Nathaniel Heywood (Citizen Steel)

citizensteelfilmNew pics from Legends of Tomorrow, and this time we get a first look at one of the new recurring characters in the show (and possibly a new member of the superhero team, depending on whether or not he’ll don the mantle of his heroic alter-ego from the comics): Dr. Nate Heywood, portrayed by Nick Zano. As for now, we know that Heywood will be a historian, a charming researcher who discovers through his work that there are many peculiar individuals scattered throughout history…the Legends, who’re obviously suffering from some major consequence of last season’s finale. He’ll help the team to locate the missing members, and he’ll eventually join them. In the comics, his background, story and appearance are totally different: let’s take a look.

Nathan Heywood‘s family wasn’t exactly a normal one: he was the grandchild of Henry Heywood, the Golden Age superhero Commander Steel, and his cousin Hank Heywood III had become in turn the new Steel. Nate, however, had other goals in his life, and he dedicated himself to professional football, being quite an athlete. Known on the field as “Buckeye” Heywood, Nate became a football star at Ohio State University, but his promising career ended abruptly, and much sooner than he thought: during a match, an injury destroyed his kneecap, and he found himself unable to continue playing. If that wasn’t enough, the doctor failed to diagnose a spreading infection in the knee, and soon after the first bad news Nate came back to the hospital to have his leg amputated: the event clearly scarred the young man, and he became addicted to painkillers from that moment on, more due to a psychological issue than to an actual physical problem. Some time later, Nate attended a family reunion along with his mother and brother…and again things didn’t go as planned at all: the Fourth Reich, a group of Neo-Nazis led by metahuman Reichsmark, had been hired by Vandal Savage citizensteelcomics1to wipe out the Heywood family in a plot to erase the bloodline of Golden Age superheroes. In the following carnage, Nate saw most of his family murdered before his eyes, and Reichsmark personally transformed his mother and brother into a couple of metal statues. Nate hid some of the children, but he was subsequently attacked by Reichsmark: in a desperate struggle to survive, Heywood pierced the metal man’s mouth with his crutch, and the villain spit metallic blood all over his body, triggering a surprise reaction. Finally, Hawkman appeared, defeated the Fourth Reich and saved the few remaining Heywoods, consisting of Nate and the children he had hidden. Seeing that Nate was feeling sick from the exposure to Reichsmark’s blood, Hawkman brought him to Doctor Mid-Nite for analysis, but when they arrived the young man had fallen into a coma.

Nate Heywood’s body had reacted weirdly to Reichsmark’s blood, and his body had absorbed all the metal. During the coma, he even manipulated the metal in his body to regrow his lost leg. Mid-Nite realised that not only his leg, but also his muscles, nerves, bones and tissues had all become organic metal, due to an unexplainable reaction to Reichsmark’s blood. When Nate woke up, he had gained also an incredible strength, and he had become pretty much invulnerable…problem was, he couldn’t control his strenght, and broke everything he came in contact with. In order to help Nate with his newfound abilities, Mr. Terrific built for him a special containment suit that acted as a second skin, and that allowed Heywood to control his superhuman strength. With such powers, Nate had finally found a new purpose in his life, and decided to foil Savage’s plan in any way he could, by taking up the mantle of his grandfather and of his cousin before him: he became Citizen Steel, the last member of his family to follow the Steel legacy. At the very beginning of his heroic career, he took his rightful place in the Justice Society of America. Still, Nate found out that there was still something missing in his life…this time, his sense of touch, taken away by his metal skin. In his first mission with the JSA, he showed everyone his worth by saving his teammates from the attack of the Heartbreak Slayer…a villain who later revealed himself as Gog, one of the Old citizensteelcomics2Gods from the ancient times. Gog offered the heroes to become his servants in exchange of what their hearts desired…and Citizen Steel was among the ones seduced by him, as he was promised to have his powers removed, and his touch returned. Citizen Steel followed Gog in his campaign in the Middle East, and even sided against his teammates who didn’t like the violent methods of the deity. When Gog at last tried to kill The Flash, revealing his true colors, Steel and the others turned against him, and it was Nate who managed to hurt the god by removing his costume and unleashing all his power against him, thus allowing Magog to deliver the finishing blow. The battle with Gog, however, proved that Nate wasn’t ready yet to follow his grandfather’s footsteps, so he took some time off the JSA to rethink of his life…but the world would have needed him sooner than later.

Nathan Heywood is a selfless and brave man, but also a broken one, who lost much during his life, resulting in a fragile confidence and a drug addiction. As Citizen Steel, his entire body is made up of organic metal, which grants him invulnerability and a still unmeasured strength: his Skin-Suit allows him to control his own strength (the lack of tactile sensations makes it impossible for him to realise how much pressure he puts in his movements), but also limits it; when he removed his suit, he managed to knock out a god like Gog with a single punch, something that not even Superman could do. Gifted with amazing powers, but cut out from any kind of physical contacts with other people (including the children of the Heywood family who call him “Uncle Nate”), Citizen Steel paid a great price for his heroism, and still mourns about everything he’s sacrificed to be the hero he is.



  1. […] heroes while organizing the resistance in the Nazi-occupied Paris. Since also his descendant, Nate Steel, is with the Legends, it’s easy to foresee some weird development in their […]

  2. […] school contest to meet, even if briefly, his son Henry Jr., who ends up meeting his own future son Nathan instead. Apparently, Hank Jr. will grow up to be a distant father for Nate, but maybe this meeting […]

  3. […] hero’s mother, Susan, portrayed by Susie Abromeit. Quite a beautiful woman, she smittens poor Nate, who ends up making out with the Dominator Queen believing she’s the woman. In the comics, […]

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