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|As a result of the New 52 in 2011, the entire line of DC characters was relaunched, incorporating properties belonging to the company's imprints: Wildstorm, Milestone, and Vertigo. As such, elements of this character's history have been altered in some way from the previous incarnation. For a complete list of all versions of this character, see our disambiguation page.|
- I wonder... maybe that's the mark of a superhero: Not the incredible powers or saving the day, but the effect you have on other people. Inspiring them to keep trying... and inspiring them to never give up.
- — John Henry Irons src
John Henry Irons is Steel, a weapons designer turned superhero with a steel suit of armor and a big hammer.
Growing up, John Henry Irons was always inspired by heroes. After his parents' death, he realized they named him after the legendary folk hero, John Henry, hoping he would follow in his namesake's footsteps.
After progressing through graduate school, Doctor Irons was hired by General Sam Lane to create a weapon capable of protecting the Earth from an alien invasion. After Lex Luthor joined the operation Doctor Irons kept the prototype war suit called Metal-Zero hidden for himself, while working with Luthor on a new Metal-Zero suit. When Luthor managed to capture Superman Doctor Irons turned in his resignation upon witnessing the torture the unfortunate hero was under going.
Shortly afterwards during the Terminaut invasion of Earth led by Brainiac Doctor Irons put on the original Metal-Zero armor to help protect the city. Surveying the attack Steel noticed Superman in pitched combat with the newly armored John Corben and intervened with the intent to destroy the new Metal-Zero armor. After winning a short battle against Metallo, Steel helped Superman determine the speed he'd need to reach in order to propel himself into space to save New Troy from Brainiac.
While Superman took the battle to space, Steel remained on Earth to help manage the destruction caused by the abduction of the New Troy district of Metropolis.
After this he and Superman partnered up several more times to fight crime and a menace known as the Kryptonite Man, Steel managed to aid Superman in the villain's defeat and even found a way to deactivate the villain's powers.
After facing the villain Doomsday alongside Superman he was infected with a strange otherworldly toxin, in a bid to prevent further such infections he coated his skin in a malleable liquid steel film, which would protect him from otherworldly infections but did limit his emotional responses.
Steel was present when the Prime Earth's Superman died of kryptonite poisoning.
He now currently protects Metropolis alongside Lana Lang where he supports her both as a boyfriend and a partner in crime-fighting. With his niece, Natasha Irons and Lana make up Team Steel. When Lana's powers nearly killed her, John was there to watch over her, seeking out Superman to help save her. When she recovers, it seemed her powers were gone. He, Lana, and Natasha spend time in Smallville while she tries to cope, but she pushes him away in anger. When she deals with the loss, the three return to the city, where they create a test chamber that they believed could restore Lana's powers by pushing her through her worst fears and doubts. The chamber accomplished the task, and it was discovered that the Insect Queen suit Natasha built for her stored her powers inside the last time she used it.
Later, John and Natasha are seen at Lana's apartment, watching news about a sighting of Skyhook, the meta criminal that kidnapped Zeke, John's nephew. The two immediately prepare to go to the police for information, but Lana reveals she went ahead alone, upsetting them. The next day, John is preparing to hunt down Skyhook, despite Lana's attempts to talk him out of it. However, John's brother Crash finds him first, hoping to avenge his son. John and Natasha arrive not long after Lana reaches the scene. Rather that target Skyhook, the two forsake their revenge to save Crash, entrusting their quarry to Superwoman, who defeats him.
Powers and Abilities
- Steel was created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove, first appearing in Adventures of Superman #500. However, in the rebooted Prime Earth continuity his first appearance as part of the DC Universe is in Grant Morrison and Rags Morales' New 52 Action Comics series.
- John Henry is engaged to Lana Lang.
- 100 Appearances of John Henry Irons (Prime Earth)
- 28 Images featuring John Henry Irons (Prime Earth)
- 4 Quotations by or about John Henry Irons (Prime Earth)
- Character Gallery: John Henry Irons (Prime Earth)
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
Suicide Squad member
Superman Family member