Cyborg Superman (DC Comics)




Hank Henshaw is a fictional supervillain featured in the DC Comics universe. While originally featured primarily as an enemy of Superman, recent years have repositioned him as one of the main enemies of the Green Lantern Corps. While the character debuted in The Adventures of Superman #465 (April 1990), he was reintroduced as the Cyborg Superman during the Reign of the Supermen storyline following Superman's death. At times, he is also referred to as The Cyborg (not to be confused with Teen Titans member Victor Stone aka Cyborg).

Publication information

Publisher: DC Comics
First appearance: 
As Hank Henshaw:
Adventures of Superman #465 (April 1990)
As Cyborg Superman:
Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993)
Created by: Dan Jurgens

In-story information

Alter ego: Henry "Hank" Henshaw 
Notable aliases: Hank Henshaw, Superman, Man of Tomorrow, The Grandmaster of the Manunters, The Cyborg, Metallic Mass Murderer, Alpha-Prime of the Alpha-Lanterns, Herald of the Anti-Monitor

Relatives:
Terri Henshaw (wife, deceased)
Affiliations: Mongul, Doomsday, Anti-Monitor (Antimatter Universe), Bedovian, Darkseid, Krona, Parallax, Sinestro, Superboy-Prime (Earth-Prime)

Team affiliations: Sinestro Corps, Manhunters, Warworld, Alpha Lantern Corps, Supermen of the Multiverse

Enemies: Access (Marvel Comics), Arisia Rrab, Black Canary, Boodikka, Booster Gold, Brainiac 5 (Earth-Prime), Nightwing, Doomsday, Professor Hamilton, Eradicator, Ganthet, Green Lantern, Jack T. Chance, Kilowog, Parallax, Relok Hag, Sodam Yat, Captain Sondra Crain, Steel, Superboy, Supergirl, Superman

Abilities: Technopathy, Kryptonian powers similar to Superman, Qwardian power rings, Genius-Level Intellect, Intimidation
Base Of Operations: Warworld, Qward, Antimatter Universe, formerly Biot, Sector 3601

Status

Alignment: Bad
Identity Secret: Secret
Race: Originally Human; now Kryptonian Cyborg (body constructed from Superman's DNA)
Citizenship: American
Marital Status: Widowed
Occupation: Grand Master of the Manhunter Cult, former Herald of the Anti-Monitor, Mass Murderer, Astronaut
Education: College Graduate

Characteristics

Gender: Male
Height: Variable
Weight: Variable
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black
Unusual Features: Cybernetic parts visible on left side of body as well as most of his face. Red mechanical left eye.

Origin

Origin: Human body died after body was infused with cosmic radiation and became an energy consciousness that integrated itself in Superman's birthing matrix and created a cyborg body from its knowledge.

Universe: New Earth 

History

Hank Henshaw first appeared as a crew member of the doomed LexCorp space shuttle Excalibur. Hank and the other three members of the Excalibur crew (including his wife, Terri) were exposed to cosmic radiation, resulting in the crash of their shuttle. As a result of the radiation exposure, the human bodies of two crew members were destroyed. However, their minds survived and they were able to construct new bodies out of pure cosmic radiation and bits of earth and the shuttle (homages to the Human Torch and the Thing, respectively). Initially, Henshaw and his wife suffered no ill effects from the radiation and the crew traveled to Metropolis, in the hope of using LexCorp facilities to cure their transformed crewmates. During a brief battle with Superman, the crew member now composed of radiation became unhinged and flew into the sun. By this time, Henshaw's body had begun to rapidly decay while his wife was beginning to phase into an alternate dimension. With Superman's help, Henshaw was able to use the LexCorp facilities to save Terri, but died immediately afterwords. The remaining member of the shuttle crew committed suicide using an MRI booth. 
However, Hank Henshaw had not truly died. Though his physical body had expired, he was able to transfer his consciousness into the LexCorp's mainframe. Now able to control technology, Henshaw appeared to his wife in a robotic body; the shock of the shuttle accident, Henshaw's death and his bizarre rebirth was too much for Terri and eventually led to her insanity and death. By this point, Henshaw's electronic consciousness had begun to disrupt Earth's communications networks. Using NASA communications equipment, Henshaw beamed his mind into the 'birthing Matrix' which had carried Superman from Krypton to Earth as an infant. Henshaw crafted a small exploration craft from the birthing matrix and departed the planet.

Henshaw spent some time traveling between planets; bonding with local lifeforms to learn about the culture and history of various worlds. Over time, Henshaw became delusional and paranoid, believing that Superman had caused the deaths of himself and his wife, then driven him from the Earth. Arriving on a planet controlled by alien overlord (and Superman nemesis) Mongul, Henshaw learned of the Warworld and forcibly recruited Mongul as part of a plan for revenge against Superman.

Reign of the Supermen: The Man of Tomorrow

With Superman dead after his battle with Doomsday, Henshaw was unable to directly seek revenge against the man he had come to perceive as his enemy and instead sought to destroy Superman's reputation. To that end, the Cyborg claimed to be Superman reborn; using knowledge obtained from the birthing matrix to construct a cybernetic body with organic portions genetically identical to Superman and technological components built with Kryptonian alloys. Along with destroying a Superman memorial plaque in front of the Daily Planet, the Cyborg exiled Doomsday into space and defended the President of the United States from an assassination attempt. As a result of the latter incident, the White House endorsed the Cyborg as the 'true' Superman and he provided the President with a communications device. When confronted by Lois Lane, the Cyborg claimed his memory was "blurry" but he could see a "spaceship on a farm. The name 'Kent'", suggesting Henshaw may be aware of Superman's secret identity.[1]
Henshaw's arrival as Superman was simultaneous with three others: John Henry Irons, the self-styled Last Son of Krypton, and the modern Superboy.

The Destruction of Coast City

When an alien ship appeared over Coast City, the Cyborg revealed his true intentions, attacking and severely injuring the Eradicator as Mongul's craft destroyed the city, killing millions. The Cyborg was then able to convince the White House and the public that the Eradicator had been responsible for the destruction of Coast City, turning the public against the Kryptonian. He also came within a hairsbreadth of killing the Eradicator in direct combat. After tricking and defeating Superboy, Henshaw set about preparing to launch a warhead that would convert Metropolis into a second Engine City. However, Superboy was able to escape and warn the resurrected true Superman, John Henry Irons and Supergirl of the Cyborg's plans. The quartet traveled to the site
of the former Coast City where Superman, Supergirl and Steel confronted Mongul and the Cyborg while Superboy stopped the missile from destroying Metropolis. While Green Lantern defeated Mongul, the Cyborg lured Superman and the Eradicator to the Engine City main reactor and attempted to kill Superman with the Kryptonite that powered the engine. Henshaw attempted to kill Superman using a concentrated blast of Kryptonite radiation, but the Eradicator intercepted the blast at the expense of his own life. However, as the Kryptonite energy passed through the Eradicator, the radiation was altered and acted to restore Superman's powers. Superman was then able to easily defeat the Cyborg (partially due to the Kryptonite weakening the Cyborg's Kryptonian form) by vibrating Henshaw's body to pieces.

Cyborg returns

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' body, Henshaw transferred his consciousness into this device, as Doomsday was "the safest place in the galaxy" for the Cyborg to hide. Doomsday was eventually brought on board a space cruiser and managed to escape, landing on Apokolips. Henshaw re-emerged once again, reconfiguring an exo-armored Apokoliptian trooper into a new body, establishing his standard appearance with long hair and red armor, and began to lay siege to Apokolips alongside Doomsday (although the Henshaw's body possessed Superman's Kryptonian DNA, Doomsday did not seem to perceive the Cyborg as a threat). The Cyborg successfully took over most of Apokolips, but was destroyed by Darkseid's Omega Beams after a short battle with Superman.

Apokolips and Beyond

Darkseid's attack did not kill the Cyborg; rather, the Omega Effect had stored Henshaw's consciousness in a small orb, with Darkseid planning to use the Cyborg against Superman at a later date. Darkseid eventually freed Henshaw, with the understanding that Henshaw was to leave Apokolips and never return.[3] The Cyborg eventually aligned himself with an intergalactic 'tribunal', which was seeking to bring Superman to trial for the crimes of his ancestors. Henshaw assisted the tribunal in capturing Superboy, Supergirl, Steel and Alpha Centurion, who had been preparing to rescue Superman. However, the Cyborg betrayed the tribunal and attempted to conquer their planet for conversion into a new Warworld. Superman and his allies stopped the Cyborg's plan and, when Henshaw's involvement in the destruction of Coast City was brought to the attention of the tribunal, they found the Cyborg guilty of genocide and sentenced him to death. As an electronic consciousness, Henshaw could not be killed by normal means and was transported beyond the event horizon of a black hole, where not even energy could escape from the gravity.
Rather than being destroyed, the Cyborg was transported to the Marvel Universe, as seen at the beginning of the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer crossover. The Cyborg destroyed a planet in another attempt to recreate Warworld, attracting the attention of
the Silver Surfer. Their short battle was interrupted by the arrival of Parallax, who had been tracking the Cyborg for some time, seeking vengeance for the destruction of Coast City. In the confusion, Henshaw managed to escape and was returned to the DC Universe by the end of the story.

The Cyborg would again encounter Hal Jordan, at the very brim of the Godwave, a nexus of statues that flow forth energy vital to the preservation of the Fourth World. Parallax used his powers to generate representations of the victims of Coast City, who tore the Cyborg's body apart. Jordan than dispersed Henshaw's consciousness into the Godwave and the Cyborg was once again seemingly destroyed.[4]

During a crisis involving the Godwave, Superman (wearing at the time his "Blue Energy Costume" traveled to New Genesis, and encountered Henshaw again, Henshaw had become part of the Godwave's structure and had crafted a small world comprised of his memories, which he used to taunt Superman, after seemingly being defeated. However, unknown to Superman, the Cyborg stored his own consciousness in Superman's technological containment suit. After Superman returned to Earth, Henshaw escaped and eventually constructed a new body, posing as a substitute high school teacher in an attempt to become human again (even managing to convince Ashbury Armstrong that he possessed some goodness). However, in a fit of rage, Henshaw revealed his true identity as the Cyborg and this body was destroyed in a short fight with Superman. To escape detection, Henshaw stored his consciousness in a toy. This toy was later stolen by the Toyman, leading the two villains to join forces to kill Superman. To this end, the Cyborg designed a machine that would 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 caused Superman to split into Superman Blue and Superman Red, the latter of whom eventually defeated and captured the Cyborg.
In a firm sense of irony, Henshaw shared with Superman a crossover encounter with the Fantastic Four, convincing Superman that Galactus was the true ravager of Krypton for a time, the result transformed Superman into the herald of the world devourer for a while. Galactus transformed Henshaw into an inanimate slab of metal after Henshaw demanded he be made his heir, and be made "perfect", since he was half-human, his reduction to this state, void of all human matter, was as perfect as the merciless Galactus could perceive.[6]
He later attempted to take over Kandor, but this failed when he was defeated by Superman and sent to the Phantom Zone. Shortly after Y2K, Henshaw escaped the Phantom Zone and attacked Superman, who was suffering from Kryptonite poisoning at the time. He was defeated with the help of the Kandorians and sent back to the Phantom Zone, swearing revenge. However, he was not encountered on subsequent visits to the Zone.

Lost Lanterns and Manhunters

Henshaw eventually made his way to Sector 3601, to Biot, the homeworld of the Manhunters. He gathered many Green Lanterns who were previously thought to be dead, including Arisia, Kreon, Ke'Haan, Boodikka, Laira, and Chaselon, and used them as power sources for his new model of Manhunters, the Highmasters. However, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner discovered his operation. Jordan and Arisia combined the might of their power rings with one of the Highmasters, destroying the organic portion of Henshaw's body and most of Biot.
The Guardians of the Universe believed that, during Henshaw's time in Sector 3601, he may have discovered one of their closely guarded secrets: the existence of the Multiverse.

Sinestro Corps

Henshaw remained in custody on Oa until he was freed, along with Superboy-Prime, by a strike force of Sinestro Corps members. He was brought to Qward, where he was made into a herald of the Anti-Monitor, along with Superboy and the Parallax-possessed Kyle Rayner.[7]
Henshaw revels the only reason he has joined the Anti-Monitor is that he has been promised to a final death at the hands of the Anti-Monitor as a reward for helping the Anti-Monitor achieve his goals. A death he has longed for that none even Superman can seem to give him.
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.
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.

However, Superman was not alone. Power Girl and Supergirl came to Superman's aide, and managed to defeat the Cyborg Superman, later throwing him at Superboy-Prime. He commented that they almost managed to kill him that time.

When the Green Lantern Corps decides to detonate New Warworld and the Qwardian Central Power Battery of the Sinestro Corps to destroy the Anti-Monitor, Henshaw is trapped behind a shield and exposed to the massive explosion. Before he is finally killed, however, he is able to thank the Green Lantern Corps for their mercy in ending his life.

A small fraction of Henshaw's corpse was found after the explosion. The Manhunters confirmed that he had perished, but were confused without his leadership. Seeking the leadership "programming" of their grandmaster, the Manhunters funnel a massive amount of energy into the Cyborg Superman, and he experiences yet another resurrection, crying when he realizes he is alive yet again.

Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns

After the Sinestro Corps War, Hensaw abandoned the Manhunters and was later present during the Blackest Night, trying again to seek his death. Henshaw attempted to provoke Nekron into killing him, but failed as he lacked a heart to attract Nekron's interest. A distraught Henshaw was then approached by an unknown being, who told him that the Guardian Ganthet held the knowledge to destroy him permanently.[20] Henshaw followed this advice and approached Ganthet, coming into an agreement in working with the Alpha Lanterns, with the intentions to augment every Green Lantern, including Ganthet, into an Alpha.[21][22] His purpose of working with the Alpha Lanterns is to alter himself, such that he will be mortal again.[23] He began his experiments on the Alpha Lanterns to reverse-engineer their cyborg attributes into humans. Despite killing several Alpha Lanterns, Hank was ultimately successful in devising a way to reverse-engineer some of the Alpha Lanterns. Before Hensaw can force Ganthet to perform his new surgery on himself, the Green Lantern Corps spoiled his plans and destroyed his physical body. Hank then tries to transfer his consciousness into Boodikka. During this attempted transfer of consciousness Boodikka overpowers Henshaw with her willpower and cuts his essence in half, thus destroying Henshaw.

Reign of Doomsday

However, it seems that even this isn't enough for Henshaw to be killed. While surveying the remains of New Krypton, Boodikka was attacked by Doomsday, seemingly unprovoked. However, when Supergirl and Batman got her to the JLA Watchtower, Doomsday quickly followed, revealing why he was attacking her - Henshaw was still alive inside her.[25] Taking over the Watchtower, the presence of Doomsday overrode Henshaw's desire to die, vowing to destroy the beast once and for all even with Batman and Supergirl stuck in the crossfire. With one mighty blow, Henshaw tore through Doomsday, ripping his body apart. However, Doomsday recovered and, to the Cyborg's horror, he became "Cyborg Doomsday", took over the Watchtower and vanquished Henshaw, kidnapping him and Supergirl in the process.[26]

Henshaw and Supergirl were taken to a satellite along with other Supermen such as the Eradicator, Steel, and Superboy. Instead of assisting his fellow captives, Henshaw explored Doomsday's satellite on his own and subsequently discovered that the Doomsdays that fought the heroes were clones of the original created by Lex Luthor.[27] Although Henshaw was then willing to fight alongside the Supermen against the Doomsdays, Superman incapacitated him by ripping his central node off, knowing that they would not survive a confrontation with the Doomsdays.[28] After the Doomsday clones were sent to another dimension, Henshaw was taken into custody of S.T.A.R. Labs.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Electronic Consciousness: Since he is, at the core, an energy being, Henshaw is extremely difficult to permanently destroy, as he can transfer his electronic consciousness into any nearby machine. The maximum distance range of this transfer is unknown, although Henshaw was able to somehow transmit his mind from the 'Cyborg Superman' body on Earth to the tracking device attached to Doomsday, following Reign of the Supermen.
    • Immortality: Cyborg Superman is also immortal, being able to live no matter what happens to his physical body.
    • Technomorphing: He can posses machines and anything even remotely mechanical and is able to control them completely with an ability he calls "technomorphing". Unlike most technopaths, he doesn't just command them, he incorporates them into himself and nearby technology becomes an extension of himself. He can take any machine and, once it's a part of him, he can transform it into anything his mind can imagine, and thanks to time spent traveling across many universes, he can imagine a lot. Among other abilities, Henshaw can animate machines, construct any technological device, control any mechanical system (during Reign of the Superman, the Cyborg briefly 'possessed' Steel's armor) and change the shape of the mechanical components of his 'bodies' (most frequently changing one or both of his hands into various energy weapons).
  • Cyborg Kryptonian Physiology: Thanks to his interactions with Superman's birthing matrix, the Cyborg possesses knowledge of both Superman's Kryptonian genetic code and Kryptonian technology. This information allows the Henshaw to construct bodies with organic portions that are genetically identical to Superman and mechanical components built from Kryptonian alloys. Using Superman's genetic code gives the Cyborg access to all of Superman's powers, including super strength, speed, invulnerability and senses.
    • Cybernetic Component Alteration: In addition, Henshaw's 'Cyborg' body has a number of other mechanical sensors, can interface with any machine and the technological components can transform into a myriad of weapons and tools; since his first appearance as the Cyborg Superman, Henshaw has consistently used some version of that body. The Cyborg has been depicted in some instances using a heat beam only from his mechanical eye and in other instances using beams from both eyes.
  • Kryptonian Physiology: Henshaw's cellular structure is more dense, resilient and biologically more effective than human tissue. Strangely enough, he does not seem to possess superhuman strength levels despite his enhanced cellular ability. Without constant
    exposure to solar energy, his strength seems on par for a human of his height and weight who engages in regular physical activity. He does possess several organs whose functions are not yet disclosed or understood but are believed to be part of and perhaps even the source of his biomatrix force field and reclamation aura. Superman has manifested a wide range of metahuman abilities and is considered to be the most powerful metahuman alive. Henshaw's body also stores energy actively within his bio-cellular matrix as an energy pattern that is linked to his body's electromagnetic field. This energy powers most of Henshaw's electromagnetic capabilities such as flight and heat vision. It also supplements his physical strength by a factor of 12,000 times or so.
    • Solar Energy Absorption: Technically, this is the main source of Henshaw's powers. Because Henshaw's powers are greatly due to exposure to Earth's yellow sun, his powers have been affected by extreme absorptions of solar power, whether voluntary or involuntary.
    • Superhuman Strength: While the exact magnitude of Henshaw's strength is unknown, it is generally accepted that his strength easily surpasses the capacity to lift 100 tons, but how much more is not known exactly.
    • Invulnerability: Henshaw's body is nigh-invulnerable (Has survived high yield nuclear explosions). Henshaw's invulnerability also may not be equal to Superman, as he was shown melting and burning up in Earth's sun during a battle
      with Superman Red, an exposure which the true Superman has survived repeatedly with no ill effects. However, Henshaw's 'Cyborg' body was able to withstand one attack from Darkseid's Omega Beams, although the assault did cause some damage.
    • Superhuman Stamina: Ability to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an undefined period. Theoretically, Henshaw has unlimited stamina, nourishment coming from the solar energy his cells process; he does, however, have the psychological need to eat and drink just as humans do, though he receives the majority of his nourishment from the Sun.
    • Flight: Which allows him to maneuver precisely in any direction, as well as hover. The mechanism by which he flies is unknown, but some suggestions have been a field of energy allowing unconscious manipulation of gravity or diffraction/reflection of gravity due to unidentified Kryptonian organs affected by a yellow sun, or psionic manipulation of a personal anti-gravitational aura, which is also caused by his Kryptonian cells and a yellow sun. Superman has been able to fly to the moon in under two minutes.
    • Superhuman Speed: The ability to move at an incredible speed, like the Flash. This includes running, but flying is less strenuous and more versatile. His top speed seems to be just under the speed of light. Recently, it has been established that he is not as fast as the current incarnation of the Flash, Wally West, who can exceed the speed of light
      and can time travel under his own power. Henshaw also possesses superhuman reflexes and the ability to move at incredible speeds by sheer force of will. He can also perform complex actions like assembling objects at hundreds of times faster than a normal human.
    • Enhanced Senses: Henshaw possesses greatly enhanced senses.
      • Telescopic Vision: The ability to "zoom in" his distance to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics. The total telescopic ability is unprecedented, but limited to some extent.
      • X-Ray Vision: The ability to see through anything except lead. He can see things behind a wall as if the wall were not there, or can "peel back" layer after layer of matter in his mind. Opponents sometimes used lead-lined constructs in an attempt to hide things from Henshaw. Henshaw is able to focus his vision past layers of matter, literally seeing "through" them -- possibly perceiving x-rays, cosmic rays or other forms of energy invisible to normal human vision which pass through Earth's atmosphere (and solid objects) after emission from stars. Since it is passive, this ability would not generate harmful radiation in the same manner as a focused projection of hard X-rays.
      • Microscopic Vision: The ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level (normal optical microscopes can only see objects down to the size of chromosomes).
      • Infrared Vision (he can see in total darkness)
      • Electro-magnetic Spectrum Vision: can see well into most of the EM Spectrum. He can see and identify radio/television and any and all broadcast/transmitted frequencies, allowing him to avoid detection through radar or
        satellite monitoring methods.
      • Heat Vision: The ability to fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it with the conscious act of activating this power. Visually, the power is typically depicted as two beams of red light firing from his eyes. These beams can be made invisible, allowing Superman to work undetected. The maximum temperature of his heat vision is said to be around that of a nuclear detonation. The area of effect can be consciously determined by Superman, down to the microscopic level.
      • Superhuman Hearing: The ability to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. The only Earth creature who can detect sounds at the frequency he can is a blue whale (0.01-200,000 Hz). He has shown enough control to block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source/frequency. Henshaw was able to detect disturbances in the frequency the human brain operates.


Abilities

  • Genius-Level Intellect: Henshaw has shown enhanced intelligence and computational abilities; his mind works sharply and with extreme speed. His analytical powers are impressive — he is able to use his senses to read information directly from machines (and, with careful usage of his heat vision, he can even reprogram machines).

Strength level

Weaknesses

Paraphernalia

Equipment

  • Alpha Lantern Power Battery
Transportation

Weapons

  • 10 Qwardian power ring's; formally Henshaw also possessed 10 Oaian power rings (formely)
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