Who is John Henry Irons, the hero of Steel?

Who is John Henry Irons, the hero of Steel?

Who is John Henry Irons

The episodes aired last night of Superman & Lois opened with an incredible revelation: the identity of the mysterious Captain Luthor. Unlike what has been hinted at for half of this first season, in the highly advanced combat suit there is no Lex Luthor but John Henry Irons or the hero known as Steel (Steel in the original) in the DC comics.
The John Henry Irons seen on TV, however, is slightly different from its comic counterpart. First of all, he comes from a parallel universe, one in which Superman went mad and sowed death and destruction by killing, among others, his wife Lois Lane. He arrived on our Earth thanks to the precious help of his daughter Natalie (in the comics there is a similar character, Natasha, but it is his nephew) and the technology of the aforementioned combat suit.

What The Death of Superman Still Means to the DC Universe

I grew up reading your Superman stories, and I was exactly the right age when “Death of Superman” hit. What is it that you think makes this particular story the defining feature of the hundreds of Superman stories that you’ve written and illustrated in your time?

Because I think it really addresses the importance of Superman in terms of how he fits into the DC Universe. What did he mean to all the other characters in the DCU, be it Lois, Perry, or his own parents at that time. And because of the way it played out in the real world, where it got so much attention, whether it was late night talk show hosts, Saturday Night Live, the news, print media, everything else, we also saw, at the same time, exactly how much Superman meant to the world at large. I think it was one of these rare times when fiction and reality blended together, and there will never be anything like it again in comics. But that’s why it meant so much to Superman. It told us just how important this character was.

This is kind of like the defining feature of your run. But I’m always curious, is there another story that is your personal favorite in your time as a Superman creator?

You know, I have a lot of stories that are personal. I don’t know about a specific personal favorite, but I have many that were favorites, and they’re often the quieter issues. The one story type issues. We did one that dealt with drunk driving, for example, or my Christmas Metropolis mailbag stories. Even recently, as we did the Superman Rebirth stuff, when we brought Jon Kent into the world and gave Clark and Lois a son. Because through Jon, we add to the tapestry overall of what Superman’s life is, and I think that said something very specific about Clark and Lois.

Part of that whole era of Superman comics, and when you revisited the character during the Rebirth era, in some ways, really did feel like the first time in decades that the character was allowed to grow and there were new elements being added to the mythology. So it’s kind of a hallmark of what you’ve done with the character. And now here you are revisiting that classic story of 30 years ago. What is The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special going to bring to the character and that story in particular?

Well, I think in this one, what we really get to do is see it through young Jon Kent’s eyes. Jon is about nine years old in this story. I think what’s so important, what I told everybody as we started to create this book, is that this is for new readers who weren’t there 30 years ago, every bit as much it is for the readers who were there at the time. Basically, what is happening as the story opens up, it just happens to be the anniversary of Superman’s death in Metropolis. Jon Kent is in school one day and someone is in the classroom with a black armband on and the teacher introduces him and says, “We have someone here to talk about the most famous day in the history of Metropolis, and that’s the day that Superman died.” The problem is Lois and Clark had never explained it to Jon. He had no idea because how do you tell a nine-year-old your dad died and came back to life? So that gets us into this story. 

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