Following the shocking Death of Superman in January 1993 the now classic "Reign of Supermen" story line began. This is where we were introduced to Cyborg Superman, Eradicator aka "Last Son of Krypton", Superboy aka Connor Kent and Steel!
John Henry Irons also known as the superhero Steel made his first appearance in the Adventures of Superman #500 and what a huge impact he made in the comic universe.
John Henry was a weapons engineer for AmerTek Industries, but when he found out that his weapon the Toastmaster BG-60 fell into the wrong hands and was responsible for many innocent deaths, he faked his own death to become a construction worker in Metropolis. While on a job John fell off a skyscraper and was saved by Superman who told him to "Live a life worth saving". When Superman died at the hands of Doomsday John built a suit, took up the mantle of Steel and tried to live up to that creed.
The character proved popular enough to spin off into his own series that lasted for 52 issues. At the height of Steel Mania a movie was produced featuring acting great Shaquille O'Neal.
The movie was extremely cheesy and used none of the elements that involved Superman at all. I understand that they tried to make this a standalone movie, but it definitely would have benefitted from the ties to Supes. Not even Shaft himself, Mr. Richard Roundtree could save this super hero movie.
I recently found a VHS copy of the movie at a second hand store for $0.50. I hadn't seen it since it was released back in 1997 and man, it is not good. It honestly could have been a good movie if the script was less cheese and more grit like the comic.
I think the biggest set back was the suit. How ridiculous is this thing. Do you really expect me to take it seriously? Needless to say the movie was a bomb!
Yes, there was a line of toys produced by Kenner.
In my opinion the best thing to come from this failure of a movie was the Steel motion picture soundtrack! It had some big names on it including Blackstreet, Mobb Deep and Tevin Campbell. But the best track on tha album was "Men of Steel" performed by Shaq, Ice Cube, B Real, Peter Gunz & KRS-One. I blasted this track for a while. Take a listen to a sampling of the songs below.
Maybe one day we will see a Steel 2? It couldn't be any worse than what WB is putting out now, could it?