Jules & Lionel Luthor

lionelluthorfilmWith this week’s episode of Supergirl we complete the Luthor family tree (at least for this generation). In Luthors, in fact, we see a little bit more of Lena‘s past in a couple of flashbacks, where Lionel Luthor, portrayed by Ian Butcher, adopts the girl and introduces her to his wife and son. This version of the Luthor patriarch is modeled on the one we saw in Smallville: in the ten-seasons long show, John Glover portrays the one who, for most of the series, has been the most charismatic character around, first a ruthless villain who’s more or less an anticipation of what his son will become, then an ally to Clark Kent, “cured” by his evil personality by Jor-El himself, then again a villain when his evil Earth-Two version replaces the deceased good Lionel and becomes the main ally of Darkseid on Earth. This cunning and Machiavellian businessman is very different from both versions ever appeared in the comics, since the Luthor patriarch has been a good man in a world, a despicable loser in another: let’s see together.

On Earth-One, the head of the Luthor family was Jules Luthor, a honest man born and raised in Kansas, in the rural town of Smallville. As an adult, he found a job as a simple salesman, and he fell in love with a girl of his same town, Arlene. The two got married, and moved to a farm out of town to start a family. They had a son, Lex, and some years later they also had a daughter, Lena. Because of his job, Jules was often away from home, and Arlene did most of the parenting, with Lex giving her a hand with the farm as soon as he grew up. When Arlene told Jules that their son, Lex, was growing more and more intelligent, and that he felt restricted in the farm, Jules worked even harder to afford a house in Smallville, and the family moved there. Even this, apparently, wasn’t enough, as Lex soon found julesluthorcomicsother ways to express his genius, and after entering a dangerous competition with the local hero Superboy, Lex ended up endangering the entire town. Jules felt somehow guilty for not being there when his son clearly needed him, but he couldn’t support his criminal turn; wanting to protect Lena, who was still a baby, Jules decided to disown Lex, and convinced Arlene that it was far better for their baby girl if she wasn’t influenced the slightest by her older brother. In order not to be found by Lex, then, the Luthors moved away from Smallville, and even legally changed their name to Thorul. Jules even told Lena, who missed her brother, that he had died in an accident while climbing. This brand new life, however, didn’t last as long as Jules had imagined: soon after, while driving with his wife Arlene, he was involved in a car accident that killed them both, leaving Lena to be raised in an orphanage.

With the Chrisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-One was erased from existence (until recently, it seems…), and Jules Luthor/Thorul’s life disappeared as well. In the new reality, New Earth, there was Lionel Luthor, one of the local bullies in the rural town of Smallville, Kansas. Lionel wasn’t loved nor respected in town, but he somehow managed to find a girl nevertheless, Letitia. The two got married and had two kids, but it was all up to Letitia to look after the kids and to run the house: the ambitious Lionel was focused on his work. Following his dreams, he moved the entire family to Metropolis to try and become a businessman, but he failed miserably, and the Luthors never moved from the Suicide Slums, the worst and most squalid part of Metropolis. Eventually, the family had to come back to Smallville in shame, and somewhere around this point Letitia died, leaving Lionel the sole parent Lex and Lena had… not that this increased his sense of responsibility: depressed and humiliated, Lionel started drinking, and venting all his anger and frustration on his children, especially on Lex, believing that his thirst for studying and learning was just another way to make him feel stupid. Lena grew terrified of her dad, while Lex simply hated him: in the following years, Lionel became involved in a series of weird accidents that nearly costed his life, but everytime he was saved by the mysterious hero guarding over Smallville. Obviously, the incidents were orchestrated by Lex, who had secretly stipulated a life lionelluthorcomicsinsurance on his father. Finally, Lex found his way when Lionel’s heart, due to alcoholism, started to fail: Lex switched some of his pills, causing an allergic reaction that stopped once and for all Lionel’s heart. With the money from the insurance, Lex finished his study and moved to Metropolis again, ready to start his own company and to become one of the richest men on the planet… but the experience with Lionel had taught him an important lesson, and Lex would have also become the most dangerous man alive, who would have never allowed anyone to treat him like his father did.

The two Luthor patriarchs are extremely different men: Jules is a honest and hard-working man, very sever but always concerned with the well-being of his family; Lionel is an arrogant and bullying drunkard who uses violence on his children to hide the humiliation he constantly feels. Ironically enough, despite their many differences, both men ended up raising the greatest criminal mind ever existed.

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Peter Joseph “Pete” Ross

Pete RossOther pics from Man of Steel arrived, and with them, our first look to young Clark Kent‘s best friend, Pete Ross, portrayed by teen actor Jack Foley. While his role in the movie is yet to be revealed, it’s unlikely that he’ll be something more than the childhood friend who disappears once Clark becomes an adult and moves to the big city, Metropolis. More or less, it’s what happened to the only other live action incarnation of the character, Sam Jones III‘s one in Smallville. After being one of the series’ regular in the first three seasons, Pete (who is actually the first person Clark reveals “his secret” to) is abruptly cut from the show, and he comes back only once in Season 7 with Elongated Man-like powers granted to him by a Kryptonite chewing-gum (…). Now, let’s see together who Pete Ross is in the comics.

Peter Joseph Ross was born somewhere in North America, but he moved with his family in SmallvilleKansas, when he was still very young. He grew up with Clark Kent, a boy his age, son of the old farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, and the two of them soon became best friends. Everything proceeded as normal in the boring and happy life in Smallville, until the day Pete, while in camping with the Kents, saw Clark changing clothes and becoming the teenage superhero Superboy. Pete didn’t tell even Clark that he knew his secret, and decided he would have helped his heroic friend the best he could with his own resources. Every time Clark had to suddenly disappear in order to save the day, Pete invented some story to cover him up with their friend Lana Lang or someone else that was present, and once he even disguised himself as Superboy to protect Clark. Nobody noticed his efforts, apart from the Legion of Super-Heroes, apeterosscomics1 team of future heroes from the 31st century that knew everything Pete was doing, and made him a honorary member of the team, foreseeing that Pete’s knowledge of Superboy’s identity would have saved the Kryptonian‘s life in the near future. Pete eventually grew to be an adult, got married with an unnamed woman and became widowed shortly after; he had a son from his wife, Jonathan, a sad boy who lost the will to live when he was still very young. Superman himself saved the boy’s life, visiting him by night and revealing his secret identity to him, thus making the boy his friend. Jonathan, however, was a very unlucky boy, and after a short time he got kidnapped by some aliens, the Nrvynians. Pete, clearly worried, went to Clark, and told him that he knew about him being Superman, and asked him to bring his son back. Superman tried, but understood that the Nrvynians had foreseen that Jonathan, under their guidance, would have soon saved the universe, and he could not bring him back to Earth yet. He tried to explain the situation to his friend, but Pete suffered a nervous breakdown, that brought him to use one of Lex Luthor‘s old weapons to come back in time and swap his mind with Superboy’s, then he came back to the present, arrested Superman and put him on trial for his “crimes”, kidnapping Lana Lang, Lois LanePerry WhiteSteve Lombard and Jimmy Olsen and using them as jury. Past Superboy managed to take back control of his body, and Pete was brought to a mental institution. He gain his sanity back only when Superman returned Jonathan to him, and the two became friends once again.

After Chrisis on Infinite Earth, Pete’s past, along with the one of almost every character in the DC Universe, was significantly changed (it was revealed that “old” Pete still existed in a Pocket Universe created by Time Trapper, but he was ultimately killed by Kryptonians criminals General Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora when the three of them, freed by Lex Luthor, went on a killing spree decimating their universe). Pete never learnt of Superboy’s true identity as a teenager, nor he helped Clark maintain his secret identity. The two were still peterosscomics2friends, but just normal pals spending time together and competing for beautiful Lana Lang’s attentions. As an adult, he eventually married Lana Lang, but he always thought he was just a second choice for her, and that she was still in love with Clark (actually, unknown to Pete, Lana knew that Clark was Superman, so their bond was different from what he thought). They had a son, Clark Peter Ross, but they eventually divorced, since Pete never accepted to live with Clark’s memory between him and his wife. He became a senator, and Vice-President under Lex Luthor’s government. It was Luthor that informed him that his childhood friend Clark Kent was actually Earth’s mightiest hero, Superman. When Luthor was arrested, Pete briefly became President himself, but resigned almost immediately. After informing Clark about his knowledge of his secret identity, Pete came back to Smallville with his son, and opened a General Store, coming back to the calm and peaceful life he missed so much when he was at the White House.

Pete Ross is essentially a next door guy, a normal person often involved in not so normal adventures. Basically honest and good-hearted, he’s ready to do anything for the people he loves, being them his friends or his family. An expert politician and a good man, Pete is maybe the right man in the wrong place under Luthor’s government.