Steel (John Henry Irons) (DC Comics Superman)


(John Henry Irons) (Profile #1 - Year One)


John Henry Irons a.k.a. Steel is one of the characters who emerged from the “Death of Superman” super-event during the early 1990s. After Superman was killed by Doomsday, 4 different men emerge with a claim to his heritage. Those were the Cyborg Superman, the Eradicator, Superboy and the Man of Steel (soon shortened to “Steel”).

Steel was probably the more interesting of the lot. Though drawing inspiration from Superman he was actually patterned after the folk legend of John Henry. As a super-hero he was closer to Iron Man or Hardware, but more heroic and positive.

Steel had his own series for a time and was going strong. Alas, it faded. A bad movie  didn’t help – much like with Barb Wire.

This profile depicts his early (“year one” in comics parlance) career from June, 1993 to June, 1995 (which was #16 in his own series).



  • Real Name: John Henry Irons.
  • Other Aliases: The Man of Steel, The Black Superman, Henry “Hank” Johnson, “Unca Hunk” (nickname by Natasha Irons when she was a child).
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed maternal grandparents (deceased), Natasha Irons (niece), Blondell Irons (sometimes spelled Blondelle, sister-in-law), Jemahl Irons (nephew), Paco Irons (nephew), Tyke (last name unrevealed, foster kid raised by Blondell, considered a nephew), Darlene (last name unrevealed, foster kid raised by Blondell, considered a niece), Butter Irons (paternal grandfather), Bess Irons (paternal grandmother), Clay Michael Irons (brother, officially deceased, aka Reggie Glover, aka Crash).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Washington (D.C) ; Metropolis.
  • Height: 6’7” Weight: 350 lbs.
  • Note: Officially John weights 210 lbs… which seems impossible for a man of this size and build.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Bald

Powers and Abilities

John Henry Irons is a giant of a man with massive musculature and astounding athletic gifts. He’s extremely strong, fast and precise, and a remarkable player in many sports. He can probably beat up any four normal guys on muscle, size and speed alone. He was seen thrashing people wearing full armour using his bare hands and blunt kitchen utensils.


An intuitive genius in ballistics, he can calculate projectile trajectories nigh-instantly, granting him remarkable accuracy.

At this point his engineering skills have not been explored much, with the exception of his ability to design and build distinctive suits of power armour .

Irons can work in remarkably crude facilities. He built his first two armours by converting a basement with a furnace into a blacksmith shop with a home-made electronics bench on the side, ’machining‘ the armour plates with tongs and hammer.

With superior stats and Hero Points , Irons is a natural-born super-hero. He was very competent from day one – as a brand-new hero he was thrown in crises such as Reign of the Supermen or Assault on Engine City and delivered solidly despite the circumstances and the power of the opposition.

He’s smart, calm, in control and very courageous and driven. He also possesses a heroic level of charisma and authority, backed not just by his size and muscle but also by his very deep and powerful voice, which reportedly makes James Earl Jones  sound like Woody Allen.


The first Steel suit was big on durability. Much like Superman he can be surprised and staggered by attacks that don’t inflict genuine damage, but the armour is very robust and he survived brutal atmospheric reentry and impact without major damage. It was strong enough to, when caught into an industrial press closing on it, push the plates back and wreck the machine.

Generally the Steel armour favour simple, reliable approaches rather than a vast array of sophisticated technological systems. They were built in a basement, Irons doesn’t generally have access to cutting edge Labs or anything resembling a budget at this point, and he prefers straightforward and effective solutions anyway.

Thus, the main ’weapon system‘ of the Mk1 suit is a particularly tough sledgehammer. The secondary weapons system are multiple bracer-mounted tubes that can shoot large metal spikes, reminiscent of the ones the legendary John Henry used to lay railroad tracks. They’re also often called rivets.

Steel (John Henry Irons) flying with his jet boots, over a white background

Those spikes are almost solely used to perform called shots, usually to pin targets to a nearby wall through their clothing. With his talent for ballistics, Irons can make such precise shots without major difficulty. Under dire circumstances, he might make more bloody shots, shooting a spike through a leg or arm – but always to disable without risk of death or maiming.

A favourite is to shoot a rivet up the barrel of a weapon, destroying it. The spikes are hard enough to penetrate some suits of powered armour, though they ricocheted off the Hardware suit.

Steel’s sledgehammer, swung at full force, has been known to badly damage even a Kryptonian war suit (the big purple mecha/power armours). Howbeit, significant Hero Points expenditure seemed involved.

The power of the suit’s jet boots seems remarkable. Early on, Steel often achieved greater effects by putting his jet boots against an invulnerable opponent and firing them up, than by punching or even hammering. The jet boots also seem to have ample reserves of fuel, though he couldn’t make a cross-country flight on his own.

Late during this era, Irons develops the ability to teleport his armour. It remains largely uncontrollable and mysterious. In DC Heroes terms this was a Power Complication Subplot and not a Power or Advantage at this stage.


John Henry Irons was raised in large part by his grandparents – Civil Rights  activists who had been major figures in the struggle during the 1950s and 1960s. John’s great-grandfather had reportedly met and worked with the legendary John Henry, the Steel-Drivin’ Man celebrated in classic African-American folk songs.

It is likely that John’s grandfather had his grandson named after the legend. He told him many stories about the Steel-Drivin’ Man and his resolve, which inspired little John Henry Irons to work extremely hard to become a great man like his namesake.

When John was about 10, his grandparents were shot in their home by anti-Civil Rights terrorists. John was outside playing baseball at that time. Despite his tender age he irrationally felt that the double murder was his fault and that he should have been home to somehow defend them.

As a teenager, John became a superior athlete – swift, muscular and with great endurance. His unusual height (he would grow to be 6’7”) made him an excellent basketball player. His intuitive talent for ballistics and visualising trajectories found various applications, especially in baseball.

Those sportive talents earned him a baseball scholarship at Yale , where he studied physics and engineering.

Upon graduating, Irons was snapped up by the Amertek company. After several paycheques he bought a house for his extended family in DC, and started a trust fund to pay for their taxes.

As an Amertek engineer, John Henry was the lead designer of the BG-60 assault rifle, a significant technological breakthrough in energy-projecting small arms. Irons’s end goal for the project was to develop a less-than-lethal version. However his mentor within Amertek, Colonel Weston, sold the design without informing Irons while it was still a deadly weapon.

In Qurac , young Irons discovered that Amertek had authorised field tests of the lethal version of the gun. He witnessed first hand the devastating effects of prototype BG-60s on a number of Kurdish rebels and civilians.

Haunted by the charred corpses, Irons returned to the US, deleted all files for the BG-60 (and the more advanced BG-80, on which he had started working), faked his death and went into hiding.

Enter Superman

John later took a job working high steel in Metropolis. When his friend and colleague Peter Skywalker slipped and fell, Irons grabbed a safety line and swung out to catch Pete, but his line also came loose. Although he did manage to save Pete, Irons fell off.

While he was ready to die to atone for all the men turned into charred skeletons by his weapon in Qurac, he was caught and saved by Superman. When Irons thanked him for saving his life, Superman told him that the real thanks would be to make it count for something.

A short time later, Superman’s cataclysmic fight with Doomsday came near the building Irons was working on. Determined to repay Superman, the huge worker grabbed a sledgehammer and rushed Doomsday. However, an explosion collapsed a building on Irons and he was trapped in the unfinished basement.

By the time he doggedly clawed his way out — hours if not days — the fight was long since over, and Superman was dead.

John Henry Irons intended to follow Superman’s last words to him and make his life count. He assumed the identity of sports instructor Henry Johnson – owner of the body-building gym “Iron Factory”, YMCA sports teacher and occasional storyteller).

He also discreetly designed and built a unique suit of power armour which he would wear to carry on Superman’s legacy as the Man of Steel.

While Irons was building his armour — using a makeshift forge in the basement of his building — one of his charges at the YMCA was killed in a drive-by shooting. The gangbangers had used a BG-80 energy rifle. Horrified, the unarmed Irons came running in and destroyed the rifle, though his impressive feat of courage and strength landed him in the hospital for a while.


Once recovered Irons finished building his Man of Steel armour. He was just in time – other gangbangers were after him for wrecking their invaluable BG-80. They firebombed the building he lived in. Using his suit, Irons saved the neighbours from the flames.

His investigations led to Dr. Angora Lapin, a former colleague (and lover) at Amertek who had rediscovered his BG-80 designs. Using the “White Rabbit” moniker, she was selling a trickle of BG-80 “Toastmaster” rifles to connected street gangs.

Reign of the Supermen

The months following the death of Superman were chaotic. A religion arose with Superman as its central figure, and various villains tried to benefit from his absence.

Furthermore, there were four men who claimed Superman’s legacy to some degree –

  • A young clone usually called (to his exasperation) Superboy.
  • An obviously cybernetically repaired man called the Man of Tomorrow or the Cyborg Superman.
  • A powerful Superman-lookalike clad in a Kryptonian-style uniform (the Last Son of Krypton, who later became the Eradicator).
  • And John Henry as the Man of Steel.

It soon became obvious that the Man of Steel was different from the others. He never said that he was Superman, and was obviously very much concerned with being a responsible and exemplary hero.

He made it clear that he was wearing a replica of Superman’s cape and a Superman symbol on his chest to honour the memory of the man who had once saved his life. He also declared that he hoped to be heroic enough to be worthy of wearing the symbol. Though among the 4 he was the only masked one, he was also the most straightforward.

Early adventures

An early case in the Man of Steel’s career was when his friend Tom O’Brien, a customer at the Iron Factory gym, was attacked by giant alien parasites. O’Brien miraculously survived, but was rendered mutated and amnesiac.

Irons helped O’Brien (who became known as Edge) get his bearings and save his little brother from a second alien assault by the parasites’ leader. Generally, though, the Man of Steel’s focus was on locating and destroying BG-80s in gang hands.

Steel (John Henry Irons) crouching over a white background

Relations with the 3 would-be-Superman did not go well. Irons ended up giving a stern talking-to to the irresponsible “Metropolis Kid” (aka Superboy). The Last Son of Krypton’s murderous ways resulted in a fight with the Man of Steel, though Lois Lane broke it up. After her intervention the Son left, asking Irons to watch over Metropolis.

The Last Son was soon destroyed by the Cyborg Superman, who also had Coast City razed by his alien allies and their leader Mongul.

Assault on Engine City

The Cyborg and the aliens rebuilt Coast City’s ruins as Engine City. Meanwhile, the weakened Superman returned from death. Though potential allies were wary, he gradually convinced them that he was the real deal. Superman, Supergirl, the Man of Steel and Superboy flew cross-country to attack Engine City.

On the way Superman shortened the Man of Steel’s code name to just “Steel”. Irons also unmasked himself so Superman could recognise him as the high steel worker he had once saved.

Steel ended up fighting the Cyborg Superman solo. The Cyborg was growing itself a new, even more powerful body that would overwhelm Steel. Irons decided to go out like the legendary Jonh Henry – dying in order to beat a supposedly unbeatable machine.

Deducing how Engine City worked, he jammed a key system with his armoured body and the surprised Cyborg, like a grain of sand in the gears. Irons narrowly survived this gambit, and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) used his sledgehammer to defeat Mongul. Superman then vanquished the Cyborg.

Superman being back and his armour having been destroyed, Irons did not intend to continue his heroic career. However, he continued to track down BG-80s, becoming an enemy of the Sharks, a street gang that was allowed to buy most of the Toastmasters.

John Henry established that the weapons came from Amertek’s HQ in Washington, D.C.. He returned there to continue his investigations.

Washington was were much of his family lived and Steel was soon reunited with his surviving grandparents, and his sister-in-law and her 5 kids.

Return to Washington, D.C.

Within minutes of his arrival, Irons and his 13-year old niece Natasha were caught in a fight between the Central Avenue Skulls street gang (using Toastmasters) and the E Streeters (using Tar, a superstrength drug). Later that day a trio of armoured Amertek agents attacked the Irons house after a neighbour tipped them off about John Henry’s return.

The modern-day steel-drivin’ man beat back the attackers with his bare hands and a cooking skillet. He then used the thugs’ armour, the debris of the armour wrecked at Engine City, and an improvised forge to build a new Steel suit.

Suspecting that he may have to become an outlaw to fight against Amertek and end the threat over his family, he did not include the “S” shield over his chest this time. However his family (who had long since guessed he was Steel) insisted that he wear a red cape and that the “skin” of the suit be black, as they preferred the “Black Superman” name to “Steel”.

As he was testing his new suit, Irons broke up another fight between the Skulls and the E-Streeters. He also discovered that his nephew Jemahl was running with the Skulls. He dragged Jemahl home and had him spit the truth out, but the rest of the Skulls assumed that Jemahl had ratted on them and was an informer of Steel.

This led to a fight between Steel and the cyborg Amalgam, and to the death of Steel’s actual informer within the Skulls.

As Jemahl dealt with his gang ties, John broke into the Amertek building and stole data. Though he was very reluctant to betray one of his mentors in Amertek, General Weston, he realised that Weston was covertly a racist and a criminal.

As Irons’ investigation continued, he also learned that Weston was the one who had authorised the field use of the lethal BG-60s. Lois Lane provided Irons with a contact within the Washington PD (Det. Beryl) to decode the encrypted Amertek data.

The gang situation continued to deteriorate and hit the Irons family. Ostensibly it was retaliation for Jemahl’s apparent betrayal, but Irons soon discovered that the hits had been ordered by Gen. Weston, who had significant underworld contacts.

Tyke was shot in a drive-by – though the actual target had been Jemahl, who was walking with him. Later on Natasha was deliberately rammed by a car while she was roller-blading home after school, and Blondell was mugged by a Tar-enhanced thug, though Steel saved her.

Steel (John Henry Irons) vs. Colonel Weston

Upon confirming that he had been betrayed by the Skulls, Jemahl sought revenge and did Tar. He then used his superstrength effect to beat up a Skull leader. Meanwhile Steel briefly captured Gen. Weston, and learned about the Black Ops – a criminal syndicate behind much of Amertek’s criminal activities and headquartered in Metropolis.

Blondell and Natasha recovered after brief hospital stays. Tyke, however, lost the use of his legs, perhaps permanently. With the support of his adoptive family, and in particular the guilt-ridden Jemahl, Tyke overcame his feelings of depression and did his best to adapt to life in a wheelchair.

Worlds collide

Before he could investigate the Amertek/Black Ops connection, John Henry was caught in a transdimensional event. The powers of a postal worker who could exist both in the DC Universe’s Metropolis and the Milestone Universe’s Dakota City started going awry, and transporting people from one universe to the next.

During this crisis, Steel worked with his counterpart from Dakota, Hardware, in building a transdimensional interface.

However, Steel soon realised that Hardware intended to modify their work with a weapon intended to kill the mailman, who had evolved into a solipsistic god called Rift. Hardware was much tougher than Steel and wrecked his armour when he tried to interfere, but John convinced him to play fair and not to kill.

Hardware agreed in part because Irons’s firm moral stance reminded him of his father. To apologise, Hardware even helped with a quick reconstruction of the Steel suit, making various small improvements along the way.

The heroes from Metropolis and Dakota allied to take down the insane Rift. Howbeit, the entity briefly merged the two worlds, then manipulated their continuities through several strange iterations. Steel and Hardware’s technology, backed by Superman and Icon, dispersed Rift and returned the situation to normal.

Steel also experienced the Zero Hour continuity-altering crisis, albeit very briefly. Early on he was swallowed by an entropy fissure and disappeared, only to be returned to a slightly modified universe once the crisis was over.

Steel then started investigating strange incidents wherein his armour inexplicably teleported to him (or away from him). These weren’t explained during the era covered by this profile.

Stop ! Hammer time

Back to mostly street-level action in DC, Steel strengthened his alliance with the Washington PD’s Det. Beryl as they worked together to stop the serial killer Alter. During the case, Beryl developed a romantic interest in Steel.

Our hero also started what would be a long friendship with Guy Gardner (then known as Warrior). The two men teamed up to defeat the powerful Sledge, and Steel was invited at the opening of Warrior’s bar.

Steel also teamed up with Maxima against alien conquerors, preventing her forced marriage to an alien prince and thwarting an invasion. Returning to Metropolis, he stopped a Black Ops operative along with Superman. When, as John Henry Irons, he came to help with the relief efforts, he met Dr. Amanda Quick, who would soon become a friend.

In his next case, he foiled a new plot by the White Rabbit to hijack a proposed gun control law to facilitate her guns-running business.

Steel’s career was definitely launched !


According to one kid, Irons’ voice sounds like Darth Vader’s (or rather, James Earl Jones) and it has been described as “the voice of a god” or “the wrath of God” by listeners.


John Henry is not a complex character. The main elements to keep in mind are :

  • He’s a greater-than-life hero with extraordinary intelligence, courage and grace under pressure. He’s also a good, cool man looking to make the world a better place. He will always honour his commitments, cares deeply about his family (especially his gifted young niece Natasha) and always does the right thing.
  • He’s a very serious man with a sense of responsibility that may be even worse than Spider-Man’s. Steel’s ability to feel that everything that goes bad is his fault is remarkable. However, while he may kvetch  about the bad stuff a bit, he’ll soon get to work to fix it and show ’em what a man with a hammer can do.
  • His greatest source of guilt is the BG-60 design. The BG-60s and BG-80 “Toastmasters” have killed hundred. That his technology resulted in such a death toll makes him ill, and he goes to great lengths to put an end to that. His guilt, and the experiences of his family with shootings, have led him to adopt a staunchly pro-gun-control position.
  • Steel is explicitly walking in the footsteps of Superman. Though he will break the law if he realistically has to, he always defends and rescues the innocent, he never kills, he’s always ready to fight against overwhelming forces and die if needed, etc.. He wants Supes to be proud of him.
  • Steel is chiefly a protector. Originally he focused on protecting his family, but after he became a super-hero his goal became to protect everybody against everything. Still, he’s happy with minor local victories and does not seek to be a big-time operator.


“Toastmasters… BG-80s… my design. All those deaths… my fault…”

“Damn straight it will ! I swear to do right by you, Superman !”

“They attack my family with weapons of my design ! This is my fault ! […] I made this mess… I’ll clean it up !”

“I don’t care how tough you are, I’m not going to let you kill Rift. We’re supposed to be the *good* guys — we’re supposed to find a better way.”

(After a Steel/Superman team-up)
Dr. Quick: “I hear Steel saved the day. As usual.”
J.H. Irons: “I hear it was Superman.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats


Dex: 06 Str: 05 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility !
Int: 07 Wil: 08 Min: 07 Occupation: Engineer
Inf: 07 Aur: 06 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 017 HP: 090

Acrobatics (Athletics): 05, Charisma (Intimidation, Persuasion)*: 07, Gadgetry: 11, Scientist (Computers): 03, Scientist (Drawing plans): 09, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry: 08

Expertise (Weapon systems, Power Armour), Familiarity (Basketball, Baseball, Blacksmithing), Iron Nerves, Schtick (Trick Shooter (All ranged attacks) ; Make-do Equipment (Weaponry (Missile) and Gadgetry).

Superman (Powerful, High), Superboy (Low), Supergirl (Matrix) (Low), Lois Lane (Low), Lt. Det. Shauna Beryl (Washington D.C. PD, Low), Justice League (Low), Guy Gardner (Low then High), Dr. Amanda Quick (Low).

Creepy Appearance (Size, physique, voice and charisma), Dependants (All his living, known relatives), MIA toward Responsibility, Secret ID (Half-strength – it’s not a very well-kept secret). For a while, he had Guilt (see below).


  • STEEL ARMOUR Mk1 [/STR/ 12 /BODY/ 13, Enhance (DEX): 01 (cap is 07), Flame project: 06, Flight: 08, Projectile weapon (Ammo: 20): 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Sealed Systems: 05, Super-breath: 09, Bonus: Super-breath and Flame project can be Combined, Limitation: Flame project and Super-breath both have 0 APs of Range, and are the suit’s jet boots].
    This suit of armour was ruined during the battle at Engine City, and replaced by…
  • …STEEL ARMOUR Mk2 [/STR/ 12 /BODY/ 13, Data storage: 08, Energy absorption: 02, Enhance (DEX): 01 (cap is 07), Flame project: 06, Flight: 09, Projectile weapon (Ammo: 20): 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Sealed Systems: 06, Super-breath: 16, Bonus: Super-breath and Flame project can be Combined, Limitation: Flame project and Super-breath both have 0 APs of Range, and are the suit’s jet boots].
    This suit seems to have an even greater ability to absorb heat, electricity and the like, and includes standard computer connectivity, a hard drive and a DVD burner, all well-protected by the armour and very unlikely to be damaged. The stats above are for the version of the Mk2 suit that was rebuilt and slightly improved with Hardware’s help.
  • Breathing Apparatus [BODY 06, Sealed systems: 08]. This steel-plated mask, built by the Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) can be worn over the Steel faceplate to make the armour spaceworthy.
  • Sledgehammer Mk1 [BODY 15, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 15), Rec. STR 03, Descriptor: Bludgeoning]. This weapon has a staff-length handle and an extremely dense and hard head, making it a very efficient multiplier of force when swung. Against less resilient opponents, Steel often uses the handle as a staff – in fact the weapon is long enough to use in Sweep Attacks against two or three adjacent man-sized opponents, though the EV is limited to the wielder’s STR when doing so.
    The first Mk1 Sledgehammer was destroyed when used by Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) against Mongul at Engine City, but Steel built another to use along with the Mk2 and Mk3 ARMOURS.
  • Homing devices (x5) [BODY 01, Radio communications: 07, Miniaturisation: 06, Limitations: Radio coms only to emit a homing signal]. Those can easily be slapped onto somebody without being noticed, provided distracting enough circumstances (such as combat).

John Henry he could hammah, he could whistle, he could sing

Early on, Steel has Guilt – in some part about his grandparents’ death two decades before, and in large part about the Toastmaster heavy energy rifles and their lethality in street gang turf wars. He loses this Drawback when he returns to DC to take on Amertek.

Irons always had a large amount of HPs – his first major case is the battle at Engine City, and he fights along with Superman, Superboy and Supergirl against an army and massively powerful opponents without missing a beat. John Henry was probably *born* with at least 20 HPs to his name.

Design Notes

The stats at the back of the 3rd edition of the DC Heroes Role-Playing Game, including the Man of Steel’s, were done early during the Reign of the Supermen brainstorming at DC, and do not reflect what was ultimately published.

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Steel (John Henry Irons) — Averaged PL 12.6

04 03 04 04 05 04 03 03


Steel armour Mk1 ● 58 points (Noticeable, Removable) ● Descriptor: Power armour
– Boosted strength — Enhanced Strength 8, Close combat (Unarmed) 1, Enhanced Parry 1.
– Super-durable — Enhanced Stamina 7, Immunity 5 (Environmental, Limited to Half-Effect), Feature 1 (super-durable).
– Jet boots — Flight 7.
– Jet boots — Close Fire Damage 5 Linked w/Close Move Object 8 (Limited 2 – straight away from the armour’s soles).
– Rivets launcher — Ranged Piercing Damage 6 Armour-Piercing 2.

Suceeded by Steel armour Mk2 ● 64 points (Noticeable, Removable) ● Descriptor: Power armour
– Boosted strength — Enhanced Strength 8, Close combat (Unarmed) 1, Enhanced Parry 1.
– Super-durable — Enhanced Stamina 7, Immunity 5 (Environmental, Limited to Half-Effect), Feature 1 (super-durable).
– Energy-proofed — Protection 2, Enhanced Fortitude 2, both Limited 1 to EM Energies.
– Jet boots — Flight 8.
– Jet boots — Close Fire Damage 5 Linked w/Close Move Object 14 (Limited 2 – straight away from the armour’s soles).
– Rivets launcher — Ranged Piercing Damage 6 Armour-Piercing 2.
– Onboard computer — Feature 1 (hard drive, standard connectors, DVD burner).

Sledgehammer ● 4 points (Easily Removable)
Strength-Based Blunt Damage 3, Feature 1 (Super-durable, very long handle).

Homing devices ● 1 point
Feature 1 (mini-tracers).

Combat Advantages

Close attack 5, Defensive Roll 3, Improvised weapon (Thrown objects), Move-by Action, Power Attack, Precise Attack (Ranged, cover), Ranged attack 9.

Other Advantages

Fearless, Improvised tools, Inventor.


Acrobatics 1 (+5), Athletics 3 (+7), Close combat (Simple, large melee weapons) 2 (+12), Deception 4 (+7), Insight 6 (+9), Intimidation 4 (+7), Perception 6 (+9), Persuasion 4 (+7), Technology 15 (+19) (Limited 1 – lacks Demolition and Security applications), Vehicles 2 (+6) (Limited 2 to common land vehicles).


Initiative +4
Unarmed +10, Close, Damage 4
Unarmed (armoured) +11, Close, Damage 12
Sledgehammer +12, Close, Damage 15
Ranged attacks +13, Ranged, variable
Thrown weapons +13, Ranged, Damage +1


Dodge 10 Fortitude 14*/7
Parry 11**/10 Toughness 13***/10**/6/3*
Will 9

* Without Defensive Roll
** With armour
*** With armour and Defensive Roll


  • Identity His identity as Steel is secret, though not a closely-guarded one.
  • Quirk John Henry is huge, very charismatic and with a very deep voice, making it hard for him to be discreet.
  • Honor Steel is a big-H Hero walking in the footsteps of Superman himself.
  • Relationship John Henry is very close to his large family.
  • Obsession Destroying the weapons he created. This disappears near the end of this era.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 14, Dodge/Toughness PL 12, Parry/Toughness PL 12, Fort & Will PL 12.
  • Point total 195. Abilities 60, Defences 22, Skills 20, Powers 0, Devices 69, Advantages 24. Equiv. PL 13.


PLs and points assume the Mk2 suit.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Universe.

Helper(s): Pawsplay.