WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1 by Jason Latour, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie and Francis Manapul
While there are plenty of alternate universe versions of the assorted heroes, it's rare that a villain gets the chance to meet all of their alternate selves. But that's exactly what Lex Luthor just accomplished in Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1, finding all of the other lives he could have taken -- just so he can kill them.
Here are all of the versions of Lex Luthor that appear in the issue, the lives they've lived and which ones actually survive their encounter with Apex Lex.
The first other version of Lex Luthor encountered by Apex Lex is significantly younger than the rest. Kid Lex hails from Earth-38, a reality based on the Superman & Batman: Generations storyline. In this world, the heroes aged realistically from their first appearances, growing from the Bronze Age into the Silver Age before reaching modern times. Apex Lex finds the Kid Lex with his father, the drunk Lionel Luthor. Taking the child under his wing, Apex Lex kills the alternate universe version of his father and brings Kid Lex along with him on his journeys.
Throughout the issue, Kid Lex serves as someone for Apex Lex to discuss his plans and intentions with. It's implied this is partly a test for Apex Lex set by himself, to ensure that his work to free Perpetua and bring doom to all of creation is the right thing to do. Seeing what he has done and what he is willing to do, would a young and pure version of Lex still approve of his actions?
By the end of the issue, Apex Lex is proven right. Kid Lex helps Apex Lex kill one of the last remaining Luthors in the multiverse, and seemingly joins him on his mission. In reality, Apex Lex has placed Kid Lex under the Black Mercy, preserving his body (and genetic material) for future use. Apex Lex spared his life, but he also may end up using him to create a new human body for himself down the line.
Hero & Villain Luthor
Two versions of Luthor are set against one another by Apex Luthor. The Luthor of Earth-45 ended up becoming the single most successful business tycoon in the world. After the collapse of Overcorp due to waning interest in this world's Superdoom, the Lex of this world tried to buy the rights to the character for his own goals. Beating out Wayne Industries for Superdoom, Lexcorp recreated the process but turned Luthor into Doomsday. Now calling itself Doomthor, it ravaged the world until the Batman of this reality put the entire world into the Phantom Zone to contain the monster.
Apex Lex gives Doomthor the chance to fight again, though, by sending it to Earth-32. There, Luthor actually never became a villain. In fact, he's this reality's Batman, with a robotic butler he refers to as Fred. A dedicated hero, Batman-Luthor sees right through Apex Lex and tries to bring him down. However, he's distracted by the arrival of Doomthor attacking Super-Martian, who is established as this Lex's romantic partner.
It puts a new spin on both the Superman/Luthor enmity, while also making at least one version of the World's Finest into an outright romantic pairing. Apex Lex and Batman-Luthor reach a draw in their fight, forcing Apex Lex to leave while Batman-Luthor goes to help save Super-Martian. Since the result of the battle isn't shown, it's likely that these two (some of the last Luthors alive in the multiverse) will return down the line.
As Apex Lex and Kid Lex make their way across the multiverse, they encounter a number of Luthors that they determine should no longer exist. This includes the Sorcerer Luthor from the mystical Earth-13, who speaks in verse and seems to accept his death as part of the design of fate. A much more boring Luthor lives on Earth-44. In this reality, the Justice League are also the Metal Men, fully autonomous defenders of the planet Earth. Without a Superman to rail against or a terrible childhood to motivate him into villainy, this Lex instead lives a quiet life as a cobbler. He's nonplussed by his alternate universe doppelgangers and accepts his death with a mild shrug.
Other Luthors have already been removed from the board before Apex Lex can even arrive. In the future of Earth-1, it's revealed that their version of Lex Luthor eventually put Superman under the control of the Black Mercy. The alien plant was used by Mongul in the iconic "For The Man Who Has Everything" storyline to transport Superman into an imaginary world where Krypton never exploded and he led a simple but happy life.
In the original story, Mongul was tough enough to stand up to Superman once he was woken up and enraged. But Luthor lacked any of that strength or endurance and was left in a coma after his Superman escaped the Black Mercy and lashed out in anger. Apex Lex is furious that this world's Lex was essentially destroyed by his drive to beat Superman, but tries to learn a lesson from him and leaves him alive but still unconscious
On Earth-50, Apex Lex and Kid Lex find themselves in Washington, D.C. They stand in front of a statue of Lex Luthor, designed like (or even potentially having replaced) the Lincoln Memorial. The statue is in pieces, however, and the United States capital seems largely abandoned. There's a reason for this, and it includes a very dead President Luthor: Earth-50 is the home of the Justice Lords.
First introduced in the Justice League animated series before being made canon by Multiversity, the Justice Lords are a version of the Justice League who turned against the world and conquered it for themselves after President Luthor murdered the Flash. Apex Lex and Kid Lex have seemingly arrived after the coup that saw Superman murder the president and then take control of the world. This is actually one of the first times the reality has ever been visited in the comics, however, suggesting that the Justice Lords might finally appear soon.
Luthor Finds Peace
Perhaps the most unique version of Lex to appear from across the multiverse is the Luthor from Earth-47. Home to immortal teenage President Prez Rickard and the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld, Earth-47 is a perpetually groovy hippie-inspired world. This Luthor is more of a modern interpretation of a wealthy hippie. He lives alone in a sophisticated, modern home. He's become a botanist, building a man-made forest of his own design around him. He's been able to develop cures for mankind through his work, improving life on Earth for all peoples. More than anything, this Luthor stands out for being at peace.
Hippie-Luthor explains to Apex Lex how he was formerly a villain but eventually wanted to see if things could have been different. Developing tea from the leaves of the Black Mercy, Hippie-Luthor was able to see countless other possible realities, where his life took different shapes and forms. In each of these realities, Luthor still did bad things for worse reasons, and there was no one to blame but himself.
Along the way, though, he came to understand his distrust and hatred for Superman. He even figured out how to move past it, allowing himself to grow as an individual and actually help the world. This makes Hippie-Luthor the only one to fully complete his journey to become a better man, something he explains to Apex Lex shortly before being killed by a swayed Kid Lex.