For other individuals with the same first name, see John (disambiguation).
For the man whose identity he stole, see Marcus Bridgewater.

"Aren't you curious how I know so much about you, Kal-El? Like me, your home was destroyed. You were sent here as an infant, to a world where you'd spend your whole life trying to prove your worth. Convince yourself you are one of them, but you're not! You're still that scared, lost child, desperate for the love of people that will never accept you! And the only remnants of your real home, Kryptonite, make you sick. Dust to dust, Superman."
—Irons to Superman[src]

John Henry Irons is the husband of the late Lois Lane and a soldier inhabitant of Earth-TUD22 who has a vendetta against Superman, due to the latter's evil doppelgänger's actions, as well as Morgan Edge due to his counterpart's experiments with X-Kryptonite. He was nicknamed the Stranger by Earth-Prime Lois Lane[1] and Luthor by his A.I. device. In his civilian identity on Earth-Prime, he used the alias of freelancing reporter Marcus Bridgewater.[2]


Early life

"Forged in fire, strong as steel."
—John Henry Irons and Natalie Lane Irons[src]

Irons and his family.

John Henry Irons was a soldier in his home world and a friend of Sam Lane.[1] At some point, he married Lois Lane and they had a daughter named Nat.[3] One day, when Irons left for a military mission, his wife Lois asked him to come back to her before kissing him.[2]

At some point, John and Lois woke up in bed and were greeted by Nat, who was disgusted by their close relationship. Before leaving Nat to school, they witnessed through the window Superman leading a group of powered individuals destroying Metropolis using their heat vision.

The Irons family witnesses the destruction of Metropolis.

The family then hid in an underground facility. At night, Nat woke up John while Lois was giving an interview to Daily Planet. During the interview, Superman killed Lois, shocking John and his daughter. With the help of Nat, John acquired technology from LuthorCorp and built a exosuit, capable to defeat Superman. Nat later attempted to reprogram an A.I. and failed, leaving the device to mistake John as Lex Luthor.

Later, John had to go on a mission to stop the Kryptonian and promised Nat that he would come back to her. It was also revealed that Superman led the X-Kryptonite army on Morgan Edge's behalf.[3] An army including Irons and Sam were fighting against Superman, to no avail. Sam died during the battle. So, Irons became an enemy of this version of Superman up until his home world was destroyed.[1] When Irons was trying to escape using his ship, Kal-El tried to stop him. However, John was able to escape through unknown means and arrived on Earth-Prime.[4]

Another Earth

Testing Kal-El

"Where I come from, let's just say the two of us have history."
"And where is that exactly?"
"Nowhere now. My world was destroyed. But somehow, I managed to survive.
—Irons to Superman of Earth-Prime.[src]

Irons stops Superman.

Aware of his Kryptonian name, Kal-El and his weaknesses, Irons discovered this new world also had a Superman and began attacking nuclear power plants across America to test Superman's capabilities. After taunting him, Irons and Superman engaged in a confrontation that led to the planet's atmosphere, where Superman was stabbed in the chest with a Kryptonite blade. Irons later returned to his hideout, where he began planning his next moves and regathering of materials.[5]

Irons invades the military base.

Irons takes his ship to find more Kryptonite in Moldova, where he easily defeats the guards of the place but there was none to be found. Later, he goes back to his ship and tells his A.I. that he will not allow what happened on his world to be repeated here. He goes to Mongolia, but there he is faced by Superman. During the fight, Superman gains the advantage and then Irons sends his ship to explode in a city, allowing him to escape while Superman saves the city. Later, Irons sent an automaton to this Earth's version of Sam Lane to warn him about trusting Superman, after Irons reminisces about his past with the other Sam. But Superman destroys the armor.[1]

Working with Lois Lane

John meets Lois.

Irons began his next plot by tailing Lois Lane. He appears to her under the alias of freelancing reporter "Marcus Bridgewater" where they talk about a story involving Morgan Edge. When Superman engaged Derek Powell who was resurrected by X-Kryptonite, Irons pursued them while preparing his weaponry. Catching up to them, Irons fired a bazooka at them. He then arrives at the scene of the crash and finds neither Derek or Superman. Following the dedication to a bench that was in memory of Martha Kent, Irons speaks to his A.I. that this Lois Lane is not like the one he married and shuts his A.I. up.[2]

John finds X-Kyptonite.

Days later, Irons, using his Marcus Bridgewater alias, tried to get into the Shuster Mine, but only employees and government inspectors were allowed entry, so he had two inspector badges forged and asked Lois to accompany him inside. Lois accepted the invitation, because she was denied entry earlier. Inside the mine, Irons and Lois found a vein of X-Kryptonite, but Lois wondered why Irons had a laser-cutting tool for the rocks. Irons told her that this was the story that she should be pursuing. Leslie Larr discovered the two and chased them, firing her heat vision, but Irons was able to knock her unconscious, so they could escape. Lois began a torrent of questions to "Marcus" about his connections to Luthor Corp and the forgery of the inspector badges, but before Irons could answer, Lois received a call that she felt was urgent and drove away with Irons.[6]

Revealed identity

"Like I said, I'm here to save the world. You see, Kal-El, you're not the Man of Steel. I am."
—Irons to Superman[src]

Irons with his hammer.

Lois confronted Irons about not being who he claims to be and demands some answers. They later meet at Victoria May's while Clark went into Irons' RV, where he was led to believe his last name was Luthor based on the A.I.'s reaction. Lois and Clark later followed a shipment of X-Kryptonite being carried by Morgan Edge's men. He allows Lois and Clark to have the box of X-Kryptonite in exchange for a meeting with Superman. While Superman left to meet with Irons, Lois gets contact from Lieutenant Rosetti stating that the prints match that of the late John Henry Irons. During the confrontation, Irons used special motion detectors emitting red solar energy and wielded a special kinetic hammer that he used on Superman. With Jordan's help, Jonathan took him to where Superman is. Jonathan drove his truck right into Irons and disabled the lights with the kinetic energy hammer. Lois then arrives to stop Superman from harming Irons further. Superman has Irons locked up until Sam Lane arrives to pick him up. The DOD later had Irons on lockdown where they will interrogate him tomorrow.[3]

Irons and Superman at the military base.

Irons was interrogated by Superman and General Lane. Afterwards, Trask tried to interrogate Irons and brought him with Rosetti. While Trask mocked Rosetti for following protocol, Rosetti threw Trask against the wall and using his heat vision, threatened Irons to follow him to Project 7734. Eventually, Superman arrived, battled Rosetti and was briefly saved by Irons, who was holding a Kryptonite spear and trying to kill him, but Lois arrived and convinced Irons to give up. John was allowed to return to his van and ordered AI to create a profile for him and delete his previous profile as "Captain Luthor". He told the device to turn itself off for a while while he was driving,[4] not noticing that Jonathan Kent had stolen one of his guns from the RV.[7]


"We need to stop Kal-El before he does to this world what he did to mine."

Before Irons' world was destroyed, he proved to be an ordinary civilian. A loving father and husband. That changed after Superman killed his wife, Lois Lane. Irons decided to take revenge and not let that happen again.

Irons only sees the Superman of Earth-Prime the same way. He is hellbent to rid the world of Superman. While admitting that this Superman is not like the one of his world, he is convinced that Superman will ultimately become evil. To which, he insists that Superman is not a hero; as such, constantly sets up twisted tests to push Superman's morality with the option to capture him or save lives. Regardless of how many times, Superman chooses the individuals' safety, Irons doesn't accept him as a hero and wants him dead out of paranoia that he will turn evil; proving just how short-sighted and narrow-minded he truly is.

Irons still cares greatly about his old life. Seeking to reason with Sam Lane and getting his assistance in his crusade. Even using his final words to remember the man's doppelgänger. However, ultimately, his true reason for his quest came from the motive of avenging his wife and daughter. Fueled by jealousy of the former's doppelganger being with another man.

While convinced of Superman's evil and what he needs to do to stop him, Irons also feels he is the hero of this story ultimately. Believing himself greater than the words Superman preaches. Seeing himself as the true "man of steel".

Powers and abilities

Former powers

  • Exosuit application: Irons is masterful in using his exosuit, a battle armor he uses to suit his needs, enhance his physical strength and durability to protect himself against Kryptonian-level threats. The exosuit can also fly at high speeds and manifest blue and green energy.[5] Irons then lost these powers when his suit was destroyed by Superman.[1]
    • Superhuman strength: The suit enables irons to be able to lift Superman with one arm.[5]
    • Superhuman durability: Irons's exosuit allows him to go toe to toe with Superman and can even withstand a blast from his heat vision.[5]
    • Superhuman speed: Irons can travel at super fast speeds in the suit. Even being able to travel around the globe.[5]
    • Superhuman reflexes: Irons is able to keep up with Superman's fast attacks and dodge his strikes while wearing the exosuit.[5]
    • Flight: Irons's exosuit can fly up into space and can stay even in a dog fight with Clark.[5]
    • Sonic propulsions: Irons's exosuit can release a blast excess force from his gauntlets that is capable of forcefully pushing his opponents away.[1]
    • Remote operation: Irons can operate his suit as The Stranger remotely. Able to speak through it and use all it's functions without struggle.[1]


  • Peak of human physical condition: As a former soldier, Irons is in top physical condition; he was able to knock down the superpowered Leslie Larr with a punch, even though she is considerably more durable than ordinary humans. He is also athletic, being a former football player for Yale.
  • Skilled hand-to-hand combatant: Irons is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant; using his suit, and later filtered red sunlight, to bridge the difference in physical might between them, he was able to match Superman in battle.[5][3] He used a synthetic kryptonite blade to kill Rosetti.
  • Keen intellect/expert tactician: Irons is a very intelligent individual, having graduated summa cum laude from Yale. After his plans to kill Superman were folied and he lost most of his resources, he quickly came up with a plan to gather more information on the unfamilier world he found himself in. He is also an excellent tactician, having devised and successfully executed several plans to lure out, test, distract, debilitate and harm Superman; in fact, he nearly managed to kill Superman on a couple of occasions, only failing due to circumstance.[5][3]
    • Skilled engineer: Irons was able to build a technological exosuit together with his daughter. He later jury-rigged some mundane equipment to emit red sunlight.
    • Bilingualism: Irons is capable of fluently speaking English and Kryptonese.[5][3]



  • Van: Irons has a van that he uses to get around. His A.I. and some weapons are also in this van.
  • A.I.: Irons wears an A.I. that originally belonged to Lex Luthor of his world. Irons briefly destroyed it in a moment of anger, but was later able to rebuild it.

Former equipment

"This time he came in a ship. So he brought more than just a war suit with him."
Sam Lane to Clark Kent[src]
  • Exosuit: Irons uses a high-tech battle suit which gives him enhanced strength, durability and flight. The suit is able to withstand Superman's heat vision and freeze breath without taking damage.[5] Irons then lost his suit when it was destroyed by Superman.[1]
  • Kryptonite blade: Irons used a retractable blade made of Kryptonite to stab Superman, but lost it once Superman broke it off.[5]
  • Kinetic hammer:

    John Henry Irons' hammer.

    A hammer was used by Irons against Superman that harnesses kinetic energy, the further it's thrown from being reflected through the amount of energy that is exerted upon its target.[3]
  • Bazooka: Irons used a bazooka to take down Superman and Derek Powell.[2]
  • Laser gun: Irons owns a portable laser able to cut through rock.[6]
  • Ship: Irons used a ship to get around Earth-Prime which was later destroyed.[5][1]


Superman & Lois

Season 1


Promotional Images

Superman & Lois


  • There's a deep irony in Irons believing he's the hero of his feud with Superman; just like Lex Luthor, Irons is acting out of bitter jealousy and paranoia.

Behind the scenes

  • In the comics. "the Stranger" is the name of two characters related to the superfamily. The first is Jo-Mon and the second is an unnamed man who is a villain of the Super Sons.
  • In the DC comics, John Henry Irons is a weapons engineer who became a super-hero named Steel to emulate Superman. He debuted in Adventures of Superman #500 (June, 1993).
    • The moniker of "Steel" in the Arrowverse is used by Nate Heywood.
  • Irons currently serves as one of the main antagonists of Season 1 of Superman & Lois, alongside Morgan Edge.
  • This is the second live-action appearance of John Henry Irons, having previously made his live-action debut in Steel (1997), where Shaquille O'Neal portrayed a loose version of the character.


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