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  1. #1
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    Default A Man & His Hammer: STEEL (Simonson/Bogdanove, Priest/Cowan, Etc.)



    On February of 1994, the "Reign of Tomorrow" kicked off with books that spun off of the events of the "Reign of The Supermen" event in Superman comics.



    One of the books starred John Henry Irons, the lead "Superman" in the book "Superman: Man of Steel". Creating a suit of armor and wearing the cape of Superman, Irons defended Metropolis while honoring Superman's legacy. The character, given the name "Steel" by Superman, became a hero in his own right in a 52 issue series with creators Louise Simonson & Jon Bogdanove (with Steel in Washington D.C.) and Christopher Priest & Denys Cowan (With Steel in Jersey City).

    This year is the anniversary of the Steel series.

    Steel and his niece Natasha Irons (who would later receive a suit of armor for a brief time) would become mainstays in the comics. The character earned a place in the Justice League, made several appearances in other media, and became a known hero to this day.



    This thread is about John, but also about Natasha, his supporting characters, villains, his armor (all five or six versions of them), favorite stories, his role in the JLA, moments, thoughts, things you liked about the series, and all of the above.
    Last edited by C-Dot; 05-07-2014 at 07:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Really dig that costume. I liked it best when they started applying two different shades of color to the steel. Gives it more pizazz.

  3. #3
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    I never got into Bogdanove's art. I felt it ruined a lot of otherwise good stories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacred Knight View Post
    Really dig that costume. I liked it best when they started applying two different shades of color to the steel. Gives it more pizazz.
    That armor did make him stand out.....had his own S, the overall look, and the "smart hammer". The armor before that one had the different shades too and I did like that it was more advanced than his first.

    But this one from the art of "Forging of a Hero" .....



    Looks like a mix of the two.
    Last edited by C-Dot; 05-01-2014 at 05:56 AM.

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    Prototype Steel Armor.


    Reign of the Supermen
    (See armor above)

    Steel in Washington DC


    Steel in Jersey City.
    Last edited by C-Dot; 05-01-2014 at 06:11 AM.

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    Fourth armor with the different helmet.....



    Entropy Aegis



    Return of Reign of the Supermen theme.

    Last edited by C-Dot; 05-01-2014 at 03:24 PM.

  7. #7
    Mighty Member manduck37's Avatar
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    Steel quickly became one of my favorites. I loved him in Reign and followed his short lived series. Any guy who can strap on some armor and take down the Eradicator is cool with me. I hope we see more of him in the Nu52. He's a dreadfully underused character. It would have been nice to see him turn up in JLU or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manduck37 View Post
    Steel quickly became one of my favorites. I loved him in Reign and followed his short lived series. Any guy who can strap on some armor and take down the Eradicator is cool with me. I hope we see more of him in the Nu52. He's a dreadfully underused character. It would have been nice to see him turn up in JLU or something.
    Oh you mean this fight?



    Of all the Supermen, John was definitely the one closest to Kal in actions. I liked how he set Superboy straight on what it meant to be a hero and how he acted during Reign. But yes, he is definitely underused.

    He was a member in JLU, but in a few episodes.

    Last edited by C-Dot; 04-20-2015 at 07:34 PM.

  9. #9
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
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    I loved Steel, aka John Henry Irons, aka "Black Superman".



    But it always felt like his niche was forever being threatened, be it by this guy in the beginning:


    Hardware of Milestone Media

    Or by this guy now:


    Val-Zod of Earth 2 (New 52)

    Not to mention Victor Stone aka Cyborg as the Justice League's resident technologist.

    With the Justice League already grooming Cyborg (a legitimate Black Machine/Armored Man, who may eventually reach Marvel's Iron Man levels) and now Val-Zod (a legitimate Black Kryptonian, also in the vein of Marvel's Miles Morales), my big fear is that John Henry Irons will be ultimately be reduced to being Clark's version of Lucius Fox ... then again, there are worse fates.

    Sorry, this is an appreciation thread, not a complainer thread. I'll stop. Go Steel!

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    Quote Originally Posted by daBronzeBomma View Post
    Sorry, this is an appreciation thread, not a complainer thread. I'll stop. Go Steel!
    Nah you're on topic. Thread is more than just one character talk.

    This thread is about John, but also about Natasha, his supporting characters, villains, his armor (all five or six versions of them), favorite stories, his role in the JLA, moments, thoughts, things you liked about the series, and all of the above.

    Thoughts on the character being repped is a part of it so you're good.

    The thing about the others is that Hardware is currently in limbo and Val Zod is in Earth 2. But Cyborg though....part of me feels that John would have been a much better fit considering how he's more than just a man in a suit and was in a successful incarnation of the JLA. He started out as a Superman, but he really became his own hero. He didn't need to be Kryptonian to be a Superman and had claim to his own "S" (which is kind of why I was apprehensive of him going back to the Superman "S" shield). You might have comparisons about "that other guy in a metal suit", but I always felt that Steel was distinct and wasn't like Tony at all.

    As far as being another Lucius, I hope not. I really hope not. John deserves better than that.
    Last edited by C-Dot; 05-07-2014 at 09:42 AM.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-Dot View Post
    The thing about the others is that Hardware is currently in limbo and Val Zod is in Earth 2.
    I remember Steel being accused of being a rip-off of Hardware back in the early/mid 90s. It didn't help when the MileStone/DC crossover happened, I believe Hardware handed Steel his butt:

    [IMG]https://encrypted-tbn2.************/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQrrmOsx9B05UmAOqWYcIjSC8umf4esF b5ECIwWup0p_n0pOnO_ [/IMG]

    And don't sleep on Val-Zod. An actual "Black Superman" shown as an alpha by DC in any way will travel a lot farther success-wise than a "Black Iron Man" shown as a beta by DC, IMHO.


    But Cyborg though....part of me feels that John would have been a much better fit considering how he's more than just a man in a suit and was in a successful incarnation of the JLA. He started out as a Superman, but he really became his own hero. He didn't need to be Kryptonian to be a Superman and had claim to his own "S" (which is kind of why I was apprehensive of him going back to the Superman "S" shield). You might have comparisons about "that other guy in a metal suit", but I always felt that Steel was distinct and wasn't like Tony at all.
    Honestly, I love Steel, but he'll always be a beta due to his origins. Without divorcing him completely from the Superman mythos, Steel was never going to approach Iron Man levels of autonomy. Oh, and then there'll always be this monstrosity:



    Shaq will always be an albatross around Steel's neck

    And Cyborg may not have started out an alpha, but at least his origins aren't directly tied to much more popular hero. Unlike Steel, Cyborg was never anyone's junior partner or sidekick. His potential is less limited than Steel. And while you can (and maybe should) have more than 1 independent Black superhero on the League, you can't have more than 1 independent mech superhero on the league b/c that IS redundant. Cyborg was always going to beat out Steel in that department, especially once Victor Stone got an notable boost in expertise.


    As far as being another Lucius, I hope not. I really hope not. John deserves better than that.
    Maybe that was a little harsh. I can't see John giving up his super-hero identity. I'm just having trouble figuring where his personal niche in the New 52 DCU would be. Cyborg has replaced him as the premiere heroic technologist. Val-Zod will replace him as the Black Superman. And Mister Terrific is the DC equivalent of Marvel's Reed Richards in the overall genius department. So where does that leave John? As a member of the Superman Family and that's it? Maybe he could become Metropolis's premiere local defender (while Clark is the Earth's overall defender)? I don't know.

  13. #13
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    John Henry Irons is the most under-appreciated, under-utilized character in the DC Universe. He is a hero in every sense of the word. He embodies the qualities, integrities, and convictions that are essential to being a hero. I'll never forget the moment in "Reign of the Supermen" when brought the Eradicator to his knees with blow after blow, all the while admonishing him for not living up Superman's legacy of heroism. It was an incredibly powerful moment. It pains me so much that DC does so very little with Steel. He is a great hero, but few would know that because DC will not allow Steel to be the hero he can be.

  14. #14
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFlight View Post
    It pains me so much that DC does so very little with Steel. He is a great hero, but few would know that because DC will not allow Steel to be the hero he can be.
    I'm going to play devil's advocate here because I genuinely do not know the answer to this:

    Why would DC promote


    a genius (black) guy in an armored suit from the Superverse

    over


    a genius (black) cyborg in the Justice League

    or

    [IMG]http://i1.*****.com/vi/Mu5Rt8KB2ks/maxresdefault.jpg[/IMG]
    a new (black) Kryptonian from the Superverse

    ?

    Because there's no overlap between Cyborg and Val-Zod, whereas Steel overlaps with both of them (tech / Superverse), those two will get much more future exposure than Steel, I'm afraid.

  15. #15
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    I won't deny that to a casual observer there are some similarities between these characters, but they're exceptionally superficial, and anyone with the ability to appreciate any nuance should understand that. The story opportunities that they each present - in fact, the story directions that they each demand - are quite different.

    Cyborg is about the merging of man and machine, the isolation we each of us feel as our connectivity grows but our CONNECTIONS become fewer and ever more shallow. Blue tooth and wireless and smart phones and iPads and laptops, and we're so absorbed in this digital landscape that we neglect the human interactions that ground us, that define us. That's a perfect friction for a guy who is actually replacing his body parts with technology; his humanity withering, perhaps dead, as he becomes more machine than man? And ultimately I think technology has the potential to connect us even MORE, if it is used correctly, and I think that is a conclusion that he (Cyborg) has to come to; that's his journey. That technology can make you MORE human, if you apply it correctly.

    But Steel is already at the end of that journey. There is no friction, in regards to him and technology. Technology, for Steel, has ALWAYS been a means to an end. A way to help others, to lift them up, to transform society into something better. He doesn't care about the science, and any book focusing on Steel wouldn't focus on the technology itself, or his passion for building technology, for discovering new marvels. That's the purview of guys like the Atom, or Reed Richards, or Will Magnus.The focus of a Steel story should be on what Steel DOES with that technology, how he USES it, to what greater purpose he applies it.

    In that sense, then, the Cyborg book is more grounded in ‘today’, the issues that face us today. And Cyborg, as a younger character, is a perfect vehicle to explore the kind of angst we should all feel about how disconnected we’ve become; studies are showing that people are having more interactions than ever, but are less satisfied than ever, because it’s all one word texts. Information is being exchanged, but not MEANING. It’s the youth that is most impacted by this phenomenon, and a younger character lends himself to this kind of angst more than an older character (like, say, John Henry).

    The superficiality of the Val Zod/Steel overlap shouldn't need to be commented on; they're both black with some connection to Superman? That's pretty thin. Val Zod, from what little we have seen, is mostly going to be concerned with overcoming his agoraphobia, adjusting to the massive influx of power he's dealing with, adjusting to earth-society, and just generally learning how to be the hero that people need.

    From the perspective of a writer (and hopefully, editors), this should all be obvious and clear.

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