Lena Luthor
Lena Luthor in Superwoman #3 (October 2016). Art by Ray McCarthy.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceSuperman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #23 (February 1961)
Created byJerry Siegel (script)
Kurt Schaffenberger (art)
In-story information
Notable aliasesLena Thorul

Lena Luthor is the name of two fictional comic book characters in DC Comics. The first one, introduced in 1961, is the sister of Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor, while the second one, introduced in 2000, is Lex Luthor's daughter who is named after her aunt.

On live-action television, the original Lena Luthor was portrayed by Denise Gossett in a 1991 episode of Superboy, Cassidy Freeman in three seasons (2008–2011) of Smallville, and by Katie McGrath in five seasons (2016–2021) of Supergirl.

Publication history

Lena Luthor first appeared in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #23 and was created by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger.[1]

Fictional character biography

First Lena Luthor

In Silver Age continuity, Lena is Lex Luthor's younger sister.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

In the pages of Superman: Secret Origin, Lena Luthor cared about Lex even when he ran away after their mother died when she was young and their father died of a heart attack.[6]

In the revived Adventure Comics, 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 Luthor. Lori became friends with Superboy who was attracted to Lori's petty crimes when trying to take care of her mother. Both were shocked to find Lex Luthor on Lori's doorstep, intent on taking control of Superboy again and claiming he can cure Lena's condition.[7] 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.[8]

In 2011, "The New 52" rebooted the DC universe. Lena Luthor is paralyzed 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 paralyzed. 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.

In 2016, DC Comics implemented another relaunch of its books called "DC Rebirth" which restored its continuity to a form much as it was prior to "The New 52". A desperate Lex tried to use Doctor Omen's Super-Man technology to cure Lena only for it to make her more paralyzed and give her a higher intellect as well as developing a psychic link to her Mother Box. What Lex didn't know yet is that Lena Luthor created a bunch of binary clones of herself and Superwoman of Earth-3 with one of them becoming Bizarress. Lena later proceeded to use the Mother Box's power to merge with one of Lex Luthor's exo-armors to gain mobility. The Lana Lang version of Superwoman defeated Lena and returned her to LexCorp. Lex locked up Lena as he vowed to find a way to help his sister.[9]

Second Lena Luthor

Lena Luthor (infant version), as seen in Action Comics #763 (March 2000).
Lena Luthor (Brainiac-Teen version), as seen The Adventures of Superman #595 (October 2001).

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 of the same name 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.[10] Even after Brainiac leaves Lena's body, Luthor trades her to Brainiac 13 for control of the future technology that has transformed Metropolis.[11]

Lena returns to visit Lex Luthor during the Our Worlds at War crossover, where she has apparently been aged to adolescence by Brainiac 13.[12][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.[14] 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.[15]

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 returned in Superman #850 visiting Lex in Stryker's Island Penitentiary with her grandmother, Leticia Luthor.

Other versions

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 (whom 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 Bizarro versions of themselves by Superiorgirl). Lena begins to question her hatred when confronted by the manipulations of reality by Mister Mxyzptlk and by Supergirl's willingness to save all of reality from the fifth 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.

Lena Luthor (Earth-9)

A variation of the character appears in Tangent Comics: Wonder Woman #1 (September, 1998). Lena Thorul was an Element Girl scientist who saw the inevitable futility of the gender war between the Element Girl and Beast Boy Gothamites, in which she felt the Gothamites had lost touch with each other and with their true potential. That they were stronger as a race when the two sexes truly comprehend each other. Thorul sought to create a symbol of what the Gothamites could be if they were united as a people, through the use of outlawed technology, she successfully created a unique and powerful female Gothamite with the attributes of both the Element Girls and Beast Boys which she named her as Wanda. Upon revealing Wanda to the Gothamites as a symbol of unity, however, this was greeted with revulsion from the Gothamites who ironically agreed together that Wanda was an abomination and Thorul was immediately killed for creating her.

In other media


Live action

Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer (Lutessa Lena Luthor) in Smallville.
Tess Mercer debuted on Smallville's Season 8 premiere as Lex Luthor's protégé, who took over LuthorCorp as the acting CEO after Lex's disappearance. The final season of Smallville reveals that Tess Mercer is born Lutessa Lena Luthor as the illegitimate daughter of Lionel Luthor with Lex's nanny Pamela Jenkins (who had appeared in the season 1 episode "Crush"). Lionel left Lutessa at Granny Goodness's orphanage where Granny's powers were used to suppress Lutessa's memories of her true identity, and she was eventually adopted by the Mercer family in 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.[16] In the series finale, Tess discovers from the fully revived Lex Luthor that he knew they are half-siblings all along. When Lex mortally stabs her (claiming it will save her from "turning into me"), Tess poisons Lex with a neurotoxin that erases all his memories, telling her brother as she dies that Clark Kent had already saved her from that dark fate.
After the television series' ten-season run ended in 2012, Smallville was continued through a comic book series named Season Eleven, written by Bryan Q. Miller, who also wrote for the show. The story sets six months after the television series finale, and Lutessa Luthor's death is ruled a suicide. However, Lex Luthor apparently has a ghostly encounter with her at a street corner of Metropolis.[17] 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.[18] Her friends eventually discover what happened, and extract her memories from Lex's mind and upload it to the Watchtower's computer as an AI until they can clone a new body for her.[19] Tess's consciousness is eventually transferred into a new robotic form capable of flight and air manipulation, and she becomes the new Red Tornado and a member of the Justice League.[20][21]
Katie McGrath at Comic Con France 2010.



The second version of Lena Luthor appears in the second Robot Chicken DC Comics Special Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, voiced by Sarah Hyland. 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.


  1. ^ Wells, John (2015). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1960-64. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-1605490458.
  2. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  3. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 438–439. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  4. ^ Superman Family #212-#214 (November 1981-January 1982). DC Comics.
  5. ^ Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3 (April 2009). DC Comics.
  6. ^ Superman: Secret Origin #1. DC Comics.
  7. ^ Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #5 (February 2010)
  8. ^ Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #6 (March 2010). DC Comics.
  9. ^ Superwoman #2-8. DC Comics.
  10. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #154 (March 2000)
  11. ^ Action Comics #763 (March 2000). DC Comics.
  12. ^ Superman Y2K #1. DC Comics.
  13. ^ Action Comics #763. DC Comics.
  14. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #117. DC Comics.
  15. ^ Adventure Comics #782. DC Comics.
  16. ^ Drew Landis, Julia Swift (writers) & Kevin Fair (director) (November 12, 2010). "Abandoned". Smallville. Season 10. Episode 8. The CW.
  17. ^ Smallville Season 11 #1 (April 2012)
  18. ^ Smallville Season 11 #3 (July 2012)
  19. ^ Smallville Season 11 #12 (May 2013)
  20. ^ Smallville Season 11: Continuity #3 (April 2015)
  21. ^ Smallville Season 11: Continuity #4 (May 2015)
  22. ^ a b Ausiello, Michael (4 August 2016). "Supergirl Lands Merlin's Katie McGrath as Lex's Sister Lena Luthor". TVLine. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  23. ^ Saclao, Christian (12 September 2016). "'Supergirl' Season 2 Spoilers: CW Releases First Official Photos Of Katie McGrath As Lena Luthor". ibtimes.com. IBT Media Inc. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (22 March 2017). "'Supergirl': Katie McGrath Promoted To Series Regular For Season 3". Deadline. Retrieved 22 March 2017.