How Evil Is New 52 Lex Luthor

I read virtually no issues of New 52 Superman, but I’m quite enjoying Jurgens run in Action Comics. I’m currently reading the Men of Steel story line. In these comics Lex is trying to take the mantle of a Superman and playing the part of a superhero yet everybody is super cynical since…you know, he’s Lex Luthor.

Here’s my question. How bad was Lex in the New 52 era? I knew he was kind of playing the part of an anti-hero in Forever Evil and the era immediately thereafter when he joined the Justice League, but I assumed he eventually went all cackling super villain. Has he been in this anti-hero role the entire time and did he do anything particularly unforgivable prior to his Forever Evil reform?

Please no spoilers for the Rebirth era. I don’t want to know if his super suit turns out to be powered by the misery of orphans and the skinning of kittens.

Lex was somewhere between an anti-hero and a straight up villain. As you noted, his most prominent role was Forever Evil, which you can read if you want to get an idea of his N52 character. It’s not fully diabolical (Byrne Man of Steel Lex) or anti-hero (Jurgens Action Comics Lex).

Thus far, I really enjoy Jurgens take. Hard to imagine it will last too long, but the frienemies vibe works between Lex and Supes.

Of course they just became buds at the end of Man Of Steel so that means drama can’t be far away.

With regards to Forever Evil, he really put his foot down when it came to dealing with Atomica.

Boom. Well done. You earned a baldy.

So was Lex actively trying to kill Supes at any point in the New 52 or take over the world or murder people for personal gain? Any of his usual shenanigans?

I saw him as more of an Anti-Hero than an evil villain