- "I'm an engineer, not a... whatever you call an expert on something like this."
- – Steel to Martian Manhunter. [src]
John Henry Irons better known by his alias, Steel is a superhero appearing in Top Cow and DC Comics crossover, JLA/Witchblade.
Early Life Edit
John Henry Irons is a hero forged from his own making. When Superman saved Irons from a fatal fall off a Metropolisskyscraper, he challenged the construction worker to make his life count for something. A former weapons engineer for the ruthless AmerTek Company, Irons longed to atone for the deaths his designs had caused. For that purpose, he built a suit of exoskeleton armor for himself and assumed the primary alias of Steel.
Together with other Justice League members, Steel inspected Witchblade. Martian Manhunter asked him if he has any insights regarding the artifact, but Steel answered that this was beyond his expertise. Much to everyone's shock, the fragment then joins back with the Witchblade. After Aquaman retrieves information regarding the Witchblade from Atlantis library, he meets up with the JLA. He reveals that more than ten thousands years ago, there existed a sorceress with a powerful gauntlet just like Sara's. They called it "corruptor, possessor, slayer and seducer."
They're then informed by Wonder Woman that Witchblade disappeared and JLA goes to search for it. Together with Superman, Steel stops an asteroid that suddenly veered off-course towards Earth. Back at the Watchtower, Sara finally wakes up and is happy to be free of the Witchblade. Plastic Man then informs them about Wonder Woman being possessed by the Witchblade. As much as she like to stay free of the artifact, Sara can't do it at someone's else expense and decides to have a talk with the JLA. Sara concludes that the Wichblade looks for a perfect host - an absolute innocent it can corrupt absolutely. Martian Manhunter having seen into Sara's psyche, adds that she's most worthy of the responsibility for the Witchblade. Then Steele informs everyone, that his sensors have tracked down Wonder Woman.
The JLA confronts Wonder Woman, who easily defeats Superman. The Flash then quickly takes him to project Cadmus were he can be taken care of. The JLA try to restrain Wonder Woman, but she manages to overpower all of them. Then Green Lantern faces her, but is quickly defeated too. Sara arrives, and she commands the Witchblade back to her body. It comes, reluctantly.
- Genius Level Intellect: John is an exceptionally gifted intellect that specializes in various fields of engineering. A genius of the highest order, he built a bullet proof suit of armor whose computerized pneumatic exoskeletal joints gave him superhuman strength.
- Mechanical Engineering: As masterful engineer, John was able to craft a special set of steel power armor, which enhances his natural abilities to superhuman levels and even gives some new abilities.
- Weaponry: John's mastery in engineering, lets him to craft powerful weaponry for himself.
- Computer Operation: John is a master hacker.
- Steel Power Armor: Steel's powers vary in accordance with what hardware is currently available to him. He has modified the original weapons systems and suit several times since its debut and continues to refine its abilities. With his engineering, physics and ballistics knowledge, it is conceivable that the suit may potentially possess even greater power in the future.
- Energy Resistance: Steel has immune systems in his armor to help him fight off computer viruses. This system also protects him against mind control agents like Queen Bee's hypnotic pollen.
- Radioscopic Scans: His armor is able to analyze photonic energy given off from an object through readouts the armor gives.
- Superhuman Durability: The suit's ability to impart a resistance to physical injury was quite considerable before the addition of the inertial dampening field. Small arms fire was generally not a threat but larger firearms could prove dangerous. All of the suits have performed admirably considering Steel's opponents, who include the Cyborg Superman and Metallo. The suit also lets him to survive in open space.
- Superhuman Strength: John's steel armor enhances his natural strength to superhuman levels.
- Flight: The armor lets John to fly even in open space.
- Jet Boots: With what are probably his greatest creations, the flight protocols for his armor are every engineer's dream. The distance that can be traveled before refueling is unknown, but Steel has made a documented trip of at least 1,500 miles before touching down again. It has been determined, by observation, that Steel can reach speeds just short of the speed of sound, which is 700+ miles per hour.
- Kinetic Hammer: Steel's main weapon is a kinetic hammer. The weapon is strong enough to destroy a large asteroid with one blow.
- Rivet Cannon: This short range weapon has fired red-hot rivets similar to those used in construction.