This week’s WCW is a lesser known member of the Superman family. No she’s not an alien like Supes but she’s still considered a member. Natasha Irons aka Steel/Vaporlock/Starlight is this week’s WCW.
You may have heard the name Steel before. Especially if you have read the comics from back in the day, I believe it was “Death of Superman” (one of his many deaths, please fact check me to make sure I’m accurate). Steel (John Henry Irons) was a character that helped Superman fight Doomsday and after Superman “died”, Steel decided to take over the Superman role for a while. But I will highlight him in another post so let’s continue with Natasha.
Natasha Irons is the daughter of John Henry’s brother, Clay. She is introduced in the first issue of Steel’s solo series, where she is initially portrayed as being 13 (but in later issues and the reboot, she is seen as older). Like the rest of her family, she knew about Steel’s secret identity all along. Contrasting sharply with her brother Jemahl, Natasha is shown to be very level headed and practical. She becomes an engineer like her uncle and builds a Steel suit to fight crime alongside him. She eventually took over the role of Steel when John Irons was too hurt to operate as Steel after another fight against Doomsday (he built her suit to pass on his legacy).
Later, Natasha and her uncle John had a violent falling out. Natasha became narcissistic and John didn’t approve. John took away her armor as a form of “punishment” which forced Natasha to create her own armor to continue to be hero. The rift between the two continued to grow. She joined Lex Luthor’s Everyman Project which essentially gave humans metagenes to make them super powered. The Everyman arc set Natasha up to become Starlight and then Vaporlock which would be extremely long to write (but I shall go into detail in later posts!). Natasha is a complex, endearing, determined and open character. She shows the many aspects of growing up in a black family and dealing with a member being a superhero.
If you have the time to do so, read some Steel comics. Not only to gain perspective on Natasha but to learn about the first black man (and woman) to be considered on par strength wise with Superman. Please, if I got something wrong, correct me in the comics or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I take suggestions as well. So if you have a character you would like me to highlight, let me know and I shall! Until next time, Nerd out!