Comrade Steel, the people's hero?

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Although DC Comics won't release its June solicitations until tomorrow afternoon, Newsarama offers an early glimpse of the covers for 52 #6-8, all by J.G. Jones. Issue 8, shown above at left, spotlights John Henry Irons, the costumed hero-inventor also known as Steel.

Before this issue, Jones had employed a fairly realistic approach for the series' covers. But here, he channels those wonderfully stylized Soviet propaganda posters. Sure, the colors are different -- I prefer those trademark reds, golds and blues -- but the imagery is the same: Irons, dressed in a blacksmith's apron, grasps a hammer, which is both his weapon and a symbol of the industrialist proletariat. If those weren't enough to signal that Steel is a working-class hero, we're also shown two enormous gears.

While the backgrounds of the propaganda posters were often populated by looming factories and farm machinery -- testaments to Soviet industrialization and ingenuity -- the cover to 52 #8 gives us the towering Trylon and Perisphere, symbols of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Oh, and headquarters of DC Comics' All-Star Squadron.

The fairly generic figures soaring across the cyan field are perfect stand-ins for the nameless, and sometimes faceless, "heroes" so common in propaganda art: soldiers, farmers, factory workers.

I'm not sure who the menacing bald guy is; it could be Irons, or possibly Lex Luthor, who appears on the cover to Issue 3.

Whomever it is, let's pretend he's filling in for Comrade Lenin.

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