After over thirty years without any sort of costume, Lex Luthor finally adopts an outfit, which allows him to fly, in Superman 282 (Dec. 74).
Maggin, Swan and Schaffenberger open the story in a curious way, as Clark Kent bursts into Perry White’s office, demanding a job on the Daily Planet. Perry notices that Clark looks much younger than normal, and assumes that being on television has somehow warped his mind (and made him look younger?)
When he goes into action as Superman, his behaviour is rash and even dangerous, all to Luthor’s delight. He has caused Superman to become younger, operating on the idea that an adult Luthor will be able to defeat a young and inexperienced Superman.
Luthor also adopts a costume in this issue, the earliest incarnation of his “super-suit.” This one is realtively basic compared to later versions. He has jets on his boots, allowing him to fly, an a variety of canisters containing whatever evil inventions he wants to put in them, essentially his version of Batman’s utility belt.
The plan works perfectly – until it doesn’t. Lex increases Superman’s mass, sending him straight down into the centre of the Earth, but Superman drags Luthor along with him. In order to save himself, Luthor has to undo his “youthening” of Superman. An adult Superman can figure his way out of the trap, but also is more than capable of taking Luthor down.
The Fabulous World of Krypton story in this issue has Superman telling Supergirl a Kryptonian legend about a scientist named Nam-Ek, and the legendary rondor, in a tale by Marty Pasko and Ernie Chan.
The rondor was a repulsive and smelly creature on Krypton, but its horn was capable of curing all illness. The creatures were protected by law, but Nam-Ek kills one anyway, and extracts an immortality serum from its horn. Unfortunately, the serum turns him into a sort of human rondor.
Because of the immortality, Nam-Ek winds up surviving the destruction of Krypton, only to be stuck floating eternally in space. Or so the story would have it.
Although likely not intended at the time the story was written, Nam-Ek will return in a couple of years to face Superman.