John Henry Irons (using the name Henry Johnson) tells some neighborhood kids the folk tale of John Henry - a working class steel driver who made history by drilling a hole in the side of a mountain faster than a competing steam engine. As the tale concludes, the children turn to leave. Suddenly, a car screams around the corner as rival gang members trade shots with one another. One of the gangsters belonging to the Mustangs fires a Toastmaster handgun and accidentally kills one of the children, Zoid. John Henry Irons recognizes the ordnance and gives chase. He dives onto the car, but they manage to shake him off.
Later, Myra and Keith Parks visit John in the hospital. John tells Keith the story of how Superman one saved his life. He also tells him how he witnessed Superman's final battle against Doomsday. After being discharged, John walks home. He remembers the promise he once made to Superman to make his life count for something. However, he also recalls that he is the one who invented the Toastmaster weaponry to begin with. To honor Superman's memory, John Henry forges a suit of armor for himself and commits himself to getting the Toastmasters off the streets. Accenting the armor is an S-shaped shield reminiscent of Superman's emblem. John Henry Irons is now the "Man of Steel".
He tracks down the Mustangs responsible for Zoid's death and disarms them. He pins one of them against a brick wall using steel spikes fired from his gauntlets. Before he can question him however, the gang member's supplier, the White Rabbit, observes the spectacle from a nearby rooftop and kills him with a Toastmaster sniper rifle.
Meanwhile, Lois Lane runs into union leader Jeb Friedman. Jeb knows that Clark Kent is legally dead, so he begins to make his moves on Lois. Lois knows that Jeb is an opportunist, but in this moment of weakness, she lets him provide her comfort while she continues to come to terms with the loss of Superman.
At LexCorp Tower, Lex Luthor and Sydney Happersen monitor television broadcasts of John Henry's actions. Lex is confident that he will finally be able to get a "Man of Steel" on his payroll.