In that case, the author of Absolute DC decided that Jor-El's equivalent of the Luthor family to serve as his archenemy in this one is Lionel Luthor, father of the main Superman's nemesis, Lex Luthor.
Issue 14: Absolute BetrayalEdit
Lionel Julius Luthor is not the birth-given name of one of Earth’s wealthiest, most intelligent, and most influential men; he was born in a run-down section of the Independent State of Samoa and his mother gave him away at birth. For 5 years he was raised in a poorly-managed orphanage until a well-to-do American politician, Senator Julius Luthor, traveled to Samoa to adopt a child to boaster public opinion among his voters back in the states. The boy who would become Lionel revealed his high intelligence for the first time, besting the Senator in a game of chess and winning his adoption. He was renamed Lionel Luthor and was raised in the US; Julius was cruel to his “son” behind closed doors, only looking like the caring father he wanted the public to think he was when all eyes were on him. Lionel bore the abuse, and manipulated his adoptive father with a false sense of superiority. Julius thought he finally achieved his goal of becoming the US President, but during his inauguration, the overhead monitor and speakers were hacked and began displaying a montage of Lionel’s abuse at the hands of Julius, secretly recorded by the young man. Julius was disgraced and immediately impeached, and he committed suicide soon after. Lionel also rewrote his father’s last will and testament beforehand, inheriting his vast fortune.
Years later, Lionel Luthor is president and CEO of the scientific R&D/private military production company LuthorCorp. He is also the widower of Arlene Luthor and father of their two children, Alexander and Lena. LuthorCorp’s world headquarters in New York City, NY indirectly resulted in the city becoming cleaner, safer, and more successful than in the past, and he was seen as a major pillar of the community. But, in 2001, when a series of terrorist attacks were thwarted by a metatalented alien being called Superman, Lionel began formulating his designs on this new hero to the American public. After about 10 years of cooperation with Superman as privately-operating allies of the US government and military, Lionel finally found his opportunity to strike. So commissioned by the government was the development of an advanced, organically-based AI designed to predict threats to American soil, but the head scientist grew too attached to the intelligence; it was to be shut down, but it activated its’ self-preservation programs and took over the LuthorCorp facility. Superman, who was there at the time, tried to shut down the AI, but the mind of the head scientist merged with the AI in a new robotic shell, becoming the threat known as Brainiac . After Superman ended Brainiac’s rampage, military agents and Lionel’s employees collected the pieces of the machine for study. He claimed that he was going to use said study to reverse the scientist’s catatonic state and terminate the rogue AI safely, but Lionel was actually using the video footage recorded by the AI to study Superman’s powers, and a recently-revealed weakness to Krypton gas.
About a week later, at the Kansas home of John Kent, the human identity of Jor-El the Superman, was using technology from his long-gone planet of Ilnolmed to study the celestial vortex that carried the escape rocket that transported himself and his infant niece to Earth. He had just discovered a shocking revelation that would threaten the people of Earth when he and his family were ambushed by agents of the Council for the Administration and Deterrence of Metahumans in the United States (CADMUS); the grenades full of Krypton gas nearly killed John’s wife Martha while weakening John, their half-alien son Clark, and John’s niece Kara.
At an undisclosed CADMUS facility, Jor-El (strapped down and exposed to just enough Krypton to stave off his powers but not cause pain), was explained to by director Paul Westfield that they had recorded evidence that Superman was responsible for Brainiac getting out of control so he could destroy it and paint himself a hero (the video was doctored by Lionel Luthor). No longer capable of trusting Superman, the US President disclosed Superman’s civilian identity to Luthor and CADMUS officials so they can detain him. And now, with technology and funds provided by LuthorCorp, CADMUS would begin a series of experiments to develop loyal super-soldiers using Ilnolman DNA. The CADMUS scientists turned their attention first to extracting the genetic material from Clark, whose half-human, half-Ilnolman genes could make the artificial bonding process for super-soldier production easier; Clark broke free and, in a blind fury, unleashed perhaps the full potential of his alien powers on his captors. He managed to rescue his father and cousin Kara, but his mother didn’t make it. Martha was also experimented on, and the Ilnolman DNA that she was fused with caused rapid biological degeneration. Her skin was calcified and ashy, and she was mumbling incoherently as she died in her husband’s arms. Wracked with guilt for not reaching his mom sooner, Clark attacked General Samuel Lane, who was overlooking the experiment but had no idea that Martha wasn’t a volunteer, but a captive, and nearly killed him with his eye-projected lasers; the lasers struck a fuel source and caused a chain reaction that decimated the facility. The only known survivors were John, Clark, and Kara, who also managed to rescue General Lane and Lionel Luthor. “You will regret what you have done, Mr. Luthor…” said John before flying off with his son and niece to parts unknown.
While Luthor’s employees scramble to salvage the genetic research, and Luthor himself e-mails a small group, informing them “the auction will have to be delayed”, the Kent family performs a traditional Ilnolman funeral in honor of Martha. They have since relocated their home to the Arctic Circle, in a secret military base presided over by the sovereign nation of Atlantis. After the funeral, Jor-El convenes with Atlan Or’yn Marius , King of Atlantis, and fugitive scientist John Jones , about the discovery that Jor-El had made before CADMUS’ raid: the imminent invasion of Earth by the alien force responsible for destroying Jor-El’s home planet. They have a plan, but they’re going to need help …
- The choice to make Lionel Luthor Samoan-American stems from Lex’s physical appearance in the DC Animated Universe.
- The name Julius for Lionel’s adoptive father comes from the original comics as the name of Lex Luthor’s father, while “Lionel”, the more publicly-accepted name for Lex’s father, came from the TV series Smallville.
- The name Arlene as Lionel’s deceased wife is also from the original comics.
- Absolute Lex Luthor, Lionel’s son, will just be called Alexander, or Alex, for now.
- CADMUS director Paul Westfield also escaped the facility’s destruction, though badly injured...
- The negative feelings between General Lane and Clark will definitely complicate Clark’s future relationship with the general’s daughter Lois Lane.
- The Atlantean military base in the Arctic will serve as Absolute Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.