Hank Henshaw, a brilliant scientist at the time, and three of his friends were returning from space when they encountered a freak radiation storm. The radiation affected the machinery of the vessel and the shuttle crash landed somewhere far away from its intended target. When the four explorers had freed themselves from the wreckage, Hank discovered that his friends Steve and Jim had been horribly transformed. Steve had become living radiation and Jim's body had been destroyed and reformed out of debris from the ship and the surrounding area. Hank's wife Terri seemed to be fine, but Hank himself could feel radiation sickness beginning to eat away at him.
The group went to Metropolis in search of a LexCorp facility that they could use to fix their mutations, but ran into Superman and were subsequently involved in a time-consuming fight. Things were worked out but by then the radiation's effects on Hank had begun to show. His flesh was falling off his bones, and he was obviously close to death. Terri also started exhibiting symptoms, beginning to fade from existence. Hank tried his hardest to work on a cure for her, but he was going fast. While he worked, Steve flew into the sun and Jim killed himself. Hank came up with a plan to fix Terri, but died before he could use it. Thankfully, Superman was still there and he was able to save Terri before she completely disappeared.
Some time later, Hank returned in a new form. When his physical body had died, his consciousness had been turned to energy and sent into the machine on which he had been working. Somehow he had gained control over the machinery and was able to form it into a robotic body he could use as transport. His first thoughts once reconstituted were of his wife Terri, who had been institutionalized after the traumatic events which she had witnessed.
Henshaw found Terri, but after appearing as a robot and leaving suddenly when security came, Terri was left even more disturbed than before. When Henshaw heard how his visit had made Terri feel, he decided it would be best for him to leave Earth and continue his hunt for knowledge on his own. Henshaw found his way to Superman's birthing matrix and made it his new body so he could travel space again, absorbing the knowledge of the universe in the process. Superman found him and tried to stop him, but Hank flew away.
Hank Henshaw was created by Dan Jurgens. Hank Henshaw made his first comic book appearance in Adventures of Superman #465.
Modern Age / New Earth
Cyborg Superman's origin has been retold a number of times with slight changes each time (often showing Superman doing things he hadn't originally done), but usually with the Cyborg himself narrating. Since Cyborg Superman is obviously insane and hates Superman, some things are clearly false, but with other changes, like the cause of the radiation storm and what happened with Terri, it's hard to tell if these re-tellings are just the result of a crazy man telling his story or official retcons. For that reason, any changes in the origin are in the following paragraph.
When the Cyborg met Mongul, it is revealed that for some reason Henshaw believes that Superman was responsible for his loss of humanity and that he had banished Hank from Earth.
When the Cyborg battled Blue Superman at the Source Wall, he explained that Superman had caused the deaths of his friends because he was jealous and afraid of their abilities. While attacking Earth as a part of the Sinestro Corps, the Cyborg said that Superman had indirectly caused the radiation storm when he threw Eradicator into the sun. He also said that Terri had been near death when he went to see her as a machine and that he was trying to save her life but she jumped out of a window when she saw him and, as a result, Superman tried to kill him.
New 52 / Prime Earth
In the issues 5-6 of Team 7, We see a person named Dr. Henshaw, who worked for the Advanced Prosthetic Research Center as head of robotics geneticist. When the Spartan reactivated and took over the center by turning everybody into mind-control cyborgs, Henshaw's body died, but his mind was protected by the base's firewall. Henshaw's body merged with some of the dead bodies and turn into a giant cyborg monster.
After Convergence, New Earth Superman saves Hank Henshaw's space ship, the Excalibur, from crashing into the planet. Superman hopes to prevent this Hank Henshaw from become Cyborg Superman. When Superman opens up the cockpit, to his surprise he finds Hank alone on the ship.
Major Story Arcs
Modern Age / New Earth:
Destruction of Coast City
For More Information: Superman #80
After an Alien spacecraft (commanded by the original Mongul, who worked for Cyborg Superman) suddenly appeared over Coast City and was approached by the Eradicator to discover its intent, Hank would then commit an act that would have severe consequences on the DCU for decades afterward (such as Zero-Hour and its consequences).
This act had been fueled by many psychotic motivations like his desire to remake Coast City into his image, to forever discredit Superman, and to erase the memory of his wife Terri, who was from Coast City. Hank destroyed the Eradicator, Coast City, and all of its seven million inhabitants. He would later attempt to do the same thing to Metropolis, but a squad consisting of Superboy, Supergirl, Steel, a rebuilt Eradicator, and a revived Superman would eventually arrive to stop him.
The battle would reach its climax as Hank, Superman, and the Eradicator fought in the reactor of the Hank’s remade Coast City or “Engine City”, the kryptonite radiation in the room where they fought was so fierce it was capable of killing non-Kryptonians, Hank would destroy the Eradicator once more. But as his blast went through the him, the Eradicator changed the radiation into yellow sunlight and directed it towards Superman, giving him the power to at last defeat Henshaw and obliterate him.
Reign of the Supermen
For More Information: Reign of the Supermen
After wandering the Universe and eventually losing his sanity, Cyborg Superman would ultimately return to Earth and after spending several weeks convincing the world of his legitimacy as the “real” Superman by saving the president from terrorists and throwing Doomsday into space (secretly implanting a device in him that would allow Hank to always know his location in the process). Hank would later send his consciousness to the device he had placed on Doomsday long ago, and after Doomsday at last landed on Apokolips, Hank would remake himself using Apkoliptian technology, effortlessly assimilating the New God technology into his being.
With Doomsday at his side, he laid waste to Apokolips’s defenses, even using Doomsday to defeat Darkseid himself, but his plans of conquest were foiled by Superman, who delayed Hank’s triumph long enough for Darkseid to recover and defeat him with the Omega Effect. Darkseid would ultimately undo Hank’s imprisonment within the effect after being angered by Superman, sending Hank to plague him once more.
Hank would later hunt down Superman at the behest of an intergalactic tribunal who mistakenly believed Superman guilty of destroying his home planet of Krypton. After capturing Superman, Supergirl, Steel, Superboy and the Eradicator, he would later be captured by the alien tribunal himself after they learned of his many crimes and of Superman’s innocence, and they ultimately decided to cast him into a black hole. After eventually escaping, he was attacked by Hal Jordan as Parallax. Their battle would take them to the brink of the Source Wall, a wall made of fallen gods, containing unfathomable power, and serving as the barrier between the various 52 universes and the Bleed (the highly radioactive space between universes).
Parallax would ultimately destroy the Cyborg’s body and disperse his consciousness into the wall. Henshaw would survive, however, by commandeering a piece of the source wall itself, and after a brief confrontation with Blue Superman, he would eventually travel beyond the Wall and into The Bleed (eventually learning of 51 parallel universes that existed beyond his own) before eventually somehow making contact with the Manhunters and becoming their Grandmaster.
Revenge of The Green Lanterns
For More Information: Revenge of the Green Lanterns
Hank later began upgrading the Manhunters with Kryptonian technology, becoming their Grandmaster. He spent a lot of time and effort battling and capturing various members of the Green Lantern Corps, and performing experiments on them to see if sentient life could be controlled. Henshaw remarked that life brought nothing but suffering, and to be given any meaning, it must either be controlled or destroyed. “By eliminating organic life, I eliminate the suffering that goes with it”.
During a rescue expedition led by Hal Jordan to free their compatriots, he and Arisia would commandeer one of Henshaw’s Highmasters, a device which could (and did) amplify the power of their rings 100 times over; using it to defeat Henshaw, whose remains would later be collected for interrogation by the Guardians of the Universe.
For More Information: Sinestro Corps War
After the opening raid on Oa in the early stages of the Sinestro Corps War, both he and Superman-Prime were freed from their imprisonment and joined forces with the Anti-Monitor and the Sinestro Corps. A short time later Hank asked The Anti-Monitor if he would kill him after he had fulfilled his purpose, The Anit-Monitor promised Hank that he would succeed where Superman and Hal Jordan had failed and would destroy Hank once he had done everything that was asked of him. With tears welling up in his organic eye, Hank thanked The Anti-Monitor for his "compassion" and returned to his duties. Henshaw was positioned to watch over the construction of the new Warworld. As the Sinestro Corps approached Earth, their primary target, Sinestro ordered Hank to deal with the Justice League and control the Anti-Monitor's landing zone personally. He attacked the Justice League, along with his army of Manhunters, and they appeared to be victorious before Superman arrived and battled his cyborg counterpart. Using the power of ten Sinestro Corps Power Rings, Henshaw was able to gain a temporary victory over Superman, but was over-powered when Supergirl and Power Girl arrived to aid their cousin. Henshaw was later thrown at Superman-Prime, who was in the middle of a battle with the rest of Earth's heroes and accidentally hammered him into the ground.
After landing on top of Prime, Henshaw states "He almost did it." Henshaw returned to the battle while Superman and the others fought with Prime and continued to fight Green Lanterns and the heroes of Earth. He noted the Green Lanterns had been given the authority to use lethal force and requested they use it, while lighting Hawkman's wings on fire with heat vision,, but the fire was quickly put out by John Stewart. Henshaw was incinerated when Warworld collided with The Anti-Monitor and exploded, but before he died he gave thanks to Guy and John for granting him his greatest wish.
Most of his body survived the explosion and retained more damage when Prime hurled the Anti-Moniter into space. The upper part of his skull was retrieved by his Manhunters, who were lost without their Grandmaster. The Manhunters reanimated his brain, bringing Cyborg-Superman back to life, much to his misfortune.
A Secret Piece of History
For More Information: Booster Gold
In The Booster Gold Series, Hank Henshaw was seen with his wife and fellow astronauts. The crew thought it was Superman to wish them luck, but it was Booster Gold. Booster told Henshaw that he needed to inspect inside. Hank gave Booster five minutes to look around on the shuttle. Henshaw eventually said to Booster, “It's time for us to go“. Booster Gold looked on with conflicted emotions as the space shuttle lifted off to space and the accident happened that turned Hank Henshaw into the Cyborg Superman.
In Coast City, Booster’s sister, who had lost her memory up to that point, eventually remembered what had happened to Coast City. She then noticed a man with a sign saying “Repent, Coast City is doomed!“ and followed him into an alley when all of a sudden she was approached by the past version of Cyborg Superman who inquired to her well-being, much to her apparent dismay. After a brief conversation with Michelle where he tried to convince her of his authenticity as the real Superman he left as he had "More pressing matters that require my attention."
He would later appear as the plan to destroy Coast City entered its final stages, after a brief one-sided battle with Booster Gold, he would quickly leave Booster to his fate in order to confront the Eradicator and likewise stop him from preventing Coast City’s destruction as well.
For More Information: Green Lantern Corps
Recently, it was revealed that Hank Henshaw has become "Alpha Prime" of The Alpha Lanterns and has been building an army of them, using Green Lanterns that were kidnapped by the First Generation Alphas.
As of now, John Stewart, who refused to undergo the Alpha Lantern process months ago, is being converted by Hank into The Alpha Lantern he never became. He is operating on John Stewart when during the procedure Kyle Rayner and the rest of the Lanterns are looking for the missing John Stewart. Hank Henshaw establishes the link to John's brain, and his mind is overflown with stories and flashbacks of Hank's life before he turned into Cyborg Superman. After the Sinestro Corps War , while getting rebooted by the Manhunters , feeling sorry and sad for himself once more, he ended up seeking and switching them all off. Cyborg Superman was around during Blackest Night, but was invisible.
After, seeing his wife, Terri, and the rest of the crew as Black Lanterns, memories came to his mind of when he once ripped his wife's corpse to shreds. Even Nekron couldn't help him out of his miserable life. Feeling hopeless, he flew away of all the pain he was suffering. It was then when he reactivated the Manhunters, feeling lonely, while with the help of a mysterious being, the idea of the Alpha Lanterns and the one who could help him was born, but also getting rid of the Manhunters. Breaking into Cyborg Superman's base, Ganthet with the help of Kyle Rayner and Soranik Natu, they rescue John Stewart.
It is then, when Cyborg Superman fights Ganthet, revealing to him his Power Battery of a "heart", while the rest of his Alpha Lanterns are fighting Kyle and Soranik. Green Lantern Ganthet was the one who was going to be the savior of Cyborg Superman's plan. He holds the key to Henshaw's desire, that being said, he is the one who can turn Alpha Lanterns back to normal people. Cyborg Superman took Ganthet to help him with the problem of the Alpha Lanterns' power battery level to defeat the Green Lanterns Corps. He forced Ganthet to fix the Alpha Lanterns, but before Ganthet could turn him human again, the Green Lanterns attacked.
They destroyed Cyborg Superman's body. He tried to possess Boodikka, but she resisted. Her willpower, her inner warrior, killed Cyborg Superman, giving him what he had most wanted. Cyborg Superman was hiding within Boodika's circuitry and reconfigured himself once she was incapacitated by Doomsday, who had been searching for him.
Reign of Doomsday
For More Information: Reign of Doomsday
After the events of the Green Lantern Corps series and the death of the Cyborg Superman by Boodikka killing him. Cyborg Superman somehow survived his death. In the Reign of Doomsday the tie in to the Death Of Superman crossover series in 1993. Cyborg Superman was seen in the Reign of Doomsday crossover in Justice League of America issue #55 Boodikka was talking to Supergirl with the aid of Batman helping her recover from the war on New Krypton aftermath and all of a sudden Doomsday came and crashed the party.
Batman survived from his space suit, and with Supergirl took Boodikka back to the Justice League Watchtower. Doomsday found them and a voice said that "It wanted me, not the JLA." Cyborg Superman was in Boodikka's body as nano bytes. Boodikka's body turned out to be Cyborg Superman. After the attack on the JLA Watchtower, Cyborg Superman was beaten up very badly by Doomsday. He killed Doomsday, but Doomsday had a upgrade in his armor. Batman and Supergirl attacked Doomsday, but Doomsday got very strong and destroyed the Cyborg Superman and took Supergirl out of the JLA Watchtower.
Cyborg Superman and Supergirl were captured in a maze ship in space with the rest of the Supermen like Steel and Superboy with Eradicator, and Superman helped them try to find their way off the ship and away from the army of Doomsdays that were coming to attack them. Cyborg Superman told Superman that there are different Doomsdays to get them. Superman had enough of Cyborg Superman talking, and he punched him and ripped out his metal heart to power him down. After the Doomslayer, Original Doomsday and the Doomsday clones were sent to another dimension, Henshaw is taken into custody by S.T.A.R. Labs.
Powers & Abilities
As a result of the cosmic radiation, Hank Henshaw underwent a rapid degeneration but at the moment of his death, his consciousness jumped into a nearby computer. From that point on, his consciousness became tied to machines. He can possess machines and anything even remotely electronically 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 any 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 his time spent traveling across the universe, he can imagine a lot. And, even before becoming a living energy signal, Hank Henshaw was a genius, so this only adds to what he can come up with. The Cyborg is not limited by the uses or parts in the original machine, which makes this ability all the more dangerous.
Due to the fact that parts of the Cyborg are cloned from Superman's DNA, he has many of the Man of Steel's powers. He has exhibited heat vision (and other kinds of vision), super strength, super speed, invulnerability, and flight. It is assumed that if he created biological lungs for himself he could duplicate Superman's freeze breath, but he has not done so at this time.
As with machines though, Cyborg Superman can modify his Kryptonian parts beyond their original limits and weaknesses. He has already removed his Kryptonite weakness and his understanding of biology seems so complete that he can create more living Kryptonian parts from machinery. Cyborg Superman is also immortal, being able to live no matter what happens to his physical body. Currently, Cyborg Superman possess several Green Lantern Rings and ten Qwardian, Sinestro Corps Power Rings.
These weapons are not just for show either. He seldom uses them, usually relying on his Kryptonian powers, however, when he did use them he appeared to be rather adept. Other weapons at his disposal include Willhunters, nanites which he uses to enslave a person's mind and make them loyal to the Manhunters, as well as hundreds of Manhunter robots which he has upgraded and started mass producing to obey his every command.
Recently, he took control of The Alpha Lanterns just as he once did with the Manhunters and has been reproducing Alpha Lantern batteries in order to turn Lanterns that have been kidnapped by his new soldiers into Alpha Lanterns themselves. The Manhunters meanwhile remain in Sector 3601 minus their Grandmaster.
Silver Surfer/Green Lantern
For More Information: Silver Surfer/Green Lantern
Cyborg Superman would briefly appear in the Marvel Universe in the Silver Surfer/Green Lantern Crossover where he destroys a planet once saved by Silver Surfer in an attempt to recreate War World.
After a brief battle between the two, Parallax (as Jordan) would appear and interrupt their fight. Surfer ultimately steps in on Hank’s behalf giving him the chance to escape Jordan’s wrath. He would also play a role in the Superman/Terminator crossover. He would play a role in yet another Marvel crossover, this time with the Fantastic Four and Superman in their quest to stop Galactus.
In Other Media
Hank Henshaw was a special agent that recruited scientist Jeremiah Danvers into the D.E.O. in exchange for Jeremiah's continued custody of Kara Danvers. He died in his ruthless hunt for J'onn J'onzz--accidentally thrown from a cliff when Jeremiah fought to protect the innocent alien.
J'onzz later assumed his identity and climbed the ranks of the D.E.O., eventually becoming its leader.