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Ardora and Luthor

Ardora of Lexor

The lovely young woman with reddish-brown hair—a native of the planet Lexor—who becomes the girlfriend of Lex Luthor (S No. 168, Apr 1964: pts. I-II—"Luthor--Super-Hero!"; "Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor!") and later his wife (Act No. 318, Nov 1964: "The Death of Luthor!"), and the mother of his son, Lex Luthor, Jr. (Act No. 544/1, Jun 1983: "Luthor Unleashed"). In one text she is mistakenly referred to as Tharla (S No. 167, Feb 1964: "The Team of Luthor and Brainiac!" pts. I-III—"The Deadly Duo!"; "The Downfall of Superman!"; "The Hour of Kandor's Vengeance!"). Like everyone on the planet Lexor, Ardora adores and idolizes Luthor.

Ardora first meets Luthor in February 1964, when he returns to Lexor—for the first time in four months—in the company of the space villain Brainiac, with whom he has formed a temporary alliance. As Luthor and Brainiac land on Lexor, "the one world in the universe where [Luthor is] considered a hero," a large throng turns out to greet them and a lovely brunette in a gold dress and matching tiara rushes up to Luthor and throws her arms around his neck. "...[L]ike everyone here, I idolize you," she exclaims, "Couldn't you stay with us?"

For a moment, Luthor is tempted. "This girl," he mused silently, "...she thinks I'm fine, good..." Then, remembering his pact with Brainiac to destroy Superman, he replies, "No...I can't stay!"

Ardora leans over and kisses Luthor gently on the cheek. "She likes me for myself!" thinks Luthor. "Maybe...someday...I'll return here!"

Later, after the scheme to annihilate Superman has ended in failure, Luthor does return to Lexor, and Ardora rushes out to greet him, crying, "Luthor, our great hero, has returned!" (S No. 167: "The Team of Luthor and Brainiac!" pts. I-III—"The Deadly Duo!"; "The Downfall of Superman!"; "The Hour of Kandor's Vengeance!").

By April 1964, Ardora has become Luthor's constant companion on the planet Lexor. The texts refer to her as "the girl who loves Luthor," and it is apparent that Luthor loves her also. His reason for adopting the alternate identity of the Defender, in fact, is to prevent his enemies from striking back at him "by holding Ardora hostage!" When Superman, whom the Lexorians regard as "the greatest villain in the universe," arrives on the planet and attempts to hide in the Luthor Museum, it is Ardora who discovers him there and runs screaming from the building to spread the alarm (S No. 168: pts. I-II—"Luthor--Super-Hero!"; "Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor!").

In November 1964, Luthor escapes from prison on Earth and returns to Lexor, riding through the capital city with Ardora by his side as the populace accords him "a hero's welcome." The following day the couple are married in a solemn ritual performed "according to the ancient nuptial ceremonies of Lexor" and settle down to enjoy their wedded bliss "in the palace a grateful people have built for their hero...." When Superman arrives on Lexor in search of Luthor, and Luthor is apparently accidentally killed in the ensuing battle, it is only Ardora's frantic pleas—"Even the evil Superman should have a legal trial!..." she cries—which prevents an angry Lexorian mob from lynching Superman on the spot, or from leaving him to perish in Lexor's perilous Living Lake, in which the Man of Steel has unwittingly taken refuge (Act No. 318: "The Death of Luthor").

When Superman is brought to trial on Lexor for the "murder" of Luthor, Ardora takes the witness stand to testify against him. However, when Luthor turns out not to have died at all, but merely to be in a "deathlike trance" induced by a "coma drug," Superman is pronounced not guilty and ordered banished from Lexor.

"There goes Superman back to Earth," remarks Luthor, his arm around Ardora, as they watch the Man of Steel rocket away from Lexor, "...he got the worst of it this time! But he'll never give up the struggle against me!"

"Don't think of him, dear!" replies Ardora fondly, "I only want to think of the wonderful fact that hero and Lexor's hero—are still with us!" (Act No. 319, Dec 1964: "The Condemned Superman!"). (TGSB)

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