Quote1 One of the most important things that Lex taught me is you can't afford to live in the past Quote2
-- Tess Mercer src

Early Life

Born Lutessa Lena Luthor, Tess was the result of an affair between Lionel Luthor and his son's nanny, Pamela Jenkins. After a few years, Tess was sent to St. Louise's Orphanage, by Lionel. What Lionel didn't realize was that the orphanage was run by Granny Goodness, a prophet of Darkseid, who used the orphanage to train an army for service to her lord. Granny Goodness had planned to train Tess to become the leader of the Female Furies, but when the girl was five years old, Lionel arranged for Tess to be adopted by the Mercer family in Louisiana. Before Tess left, Granny Goodness erased all the girl's memories of her time at the orphanage, to protecting the secrets of St. Louise's Orphanage.[1]

Now named "Tess Mercer", Tess grew up in a swamp house.[2] Her childhood was an unhappy one, as her adoptive father was an alcoholic and would frequently beat the young girl.[3] Despite these hardships, Tess managed to get into Harvard University at 15 and graduated at 17.[2] Around this time, Tess went on a trip with her friend, Megan, to the South Pacific. The two girls found themselves kidnapped and taken to a deserted island, where Tess encountered and saved the life of a poisoned Oliver Queen. The kidnappers murdered Megan, but Tess managed to escape together with Oliver.[4]

Some years later, Tess was employed by LuthorCorp. Shortly afterwards, she was recruited by Checkmate, who wanted to keep an eye on Lex Luthor.[5] Lex would later save her life, which made Tess devoted to him. What she didn't realize was that Lex, under her recovery, had a nano-transmitter implanted in her eyes (allowing him to see anything she saw).[6] Shortly before his disappearance in 2008, Lex manipulated Tess into kidnapping Lana Lang. She believed Lex when he told her that it was for Lana's own safety and that she needed to be protected from Lana's boyfriend, Clark Kent.[7]

Season Eight

A month after the disappearance of Lex Luthor, Tess assumed control over LuthorCorp and moved into the Luthor Mansion in Smallville. She faced many questions. Not only about the disappearance of Lex, but about the mysterious Crystal and Orb, that had been recovered from the Arctic Circle.[2] A short time later, she encountered the man that had killed Megan. Wanting revenge, she poisoned him and let him die.[4]

The Crystal in her possession was later taken by an unknown person.[8] Unsuccessfully, Tess tried to find and recover it.[9]

Tess remained devoted to Lex and continued searching for him, until Lana Lang revealed the truth to her about the nano-transmitter in her eyes. Angered, Tess arranged for the transmitter to be shut off and had Lex declared legally dead. She also engaged in a corporate merger between LuthorCorp and Queen Industries.[6]

Tess became increasingly suspicious about Clark Kent. Being the caretaker of Lex's belongings, she managed to conclude that the young Mr. Kent was an alien with super powers. To prove this theory, she arranged a test, where Clark was forced to use his powers to save them both from crashing onboard the LuthorCorp private jet.[3]

Thanks to notes given to her by Henry James Olsen,[3] Tess also managed to uncover that Davis Bloome, who was secretly a serial killer, was the Kryptonian monster known as Doomsday.[10]

After Davis fled Metropolis, together with Chloe Sullivan, Tess began putting his face on the front page of the Daily Planet. Wanting to take care of the threat, posed by Doomsday, she sent out a team of meteor freaks, that she had been recruiting members for during the past few months. Unfortunately, some of them died and the remaining members turned on her. Thankfully, she was rescued by Clark and the Green Arrow.[11]

Around this time, she had begun to hear a voice coming from inside the Orb, that LuthorCorp had recovered from the Arctic.[11] Shortly after the defeat of Doomsday, Tess saw a clone of General Zod emerge from the Orb.[12]

Season Nine

For the next three weeks, Tess was held as a captive in the Luthor Mansion by the Zod and the Kryptonian clones. She was subjected to harsh treatment and interrogated by the clones. After those three weeks, the clones vanished from the mansion.[13] Tess began searching for them and soon discovered that the clones had turned John Corben into a cyborg. After Corben had been defeated by Clark, Tess had her scientists take Corben's body and study it.[14] She later made a deal with Winslow Schott, to repair Corben's power source.[15]

While all of this went on, she also had to bring Oliver Queen back from the bender he was on in Mexico, so he could attend a shareholder's meeting in Metropolis.[15]

Eventually, the clone of Zod returned to the Luthor Mansion as a business partner for a LuthorCorp project to create a Solar Tower in Metropolis. Being an environmentalist, who was certain that humanity was dooming the planet, Tess began to hope that Zod and the Kryptonians would save Earth.[16] However, while she'd begin to ally herself with the Kryptonian clones, she couldn't bring herself to do what Zod wanted and deliver the "Blur" (Clark) to him. Instead, she got her hands on the clone of Jor-El (who had been created with the other clones) and convinced the clone to pretend to be the Blur, thus protecting Clark.[17]

Tess' allegiance to Zod was short-lived. Using technology from the Summerholt Neurological Institute, Tess managed to see the future that Lois Lane had visited, during the three weeks that Lois had been missing. What Tess saw was an apocalyptic future, where the Kryptonians enslaved humanity and Tess herself ended up getting killed by Chloe Sullivan.[18]

Around this time, Tess also found herself reactivated by Checkmate and tasked with bringing in the Green Arrow. However, between her failure to bring in the Green Arrow and giving away the location of Checkmate's headquarters to Clark, Tess soon found herself forced to go underground or running the risk of being killed by Checkmate.[5] Tess would ultimately be able to escape her fate through aid from Chloe, who took out a transmitter inside of Tess, that Checkmate was tracking and by Zod attacking Checkmate's headquarter. Seemingly killing Amanda Waller and putting an end to Checkmate.[19]

However, Tess wasn't entirely out of the woods. She found herself confronted by the Red Queen, who forced Tess to surrender the Book of Rao (a device able to send the Kryptonians to another planet).[20]

Looking for redemption for everything that she had done, Tess went to the Fortress of Solitude and tried to confront Zod. Tess failed to bring him down with Kryptonite and was fatally wounded by Zod, who burned her with his heat vision. However, before she could die, she was found by Clark and brought to a hospital. She told Clark how he could get rid of the Kryptonians. After he left, Tess suffered an attack and died from her injuries.[21]

This should've been the end of Tess Mercer, but her body was stolen by Granny Goodness from the hospital.[21]

Season Ten

A few hours after her apparent death, Tess awoke at Cadmus Labs and found that her burns had been completely healed, thanks to skin grafts from clones of Lex Luthor. At Cadmus, she came across LX-15 and accidently released the bad LX-3. LX-3 burned Cadmus, killing most of the clones and left Tess tied up, for Clark to find. After she was released she found LX-15 again and, secretly, took him back with her to the Luthor Mansion.[22]

Tess returned to her old life, but soon found it changed. With the recent disappearance of Chloe, Tess eventually found herself recruited to the team, as the new Watchtower. At the same time, she attempted to be a maternal figure to "Alexander" (LX-15). Tess hoped that she would be able to save him from becoming like Lex.[23]

However, she was fighting a losing battle. As Alexander rapidly aged, he manifested Lex Luthor's memories. At first, she had desired to save him from the clone's accelerated aging. But, by the time a cure was produced, she had realized that it was too late to save the boy and decided to let him grow old and die.[24]

In November, on the night of her birthday, Tess had a visit from Granny Goodness. Granny left a music box as a "birthday present" and used her powers to trigger some of the memories that she had erased from Tess, when she had left the orphanage. As a result, Tess began to have nightmares about her time under Granny's care. Aided by Clark, Tess traced the music box back to St. Louise's Orphanage and uncovered the truth that she really was Lutessa Lena Luthor.[1]

Tess Mercer's life would only get more complicated. Shortly afterwards, Alexander escaped from her care and Clark lashed out at her, for keeping him secret. Her recent discovery about her lineage became more traumatic, when Clark declared that Luthor blood is poison. Tess had never had a real family and was now risking losing the friendship she was forming with Clark and the others. However, Clark changed his attitude, after having visited Earth-2, where he had been raised by Lionel and was evil. After that experience, Clark assured Tess that she would will never be alone again.[25]

However, Clark's visit to Earth-2 had created a new problem. Lionel Luthor of Earth-2 and ended up on Earth-1 and took over Lionel's identity, taking LuthorCorp away from Tess. Earth-2 Lionel also recruited Alexander, to work alongside him. This ended up backfiring for Lionel, when Alexander burned down the Luthor Mansion and tried to kill Clark with Kryptonite bullets. Tess managed to talk Alexander out of it. However, fearing that Alexander could still pose a threat, Tess attempted to give him a lethal injection. Only for the needle to bend against his skin.[26]

Over the next few weeks, Tess began learning the truth about LX-15 (now called "Conner"). That half of the boy's DNA came from Clark. After all of Lex Luthor's memories had faded away after the clone's mind, as it was rebooting itself, and he was beginning to manifest Kryptonian powers, Tess felt it would be for the best for her to place Conner in Clark's care. Shortly after this, she managed to prove that the Earth-2 Lionel wasn't the real Lionel Luthor and reclaimed LuthorCorp.[27]

However, she hadn't seen the last of him. Just as Apokolips was approaching Earth, Tess found herself kidnapped by the Lionel of Earth-2 and taken to Cadmus Labs. He revealed to her, that the real Lex was still alive and needed a heart, so Lionel was going to use her heart. Tess managed to break free, before the operation. She shot Lionel and fled. When she made it back to LuthorCorp, she found herself confronted by Lex, who fatally stabbed her. However, with the last of her strength, Tess infected Lex with a neurotoxin, that would paralyze all cognitive recognition. This made it impossible for Lex to remember anything before this moment and keeping Clark's secret safe. Tess seemingly died in Lex's arms.[28] Officially, Tess Mercer had committed suicide.[29]

Season Eleven

Once more it seemed like the world had seen the last of Tess Mercer. However, Tess hadn't done much research into the neurotoxin, that she used on Lex. A side effect from the neurotoxin had caused the creation of a telepathic link between Tess and Lex. When her body had died, her consciousness had moved from her own body into Lex's brain.[30] Six months after her apparent death, her consciousness had grown strong enough, that she began appearing as a ghost in front of Lex.[31]

Her time inside of Lex's mind was a constant battle. Tess fought Lex, over control of their shared body, to alert her friends about her being trapped inside of Lex's brain.[32] Meanwhile, Lex fought her, to get her to reveal the identity of Superman.[33] Eventually, Tess managed to get a message to Lois.[33] Together with Clark and Oliver, Lois confronted Lex and managed to extract Tess' consciousness from his brain. After having recovered her, they uploaded her consciousness into the Watchtower computer system. Thanks to holographic projectors, Tess was able to project an image of herself inside of the building[34]

However, Tess' new state took some getting used to. Because of the earlier incident with Hank Henshaw, Emil Hamilton had to conduct a psychological evaluation of Tess. No longer considering herself human, she originally refrained from including clothes as part of her holographic image, as she felt clothes are for people. She also struggled with desires of getting revenge against her brother. After a conversation with Henshaw (the only person in the world, in a similar situation to her), Tess realized that she had been given a second chance at life and didn't want blood on her hands. Tess gave up on her desire to kill Lex and agreed to start wearing clothes again.[35]

However, there was still one step, that she would require several months more to take. Watchtower was upgraded with a 3D printer. One capable of constructing a new body for Tess. She wouldn't use it, out of fear that if she got a physical body once more, it meant that she could lose it again.[36] It wasn't until the battle against the Monitors, that Tess decided to create an android body for herself, so she could join the fight. The 3D printer finished her new body, just seconds before the Watchtower building was destroyed by a Monitor ship. Thanks to the powers, that her new body possessed, Tess managed to get both herself and the pregnant Chloe out of the building alive.[37]

Lutessa Luthor (Smallville) 003

Tess as she appeared in Season 11

After the battle against the Monitors, Tess became a member of the reformed version of the team, now called the "Justice League".[38]


While she was human, Tess was a normal human being with no superhuman capabilities. Upon having her mind transferred into a computer and then an android body, she gained new abilities.

  • Psychic Link: (formerly) During the last moments of her life as a human, Tess had developed a psychic link to her brother, Lex Luthor. This link ultimately allowed Tess to escape her own death.[30]


  • Genius Level Intellect[2][4]
  • Business Management: Lex Luthor would not hand over the reigns to his company to just anyone unless he felt they shared the same intellect, business savvy and take-charge approach to management as both his father and he. Tess Mercer has shown herself to be completely dedicated to preserving Lex Luthor's legacy and has labored to keep LuthorCorp a thriving, lucrative enterprise. She also shown equal commitment towards managing the Daily Planet and has become more involved than even Lex had been in the newspaper's day-to-day operations.
  • Marine Biology: Tess Mercer is an expert in the field of marine biology and pursued this as a career prior to assuming control of LuthorCorp.[4]
  • Diving[2]
  • Toxicology: Tess Mercer has a working knowledge in identifying and using known poisons. Her experiences in the South Pacific educated her as to the existence of a rare, poisonous herb.[4]
  • Kickboxing:[8] As a human, Tess kept herself in top form and maintained a regular exercise regime while also practicing kick-boxing techniques. She practiced kickboxing to release her stress and anger.
  • Computer Operation[23]
  • Computer Hacking[23]
  • The name "Tess Mercer" is derivative of two characters from the Superman franchise, both of whom have served as Lex Luthor's underlings: Mercy Graves and Eve Teschmacher.
  • According to Tess Mercer's birth certificate, her birthday is November 12th. The exact year is unknown, but the birth certificate gives the day as a monday.[1] Lex (born ca. 1980[39]) identified Tess as his younger sister.[28] She's also said to have graduated from college at 17[2] and was shown to have encountered Oliver Queen on the island, before he became the Green Arrow, while she was a college student.[4] This would make her older than Chloe (born 1987[40]). Factoring in that she was born on a monday, she most likely would've been born in 1984.
  • It's unknown if she assumed the codename "Red Tornado". She's never adressed by any name, while she's shown in public. In Smallville Season 11: Continuity #4, she uses the codename "Watchtower". However, the same scene uses "Boy Scout" as a codename for Clark, despite him having been known as "Superman" for over a year (and "the Blur" for a few years before that). Furthermore, she's communicating with Clark from the Watchtower outpost on the Moon. So, "Watchtower" might not refer to herself, but rather the outpost that she's calling from.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Abandoned
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Odyssey
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Turbulence
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Toxic
  5. 5.0 5.1 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Checkmate
  6. 6.0 6.1 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Bulletproof
  7. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Power
  8. 8.0 8.1 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Instinct
  9. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Identity
  10. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Eternal
  11. 11.0 11.1 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Injustice
  12. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Doomsday
  13. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Savior
  14. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Metallo
  15. 15.0 15.1 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Echo
  16. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Crossfire
  17. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Kandor
  18. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Pandora
  19. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Sacrifice
  20. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Hostage
  21. 21.0 21.1 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Salvation
  22. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Lazarus
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Isis
  24. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Harvest
  25. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Luthor
  26. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Beacon
  27. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Scion
  28. 28.0 28.1 Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Finale, Part II
  29. Smallville Season 11 #2
  30. 30.0 30.1 Smallville Season 11 #3
  31. Smallville Season 11 #1
  32. Smallville Season 11 #7
  33. 33.0 33.1 Smallville Season 11 #9
  34. Smallville Season 11 #12
  35. Smallville Season 11 Special #3
  36. Smallville Season 11: Continuity #1
  37. Smallville Season 11: Continuity #3
  38. Smallville Season 11: Continuity #4
  39. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Pilot
  40. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Crusade

Smallville logo
This character is exclusive to the continuity of the Smallville television series. This template will categorize articles that include it into Category: Smallville Characters.
Superman Villain(s)
DC Rebirth Logo

This character is or was primarily an enemy of Superman in any of his various incarnations, or members of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Villains category."

Checkmate 001
Checkmate Member
DC Rebirth Logo

This character was a member of the top secret government organization Checkmate. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Checkmate members" and "Government Agents" categories.

Daily Planet Batman Strikes 01
DC Rebirth Logo

Daily Planet Staff member
This character is or was an emplyee of the Daily Planet, a daily newspaper based in Metropolis. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Daily Planet Staff members" category.

Forever Evil Vol 1 3 Textless
DC Rebirth Logo

Injustice League member
This character is or was a member of the Injustice League, a villainous counterpart to the Justice League, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Injustice League members" category.

Superman Family 0001
DC Rebirth Logo

Superman Family member
This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Superman, and a member of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Family members" category.

Justice League 0002
Justice League member
DC Rebirth Logo

This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Justice League of America members" category.