Fictional Character Biography
Hank Henshaw first appeared as a crew member on board the doomed NASA space shuttle Excalibur in Superman #42, and Henshaw and the other crew members were next seen in Adventures of Superman #465.
In a pastiche of the origin of the Fantastic Four, Hank and the other three members of the Excalibur crew, including his wife Terri, are part of a LexCorp-designed radiation experiment that is affected by a solar flare, causing their shuttle to crash. As a result of their radiation exposure, the human bodies of two crew members were destroyed. However, their minds survived and they were able to construct new bodies out of cosmic radiation and bits of earth and wreckage from the shuttle, respectively. Initially, Henshaw and his wife suffer no ill effects from the radiation (though Hank's hair turns white), and the crew travels to Metropolis in the hopes of using LexCorp facilities to cure their mutated crew mates. During a brief battle with Superman, the crew member now composed of radiation becomes unhinged and flies into the sun, thereby destroying himself. By this time, Henshaw's body has started to rapidly decay while his wife is beginning to phase into an alternate dimension. With Superman's help, Henshaw is able to use the LexCorp facilities to save Terri. The remaining member of the shuttle crew commits suicide using an MRI booth to tear apart the metallic components of his body.
Though Henshaw's physical body expired, he was able to transfer his consciousness into the LexCorp mainframe. Now able to control technology, Henshaw appears to his wife in a robotic body. The shock of this bizarre rebirth is too much for Terri and in a fit of insanity, she jumps to her death from the nearest window. By this point, Henshaw's electronic consciousness has begun to disrupt Earth's communications networks. Using NASA communications equipment, Henshaw beams his mind into the birthing matrix which had carried Superman from Krypton to Earth as an infant. He creates a small exploration craft from the birthing matrix and departs into outer space alone.
Henshaw spends some time traveling between planets, bonding with local lifeforms to learn about the culture and history of various worlds. Henshaw would later come to believe that Superman was responsible for the tragedy of the Excalibur after learning that around the time of the accident, the Man of Steel had thrown a rogue Kryptonian artificial intelligence (the Eradicator) into the sun. Henshaw believes that this created the solar flare that resulted in the Excalibur crew's transformations. Over time, Henshaw becomes delusional and paranoid, believing that the Man of Steel had intentionally caused the deaths of himself, his wife, and his crew, then driven him from the Earth. Arriving on a planet controlled by alien overlord and Superman foe Mongul, Henshaw learns of Warworld and forcibly recruits Mongul as part of a plan for revenge against Superman.
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