Tonight we get the return of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow with the debut of Nick Zano as Nate Heywood, the grandson of Commander Steel and cousin of Steel. Nate also takes on the family mantle becoming Citizen Steel. But for those of you who aren’t familiar with the character, here is a quick primer from the comics.
Nate has a pretty dark origin in that he was a football player who got injured so severely they needed to amputate his leg from the knee. While recovering from the operation he was given prescription painkillers that he became addicted to. While at a family reunion, the Heywood family was attacked by Vandal Savage in an attempt to rid the world of the Justice Society of America and to make sure there was no family to take the fallen heroes’ place. Nate lost his mother and brother in the attack as they were turned into statues by the metallic Reichsmark. Nate saves himself by jamming his crutch into the villain’s mouth, causing him to spit out metallic blood.
Nate is infected by the blood and ends up in a coma for a while. When he awakes he discovers he has a new steel leg and superhuman strength. His body has become living steel and has left him with no sense of touch. He feels he now has a purpose in his life and takes on the name Citizen Steel.
Nate played a role in two major storylines. The first being Kingdom Come where he ends up following Gog in hope of getting his sense of touch back. Nate sticks with Gog, even when it’s discovered that he is attempting to destroy the planet, but when Gog tries to turn the Flash into lightning, he unleashes his full powers and removes Gog’s head. He also appeared in Blackest Night working with Power Girl to try and take on the Black Lantern version of Kal-L.
Citizen Steel continued to work with the JSA All-Stars and was involved with rescuing Stargirl, fighting Arthur Pemberton and taking on a drug cartel that follows the Gods of Parador.
To regulate his power, Citizen Steel wears a containment suit that is made from the material used to protect spaceships upon re-entry. When he removed the top part of his suit and attacked Gog, he was able to take the villain down in one punch, something Superman from Earth-22 couldn’t do. So the upper levels of his strengths are unknown.
Previous incarnations, Commander Steel and Steel, where enhanced by surgeries and implants to make them superheroes. It wasn’t by a freak accident like Nate. It will be interesting to see just how the character is handled on Legends of Tomorrow. Will they make him have skin of living steel and no sense of touch or will they make him more enhanced like the others who took a similar name? What we do know is that he is a historian and goes to Oliver Queen to help find the missing members of the team.
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