Why Doesn't Lex Luthor Learn Magic?

Something I’ve been wondering about lately. Magic exists in the DC Universe. Luthor has seen proof of this first hand, multiple times - which also shows that magic isn’t particularly rare. Learning magic doesn’t take any special powers. Anyone can do it, provided they’re resourceful enough to find a teacher or a magic tome to learn from, and that they’re smart enough to understand it. Luthor’s a super-genius with an effectively bottomless bank account. Magic can make someone powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with the strongest capes on Earth. Which is something that Luthor does fortnightly, mostly against Superman. And this is the biggie: magic is one of the few things in the universe that presents a definite threat to the Man of Steel: aside from things like hypnotism and mind control, magic weapons can overcome his invulnerability. Forget scrounging up incredibly rare space rocks, all Luthor needs to do is to shiv the big blue boyscout with a dagger +1.

So, why has Luthor never dropped the cash to pick up a copy of the Necronomicon and learned how to blast mystic fire out of his hands?

This is not clear to me at all. In fact, the DC comics universe has a homo magi race.

I believe that magic is either innate or that a person has to find a magical relic.

Two examples:

Zatanna can use magic because her father married a Homo Magi.

The Helm of Fate grants the person Fate’s powers.

Don’t have my comics here, and it would take a lot of going through, but IIRC, Luthor doesn’t believe there IS such a thing as magic (or didn’t before the last reboot). He thinks it’s all done with mirrors, mind control or futuristic technology.

Because magic is opposite science in a fairly traditional magic/science trope kind of way, and so he hates it.

Luthor’s entire hate-on for Superman (besides his ego) is that Superman’s an alien whose very existence diminishes the accomplishments of humanity. I can easily see someone like him consider magic as an extra-human power (after all, it can be wielded by any race), as opposed to the wonders of the uniquely human mind.

Besides, he’d probably think that having to ADD to what he already knows to beat Superman would be a defeat for him.

To whatever extent he believes in magic, I don’t think he trusts it. Given the variety in both power and type of magical manifestations in the DC Universe, it’s difficult stuff to quantify and rely on, and his paranoid tendencies are likely to lead him to think (often correctly) that there’s a catch to any offer to teach him.

He did resort to magic in the DCAU, though not by learning it himself. He relied on Tala’s sorcery in the midst of his Brainiac obsession. He didn’t recruit Tala himself, however, and probably wouldn’t have, given the contempt he expressed toward her. (On the whole, that would likely have been better for nearly everyone.)

Wasn’t Zatanna’s father also a powerful wizard, though? Where’d his power come from? What about people like John Constantine, or Felix Faust?

Science is hardly a uniquely human thing, and that’s Luthor’s whole deal. And he’s routinely discovering new technology and scientific principles to help him defeat Superman without feeling like that’s a “cheat.”

Yeah, but his megalomania is going to lead him to think that he’d be able to identify and circumvent any potential catch that might crop up in his training. And as a scientist, you’d think his first reaction to a new and unquantified field of study would be to dive in and start quantifying the living fuck out of it.

I was watching that episode last night. It’s what prompted this thread. :wink:

He was a magician, just not as powerful as his wife. I want to say he was less powerful than Zatanna, but I’m not sure.

Constantine has innate ability, which would explain why he’s more attuned to occult stuff.

Faust took the name after he took over the body of a random guy in the Golden Age. Basically the same way Fate takes on hosts, except Faust doesn’t separate.

The idea that a person has to believe in magic is also a part of it.

I imagine Luthor does, but as was mentioned before, he doesn’t really ‘believe’ in it.

I think he’s along the lines of Mr. Terrific though; that ‘magic’ has an explanation in science.

That explains why he doesn’t/can’t use it.

I think.

Because then instead of Superman he’d be dealing with John Constantine. Which one would you rather have as an enemy?

All of the Zataras are at least part Homo magi - John’s wife was a full-blooded H. magi, but he himself was descended from them.

However, there are plenty of magic users in the DCU who simply learn magic.

Partial list:
John Constantine
Mantou Raven and Mantou Dawn
Blackbriar Thorn
Doctor Occult
White Witch
Mr E

Other origins for inborn powers, just for the fun of it:
Being Lords of Order or Chaos
Atlantian blood
Faerie blood
Demon blood
Being born on Gemworld
Being born on Sorcerer’s World (the same place, by some retcons)
Being born in Witch-World

Why doesn’t Captain America get a supersuit?

Same reason

Because then he’d be Iron Man, and we already have two?

Holy crap!

Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard actually exist!

Zatara could do anything he wanted with his magic as long as he could say the magic words.

Em eveileb lliw uoy.

The DC world is populated by nitwits. I’ll bet I can kill Clark Kent if I could get hold of a quantity of kryptonite.

And just what makes you think you’d do better than Titano, Metallo, the Kryptonite Kid, Luthor, Dr. Alchemy, or all the other guys who tried it? Bottom line: by now, he expects to get hit with Green K.

Huh. I think you’re right for some reason.

Not if he still does that thing where he blocks bullets with his chest, he doesn’t.

Okay, so, full geek mode: you aren’t considering he has super-senses and superspeed. He’s gonna know the kryptonite’s coming before it has a chance to affect him. Then he’ll kick in his heat vision and melt it before it arrives. And yes, he’s done this so many times it’s become tiresome. There’s a reason the writers keep making Green K scarce. It’s no longer a believable threat.