|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (June 2017)|
Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #6 (March 2010). Art by Francis Manapul.
|First appearance||Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #23 (February 1961)|
|Created by||Jerry Siegel (script)
Kurt Schaffenberger (art)
|Notable aliases||Lena Thorul|
Fictional character biography
In Silver Age continuity, Lena is Lex Luthor's younger sister. After Lex began his villainous career, his family changed their last name in shame to the anagram "Thorul" and told Lena that Lex had been killed in a mountain-climbing accident. Soon after this they were killed in an auto accident. As a result, Lena never knew she had an older brother, as Lex Luthor himself (with occasional help from Supergirl and Superman) worked to keep her from learning the truth. Lena appeared irregularly in DC Comics' from 1961 to 1975. Lena had psychic/empathic abilities, gained from touching a Space Brain that Luthor was experimenting on before he became a villain. In 1981, Lena lost her powers after brain surgery, and the decision was made to tell her the truth about Luthor. After the initial shock, there were signs of reconciliation after Luthor discovered he had unwittingly aided another criminal's conspiracy against Lena, and he was deeply apologetic.
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lena Luthor is the daughter of Lex Luthor and Contessa Erica Del Portenza. She is named after Lex's foster sister who had been killed by their foster father, Casey Griggs. After Lena's birth, Lex takes advantage of Contessa Erica's wish to be unconscious at child birth by keeping her permanently drugged and unconscious at his corporate headquarters, not wishing to share his daughter's love with anyone else (although he himself avoids attending the birth to provide himself with a clear alibi for an assassination attempt he arranged at the time).
When Brainiac 13 arrives from the 64th century, the modern Brainiac possesses the infant Lena to escape being deleted by his future self. Even after Brainiac leaves Lena's body, Luthor trades her to Braniac 13 for control of the future technology that has transformed Metropolis.
Lena returns to visit Lex Luthor during the Our Worlds at War crossover, where she has apparently been aged to adolescence by Brainiac 13. Lena plays a sneaky role during the event, helping Luthor and his allies beat Imperiex by feeding her father information, while secretly manipulating events to benefit Brainiac 13. She is ultimately convinced at the end to side with her father. At the end of the crossover, Brainiac 13 and Imperiex are both destroyed, and Lena is regressed to infanthood and returned to her father by Superman, who tells Luthor that he now has a second chance to try to be a man instead of a god.
Following Our Worlds At War, Lena appears infrequently, sometimes shown as still having Brainiac discs on her forehead.
In the Superman's Metropolis miniseries the artificial intelligence controlling the B-13 technology believes itself to be Lena Luthor. When it creates a human body (female, but bald) to pursue a romantic relationship with Jimmy Olsen, Superman confronts her with the real Lena Luthor, making her realize her personality is a computer simulation of Lena's.
Lena has not appeared since Luthor lost the presidency, and her current status is unknown.
Post-Infinite Crisis version
In Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3, Legionnaires Polar Boy, Wildfire, and Dawnstar travel to Smallville during the 20th century, back to when Superman was still a suburban legend. The three heroes arrive to the Luthor household, where they hear a young Lex Luthor arguing with his father about his mother and sister.
In the revived Adventure Comics, Lena is Lex Luthor's younger sister and grew up alongside Lex until he left Smallville. Lex made certain to cover up his Smallville history, and that included disavowing a connection to his sister. Lena is now paralyzed, living in Smallville with her daughter Lori. Lori became friends with Superboy, but both were shocked to find Luthor on Lori's doorstep, intent on taking control of Superboy again and claiming he can cure Lena's condition. With Superboy's help Luthor indeed cures Lena, but he then undoes his cure, claiming he only helped her to prove to Superboy that he could and that so long as Superman lives, he will never reveal how he did it. Currently Lena is under the care of Wayne Enterprise doctors, thanks to Red Robin.
New 52/DC Rebirth
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In the New 52, Lena Luthor is paralysed as a result of a childhood illness, with Luthor initially claiming to Bizarro that he never tried to save her because he was afraid of failure, only to admit privately later that he actually tried and failed to save her and instead left her paralysed. He was eventually able to treat her paralysis, but delayed the treatment as it involved technology he did not invent himself, leaving Lena enraged that he expected her to be forever under his shadow.
Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade
Lena Thorul is a main character in the series. She is Lex Luthor's thirteen-year-old sister who attends the same boarding school as Supergirl. Lena hates superheroes, and specifically blames Supergirl for the recent misfortune that has befallen her brother (in the first issue Supergirl was accidentally responsible for Lex Luthor's capture). Unaware that Linda Lee is really Supergirl just as Linda is unaware that Lena Thorul is related to Lex Luthor, the two become best friends and roommates. Though sweet and fun when interacting with Linda (who Lena perceives as an outsider just like herself), Lena is hostile and suspicious towards everyone else. This is particularly true in regards to Linda's evil doppelganger Belinda Zee (Superiorgirl).
As the series progresses, Lena's xenophobia becomes increasingly apparent. It is revealed that Lena is in secret communication with her older brother, waiting for the correct time to enact a complicated revenge scheme against Superman. When Linda'a identity is inadvertently exposed to Lena by the time-lost duplicate of Supergirl known as Supragirl, Lena goes over the edge and takes control of the minds of half the students in the school (the other half being transformed into Bizzaro's by SuperiorGirl).
Lena begins to question her hatred when confronted by the manipulations of reality by Mxyzptlk and by Supergirl's willingness to save all of reality from the 5th dimensional imp. While Supergirl is battling Mxyzptlk, Lena is critically injured. Supergirl forces a truce between Luthor and Superman so that they can save Lena. Luthor saves his little sister, but the cost of her survival is that her hatred is now directed at her own brother.
At the series end, Lena is referenced to be recovering in the hospital.
In 2012, the television series Smallville was continued through the comic book medium. Written by Bryan Q. Miller, who also wrote for the show, which the story sets six months after the final episode of its final season, and Lutessa Lena Luthor's (Tess Mercer) death is ruled a suicide. However, Lex Luthor apparently has a ghostly encounter with her at a street corner of Metropolis. It is later reveals that Tess's consciousness bonded to Lex's mind when she poisoned him, forcing Lex to find a way of separating Tess from himself while he tries to regain his memories. Her friends eventually discover what happened, and extract her memories from Lex's mind and upload it to the Watchtower's computer until they can clone a new body for her. Tess's consciousness is eventually transferred into a new robotic form capable of flight and aerokinesis and she becomes the new Red Tornado.
In other media
- Lena Luthor appeared in the Superboy TV series two-part story "Know Thine Enemy" with the young version played by Jennifer Hawkins and the adult version played by Denise Gossett. In the first part, Lena appears in flashbacks of Lex Luthor's childhood while Superboy experiences Lex's life through a device Luthor invented called a "psychodisk". Frequently abused by their father, Lex is very protective of Lena and tries to stop their father from beating her only to get a beating himself. Lex and Lena dream of one day escaping from their less-than-perfect home life. Eventually, Lex urges Lena to go spend the night at a friend's house and builds a bomb with which he plans to kill his parents while Lena is away. He has taken out a life insurance policy on them and plans to collect it after their deaths. He eventually does kill them, though the scene is not depicted because Superboy escapes the psychodisk recording before it can happen. In the second part, it revealed that Lena faked her own death and changed her name to escape the curse of the Luthor name but is found by Lana Lang. Her apparent death has driven Lex over the edge, causing him to construct a series of bombs that will wipe out all life on earth, leaving only android duplicates of himself and Lena on the planet. Because Lena is the only person Luthor claims to have ever loved, Lana believes she can stop his mad plan. Lena is taken to Luthor's underground hideout and attempts to get him to stop the countdown on his bombs. Luthor denies that he ever loved Lena, but the android duplicate of Lex stops the countdown with seconds to spare and attempts to get Lena to stay with him so they can have the better life they had always dreamed of. Lex deactivates the android and Lena leaves, never to be seen again.
- The final season of Smallville reveals that Tess Mercer (played by Cassidy Freeman) is really Lutessa Lena Luthor (portrayed by Leigh Bourke). This version of the character is based on Lena Luthor and Lex Luthor's assistant from the DC Comics, Mercy Graves. Lionel Luthor left Lutessa at Granny Goodness's orphanage where Granny's powers were used to suppress Lutessa's memories of her true identity and was eventually adopted by the Mercers of Louisiana under her father's arrangements. In the episode "Abandoned", Tess eventually learns the truth of her past once she reviews the orphanage's records and is distraught knowing that she's Lionel's daughter. In the series finale, Tess discovers that Lex Luthor knew they are siblings all along. When Lex mortally stabs her (claiming it will save her from becoming like her brother), Tess infects Lex with a poison that erases all memories, informing her brother as she dies that Clark Kent had already saved her from that fate.
- Lena Luthor appears in Season 2 of Supergirl, portrayed by Katie McGrath. She is depicted as the adopted sister of Lex Luthor (later revealed to be Lex's paternal half-sister). Lena moves to National City to change the brand of "Luthor Corp" to "L-Corp" to distance the company from her brother Lex's reputation following his imprisonment for his crimes. Subsequently, Lex hires the assassin John Corben to kill her. He attempts to kill her by crashing her space shuttle and helicopter, bombing her, and shooting her. However, Lena shoots Corben to save Alex Danvers who had saved Lena from being shot and was being held hostage. Superman is initially wary of her because of the Luthor name (due to his bad experiences with the Luthor family) and had earlier initially assumed she had been behind the space shuttle crash due to her being the only passenger who did not board. Though he starts to trust her more after she saves Alex. She later helped Kara Danvers regarding finding Veronica Sinclair's current location in "Survivors". In "Crossfire", Lena Luthor invited Kara Danvers, Supergirl (unaware that the two are one-and-the same) and Mike Matthews to a gala at L-Corp. In addition, after a crime wave involving alien guns, she also developed a matter disruptor device to stop the three robbers. It was later revealed that her adopted mother was none other than the director of Project Cadmus. Lena later turns on Lillian as they are about to eliminate the alien race with a substance as Lena admits she switched it out and called the police. In "Luthors", it is revealed that Lena is in fact the half-sister of Lex, the product of an affair Lionel Luthor (confirmed dead) had with his mistress which explains why Lillian was cold towards Lena her entire life. She was also framed by her own stepmother with ensuring the latter's escape alongside that of Metallo so she can use her to access one of Lex Luthor's storage areas. Ultimately, Supergirl cleared Lena's name. In Ace Reporter, Lena reunites with her ex-boyfriend, Jack Speer, who is the CEO of Spheerical Industries and has invented a new nanobot technology called Biomax. When Kara discovers that Jack has injected himself with Biomax and has been killing former employees, Lena confronts him, only to find out he's being controlled by his CFO, Beth Breen. While Supergirl fights Jack, Lena fights Breen and destroys the control device and overloads the mainframe to save Supergirl, causing Jack to die, leaving Lena devastated. In "Alex", Lena agrees to work with Rhea, unaware of her alien heritage, on a business project, a transmitter portal. Lena ends up forming a motherly bond with Rhea, who encourages her to be different than her family. In "City of Lost Children", Lena finds out Rhea is an alien after she uses an alien element to finish the portal, but Rhea manages to convince her to continue working with her. In "Resist", Rhea betrays Lena and uses the portal to transport her Daxamite fleet to Earth. Rhea then transports Lena and Mon-El to her ship. In "Nevertheless, She Persisted", Rhea forces Lena and Mon-El to get married, but they're saved by Supergirl, Lillian, and Cyborg Superman. Lillian then reveals a device she created to kill Kryptonians, but Lena and Winn modify it to kill Daxamites, killing Rhea and causing the fleet to retreat, saving the Earth.
- In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Clash", the Lena Luthor Memorial Hospital is one of the buildings of Lexor City (Lex Luthor's city) that gets destroyed during a fight between Superman and Captain Marvel.
- Romi Dames voices Lena Luthor in the webseries DC Super Hero Girls. While she is depicted as the sister of Lex Luthor, this version is a supervillain. In DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games, she is revealed to be envious of Supergirl, as she gained her powers when she landed on Earth while she had tried to do everything to gain her own powers, losing her hair (revealed to be a wig) in one of the processes. She is defeated by Wonder Woman and Platinum, who she uses for her plan. After failing her master Brainiac, she is left to drown in the truck taking her away. Big Barda saves her in exchange for help, but she turns her down. Lena is taken to prison afterwards.
- Lena Luthor appears in the second Robot Chicken DC Comics Special Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, voiced by Sarah Hyland, and is portrayed as Lex Luthor's daughter, instead of his sister. Lex Luthor has her interning at the Legion of Doom's coffee shop called "Hall of Doom Coffee" during spring break since the court order says that Lex gets custody of Lena on weekends and holidays. Her plight of having to work on spring break and not being with her boyfriend is understood by Gorilla Grodd as they follow each other on a social network. When Lex finds out that Lena has snuck away to go to spring break to be with her boyfriend upon finding Scarecrow's nephew Calvin working in Lena's place, Lex pilots the Hall of Doom to a beach location to find her while the other Legion of Doom members take advantage by taking a vacation. Lex finds out that Lena's boyfriend is Superboy when he finds her after an incident where some of the Legion of Doom members mistook the Justice League's private beach for a nude beach. As Lex tells Lena that she is not to see Superboy again, Superman tells Superboy never to see Lena again. Both Lena and Superboy tell about their love romance for each other to the other heroes and villains in a song parody of "Summer Nights". As the Justice League and the Legion of Doom argue about Superboy and Lena's relationship, the group is attacked by an enlarged Starro (which was previously flushed down the Hall of Doom's toilet by Captain Cold). Starro attacked both sides and overwhelmed them until seeing Lena and Superboy in a romantic moment and stopped attacking which ended with Starro getting killed upon Green Lantern sending a boat construct with Batman in it through Starro. Lena and Superboy are later seen at the wedding of Gorilla Grodd and Bizarro.
- Superman Family #212-#214 (November 1981-January 1982)
- Superman (vol. 2) #154 (March 2000)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #763 (March 2000)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3 (April 2009)
- Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #5 (February 2010)
- Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #6 (March 2010)
- Smallville Season 11 #1 (April 2012)
- Smallville Season 11 #3 (July 2012)
- Drew Landis, Julia Swift (writers) & Kevin Fair (director) (November 12, 2010). "Abandoned". Smallville. Season 10. Episode 8. The CW.
- Ausiello, Michael (August 4, 2016). "Supergirl Lands Merlin's Katie McGrath as Lex's Sister Lena Luthor". TVLine. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
- Bernstein, Elizabeth (August 4, 2016). "Supergirl Finds Its Lena Luthor in Jurassic World's Katie McGrath". Nerd Much?. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
- "'Supergirl' 2x12 recap: Once a Luthor, always a Luthor?". Hypable. 2017-02-13. Retrieved 2017-08-06.