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#1 Posted by The_Hajduk (3689 posts) - - Show Bio

First of all, please don't be lame and just say "this isn't a battle." It's a battle between one version of Lex Luthor and the others.

Now I just finished Red Son, and I am struck by how amazingly intelligent, tempered, and competent this version of Lex Luthor was. If you haven't read Superman: Red Son, in its entirety, please do not read the spoilers that follow. It's one of the greatest Superman stories ever told, and that makes it one of the greatest comic books ever told. If there is even a microscopic chance that you will read it in the future, do not open these spoilers.

He actually won in the end, straight up, no help, against all odds. He beat Superman, beat him in almost every way possible.

Alright, first of all, he regularly played chess matches against a dozen chess masters simultaneously, keeping track of each individual game and effortlessly checkmating everybody, just to keep his mind distracted while he also did other things like study theoretical physics, which he also did while planning his schemes. When he was older, he was doing the same thing but now playing over 90 different chess games at once. He could apparently talk people into suicide within a few minutes. He somehow created a design for a box within a box within an infinite amount of boxes, each layer a micron thick, so that it would be impossible to break open, and the Green Lanterns followed this design to trap Superman.

Most importantly, he created a 40-year long masterplan to ultimately break and expose Superman morally while simultaneously making himself (Lex Luthor) look heroic, and then after Superman's will was shattered and everybody hated him, he was forced into a situation where he had to sacrifice his own life. This plan took 40 years to unfold perfectly and involved innumerable variables to ensure all went perfectly which Lex was said to have plotted the calculations to the tenth decimal point. The only thing he failed on was Superman actually being killed when he sacrificed himself. Apparently he dropped a decimal when calculating Superman's mass, and so the six black holes created over his head didn't kill him.

But Lex Luthor was manipulating the American Government for decades, he won the presidency, and within six months he brought America from a literal apocalypse to it's most prosperous state in centuries. All of these things were very minor details to his plan. Again that was just six months, the whole plan took 40 years.

Lex Luthor was not only facing the Soviet Union, not only facing the goddamn Batman, not only facing Braniac, and not only facing a Superman who is godlike and invulnerable enough to fly MFTL+++ speeds and tank six black holes opening on top of him, not only was he facing ALL of that, but he was also facing one of the most intellectual, calculated, and patient versions of Superman that I can think of. This version of Superman was a communist, and he ran the Soviet Union so efficiently, that by his 63ed year he had humanely taken over the whole planet and created one system of government and lifestyle where crime didn't exist, accidents didn't happen, technology rose, and nobody ever complained. Not even in private. (Because everybody was healthy, happy and satisfied). And when I say he did this "humanely", I mean he did this without ever invading or forcing any nations to become Communist. He said that if he wanted to force the world with his fists, he could have been Global Leader overnight. But every single one of his achievements and victories was accomplished by "winning the argument." Since he was Superman he could think at superspeed, sense and keep track of seemingly everything on Earth at once, and most impressively, he himself also outsmarted and beat the likes of Batman and Brainiac along with his usual entire rogues gallery throughout the course of his life.

Bottom line, Lex was going against one of the best versions of Superman. That, along with the thoroughness in which Lex wanted to defeat Superman (just killing him wasn't enough. He wanted to defame Superman's legacy and publicly break his will, while giving himself the legacy of Superman, THEN force Superman into killing himself) are why it took him 40 years to arrange every event perfectly. Along the way he got Batman killed, Braniac killed, Wonder Woman forced into retirement, and Green Lantern becoming Superman's enemy. And he succeeded in it all.

Now here is the best part. This plan took 40 years to come to fruition. Some would say that is a long time. But after getting rid of Superman, Lex led mankind into a new renascence, first becoming the elected Global President, then creating an entirely new system of Government, which did away with politicians and created an era where everybody was an artist or a scientist, leading to a technological revolution, all disease and prebirth defects were eradicated, the average lifespan was over 800 years, and Lex himself lived over 4,000 years. This means that the mere 40 years he spent on Superman, which sounds like such a legendary, all-consuming plot, was actually a very small and insignificant section of his life, the equivalent of one Summer back when you were a kid. In Lex's lifetime, he ushered humanity into the most advanced race in the entire universe, and his lineage continued running the planet for another billion years, until finally, a descendant was born whose intelligence surpassed Lex's. That means Lex was the most intelligent in the universe, and stayed that way until a billion years after his death. Despite all this, on his deathbed, Lex still claimed that his greatest single accomplishment was "defeating the alien." I suspect Lex never really had a true rival in his lifetime, "defeating the alien" is just the most significant single thing he's done, but looking at how long Lex lived and how much more he accomplished, Superman really didn't keep up whatsoever.

Bottom line, is there a version of Luthor who is smarter than this version?

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#2 Posted by MasterSkywalker (3609 posts) - - Show Bio

Pre-Crisis.

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#3 Edited by deactivated-5b0ff1f569a57 (4213 posts) - - Show Bio

Pre-Crisis. Built a time machine in a prison with tungsten from a bulb, orange juice, coil spring and a flashlight. He’s basically Sunday Morning Cartoon Science incarnate

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#4 Posted by Wolfrazer (15487 posts) - - Show Bio

Pre-Crisis. Built a time machine in a prison with a bunch of cans and a banana peel. He’s basically Sunday Morning Cartoon Science incarnate

.....Do you have scans? I gotta see this..

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#5 Posted by Amendment50 (13596 posts) - - Show Bio

Something I think is really great and interesting about Lex Luthor as a character is that he has always claimed to be the champion of humanity when in reality he could easily solve most of the world's problems were he not so singularly obsessed with beating Superman. Red Son takes good advantage of that aspect of his character. That said that's one of the very few things I actually did like about the Red Son story which I have always felt is highly overrated.

With respect to the actual question, what the people above said. Red Son Lex being good at scheming and manipulating is one thing but when you are asking who is actually the smartest, who has the best demonstrations of intellect, you just can't beat the near omnipotent Silver Age nonsense.

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#6 Posted by Amendment50 (13596 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7 Edited by deactivated-5b0ff1f569a57 (4213 posts) - - Show Bio

@wolfrazer: Sure. Tho the the time machine is actually made from orange juice, tungsten from a light bulb, coil spring and a flashlight.

Edit: Nvm, see post above

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#8 Posted by Wolfrazer (15487 posts) - - Show Bio
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#9 Posted by Tethadam (1989 posts) - - Show Bio

Are there any cool scans of red son Lex?

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#10 Posted by deactivated-5b0ff1f569a57 (4213 posts) - - Show Bio

@wolfrazer: He’s also made a rocket engine from soda cans, some chemicals from a kitchen and paint.

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#11 Posted by Wolfrazer (15487 posts) - - Show Bio
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#12 Posted by Jucaslucasa (11338 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd consider Red Son's planning to be better than pulling plot devices out of his ass.

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#13 Posted by The_Hajduk (3689 posts) - - Show Bio

@tethadam said:

Are there any cool scans of red son Lex?

Absolutely. Here is a small sample of what the full story provides from both Superman and Lex.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5

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#14 Posted by EmpressOfDread (7751 posts) - - Show Bio

Pre-Crisis. Built a time machine in a prison with tungsten from a bulb, orange juice, coil spring and a flashlight. He’s basically Sunday Morning Cartoon Science incarnate

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#15 Posted by Sy8000 (33714 posts) - - Show Bio

Scientifically, no. All his attempts to physically kill Superman failed to the point where every villain he ever created could be simultaneously steamrolled by Clark. He did turn Earth into a utopia but it's implied New Earth Lex could do that if he weren't fixated on Superman. Strategically Red Son Luthor does seem smarter, but he lived in a different world and regular Lex didn't have the same opportunities he did. Also he only had to worry about Superman while New Earth Lex has to factor in all heroes.

Red Son Luthor hasn't had to deal with his own character flaws either. I mean in Black Ring (spoilers because I don't think you've read it), Lex gained omnipotence from the Phantom Zone child and made everyone in the universe eternally happy, but would lose all the power if anyone felt unhappiness. He couldn't tolerate being unable to punish Superman so it was all lost. Red Son Luthor comparatively hasn't run into this issue. Also New Earth Lex had to spend a chunk of his presidency fighting Imperiex.

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#16 Posted by Black_Arrow (10065 posts) - - Show Bio

Well his entire plan depended on Superman being wrong morally which doesn't happen with most versions of Superman, so most of the Lex Luthor's of the multiverse are on a big disadvantage. Every single thing to physically hurt Superman, he devised failed.

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#17 Edited by The_Hajduk (3689 posts) - - Show Bio

@sy8008:

Scientifically, no. All his attempts to physically kill Superman failed to the point where every villain he ever created could be simultaneously steamrolled by Clark.

That could be because Superman had kept growing more powerful with every passing year, and by the time he fought all the villains, he was very old. Remember that Lex's very first creation was Bizarro, who was just as powerful as Superman. That's a good science feat.

He did turn Earth into a utopia but it's implied New Earth Lex could do that if he weren't fixated on Superman. Strategically Red Son Luthor does seem smarter, but he lived in a different world and regular Lex didn't have the same opportunities he did.

You make it sound like Red Son Lex had a lot of good luck on his side. No, he is the one who CREATED his opportunities. He wasn't given a better situation than any other Luthor.

Also he only had to worry about Superman while New Earth Lex has to factor in all heroes.

Again Luthor DID orchestrate the suicide of Batman, destruction of Braniac, retirement of Wonder Woman, and he even recruited Green Lantern to be his soldier, all just as byproducts of his plan.

Red Son Luthor hasn't had to deal with his own character flaws either.

I don't see how this or your example are relevant to proving that Red Son Lex isn't the smartest. He had the same character flaws as normal, if not in bigger spades. Remember that the reason he hates Superman in this continuity is because Bizarro beat him at a game of chess once. That's petty af. This Luthor is just smart enough to plan everything to go exactly in his favor.

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#18 Posted by Sy8000 (33714 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_hajduk:

That could be because Superman had kept growing more powerful with every passing year, and by the time he fought all the villains, he was very old. Remember that Lex's very first creation was Bizarro, who was just as powerful as Superman. That's a good science feat.

If anything that's a detriment to Luthor because he couldn't kill Superman at weaker stages. Creating Bizarro is something all Lexs do. Red Son Superman isn't as powerful as Pre-New 52 in most areas either.

You make it sound like Red Son Lex had a lot of good luck on his side. No, he is the one who CREATED his opportunities. He wasn't given a better situation than any other Luthor.

Red Son Superman was the leader of the USSR which gave Luthor a way to openly fight him and gave him the full backing of the government.

Again Luthor DID orchestrate the suicide of Batman, destruction of Braniac, retirement of Wonder Woman, and he even recruited Green Lantern to be his soldier, all just as byproducts of his plan.

That's still vastly less metahumans than New Earth. Also Brainiac and Green Lantern more or less fell into his lap as things he could use. Technically he didn't create either of them.

I don't see how this or your example are relevant to proving that Red Son Lex isn't the smartest. He had the same character flaws as normal, if not in bigger spades. Remember that the reason he hates Superman in this continuity is because Bizarro beat him at a game of chess once. That's petty af. This Luthor is just smart enough to plan everything to go exactly in his favor.

Yes, but he hasn't ended up in situations where his ego got the better of him, which is partially luck based.

The main point in favor of Red Son Lex is New Earth Lex didn't do nearly as much when he was President.

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