John Henry Irons Is No Stranger On Superman & Lois As The Show Expands Its Universe
The best surprise on the CW this year is just how good Superman & Lois has been. The show has a cinematic quality to go along with that aspect ratio. Yet, what sets this story apart from past Man of Steel tales, is that we’re seeing Superman at a time in his life never before examined in live action. Yet, this is a big budget (for the CW) series dealing with the most iconic superhero in history. However, Superman is no longer the only iconic Man of Steel, also the title of this episode. No, it’s revealed that the Stranger from another Earth present since the first episode of Superman & Lois is none other than John Henry Irons. So, while we first thought we were getting a new kind of Lex Luthor, the show’s misdirect worked in a big way. Partially because the family drama is so compelling.
In fact, the main concern of this episode has little to do with the possibly world-ending event, but rather the pain involved with having Kryptonian powers. Alexander Garfin’s Jordan Kent is dealing with the extreme discomfort of super-hearing. It’s a very personal, quiet (when he’s wearing headphones) journey that involved Garfin doing a lot of strained faces on set. Yet, it works. Both Garfin and Jordan Elass, who plays (ironically) Jonathan, are able to hit a sweet spot where they are believably normal teenagers and also the son of a god on Earth.
This episode employs the very popular Arrowverse device of a series of flashbacks throughout the episode. They are focused on Wolé Parks’ John Henry Irons, his relationship to Lois, and Superman, only he’s the one acting like a stranger. Even though it’s a new version of Steel, Parks didn’t take the role lightly.
As he told TVLine.com:
“When they told me I was going to be playing John Henry Irons, I was overwhelmed, a little emotional…. I remember growing up with him, but it’s not just me anymore. There are other kids who grew up with this character, and there are kids growing up now who will know a different version of it. The responsibility is crazy. This is by far my most important role, if I want to phrase it that way, and I don’t take that lightly.”
While the episode has an amazing conclusion (that we won’t spoil), we know that this is not the last we’re going to see of this character. As Lex Luthor, this character could never truly be a hero. Yet, as John Henry Irons, it’s inevitable that we’ll see him suit up next to Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman before the end of the season. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of the battle he fought on his Earth, further explaining his connections to Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. We’re in the middle act of a 15-episode season, and it’s only going to get more epic from here. Parks is the second actor to play Steel in live action, the first being Shaquille O’Neal who starred as the character in the 1997 movie of the same name.
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays on the CW.
So, what do you think? Are you hyped that the Stranger on Superman & Lois is a vengeful John Henry Irons and not Lex Luthor? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image: Superman & Lois — “The Best of Smallville” Pictured: Wolé Parks as John Henry Irons — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.