This page is for the current Steel, John Henry Irons
For the original Steel see Henry Heywood
For the second Steel, see Hank Heywood
John Henry Irons is a hero forged from his own making. When Superman saved Irons from a fatal fall off a Metropolis skyscraper, he challenged the construction worker to make his life count for something. A former weapons engineer for the ruthless AmerTek Company, Irons longed to atone for the deaths his designs had caused. For that purpose, he built a suit of exoskeleton armor for himself and assumed the primary alias of Steel.
Steel was created Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove
Modern Age: New Earth
As Steel, he crusaded to dismantle AmerTek's weapons programs, including the destruction of every last production model of the BG-60 " Toastmaster", the deadly assault rifle he had designed. Steel is a proud partnr of Superman. Irons even helped Superman rebuild his Fortress of Solitude and gave it a computer linkage to Irons' headquarters, called "The Steelworks", an abandoned arms factory in Suicide Slums. After the Death of Superman by Doomsday, Steel took his place, soaring over Metropolis in high-tech armor and smashing crime with a sledgehammer.
In Superman's absence, or if the Man of Steel needs assistance, Steel often coordinates and leads " Team Superman", a cadre of S-shield-wearing heroes including himself, Supergirl, and Superboy. Steel provided this Super-Squad with stealthy combat-garb meant to protect them from the necrotic touch of Kancer as they aided Superman in battle with General Zod and the armies of Pokolistan.
John Henry Irons has debuted his new armor which is a cybernetic looking suit rather than the classic metallic look. The armor does not have a head piece, but a cybernetic lens to look through.
Major Story Arcs
The Death of Steel (Pre-New 52)
Irons suffered mortal wounds releasing Doomsday from the JLA Watchtower to battle Imperiex. Superman was unable to turn away the Black Racer, a being that gathers souls and ushers them into the afterlife. This time, however, the Black Racer delivered Irons to Apokolips, where the evil Darkseid restored life to Iron's body. Darkseid placed Irons in the Entropy Aegis, a burned out Imperiex-probe altered by Apokoliptic science. This new armor was far superior to his old, but Apokoliptic upgrades made it more of a curse than a blessing. Darkseid was able to use the Entropy Aegis to control Steel and make him serve Apokolips.
Superman gathered the members of Team Superman and challenged Darkseid on the field of battle for the return of Steel. After his defeat Darkseid removed Steel from the armor only to reveal that he was returning him as he found him in a state of near death. Luckily Natasha Irons and a Multiverse displaced Supergirl were able to act quickly and save his life. Upon his return to Earth John allowed his niece, Natasha to take up the mantle of Steel while he recovered.
Steel led the short lived 2nd incarnation of Infinity Inc. He had his more known costume on during the Infinity Inc. incarnation.
Reign of Doomsday
Steel resurfaces for a fight with Doomsday. With no other heroes around, Steel is left to fight Doomsday by himself. Natasha Irons tries to persuade her uncle not to fight Doomsday, but John insist and heads off into battle. John gave the fight all he had. John even managed to hit Doomsday with a direct hit from his hammer. Steel had hurled his hammer from a thousand feet away. During the fight Doomsday evolves growing armor out his body and also possess the ability to fly. John manages to break away a piece of Doomsday's chest armor which allowed John to introduce nanonytes into Doomsday's body. The nanonytes were suppose to paralyze Doomsday for an hour until help arrived, but the effects only lasted a few seconds. John then gets pounded by Doomsday until he is knocked unconscious. We last see John being carried off by a flying Doomsday.
Kryptonite Man (New 52)
Steel has been seen within the pages of Action Comics, during a back up storyline. In this story, Steel helps Superman to fight crime. Steel was then seen in Action Comics Annual helping Superman fend off the villain called Kryptonite Man. Steel defeats the villain and managaed to make his powers defunct. He is later seen in Australia, helping the poor.
He has joined The Reverse Suicide Squad with Power Girl, Unknown Soldier, and Warrant. The Thinker under the guise of Amanda Waller is leading them.
As the Rot began to take over the world, he built a war armor and transferred his consciousness into it, so that the Rot could not touch him. He banded with the Red and, alongside Black Orchid and Beast Boy, he saved Animal Man from the turned Hawkman and then brought him to the stronghold of the Red. On the trip there, he explained what had happened to the world since Animal Man's disappearance into the Red. It is also reveled the John Henry Irons body died and was taken over by the ROT and his soul is and mind is in the Steel coustume. He can pick up sounds from far away when there is trouble coming to attack the team of heros.
Powers and Abilities
John Henry Irons possess no superhuman powers. He is an exceptionally gifted intellect that specializes in various fields of engineering.
Weapons and Equipment
- Helmet systems include broadband communications array, VDU readouts for environmental controls, and retractable one-way visor.
- Life-support systems which recycle oxygen supply, remove waste, and convert perspiration to potable water.
- Independent heating and freon-compressed air-conditioning units regulate internal temperatures.
- Hydraulic servomotors along his exoskeletal joints increase strength and speed tenfold
- Air-cooled cannons in his forearms gauntlet fire metal spikes and rubber projectiles. They function as the launching platform for concussive sonic grenades.
- Segmented breakaway boots that can be jettisoned if necessary.
- Micro-jet engine compressors controlled by Pressure sensitive toggles in his gloves.
- Thrusters proved a wide range of airborne maneuverability.
- Armor is composed of breathable fire-retardant nomex fabric.
- Embedded solar cells help keep his armor fully charged.
- His suit is made of a composite high-tensile steel alloy treated with micron-thick reflective sealant to shield against microwave and subatomic particle radiation.
- Trivia : According to JLA 1000000, his Armor is going to last all the way to the 118th Century and be worn by Steel 7 in the 51st Century, Steelman of New Centurions in the 100th Century and Lancelot Grail, the Cosmic Knight in 118th Century
- Can alter trajectory or stop mid-throw
- Polarizing inertial dampers within hammer increase inertia relative to distance hurled
- Magnetically attaches to back of armor.
- Segmented handle telescopes into locked position.
Justice League Unlimited
Steel has appeared in the comic series.
Shaquille O'Neal, best known for his athletics in NBA pro basketball, acted out the title role in the first film about the character to date, titled Steel. His castmates included Annabeth Gish and Judd Nelson. The former acted out Susan Sparks, one of Irons' Army compatriots, and the latter acted out Nathaniel Burke, the enemy Steel had to face off against.
According to the story of the film, John Henry Irons (O'Neal) was a former first lieutenant in the United States Army, one of whose weapons experts and designers he had been. Susan Sparks suffered paralysis as a direct result of ordnance tests that Irons and Nathaniel Burke were conducting, owing to Burke's sabotage of Irons' project to create weapons that would neutralize soldiers harmlessly, and Irons allowed himself to be mustered out in disgust. Burke became an arms dealer and a crime boss in civilian life, and after seeing gangs using his weapons on the street, Irons joined forces with Sparks using his intellect and the junkyard know-how of his his Uncle Joseph Irons (Richard Roundtree) to forge an exoskeleton power suit, becoming a real man of "steel". Making no effort to duplicate Superman's power to fly in the motion picture, Irons, using the alias of Steel, instead traveled by motorcycle. Moreover, Steel's hammer was primarily an energy rifle. Nor was the existence or non-existence of Superman even discussed in the film, which instead linked Irons to him through a tattoo of Superman's jacket emblem. O'Neal was forced, by dint of his sheer height, to perform all his own stunts; Kenneth Culver Johnson, who directed the film, could not find any stuntmen who could match O'Neal's height.
None of Steel's activities sat well with Burke, who framed Steel for a bank robbery. In reality, hoodlums who reported to Burke had committed the robbery. Steel's armor was supposed to be made from steel which he had forged himself, but the armor and helmet that O'Neal wore flexed, as if it had been made from painted rubber, throughout the movie.
Steel was not a box-office success.
Justice League: the New Frontier
A very young John Henry Irons appeared on Justice League: the New Frontier.
Superman: The Animated Series
Steel appears in Superman: The Animated Series as an ex- Lexcorp employee. He helped to design a prototype power suit for Metropolis police, but the suit's neural interface turned its wearer, Srt. Corey Mills, into a dangerous power-hungry addict. Later Irons perfected the suit and helped Superman to defeat Metallo.
Justice League Unlimited
Steel also appears in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by Phil LaMarr. Steel makes his first speaking appearance in "The Return". He, along with Supergirl warns Lex Luthor that Amazo is returning to hunt down Lex. He appears later as part of the League's ground defense team to stop Amazo. After Amazo plows down both the space and sky levels of the league's defenses, he prepares to attack the ground. Without even one shot fired, Steel, along with Ice, Flash, and Wonder Woman are all blown away by Amazo. All of them, however, survived. Following this, Steel was among the Justice League present on the Watchtower while it was attacked. He attempted to defend the power core from Supergirl's clone, but was left incapacitated by her superior power.
Death and Return of Superman
He appears in the Death and Return of Superman game for Super Nintendo and the Genesis.