During the Supergirl trailer we meet also the last recurring character of the series, Hank Henshaw, portrayed by David Harewood. In the show, he’ll be a former CIA agent who’s now in charge of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, a secret taskforce born after Superman‘s arrival on Earth. Henshaw hunts down the many criminal aliens escaped from the Kryptonian prison Fort Ros when Supergirl arrived, and finds in Supergirl herself a worthy ally for his cause…even if he doesn’t like nor trust her, as with all aliens. In the comics, Henshaw is not exactly known for being a good guy, quite the opposite: whether we’ll see him transform into his evil alter ego during the series or not, it remains to be seen…in the meanwhile, let’s see who he is in the comics.
Henry “Hank” Henshaw was one of the most brilliant scientists in Metropolis (and that says a lot), an expert of cosmic radiations and space engineering. His researches brought him to work for LexCorp, where he could use the company’s nearly unlimited resources for funding his first space mission. Henshaw personally designed the Excalibur, the space ship that would have brought him in space, while he chose as members of his crew his beloved wife Terri and his friends Jim and Steve, who had shared his work from the very beginning. The exploration aboard Excalibur went smoothly untill the moment of returning to Earth: a massive radiation storm hit the ship, and the four explorers crashed far from Metropolis. Even more, the radiations had horribly mutated them: Jim’s and Steve’s bodies had been destroyed, but their minds still lived, and they had managed to build new bodies using the debris around the ship and pure energy, respectively. Hank and Terri didn’t show any change, but Hank knew it was only a matter of time: he decided to come back to LexCorp with his wife and friends to try and find a cure…unfortunately, a monster made of rock and a flaming man didn’t exactly go unnoticed, and soon they attracted the attention of the city’s protector, Superman. Due to a misunderstanding, Steve and Jim, whose mental state was quickly deteriorating, started battling the Man of Steel, but they soon descended into madness and flew directly into the sun, committing suicide. In the meanwhile, also Hank and Terri started to mutate, and while Hank’s body was rapidly decaying, Terri was slowly shifting to another dimension: thanks to Superman’s help, Hank was able to save Terri, but for himself it was too late, and he died when his body rotted completely…or else so it seemed: Hank’s mind had been transferred into LexCorp’s mainframe, as he had now the power to control and merge with any kind of technology. Using LexCorp’s machinery, Hank built for himself a robotic body, and he visited his wife with it: that, however, wasn’t the happy reunion he was hoping for, since the shock of the accident, the transformation and her husband’s death, united with the appearance of the talking robot, led Terri to madness, and eventually to death. Distraught, Hank decided to leave the planet, and merging with the Birthing Matrix Superman had arrived on Earth with, he built a small spaceship and started traveling alien worlds.
Meeting new cultures, Henshaw expanded his knowledge, but also grew increasingly paranoid, and started to blame Superman for the accident: the Man of Steel, in fact, had thrown the hostile artificial intelligence Eradicator into the sun more or less the same time the Excalibur met the unexplained radiation storm, and Hank started to believe that the hero had willingly killed his wife and his crew. Coming back to Earth seeking revenge, Henshaw learnt that Superman had died in a battle with the monstrous Doomsday, so he was unable to destroy him in person…so he decided to destroy his reputation. Using his power over technology, Henshaw built a nearly undestructible cybernetic body, and he merged it with organic parts whose DNA he extracted from the Birthing Matrix. He then presented himself as “Superman reborn”, and even acted as a hero to convince the people he was the real Superman: he defeated Doomsday and exiled him into open space, he saved the President of the United States from an assassination attempt and he even prevented a nuclear meltdown. Thanks to all this, the President himself publicly acknowledged him as the real Superman, back from the dead. Finally, Hank’s plan could be accomplished: he called from outer space his new ally, the warlord Mongul, and had him attack Coast City, the hometown of Terri. When one of the other heroes who had taken the mantle of Superman, Eradicator (now calling himself the Last Son of Krypton), tried to stop Mongul, Cyborg Superman attacked him and destroyed him, then he helped Mongul destroy Coast City, killing seven million people in the process. Cyborg Superman’s next target was Metropolis, but he and Mongul found on their way a formidable alliance formed by Superboy, Supergirl, a rebuilt Eradicator, Steel, Green Lantern and the true, resurrected yet weakened Superman. In the ensuing battle, Eradicator died for good, but he managed to restore Superman’s full strength: powered up, Superman destroyed Cyborg Superman’s body with ease, believing he had disposed of his enemy…but Hank’s conscience moved to a device he had attached to Doomsday when he battled him time before, believing “near Doomsday” was the safest place in the universe. From there, he would have been able to rebuild himself and to continue planning his vengeance. It was just a matter of time.
Hank Henshaw is a brilliant scientist, a genius engineer and a skilled researcher, whose personal mission of knowledge brings him to the farthest corners of the universe…unfortunately, he’s also a paranoid lunathic, gone mad for the loss of his beloved wife and friends, and who blames Superman for everything that happened to him. As Cyborg Superman, he’s able to freely transfer his consciousness into any machine, and to control any kind of tech at will; he can manipulate machines and shape the mechanical parts of his body in any way he likes (usually weapons). Having learnt of Kryptonian DNA from the Birthing Matrix, he’s able to replicate also organic parts that allow him to access all of Superman’s powers (and to suffer for the same waknesses, since he’s weakened by Kryptonite). Extremely powereful, totally deranged, Cyborg Superman is a monomaniac mass murderer who wants Superman to suffer for what happened to him…and if world must perish in the process, so be it.