Star Trek’s Michael Dorn is Spotlighting Steel
Steel is one of Superman’s most steadfast allies, and their bond goes far beyond just an S on the chest. Stepping in to “replace” the real Man of Steel after he died, John Henry Irons became a valiant hero in his own right. However, he’s sadly been overlooked for far too long, but he’s finally getting a series from a surprising source.
The writer for the upcoming Steelworks title is none other than actor Michael Dorn. Beyond playing the iconic Worf in the Star Trek franchise, Dorn also voiced Steel in Superman: The Animated Series. By possibly showcasing what makes John Henry Irons such a great character once again, DC Comics can elevate one of the most underrated members of the Superman Family.
Steel Hasn’t Gotten His Due from DC Comics in Years
Created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove, Steel was one of the many heroes who stepped in for Superman after his death at the hands of Doomsday. Steel was a mere human named John Henry Irons who had been saved by Superman beforehand. Now wearing a powerful suit of armor, he sought to protect Metropolis in a style inspired by the first Man of Steel. Despite making it clear that he had no genetic relation to Superman, he embodied his heroic, selfless heart better than any of the other new Supermen. This would later be shown to an almost comical degree in the Worlds Collide crossover with Milestone. There, Steel clashed quite aggressively with a similarly armored Hardware, the latter of whom saw John Henry Irons as far too nice of a guy. After Superman’s return, Steel would continue to fight alongside him, Superboy and the Matrix Supergirl.
Despite his ties to Superman, Steel represented something different for the Man of Tomorrow’s allies. His stories were initially more grounded, with themes involving arms dealing and gang warfare. Some of his later stories would involve more alien, cosmic concepts, but for the most part, Steel was more of a man of the people than Kal-El. His original ongoing series even saw him running a hospital, though his heroic career somewhat ended after the Our Worlds at War storyline. Since then, Steel really hasn’t been nearly as prominent as his important pedigree would suggest, but the genius engineer John Henry Irons has been used far too little in recent years.
Michael Dorn Can Bring a Familiar Voice to DC’s Steelworks
Steelworks from Michael Dorn and Sami Basri is the first solo series for John Henry Irons in decades, and it’s the first time in a while that he’s had any real relevance to the Superman titles. The series will see Irons running a new company for the betterment of Metropolis, with an enemy from the past threatening to destroy everything. This sort of corporate espionage fits well for Steel, who’s in many ways DC’s version of Iron Man. It also goes along with Steel’s strengths in that he’s perfect for stories that otherwise might not fit the Superman Family. Steel doesn’t have superhuman abilities, and even with his armor, his greatest strength is his vast intellect and what it can do for the betterment of humanity. He has a decent-sized rogues’ gallery of his own, plus gadgetry and a supporting cast that make him quite distinct from Superman.
It’s about time for DC to finally put the character back into the spotlight and introduce him to a new generation of readers. Given that Dorn voiced Steel long ago, he’ll likely have a very good grasp on the character’s voice and personality. There’s probably no one better for the job, and given the increase in focus on the Superman Family as a whole, now’s the best time to start pushing Steel once more. Hopefully, the series will gather steady sales and allow John Henry Irons to once again become integral to the DC Universe, and with his heroic heart and hammer, he’s more than deserving of the respect.