Now you may have heard the press on him, "LEX LUTHOR, AMERICA'S GREATEST SUPERVILLAIN?" and such, and while the whole thing is very flattering and has quite the ring to it, it's not really the whole story (it was, in fact, the title. A very well written piece. He has it in a scrapbook).
The truth of the matter is that Lex is not actually evil. A selfish, overachieving, power hungry, self-centered, megalomaniac? Well, yes. But really, that doesn't make him an inherently bad guy.
And as far as his occasional brushes with taking over Earth, you have to admit the place is in rather rotten condition. It would all be in much better shape if there was someone competentin charge. And be honest, who's more competent than Lex Luthor?
Still, power comes with its downfalls. Like enemies.
For instance, currently Lex finds himself dealing with one Dr. Horton. Now Dr. Horton used to work for Lex, right up until Lex found out he was pinching supplies for some useless side project.
Honestly, if he had known the man had investors lined up they might have been able to work something out.
Lex is just debating which of the twenty seven design flaws in Dr. Horton's "Death Machine" to exploit when he hears the cavalry arrive. His favorite Superman face is the one he makes when he has to save him. Almost enough to make him start jumping off buildings.
Except today he apparently gets the junior cavalry. How whelming.
It is the Martian who frees him from his restraints. "Thank you, my dear," he says. He grabs her hand and brings it up to his mouth for a chaste kiss. "I am in debt to you."
She blushes an interesting shade of orange and stammers out a reply. "You're welcome. We, we should get you out of the lab, where it's safe."
"Would that I could, I would leave this," he gestures around him taking in the guards and attack robots in one elegant swoop, "in the hands of you and your capable friends. But I fear that my former employee has arranged for a bio-chemical to be released in the next fifteen minutes, and I will be needed to disarm it."
The other children arrive, and without speaking - telepathy, of course - come to a decision. "Robin has found the location of the bio-chemical," says the tall Atlantean, Aqualad he identifies, "we shall accompany you to its location and insure that it is dismantled."
Oh, what a clever boy! To have them accompany him and yet say nothing of him being the one to handle the device. He smiles. "A wonderful plan."
Two minutes, and few walls later they arrive at the bio-chemical. A computer is hooked up to the distribution device showing its chemical makeup. "Dude! What did he do to the enzymes? They're totally unstable," says Kid Flash, as he looks over Robin's shoulder at the terminal.
"A misguided attempt at greatness. If all of my employees were as well versed as you seem to be then we would not be having this problem." The boy blushes, vibrant as only another redhead can manage (he's bald, not hairless, thank you).
Robin hooks up his wrist computer, frowns at the realization that he won't be able to hack the system in time, and steps to the side. "I'm going to be monitoring for any subroutines glitches while you shut it down."
"Of course." He smiles genuinely. "I must say, you all doing a superb job tonight. I'm quite impressed."
This time it's the clone, Superboy, that squirms at his praise. Dear Lord, what is the League doing to these children. People as good at what they do as they are are supposed to gloat, not go around with this humble nonsense, and blush whenever he states a fact.
He finishes, and Robin's wrist computer beeps. "All good. Starting to feel the aster," Robin grins.
Aster. He likes it. It's positively asterous.
They escort him out of the building, and he calls his driver to come pick him up. Just before he leaves the archer girl corners him. "Whatever it is you're up to," she says, "you better not hurt my friends." She holds one of her arrows, examining the tip and meets his eyes. He nods, as serious as he can be. He recognizes the look of someone who won't let the rules get in the way of what they find necessary. If he doesn't encourage such a thing in the girl, who will?
He begins his research as soon as he's home. "Mercy," he begins, "I'm afraid I might like children."
She raises an eyebrow at him, but otherwise makes no response.
"I know, dreadful isn't it."
He finds out all he can about the children, and decides that they need to be rewarded. It's bad business for them to never expect anything for their services, and as he had told the Martian, M'gann, he is in their debt. A Luthor always pays his debts.
The Atlantean boy, Kaldur'ahm, is the easiest to find a gift for. In one of his estates he has an ancient Atlantean spear, the legendary spear of some great hero or another from Atlantis. He receives a formal letter of thanks, and every appearance of Aqualad for the next month has him carrying the spear.
For Robin, Dick Grayson(and how does that not surprise him, hm Bruce?), he writes out instructions on some of the more advanced computer coding. He gets a virus the next week on his computer with chirping birds. It takes him an afternoon to fix, and gives him a strange sense of pride. The boy has some potential.
M'gann he gives a wonderfully set orange topaz pendent, the same shade as her quite fetching blush, and a note that should some young man or lady ever capture her heart he should be informed. Threats are so much more believable when they come from a villain rather than a hero after all. She stops by one day to thank him. He keeps her for a cup of tea, and they chat up on Lex's favorite daytime drama.
Kid Flash, Wally West, receives a hand held mass spectrometer. In an unforeseen turn of events the boy runs into his office the day it's received spouts out a tirade of noise gushing about the device and, confirmed upon slowing down the security footage, gives him a hug. It's…interesting.
Artemis Crocks' gift is of the more subtle type. Her father will be leaving her to make whatever decisions she wishes. Though she finds out she sends him no thanks. They have an understanding.
It is Superboy, who he finds out is only Superboy, whose gift he spends the most time on. Hours of research for just the right one. Finally he sends him his gift with instructions to show it to the Man of Steel. The name Conner Kent.
The boy manages to tell Superman in sight of a surveillance camera, and the reaction is thanks enough.
Still there's more work to be done. He found some troubling things while doing his research.
"Mercy, I want you to find everything you can about this Light organization." He's not going to let anything happen to the only heroes he can actually stand.