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Supervillain Origins: Cyborg Superman

VO: Dan Paradis
This terrifying and super powerful villain was once a NASA astronaut. A member aboard the doomed space shuttle Excalibur, his colleagues died while his body decomposed. Merging with technology, and using Superman's birthing Matrix, he re-emerged a robotic being with all of the man of steel's powers, and an insatiable lust for revenge, having blamed the man of steel for his circumstances. He went from brilliant scientist to inhuman Kryptonian impostor. Join, as we explore the comic book origins of Hank Henshaw, otherwise known as Cyborg Superman.

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Supervillain Origins: Cyborg Superman

He went from brilliant scientist to inhuman Kryptonian impostor. Welcome to, and today we will explore the comic book origins of Hank Henshaw, otherwise known as Cyborg Superman.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1990’s Adventures of Superman #466, which was expanded upon in 1993’s issue #500.

Once a NASA astronaut, Hank Henshaw was introduced as one of four team members. This included his wife Terri, Jim and Steven, who were all part of a mission aboard the doomed space shuttle Excalibur.

Things became deadly when their craft was hit by a solar flare, which eradiated the shuttle and caused it to crash-land.

As a result, the radiation caused the bodies of Jim and Steven to be completely destroyed, while Steven reformed himself out of cosmic radiation and Jim did the same from the material found in and around the wreckage.

Meanwhile, Hank and his wife appeared to have emerged relatively unscathed, though hank’s hair turned white. Together, they travelled to Metropolis to try and use LexCorp facilities to find a cure for their worsening conditions.

This led to a battle with LexCorps sentries, and Superman mistaking the crew for supervillains, before Hank explained that their mutations had been the result of an incident in space while conducting a top secret experiment. This caused Superman to wonder if he was at fault for the solar flare, having dropped his Kryptonian foe The Eradicator in the sun just days earlier.

Following this, Hank found his own body had begun to decay rapidly, while his wife phased into an alternate dimension, before Steven went insane and flew into the sun.

While Hank and Superman managed to use LexCorp to save Terri, the other remaining crewman committed suicide in an MRI machine, using it to destroy his new metal body.

As Hank’s own body completely disintegrated, he managed to transfer his mind into the LexCorp mainframe. Gaining the ability to control technology he took on a robotic body. Startling his wife with his reformation as a machine, she decided to commit suicide.

Now the sole survivor if the Excalibur mission, Hank used NASA communications technology to transport his mind into Superman’s birthing Matrix in orbit.

This was the piece of technology that had carried Superman from Krypton as a child. Using it, Hank ventured into space. Over time, he came to believe that Superman was directly responsible for the Excalibur tragedy, discovering that Superman had indeed thrown rogue Kryptonian artificial intelligence The Eradicator into the sun.

Becoming delusional and paranoid, he planed to return to Earth to kill Superman. However, when he did return, Superman was already dead from his battle with Doomsday.

As a result, he decided to use the Kryptonian Birthing Matrix to create genetic material for himself that was identical to that of Superman, which gave him all of Superman’s powers, while claiming that his cyborg body is a result of being pieced back together and revived.

Afterwards, Hank introduced himself to the population by destroying Superman’s memorial plaque in front of the Daily planet. He then performed many heroic deeds, causing the causing the president of the United States to endorse him.

Taking on the title of “The Man of Tomorrow”, his arrival turned out to be simultaneous with other Supermen, causing a battle for the Superman role.

Following this, the real Superman returned, causing confrontations between himself and his cyborg doppelganger.

Since then, Cyborg Superman has also gone on to be a main adversary of the Green Lantern Corps, appearing in various comic issues, as well as in several DC based video games.

Are you a fan of this mechanical and deadly Superman impostor? For more informative comic book origins, be sure to subscribe to

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