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Cyborg Superman
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance As Hank Henshaw:
Adventures of Superman #466 (May 1990)
As Cyborg Superman:
Adventures of Superman #500
Created by Dan Jurgens
In-story information
Alter ego Henry "Hank" Henshaw
Team affiliations Sinestro Corps
Manhunters
Warworld
Notable aliases Superman, Man of Tomorrow, The Grandmaster, The Cyborg, Metallic Mass Murderer
Abilities Technopathy
Kryptonian powers similar to Superman
Qwardian power rings

Hank Henshaw is a fictional supervillain featured in the DC Comics universe, primarily as an enemy of Superman and Green Lantern. He first appeared as the Cyborg Superman during the Reign of the Supermen storyline following Superman's death, but is also known frequently as "The Cyborg" (not to be confused with Teen Titans member Victor Stone, aka Cyborg).[1]

Contents

Fictional character biography

Left: Hank Henshaw and the Excalibur crew after being exposed to the radiation. Right: Hank Henshaw as his body decays. Art by Dan Jurgens.

Hank Henshaw first appeared as a crew member on board the doomed NASA Space Shuttle Excalibur. The Excalibur was first shown, with dialogue from unidentified crew members, in Superman #42, and Henshaw and the other crew members were first seen in Adventures of Superman #465.[2][3]

In a pastiche of the origin of the Fantastic Four, Hank and the other three members of the Excalibur crew, including his wife, Terri, are part of a LexCorp-built radiation experiment that is affected by a solar flare, causing their shuttle to crash.[1] As a result of their radiation exposure, the human bodies of two crew members were destroyed. However, their minds survive and they are able to construct new bodies out of "cosmic radiation" along with bits of earth and wreckage from the shuttle. Initially, Henshaw and his wife suffer no ill effects from the radiation (though Hank's hair turns white), and the crew travels to Metropolis in the hope of using LexCorp facilities to cure their mutated crew mates. During a brief battle with Superman, the crew member now composed of radiation becomes unhinged and flies into the sun. By this time, Henshaw's body has started to rapidly decay while his wife is beginning to phase into an alternate dimension. With Superman's help, Henshaw is able to use the LexCorp facilities to save Terri. The remaining member of the shuttle crew commits suicide using an MRI booth.[4]

Though Hank Henshaw's physical body has expired, he is able to transfer his consciousness into the LexCorp mainframe. Now able to control technology, Henshaw appears to his wife in a robotic body; the shock of this bizarre rebirth is too much for Terri and eventually leads to her insanity and death by jumping through the nearest window. By this point, Henshaw's electronic consciousness has begun to disrupt Earth's communications networks. Using NASA communications equipment, Henshaw beams his mind into the 'birthing matrix' which had carried Superman from Krypton to Earth as an infant.[1] He creates a small exploration craft from the birthing matrix and departs into outer space alone.[5]

Henshaw spends some time traveling between planets, bonding with local life-forms to learn about the culture and history of various worlds. Henshaw would later come to believe that Superman was responsible for the tragedy of the Excalibur after learning that around the time of the accident, the Man of Steel had thrown a rogue Kryptonian artificial intelligence (the Eradicator) into the sun. Henshaw believes that this created the solar flare that resulted in the Excalibur crew's transformations .[6] Over time, Henshaw becomes delusional and paranoid, believing that the Man of Steel had intentionally caused the deaths of himself, his wife, and his crew, then driven him from the Earth. Arriving on a planet controlled by alien overlord and Superman foe Mongul, Henshaw learns of Warworld and forcibly recruits Mongul as part of a plan for revenge against Superman.[7]

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Reign of the Supermen

Cover to Superman (vol. 2) #79.
Art by Dan Jurgens.

With Superman apparently dead after his battle with Doomsday, Henshaw decides to pose as him and tear down his reputation. To that end, the Cyborg claims to be Superman reborn, the result of the hero's body being pieced together and revived with technology. This ruse is helped by the Cyborg using knowledge obtained from Superman's birthing matrix to construct a body that is genetically identical to Superman.[7] When analyzed closely by Professor Hamilton, the Cyborg passes for the real thing, thanks to components within himself that include Kryptonian alloys.[8]

After destroying a Superman memorial plaque in front of the Daily Planet, the Cyborg exiles Doomsday into space, prevents a nuclear meltdown, and saves the President of the United States from an assassination attempt. The White House endorses the Cyborg as the 'true' Superman.[9][10] When confronted by Lois Lane, the Cyborg claims his memory is "blurry" but he can see a "spaceship on a farm and the name 'Kent'," suggesting that Henshaw may be aware of Superman's secret identity.[8]

Henshaw's arrival as Superman was simultaneous with that of three others: John Henry Irons, Eradicator (the self-styled Last Son of Krypton), and the modern Superboy.[9] The endorsement of the President ensures that the Cyborg eclipses the rest of the heroes claiming to be Superman's heir. During this time, two cults sprang up around the idea of the return of Superman from the dead, one which deified the Eradicator, and the other venerating the Cyborg, as supporters of both would come to blows over which was the real Superman. This was a foreshadowing of a battle yet to come between the Cyborg and the Eradicator as the Cyborg began to move his plans forward.[1]

Destroying Coast City

When an alien ship appears over Coast City, the Cyborg attacks and severely injures the Eradicator, allowing Mongul's craft to destroy the city.[11] The Cyborg was then able to convince the White House and the public that the Eradicator is responsible.[12] After tricking and defeating Superboy, Henshaw prepares to launch a nuclear warhead intended to convert Metropolis into a second Engine City.[12][13]

Superboy is able to escape and warn John Henry Irons, Supergirl, and the resurrected true Superman of the Cyborg's plans.[14][7] The quartet travels to the site of the former Coast City; Superman, Supergirl, and Steel confront Mongul and the Cyborg while Superboy stops the missile from hitting Metropolis.[15] While Green Lantern defeats Mongul, the Cyborg lures Superman and the Eradicator to the Engine City main reactor and attempts to kill Superman with the kryptonite that powers the engine. When Henshaw tries to kill Superman with a concentrated blast of kryptonite radiation, the Eradicator intercepts the blast at the expense of his own life. As the Kryptonite energy passes through the Eradicator, the radiation is altered and acts to restore Superman's powers; Superman is then able to easily defeat the already weakened Cyborg.[16]

It was later revealed that Henshaw chose to attack Coast City first because his late wife was one of its former residents. This was part of an effort to erase his former life.[17]

Return

Hank Henshaw as drawn by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding in Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey #1.

Before exiling Doomsday into space, Henshaw had installed a device on the monster to allow him to detect if Doomsday were to ever escape. After the destruction of his 'Cyborg Superman' form, Henshaw transfers his consciousness into this device, as Doomsday is "the safest place in the galaxy" for the Cyborg to hide. Doomsday is brought onboard a space cruiser and manages to escape, eventually landing on Apokolips. Henshaw emerges by reconfiguring an armored Apokoliptian trooper into a new body, (which by all accounts had its DNA overwritten with the Kryptonian DNA Henshaw had obtained while in Superman's birthing matrix, and thus still retains a portion of Superman's abilities and still looks the way the Cyborg Superman looked, except for a change in the color of the Cyborg's metallic components) and proceeds to lay siege to the planet alongside Doomsday. The Cyborg successfully took over most of Apokolips, and despite resisting them once, was captured by Darkseid's Omega Beams during a battle with Superman.[18]

Apokolips and Beyond

Darkseid did not kill the Cyborg, or couldn't; rather, the Omega Effect captured Henshaw in a small orb, with Darkseid planning to use the Cyborg against Superman at a later date.[19] Darkseid eventually frees Henshaw, with the understanding that Henshaw is to leave Apokolips and never return.

The Cyborg eventually aligns himself with an intergalactic tribunal which is seeking to bring Superman to trial for the crimes of his ancestors. Henshaw assists the tribunal in capturing Eradicator, Superboy, Supergirl, Steel, and Alpha Centurion, who had intended to rescue Superman. However, the Cyborg betrays the tribunal and attempted to conquer their planet for conversion into a new Warworld. Superman and his allies stop the Cyborg's plan and, when Henshaw's involvement in the destruction of Coast City is brought to the attention of the tribunal, they find the Cyborg guilty of genocide and sentence him to death. As an electronic consciousness, Henshaw cannot be killed by normal means and is transported beyond the event horizon of a black hole, where not even light can escape from the gravity.

Rather than being destroyed, the Cyborg is transported (unknowingly by another villain Thanos) to a Marvel Multiverse dimension, designated as 616, as seen at the beginning of the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer crossover. The Cyborg destroys a planet in another attempt to recreate Warworld, attracting the attention of the Silver Surfer. Their short battle is interrupted by the arrival of Parallax, who has been tracking the Cyborg for some time, seeking vengeance for the destruction of Coast City. In the confusion, Henshaw escapes and is returned to the DC Universe by the end of the story, Parallax undoing the destruction of the planet Henshaw had destroyed with the aid of power donated from the Silver Surfer.

Henshaw in his later, less Superman-based costume. Art by Doug Mahnke

The Cyborg encounters Hal Jordan again at the brink of the Source Wall,[20], a nexus of statues that channel vital energy to preserve the Fourth World. Parallax uses his powers to generate representations of the victims of Coast City, which tear the Cyborg's body apart. Jordan then disperses Henshaw's consciousness, and the Cyborg is seemingly destroyed once again.[1]

During a crisis involving the Godwave, Superman (wearing his Blue Energy costume at the time) travels to New Genesis, and encounters Henshaw again. Henshaw has taken part of the Source Wall's structure and has crafted a small world made up of his memories, which he uses to taunt Superman, before being defeated again. Unknown to Superman, the Cyborg stores his own consciousness in Superman's high-tech containment suit. After Superman returns to Earth, Henshaw escapes and constructs a new body, this time posing as an art teacher at a high school in an attempt to start over. He is a popular teacher, and befriends the blind Ashbury Armstrong (daughter of Dirk Armstrong), but ultimately his rage towards Superman causes him to reveal his true identity, and his new body is lost in a fight with Superman. To escape detection, Henshaw stores his consciousness in a clay statue. This statue is later stolen by the Toyman, and the two villains join forces to kill Superman. To this end, the Cyborg designs a machine that will break Superman's energy form down into multiple components and beam them to different points in the galaxy, preventing Superman from reforming. A malfunction in the machine causes Superman to split into Superman Blue and Superman Red, the latter of whom eventually defeats and re-captures the Cyborg.

The Cyborg later attempts to take over Kandor, but fails when he is defeated by Superman and sent to the Phantom Zone. Shortly after Superman Y2K, Henshaw escapes the Zone and attacks Superman, who was suffering from kryptonite poisoning. Henshaw is defeated with the help of the Kandorians and sent back to the Phantom Zone, swearing revenge. However, he is not encountered on subsequent visits to the Zone.

Manhunters

Henshaw returns, in a form approximative to his original body, when he is revealed to be the Manhunters' new Grandmaster.[21] With his influence, the Manhunters have been upgraded with organic material, most notably with blood. On the Manhunter home world of Biot, in sector 3601, Henshaw is holding captive several assumed-to-be-dead Green Lanterns, most of whom appeared to die during the Emerald Twilight saga.

Henshaw has also used Kryptonian technology to upgrade the Manhunters. During the Green Lantern story arc No Fear,[22] Kryptonian robots are seen servicing the Manhunters. Henshaw, the Grandmaster, allowed the Green Lantern Corps to rebuild for unspecified reasons, as a part of his master plan. While Henshaw explains that he first encountered the Manhunters around the time he was imprisoned in the Source Wall by Parallax, it has yet to be revealed how the Cyborg was able to escape the Phantom Zone and take control of Biot. Henshaw is defeated when Biot explodes, destroying most of his body aside from his head.

Henshaw's head is then brought by a Guardian back to Oa so that they can learn of how he was able to take control of Biot, what he has learned from the Manhunters and to learn about "the 52".[23] (referring to the other 51 alternate Earths created during the second Crisis, as well as their own reality). It is also revealed that the Cyborg knows of the 52, though exactly how he came by this knowledge isn't made completely clear. It is stated that he has explored "The Bleed;" the space between dimensions, which could have occurred when he was imprisoned there, when he was imprisoned in the Source Wall, or his past exploration in the Marvel Universe .

Sinestro Corps

Cover art for Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Cyborg Superman #1, by Ethan Van Sciver.

Henshaw's head is taken by the Sinestro Corps after their invasion of Oa and taken back to Qward. Henshaw is later seen as a herald of the newly returned Anti-Monitor. He reconstructs his cyborg body and replaces the S-symbol on his chest with the symbol of the Sinestro Corps. He now wields ten Qwardian power rings.[24] It is revealed that Henshaw has joined the Sinestro Corps so that the Anti-Monitor can later kill him and allow him to rest in peace.[25]

Henshaw was the focus of the Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Cyborg Superman one-shot that was released on October 3, 2007.[6][26][27] In this book, Henshaw and his Manhunters head to Earth to assist the Sinestro Corps in their attack. En route, Henshaw stops leading the Manhunters, which continue to their preprogrammed destinations. As he watches them go, he remembers everything that has happened to him; from their dreadful shuttle accident to his wife's suicide when she sees him in his robot form. He finishes this journey of his mind by going to his wife's grave. He digs her corpse out and rips it into two, shouting that all he wants is not to be with her, but for these memories to fade.[6]

Meanwhile, Manhunters begin an assault on the JLA satellite. Hawkgirl, Black Lightning, and Red Arrow retaliate; however, all three are neutralized when Henshaw assists in the attack and he successfully tampers with the mechanics of the satellite core. As the satellite is thrown out of orbit, Superman appears, seemingly from nowhere, and engages Henshaw in battle. Their fight continues on Earth, while Sinestro transports his crew and his ship from the Anti-Matter Universe. At first Superman seems to have the upper hand, however after two punches, Henshaw strikes with great power and rage, punching him through the Statue of Liberty. By the end, Henshaw has Superman in a choke hold, thinking that the victory is near.[6]

He is later seen briefly in Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Superman-Prime, having presumably been beaten back by the combined strength of Superman, Supergirl, and Power Girl.[28]

When the Green Lantern Corps decides to detonate New Warworld and the Central Power Battery of the Sinestro Corps to destroy the Anti-Monitor, Henshaw allows himself to be trapped behind a shield and exposed to the massive explosion. Before he is destroyed, however, he thanks the Green Lantern Corps.[29]

Most of Henshaw's body survived the explosion, but it took further damage when Superman-Prime hurled the Anti-Monitor into space. The upper part of his skull was retrieved by the android Manhunters. Unable to detect any life signs, and confused without his leadership, the Manhunters reanimated the brain of the Cyborg Superman. He shed a tear when he realized he was still alive.[29]

Powers and abilities

Following his exposure to cosmic radiation and subsequent "death," Henshaw's consciousness survives in an electronic state, making him virtually indestructible as he can transfer his electronic consciousness into any nearby machine (and even some that are light years away). Henshaw is able to 'inhabit' any machine or technology and manipulate said devices as though they are living metal. He can animate machines, construct any technological device, and control any mechanical system. In addition, Henshaw's 'Cyborg' body possesses a various number of other mechanical sensors, and has the ability to interface with any machine. His technological components can transform into a myriad of weapons and tools - since his first appearance as the Cyborg Superman, Henshaw has consistently manifested his technical half in that manner.

Thanks to his interactions with Superman's birthing matrix, Henshaw possesses knowledge of both Superman's Kryptonian genetic code and Kryptonian technology. This information allows him to construct cyborg bodies with organic portions that are genetically identical to Superman and mechanical components built from Kryptonian (and later, Apokoliptian) alloys. Using Superman's genetic code gives the Cyborg access to all of Superman's powers, such as high levels of superhuman strength, speed, and durability; super acute senses; x-ray, heat/laser, and infrared vision; and ultrasonic hearing, including, Superman's vulnerability to kryptonite radiation, which appeared to weaken both the organic and technological components of Henshaw's body, while also preventing him from altering his body. However, even though his organic half might be mortally weakened by kryptonite, the mechanical components of his body will allow Henshaw to still function, albeit without any of his Kryptonian powers. He may be immune to Kryptonite radiation, as he seemed to suffer no ill effects when he fought a Kryptonite-poisoned Superman (who was also emitting the deadly radiation himself.)

Henshaw's physical durability has, at different times been greater than and lesser than Superman's. He was shown melting and burning up in Earth's sun during a battle with Superman Red, an exposure which Superman survived with no ill effects (Although Superman's current fire-based state may have contributed to his endurance at the time). Darkseid's Omega Beams were unable to destroy him with an initial blast- although Darkseid later stated that he was not operating at his peak at that point-, but did succeed in imprisoning him the second time, while Superman was hurt by the attack despite the fact he was not even the target and was only holding Henshaw in position.

In addition to the powers he has because of his Kryptonian-Cyborg body, he also has been shown wielding ten Qwardian power rings and as such has access to all the immense powers they bestow. Among these powers are energy and matter manipulation; they allowed Henshaw to overcome Superman handily during the Sinestro Corps War.

Finally, Henshaw seems to be able to alter his "natural" energy attacks to affect specific foes. He has been able to defeat both Superman and Eradicator with a single blast, on several occasions. Normally he uses a weapon crafted out of one of his arms, but when pressed, he merely uses his eye-beams: either only his mechanical one, or both his Kryptonian eye and cybernetic one simultaneously.

Other media

Action figures

  • A Cyborg Superman toy, using Henshaw's costume from the Reign of the Supermen storyline, was released for the DC Direct Superman line in 2003.
  • In 2007, Cyborg Superman was featured in Series 6 of Mattel's DC Superheroes toyline, as well as a "2-up" 12-inch-tall version exclusive to Toys 'R' Us. The 6-inch version of the figure was later reissued in an exclusive Toys "R" Us 2-pack with Mongul as part of the DC Universe Classics line in 2008 and again in his Sinestro Corps. uniform as part of the DCUC Wave 11 assortment in January 2010..
  • Cyborg Superman in his Sinestro Corps costume was released in DC Direct's third series of Green Lantern toys in July 2008.[30]
  • In 2007, Cyborg Superman was one of the characters featured in the Origin expansion of the WizKids game HeroClix.[31][32]

Video games

Cyborg Superman is a playable character as one of the Supermen included in the SNES & Genesis video game The Death and Return of Superman video game in 1994. He appears as a boss character in 2002's Superman: The Man of Steel. He is set to appear in the upcoming video game DC Universe Online.

Legion of Super-Heroes

A Superman robot that resembled him had a cameo in the Fortress of Solitude, in the episode "Message in a Bottle." The voice actor that provided his voice was Yuri Lowenthal.

Superman: Doomsday

DC's direct-to-DVD movie Superman: Doomsday, based on The Death of Superman storyline features a variation on the Cyborg Superman character. One of the many changes is a streamlined cast which cut the four Superman imposters, including Henshaw. Elements from three of the four impostors (Henshaw, Superboy, and the Eradicator), were combined into the Superman clone created by Lex Luthor in the film.[33]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Wallace, Dan (2008), "Cyborg Superman", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 91, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017 
  2. ^ Ordway, Jerry (w), Ordway, Jerry (p), Janke, Dennis (i). "Krypton Man" Superman 2 (42) (April 1990), New York: DC Comics
  3. ^ Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Thibert, Art (i). "The Last Son of Krypton" Adventures of Superman (465) (April 1990), New York: DC Comics
  4. ^ Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Giordano, Dick (i). "The Limits of Power" Adventures of Superman (466) (May 1990), New York: DC Comics
  5. ^ Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Thibert, Art (i). "The Outcast" Adventures of Superman (468) (July 1990), New York: DC Comics
  6. ^ a b c d Burnett, Alan (w), Blaine, Patrick (p), Leisten, Jay (i). "Death of a Cyborg" Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg-Superman (1) (December 2007), New York: DC Comics
  7. ^ a b c Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Breeding, Brett (i). "Resurrections" Superman 2 (81) (September 1993), New York: DC Comics
  8. ^ a b Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Breeding, Brett (i). "Alive" Superman 2 (78) (June 1993), New York: DC Comics
  9. ^ a b Ordway, Jerry (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Life after Death" Adventures of Superman (500) (Early June 1993), New York: DC Comics
  10. ^ Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Breeding, Brett (i). "Prove It" Superman 2 (79) (July 1993), New York: DC Comics
  11. ^ Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Breeding, Brett (i). "Deadly Alliance" Superman 2 (80) (August 1993), New York: DC Comics
  12. ^ a b Kesel, Karl (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Line of Fire!" Adventures of Superman (503) (August 1993), New York: DC Comics
  13. ^ Roger Stern (w), Guice, Jackson, Denis Rodier (p,i). "Lies & Revelations" Action Comics (688) (August 1993), New York: DC Comics
  14. ^ Simonson, Louise (w), Bogdanove, Jon (p), Janke, Dennis (i). "The Return!" Superman: The Man of Steel (25) (September 1993), New York: DC Comics
  15. ^ Kesel, Karl (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Assault on Engine City!" Adventures of Superman (504) (September 1993), New York: DC Comics
  16. ^ Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Breeding, Brett (i). "Deadly Alliance" Superman 2 (82) (October 1993), New York: DC Comics
  17. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) # 13
  18. ^ Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, 1994
  19. ^ Jurgens, Dan (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Breeding, Brett (i). Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey (3): 2-3 (1994), DC Comics
  20. ^ The Final Night, 1996
  21. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #11, 2006
  22. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #1-3, 2005
  23. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #15
  24. ^ Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1 (Aug 2007) DC Comics
  25. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #22
  26. ^ DC Comics' solicitation for the Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Cyborg Superman one-shot
  27. ^ Review of Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg-Superman #1, Silver Bullet Comic Books
  28. ^ Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Superman-Prime #1 2007
  29. ^ a b Green Lantern (vol. 4) #25
  30. ^ OAFE - DC Direct Green Lantern: Cyborg Superman review
  31. ^ http://www.wizkidsgames.com/heroclix/dc/products.asp?cid=41024
  32. ^ http://www.wizkidsgames.com/heroclix/dc/figuregallery.asp?releaseid=93
  33. ^ Superman: Doomsday (2007) (V) - Full cast and crew

External links


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