As you can hear on the most recent issue of Ravingnerd Presents, Steel is making his second appearance in the New 52…. sorta. As shown in Animal Man #13 he joins Beastboy in the Red Kingdom, however he had to graft his brain into a machine to survive the effects of the Rot. While I am thrilled at this significant appearance, I am a bit disturbed by their need for change. While this is an alternate future, and this hasn’t happened within current standing continuity, Steel is the only player in the Rotworld event that has changed at all. Poison Ivy, Deadman, and Beast Boy have all experienced no major changes. Why then has Steel been altered? I know it’s not a huge deal, but why do they keep taking great characters like this and only tease them. A teaser in Action, and now a teaser in Rotworld. Great. Doesn’t mean that he’s going to show up else where. Ultimately it comes down to two questions for me.
Does it still count as diversity? Does John Henry Irons’ appearance in Rotworld still count as adding a minority character into the mix, if it’s his brain in a machine? While I want to say no, I am leaning towards yes. While his body might be gone, it is a testament to the man that he was able to survive human extinction while no other normal human was. That he alone found a way to save himself. So while the color of your skin may not matter when everyone’s dead, I actually view it as a positive interpretation of a “diversity” character.
Where will he go from here? He was introduced by Grant Morrison on the pages of Action Comics last year, now he’s getting a little higher profile by not only appearing in one of DC’s more popular titles, but in a widely publicized mini-event. Where does this leave the literal man of Steel? Is this just a stepping block into a higher profile gig, or a way for DC to say “yep, he’s still here”? I personally hope for the latter, originally suggesting that DC focus Action Comics on him, however it now appears doubtful that the rumored team of Andy Diggle and Tony Daniel will have anything to do with the John Irons.
So if not Action, where? Is there currently a place for Steel to gain more importance in the DC Universe, or should DC just stick to minor appearances here and there? Sound off and let me know!
Until the next time, “Are you Iron Man?” “Steel’s stronger than Iron.”