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Quote1 I sacrificed everything to become a hero! You were born with it. When have you ever had to sacrifice anything? That doesn't make you a hero. It just makes you lucky. Quote2
Metallo src

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


John Corben's mother walked out on his family when he was very young. He was a kind and sensitive child who liked to read and draw, and was close to his sister Tracy.[1] One day, his abusive father murdered John's Uncle Mark and ordered him to dispose of the gun he had used, warning John that if he told anyone he would kill him with his bare hands.[2] Holding the gun made John feel strong and powerful in a way he never had before. Years later he would reflect that was the moment he realised he was a killer, and from then on he began slowly changing until there was nothing left of him but the gun.[3]

Rather then throw the gun in the river like he had been ordered to, John kept the gun and hid it under his bed. John had always taken the brunt of their father's abuse, but when he tried to beat Tracy as well, John killed him with the gun. John and Tracy were split up by the system; Tracy went into foster care while John was sent to a military school for troubled youth, where he learned to fight to protect himself from bullies. After graduation John joined the army, where his love of weapons and the power they represented were encouraged and valued.[1]

He eventually rose to the rank of Sergeant, working under General Sam Lane. He harbored a crush on Sam's daughter Lois Lane, although she spurned him.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

New 52

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".[9]

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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14]

Savage Dawn

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DC Rebirth

When Metallo and Blanque were forcibly teleported into Batman's moon base, they initially attempt to attack the Eradicator, but they are stopped by a mysterious figure who reveals himself as Hank Henshaw aka the Cyborg Superman, who welcomes them all to the new Superman Revenge Squad. So Metallo joined the squad with General ZodMongul, Cyborg Superman, the Eradicator, and Blanque, but they were defeated when the Superman Family come to Superman's aid and Zod betrays the rest of the team.[15][16]

Infinite Frontier

Return of Kal-El

Although Corben's robotic bodies were almost indestructible, his organic brain was still as vulnerable as a normal man's, and was damaged by his exploits as Metallo. A medical exam in prison showed that he was dying. His body was also severely damaged, leaving him near-immobile. John decided to accept his mortality, believing that his beloved sister Tracy would be better off if he were gone.

John Corben Prime Earth 001

Metallo's latest body.

Superman returned to Earth after months on a mission in space, bringing the entire artificial planetoid Warworld and all its inhabitants with him. Lex Luthor came to Corben at Stryker's Island and asked for his help fighting off what he saw as an invasion but Metallo refused, even after Luthor arranged for him to be given a working body and promised to save his life.[17][18]

Luthor contacted Metallo one last time via a receiver built into his body. Corben again refused to help and even ripped open his skull to destroy his own brain and commit suicide rather than help Luthor. However, Luthor revealed that he had framed Tracy for murder and she was being held in a private prison owned by LexCorp. Corben was forced to escape from prison and join Luthor.[19] John woke up after Luthor's procedures and found out that he had once again his senses and a humanoid body, a hologram of Luthor and one of his scientist greeted him and ordered him to stop Superman from taking Metropolis away from him.[20]


  • Cybernetic Enhancement: John's body has been enhanced with cybernetic components designed so he that could theoretically stop Superman if he ever went rogue. His first body was designed by John Henry Irons and he was later given a Kryptonite heart to replace the one that he had lost.[9] Throughout the years his body has been destroyed multiple times but was rebuilt or upgraded by the likes of Cyborg Superman[21], Sam Lane[22] and Lex Luthor.[18] His latest body provided by Luthor is almost indistinguishable from his original human body and restored to him his senses of touch, smell and taste while keeping his physical abilities unchanged.[20]
    • Superhuman Strength: Metallo's strength level is augmented by his cybernetic components, he can rip armored vehicles to pieces with his hands[9] and can easily shatter concrete with a single punch.[23] After being rebuild by order of Sam Lane his strength reached the point where he could hurt Superman with his blows[24] and throw him through a building.[25]
    • Superhuman Durability: Metallo's cybernetic body is far more resistant to damage than that of an ordinary man and makes him completely bulletproof, he is unbothered by tank's fire and highly resistant even point blank explosions.[9] Constant upgrades though the years furtherly enhanced such durability, a car hitting him at top speed will fail to cause any damage.[24] It once took numerous blows from Superman and being hit by a prolonged blast of his heat vision while being constantly drained of his energy by Parasite to put him out of commission.[25]
    • Flight[24]
    • Radiation Production: Metallo's body constantly gives off Kryptonite radiation, weakening Kryptonians the longer they are in his proximity.[24]
      • Energy Projection: Metallo could fire kryptonite radiation from his eyes, hand or heart at will. These blasts are capable of great destructive power and can knock Superman through a building.[24]
    • Weaponry: Metallo was stocked to the brim with heavy ordinance powered by his Kryptonite heart like machine guns[7], rocket launchers, high caliber cannons and flamethrowers.[9]
    • Enhanced Senses: Thanks to his cybernetics Metallo has superhuman senses.
      • Enhanced Hearing: Metallo's hearing is way keener than that of an ordinary human.[9]
      • Enhanced Vision: 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 and can identify targets through walls.[9]
    • Self-Sustenance: Metallo doesn't need to breath anymore and can walk on the ocean floor with no issues.[9]



  • Technological Reliability
  • Obsession: Metallo is obsessed with Lois Lane and the idea of becoming a hero by defeating Superman.[24]
  • Illness(Formerly): Metallo is slowly dying as his last organic component, his brain, can no longer handle the strain of his cybernetic bodies.[18] He was cured after Luthor transplanted his brain in a cybernetic copy of his original body.[20]
  • Restricted Senses(Formerly): While enhancing his sight and hearing his cybernetic bodies had no other senses, he recovered his full sensory capabilities after receiving his new human-like body from Luthor.[20]



Superman Villain(s)
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This character has been 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."

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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.