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John Irons worked as a weapons designer and engineer for LexCorp. He was the chief designer of a protoype battle suit, and advised strongly against its early premiere. Luthor, on the other hand, was keen to see the Metropolis Police Department—represented by Sergeant Corey Mills—be on par with Superman. As Mills became addicted to the suit, Irons resigned from LexCorp. After helping Superman take down Mills, the Man of Steel commented that an advanced version of the prototype might be helpful. Following his departure from LexCorp, Irons moved back with his mother and niece, and set up a workshop in an abandoned steel mill. He worked many hours to improve the suit, and got his first chance to be a hero even before the suit was finished: while testing a shoulder-mounted weapon, he managed to stop a getaway car, which was fleeing police. Superman came to his help, but found himself weakened by Metallo, the thugs' leader, and his Kryptonite core. Quickly donning the improved battle suit, Steel delayed Metallo in a meeting of the metals, enough for Superman to regain his strength. Although Superman rose again to fight Metallo, he was almost killed by Metallo again. Steel stopped Metallo for sure when he threw his hammer into Metallo's kryptonite heart, destroying it. Without his power source, Metallo was defeated by Steel and Superman. After defeating Metallo, Superman thanked Steel for his help, something he did not do often. He has worn the suit ever since to help protect the world. Steel joined the Justice League after the Thanagarian invasion. He was one of the League's chief engineers, often repairing or designing equipment for the League, together with the Atom. When Amazo returned to Earth, Steel and Supergirl went to warn Lex Luthor and brought him to a safe place. However, when confronted by the nanotechnological android, he was quickly thrust aside. After Luthor hacked into and fired the Watchtower's Binary Fusion Generator, Steel oversaw the rebooting. At that moment, Galatea and her Ultimen clones attacked the Watchtower. While the majority of the League fought the invaders, Steel rushed to the generator room. There, he was confronted by Galatea. Steel proved little match for the powerful Argoan clone, but before she could finish him, Supergirl interfered. During the second invasion of Darkseid, Steel fought in Tokyo with Blue Devil and Sinestro. Using his expertise in engineering, he discovered the mysterious Apokoliptian machines installed around the world were magma tappers, designed to create fire pits on Earth. With that knowledge, the League managed to thwart Darkseid's plans as Superman, Batman and Luthor engaged the despot himself.
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