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John Henry Irons, aka "Captain Luthor" or The Stranger, is a refugee from an alternate Earth destroyed by that world's version of Superman.

Origins

John Henry Irons was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, part of a large extended family with a strong military tradition. He was very close with his sister Darlene, and they were known as the "Wonder Twins" growing up. As adults, John and Darlene both followed their father in joining the United States Army. Darlene eventually left the military and became a doctor, but John remained, eventually rising to the rank of Captain.[5]

John married famed television news reporter Lois Lane, and they had a daughter named Natalie. One day Superman suddenly turned on humanity and tried to take over the world with an army of possessed Kryptonians. The Kryptonians began their conquest by completely destroying John's home city Metropolis in seven minutes.[3] John joined a military force of the U.S. Army, called Hellfire 3-1 led by his father-in-law General Sam Lane who tried to fight off the invaders. Hellfire 3-1 wore dog tags in the shape of an inverted Superman logo with "hELL/7734" engraved on the back. When Hellfire 3-1 engaged Superman he killed all of them except Irons.[6][2]

Prior to his death, Sam had also created Project 7734 and tasked them with finding a way to combat the seemingly unstoppable invaders. Project 7734 eventually learned that the Kryptonians were vulnerable to Kryptonite, a mineral from their home planet. Project 7734 had managed to create a number of Kryptonite weapons, but only Sam knew the location where they were stored and he was killed before he could tell John. The Irons family relocated to a hidden bunker, but Lois left the safety of their hideout to to inform humanity of the Kryptonian's secret weakness. She got around a global communications blackout by broadcasting from high ground, but this allowed Superman to easily find her and he murdered her live on air.

John wanted revenge so he and Natalie built a Warsuit to allow him to fight the Kryptonians, using books to teach themselves the advanced engineering techniques required. The suit was built from Luthorcorp-manufactured parts and as such its AI was programmed to only recognise Lex Luthor as it's pilot. Irons began using the name "Captain Luthor" to allow him to use the suit. John also eventually found and retrieved Sam's hidden stash of Kryptonite weapons. He was ambushed by two Kryptonians and was able to fight them off with the aid of the suit but they called Superman for help. Superman attacked John but he managed to escape uninjured except for a cut on his face which left a scar.[7][3]

John quickly used up his limited supply of Kryptonite and so created the Solar Missile, a rocket propelled projectile which released an immense blast of red solar radiation that would completely drain a Kryptonian's powers. He lured Superman into space and detonated the Missile, but before he could see if Superman was affected, a red wave consumed the universe, and a portal opened up in front of his ship and he was transported to another world.[8]

Season One

John believed that the Superman of this alternate reality would also destroy the world and planned to kill him before that could happen. He sabotaged two nuclear plants so he could observe Superman in action while hidden from his x-ray vision by the lead lined walls. At each site he would leave a microscopic inscription reading "You are not a hero, Kal-El" in Kryptonian.

At the third plant, he attacked Superman, his Warsuit proving equal to the Kryptonian's superpowers. The two fought an aerial battle across the world and even into orbit, which ended when Irons stabbed Superman with a Kryptonite blade.[1]

The knife he had stabbed Superman with had been his last piece of Kryptonite, so Irons searched the world for more, only to find that all Kryptonite on this world had been systematically gathered by the Department of Defense. As his Warsuit was running low on power he travelled in his ship which Sam Lane, an ally of Superman on this world, was able to track to Mongolia.

Superman followed him and the two fought again, but Irons escaped by setting his ship to self-destruct and sending it to fly to the nearest city, forcing Superman to abandon him to stop it. He sent his Warsuit, operating on remote control, to the Department of Defense. The suit fought its way to General Lane's command position and warned him not to trust Superman, handing him the alternate Sam Lane's dog tag.[6]

Until he could find the materials necessary to build a new Warsuit, Irons and his AI partner relocated to an RV and tracked the Lois Lane of the new world to Smallville, Kansas, correctly deducing that Lois had a connection to Superman and that wherever Lois went, Superman would follow. Irons approached Lois, posing as a reporter named Marcus Bridgewater and claimed to be investigating Morgan Edge. He found that this other Lois was identical to his wife in almost every way.

Irons detected Superman flying over Smallville as he fought another man with Kryptonian-like superpowers. He shot them both down but by the time he reached the crash site, Superman had left and his opponent had been destroyed by his own powers. The next day he saw Lois with her husband Clark Kent and destroyed his AI in a jealous rage.[2]

He approached Lois with a plan to infiltrate the Shuster mines disguised as inspectors, providing her with an extremely high quality fake ID badge. They were able to get into the mines but once they were inside Lois quickly became suspicious of him when he revealed he had access to top-secret schematics of the mines, claiming a hacker friend had stolen them; and when he unveiled a powerful laser that allowed him to cut into the rockface. He uncovered and identified a deposit of X-Kryptonite, a variant of Kryptonite neither Superman or Lois had ever heard of. They were attacked by Leslie Larr, but Irons fought her off with his laser and they fled. Lois demanded to know who he really was and what he was doing in Smallville, as he was clearly not a reporter. He refused to tell her and Lois had to leave when Clark called her to tell her that their son was hurt.[9]

John Henry Irons II Arrowverse 002

Irons unmasked.

Lois met with "Marcus Bridgewater" and again asked who he was. While Lois was distracting him, Clark broke into Irons' RV and the recently repaired AI greeted him as "Captain Luthor". Lois had to cut the meeting short again when Chrissy Beppo called and told her that X-Kryptonite was being removed from the mines. The AI also informed Irons about the activity at the mines and he hijacked the shipment, which Lois and Clark were following. Irons told Lois he needed to meet with Superman, unaware that Superman was standing in front of him at that very moment. Lois agreed to arrange a meeting if, as a sign of good faith, he handed over the sample of X-Kryptonite. She lifted his fingerprints from the casing and sent them to the Department of Defense for matching.

Lois and Chrissy investigated the possibility that "Marcus" was an unknown relative of Lex Luthor but determined that was impossible. The DoD matched Irons' fingerprints to his counterpart from their universe, who had been dead for six years. Lois tried to call Clark to inform him and tell him that Irons was The Stranger but realised something was wrong when he did not respond.

Meanwhile Superman met with him at the agreed location and "Luthor" drained Superman's powers with red sunlight lamps, then attacked him with his Kinetic Hammer. Superman was rescued by his sons, who hit Irons with their truck and destroyed the lamps, restoring Superman's powers. Irons managed to block the worst of the impact with the Hammer but was still injured and incapacitated. Enraged, Superman almost attacked the helpless Irons with his full strength but Lois arrived in time to calm him down. Irons was taken into custody by the DoD.[3]

Irons was interrogated by Sam Lane and Superman, but refused to answer their questions, insisting he would only speak to Lois. Sam ordered Lieutenant Rosetti to take Irons back to his cell, where they were met by Lieutenant Trask, an unofficial torturer. Trask tried to take Irons but Rosetti murdered him, revealing that he had Kryptonian powers.

Rosetti planned to take Irons from the Pentagon (presumably to Morgan Edge), but stopped off at Vault 7734, where the Army kept their experimental Kryptonite weapons, to get a weapon to kill Superman with if necessary. Irons triggered an alarm, hoping to see Rosetti and Superman kill each other. Superman came to the vault which Rosetti had filled with synthetic Kryptonite gas, putting Superman at a disadvantage as Rosetti was protected by a gas mask. Rosetti eventually beat Superman as he was weakened by the Kryptonite, however, Irons killed Rosetti with a Kryptonite spear before he could finish off Superman.

Irons then tried to kill Superman while he was helpless, but a squad of soldiers and Lois, who had come to speak with a military psychiatrist, got to the vault before he could and Lois convinced him to stand down. Superman and the Department of Defense decided to release him and give him back his weapons, reasoning that they would need him as an ally if the Kryptonian invasion he feared came to pass. At the Kent farm he said goodbye to Lois, acknowledging that she was not the woman he loved. He ordered his AI partner to refer to him as "John" rather than "Captain Luthor" and drove off to explore the new world.[10]

Weeks later Superman agreed to join Edge, who had revealed his true identity as Superman's previously unknown Kryptonian half-brother Tal-Rho, to protect his family as Tal-Rho had learned his secret identity. As they left, Tal-Rho told Lois to take one last look at the man she knew. Fearing Tal-Rho would turn Superman, she called John and asked for his help.[11] John planned to build another Solar Missile and use it to depower Superman, then kill him. Lois tried to convince him that Superman could still be saved, as one of Edge's Subjekts Kyle Cushing had been able to briefly fight his brainwashing, and even revealed that Superman was her husband Clark, but John was unmoved. Jonathan Kent also tried to convince him that killing Superman was not the only option.

John flew to the Badlands and fought Superman, who was possessed by the mind of General Zod. Irons briefly gained the upper hand, and over his comm link Lois begged him not to kill Superman. Superman overheard Lois' voice and was able to briefly regain control of his body, telling John to kill him for the good of the world. Realising that unlike the Superman of his world, this one had a home and family to fight for and therefore may be able to break the brainwashing, John convince Superman to fight his programming and he was able to destroy Zod within himself. The two went after Morgan Edge together and John shot him down with the Solar Missile. Edge was imprisoned in an advanced military prison.[8]

While he decided what he would do next, Irons stayed at the Kent Farm. Clark suggested he could work for the DoD but he was not interested. He did however help Superman foil Leslie Larr's attempt to break Edge out of prison. After Larr was incarcerated, he and Superman met with Sam Lane, who returned the dog tag and told them that he had ended Project 7734 and was planning to destroy almost all the military's Kryptonite weapons, keeping just enough to guard Edge and Leslie. Superman was uncomfortable with this, as he believed that humanity needed a way to protect itself from him if he ever became evil. He asked John to take some of the weapons and be ready to kill him if he ever became a danger. John was reluctant as he now saw Superman as a friend, but agreed to do it.[12]

John Henry Irons New Suit Arrowverse 001

A new set of armour.

Morgan Edge absorbed the power of the Eradicator and escaped from prison. Over the next three weeks, John remained on the Kent farm and continued to improve his armour. Jonathan Kent would often try to help and learn from him but John was not interested in being a mentor and eventually asked the boy to leave. Morgan Edge reappeared and freed Leslie Larr from prison and the two headed to Metropolis to announce the invasion as had happened on John's world. John, Superman and Lois chased them to Metropolis, where Edge effortlessly transformed four civilians into Kryptonians and set them loose on the city. Irons and Superman fought the four Subjekts and Leslie while Lois reported live on the situation. Leslie attempted to kill Lois on air as had happened to John's wife, but he was able to save her. With Leslie and the Subjekts in custody John and Superman tried to capture Edge but he blasted them away and escaped.[13]

Irons upgraded his Hammer with red solar technology to allow it to penetrate the Eradicator's force field and nullify his powers, but to be effective it would need to thrown from orbit. The Eradicator attacked the Shuster Mines along with the resurrected Kryptonian Defense Council and a possessed Jordan Kent, using the X-Kryptonite to generate a massive energy wave. Irons incapacitated Jordan and carried him back to the Farm, but the blast necessary to take him down drained half the Warsuit's energy. He and Superman fought off the Council, which further drained his energy reserves to dangerously low levels. John flew into space while Superman restrained the Eradicator to give him a clear shot. John threw the Hammer at the Eradicator, stopping the energy wave and restoring him to normal. With his energy depleted he fell to Earth, but Superman saved him.

With the invasion finally averted Lois invited him to stay on the farm, but he told her it would be too painful to be around her all the time. He decided to contact his sister's counterpart but just as he was preparing to leave a capsule crashed to Earth on the farm and Natalie emerged.[14]

Season Two

Natalie attempted to hug Lois but John stopped her and explained that she was not her mother, and they departed in John's RV. They settled in Metropolis under the names Henry and Natalie Johnson and Natalie enrolled in Metropolis High School. However, Natalie came home three hours late on the first day of school, having walked out after encountering her best friends' counterpart. She told John that they did not belong on this parallel Earth and wished she had died with the rest of their world.

Lois called John and asked him to arrange a meeting between her and Natalie. John took Natalie to Smallville and met with Lois, who convinced Natalie to move to Smallville.[15]

John and Natalie moved into the Kent farmhouse until John could find work in Smallville, claiming that he was an old friend of Clark's from Metropolis. Although he intended to stay out of superheroics in order to provide as normal a life as possible for his daughter, he agreed to help Lois investigate mysterious earthquakes at the Shuster Mines. While they were there a miner intentionally collapsed the mines after he was attacked by something underground. Later that day John realised that the incidence of the earthquakes corresponded with mysterious painful headaches and visions Clark had been having, and deduced that whatever was in the mines was causing his attacks.[16]

Sam Lane provided John with false credentials to allow him access to the mines, posing as an inspector. Dr. Faulkner accompanied John into the mines and knocked him out. While John was unconscious, a monster escaped from the mines. Superman tried to fight the creature but it overpowered him. Sam and Lois woke John up over his comm link and John rushed into the fight, summoning his armor from the Kent Farm. The monster was immune to John's red solar weapons and severely damaged John's armour before escaping. Later, Superman told John, Sam and Lois that the creature was a doppleganger of him. John agreed to help Superman fight the creature.[17]

Superman's duplicate attacked the Kent Farm and during the fight waves of energy radiated out from a pendant he was wearing and bound the two together. John used the Kinetic Hammer to break them apart without using his control gauntlet, injuring his wrist in the process. The creature flew away, but John developed a way to track his pendant's unique energy signature. However, as only the DoD had access to the satellites necessary to scan the Earth to detect the energy, Superman was forced to ask Lieutenant Anderson for help. Anderson detected the energy signature in Bolivia but rather than alert Superman he sent in the Supermen of America. Superman had a seizure and was able to see through his duplicate's eyes and realise what was happening, and that two of the Supermen were already dead. Superman flew to stop his double and John followed in his damaged armour. They managed to fight the creature off, but John was left severely injured and comatose. Superman flew him to a military hospital.[18]

John eventually regained consciousness but still had some residual brain damage, and had a brief lapse of memory where he forgot that Lois was not his wife. Natalie was not happy to move back into the Kent home, as she still hated and mistrusted Clark the way John did when they first met. Clark suggested that Natalie may be more comfortable living in her own place, and the Irons' moved into an old repair shop in town.[19]

Superman chased Ally Allston into the inverse world that the other Superman had come, and in the month that followed John took over his heroic duties, using an upgraded Warsuit. The morning of Smallville's mayoral election, he took Natalie to Lana Lang's campaign headquarters to volunteer and attempted to flirt with Lana until Natalie furiously demanded that they go home. When they got back, Natalie yelled at him for forgetting her mother and John realised it was the anniversary of Lois's death. Natalie stormed off to her room and John watched an old video of Lois and a newborn Natalie. He apologised to Natalie and told her he had been trying to move on from Lois's death because his grief had driven him to extreme actions, but that he never meant to forget her. He made waffles using Lois's recipe and they watched old videos of Lois together.[20]

That night, Lois called to tell him that Clark was back and they needed his help. John went to the Kent Farm and they told him that Ally had fused with her counterpart on the inverse world, and that Jonathan's evil doppleganger Jon-El had also crossed over, planning to fuse with Jonathan. They asked John to find a way to stop Jon-El.

John and Natalie built a device that could potentially destroy the pendants which Jon-El and Ally needed to merge the worlds, but it required so much energy to power it that merely running it for a few seconds blacked out the town. They went to the Shuster mines to collect X-Kryptonite to power the device. They found a rich vein near the portal to the other world and, as John was cutting a crystal from the wall, the inverse world's Lana Lang came through the portal and attacked them. John attempted to fight her off but his red solar weapons only made her stronger. As Lana was about to kill him, Natalie stabbed her with a shard of X-Kryptonite and the wounded Lana fled back through the portal.

When they got home, John got an idea to collapse the portal and left to call Sam. Natalie offered to help but he told her he could handle it.[21] John and Sam Lane developed a plan to collapse the portal, but when they presented it to Superman he refused to go along with it, unwilling to leave the other world to suffer under Ally. He told them that, although neither he or any device could produce enough energy to destroy the pendants, his mother had determined that he and Bizarro together would have been able to do it, and suggested that he and Tal-Rho together could also destroy the pendant. John calculated that the two together would have enough energy, and he and Sam reluctantly agreed to the plan.

Sam released Tal-Rho from prison, and the Kryptonians took the pendant to an active volcano. They attempted to destroy it with their combined heat vision, but as it began to break Ally Allston, who had fused with her counterpart and gained great power, appeared and stole the pendant back. Superman and Tal attempted to fight her, but she was able to drain their powers and incapacitate them. John attacked Ally in his armour and managed to make her drop the pedant, then fought her off while Superman and Tal destroyed it. Ally took the fragments and returned to the inverse world, but while Superman and John were distracted by her, Tal-Rho escaped.[22]

John had been protected from Ally's energy draining abilities by his suit and studied it to discover why, but while he was doing so he stumbled across Natalie's designs for a suit of her own. John confronted Natalie and insisted that she destroy her armour, but she refused, insisting she was able to do more than simply help him fix his suit. John refused to let her take the risk and decided to destroy the suit himself if she would not. However, he found that Natalie's armor was virtually indestructible as it was reinforced with X-Kryptonite. Natalie told him that she wanted to fight for this new world after they had lost their home, and asked him not to try to hold her back. Although he was still concerned for her safety, John agreed to let her join him.

Lois' journalism partner Chrissy Beppo called Sam Lane's emergency DoD number, and John realised that she and likely Lois were in trouble. John and Natalie responded to the distress call but Ally was too powerful to stop and simply left of her own accord. Natalie was able to resuscitate Clark using a defibrillator built into her suit, and they carried him and Sam back to the DoD. At the hospital, doctors ran tests on Clark and found that they were able to pierce his skin to draw blood. They determined that he would live but he remained unconscious and his powers appeared to have been completely removed, potentially forever.[23]

Clark regained consciousness but was severely weakened and his powers were not restored by the sun. He asked John to take him to the Fortress to consult with a hologram of his mother. At the Fortress Lara diagnosed that his cells had been damaged and lost their ability to process yellow sunlight, and they could take years to recover. Lara told them there may be a way to accelerate the process, but she glitched and disappeared before she could tell them what it was. John noticed a second, red, cube-shaped sun appear in the sky and they realised that the worlds had begun to merge.

They returned to Smallville and John and Natalie went into the stratosphere to scan the red sun. They found that it was putting out approximately 3% of the energy of the normal sun but the output was increasing as the worlds merged together. They calculated that they had less than twelve hours before the worlds merged and tracked the source of the merge to the Shuster Mines, but couldn't detect Ally in the area. They received a distress call from the Kent Farm and responded in time to chase Lana-Rho away before she could harm anyone. They told Clark and Sam what they had found and Clark realised that Ally was in the space between worlds that he and Natalie had passed through when they crossed between dimensions.

John decided to go into the void and stop Ally. Natalie insisted on going with him and John pretended to agree, but when it was time to leave he triggered a safeguard on her armour which would prevent it activating for ten minutes. He told her to stay behind on comms and protect the Kents if necessary, and left her the Kinetic Hammer. He entered the void and saw Ally forcing the portals into both worlds together. He shot her with a thermonuclear missile but she simply absorbed the energy of the explosion and hit him with a powerful energy blast, knocking him unconscious and leaving him to drift away into the void.[24]

John regained consciousness and managed to re-establish contact with Natalie. He told her to load all the X-Kryptonite she could find into her escape pod and bring it with her into the void, planning to use the X-K to blow up the portals and prevent the merge. Natalie came for him, but she hadn't heard the part of the message telling her to bring the X-K and only had the pod, believing he needed it to leave the void. Their armour was too damaged to allow either of them to go back and collect the X-K. Natalie suggested they sacrifice themselves by transferring the remaining X-Kryptonite energy from their suits to the pod. John reluctantly agreed as otherwise billions of people would die. The exploding pod disrupted the merge and Ally flew towards them in a rage. Believing they were about to die Natalie tearfully told John that he was her hero and she loved him. John attempted to protect Natalie from Ally but they were both saved by Superman, who had regained his powers. He scooped them up and returned them safely to Earth, then defeated Ally and undid the merge, saving the world.

At a celebration afterwards, John Diggle met with John Henry and told him that A.R.G.U.S. believed the John Henry Irons of their world had been murdered by Bruno Mannheim, the head of Intergang.[25]

Season Three

John Henry and Natalie settled into Smallville, planning to make it their permanent home. John Henry started working for the Department of Defence under Sam Lane, but refused to relocate or commute to Washington, D.C.; requiring Sam to come to him, in order to give Natalie as normal a life as possible. During one of his visits Sam invited Natalie to a movie night like she had often had with his counterpart. John agreed, but when Natalie returned she told him that Sam had only invited her as a pretext to recruit her.

John confronted Sam and Jonathan and Jordan's sixteenth birthday party. He told Sam that Natalie had been excited to spend time with him and that she needed support from the people around her after what she had been through, and that he should stay away from Nat if he wasn't interested in being a part of her life. Sam shamefacedly admitted that he was right.[26]

Smallville High School was shut down due to a black mould infestation and Natalie asked for permission to go to a party in Metropolis with her friend Sarah. John reluctantly agreed as it would mean Natalie associating with kids her own age. Later that day, Sarah's mother Lana Lang, the recently elected mayor of Smallville, came to the house looking for her, as Sarah had apparently told her she had gone to the Irons' house for a movie marathon. Lana wanted to go to Metropolis to get Sarah but John Henry told her that the girls would be back by midnight and invited Lana to stay for dinner, which she accepted.

As they were eating, Lana told John Henry that her predecessor, former mayor George Dean had been murdered that day whilst on the phone with her. She told him that, before he was killed, Dean had used the phrase "pride of Smallville". Lana remembered seeing that stamped on the seal in the mayor's office and they went to city hall to investigate. They found a thumb drive hidden behind the seal and loaded it into Lana's laptop, but before they could look at any of the files, they were attacked by a masked metahuman, who stole the drive and destroyed the computer.[27]

Lois revealed to her friends and family that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. John Henry tried to maintain emotional distance but was deeply affected by this since, even though he knew Lois was not his wife, the thought of losing her again was incredibly painful. Natalie decided to give Lois a watch she had originally built for her mother, and asked John's permission. He was unhappy with this but begrudgingly agreed, not wanting to admit the complex feelings such a gesture brought up for him. Laster that day, Lois skipped out on treatment again while Clark was dealing with a natural disaster. He could not find her with his super-hearing and so went to the DoD to track her down. John Henry tried to find her with satellites but was unsuccessful.

Eventually Clark's super-hearing picked her up again at an abandoned hospital in Metropolis, where she was being threatened by Intergang and he raced over to save her. Clark saved Lois and Chrissy Beppo, but was himself attacked by a goon armed with Kryptonite weapons. John flew in and saved Clark; the goon attempted to kill them with a suicide bomb but they both survived unscathed. The next day John Henry joined Nat, Sam and the Kents in seeing Lois off to her first actual treatment, where John admitted that he was worried about Lois even if she wasn't his wife.[28]

John Henry investigated the Kryptonite weapons from the hospital and realised that they contained systems and components very similar to the ones in his suit. He deduced that the weapons may have been built by his counterpart and that Diggle may have been right about Bruno Mannheim being involved in the other John Henry Irons' death. John went to the Kent Farm to discuss it with Lois and Clark, where they admitted that they had been investigating his doppleganger's death and had met with his sister's counterpart despite him expressly asking them not to. Clark told him that the other John Henry had been suspected of selling weapons to Intergang before his death, which now appeared to be true. John realised that the person who attacked him and Lana was likely working for Intergang, and that he and Natalie may be in danger from Mannheim now that he was "alive" again.

He went to Metropolis to speak to Darlene and get information on his counterpart. She was shocked to see him but he explained that he was from a parallel universe. At first she refused to speak to him, but after he told her he needed to know what had happened to his counterpart to protect his daughter, she told him that there had been rumours that he had been involved in illegal weapons trafficking, and after their father confronted him he didn't deny it. Her John Henry had cut all contact with her, telling her she would be safer that ay, and had turned up dead six months later. She asked him not to contact her again as it was too difficult to be around him. Immediately after he ran off, a group of men working for Intergang forced him into a car and took him to meet Bruno Mannheim.

Mannheim admitted to killing the other John Henry, as he had refused to go along with Intergang's worst plans, and told John that he knew he was from another universe and the Stranger. He revealed that his men had kidnapped Darlene and strapped her to a bomb, and told John to stay out of his way or he would kill her. John recognised the bomb as the self-destruct device from his ship and realised he could disarm it and save her. He jumped out of a window and summoned his armor, then scanned the city for the bomb's plasma explosive. John was able to reach Darlene in the nick of time and disarm the bomb. He returned to Mannheim's penthouse and threatened to kill him, but Mannheim told him he had men in New Orleans who would kill the entire Irons family on his Earth if anything happened to him, and ordered him to leave and never come back. The next day, Lois apologised for speaking to Darlene behind his back and they all agreed to work together on stopping Mannheim.[5]

After John returned from New Orleans, Natalie's new boyfriend Matteo came to Smallville from Metropolis to meet him. They had lunch together, where John was uncharacteristically confrontational and aggressive and attempted to intimidate Matteo, despite his politeness and attempts to de-escalate. Natalie stormed off in a rage at his behaviour. John Henry went to ask Lana for advice and told her that he had felt a surge of protectiveness as soon as he met Matteo. He admitted that, although he had only wanted Natalie to live like a normal teenager, he didn't know how to handle it now that she was. After their movie was complete, John Henry and Lana went to the theatre to pick their children up. John saw Natalie and Matteo kissing and almost broke it up, but held back when Lana told him to. He calmed down and apologised to Matteo, telling him that, since Natalie had never dated before he didn't know how to handle her having a boyfriend. John told Matteo that he would trust him to treat Natalie well, and Matteo assured him he would.[29]

A few weeks later, John Henry drove Natalie to Metropolis to have lunch with Matteo's family. After her dropped her off at a restaurant called "Little Ace's", he went to visit Darlene. When he told her where Natalie was she told him that Little Ace's was an Intergang hangout which her brother used to go to with Bruno Mannheim. He rushed over to the restaurant and found that Matteo's father was Bruno Mannheim. John told Natalie they needed to leave, but the patrons of the restaurant were all members of Intergang, who dragged Natalie out and held John down as Mannheim beat him. John was able to activate his suit's remote control and it flew to him, arriving just as Mannheim was about to shoot him.

The warsuit tried to attack Bruno, but his wife forced it away with a sonic scream, revealing she was the metahuman who attacked him and Lana in Smallville. The suit flew onto John Henry and she blasted him away again. She continued to attack him outside, but Superman flew in and protected him. Peia eventually collapsed, leaving John Henry and Clark injured but alive. Clark saw that Peia was close to death and so Mannheim let Clark carry her to a hospital. Natalie and Matteo ran to the alley where they had been fighting and, when his son arrived, Mannheim simply told John to leave and he flew away.

John Henry met back up with Clark at the Pentagon, where Peia had been imprisoned in a cell that countered her powers. Clark was not sure that Peia should be in prison, but John told him that Peia was a bad person who had committed multiple crimes and should be in prison. When he got home, he forbade Natalie from contacting Matteo again, ignoring her protests that Matteo hadn't known about his parents, and confiscated her phone so she couldn't call him.[30]

Despite publicly attacking John Henry and Superman, Mannheim was able to evade arrest. John became increasingly paranoid, especially about potential threats to Natalie, and made her wear a tracking device and carry a collapsible nightstick for self-defence. Sam allowed John Henry to take charge of the DoD's operations against Intergang. He refused to allow Mannheim to visit Peia in prison, despite her having only weeks to live, unless he handed over everything Intergang had stolen from the DoD, including Superman's blood and Bizarro's corpse. Clark told him that they should allow Mannheim to see Peia and said that he would go and try to reason with him.

Some of Mannheim's henchmen tried to kidnap John and Natalie in broad daylight in Smallville. John Henry fought them off but the experience pushed him over the edge and he decided to stop Mannheim one and for all by force. He lead a military raid on Mannheim's home whilst Clark was meeting with him as Superman and trying to reason with him. Clark had been close to agreeing a deal with Mannheim before they arrived, and so Sam decided that John Henry was allowing his emotions to get the better of him. He relieved John of command and sent him home.

Henry Miller, a superhuman terrorist working for Mannheim, attacked John Henry in Smallville. He damaged John's remote control watch, preventing him from summoning his warsuit and hammer, so he was helpless to fight back. Superman swooped in to save him and the two fought on Smallville's main street. Miller eventually threw Superman far away into the air, but fortunately John was able to get his remote to work and summon the hammer. He used it to kill Miller with an uppercut. Clark felw back down and John Henry insisted he had no choice but to kill him, and Clark replied "you always have a choice".

When Natalie got home, she told John she was worried about him and how he had been acting since the night at the restaurant. She asked him why he was using Peia as a bargaining chip with Mannheim, revealing that she had been to see Matteo. John insisted that holding Peia hostage was the only way of getting Mannheim to co-operate but Natalie asked him if he wanted to be the one who took those final minutes from a family like Lois's last moment had been taken from them.[31]

John Henry did eventually allow Matteo to visit Peia, but he slipped her a temporary cure for her cancer, allowing her to regain her strength and escape.[32] The next day, John Henry and Natalie joined the Kents, Lana and Sarah for dinner the night before Lois's surgery.

The day after that, Natalie flew to the Mannheim's home in Metropolis, looking for Matteo. John Henry tracked her armour and followed her there. He told Natalie that she needed to let Matteo go, and that if he ever emerged he would go to military prison for decades and Natasha would waste her life waiting for him. She was seemingly convinced and left with him back to Smallville, although unbeknownst to him she had planted her AI assistant Hedy in the apartment.

Sonic waves suddenly started rocking Metropolis, showing that Peia and the Mannheims were still in the city. John joined Sam and Clark at the DoD to try and get a fix on her location. He detected Natalie returning to Mannheim's home and flew over after her. He found Natalie being threatened by Mannheim and his men and threw in his hammer to knock Mannheim's men away, then grabbed Bruno and threatened him with the hammer. Mannheim goaded John to kill him and show Natalie what kind of man he was but Natalie and Matteo were able to get him to sand down by telling him Peia was in trouble. The building was rocked by a shockwave and they ran up to the roof to try and spot Peia. They saw her in the distance but were unable to do anything, as he blasts were now so powerful a normal person would be killed if they got too close. Superman flew Peia up into the sky, where she released her power in a final blast and died. He returned her body to Bruno and Matteo and told them that Peia asked him to tell them that she loved them. Bruno cradled Peia's dead body, weeping. He made eye contact with John Henry and they both silently recognised that they carried the same grief. Bruno and Matteo were both arrested by the DoD. Bruno offered to confess to everything in exchange for amnesty for Matteo and John Henry's personal guarantee that his son would be taken care of, which John agreed to.[33]

Over the next month, John Henry became increasingly attracted to Lana, and eventually faked an alert on her security system so he would have an excuse to go over and ask her out to dinner. She accepted but later that day Sam came to the Irons' home and told John that the DoD wanted him to work in R&D for them full time, which would require him and Natalie to move to Metropolis. John Henry couldn't turn down the opportunity and told Lana during their date that evening that they had no future, but she told him she was glad he invited her out anyway. They went back to his house and had sex. Afterwards they went into town to watch a meteor shower and saw Kyle propose to Chrissy in front of the whole town.

Suddenly Clark, as Superman, crashed down out of the sky onto main street. A monster flew down after him and his friends and family rushed forward to help but he told them to stay back. He tackled the monster into the sky and they battled from Smallville to Metropolis and even to the moon.[34]


Abilities

Other Characteristics

  • Brain Damage: (Formerly) John Henry suffered from residual brain damage after his encounter with Bizarro, which caused occasional lapses in memory.[19] He appears to have since recovered.

Equipment

Transportation

  • Ship: (Formerly) An advanced, AI controlled flying vehicle, later destroyed.[6]
  • RV: After his ship was destroyed, Irons relocated to an RV filled with weapons and advanced computers.[2]

Weapons

  • Kinetic Hammer: A powerful sledgehammer that gains kinetic energy the further it is thrown, hitting hard enough to injure Kryptonians.[3] It was damaged when he used it against Tal-Rho[14] and eventually destroyed in a fight with Bizarro.[18] He later built a second hammer.[22]
  • Kryptonite Knife (Formerly)[1]
  • Red Solar Laser: Irons owns a portable laser which fires concentrated beams of red sunlight, able to cut through rock and knock the invulnerable Leslie Larr unconscious.[9][21]
  • Solar Missile: (Formerly) A rocket propelled projectile which explodes with a burst of red solar radiation to completely drain a Kryptonian's powers. He used his only missile on Morgan Edge.[8]
  • Twin Bazooka[2]


  • Irons knows Superman's birth name is Kal-El, however, as the Superman of his world did not have a secret identity he did not initially recognise Clark Kent as Superman.

Related

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Superman & Lois: "Pilot"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Superman & Lois: "The Best of Smallville"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Superman & Lois: "Man of Steel"
  4. Superman & Lois: "What Lies Beneath"
  5. 5.0 5.1 Superman & Lois: "Too Close to Home"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Superman & Lois: "Heritage"
  7. Earth-Prime #2
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Superman & Lois: "Through The Valley Of Death"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Superman & Lois: "Broken Trust"
  10. Superman & Lois: "Holding the Wrench"
  11. Superman & Lois: "A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events"
  12. Superman & Lois: "Fail Safe"
  13. Superman & Lois: "The Eradicator"
  14. 14.0 14.1 Superman & Lois: "Last Sons of Krypton"
  15. Superman & Lois: "What Lies Beneath"
  16. Superman & Lois: "The Ties That Bind"
  17. Superman & Lois: "The Thing in the Mines"
  18. 18.0 18.1 Superman & Lois: "The Inverse Method"
  19. 19.0 19.1 Superman & Lois: "Into Oblivion"
  20. 20.0 20.1 Superman & Lois: "30 Days and 30 Nights"
  21. 21.0 21.1 Superman & Lois: "Truth and Consequences"
  22. 22.0 22.1 Superman & Lois: "Lies That Bind"
  23. Superman & Lois: "All Is Lost"
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Superman & Lois: "Worlds War Bizarre"
  25. Superman & Lois: "Waiting for Superman"
  26. Superman & Lois: "Closer"
  27. 27.0 27.1 Superman & Lois: "Uncontrollable Forces"
  28. Superman & Lois: "In Cold Blood"
  29. Superman & Lois: "Forever and Always"
  30. Superman & Lois: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"
  31. Superman & Lois: "The Dress"
  32. Superman & Lois: "Collision Course"
  33. Superman & Lois: "Complications"
  34. Superman & Lois: "What Kills You Only Makes You Stronger"
  35. Superman & Lois: "The Dress"


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