To the world at large, the superhero Steel may best be known for the slightly campy 1997 movie adaptation starring Shaquille O’Neal as a brilliant weapons inventor who creates a suit of armor to fight crime. Needless to say, he was no Tony Stark. In comics, however, he was one of four heirs apparent to Superman after the man of steel’s death at the hands of DC’s massive publicity stunt, Doomsday.
The others were a new leather jacket-wearing Superboy, Kryptonian robot the Eradicator, and a Terminator-like cyborg who claimed to be the real Superman but was actually a villain named Hank Henshaw. Steel, though, never pretended to be anything but John Henry Irons, a superhero blending the ideals of Superman and the hammer-wielding heroics of the legendary John Henry. He’s since become by far the most popular of the quartet.
McFarlane Toys’ new Steel action figure depicts his first appearance in the Reign of the Superman arc, achieving his metallic look with a blue wash over a silver body. The new figure also includes his cape and hammer. And unlike some recent McFarlane figures that used the excuse of a card-holder and an extra accessory to raise the price, this 7-inch figure is still $19.99.
His official bio from the included trading card reads: “A former weapons engineer, John Henry Irons moved to Metropolis to start a new life. There, on one fateful day, Superman saved his life. Forever grateful, John Henry paid it forward when the city’s protector died. He took up the fight to protect the innocent in Superman’s name, wearing his iconic “S” shield in tribute. Irons used his scientific genius to construct a suit of armor that allowed him to fly and gave him superior strength. He also created a giant metal hammer in homage to his namesake, the African-American folk hero John Henry. Now a permanent member of Superman’s extended family, Steel is living proof that everyone has it in them to become a Superman!”
Preorders for Steel start today, with an expected delivery by February.