Nathan is the grandson of Henry Heywood and cousin of Henry Heywood III. Formerly a football star, Nathan retired after shattering his kneecap and having his leg amputated. The incident left Nathan addicted to painkillers.
While attending a Heywood family reunion, he is attacked by the Fourth Reich, a team of metahuman Neo-Nazis ordered by Vandal Savage to wipe out the bloodlines of Golden Age heroes. Despite the Fourth Reich's effort, they fail to completely destroy the Heywood bloodline, as both Nathan and a few children manage to survive. Both Nathan's brother and mother are turned to metal statues by the villain Reichsmark. Nathan jams his crutch into Reichsmark's mouth, causing him to spit liquid metal blood onto Nathan. Hawkman takes him to Dr. Mid-Nite, who notes that the metal is being absorbed by Nathan's skin. Later, it is revealed that the metal has grown out from where Nathan's amputated leg once was, forming metallic bone, muscles, and flesh. Waking in his hospital room, Nathan is shown to have superhuman strength. Dr. Mid-Nite informs Nathan that he is now a being of living steel, due to an unknown reaction to Reichsmark's blood.
He is christened Citizen Steel by Power Girl.
Heywood acquitted himself well against the Heartbreak Slayer, saving two of his team-mates from a runaway bus. When Gog manifested in Africa, Heywood sided with him, hoping to be "gifted" with the removal of his powers; however, Gog never acknowledged him, as he didn't truly believe. When the Justice Society finally united to defeat Gog, he delivered the blow that felled the rogue god.
Organic Steel Physiology: Nate Heywood's skin, bone and muscle tissue has been transmuted into organic steel, which provides him with enhanced strength and durability. According to Doctor Mid-Nite's prognosis, it would take nothing less than an AIM-9 Sidewinder to even knock him down.
Nate Heywood possesses great athletic prowess.
No Tactile Sensation: The organic steel also covers Heywood's nervous system disabling his sense of touch to an extreme degree.
Uncontrollable Strength & Durability: As such, he has trouble gauging the amount of pressure that he exerts and cannot feel varying extremes of temperature.
- Stainless Steel Skin-Suit: Steel wears a specially designed containment suit developed by Mister Terrific. The costume functions as a secondary skin and is composed of a stainless steel alloy with a tensile strength of over 280,000 lbs. per square inch. The metal shell adapts to the curvature of Steel's body, and re-molds itself based upon his movements. Although the suit helps Steel adjust to his body's new composition, it also significantly reduces his strength level. Donning the costume requires an invasive smelting and subsequent cooling process aided by Mister Terrific's T-Spheres.
Citizen Steel's code-name was first provided as part of the roll call at the end of Justice League of America (Volume 2) #8.
- 75 Appearances of Nathaniel Heywood (New Earth)
- 28 Images featuring Nathaniel Heywood (New Earth)
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- Character Gallery: Nathaniel Heywood (New Earth)