As a child, Nelson Gardner was sickly and asthmatic, but years of training allowed him to get past his condition and eventually played football in college before joining the U.S. Marines. He later adopted the Captain Metropolis persona, and, using the skills he acquired in the military, attempted to eradicate organized crime in urban areas.
It is implied that he had a relationship with fellow gay teammate Hooded Justice, yet this information was unknown to the public. This revelation may explain his mysterious departure from the Marines. Judging by a letter written by Silk Spectre's agent, Larry Schexnayder, it appeared that Metropolis was the submissive partner in the relationship while Hooded Justice was the more dominant partner, with Metropolis often calling Larry and complaining about the arguments he was having with Hooded Justice.
In 1946, a newspaper expose revealed that Silhouette's female personal doctor was also, in fact, her lover. Fearing further scrutiny, Metropolis and Hooded Justice were goaded by Schexnayder into voting for her expulsion from the team. Dollar Bill and Silk Spectre voted along with them, though Nite-Owl and Mothman, who had both known about the affair for years, voted against. Much to the team's horror, Silhouette and her lover were killed six weeks later by an enemy who called himself the Liquidator. The ensuing search was poorly executed; the Liquidator had hidden himself somewhere in the Tenderloin, Manhattan's notorious red-light district, and Metropolis and Hooded Justice opted to use the occasion to burnish their credentials as upstanding citizens by pulling vice busts. Eventually, Silk Spectre found the Liquidator and killed him, but was so disgusted by Metropolis' lack of initiative that she left him and Hooded Justice to clean up the mess. Shortly afterwards, she quit the team.
Unhappy with the way the team was more concerned about social appearances than actual crime fighting, the Minutemen were eventually disbanded by Captain Metropolis himself in 1949. Sometime later, the team reunited when Metropolis, Nite Owl and Mothman teamed with a masked hero named Bluecoat and his teen sidekick to prevent Japanese terrorists from setting off an atomic bomb in New York. They saved the country and couldn't capitalize on the publicity because the government classified the incident. Bluecoat and his partner were both killed, and the remaining Minutemen disbanded once again.
By the 1960s, Hooded Justice was dead and Gardner began seeing a man named Nobert Veldon. When they learned that Hollis Mason's impending autobiography was going to reveal details of Gardner's relationship with Hood Justice, an angry Veldon showed up at Mason's shop and threatened to sue him, claiming that Gardner had become suicidal.
In 1966, Captain Metropolis attempted to form another team, the Crimebusters, to which he invited Rorschach, Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias and the Comedian, but his plans were old-fashioned, prefaced in a large part upon the notion that ethnic minorities, particularly blacks and Hispanics, were inherently lawless.
When he spoke at the meeting of tackling the "social ills" of America, the Comedian mocked him for wanting to "dress up" and play "cowboys and Indians", and further accused the older hero of trying to form the Crimebusters as a means of seeking personal glory, which Metropolis insisted wasn't true; as the would be members filed out, Metropolis begged them not to leave, telling them that someone had to "save the world." The crime display that he worked so hard on was burned and destroyed by the Comedian. Also, about this time, he was making various racist statements about Hispanics and African-Americans, which contributed to the public's already growing distaste for superheroes. By 1974, Nelson tragically died in an automobile accident in which he was decapitated. It was speculated that the accident was actually Gardner committing suicide.
In the film adaptation, Captain Metropolis was portrayed by Darryl Scheelar. Unlike his depiction in the graphic novel, Metropolis had a lesser role and was not present in the 1966 meeting. Instead, Ozymandias filled in for Metropolis's role of forming the Watchmen (instead of the Crimebusters).
- 25 Appearances of Nelson Gardner (Watchmen)
- 4 Images featuring Nelson Gardner (Watchmen)
- 1 Quotations by or about Nelson Gardner (Watchmen)
- Character Gallery: Nelson Gardner (Watchmen)
- Captain Metropolis (Nelson Gardner) at the Watchmen Wiki