Saturday, April 24, 2010

Episode #123: Reign Of The Supermen Month Week III: Cyborg Superman!

The third of the four Supermen introduced in the Reign Of The Supermen storyline, in the Superman titles cover dated June 1993, was the Cyborg Superman. He first appeared in Superman #78 (Triangle #14). This issue was published on the same day as the other Superman titles that month, April 27, 1993. This issue, as with the other three titles that month, had two covers. Penciller Dan Jurgens and inker Brett Breeding drew both the regular and the deluxe cut out covers. The story, titled Alive, was written and laid out by Dan Jurgens, finished art by Brett Breeding, lettered by John Costanza and colored by Glenn Whitmore. Jennifer Frank was the assistant editor, and Mike Carlin wsa the editor.

The story began with a frazzled and drained Lois Lane driving in the rain toward a LexCorp installation outside Metropolis. Her grief over Superman's death had only gotten worse with the news about his empty tomb and the appearances of the four new Supermen. She met a Dr. Meyer, who showed her a photograph from one of the installation's security cameras that seemed to show Superman, with part of his face in shadow.

At S.T.A.R. Labs someone off-panel asked to see the Mayor. He was in a meeting with Dr. Faulkner. A shadowed figure wearing a red cape barged in and demanded to see Doomsday's body.

As Lois drove back into Metropolis through the pouring rain, she heard the police scanner reports calling for Maggie Sawyer's unit to report to S.T.A.R. Labs because Mayor Berkowitz saw Superman there. Lois called the Daily Planet offices to get more information. Jimmy Olsen answered her call and filled her in on all of the information he knew. That was the last straw for Lois. She decided to get to the bottom of the story.

At Project Cadmus, Director Westfield ordered skytroops to intercept a bogey that was headed to the top secret installation. An unknown figure flashed by the skytroops, and the Guardian and Cadmus ground troops scrambled to intercept the unknown intruder. After he makes short work of the Cadmus forces, the Cyborg Superman was first revealed. He demanded to see the body of Doomsday. The Guardian was shocked, because he had watched Superman die. The Cyborg Superman claimed to be the original Superman, and was different because of the damage he had sustained during his fatal battle against Doomsday.

Not taking no for an answer, the Cyborg Superman burrowed thorugh a deep underground chamber to free the heavily chained body of Doomsday from a security cell. He used his cyborg hand to tap into Cadmus' security to open the security door

In the middle of the issue was a mini-poster of the Cyborg Superman.

Cyborg Superman wrapped Doomsday's body in the cables that had secured him to the walls, and flew out of Cadmus. Lois saw him fly by as she stood on the ground over Cadmus. He tied Doomsday's body to an asteroid and used parts from his cyborg body to create an alarm that would send an alert to him if anyone ever freed Doomsday. He then threw Doomsday into deep space.

Lois, at her limits emotionally, walked through the rain. She was met by the Cyborg Superman, who tried to convince her that he was the real Superman. They both went to Prof. Hamilton's lab, where he conducted a thorough examination of the Cyborg Superman. Hamilton had a familiarity with kryptonian technology as well as Superman's DNA. He found that the cyborg parts were based on kryptonian technology, and that the Cyborg Superman's DNA was a perfect match for Superman. The Professor was convinced that the Cyborg Superman was the Man of Steel himself, come back to life.

The issue ended showing Doomsday floating in deep space, laughing.

As the Reign Of The Supermen developed and became the Return Of Superman, the Cyborg Superman was revealed to really be Hank Henshaw, former astronaut. He made his first appearances earlier than the other three Supermen. Henshaw appeared with his other three unnamed crewmates of the space shuttle Excaliber, in Superman #42, April 1990, published on February 20, 1990. This was during the Krypton Man storyline. He and his crewmates were first identified in Adventures Of Superman #465, May 1990, published on February 20, 1990. In the next issue of that title, a LexCorp experiment onboard Excaliber malfuntioned, exposing the crew to radiation and forcing the shuttle to crash land on Earth. Their story was an homage to Marvel's Fantastic Four. By the end of the story only Henshaw and his wife survived. Henhaw's body deteriorated until it could no longer sustain him, but he was able to transfer his consciousness into computer equipment. He was able to manipulate the tecnology to create an artificial body from computer parts. When he appeared in this form to his wife, it drove her insane.

Henshaw left this body and transferred his mind to Superman's birthing matrix, which Superman had placed in space. Hank created a small body from kryptonian parts that allowed him to travel through interstellar space, and leave Earth.

That was where Henshaw got the kryptonian technology and samples of Superman's DNA to build his body when he returned to Earth. After his appearance as the Cyborg Superman, thanks to Dr. Hamilton's endorsement, he was the most prominent of the four new Supermen. Two cults would arise, one worshipping the Eradicator, then known as the Last Son of Krypton, and the Cyborg Superman.

After an alien ship appeared over Coast City, the Cyborg Superman almost killed the Eradicator. Mongul was on the alien ship, and destroyed Coast City. The Cyborg Superman convinced the President that the Eradicator was responsible. Mongul then began building an Engine City over the ruins. Cyborg Superman prepared a second warhead, aimed at Metropolis, where he planned on building a second Engine City. His purpose was to turn Earth into a new Warworld. Cyborg defeated Superboy, who escaped and was barely able to save Metropolis from the warhead.

The rejuvinated Eradicator and the real resurrected Superman defeated Cyborg. Eradicator sacrificed himself and shielded Superman from Cyborg's blast of kryptonite radiation, converting it into energy that restored Superman's powers. Superman destroyed Cyborg's body by pounching through his cyborg half, and vibrating his arm until Cyborg's body disintegrated. This occurred in Superman #82, the October 1993 issue. In Green Lantern #13 (vol. 4), it was revealed that the reason Henshaw chose Coast City was that his wife had been a former resident.

That would not be the end of the Cyborg Superman. He transferred his consciousness to the alert device on Doomsday's asteroid where he could hide. Doomsday would be found by a spaceship, where he escaped and landed on Apokolips. Henshaw created a new body with a Parademon's armor and attempted to take over Apokolips, but he was defeated by Darkseid. Darkseid's Omega Beams captured Henshaw in an orb, and Darkseid planned to use Henshaw at some future date. Darkseid eventually changed his mind and banished Henshaw from Apokolips, never to return. This occurred in the mini-series Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey published in 1994.

The Cyborg would later align himself with the Tribunal, which would prosecute Superman for supposed crimes of his ancestors over the destruction of Krypton, in the storyline The Trian Of Superman. Eventually, Cyborg would betray the Tribunal and attempt to take over their planet in another try to create a new Warworld. Superman and his allies, who had come from Earth to rescue him, defeated Cyborg. The Tribunal sentenced Cyborg to death and dropped him into a black hole.

This did not destroy Cyborg, but transported him into another dimension during a Green Lantern / Silver Surfer crossover. Cyborg would return to the DC Universe by that story's end.

Superman would battle Cyborg again at New Genesis during his Electric Superman period. After the Cyborg was defeated, he transferred himself into Superman's containment suit and began a new life as a high school art teacher. His hatred of Superman caused him to reveal his identity, and fight and lose to Superman once more. This time he transferred his mind into a clay statue, which was later stolen by Toyman. They teamed up against Superman to destroy him, but instead split him into Electric Superman Red and Electric Superman Blue. Two heads were better than one and both Supermen defeated Cyborg once again.

Cyborg would later conquer Kandor, but after being defeated by Superman yet again, was sent to the Phantom Zone. He would later appear as the Grandmaster of the Manhunters, in Green Lantern #11 (vol. 4) in 2006. His Cyborg body would be destroyed, except for his head., which would be taken by the Sinestro Corps when it invaded Oa. They took Cyborg's head to the anti-matter wourld Qward, where he would join the Sinestro Corps and wear 10 Corps rings.During the Sinestro Corps War his body would be destroyed once again, this time except for the upper part of his skull, and he remained alive somehow.

Cyborg has been harder to kill than cockroaches.

Next Week: Reign Of The Supermen Month Week IV: Superboy!

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