Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Top Ten Steel Covers (Heywood Family Edition)

Even before the U.S. entered World War II, scientist Henry "Hank" Heywood saw it as his duty to enlist in the military in order to punch evil Nazis. Heywood got blown up real good doing just that, but his mentor helped put him back together again as the first metal endoskeleton-enhanced cyborg super-hero. Dubiously advanced science even by comic book standards couldn't save Steel from an early cancellation, but his adventures continued in other period series.

In 1984, grandson Hank Heywood III was transformed against his will into a new Steel, and helped establish the Detroit-based Justice League. The conservative Hank Sr. did not approve of the team, and set about dismantling the group. Estrangement and a dead grandson eventually followed, until Commander Steel's years in limbo were ended by an attempt to bump sales on Eclipso by including the old man in a massacre.

In the 1990s, a completely unrelated Steel legacy was begun by John Henry Irons, for whom I've also created a cover gallery.

A few years back, Nathan Heywood saw most of his clan wiped out by anachronistic evil super-Nazis, and gained powers of his own to continue the Steel legacy of middling importance and maximum angst.

10) Steel, the Indestructible Man #4 (September, 1978)

I just like how massively Kirbyesque Commander Steel is here.

9) All-Star Squadron #9 (May, 1982)

Color holds are winning here.

8) Justice Society of America #11 (February, 2008)

While all eyes are on the Golden Age Superman, Nathan Heywood seems pensive about his relative stature.

7) Infinity, Inc. #19 (October, 1985)

The ultimate Commander Steel as manipulative polarizing bastard cover.

6) Justice League of America #244 (November, 1985)

The original and second generation Steels locked in titanic familial conflict!

5) All-Star Squadron #13 (September, 1982)

Commander Steel, drawn by Joe Kubert, leading the A-SS. 'Nuff said.

4) Justice League of America #260 (March, 1987)

The brain death of Hank Heywood III/Steel II.

3) Justice League of America #245 (December, 1985)

The rending of Steel II's original costume in a battle royal with his granddad in the midst of the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

2) Steel, the Indestructible Man #1 (March, 1978)

Sure, it's by Don "Blech" Heck, but this cover is still a dynamite debut!

1) Justice Society of America #7 (July, 2007)

Alex Ross' much ballyhooed painting of Citizen Steel.

Honorable Mentions:
Cancelled Comic Cavalcade Volume One (Commander Steel)
Cancelled Comic Cavalcade Volume Two (Commander Steel)
Commander Steel figured prominently on both these pseudo-covers to xeroxed copies of unpublished comics that fell victim to the DC Implosion. Material featured here that was produced for Steel, the Indestructible Man was eventually reworked into some issues of All-Star Squadron.
Justice League of America #235 (Steel II)
Justice Society of America #14 Variant Cover (Citizen Steel)


The Irredeemable Shag said...

#3 is the cover for me! Hank for the win!


Diabolu Frank said...

That's probably my personal favorite as well, which is surprising. McDonnell and Wray were a really good team at that time.