When he first appeared, Luthor had a full head of red hair, but later became hairless due to an artist’s mistake. It was later explained in a 1960 story by Jerry Siegel, where it was revealed that Luthor was a childhood friend of Superboy (who later became Superman) because he spent many of his teen years living in Smallville with his Aunt Lena. Lex lost his hair when Superboy accidentally destroyed his laboratory, which is what initially lead to his extreme hatred for the hero.
Luthor was effectively re-invented in the Silver Age of comics. In this new continuity, Luthor grew up in the suburbs of Smallville, Kansas on a farm with his family. Although he was raised by his family to be a farmer, Luthor’s dream was to become the world’s greatest scientist. As a teenager he was a huge fan of Superboy, the local superhero of Smallville; even going as far as to build a shrine to the hero. One day Luthor saw Superboy’s seemingly limp body near a large green rock while out plowing a field. He immediately used his tractor to move the rock away from Superboy, who was eternally grateful. Superboy returned to Lex’s workshop with him so he could thank him for saving his life. Upon arrival he discovered the shrine Luthor had built in his honor, and was so touched that he constructed a brand new high tech laboratory for Luthor to use.
Lex Luthor was again reinvented for the Modern Age of comics. This time around Lex was raised by parents who realized that he was a veritable genius at an early age. They supported him in his endeavors knowing that he could make them incredibly wealthy, but in the process they destroyed his soul and created the sociopath that comic book fans know today. Lex spent the majority of his younger years searching for extraterrestrial life and eventually ended up in Smallville, Kansas around age 18; where he befriended a young man named Clark Kent (who is actually Superman, unbeknownst to Luthor). An accidental fire destroyed Lex’s lab and all of his experiments went up in flames, but Lex refused to accept that any of it was his own fault. He grew to hate Smallville and blames it for his early failures; although he now denies having ever set foot in Smallville to begin with.
For years Luthor tried to destroy Superman. He spent the better part of his life committed to killing the Man of Steel; but little did he know that he was in turn actually killing himself. After years of constant contact with Kryptonite (Superman’s one weakness), Lex discovered that he now had Cancer from overexposure to radiation. Luthor had to have his hand removed after wearing a ring made of Kryptonite for too long, and soon after his condition only worsened. Luthor eventually faked his own death and had his brain transferred into a perfectly healthy clone body. He set up a new identity for himself as his own heir, taking on the name Lex Luthor II. To differentiate himself from his past, he grew a full beard and long red hair and adapted to speaking with an Australian accent. He used this new identity to trick the world into thinking that he was nothing like his ‘father’ and could never be capable of the crimes associated with him.
With his name cleared of all criminal charges, Luthor decided to make his next move by turning to politics. Luthor became the President of the United States after using the unpopularity of his predecessors against them and promoting technological progress. Millionaire Bruce Wayne severed all commercial ties between the U.S. Government and his company, Wayne Enterprises, as a form of protest against Luthor winning the election. Subsequently, Luthor responded by having Wayne’s girlfriend murdered and having Wayne framed for the whole thing (as seen in the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive storyline)
In the DC Comics’ event Infinite Crisis, Alexander Luthor Jr. (the son of Earth-Three’s Luthor) made his return to the DC Universe alongside the other survivors of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Alexander planned on creating the perfect Earth under the pretense of restoring Earth-Two. Alexander secretly replaced Lex and started up a new Secret Society of Super Villains while the real Luthor took up the mantle of Mockingbird and formed a new iteration of the Secret Six to counter Alexander’s next move. Luthor eventually confronts his imposter but is stopped by Superboy-Prime. At the end of the Infinite Crisis event, Lex Luthor personally oversees Alexander Luthor’s execution by the Joker, who had been upset with Alexander for not including him in his Secret Society.
During the Final Crisis event, Luthor is seen in the inner circle of the Secret Society of Supervillains. Libra gives Luthor the option to either swear allegiance to Darkseid or to become a mindless slave; with Luthor settling with the former. It is later revealed that Lex is actually a mole inside the Secret Society, and alongside Doctor Sivana he destroys Libra and overturns the Anti-Life Equation that was being broadcast into the Justifier’s helmets; effectively saving the day.
When the Black Lantern’s invade earth in during the Blackest Night event, Ganthet caused each power ring to replicate itself to find temporary recruits to each Lantern Corps. Of the Emotional Spectrum. The ring belonging to Orange Lantern Larfleeze, who is powered by Greed and Avarice, replicated itself and selected Lex Luthor as its candidate ring-bearer. Luthor proves to be an excellent fighter and wields his Orange power ring quite proficiently, with his lust for power and greed allowing him to control his ring with ease. He attempts to steal the Orange Power Battery from Larfleeze, but is stopped by Wonder Woman and her Lasso of Truth. While still under the influence of the Lasso, Luthor admits his deepest secret- he has always wanted to be Superman.
It’s safe to say that Luthor lives well into old age, as he is still alive in the world of Batman Beyond. It takes the combined efforts of Batman (Terry McGinnis) and Superman to defeat him and send him to the Phantom Zone; which will assumedly be Luthor’s eternal resting place… or will it?
Lex Luthor does not actually have any powers outside of his genius level intelligence and a vast fortune with which to fund various technologies and experiments.