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Superman & Lex Luthor Secretly Represent Nature vs Nurture in DC Lore

A forceful statement from Superman captures the essence of his brutal conflict with Lex Luthor: their rivalry is the story of nature versus nurture.

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It seems that Superman Y by Lex Luthor dynamic in the DCU it’s a little deeper than his fans may have thought. A private thought from Clark Kent regarding his arch nemesis reveals how the two are the living embodiment of the nature vs. nurture debate.


They say a hero is only as good as his villain, and when it comes to Superman, no foe has pushed Clark more than Lex Luthor. As good and selfless as Superman is, Lex is just as amoral and egotistical. Clark and Lex’s relationship spans decades, beginning in the town of Smallville. But despite growing up in the same place, they didn’t have the same formative experiences, as Clark had the loving Ma and Pa Kent to raise him, while Lex’s dad wasn’t as warm or kind. Over the years, both men seemed to reflect the values ​​with which they were raised.

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Related: Lex Luthor’s Version of Superboy Is Way More Evil Than Superman’s

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Which led to Superboy asking a question that many Superman fans may have asked at one point or another. In Adventure Comics #1 by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul, a recently resurrected Superboy moves to Smallville to find himself. Before returning as Superboy, Conner Kent wants to understand the two men he was cloned from in order to better understand himself. Getting a perspective on Superman is easy, as he just goes back to Ma Kent and starts doing the same things Superman did when he was a young hero. But learning about Lex turns out to be tricky. Conner investigates the old Luthor family home and Clark is there waiting to talk to the half-clone. Superboy asks Superman if Lex could have turned out better if he had parents like the Kents, to which Superman seriously doubts.

Superboy is not wrong about the positive influence Superman’s parents had on him. In worlds without being raised by the kind couple, the hero found himself closer to the dark side, as seen in stories like Superman: Red Son either Flash point. However, while Clark has most often been portrayed as the product of his upbringing, Lex Luthor has almost always been shown to be a sociopath regardless of his personal history. When everything else is removed, Superman vs. Lex Luthor is ultimately a story of nature versus nurture.

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Anyone could have found Baby Kal-El’s rocket, and several stories have explored that kind of concept. From the US government to galactic dictators, how adult Superman is has always depended on who found him when he was a baby. Lex Luthor has not received What Many Elseworlds-Style tales, but from those who have appeared, those who alter his past still portray him as the scheming genius who believes himself better than the rest of humanity. Clark is not wrong about that. lex luthor would become a villain no matter what, but for Supermanabsolutely needed the Kents to grow up to become the DC Universe number one hero

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