Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Superman & Lois episode "Man of Steel." Read at your own risk!
Superman & Lois has been a treat to watch as a Superman fan, and the latest reveal just sent the Arrowverse series over the top. The CW hero show revealed some key details about "Captain Luthor," and the rest of his story revealed something pretty amazing. It turns out The Stranger is a doppelganger from another Earth of a dead man on Earth-Prime, John Henry Irons, a.k.a. Steel. The reveal was massive, and I have so many questions now that this character's identity has been officially revealed.
Before we get into those questions, let's take a look at who Steel is in the comics and why he's a big deal. John Henry Irons first arrived in DC Comics as one of the successors of Superman following his death in the battle with Doomsday. The character (whose name and hammer are seemingly a nod to American folk hero John Henry) originally was referred to as the literal "Man of Steel" until his hero name was shortened to Steel by Superman when the hero returned. Steel remained an ally of Superman, and the character has gotten several series in DC Comics since his debut. With that said, the character hasn't had a lot of chances to shine in live-action, which made the reveal a real treat to Superman fans.
My first question is if this is an alternate Earth John Henry Irons, then why did his A.I. refer to him as "Captain Luthor" this whole time? My assumption is that it's a glitch in the A.I., as it also referred to Clark as "Captain Luthor" when he snuck into Irons' trailer. Even so, I'm still not entirely clear if this character is still a Luthor that's a doppelganger of Earth Prime's John Henry Irons (perhaps adopted by Luthor), or his name is also John Henry Irons. I'm sure that answer will be clarified soon enough, but the question really nagged at me at the episode's end.
Second, if this is a new version of Steel, will he stay a villain? The Steel of DC Comics was first introduced in The Adventures Of Superman #500. Since that introduction, the hero has been a prominent black ally of Superman and a character that was popular enough to get his own movie in 1997. The movie, which starred Shaquille O'Neal, wasn't all that successful, but the character's popularity has survived. To see him portrayed in live-action again is a big deal, though I'm assuming many would like to see him as a hero and not a villain.
Whether or not Steel will be a hero in Superman & Lois would presumably rely on his willingness to believe Superman is a good person. That will be easier said than done, considering on Steel's Earth, Superman and Morgan Edge's superpowered army laid waste to Metropolis and killed Steel's wife Lois Lane on live television. Still, Steel's intentions, though misguided, are still good, and he doesn't seem to be an awful person. He's just trying to prevent the destruction of another Earth, and according to him, everything that happened on his Earth has happened the same way.
If Morgan Edge is indeed building a superhuman army, then Superman will likely need Steel and that insanely powerful hammer he constructed to help stop it. I have a feeling the Arrowverse series will eventually turn Steel into a hero Superman can rely on, but as mentioned, it's going to take some time. A partnership takes trust, and at the moment, neither man trusts the other at all.
Superman & Lois airs on The CW Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. In my opinion, this series just became a must-watch, so if you haven't been following it previously, be sure to catch up on some of the drama of the past episodes and my theory that Jordan may not be that super after all.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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