The Exciting Way Supergirl Just Changed Metallo From The Comics

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Warning: major spoilers ahead for the Season 2 premiere of Supergirl.

Supergirl made a thrilling debut on The CW with a Season 2 premiere that changed the superhero game for Kara Danvers and Co. in National City. Kara teamed up with her famous cousin to protect innocent civilians, and it was positively Super. The cheerful twosome of Supergirl and Superman managed to save the day, stop a major catastrophe or two, and charmingly chat with bystanders without breaking much of a sweat. Unfortunately for the good guys, a serious bad guy was born out of their heroics. The legendary DC villain Metallo came into existence in the Season 2 premiere, and comics fans might be surprised at how it happened.

Metallo made his DC Comics debut almost sixty years ago. He first turned up in Action Comics back in 1959, and he's been a frequent flyer in all kinds of adaptations and reboots in the decades since. The original Metallo started out as professional con man John Corben, who suffered fatal injuries in a car crash. A mad scientist by the name of Professor Emmet Vale transported the dying Corben to his laboratory and transplanted his brain into a cyborg body in the hopes that his creation could kill Superman. The cyborg body was powered by Kryptonite, which would theoretically help Metallo weaken Superman enough to end him. Metallo ultimately failed in his mission to kill Superman and was abducted by Lex Luthor, who discovered that the Kryptonite in Metallo's chest was an incredibly valuable substance.

The Metallo of the Supergirl Season 2 premiere started out as an assassin hired by Lex Luthor to assassinate his sister Lena. Aside from hiring John Corben to do the killing, Lex actually had nothing to do with the plot due to the fact that he's currently in prison for 38 life sentences thanks to Superman. After nearly murdering Lena a few times, Corben was distracted enough by Alex Danvers that Lena got her hands on a gun and shot him. He was transported to the nefarious government organization known as Project Cadmus, where he was given the choice of death or alteration to a new form. Corben chose to live, and thus Metallo was born.

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On the one hand, the differences between the origin stories of comic Metallo and Supergirl Metallo may seem relatively unimportant. After all, origin stories for comic characters are tweaked for TV all the time. So what if Supergirl's Metallo was shot and then fixed by Project Cadmus rather than hit by a car and fixed by a mad scientist? The showdown between Alex, Corben, and ultimately Lena was definitely more exciting than just watching a character get hit by a car.

On the other hand, the differences between the origin stories indicate that we may not want to focus too much on Metallo himself as the latest Supergirl villain. Project Cadmus seems to have created the villain for the sole purpose of hunting down the Super cousins. Supergirl executive producer Andrew Kreisberg already revealed that Cadmus is made up of very patriotic and very brilliant scientists who believe in eradicating alien life on Earth. Now we have to wonder which is worse: the bad guy or the organization that makes him and sets him loose? Metallo was a bad guy back when he was still John Corben, but Cadmus is turning him into something far more terrifying.

Assuming that Supergirl's Metallo runs on Kryptonite in the same way as his comic counterpart, we might want to expect more tension between Superman and J'onn J'onzz. We learned in the Season 2 premiere that the two aliens had a falling out due to the fact that the D.E.O. has a cache of Kryptonite that Superman wants destroyed but J'onn wants to keep just in case a Kryptonian turns evil. J'onn certainly has a point that a lot of lives could be saved if a Kryptonian turns bad and goes on a rampage - which has happened more than once already - but something tells me that his refusal to destroy the Kryptonite will come back to haunt him with Metallo. The cybernetic body runs on Kryptonite; if J'onn had just allowed the Kryptonite to be destroyed, perhaps Metallo would never have been born. Superman has happily agreed to continue hanging out with Kara in National City; that could definitely change if he and J'onn J'onzz have another big conflict.

Tune in to Supergirl on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET to see what's in store next for Kara with Metallo and Project Cadmus.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.