You know, as much as I liked that story as a one-off, it struck me as increasingly silly that Luthor never followed up on it as years became decades.
I think Byrne did it for characterization purpose on Luthor. The man who is so hungry for power he is so blinded he can't imagine anyone wanting to be someone less powerful.
It became rubbish when the editors and writers forgot about this story when it was actually still canon. When Luthor became president, he found out about Clark being Superman. The previous story was never referenced, when it really should have been.
On the other hand, you could make a good argument that even if Lex Luthor did know, it wouldn't be particularly useful information. It's not like knowing Batman is Bruce Wayne, where you can destroy his supporting infrastructure or attack him when he's weak, like Bane did. Superman is never weak.
You blow up Clark Kent's apartment building or the Daily Planet, you just have an ashy invulnerable man floating in the sky. You kill Lois Lane, all you've done is remove any thought of restraint from the most powerful person on Earth. This assuming you could even sneak up on him in the first place, which you couldn't.
I guess you could try to destroy Clark Kent's life, but only to a pathetic degree. Like, is it very plausible that anyone is going to try to fine the Planet for paying an illegal alien, revoke a marriage license for being entered into under a false name, or commence deportation proceedings for a living god? Even if that worked, all you've accomplished is exiling Kent and Lane to the North Pole where they can devote their entire lives to fucking you up. If anything, letting Clark Kent exist is good for Luthor, since the time off Superman needs to be Clark, hold a job (however tenuously), and somehow maintain his marriage (despite being a terrible husband) at least levels the field a little bit.
Which is probably why President Luthor never used that information, even before Superman erased that memory of his.
Just read the Daredevil book "Born again", and think of Superman in the role of Matt Murdock. That would have been ugly.
Although, I think it actually was done in some way.
Man, I miss Joe Kelly on Superman. He actually got what Superman was about. Not many writers in the past two decades actually did, even though working on the character.
Space Therapist wrote:
You do make a good point.