One of the few people who is a genuine threat to Superman and his Kryptonian family, yet never used in a movie. He could be a hero but his villainous side always wins out. A heart of Kryptonite fuels him and empowers him. Metallo! The steel man who can go toe to toe with the Man of Steel. Who is the man that became a machine? Let’s find out!
In the golden age, Metallo (called Metalo) wasn’t a cyborg but more like Iron Man as a man in a powered suit of armor. George Grant wold use science in a variety of ways to give him am edge over Superman in a fight. Chemicals to enhance himself, energy rays to weaken Superman, and the suit itself allowed Metalo to nearly beat Superman but by fleeing and regaining his strength. But Superman would always defeated Metalo.
In the silver age, we were introduced to nefarious journalist, John Corben. It wasn’t his reporting that made him dubious, it was that he was also a murderous thief and was pretty good at hiding this side of himself. That is, until he was horribly injured while running from a crime he’d committed. He barely lived and was brought back to life in a cyborg body powered by Kryptonite by a random scientist. The silver age was lousy with random scientists ready to rescue someone only to perform questionable procedures on them to bring them back to life.
Given a fleshlike covering that made him look like his former self, John would get a job at the Daily Planet. Paranoid that Superman was the only person who could uncover his past crimes, John was dedicated to kill Superman. Using his own power source for a trap, he’d steal a museum piece of Kryptonite to replace his with. Superman would survive the trap but the museum piece was just a replica and John would die.
Seeking vengeance, John’s brother Roger would have himself transformed into a new Metallo. Seriously, it is just so easy to find people who will just transform you into immortal super powered cyborg in the DC universe. Why don’t more people do it and just not be jerks. Roger was a jerk and tried to kill Superman several times but always failed.
When the Crisis of Infinite Earths reset reality, John Corben was now a con man who was terribly injured in a car accident. A scientist (come on!) who believed Superman was the first of what would be a Kryptonian invasion of Earth and would transform John into Metallo to fight for Earth. John would kill the scientist and even though he didn’t care about defending Earth from Kryptonians, he’d often end up fighting with Superman.
In the New 52, John Corben is in the military and serves under General Sam Lane, father of Lois Lane. John would be part of the government’s anti-Superman defense force and tested out their new Metallo power armor. The alien A.I. Brainiac would take control of Metallo and effectively merge John with the armor. John Henry Irons and Superman would work together to stop him from rampaging. Superman would appeal to John about his feelings towards Lois to bring his humanity back. John would be put into a vegetative state until Kryptonite reactivated him and Sam Lane attempts to kill him to prevent him from endangering the world further. John survives and the Metallo’s own A.I. tries to self-destruct but John masters his new body and fully becomes Metallo of his own and joins the Society of Supervillains.
There you have it folks! Metallo has appeared on the small screen several times over and is currently going to appear on the latest Supergirl TV series. A body of near indestructible metal and a heart of Kryptonite makes him a deadly foe for any Super Kryptonian. Will he ever make a leap to the big screen? We’ll have to wait and see. See you next time!
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