Whether you want to use him as Commander Steel or Citizen Steel, This figure made his debut in wave 8 of DC Universe Classics from 2008. Dubbed the “Giganta wave,” it seemed to be one of the harder waves for people to find. Steel came with Giganta’s torso.
As Commander Steel, he was a member of the All Star Squadron, the other major superhero team operating during World War II along with the JSA. As Citizen Steel, he was a member of the more recent modern day JSA during pre-new-52 continuity.
My preference is to use him as the All-Star Squadron member, since it seems as though he’d need to be a bit shinier to pull off the Citizen Steel look, plus I tend to gravitate towards the high adventure of the Squadron more in my tastes. But whatever you decide, the figure is a nice, simple example of how DC can take a stock, no-frills body, and with a simple paint job and new head, pump out a striking figure full of bold colors.
The simplicity of the DC base body system was the object of scorn among many detractors, but I think Steel is a great example of how the stock bodies that DCUC employed could be used much like the art of a comic drawn by your favorite artists: they’re going to draw everyone with a very similar style, of course, but it’s what’s done with each character within the boundaries of that similarity that makes the difference.
Steel utilizes the larger DC base body. While there’s nothing really overtly flashy going on with him in terms of added details, the design is a simple, yet effective one that conjures up the Golden Age design values, even if his origins aren’t in the Golden Age; he was actually a creation of the ’70s retrofitted into World War II times. But he looks as though he could easily have come from the pen of any of the original JSA creators.
The whites on the figure are pure white, with no bleed. There’s a pearlescent quality to the blue paints which gives him a little extra visual pizzazz to better get across his metallic nature.
With so few sculpted details on these stock-body figures, the head sculpts really have to be strong, and this is a good one. It evokes that stern, determined Golden Age flavor, all gritted teeth and knitted brow. He’s definitely showing off that big mouthful of well-scrubbed white teeth. Commander Steel looks like he’s about to unflinchingly stare down a Nazi tank before upending it and tossing it back at the enemy.
His simple design works to his benefit, since there’s no cape to get in the way of posing him, nor belt to hinder his waist. Figures like this are often the most fun to play with.
I’ve always had an affinity for the strong guys from the various super-teams, and Commander Steel was a favorite back when All-Star Squadron was regularly on the spinner racks. It’s great to finally have him acknowledged. I can only hope (maybe in vain) that his teammates get similar recognition in the future.