Nathan was a grandson of Henry Heywood and a 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 was attacked by the Fourth Reich, a team of metahuman Neo-Nazis ordered to wipe out the bloodlines of Golden Age heroes by Vandal Savage. Despite the Fourth Reich's effort, they failed to completely destroy the Heywood bloodline, as Nathan and a few children managed to survive. Both Nathan's brother and mother were turned to metal statues by the villain Reichsmark. Nathan jammed his crutch into Reichsmark's mouth, causing him to spit liquid metal blood onto Nathan. Hawkman took him to Doctor Mid-Nite, who noted that the metal was being absorbed by Nathan's skin. It was later revealed that the metal had grown out from the amputation scars on Nathan’s leg, replacing the lost limb. The new leg was constructed of metallic analogues of bone, muscles, and flesh. Waking in his hospital room, Nathan was shown to have superhuman strength. Doctor Mid-Nite informed Nathan that he was now a being of living steel, due to an unknown reaction to Reichsmark's blood.
He was christened Citizen Steel by Power Girl.
Heywood acquitted himself well against the 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 did not truly believe. When the Justice Society finally united to defeat Gog, he unleashed his full strength against Gog and actually managed to topple the giant. This gave Gog's former herald, Magog, the chance to cut off Gog's head and send him to the Source Wall.
Following Gog's defeat, Nathan took time off from the JSA to be with his family. This consisted of the various children who had survived the attack on the reunion, most of whom now called him "Uncle Nathan" or "Uncle Nate".
During the events of Blackest Night, Nathan helped fight off the hordes of Black Lanterns attacking Manhattan. He tried to help Power Girl during her battle with the newly reanimated Kal-L. He was knocked aside by the reanimated hero, who mockingly referred to him as a "paperweight" compared to him.
Following the split in the Justice Society, Nathan opted to join Power Girl's more youth-oriented team of JSA All-Stars.
- 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.
- No Tactile Sensation: The organic steel also covers Heywood's nervous system disabling his sense of touch to an extreme degree.
- Power Instability: 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.
- 74 Appearances of Nathaniel Heywood (New Earth)
- 13 Images featuring Nathaniel Heywood (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Nathaniel Heywood (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Nathaniel Heywood (New Earth)
Justice Society of America member