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Monday, January 6, 2020

NuPerspective: STEEL

What's up peeps!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Well, 2020 is finally here, and while we may not have any flying cars yet, we here at NuPerspective are still excited about what the new decade has to offer. What IS Nu-Perspective you ask? Well, it’s a bi-weekly column I started with my writing partner Fabian Wood with the purpose of spotlighting, revamping and updating various underdeveloped, underutilized and all-but-forgotten Nubian comic book and pop culture characters. Our goal is to showcase them in fresh, contemporary and exciting ways both visually and story-wise.  

Things got hectic there for a while and we had to take a little hiatus, but we are back on the grind and we want to welcome you back to a new installment of this revamp column.

And we're kicking the year off with a DC character of some notoriety, STEEL. 
Steel original comic book cover

But this isn't who you're used to though. Read on to discover the "Nu" Steel.  

NuPerspective design by Shawn Alleyne

Real Name: Dr John Henry Irons(former Steel)/Paco Irons(current Steel)
Current Alias: Steel
Identity: Public(John Henry)/Secret(Paco)
Occupation: Founder of Steelworks Community Center, Engineer (mechanical/computer)/Employee of Steelworks Community Center(Paco)
Place of Birth: Washington DC
Base of Operations: Washington DC
Affiliations: Justice League, Team Superman
First Appearance: Adventures of Superman (1993)
Original Creators: Louise Simonson & Jon Bogdanove

Story: Named after the American folk hero John Henry, young Irons was supposed to be destined for greatness. A genius engineer and a brilliant inventor, John Henry Irons used his intellect and skills to help mankind through his inventions. Sadly, manipulated and exploited by the likes of Lex Luthor and his former employer AmerTek, his creations were perverted into weapons that found their way onto the streets of Metropolis. Inspired by the courageousness and the ideals of Superman, John fashioned a prototype exo-suit to fight back and be the hero he was meant to be. Coming into his own as the superhero “Steel”, John could not seem to escape the shadow of his inspiration, or his namesake. For a time, he aided other heroes as best he could, including his own niece Natasha who blossomed into her own hero. But after a series of life tragedies and self-reflection, John realizes he has not lived up to his full potential, as a man, community member nor as a hero, instead looking towards others for guidance. Irons decides to open the community center “Steelworks” to curb the gang violence and poverty in his city. Knowing he must lead by example, John reunites with his estranged family and takes in and adopts his nephews Jamahl, Tyke and Paco, and his other niece Darlene. John especially takes to Paco and becomes a mentor to him. But trouble soon rears, and when new weapons on the streets threaten to through his city into chaos, Irons finds out these weapons are extra-terrestrial in nature. Stealing from his enemies’ playbook, John reverse-engineers this new Apokoliptian tech to upgrade his Steel armor. While working on it with Paco, they unwittingly activate the dormant Entropy Aegis, an alien armor John encountered before. Now Paco must learn how to control this reincarnated weapon and forge his path as the new Steel. 

Powers/Abilities: Paco has no innate superhuman abilities. He possesses a high-level intelligence though not the genius level of his uncle. He is learning mechanical and electrical engineering from John.

Paraphernalia: Steel’s new upgraded exo-suit armor is a patented malleable stainless-steel Metal-0 alloy enhanced by Apokolips tech. This grants him nigh-impenetrable invulnerability, superhuman strength exceeding 500 tons, super speed and teleportation abilities. Even if damaged or compromised, Steel’s new armor can self-repair within seconds. The Steel armor is also outfitted with numerous lethal and non-lethal weapons and devices including lasers, energy cannons, flamethrower, tazers and micro missiles, all hidden in malleable nanotech form. The sentient computer brain of the Entropy Aegis also enhances Steel’s senses and provides an array of sensory scanning functions. Steel’s signature “smart” hammer is made of the same substance as his armor and is capable of independent programmable flight, and is imbued with an inertia dampener, so the farther it travels the harder it hits and the harder it is to stop. It can return to Paco upon his command. It also possesses electro-magnetic capabilities and due to the Apokoliptian tech, can alter its physical size, composition and density.

And there you have it. Check out his original look and story and let us know if you like what we did with this revamp. Then see ya sooner than later for another Nu-Perspective.

But wait, before you go, check out this Q&A with yours truly as I dive deeper into my process, complete with bonus sketches.

What do you like most about the character? 
Truthfully, I was never a big fan of Steel. Way before the terrible movie.But if I had to pick one thing I would say I love the intelligence of the original Steel John Henry. He is a severely underrated genius. Fabian and I tried to keep that aspect in this iteration. 

Second sketch on nailing the pose
Did the character pose a challenge to update and if so what was the hardest part of the redesign?   
This was a tough one, mainly because I fell into the classic artist trap where I had one particular idea and couldn't see past it. I really wanted to incorporate a farmer brown/overall aesthetic and it just wasn't working.I finally settled on a design I liked.

In hindsight is there anything you would do differently now? 
Not sure. lol 

What made you choose this character? 
Like I mentioned with another character, if anyone needs the Nu-Perspective treatment it's THIS guy.

First attempt at getting the pose right

Fine print: All characters are copyrights and trademarks of the respective publishers and creators. This column is used solely for artistic enjoyment. We aim to showcase Nubian characters in fresh, contemporary and exciting ways both visually and story-wise.



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