Cary Bates, Alex Saviuk and Pablo Marcos bring a conclusion to the saga of Lex Luthor’s super-suit in Annual 12, which is also the final appearance of the pre-Crisis Luthor.
The story follows up on the last big Luthor storyline, ignoring the issue where he and Superman were much more chummy. Once again, the two are in vicious battle with each other.
The situation becomes more complicated when an alien energy form arrives on Earth. It penetrates the Fortress of Solitude, and enters Superman’s computer, accessing all the information it contains on Luthor.
The energy form then seeks out Luthor, and takes control of his super-suit, possessing it and flying away.
Luthor knows what the energy form is, and is forced to seek out Superman for help. He had built the suit using tech from the lost civilization on Lexor, and now we learn much more about those people. The suit had been partly constructed when Luthor came across it, and it was intended to eliminate all warring cultures. But the potential for destruction that the suit would have possessed caused the original builder to abandon it. Luthor had over-ridden the basic programming, but his use of the suit has caused the energy form to activate, and to bring the suit’s original intent back. Unless Superman and Luthor can stop it, the suit will destroy the Earth.
Superman believes Lex, and the two work together to stop the super-suit.
Superman is able to distract the suit, simply by battling it, until Luthor is able to find and use a fail-safe device that causes it to shut down, and destroy the energy form. Luthor then takes control of the suit again, intending to use it against Superman. But the hero was prepared for this, and doesn’t give Luthor the opportunity, bringing him back to prison.
Though Luthor does appear again, with the suit, almost immediately in the Heroes for Hunger one-shot, that story is out of continuity, and this is the true final appearance of the pre-Crisis Lex Luthor.