Lex Luthor was born and raised in the poverty stricken area of Metropolis known as Suicide Slum, the child of abusive parents, with a fierce desire to better himself. As a teenager, young Lex engineered the deaths of his parents in order to profit from a large life insurance policy he had taken out in their names, and went on to found his own company LexCorp.
Luthor the BusinessmanEdit
Lex turned the company into a multi-national corporation that would ultimately come to dominate the city of Metropolis. With it he owns every media corporation in the city and uses them to reinforce his public image as a wealthy benefactor. The one paper outlet that had always stood free was the Daily Planet (he would come to buy it much later). One such critic was the young reporter, and Editor In Chief, Perry White. Luthor detested White, due to his outspoken attitudes and a release by the Planet condemning his actions with an outrageous editorial signed by White himself. As a result, when Clark Kent is first inducted into the Planet, the newspaper is almost bankrupt, dilapidated, and unable to afford new reporters. Luthor made many criminal connections and industries, anything to help him rise to be the unchallenged master of Metropolis. His legitimate businesses attached to LexCorp cover a variety of enterprises ranging from telephone companies to personal gaming devices. As part of his image, Lex created the illusion of being a caring philanthropist. He became the most powerful man in Metropolis, both financially and in the world of organized crime. Lex would create havoc on the streets by selling weapons to the gangs of Metropolis and using his primarily female staff of underlings to keep blackmail files on all of the major organized crime groups in the city. Lex could use them to further any schemes he had planned. However, this all ended with the arrival of Superman.
Several months after Superman first arrived in Metropolis, terrorists attacked a society gala aboard Luthor's yacht. Lois Lane, whom Luthor had tried to romance as a ninth trophy wife some time before, was present during the attack which was stopped by Superman. Luthor tried unsuccessfully to hire Superman as a bodyguard. But when he admitted that he had known the attack was to occur and had allowed it to proceed in order to see Superman in action first hand, Mayor Berkowitz deputized Superman on the spot to arrest Luthor for reckless endangerment. He avoided prison thanks to a legal technicality, but still had to endure the humiliation of being publicly led away under arrest.
Luthor vowed to destroy Superman for this humiliation, and he has since devoted much time and energy to that goal. An early attempt led to the creation of an imperfect clone of Superman meant to destroy him, but was unsuccessful because Superman's alien DNA made the clone unstable. Luthor continued his vendetta. He was a man driven to be the best, having fought his way up from lowly beginnings by his own (dubious) efforts, and was resentful of how Superman was given his powers by random fate of birth. Superman survived subsequent attempts Luthor made on his life, but he had never been able to prove Luthor's role in the attacks. Aside from Lex's immense wealth and connections, he was able to weasel his way out of trouble due to the fact that Superman, being liable as a witness, would have to reveal his true identity in court to testify against him.