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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So WHEN Did Clark Kent First Meet Lex Luthor?

by  in Comic News Comment

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we look at how Lex Luthor and Clark Kent’s relationship was handled after Crisis…

It is interesting to note that Lex Luthor and Superman already had a retcon in their relationship. In Adventure Comics #271, we learned that they knew each other when they were teens together back in Smallville. That would almost be worth an abandoned an’ forsaked, except they never really said that Superman and Luthor DIDN’T know each other back in Smallville, ya know?

Anyhow, that was the status quo for Superman and Luthor. They knew each other as teens and were briefly friends before Superboy caused Luthor to lose his hair (and in the process, also destroyed Luthor’s experiment where he basically created a new lifeform)…


And they were enemies ever since…


In any event, their relationship was drastically changed with Crisis on Infinite Earths. When John Byrne rebooted Superman with Man of Steel, Luthor and Clark Kent (and Superman) were now meeting each other for the first time as adults.

Here is their first meeting from Man of Steel #4…




As you might note, Luthor is also noticeably older than Clark. This was also a Post-Crisis thing, that Luthor was a good deal older. In the Unuathorized Biography of Lex Luthor by James Hudnall and the late, great Eduardo Barreto, it is actually established that Luthor was childhood friends with Perry White…


The White/Luthor relationship was a key plot point in a couple of Superman stories circa 1990 (Luthor, as it turns out, had an affair with Perry’s wife and was the biological father of Perry’s son).

Like the changes in last week’s Abandoned an’ Forsaked with regards to Superman’s birth (you can read that one here), things changed in 2003, during Mark Waid and Leinil Yu’s Superman: Birthright maxi-series, as the Man of Steel stuff with regards to Clark and Lex is pretty much completely abandoned and forsaked (and yes, it is worth noting that the Smallville TV series had recently debuted, and Clark and Lex were contemporaries on that show and both lived in Smallville, so there was a goodly amount of outside pressure to work in the Smallville set-up into the Superman titles).

Here is Clark and Lex now meeting as adults in #6…



Including a flashback to their time together growing up later in the issue…


In #7, we see that the pair met in ninth grade, while also noting that Luthor IS older than Clark, just not by a lot…


In 2009, Geoff Johns made the next subtle shift, in his Superman: Secret Origin series with Gary Frank. In it, he gives the two a new first introduction…


but more importantly, establishes Lex as being concurrent with Superboy, which Johns reworks into Superman’s origins in this series (Superman as Superboy was still off-limits when Waid did his revamped origin)…



I like the idea of one of Superboy’s first acts being saving Luthor’s father from his son’s attempt to kill him (As an aside, Luthor’s family history also changed in each of the three Post-Crisis revamps).

There’s one more Superman: Birthright bit that works well for Abandoned an’ Forsaked. I’ll get to it some time in the future!