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For other characters with the same first name, see John (disambiguation).
For other uses of "Metallo", see Metallo.

"John Corben dies today. Long live Metallo."
Lillian Luthor[src]

John Corben (died February 13, 2017) was an international assassin-for-hire. He was hired by Lex Luthor to kill his adoptive sister Lena, but in doing so was nearly fatally shot. Corben was subsequently saved by Project Cadmus and turned into a Kryptonite-powered cyborg known as Metallo.


Early career[]

A notorious assassin, John Corben had links to Intergang, Kaznian terrorists, and a genocide that occurred in Corto Maltese.[1]

Attempted assassination of Lena Luthor[]

In late 2016, Corben was hired by Lex Luthor after his arrest to assassinate his adoptive sister, Lena Luthor. He began by tampering with the oscillator of the Venture space craft, which would be located directly beneath Lena. However, after she couldn't make it due to an important business meeting, subsequently missing the explosion of the craft, Corben had to use an alternate plan to kill her.

He took a Heavy Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle from Baker, using it to target Lena's helicopter, while planting additional drones throughout National City to shoot random civilians; Superman and Supergirl ultimately destroyed all of them, saving Lena. The following day, he planted explosives beneath a plaque at Luthor's ceremony to rename her company. They detonated, along with others planted in Luthor Corp.

Corben is nearly fatally shot

Corben after he is nearly fatally shot by Lena Luthor.

Corben, dressed as a police officer, attempted to approach Lena directly but was intercepted by Alex Danvers. After a brief fight, he took her hostage, threatening to shoot her if Supergirl intervened. Suddenly, Corben was promptly shot from behind by Lena.

John Corben's eyes cloud over

John Corben's eyes cloud over.

Sometime later, John found himself connected to medical equipment inside Project Cadmus. A woman approached him, offering to let him live, to which he agreed, and he was injected with something, causing his veins to glow and his eyes to cloud over. The woman dubbed him "Metallo".[1]

Working for Cadmus[]

Lillian revives Corben as Metallo

Corben revived as Metallo.

After becoming Metallo, Corben initially awoke confused at his newfound strength. When asked who his captor was, the woman responded that she was "merely a Doctor". She introduced him to Cadmus and explained their anti-alien mission, with which he hastily sympathized. He was then dispatched on a mission to kill Supergirl and Superman.

Disguised as a suicidal man on a bridge, he attracted the attention of the Kryptonians whom he swiftly defeated, rendering Supergirl unconscious; however he was knocked away by Superman before he could kill her. After converting Gilcrist into the "Metallo" state similar to Corben's, Cadmus sent them on a mission, during which, Corben drew Superman and Supergirl's attention to himself, while Gilcrist terrorized Metropolis. Corben later challenged Supergirl, who teamed up with Alex Danvers and removed his "Kryptonian heart". Supergirl then spoke through Corben's eyes to Cadmus that she will find them.[2]

Breaking Lillian Luthor out of prison[]

Lillian, Lena and Metallo in one of Lex's vaults

Lillian, Lena and Metallo in one of Lex's vaults.

As Lillian Luthor's trial was impending, Metallo managed to get a new Kryptonite heart from Hank Henshaw and used it to free both himself and Lillian Luthor; he drew Supergirl back to keep her from stopping them. Later, after Lena was arrested for being a suspect in aiding in their escape, Metallo was sent by Lillian to break her out of prison too; in doing so he was confronted by Guardian, which he managed to quickly subdue. Metallo brought Lena to Lillian, who later took them both to a vault created by Lex in which Henshaw was waiting them.[3]

Metallo about to explode

Metallo is about to explode.


The Luthors opened Lex Luthor's mountain vault, before Supergirl arrived having following the radiation of Metallo's new Kryptonite heart which, being synthetic, unknowingly to him is slowly killing him. After a harsh fight between him and Supergirl, aided by the Martian Manhunter, despite the heroine tried to convince him of the new Kryptonite's decaying properties, Metallo refused to listen and continued to fight her using his Kryptonite beam, making his body more and more unstable until his eventual explosion.[3]

Powers and abilities[]


  • Cyborg physiology: Through an operation performed on him by Project Cadmus' doctors, Corben became a cyborg and the cyborg physiology grants him special powers and abilities.
    • Superhuman Strength: As a cyborg, Corben's strength was apparently able to match that of a Kryptonian. However, it should be noted that Superman and Supergirl were weakened by his green energy beam of Kryptonite at the time. Furthermore, in their rematch, Supergirl was able to easily overpower Corben with the aid of an anti-Kryptonite shield.[2]
    • Superhuman Durability: As a cyborg, Corben can take much more damage than a normal human; he sustained multiple physical blows from Supergirl and Alex Danvers (with the latter wearing a Kryptonite-powered exosuit) yet remained relatively unfazed. An analysis done in the Fortress of Solitude by Superman revealed that Corben's cybernetic endoskeleton is made of Promethium, the strongest metal known to man.[2]
    • Superhuman Stamina: As a cyborg, John's natural stamina levels have been increased considerably, allowing him to fight and remain active for long periods of time without becoming fatigued.
    • Kryptonite Beam: John was able to fire a green energy beam of Kryptonite radiation from his heart. A sustained blast could potentially kill a Kryptonian. This blast could also incapacitate humans.


  • Master assassin: A notorious assassin-for-hire, Corben was an expert at his profession, having been hired by terrorists and businessman alike for various missions ranging from single assassinations to a genocide.[1]
    • Expert hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Corben was an extremely skilled hand-to-hand combatant; as he was able to fight on par against and even briefly subdue Alex Danvers.[1] After a prolonged struggle, Corben also bested James Olsen.[3]


  • Heat vision: Supergirl's heat vision was strong enough to burn off the skin of Metallo's right hand, causing the metallic interior of it to be exposed.
  • Kryptonite power source: Without a piece of Kryptonite being in his heart, Metallo's powers do not work.
  • Synthetic kryptonite: Lillian Luthor created synthetic Kryptonite to power Metallo after his original heart was destroyed. However, it also became the source of his downfall; due to the synthetic Kryptonite's unstable nature, the substance's decaying properties in a modified human began slowly killing Corben the more he used the Kryptonite beam, making his body more and more unstable. Once the synthetic Kryptonite fully decayed, it exploded, killing Corben in the process.[3]



Season 2[]

Season 4[]


Season 6[]

Behind the scenes[]

  • In the DC Comics, John Corben a.k.a. Metallo debuted in Action Comics #252 (May, 1959) and was created by Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino. He frequently appears as an enemy of Superman and is mostly known for his cybernetic body parts as well as the Green Kryptonite he uses as an energy source.
  • This marks John Corben's third live-action appearance. He previously appeared in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman played by Scott Valentine and most notably in Smallville played by Brian Austin Green.