But if you think about it, steel and superheroes aren’t really all that different, as the two possess very similar characteristics. Which is probably why the metal has been a common thread in comics and superhero stories throughout the past century. In fact, references to steel can be found in the gadgets, in the names and in the iconic costumes of the world’s favorite comics. Read on to find out about a few of them.
It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… No! It’s Steel!
Perhaps no other superhero has as much of an association to the metal as the Man of Steel himself: Superman. Often referred to as the greatest superhero of all time, Superman is faster than a speeding (steel) bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. He may be, for all intents and purposes, indestructible.
However, the Man of Steel gets his nickname from his unwavering resolve. When he is put in a situation and must choose between absolute power and absolute servitude, he doesn’t bend in the same way that steel doesn’t bend under pressure. It is altruism that makes Superman, well, super. (Image: http://on.fb.me/1HL2qYI)
From Irons to Steel
John Henry Irons first appeared in The Adventures of Superman in 1993. Originally a weapons engineer, Irons became distraught and faked his death after a cannon he had designed fell into the wrong hands and was used to kill innocent people. Later on, he was saved by Superman when he fell from a skyscraper and was inspired to “live a life worth saving.” During Superman’s fatal battle against Doomsday, Irons attempted to return the favor, though unsuccessfully, by fighting the villain with a sledgehammer.
He was eventually likened to a reincarnation of Superman and was nicknamed “Steel” by Superman himself. He appeared in his own solo series, battling the gangs that used the weapons he created. Traits of the character, who is often portrayed wielding a hammer, are inspired by the African American folk hero John Henry. (Image: http://bit.ly/1KmbdBA)
Pedal to the Metal
Unlike other superheroes, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, has no super powers. Instead, he relies on his mental and physical excellence, martial arts mastery, detective skills and criminal psychology expertise. Additionally, he uses his Batsuit to prey on criminals’ fears and utilizes an arsenal of high-tech gadgets. Among these, the Batmobile is probably the most well-known. Bulletproof and fireproof steel armor plates envelop the body and cockpit of the car, which has been customized over time, both in comic books and movies, into a sleek metal mobile. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is expected to premiere in 2016, illustrates the power of the Batman suit, complete with steel knuckles and steel-toed boots. Take a look for yourself. (Image: http://bit.ly/1Lwc4me)
The Mark 30, also known by its codename “Blue Steel”, is a Silver Centurion Suit, and was one of several new Iron Man Armors created by Tony Stark as part of the Iron Legion. The armor, which utilizes blue and silver plates as well as a triangular shaped Unibeam in its design, was created sometime after the Battle of New York.
It was featured in Iron Man 3, and made its debut in the Hollywood hit when Tony ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to initiate “House Party Protocol”, in which it was activated to assist Tony in his battle against Aldrich Killian. (Image: http://bit.ly/1eirzj2)
Fictional Steel Gets Real
Adamantium is a practically indestructible fictional steel alloy that appears in a number of comic books published by Marvel Comics. It is best known as the substance that was bonded to the superhero Wolverine’s skeleton and claws during an experiment carried out by the Japanese scientist Lord Dark Wind.
Wolverine’s mutant healing factor allowed him to survive the process and generated a molecular change in the metal, transforming it into Adamantium Beta, an entirely new metal that does not inhibit the biological processes of bone. As a result, Wolverine ended up with some incredibly sharp claws that allow him to cut into durable materials, block attack and projectiles, as well as dig into surfaces allowing him to climb. This impressive mythical metal is even inspiring new, real developments in materials science. (Image: http://bit.ly/1Km7EeA)
It doesn’t seem that the world’s passion for comics will fizzle out anytime soon. In fact, as stories and characters develop and redevelop over the years, the number of superhero fanatics only continues to grow larger. It is certain that steel, a symbol of strength and indestructibility, will continue to play a part in these inspiring stories.