Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice – Who Is Lex Luthor, Jr.?

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Lex Luthor II

We’ve all heard the idiom “a chip off the old block.”  Well, get ready for something that’s more than a chip.  Starting in Superman Vol. 2 #2 (February 1997), Lex Luthor steals Metallo’s kryptonite heart and fashions it into a ring to ward off Superman.  After prolonged exposure to kryptonite, Lex develops an aggressive cancer.

It later came to light that kryptonite was also harmful to humans.  The reason Superman was affected immediately was due to his Kryptonian biology and his ability to absorb vast amounts of solar radiation as energy, meaning his cells were also more sensitive to other forms of radiation.  However, Superman has the ability to heal almost instantaneously once he was out of range of the dangerous green rock.

Not so with humans.  Though the absorption of radiation was slow for humans, the results of years of exposure was the same as any other type of radiation — cancer.  And unlike Superman, humans cannot heal at a miraculous rate or regenerate their biology.  To prevent the spread of the disease, Lex had his hand amputated.  But the cancer had already metastasized, making his condition terminal.

Not allowing fate to overpower him, Lex would fake his own death by taking a jet around the world and crashing it in the Andes.  In reality, Lex had his brain removed and grew a newly cloned body around it.  Rejoining the world, Lex passed himself off as his own illegitimate 21-year old son — Lex Luthor II.  This “new” Lex had a thick mane of red hair, a beard, and an Australian accent which was used to embellish his fake backstory.

Inheriting everything of the original Lex’s, including LexCorp, Luthor II also attracts the attention of Supergirl — a clone of a parallel universe Lana Lang whose creator resembled Luthor II.  However, Luthor II’s clone body starts to breakdown, an inevitable fate of all clones, and he starts to display accelerated aging and hair loss.

Lois Lane soon exposes the truth about Lex’s scheme and his cloned body.  As his deterioration continued, Lex’s mind became imprisoned in his now unresponsive body, aware of everything happening around him, but unable to interact with anything.

The demon Neron would later pay Lex a visit and give him an enticing offer — Lex’s soul in exchange for the restoration of his full health.  Since Lex didn’t believe in the existence of a soul, he gladly agreed to the deal.  Now reinvigorated, Lex willingly turns himself over to the authorities.  He is later acquitted of all crimes when he claims that he was kidnapped and replaced with an evil clone by renegade scientists from Cadmus Labs.

Next: So which one is it?