Countdown Breakdown #34A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays
John Henry Irons. First off, let’s just agree to ignore the Shaq debacle. Alright, then. John started out as a construction worker who was saved by Superman and told to make his life count for something. When Superman died, Irons decided to do just that. He saw corruption all around him, saw his own inventions being turned into killing weapons on the streets of Metropolis, so he decided to fashion himself an armored suit and hammer and become the Man of Steel.
When Steel began his own series, he moved from Metropolis back to his home of Washington, D.C. At this time, he decided to drop the “S” from his armor, since he felt that his battles might take him outside the law. After developing mysterious teleporting powers with his armor and losing many family members due to his battles, Irons moved to Jersey City with his niece Natasha, where he created a new less powerful suit of armor, but one that once again bore the “S.”
Steel served in the JLA for a time and later became a reserve member. He also moved back to Metropolis and opened a workshop with Natasha. He revealed to Superman that he had known his dual identity for some time, and the two became partners at times. Irons retired as Steel after nearly dying during the Imperiex war when he wore soul sucking Entroy Aegis armor.
Irons later created Steel armor for Natasha, but later destroyed it when he felt that she hadn’t earned it. During 52, Irons was infected with the Everyman serum by Lex Luthor and became living steel for a time. When Irons discovers that the effect is temporary, he teams up with the Teen Titans, and eventually Natasha, to bring Luthor down. Currently Steel is set to lead the new Infinity Inc.
Klarion. Inspired by Jack Kirby’s original Klarion the Witch Boy, this more recent Klarion was created by Grant Morrison in his Seven Soldiers mini series. Klarion grew up in Limbo Town, an underground village populated by Puritan witch people from the lost civilization of Roanoke. The villagers would resurrect their own dead as Grundy’s as slaves. After many adventures, Klarion finally makes it to the world above, which he refers to as Blue Rafters. Upon his arrival, his is taken in by Mr. Melmoth, the Sheeda King, who had created the villagers of Limbo Town generations before. Klarion discovers Melmoth’s evil and returns to Limbo Town, becoming the new Submissionary of the town and gaining the ability to transform into the Horigal creature, defeating Melmoth. Klarion has since appeared in Robin, adopting the boy wonder as a friend.