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. In the Fall of 1940, he founded a superhero team called the Minutemen which was composed of Silk Spectre, Hooded Justice, the Silhouette, Nite Owl, the Comedian, Mothman and Dollar Bill.

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 to Larry and complaining about the arguments he was having with Hooded Justice. 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.

By the 1960s, he and Hooded Justice had broken up, and he was now 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.


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