WHO IS HANK HENSHAW?

So I have been loving the new Supergirl series.

Supergirl CBS 1

Like really loving this show.  The writing is good.  The special effects have been impressive.  The cast is amazing.  I have nit picks but I don’t even want to talk about them because so much about this show works and never fails to put a smile on my face.

There are a number of sub-plots running through the show at the moment but the one that has my attention is the mystery surrounding Hank Henshaw.

You know…this guy.

Henshaw Standard

When it was announced that Hank Henshaw (played by the awesone David Harewood) was going to be part of the show I was curious how they were going to play the character.  In the comics Hank Heywood was an astronaut that got hit by cosmic rays and instead of him and his fellow crew members getting changed forever in some most fantastic ways they crashed to Earth and found their bodies changed forever in some most horrific ways.

Adventures of Superman #466

Hank’s body began to break down and eventually it died but his mind was able to hop into the computers system at Lexcorp and after another encounter with the Man of Steel Henshaw used the birthing matrix that Jor-El used to send Kal-El to Earth to fashion his own space craft and take off into space.  Something broke inside Henshaw’s mind during this time period and he grew to irrationally hate the Man of Steel.  Eventually he ran into Mongul on War World and quickly took the place over.  Henshaw and Mongul realized they had a lot in common and decided to get joint revenge on the Last Son of Krypton.  It turns out that timing wasn’t one of Henshaw’s super powers and by the time he got his act together Superman was temporarily dead thanks to Doomsday.  Using the Kryptonian metal from the small space craft he had created and some of Superman’s genetic material that had been left in the birthing matrix Henshaw created a new body for himself and became one of the four Supermen that popped up after Clark sacrificed himself for the people of Metropolis.

To make a long story short (too late) the Cyborg and Mongul used War World to destroy Coast City and they would have turned Earth into the new War World if it wasn’t for a revived Superman, Superboy, Supergirl and Steel putting a stop to his machinations.  Superman defeated the Cyborg but Henshaw would pop up from time to time in various cybernetic bodies.  Down the road he would fall in with the Manhunters (androids created by the Guardians of the Universe before they came up with the whole Green Lantern Corps idea) and right before Flashpoint and the New 52 he took part in the Reign of the Doomsday storyline.

I think it is safe to say that the character has some history.

From the moment Henshaw was announced as being part of Supergirl there has been speculation about where his character is headed.  In this iteration he is the head of the DEO, not an astronaut, which made guessing that much harder.  At first Henshaw seemed like the hard ass head of the project that was going to bust Supergirl’s chops in order to make her a better hero.  Then, at the end of the first proper episode after the pilot we saw Hank do this.

Henshaw Red Eyes

Now the natural reaction would be, “HOLY CRAP!  HIS EYES WENT RED!  HE’S THE CYBORG!  THE CYBORG!”  Oddly enough I didn’t have that reaction.  My first thought was, “HOLY CRAP!  HE’S THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER!”

Martian Manhunter Large

I can’t tell you why that was my first thought.  It was something about the red eyes.  It didn’t strike me as Cyborg.  Also I thought it would be a neat twist.  Instead of Henshaw being the Cyborg Superman he could be J’onn J’onnz, the Martian Manhunter.  After it was revealed that Kara’s adoptive father/Alex’s father Jeremiah was a DEO agent and died in the line of duty I had one of those fan moments where you start trying to come up with logical explanations for the crazy theories you come up with.  I reasoned that at some point the original Hank Henshaw and Jeremiah Danvers were on a mission and they come across J’onn J’onnz.  He’s not a bad guy or anything; just an alien that is trapped on Earth.  Something happens.  I’m not sure what but something happens and the original Henshaw is killed and J’onn takes his place.  He learned everything he needed to know thanks to his telepathy and just hid in plain sight, so to speak.

In case you needed proof that this idea hit me before the latest episode check out last week’s episode of Radio K.A.L. Live.  Steve and I talked about it while discussing the previous episode of Supergirl titled How Does She Do It?.

At the end of the most recent Supergirl episode (Red Faced for those interested) we find out that Jeremiah was indeed killed on a mission and that Henshaw was the only survivor.  I have to admit that I let out a little cheer when I heard that.  Not because I wanted Jeremiah to be dead but it seemed to lend credence to my theory.  Henshaw and Danvers were on a mission in South America, encountered J’onn, bad things happened, Henshaw dies, Danvers dies, J’onn takes over Henshaw’s life.

It all makes perfect sense.

It would also be a nice twist for the Berlanti crew because if Henshaw did end up as a bad guy then you have the Harrison Wells thing from The Flash all over again.  I have a hard time believing they would try that trick twice.

So where does this leave the Cyborg Superman?

New 52 Cyborg Superman

In case you missed it the Cyborg did return in the New 52 Supergirl series.  It was revealed that the Cyborg was actually Supergirl’s father Zor-El, which I liked at first but the idea started to cool as time went on.  It’s an interesting take on the character but I think it worked better for a one shot story instead of the backstory for a character that would come back from time to time.  At first I thought that the Supergirl television people could use this origin as a springboard for their version of the Cyborg if they chose to use the character.  After learning that Jeremiah Danvers was killed while on a mission with Hank Henshaw an idea hit me that got the fan wheels in my brain turning.

What if…now stay with me here…what if instead of Zor-El becoming the Cyborg and Kara having to face her biological father you had Jeremiah Danvers become the Cyborg and Kara and Alex had to face off against him?  Not only would it be a neat twist on the idea and not only would it be emotional for Kara to have to face off against her adoptive father and Alex her biological father but Dean Cain could play the Cyborg.

So the former Superman could end up as the Cyborg Superman.

It.  Could.  Work!!!!

Young Frankenstein

Or I could be completely wrong about all of this.

It’s all up in the air at this point.

I will say this; it is so nice to be this excited about a television series again.  Last year I fell in love with The Flash and spent some time trying to figure out what the deal was with Harrison Wells but because this is a Superman related show (and because I am more invested into his world than the Flash’s) my brain has been in overdrive since the show began.

Supergirl has yet to disappoint me.  Just about everything about the show has been fun and exciting and emotional.  It’s the best live action Cat Grant we’ve ever seen.  It redeemed Live Wire as a character for me.  It gave us a live action Reactron.  Hell, Maxwell Lord has been great. Every aspect of this show has me invested as a viewer.

And that is pretty darn cool.

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