DC Database

Soldier-turned-supervillain John Corben is Metallo, a Kryptonite powered cyborg who is an enemy of Superman.

John Corben was a Sergeant working under General Sam Lane and having harbored a crush on his daughter Lois Lane, to which she spurned him.[1] When Superman escaped from the military's custody, Corben enlisted in Doctor John Henry Irons's "Project Steel Soldier" despite risking the project's flaws while believing that stopping Superman in order to show his affections for Lois.[2] Corben is outfitted with the Steel Soldier armor, under the supervision of Lex Luthor and General Lane. However, Corben's body is taken over by Brainiac and causing his heart to burst.[3] Corben went to attack Superman before going into a rampage until he is defeated when Dr. Irons uses an armored suit of his own to fight Corben and upload a computer virus that he designed in the event of such a situation.[4]

After escaping and still under Brainiac's control, Corben continued to fight Superman until Superman was able to reason with him to fight Brainiac's influence due to his feelings for Lois Lane. In doing so, Corben attacked Brainiac until Superman was able to defeat the villain, but he subsequently fell into a coma and was taken back by the army. It was revealed that the armor was keeping him alive thanks to the alien technology, but without a heart he would soon die. General Lane told his scientists to find a way to save him since he helped to save Metropolis. He was later given a Kryptonite heart to keep him alive since it was the only energy compatible with his cybernetics.[5]

Forever Evil

After several years, Corben recovered from his coma and returned to military service by General Lane despite protests from others in the military establishment that he was determined to be mentally unstable. Corben soon became more violent and ruthless in his actions in rooting out insurgents in the Middle East with disregard for civilian lives. General Lane, who finally realized the problems Corben had caused, had him remotely destroyed in an explosion. However, Corben survived and sought vengeance on Lane at the headquarters of Project Steel Soldier, where he espoused the conspiracy theory he formed during his coma and his long walk that Lane collaborated with his daughter and Superman to humiliate him, turn him into a monster, and then destroy him and replace him with Superman. Corben was then attacked and engaged into an intense battle with Project Steel Soldier's latest and advanced cyborg, Metal-2.0. He managed to defeat his successor and escaped from the explosion caused by Metal-2.0 that would have ensured to kill him when the Secret Society saved and offered him to join their organization, in which Corben accepted and adopted the nickname given by the people of Project Steel Soldier, "Metallo".[6]

Eventually Corben answered the summons of the society by Crime Syndicate like most every villain in the prime earth universe. Ultraman gave a grand speech about how the world had all but squandered its resources in sheltering undesirables while Metallo and other like him would serve as their own private army in their war for conquest of their world.[7] Some time after Ultraman made his grand speech and moved the earths moon into the sun causing all manner of planet wide catastrophe's, he was at an army base looking for Lane so he could rip him a new one. In that instant however The leader of the Crime Syndicate came up from behind him, dropping his guard after mistaking Ultraman for Superman, Kal-Il proceeded to rip out his Kryptonite heart leaving him for dead.[8]

Superman: Doomed

Somehow Corben resurfaced, Kryptonite heart intact. He was taken to the special holding facility fabricated by John Henry and bathed in a liquid metal solution to stave off his Doomsday Virus exposure.[9] Eventually he was handed back into the care of the U.S. Military. He was convinced by Lois Lane (who was secretly controlled by Brainiac) to partake in a suicide bombing against Superman, who also suffered from the virus. Corben's biological remains were incinerated during the failed detonation.[10]

Under Brainiac's full control, Lois projected a memory engram of the fallen Metallo into his vacant Metal Zero suit, now projecting a necrotic hologram of the man he used to be from it, acting as her loyal bodyguard and enforcer. A ghost inside of the machine.[11]


  • Cybernetic Enhancement
    • Superhuman Strength: Metallo's strength level is augmented by his cybernetic components.
    • Superhuman Durability
    • Energy Projection: Metallo could fire kryptonite radiation from his eyes or heart at will.
    • Weaponry: Metallo was stalked to the brim with heavy ordinance powered by his Kryptonite heart,
    • Scanning: Corben in digital form could scan the surroundings of his environment in order to get the lay of the land. He could read out Superman's poisoned state as the kryptonite in his system was killing him.





Superman Villain(s)
DC Rebirth Logo.png

This character is or was primarily an enemy of Superman in any of his various incarnations, or members of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Villains category."

Villains United Vol 1 1 Textless.jpg
DC Rebirth Logo.png

Secret Society of Super-Villains member
This character is or was a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, a cadre of super-villains who band together to accomplish feats no one super-villain can do alone, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Secret Society of Super-Villains members" category.