John Henry Irons

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John Henry Irons in Steel v3 #1.

John Henry Irons is a male comic superhero that features in DC Comics.




Steel fights alongside Kal-El in Superman: Man of Steel v1 #26.

John Henry Irons


Operating as a superhero in Steel v2 #1.


Following the Flashpoint, a new version of history was created with a different series of events.


Personality and attributes

As a scientist, he was a firm believer in the principle of cause and effect. (Superman: The Man of Steel v1 #97)

Powers and abilities

A further advanced variation of his suit was one that was called the Shining Armor.‎ (JLA: The Ultimate Guide to the Justice League of America v1 #1) It was built from scratch as all previous versions of his armours had been corrupted by the B13 Virus. This led to him incorporating some of the innovations he made for the Special Crimes Unit and thus had a range of improved features. (Superman: The Man of Steel v1 #99) Another version of his suit was an organic steel that coated his body after going into a pool of the material. It provided him with superhuman abilities and was able to combat deadly viruses that impacted his body. (Action Comics v2 #31)

He had written a paper on the use of Pseudocytes that consisted of human tissue produced by artificial flesh which he used to replace his own hand after losing it in a battle with a supervillain. Pseudocytes self-replicated and shutdown the parts of the immune response that would reject man/machine grafting. During that time, they operated as an artificial immune system until the body recovered though they required a charge during this time. (52 v1 #5) One of his creations was a type of nanotechnology called nanobytes that had their own encryption code. (Superman v1 #692)

For a headquarters, he purchased an old mill that was leased in Old Hook Basin district that was the site of his contracting business Steelworks. (Superman: The Man of Steel v1 #97) At one point, he headed his own facility known as the Salvation Tech Emergency Evaluation Laboratories (S.T.E.E.L.) situated in Manassas, Virginia with it being the most advanced physical rehabilitation research center in the country. It was built for criminals and had special containment chambers for super-powered beings. (Action Comics v2 #31)


  • John Henry Irons Steel was created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove where he made his first appearance in the Adventures of Superman v1 #500 (June, 1993).

Alternate Versions

In other media


  • In the DC Animated Universe, John Henry Irons made a number of appearances in the shared continuity.
    • In Superman: The Animated Series, John Henry Irons was first introduced in the episode "Prototype". He was an employee at LexCorp who designed the 'LexCorp Police Battlesuit with the Series Alpha piloted by officer Corey Mills of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit. However, Iron had concerns over the neural interface of the suit as he determined it bonded deeply with the wearer and affected them mentally. He brought his concerns to Lex Luthor who dismissed them causing John Henry Irons to resign rather than continue working at LexCorp. When Mills went rogue, Irons informed Superman of the danger and of a device in Luthors possession that could be used to deactivate the armor. The device was destroyed though Mills was eventually stopped the rogue officer with Irons dismayed at the failure of the suit. However, Superman told John Henry not to give up and that he always needed help in keeping Metropolis safe.
  • In Young Justice, Steel appeared in the animated television series third season Outsiders where he was voiced by actor Zeno Robinson. He was shown to be a member of the Justice League by this point and worked with them on numerous missions.


  • In Steel, John Henry Irons starred in the 1997 live-action film where he was portrayed by actor Shaquille O'Neal.
  • In Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, John Henry appeared in the animated film where he was voiced by Khary Payton. He was shown as a construction worker in Metropolis when it came under attack from Ocean Master's Atlantean army. During the battle, he was seen wielding a hammer and defending a colleague from an Atlantean before he was saved by Superman.
  • In The Death of Superman, John Henry Irons appeared in the 2018 animated film where he was voiced by actor Cress Williams. It was shown that he was inspired by the actions of Superman before and had quit LexCorp where he took a post as a metallurgist at S.T.A.R. Labs. Silas Stone called on Irons expertise to examine a suit of armor used by Intergang with John Henry confirming that it was Apokolipitian in origin but had been mixed with other metals to make it stronger. During the end-credit scene, after Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday it was shown that John Henry Irons was among various individuals that took up the mantle of the Man of Steel where he was fashioning himself a suit of armor.
  • In Reign of the Supermen, John Henry Irons as Steel appeared in the animated film where he was voiced by actor Cress Williams. After the death of Superman, he fashioned himself an armour and operated as the Man of Steel who was one of the many Supermen that arose to continue on in his honour. Steel was responsible for stopping numerous crimes in Metropolis and later investigated LexCorp for illegal operations.

Video games

  • In DC Universe Online, Steel appeared in the setting of the MMORPG where he was voiced by actor Ken Thomas.


  • Adventures of Superman v1:
  • Superman: The Man of Steel v1:
  • Steel:
  • Action Comics v2:

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