of hair Luthor combined it with genetic material from one of his former henchmen named Nat Tryon. A few years earlier Tyron had survived nuclear bombardment and had become highly radioactive yet had not died immediately. He had blamed Superman and had attacked him. Luthor bridged the genetic material from the two donors with a burnt piece of flesh stolen from Starr Laboratories. This burnt piece of flesh was from one of the incinerated Superman copy bodies of the Parasite. [50]

Their first result was a super strong being which resembled an unfinished human being rather than Superman. However they sent it out to kill Superman. He homed in on Superman like a dog on a scent.

According to the film Clark Kent had been pegged by Lacy Warfield to write a series of articles called Metropolis After Dark, which she offered to help him research. In the film Lacy Warfield was attracted to the naïve seeming Kent and was using the article series as means of getting close to him.

However David Warburton had fired Clark Kent so he was not doing the series of articles for the Daily Planet. Lacy Warburton was attracted Clark Kent despite knowing he was married to Lois Lane. Clark Kent claimed to be writing a series of articles for the Atlanta Times on the city’s nightlife and invited Lacy along. Intrigued Lacy agreed. Clark Kent was of course far from naïve and knew Lacy's attraction to him. He was using this to get information from her about her father and his interest in the paper. Clark was doing this as per a request from "Perry White" who was getting together backers for a takeover of the newspaper.

Luthor's creature discovered Superman's location as Clark Kent was entertaining Lacy in one of the more hip nightspots. It smashed into the nightclub seeking Superman. Kent made his excuses, changed and pushed the creature into the street where they fought. The creature was destroyed when a broken power line electrocuted it. Alex Wainwright Luthor managed to retrieve part of this genetic material as the basis for yet another attempt to create a Superman killer.

The film has Lex trick Superman into tossing a nuclear missile with the protoplasm aboard into the sun. Inside the sun the protoplasm is reborn into a perfect creature. The use of the nuclear missile also ties into one of the film's main themes which is that Superman had decided to rid the world of nuclear weapons, which all the of the civilized nations in the world applauded. While many nations might have given lip service to the notion of complete disarmament, they would not have actually condoned the idea, especially in the mid-eighties. This major theme of the film was due more to the philosophical viewpoint of the actor playing the lead role than it was based on reality.

Alexander Wainwright Luthor experimented with a variety of power sources for his creation and went through several different versions before achieving one that he had believed had the best chance at killing Superman. The one that seemed to have the best shot was one that he had formed using both nuclear and solar radiation.

The protoplasmic being was sent up in a rocket designed to escape the earth's atmosphere, expose the being to pure solar radiation and then land on the earth. It was supposed to land near Metropolis but the energy radiating from the creature threw off the guidance mechanism and it landed in Ohio.[51]

 Once it landed it made a beeline for Superman, smashing and destroying anything in its way. Superman heard about the creature and made his way to Ohio. He may have thought that this was another Hulk incident. The Nuclear Man had the strength of Superman, he could make his body warm enough to melt metal and he possessed sharp claws that telescoped from his fingertips. The film shows Superman and the Nuclear Man battling across the world from Ohio, to China, to the South Pacific to New York. They battled from Ohio, through Kentucky, Tennessee and finally to Metropolis.

In events of the film version unfold as follows; the Nuclear Man literally kicked Superman off of the planet and his cape fluttered down to land on the Statue of Liberty. The Daily Planet ran the picture with the caption Is Superman Dead? The Warfields had acquired the fallen cape as a trophy. Lois Lane quit and took the cape with her. Superman had been scratched by the Nuclear Man and was dying. He was rapidly aging and growing weaker. Meanwhile Alex Wainwright Luthor was using the threat of the Nuclear Man to extort huge amounts of cash and concessions from governments suddenly without a nuclear defense. Lois Lane visited Clark, having subconsciously remembered that he was Superman. At the end of her visit she left the cape with Clark in the hopes that he could contact Superman. Superman uses a crystal from his home world to restore himself to health. The crystal had contained the last of Krypton's energy.

Luthor loses control of the Nuclear Man. Seeing Lacy Warfield's picture in the Daily Planet as it announced she was the new publisher, the Nuclear Man went to find her. Either he had fallen in love with her from their previous encounter or he knew she was connected to Superman. The Nuclear Man kidnaps Lacy from her office when she was having an argument with her father about the direction of the Daily Planet; she wanted to tone down the sensationalism.

The Nuclear Man transforms himself into a nuclear missile and launches himself to begin a nuclear war.

Superman arrives in time to stop him. He uses Lacy as bait to lure the Nuclear Man to Metropolis. After a fight on the streets and skies of Metropolis, Superman traps the Nuclear Man in a powerless elevator. The Nuclear Man is cut off from solar radiation and so shuts down. Superman flies to the Moon and deposits the Nuclear Man in a moon crater. When sunlight hits the elevator the Nuclear Man is re-energized. Escaping from the elevator he once again attacks Superman and buried him on the Moon.

Nuclear Man flies again to the Earth and captures Lacy. Superman causes a total eclipse of the sun by pushing the moon out of its orbit. The Nuclear Man is deprived of his power and ceases to function. He tries to energize himself in a nuclear power plant but his absorbed into the core.

Lacy and her father are ousted from power from the Daily Planet; Perry White having gotten various businessmen to buy up the shares not owned by Warfield and make him a minority stockholder. Lacy decides to buy the Kent farm.

Lex is returned to jail and his nephew sent to a Boys town.

Given that the events in the film are somewhat absurd, what really happened? Hard as it may be to believe the Nuclear Man won the first round of the fight between himself and Superman. Superman was caught unaware by claws that so easily ripped into his dense flesh. These claws also carried an energy charge which was equivalent a lightning bolt striking a normal human being causing great tissue and nerve damage to Superman. It also damaged the nanites that provided Superman with longevity and enhanced his recuperative powers. While it is doubtful that Alex Wainwright Luthor had foreseen this result he would have claimed credit for it had he known about it. The Nuclear man was able to rip Superman's suit to shred and tear his cape from him. This cape did in fact get draped over the place where Superman had fallen. The Nuclear Man then buried Superman under some rubble. David Warburton purchased the cape from a morbid souvenir hunter.

Superman had been knocked into the sewer system and crawled a few miles from the scene of the fight; he knew he was poisoned and probably dying. He flew to his Fortress of Solitude, using a private jet, leaving a message for Lois to join him.

Lois discovered that the Warburtons had claimed ownership of the cape and retrieved it over their objections. In the Fortress of Solitude Superman was forced to use healing machines designed to heal Kryptonian bodies, including replacing malfunctioning nanites. Since Superman's physiology differed slightly from the Kryptonian norm the healing process and reprogramming of his Kryptonian nanites set the stage for some odd physiological effects that would manifest in a few months time. [52]

Lois nursed him during his healing ordeal and when it was finished gave him his cape, which was all that remained from the original costume he had designed in 1932. Superman and Lois returned to Metropolis three days after the Death of Superman.

The Nuclear Man had conceived of an infatuation with Lacy Warburton and did indeed kidnap her. Lacy's argument with her father about toning down the sensationalism of the paper however seems to be a creation of the writers of the film. One of the oddest parts of the film does seem to be true, in that the Nuclear Man formed himself into a sort of anthropoid nuclear missile. This was apparently courtesy of the Parasite's mimicking powers. How much of the internal workings of an atomic bomb he had also replicated is anybody's guess. It is doubtful that if it were a true working missile that the Nuclear Man would have survived the self-immolation of nuclear detonation. I would guess that he had spotted Superman and was trying to intimidate him.

When Superman attacked him the Nuclear Man reverted to a purely humanoid shape. They once again fought in Metropolis. Superman did lure The Nuclear Man into an elevator that cut him off from the sun. Superman did not carry the elevator to the moon but rather to the outskirts of Metropolis, to the rural areas of the state where there was less population density. The Nuclear man did extricate himself from his elevator prison and renew the attack on Superman. There was a partial eclipse of the sun and during the fight with Superman; the Nuclear Man became adversely affected by the loss of solar radiation. [53]

Nuclear Man tried to recharge his batteries by breaking into the core of the Hatch Nuclear plant. Superman was able to successfully stop this attempt. Denied the energy he needed to maintain his form the Nuclear Man decayed into protoplasmic gelatin that was incinerated by order of the State's governor.

"Lenny" a.k.a. Lionel Luthor's involvement in this incident was never really proven, there were only hints and suspicions. The film producers tested Lionel Luthor's forbearance when they included the character of Lenny but what really caused Lionel anger as the small bit that had Lacy Warfield buy the old Kent Farm in Smallville. As will be seen in the article Secret Signals, this small barb hit a little too close to the target. Some believe that Lionel's wrath is what caused the Superman IV to fail so dramatically at the box office. As for Lacy Warburton, it is believed that she was also known as Natasha Luthor who we met earlier in this article.

Alex Wainwright Luthor was returned to prison where in a few short months he learned that he had acquired bone cancer from his proximity to the irradiated Nuclear Man. Many people considered poetic irony that the hatred that had consumed Luthor for most of his adult life was the cause of a virulent disease that would literally consume his life. Removal of his right hand failed to stop the spread of the disease that had already metastasized. Alex Wainwright Luthor, Superman's most constant foe died January 1990 [54]<!-- http://www.addfreestats.com --><!-- END ADDFREESTATS.COM NORMAL CODE V2 - Free Web Stats -->

[1] Damien Harmon grew up to be a brilliant man, a strategist against various criminal activities. He was an up and rising assistant to Commissioner Weston in the thirties. A friend of Richard Wentworth, he discerned Wentworth's vigilante identity and attempted to emulate him. After two or three forays as a vigilante, Damien Harmon had his back broken by a crook wielding a lead pipe. Damien was made a paraplegic by this incident. He became a highly sought after criminologist and consultant to the police department. From his descent of John Clay and Picardet, he also began to manifest slight telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Professor Damien Harmon often worked with the Four in the mid-1960s to early 1970s when they went up against an outré or supernatural foe. My fellow Wold Newton researcher states that Lex Luthor was the father of Niles Caulder, the "Chief" of the Doom Patrol. However the Doom Patrol was merely DC's authorized version of the exploits of the Four, or I should say semi-authorized since Johnny Storm had taken it upon himself to make this contract. Johnny only told the most outlandish of the cases to the DC writers and even then embellished them further. His contract with DC stipulated that the DC version had to be substantially different than the Marvel Comics version. The Nigel Caulder character was based on Damien Harmon's close affiliation with the Four during this period. DC was willing to comply with this since they did not want to get into another legal dispute with Marvel Comics.

[2] His true name was of course James Clarke Wildman II

[3] As suggested by C. Richard Davies in Ad Astra

[4] Wainwright seemed unaware that the fire had been started by the very creature he had been studying. Gangster Eel O'Brian had been shot committing a robbery. Fleeing from the police he had stumbled into Wainwright's laboratory and into the vat containing the creature. Attracted by Eel's blood it began to feed and melded with Eel's body. Eel tore the creature off of him and left it on the floor of the warehouse as he escaped from it. The fight between Eel and the Thing had sprayed electrically charged fluid across the room; this ignited several electrical devices starting a fire. The DNA exchange affected O'Brian, and he would eventually become the mysteryman known as Plastic Man. A small piece of the Thing was revived by Eel's blood protein. It gained sustenance by ingesting a fly which shape it took on and escaped the burning building. It then took on the shape and substance of a stray dog and finally it absorbed a person. It had been damaged by its death and by the electrically charged fluid. The exchange of DNA in its weakened state had somehow limited its abilities. At first it had no control over its shape shifting abilities. Seeming at random it would touch and absorb the DNA and RNA of people and duplicate them, also draining enough energy from the person to often kill them. This "rogue" or "parasite" would believe it was the person that it had duplicated and continue that person's life until it once again without conscious effort stole an identity. After several such incarnations something odd began to happen, the duplications were no longer perfect because the previous memories had not been erased. As the memory fragments accumulated a sort of persona emerged that often but not always carried over from identity to identity. This persona seemed to have the ability to sometimes but not always selectively absorb memories or abilities from people.

[5] This was depicted in Superman 4, Luthor’s Challenges (get correct citation)

[6] Alexander Wainwright did not know at this time that Alexi Luthor was in fact his half brother. He would either learn it from the Ultra-Humanite or Brainiac.

[7] 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, 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. The child had been born dead and then Nadine had died tragically shortly thereafter. They altered the birth certificate to reflect that the child had been born alive and altered the date to fit Dan McCormick's apparent age.

[8] (Action Comics No. 407 December 1971)

[9] . Doc Savage was thought to be dead by his associates but he was actually trapped in the Phantom Zone. He would not be released from this prison until the 1980s. His associates had a couple of men pose as Doc Savage but this did not work out well and so the public was led to believe that Doc Savage had retired

[10] How Kent and Superman could both be participants will be explained in the Men of Steel article

[11] (World’s Finest Comics No. 126 June 1962)

[12] (Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane No. 23 February 1961)

[14] Adventure Comics No. 397  Sept. 1970

[15] Action Comics No. 277 June 1961

[16] Action Comics No. 292 September 1962 and Action Comics No. 294 November 1962

[17] A brilliant young man named Will Magnus created the Metal Men. Magnus worked for Hughes Electronics and was an integral part of the Iron Man project. Although his designs for the Iron Man suit were quite revolutionary and paved the way for the micro-miniaturized circuitry that the suit used, Magnus was an odd sort whose designs seemed to spring fully created and almost seemed out of place. It was as if they were highly sophisticated designs forced onto inadequately primitive technology. Magnus believed that the suit could be made so that it would be a true robot but could be guided directly by human technology. This way the suit would not be a mere protective suit for a human solider but rather a unit that could if need be disposed of without harming the solider. He rejected cybernetics; brain transplantation or artificial intelligence as the guiding forces for the robot suits as too dangerous. The Metal Men were actually liquid metal polymers which explains how the Metal Men could be crushed, stretched into wire or pounded into a thin film and still function.

Magnus chose several candidates with strong wills and purportedly with certain brainwave patterns. They would be connected to a device that would broadcast their thoughts into the robot brains. There were six robots; each plated with a different metal Gold, a Mercury alloy, Lead, Iron, Tin and Platinum. Each robot had slightly different abilities. The robots however were not shape changers as depicted in the comics. The initial experiments of the robots being remote controlled by a human mind were a success although the participants complained of headaches and severe fatigue. The tragedy derived from greed. Howard Hughes had discovered Magnus line of research and disapproved of it, it seemed to him that Magnus was making the human mind into a germ invading another body. He ordered the plug pulled on the experiment- immediately. Mr. Hughes orders were not to be questioned. All the power to Magnus lab was shut off. The bodies of the six volunteers went into shock. They were rushed to the nearest hospital and doctors were able to revive them. However there remained an electronic replication of their minds in the robots. After Hughes learned that the experiment had been a success despite his interference he ordered Magnus to create more of these robots. He made arrangement to sell the existing ones to the United States Army or one America's allies, which ever would pay the most.

Magnus however believed that since Hughes had stopped his experiments, they belong to him and could not be sold like an electric oven or toaster. Hughes got a judge to rule that since machines could have neither minds nor souls, what the Metal Men possessed was an electronic analog of human thought which was owned solely the Hughes Corporation. Magnus refused to replicate the process and destroyed his work. He was charged with several felonies revolving around the destruction of Hughes Enterprises intellectual property. Magnus added grand theft and violation of the National Security Act when he freed the Metal Men and escaped with them. Over time guilt over his experiment made Magnus into a manic-depressive and he tried several times to destroy his "work", over the objections of the living robots of course. Magnus and the Metal Men despite their often humorous comic book adventures had existence which anything but fun. They were federal fugitives until the end of Jimmy Carter's term when he pardoned them as he was exiting from office. As fugitives they were constantly on the run. They were heroes by accident. Every so often they would be near afire or some other natural disaster or be near the commission of a crime and would lend their help before disappearing once again. The comic book adventures were often their only source of income and so they did not object to the wild tales conjured up by the artists and writers.

[18] (Superboy No. 86, January 1961)

[19] (Superman No. 164, October 1963)

[20] One wonders how Lex Luthor could have even thought to challenge Superman considering Alexander Wainwright Luthor's age. We know that Superman had a thousand years life expectancy due to his Kryptonian heritage, yet Lex would have been in his mid to late sixties by this time. How did he remain so young and vigorous? Of course it may have been two generations of Luthors fighting Superman but this does not seem to be case. This was the same Lex Luthor who fought Superman from the forties to the sixties. Alexander Wainwright had been one of the people approached by the Nine, specifically Iwaldi to join their ranks and attempt to synthesize the Elixir that prolonged life. This challenge was one that Lex was able to succeed where others failed. His formulation of the Elixir rejuvenated the body as well as extending its lifespan. Lex being a rather amoral sort had no qualms about doing whatever the Nine wished him to do, although he chafed at working for someone else.

[21] Superman Vol. 1 #167 (February 1964): "The Team of Luthor and Brainiac"

[22] This occurred in Superman Vol. 1 #167 (February 1964): "The Team of Luthor and Brainiac"

[23] Kandor was not a shrunken city but rather a pocket universe. The gate/viewer/communicator to enter into Kandor was shaped somewhat like a bottle which is probably where the notion came that it was a shrunken city placed in a bottle. The city had indeed been taken off of KryPt'n but long before its destruction. It had been taken by the mysterious Preservers who had placed it in a small pocket universe of its own on a small ersatz version of KryPt'n. This was a fully sized city with normal sized individuals. There were several reasons why Superman did not release them from the pocket universe onto Earth; first and foremost is because they would have all died. These Kryptonians were taken prior to the cure for lead poisoning, a flaw which the Kryptonians shared with the Daxamites to understand why, see Krypton Decrypted by Dennis E. Power and Dr. Peter Coogan. This explains why the Kandorians were not affected by the synthetic kryptonite gas, they wore protective garments and respirators so that they would not suffer lead exposure. This also kept them from getting Kryptonite poisoning. Also lacking a means to travel across the interstellar spaces Superman could not find them a suitable home. Even if lead poisoning was not an issue mixing them with the general population of the Earth would have been disastrous… think of what Khan Noonien Singh would have been able to do had he the powers of a Kryptonian

[24] (Action Comics No. 295 December 1962)

[25] (Action Comics No. 313 June 1964)

[26] Don Wilson was a naval officer assigned to Naval Intelligence who had spend the thirties and forties thwarting the schemes of various master criminals who threatened the sovereignty of the United States. These were depicted in a comic strip, novels and movie serials. Winslow would become head of CIALD with the disappearance of Bruce Wayne. Winslow’s main nemesis was The Scorpion, the head of the international criminal, war mongering organization Scorpia. Scorpia was also known as Hydra. The Scorpion was in fact William Luthor, Lena’s uncle, the half brother of Alexander Wainwright

[27] . (Action Comics No. 318, November 1964 and Action Comics No. 319 December 1964)

[28] According comics in Action Comics No. 335 March 1966 Superman gave Luthor's wife Amnesium so she would forget his criminal past. Not so, she just refused to believe it.

[29] Action 362-366, April- August1968

[30] The Oz which Superman visited was depicted in Philip Jose Farmer's A Barnstormer in Oz

[31] (World’s Finest Comics No. 189 November 1969 and World’s Finest Comics No. 190 December 1969)

[32] Val Colby was named after an acquaintance of his father from British Intelligence Val Petrie.

[33] Adventure Comics No. 387 December 1969

[34] Yes, this is the correct spelling. More to be revealed in the forthcoming article Shazam! The Story of the Marvel Family… Not the One you Think.

[35] Superman 248 (February 1972):

[36] . Action Comics No. 423 April 1973 "Luthor's Hammer of Hate"

[37] Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen No. 162 December 1973 / January 1974 This Jimmy Olsen was the grandson of the Jimmy Olsen who was depicted in the forties and fifties.

[38] Superman No. 286 April 1975

[39] Superman Family No. 172 August-September 1975, Action Comics No. 510 August 1980, Action Comics No. 511 September 1980, Action Comics No. 512 October 1980.

[40] (Worlds Finest 238 June 1976)

[41] In Action Comics No. 544 June 1983 Lex Luthor had devised a stabilizing rod which prevented the planet core from exploding. However, when Superman arrives looking for him, Lex adopts his battlesuit (which became his new look for the early 1980s) and the two fight in the upper atmosphere. Lex fires a fireball which bounces off Superman and strikes the stabilizing rod, causing the planet Lexor to explode.

[42] In fact it was quite likely neither one was to blame, although if blame must be assigned perhaps more so Luthor's than Superman's. The rapid alteration of the atmosphere into a deadly gas was more likely trap set up by the Thoan Lord who had designed the world. It was probably preprogrammed into the terraforming machinery so that anyone who used the terraforming to alter the world would have a nasty surprise and choke to death, as the atmosphere became toxic in a rapid chain reaction. The destruction of Lexor and of Ardora and Lex jr. was most likely the true explanation for the depiction of a world where Lex Luthor was a hero, had a wife and son who died in a world wide cataclysm. The comic writers took the Lexorian tales of Lex the hero and transposed them on fictional world where the costumed vigilantes were the villains.

[43] (Superman No. 385 July 1983)

[44] (Superman No. 412 October 1985) Although this latter story was not printed until 1985 it actually occurred in 1983.

[45] Superman No. 386 August 1983.

[46] . Superman No. 410 August 1985

[47] See the  upcoming, The Men of Steel article to discover the truth behind WGBS and Morgan Edge.

[48] In the film Superman IV The Quest for Peace. D.D. Warburton and Lacy Warburton are named David and Lacey Warfield

[49] In Superman IV Lionel Luthor was portrayed as years younger than he actually was and named Lenny. As with most of the film Superman IV the depicted interaction between Lex and "Lenny" was fictional.

[50] Nate Tyron's battle against Superman was depicted in Action Comics 525, November 1981. Although Tryon as Neutron made more appearances in the comics he actually succumbed to his radiation poisoning shortly after his battle with Superman.  The parasitic copy of Superman was how Luthor was able to grow his creature in a matter of days rather than years. More about the Parasite and the Bizarros will be revealed in the article Evil Twins and Rogue Things from Another World

[51] It is not a coincidence that the 1993 Death of Superman had the creature landing in Ohio

[52] However these were nothing like being divided into red and blue energy forms as depicted in the Post Death of Superman storyline

[53] A liability that the comic books would later use and attribute to Superman in the Final Night mini-series

[54] Alexis Luthor, the ruthless business man, CEO of Lexcorp, the son of Alexander Wainwright Luthor would also suffer from cancer caused by Kryptonite poisoning.



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