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|“||Oh, yes. I know who you are. Lois Lane and Clark Kent. Crusading writers for the Daily Planet. Well, you've both lucked into the ultimate story, this time. The story of Metallo! The man who's gonna kill Superman!!||„|
Metallo is the name of three supervillains in the DC Universe. He is one of the Man of Steel's more dangerous opponents due to the fact he has transformed himself into a cyborg that is powered by green kryponite - a substance that is deadly to Superman in large doses and severely weakens him whenever he becomes exposed to it. He first appeared in The Atom #3 (November, 1962) and was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane.
John was a reporter of the Daily Planet, who also had a crush on Lois Lane. He suffered a nearly fatal car accident, and was saved at the last moment by Dr. Emmett Vale, an old scientist, who replaced his broken heart with an uranium battery. Dr. Vale died of a heart attack soon after, and Corben found out that his new heart needed to be replaced once every twenty-four hours, since uranium depleted quickly; to survive, he became an uranium super-thief, but some times later he discovered that Kryptonite was a better energy source than uranium, and put a chunk of it in his chest. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack since the Kryptonite he had stolen was a fake, and didn’t fuel him. The second and most known version of Metallo sees him as a conman who was, again, fatally injured in a car accident. Corben was found by Dr. Vale, a paranoid scientist who believe that Superman was the vanguard of an alien invasion. Vale managed to save Corben transferring his brain into a metallic body of his own invention, a cybernetic construct powered by a chunk of Kryptonite. When Corben woke up in his new body, Dr. Vale told him everything he knew (or believed to know) about Superman’s true intentions, telling him that his new body, with the strength that provided him and, especially, with the radiations coming from his Kryptonite heart, was the ultimate weapon to kill a Kryptonian. Enraged from what Vale had done to him, Corben, now calling himself Metallo after the alloy his body was made of, killed the scientist and left his lab. Eventually, the opportunity given to him by his new powers led him to battle the Man of Steel all the same, but he was defeated by Superman. After the battle, Lex Luthor had Metallo’s body brought to him and, seeking his Kryptonite heart’s power, he took it away from him, apparently killing Corben.
Corben survived his encounter with Luthor, and managed to escape Lexcorp’s facility in which he was kept prisoner. In order to sustain himself, he started to raid Lexcorp’s warehouses, stealing every ounce of Kryptonite Luthor had collected during his years of war against Superman. Corben learnt how to modify Kryptonite to control it telepathically, so that he could remotely control every single body part of his. When some of his components ended up being a part of Robotman, the heroic cyborg of Doom Patrol, Metallo started a battle against the super team, who allied with Superman to take him down. Defeated, he was captured once again by Lex Luthor, but escaped one more time when he allied himself with the alien conqueror Brainiac. Along with Brainiac, Metallo managed to greatly improve his cybernetic body, and also kidnapped Reginald Augustine, founder of the Cadmus Project, and forced him to upgrade his powers. Metallo began to absorb any technological component present in Metropolis, world’s most advanced city, and grew to gigantic proportions. After other battles with Superman, he shrank to human size again, gaining the ability to transform every part of his body in any mechanical form he could think of. Metallo also battled Batman, when the Dark Knight and Superman embarked on a mission to erase every chunk of Kryptonite from the world: Corben’s heart was ripped of and replaced with an electronic one, that greatly reduced Metallo’s powers. There is yet another version of Metallo, with John Corben being an officer under General Sam Lane‘s command. When the Parasite went on a rampage, Corben volunteered to battle him in a Kryptonite-fueled mechanical suit developed by Lexcorp; when Corben was almost killed by his own suit, Lex Luthor saved his life by integrating him into his suit. Blaming Superman for the accident, also this version of Metallo became one of the Man of Steel’s greates and most dangerous enemies.
Metallo started his life as a simple criminal but became a much more powerful villain after having his body upgraded - due to his status as one of Superman's main enemies Metallo has appeared in many comics, TV series and videogames based around the franchise: some of the more famous examples are his appearances in the Superman animated series, the Justice League and Smallvile - he also appeared in The Batman series.
- Roger Corben appeared in the Superboy episode "Metallo" portrayed by Michael Callan. He later appeared in the episodes "Super Menace", "People Vs. Metallo", "Threesome" (parts 1 and 2), and "Obituary for A Super-Hero".
- Johnny Corben appeared in the Lois & Clark episode "Metallo" portrayed by Scott Valentine.
- John Corben appeared in the Smallville episodes "Savior" portrayed by Brian Austin Green. He later appeared in the episodes "Metallo", "Upgrade" and "Prophecy". He was a reporter from the Daily Planet who replaced Clark Kent after he quit. He was infatuated with Lois Lane. John was ran over by a truck and rebuilt by the Kandorians. Under kryptonite psychosis, he attempted at killing The Blur, whom he hated for failing to save his sister. He kidnapped Lois as bait, and Clark later came to her rescue. In the ensuing battle, Corben accidentally ripped out his Kryptonite heart. Later, a reformed John Corben, set out to live his life. When Lois tried to help him escape to her father's command post, John was chipped by agents of Tess Mercer and Chloe Sullivan who sent him to stop Clark (under Red K) and Major Zod. He left Metropolis after saving Clark, and being rejected by Lois. He decided to become a hired gun and in the process Schott supplied him with a new kryptonite heart that could absorb meteor rocks. He later joined Marionette Ventures and was assigned to Supergirl.
- Metallo model by Lillian Luthor.
- An Earth-X robotic version of Metallo appeared in the four-part crossover story "Crisis on Earth-X", voiced by Frederick Schmidt.
- After Otis Graves (portrayed by Robert Baker) death in season 4 of Supergirl, Lex Luthor and Eve Tessmacher resurrected him with Kryptonite, turning him into the new Metallo.
- A fifth Metallo appeared in the Supergirl season 4 episode "All About Eve".
- John Corben appear in DC Universe's adult animation series Harley Quinn.
- Main article: Metallo (DC Animated Universe)
- John Corben appeared in several episodes of Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League, voiced by Malcolm McDowell.
- John Corben appeared in several episodes of The Batman, voiced by Lex Lang.
- Metallo makes a cameo appearance in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
- John Corben appeared in the animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies as a minor yet crucual antagonist, voiced by John C. McGinley.
- Metallo makes a brief appearance in All-Star Superman.
- Metallo appeared in the animated film Justice League: Doom, voiced by Paul Blackthorne.
- Metallo appeared in the Justice League Action animated short "True Colors".
- Metallo is noted within a newspaper headline as having been defeated by Cyborg Superman in the 2019 animated feature Reign of the Supermen.
- Metallo appeared in Superman: Shadow of Apokolips, voiced by Malcolm McDowell.
- Metallo appeared in Superman: The New Adventures.
- Metallo appeared in Superman: The Man of Steel, voiced by Roger L. Jackson.
- Metallo appeared in the Superman Returns video game, voiced by John Billingsley.
- Metallo appeared in DC Universe Online, voiced by Ryan Wickerham.
- Metallo appeared in Injustice: Gods Among Us.
- Metallo appeared in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and Lego DC Super-Villains, voiced by Travis Willingham.