Alloy Body: Corben suffered a severe car crash, in which Corben was repaired, providing a robotic body powered primarily by the piece of kryptonite. Has the following abilities:
Body Armor: Unearthly protection from all physical and energy damage.
Self-Sustance: Doesn’t need to eat, sleep or breathe
Invulnerability: Metallo has class 1000 resistance to Disease, Toxin and Radiation.
Kryptonite Heart: Within Metallo’s chest is a heart made of Kryptonite. He can project Monstrous energy towards Kryptonian beings bypassing their invulnerabilities..
Absorb Automation: Metallo is able to absorb any metal or mechanical object he touches. He can transform any nearby machine into an extension of his exoskeleton. Metallo gains up to Unearthly abilities of those extensions.
Shapechange: He can reshape his entire body or parts of it and can form such complex shapes with Amazing ability. Has formed the following:
Arm Extention: Good, able to reach up to 3 areas
Gun Hand: Fire up to 5 areas, Good Shooting. Able to fire real bullets or Kryptonite shards.
Crime, Guns, Streetwise
Earth was threatened with an alien invasion from a distant planet. This planet, called Krypton, sent a “superman” as a scout to test our mettle and herald the coming of the Kryptonian invasion. They had to be stopped. This “Superman” had to be stopped. And Professor Emmett Vale was the person to stop them – or so he thought. Vale witnessed the flaming trail of the alien infant’s spacecraft as it rocketed through Earth’s atmosphere. He triangulated the position of the crash site and stole the remains of alien craft. Vale worked long and hard to translate the holographic recordings stored within the capsule, unfortunately his translations were imperfect. He mistook a message from a dead father to a surviving son as instructions for the scout of an alien invasion. Blinded by his own mistakes and prejudices Professor Vale set out to use stolen property to build a weapon to counter the alien threat.
John Corben was a two-bit out of luck thief, a petty criminal from Metropolis who drifted between Metropolis and Gotham City. He even had the bad luck to be in Gotham on the night of the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, a chance coincidence that would return to haunt him. When things seemed they couldn’t get worse for him, they always did. One particularly unlucky night changed Corben’s life forever. Little is known about the actual car crash, but the accident left Corben’s body mangled, on death’s door and wiht very little chance of ever recovering. But Corben would live that night: for better or worse. It was Professor Vale who found Corben. Maybe Vale felt he could save this man and help him live a whole life again or maybe he just saw a guinea pig.
Some time before the accident Vale had appropriated from a Japanese scientist a new wonder alloy called metallo. Vale used the alloy to create an almost indestructible cyborg body that he would use as his weapon against the Kryptonian threat. No terrestrial isotope would be able to generate the energy levels necessary to confront a fully-grown Kryptonian so Vale used a chuck of kryptonite (at the time one of the few pieces on Earth) that had become embedded in the tail fin of the stolen spacecraft. To finish off this cyborg built from stolen metal and powered by a stolen isotope Vale decided to use a stolen brain. He transplanted Corben’s brain into the cyborg body and dubbed him Metallo. Vale, believing that Corben would be an ally told him the whole story, but he only received death as Corben killed him for his “help”.
Corben saw his incredible new body as a means to earn the wealth that had eluded him his entire life and he set out to rob the nearest large bank. He chose one in nearby Metropolis, but the crime fighter called Superman interrupted his raid. To Metallo and Superman’s surprise, the kryptonite power supply reeled Superman, weakened him, and almost killed him. It would have been the death of Superman if it were not for the timely intervention of a most unlikely saviour. Lex Luthor, had sworn vengeance on Superman and would not allow him to die by any other hand than his own. Luthor’s agents whisked Metallo away and Luthor tore out his Kryptonite heart, apparently killing him. Luthor saw the potential of the kryptonite as a weapon and had it divided – one fragment was cut and polished and became the jewel in Luthor’s infamous Kryptonite Signet Ring.
Metallo appeared to be dead, but he actually proved to be quite stubborn – it turned out that the good Professor had created a redundant power supply to keep Corben’s brain alive in the event of the loss of the primary power source. Time and again this supply would keep Corben alive when the authorities (legitimate or otherwise) dismantled his robotic body. In the pre-Doom Patrol reboot timeline, Metallo’s backup power supply provided to be enough for him to escape from the Lexcorp laboratory. But, the technicians had dissected much of his body and Metallo badly needed new parts. He discovered that a number of his parts had been given to the second Robotman (Cliff Steele). Cliff’s body had been going haywire as the Metallo parts began rebelling. Superman aided Cliff and the Doom Patrol in their fight against Metallo. He was finally defeated when his body exploded leaving only his head intact. Their battle is now considered apocryphal.
Decapitation would not be the end for Metallo. The cyborg’s head was appropriated by Lexcorp and languished in a forgotten lab until Luthor had a use for it. Unfortunately for Luthor the diabolical alien mastermind Brainiac had also been appropriated by Lexcorp’s scientists for study. Brainiac’s powerful mind enthralled the scientist and he began to use Lexcorp’s resources for his own ends. He shut down Luthor’s Metropolis operations and had Metallo rebuilt as a delaying opponent for Superman. Brainiac hadn’t replaced Metallo’s Kryptonite core so Superman, with assistance from the Guardian, was able to easily capture him. However, Metallo had planted four explosive devices around Metropolis as a further distraction for Superman and Brainiac inevitably escaped.
Metallo’s next appearance was as a mercenary working for the head swapping Cerberus, who had in turn been hired by the Latin American country of Tattamalia in their private war with Lexcorp. Cerberus had previous attacked Metropolis with a couple of minor-league mercenary tag teams, but he upped the stakes when he provided Metallo with a new body and sent him against Luthor. Metallo was again thwarted by Superman and then had no problem in revealing the location of Cerberus’s hideout. Sometime later Metallo, with a new armoured body, was briefly a pawn in Conduit’s revenge attacks on the Man of Steel.
The demonic soul-barter Neron made a grand bid to steal the most valuable soul on Earth and recruited an army of petty super villains. Their bargain was simple: in exchange for their soul and/or specific services rendered Neron would transform each of the them. Metallo’s wish was quite simple, the ignominy of constantly having his head severed was enough for him to wish that he would never be separated from his body again. Neron granted him the ability to parasitically bond with any machinery, sculpting and transforming it into any body or form Corben’s limited intellect could imagine.
Metallo tried to confront Steel (Dr Irons) in Washington, D.C. by attaching himself to Steel’s armour before attaching himself to a bomb. Unfortunately, the timer was plastic and it detonated throwing Metallo’s scraps high into the atmosphere. His return to Earth was intercepted by Alpha Centurion who was trying to recruit a posse to save Superman. Needless to say Metallo proved unwilling to help and was incarcerated on Stryker’s Island Penitentiary.
Metallo escaped and tried to attack Superman, but found that his adversary had also undergone a transformation. The electric “Superman Blue” should have short work of Metallo, but during their battle Metallo was eavesdropping on a television broadcast by Jimmy Olsen who was giving a blow by blow analysis of the fight using information about Superman’s new powers that Professor Hamilton had told him in confidence. Olsen’s inadvertent coaching almost cost Superman his life before he was finally able to defeat Metallo.
Metallo wouldn’t stay in prison for long and was released by Lexcorp agents in an attempt to further ruin Superman’s public image after his enthralment by Dominus. Fortunately, Superman and his wife, Lois Lane, were able arrange a counter-attack that returned Metallo to his cell on Stryker’s Island.
Metallo’s next escape/transformation came when the B13 nanite-virus restructured Metropolis into its doppelganger from the far future. Numerous artificial intelligences came under the thrall of the B13 virus, but Metallo volunteered to be augmented. He relished the chance to bond with the future technology of the new Metropolis and turn it against Superman. It took the combined efforts of Superman and the Metal Men to defeat this upgrade. A side effect of his B13 transformation was to return Metallo’s Kryptonite heart – or possibly an artificial approximation of it.
The B13 technology didn’t sit well with Metallo’s original components and be broke out of Stryker’s to search for a solution to his hardware conflicts. His escape was waylaid by one of the more surreal escapades in Metallo’s already strange life. For months Corben had been receiving angry letters from Hiro Okamura, the great-grandson of the scientist Vale had stolen the metallo alloy from, demanding the return of his family’s creation. Okamura ambushed Metallo with a rain of manga-style Superman action figures and giant versions of “Kaiju” (Japanese film monsters played by actors in improbable costumes). Metallo found himself fighting mechanical ripoffs of Godzilla, Mothra, and even Pikachu before Superman separated Metallo from Okamura, who now styled himself as the second Toyman.
Superman, feeling sympathy for the malfunctioning Metallo promised to have Professor Hamilton check up on Metallo’s circuitry. Unfortunately Hamilton was under the thrall of a remnant of the B13 intelligence and Metallo was neglected. Shortly afterwards Manchester Black’s private war against Superman drafted Metallo as a supporting player when Master Jailer transformed Smallville into his own personal prison. Rather surprisingly Metallo opted to side with the good-guys when General Zod took over the world – he even helped Luthor destroy the blanket around the sun that was negating Superman’s powers. Metallo escaped afterwards.
Luthor’s final attack against Superman as President of the United States was one of his more audacious. He conspired to use the approach of a giant kryptonite asteroid to turn the public against Superman – he would then be able to arrest Superman on trumped up charges. However Luthor needed to divide Superman from his closest allies so he arranged for evidence to be discovered that linked Corben to the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Luthor knew that Batman would be unable to resist a lead on such a prominent case even if he didn’t actually know that Bruce Wayne was Batman.
Metallo already had his own problems – his metallic body was beginning to breakdown and he was sick and tired to being trapped inside of a machine. He attacked STAR Labs in Metropolis while searching for the remains of his original body, it was during that raid that Superman discovered Luthor’s planted evidence. Superman tried to tell Batman in a Gotham City graveyard, but the duo were ambushed by Metallo. He managed to escape with his the remains of his biological body and the heroes barely escaped with their lives. However Luthor miscalculated and Batman put aside the Corben case long enough to finally expose Luthor’s corruption to the world.
John Corben then approached Hiro Okamura (Toyman II) and offered him a deal — he would return his remaining metallo alloy in exchange for a body cloned from his original remains. Okamura agreed, but he wasn’t above playing with the terms of the deal. He recreated Corben’s body okay, but he left his kryptonite heart in place. Both men were surprised when Superboy and Robin made a house call on Okamura’s hidden laboratory. Corben tried to escape in one of the Toyman’s giant mech. The teen heroes borrowed two more mech and slugged it out with Corben through the streets of Tokyo. Corben was pulled from the wreckage of his mech and was returned to prison.
John Corben began as a petty criminal and was transformed by chance into a very powerful petty criminal. His kryptonite heart and metal adapting powers made him one of Superman’s chief threats. How he’ll fair back as a normal petty criminal, albeit one who’s kryptonite heart makes him untouchable against Superman, remains to be seen.