Tag Archives: Cyborg Superman

No Such Thing as Monsters (Part 2)

What’s that? Where have I been? Well, there’s an interesting answer to that question. You see…..it’s a boy! No, no. There’s no need for you Unspokenites to send me blue bubblegum cigars or Superman onesies. You see, he’s nearly eighteen years old. Now, before you write in, questioning as to why Mrs. Symbifan and I have adopted a nearly grown man, let me explain. My son from my previous marriage has been living with us part-time while his room at his mother’s house is being remodeled. And since this is the longest length of time I’ve had the opportunity to spend with my only son, I’ve been taking full advantage before he’s too old to want to spend so much time with his “geeky” father. So, cease calling the FBI and lets return to the second part of this fantastic three part epic…..

Waverider sits in silent contemplation at a desk within one of the silent rooms in the place he calls home. But though the home itself appears fairly plain, it is the emptiness that surrounds it that is awe-inspiring. For this dwelling exists in a place that is quite literally out of time itself. It is known as the Vanishing Point. It is here that he considers breaking his one and only rule. A rule to never intervene in the timeline of the universe, no matter how small his involvement or how noble his cause. He studies photographs depicting the death of the hero, Superman, at the hands of the monster Doomsday. And, though the Man of Steel did find a way to return from the dead, it is a process that cannot be repeated. If the kryptonian dies this time, it is forever. Even now, as Waverider weighs his options, Superman faces that same monstrosity once again on the planet Apokolips. (So, he watches events unfold but has vowed to never intervene? Sounds like a certain Marvel character, huh folks? Though Waverider far surpasseses the Watcher in raw sex appeal…..What? A straight man can’t say that? You guys need to grow up! Moving on…..)

A battered Man of Steel stands amidst the rubble and amassed corpses left in Doomsday’s wake. As he attempts to think strategically about his next course of action, his enhanced hearing picks up a stirring behind him. He turns and sees Darkseid himself! But before many words can be exchanged, the evil New God suddenly drops face first next to Superman’s feet! (You ever fall face first after a night of drinking? Man, do I have some teenage years stories to tell! I actually remember holding with all of my might to handfuls of grass, thinking I was going to fall off of the planet! Talk about quick thinking on my part! What was I talking about?) At this time, within Darkseid’s stronghold, the Cyborg Superman amuses himself by throwing Desaad around like a ragdoll. This, however, is interrupted as the dreaded one spies a battalion of Darkseid’s elite Parademons approaching upon a viewing screen. Amused, he transfigures his robotic arm and uses it to hack into the planet’s defense systems. Using this, he amplifies the transmissions they’re using to stay in contact, and literally melts their brains! They fall from the skies like sprayed insects.

Meanwhile, Superman carries Darkseid’s near-lifeless body over his shoulder. He discovers a slab of metal amongst the debris and places the New Gods’ still form upon it. After examining the evil one’s injuries and listening to his slowing heartbeat, Superman realizes that Darkseid will soon die if something is not done quickly. But does he really want to save this monster? Darkseid is responsible for the deaths of countless victims in his long life. A dictator and genocidal madman of the highest order. Superman considers letting him die. But instead, he tears the Motherbox from his arm and places it upon Darkseid’s chest. If there is any hope at all of reviving this villain, the Motherbox is that hope. (You see, this is why it’s a good thing I wasn’t granted superpowers. I’d have let Darkseid die. Let’s say I was Peter Parker, holding my dying Uncle Ben in my arms as he drones on about power and responsibility. I’d agree and swear an oath to him, wait for the old dude to die, and then completely go the opposite way. Kneel before Spider-Man! Um…..I think I went a smidge off topic there…..I am in therapy.) Superman turns to leave the sentient computer to do its work but is surprised by the sudden appearance of Waverider as he descends from the smoke-filled skies!

Superman is usually the voice of reason for more violent heroes, their conscience given form. But in this instance, he’s plainly had enough. When Waverider tries to explain his vow of non-interference, the Man of Steel simply states that if he’s not going to be of any help, he needs to leave now. (Wow! Supes is definitely not the superhero I’d want to make mad at me! Dude may seem like a boyscout, but he has the power to rip off both of your arms before you know what happened, and make you check your own prostate for colon cancer! -Shudder!) Waverider makes up his mind in that instant. He reaches out to Superman, placing a hand on his chest. It’s then that Superman witnesses the origins of Doomsday as if he were there in person!

It began 250,000 years ago, on a distant and barbarous world. An alien to this planet, a gray-skinned creature called Bertron, and a few other human-looking scientists, began an experiment that would one day give birth to Doomsday. They used a newborn baby in these ghastly tests. The child would be shot to the surface of the planet, where the savage and bestial denizens would rip the baby to shreds upon the opening of the capsule! After this carnage, what was left would be brought back and a new child cloned from the remaining tissue. This would go on for ten years until the baby began to change on a genetic level in order to survive! Bertron called this new being “The Ultimate”. (Bertron? What’s his partner’s name, Ernieus? Hahaha! Sorry. A Sesame Street joke was uncalled for.)

Even more time would pass until only Bertron himself was the only original scientist. It had been two years since the child had been seen. In that amount of time, the population of creatures had dwindled to nothing. That was when the Ultimate came home! Using the boney spikes that had grown upon its body and it’s superior strength, this now unkillable monstrosity had returned to pay back those who had hurt him so many times! You see, somehow he remembered! The Ultimate made short work of Bertron and his colleagues and then waited upon this now lifeless planet until he would stow away upon a returning supply ship and leave the place behind forever. It would terrorize many more worlds in the coming years until coming to the planet Calton. Here it would meet defeat at long last! (Damn! And I had assumed he was returning with a Father’s Day card! Hmmm. Live and learn.)

The technologically advanced world of Calton lasted for a mere three years under the creature’s onslaught until only the capitol city remained. It was within the great hall of this city that a plan was put into action. The king and his family concentrated their very lifeforces into concentrated energy! This energy then took the form of a single, powerful entity, the Radiant! The Radiant wasted little time in throwing himself into combat against Doomsday! Doomsday had never before faced a being composed of pure energy and therefore couldn’t evolve his body quick enough! This clash of the titans would still last for a solid week until the Radiant shot Doomsday with a blast so mighty, the monster at last fell! Doomsday’s body was suited and shackled before being fired into the void of space, customary of these people as a sign of no honor. This craft would later crash land to the Earth, where Doomsday would reawaken to cause yet more destruction! (Damn Caltonians and their stupid burial rites! They could have ended the threat of Doomsday right there, while he was technically dead! But at least they covered up the creature’s…..um…..you know. Can you imagine how monstrous Doomsday is “down below”? Talk about scary!)

Just as Superman’s mind returns to present day, there is sudden movement behind he and Waverider. Turning, they see that Darkseid has awoken! At this moment however, the Cyborg Superman has decided that, since he has now eliminated all real threats to his rule of Apokolips, he will now make the common folk here fear him, beg him for his leadership. To do this, he fires warheads at the planet’s food silos! Superman takes flight immediately towards the missiles! But when he arrives, the Man of Steel realizes that he is too late! The warheads are too close to impact and their armor too dense to break! That’s when the unthinkable happens, powerful lazers hit the missiles, destroying them before they can touch down! Superman knows these lazers all to well. They are the signature attack of Darkseid himself, his Omega Beams! The evilest of all of the New Gods has just saved his people from certain starvation! (Awww! That’s sweet. Nevermind the untold deaths and torture that has been perpetrated by this sadistic monarch. This single act of heroism totally redeems him in my eyes. I did mention I was in therapy, right?) Superman doesn’t miss a step. He crashes through Darkseid’s citadel wall, straight toward a certain horrified, half-robotic supervillain!

The Cyborg Superman and the true Man of Steel now begin what’s expected to be a long, titanic battle. But instead, Darkseid fires his Omega Beams once more! Superman quickly snatches the Cyborg up and places him straight in their destructive paths! Cyborg Superman seems to disintegrate completely! But this victory is short-lived. The villainous one reforms his body using the surrounding electronics and attacks! Superman reacts on instinct. He throws the Cyborg through a wall, nearly destroying his body once again! But once more, he reforms! This time he creates a body similar to a spider-like tank! Darkseid has grown tired of these games. He unleashes the full fury of his Omega Beams, annihilating all that remains of the Cyborg Superman! Superman then lands. He spies Desaad not too far away and demands Doomsday’s whereabouts. Cowardly Desaad immediately responds that he teleported the monster to the planet Calton. The people there dealt with the creature once afterall. Waverider proclaims that this was done so long ago that Doomsday has definitely evolved past the point of being harmed by the attack that was used last time. Superman then steps forward with authority. He vows that this ends now. He will stop Doomsday once and for all!

To be concluded…..

This article is dedicated to the newest member of the Symbifan family, Eden Love Miller, my great-niece. May your life be long and full of happiness. And though this family is not kryptonian, know that our power to love one another makes us truly invincible.

No Such Thing as Monsters (part 1)

Ah, 1994. The year that brought us Tom Hanks as “Forrest Gump”, “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men, and who can forget maybe the most important invention of the era, the George Foreman Grill? Yes. Though these things were and still are important to many people to this very day, my focus was drawn at the time to DC Comics and a three part miniseries entitled: “Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey”! What could possibly be so important about this limited comic series that I would ignore the fantastic things listed above? Well, sit back and continue reading. All will make itself clear…..

Our story begins many years ago, as a very young Clark Kent stands at the shadowed entrance to his adoptive parents’ cellar, too terrified to move. He’s positive that a monster lurks there in the darkness, intent on doing him harm. His mother asked for him to fetch something for her and, as Clark is an obedient child, he slowly descends the stairs to retrieve the item. He nearly reaches the bottom before his fear gets the best of him. He runs back upstairs, into the loving embrace of his understanding mother. (Wussy. Although, I was in my mid-twenties before I went down into my basement alone. Hey, there were bats down there! Geez!) After he’s more calm, he decides that he will try this feat again. He will not be defeated by the fear of the unknown. Clark once again walks down the dark stairs. He reaches the floor and flicks the switch to the overhead light. Nothing. That’s when he hears it. The monster! Slowly, he turns. Doomsday roars into the face of a petrified Clark Kent, now a grown man and dressed in his Superman garb!

The scene then shifts. Superman is in the center of his beloved Metropolis. The creature, known only as Doomsday, strikes the hero again and again with boney, barbed fists! Blood drips from several of the Man of Steel’s open wounds! As the beating continues, he feels something he hasn’t felt since that long ago night in his parents’ cellar, terror. Terror because he remembers all to well how this fight ended. With his death. As Doomsday strikes one final time, Clark is that young and frightened child once again. One final time. And then Superman wakes up, gasping for air and covered in a cold sweat. (You think Superman has ever wet the bed? I keep picturing the force from a fire hose. What’s that? Oh yeah. The story.) Leaving his bed, he walks to his window and looks out over his city. He’s had this nightmare many times since his resurrection. He’s sick of it. The last thing he remembers being told is that the Cyborg Superman had shackled Doomsday’s corpse to an asteroid and thrust it into the cold void of space. It’s time he investigated this matter further. Time to stop these nightmares once and for all.

Meanwhile, in the vastness of space, a starship picks up strange readings emanating from a passing asteroid. Sensing that their might be money to be made, the captain orders it brought aboard. The crew complies. But when they reach the docking bay, they immediately wish they hadn’t. The creature, Doomsday, is held fast to it by metal coils! Even though the beast appears to be deceased, the captain and crew recognize it right away! Quickly, they attempt to release it back into space. That’s when Doomsday opens his eyes! Now panicking, one of the space pirates pulls a blaster and fires, attempting to knock the asteroid through the now open airlock! Unfortunately, he misfires, hitting a cable that holds the monster’s arm! (Talk about bad aim! I’ve seen stormtroopers hit their targets with more skill! Okay. So I’m a “Star Wars” nerd too. Sue me!) That’s all Doomsday needs! He rips the rest of the restraints from his body and attacks! The men spend the last moments of their lives screaming.

While Superman is telling an understandably distraught Lois Lane of his intentions to find the monster that once took his life, the space pirates’ spacecraft has broken through the polluted atmosphere of the dreaded planet Apokolips, home to perhaps the most evil and powerful of monarchs in the known universe, Darkseid! (I skipped over part about Lois without mention of her skimpy jammies. I do have some class. Not much, but some.) Scanners on the planet pick up no lifeforms aboard, so the craft is brought down automatically. A small group of soldiers enter to investigate as others stand guard outside. There’s silence for a moment until one of the soldier’s severed heads sails back out through the open door! Doomsday then emerges with uncanny speed and ferocity! The warriors of Apokolips never stood a chance! The creature rips their bodies to shreds and then leaps onward to create more mindless destruction!

Meanwhile, the carnage upon the planet Apokolips has not gone unnoticed. Darkseid himself is paying close attention. And though his posture and mannerisms are calm and collected as always, Darkseid seems off somehow. He remarks to his chief torturer, Desaad, that if the creature is not stopped by his elite warriors, a planetwide evacuation is their next course of action. (You ever notice how Darkseid always stands with his hands behind his back? What’s he doing anyway, working on fixing a wedgie?)

Elsewhere on the planet, while Doomsday tears his way through Darkseid’s elite guard like paper dolls, an easily-missed microchip suddenly becomes active on the beast’s person! An energy form then exits the device and enters a mangled soldier’s armor. The armor shifts and changes. It reconfigures itself until, a newly-rebuilt Cyborg Superman hovers in its place! The nightmare is reborn! Wasting little time, the Cyborg joins Doomsday in destroying what little remains of this sector of Apokolips! (It’s on now, Unspokenites! I’m getting goosebumps while I type! That, or I’ve suddenly come down with hives. Either way, this is thrilling!)

Back on Earth, the Man of Steel decends from the skies and touches down near an ordinary-looking house. He’s in search of the the leader of a team of time-travelers called the Linear Men. His name is Matt Ryder. In the past, this mysterious group has always found him. Never the other way around. Superman knows that this is Ryder’s childhood home. If he’s to locate the man’s future self, this is his only hope. Before he can even knock, the grown version of Matt Ryder appears with a powerful being the Last Kryptonian has met before in the past, Waverider. To say that this meeting is in vain would be an understatement. Superman pleads for any information the two can give him about Doomsday, but the reply is that the timestream must be protected and to do this, they must not intervene. Superman leaves this meeting discouraged, but he’s not defeated yet. (If I was Supes, it’d be hard not to use my powers to interrogate Ryder “Punisher-style”. I left a bit out here, but trust me, the dude’s a real jerk. I guess that’s why he’s the fictional superhero, and I’m just your average supermodel/famous writer. Hey! I can dream!)

On Apokolips,the mighty Darkseid walks amongst his panicked people. He has decided that he’s tolerated this attack long enough. He approaches the monster and fires his destructive Omega Beams from his eyes! The blast takes Doomsday unaware, hitting him full force in the back and burying the creature beneath tons of rubble! Satisfied with his grim work, Darkseid turns to leave. That’s when a bone-spiked fist bursts through the wreckage! Before Darkseid can fully turn, Doomsday rakes these barbed, powerful fists down the dark god’s spine! Blood sprays from the wounds! The beast then continues its assault until Darkseid drops, defeated! Meanwhile, this has all been projected on a monitor screen and Desaad has witnessed what he, until now, thought was impossible! He then decides that there is one last hope to save his homeworld. He must find help elsewhere. (I must now quote the movie, “Friday”, “Daaaaaamn!” That is all.)

On Earth, Superman has now called for a meeting with the Justice League. The warrior woman, Maxima, has answered on the team’s behalf. This conversation is interrupted however as Desaad’s call for help comes into focus on the League’s monitoring system. He manages to at least report that Doomsday is on the planet Apokolips and, now that Darkseid has been defeated by the creature, assistance is needed immediately! Superman watches this in horror. He then requests assistance to reach Apokolips quickly. (Maxima actually gets on Superman’s case here about denying an invitation for League membership in the past! Talk about rude! I mean, who turns down an invite to join DC’s most prestigious super-group? The nerve!)

As the Last Son of Krypton tries to locate a fast form of space travel, Doomsday drags the limp form of Darkseid as the Cyborg Superman follows, goading the creature on as he thinks out loud. He will use this beast to conquer this disgusting planet for him! He’ll be unstoppable! The two villains then begin their assault on Darkseid’s own palace. Just then, Superman exits through a loud, teleportation tunnel that the gods call a Boom Tube. This miracle of travel is created by a sentient computer that is presently attached to Superman’s arm. A Mother Box. As soon as he appears on Apokolips the hero is well aware of the devastation that has already been wrought! He soars through the air in search of any sign that will point him in the right direction. That’s when he spies him, the Cyborg Superman himself! (It’s about to hit the fan here, folks! These two hate each other more than Batman hates to be seen disappearing!)

The two clash with the might of titans! But before this battle can continue for very long, the Cyborg reveals his partner in crime via a holographic image! Superman is speechless as he stares back at the monster, known to all as Doomsday! He stares into those dark, rage filled eyes, and instantly relives the epic fight that claimed his life not so very long ago! The Cyborg uses this opportunity to his villainous advantage and blasts Superman in the back with an energy weapon concealed within his robotic arm! The hero tries to get back to his feet. He must stop Doomsday once and for all this time. (Awesome, huh? Not the scene. I mean my writing talent.)

Before the Man of Steel can stop him, Desaad lunges past both Superman and his cybernetic doppelganger! He opens a Boom Tube all his own and it begins to pull Doomsday in like a black hole! Superman roars in outrage! He won’t have this monstrosity let loose upon another unsuspecting world! He flies faster than he has ever done before, but it’s too late! The creature looks at Superman with deadly recognition in it’s eyes! And then, just like that, Doomsday is gone! Superman collapses to his knees in defeat.

To be continued….

This article is dedicated to my mom, Pam Bowen-Metz. With all of the things that she has had to deal with in her life, you’d swear she was related to Superman himself. I know she’s my hero. (And she isn’t even Kryptonian.) I love you, Mom. Always.

It’s Reigning, It’s Pouring

Death_of_Superman_01It began with the ending. That’s the way I remember it. Superman, the symbol for truth, justice, and the American way was gone, beaten to death by the creature known only as Doomsday. As comic fans surrounding the globe mourned the passing of DC’s iconic superhero, they couldn’t help wondering, “Is this it?” and “Who will fill his big, red boots?” Well, as it turns out, we wouldn’t have to wait long! Introducing “Reign of the Supermen”! Before the “Big Red S” could grow cold in his tomb, four oddly familiar (and some not so familiar) beings arrived in Metropolis, claiming to be the resurrected Man of Steel! 

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Cyborg_Superman_002We will begin with The Man of Tomorrow. This Superman resembled a type of cybernetic Kryptonian with a very familiar costume and powers. He acted very much like the Superman we had known but exhibited lapses in his memory. He did remember Doomsday though and the first thing he did was to chain the creature to an asteroid in the furthest reaches of space. This Superman starred in “Superman,” which was written and drawn by Dan Jurgens.

 

Eradicator_SupermanThe second, the Last Son of Krypton, looked exactly like Superman but with very different powers. This being had the ability to produce blasts from his hands of pure solar energy. He wore sunglasses to protect his sensitive eyes from intense light but, more importantly, he wore black like an executioner. He also dealt out punishments to criminals as such. This Superman starred in “Action Comics,” which was written by Roger Stern with artwork by Jackson Guice.

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Next, the Metropolis Kid (he hates being called Superboy). This Superman was seen escaping the cloning labs of Project Cadmus with the Newsboy Legion. Oddly enough, he only appeared to be around fifteen years old. He donned a leather jacket, sported a skater-style haircut, and had an attitude bigger than he was. His powers involved only a type of telekinesis. This Superman starred in “Adventures of Superman,” which was written by Karl Jewel with artwork by Tom Grummett.

 

f01ac7a56a1ec5dae93d3a93e3c09b6aLastly, there was the Man of Steel. This armored avenger was clad entirely in a metal suit of armor and carried a sledgehammer. He seemed to have no powers of his own, looked nothing like Supes, and acted the most human of the bunch. He was also the first of these supermen to in fact say he wasn’t Superman. He crawled from beneath the city’s wreckage, ready to finish off Doomsday. This Superman starred in “Man of Steel,” which was written by Louise Simonson with artwork by Jon Bogdanove. 

 

Steel_Act_of_God_01Now that the stage was set, and the players were all present, it was time for the story to commence and for fans to wonder, “Who is the real Superman?” Starting with the Man of Steel, this character was a true hero! Take one half Iron Man and one half John Henry from folklore, and you get the amazing  John Henry Irons. Irons, once saved from a fatal fall by Superman, promised to make his life count for something. When Superman fell in battle, and a new weapon nicknamed the “Toastmaster,” (Who named this thing?!) was beginning to kill people in John’s neighborhood, he created a high-tech suit of armor with a familiar design on the chest to take the fight to the gangs and honor his hero’s legacy. It turned out that Irons had created the weapon long ago for the military and felt responsible. Though he was later proven to not, in fact, be Superman reincarnated, Steel remained a hero long after the “Reign of the Supermen” and even joined the Justice League for awhile.

adventures-501The Metropolis Kid, though obviously only a young clone of Superman spliced with unknown human DNA, stated for anyone to that would listen, that he was the only true Superman. He even went so far as to legally obtain the rights to the name! When this “Superman” wasn’t trying to pick up women, or grandstanding for crowds, he actually did some good for Metropolis. After the “Reign of the Supermen” Superman, with permission from the nameless youth, rightfully reclaimed his name and dubbed him Superboy. Though reluctant, Kon-El, as he was later named, accepted the moniker. Later, Superboy remained a hero even after dealing with the fact that the human DNA used to create him, was Lex Luthor’s!

 

maxima 203-Eradication-A2Next would be the Last Son of Krypton. (My personal favorite!) Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the Punisher and Superman had a secret love child? That would be our boy! This being was later found out to be the (once thought destroyed) Kryptonian computer called the Eradicator in energy form plus dead tissue from the corpse of Superman. This Superman was actually thought to be deceased at the end of the “Reign” storyline, but, as we all know, energy cannot be destroyed, only changed. The Eradicator would surface many times throughout the years. Never with the same look, but always with the same “anti-hero” attitude.

s-l1600Finally, what about that Cyborg Superman? He was really the real deal, right? You, and apparently, then President, Bill Clinton, couldn’t be more wrong! This creature was actually once a man named Hank Henshaw. Henshaw, a madman with the limited ability to absorb the properties of whatever or who ever touched him, had a real hatred for Superman. So much that, after absorbing Kryptonian DNA and technology while in space, seemingly masqueraded as his enemy only out of pure spite! This genocidal maniac, with help from the villainous Mongul, destroyed the then Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s hometown, Coast City, to build a giant “Engine City” in its place! His next stop would have been Metropolis had it not been for the intervention of the above mentioned “Supermen” and…..Superman himself?!

That’s right, fellow comic fans! After recovering from his wounds from the Doomsday fight this whole time in a healing chamber within the Fortress of Solitude, Superman was back! There was a collective sigh of relief in the DC Comic’s Universe plus, in the real world we live in. The hero that every child (whether they want to admit it or not!) had looked up to as they grew up, be it by tying a towel around their necks in place of a cape or jumping off their roofs in order to fly, had returned from the great beyond! And I, for one, would never take him for granted again.

Dedicated to my dad, who thought I was Superman when it came to my writing and now flies like him in Heaven.

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