Steel #1 (1994) Review

Steel1 cover


Fresh from Metropolis after substituting for Superman when he was thought dead, John Henry Irons has arrived home to Washington, D.C. to regroup and spend time with his family. Upon his arrival he and the other passengers are attacked by a rival neighborhood gang. John Henry reacts and is able to cause the car the gang members were in to crash. The members exit the car and come out firing. John Henry realizes that the guns the gangs are using are ones he designed while working for his old company, Amertek. While confronting the gang, others members from the neighborhood gang join the fray to protect their “hood”. The other members ingest this drug called tar, which causes them to become massive, super strong, and near invulnerable. One of the “tarred up” gang members knocks John Henry out and when he comes to, everyone has fled the scene. John Henry makes it home and is enjoying a meal his family, when suddenly men in gear he designed while working at Amertek. With the help of his grandmother’s skillet, John Henry defeats the intruders. He realizes that both they and the gang members were using inventions he had a hand in creating. This spurs him on to forge a new set of armor. His grandmother enters and ask him where his “shield”; the superman emblem, was. He responded that he didn’t think he should wear it because he may have to operate outside the law. She tells him no matter what he WILL wear the cape because he is the Black Superman as far as she and anybody else there is concerned, even if the rest of the world comes to know him as the man called Steel.

Creators Louise Simonson and John Bogdanove bring you the premier issue of the other “Man of Steel”, John Henry Irons; a mortal man who has proven himself capable of filling Superman’s shoes.


The Good

Story- Superman has long been held as the premier superhero in the DC universe. During his “death” a number of people stepped up to fill the void. John Henry Irons was one of them. He proved he could carry the lead during his tenure as the replacement Man of Steel, and is given the opportunity to show off more of his stuff in this his first solo effort. This first issue sets up the initial story arc, and introduces the reader to John Henry’s family, who are all very proud of what he accomplished as Superman’s stand-in. the story gives a realistic glimpse of the gang violence and drug problems that existed in Washington D.C. during this time. Although Steel had his share of cosmic adventures, having him come home and take on the problems of his city/neighborhood gives him a “folk hero” feel, and makes him a hero of the people.

Art- Chris Batista is on art duty for this issue and provides the reader with a very nice looking book. The faces show a lot of detail and emotion, and the coloring is bright and compliments the overall mood of the book.

The Bad

No complaints from me!


The Ugly

This was an excellent first issue for the Black Man of Steel. He faces the kinds of challenges one would expect a hero like Steel to face, and does it handily with style! As urban heroes go, Steel will definitely leave his mark!


stars- 3.5


I'm a Caribbean born Lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; with backgrounds in Philosophy, Social Studies and Geography; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for where my writing inspired the music compiliation "Kindah" available in multiple languages on Itunes, The Caribbean Journal of Education, The University of the west indies, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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