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"You look like a star spangled idiot."
Mick Rory to Nate Heywood after seeing his costume[src]

Dr. Nathaniel "Nate" Heywood[1] is a historian, specializing in deductive historical reconstruction. Due to his skills, he was able to deduce that an aberration-created reality, one in which the Nazis bombed New York City in 1942, due to the machinations of Damien Darhk and Eobard Thawne, and World War II continued until 1947, was starting to cement in the timeline, supplanting the previous reality. With the help of Oliver Queen, he was able to locate the submerged Waverider in 2016, waking Mick Rory from time stasis. Together with Mick, Nate traveled through time, using his skills as a historian to find the locations and time periods in which different members of the Legends team were stranded.[2] For his support, Nate was made a new member of the team.[3] After being injected with a biomolecular enhancer created by Eobard Thawne and modified by Ray Palmer, Nate gained the ability to transform his skin into steel, making him extremely strong and resilient. After learning to use his abilities he was given the codename "Steel" by Ray, after his grandfather Henry Heywood/Commander Steel. Among the other nicknames he suggested himself were Corporal Steel, Mr. Steel and Citizen Steel.[4]

Biography

Early life

Nate was born a haemophiliac, and as a result of his parents' decision to protect him from all harm, he was never allowed outside after one scrapped knee at the age of 5.[3] As a child, he was inspired by George Lucas' Indiana Jones movies, deciding to become a historian, spending all his time studying at home.[5] In addition, Nate was always interested in stories about his paternal grandfather, eventually getting his soldier "dog tags" passed down to him.[3] Nate didn't have the best relationship with his father and always referred to him as Hank.[6] Eventually Nate left home at 16 for college. He studied abroad at Oxford for a year while completing his masters degree, during which time he dated a girl named Wendy and read an unpublished paper by J.R.R. Tolkien titled The Burden of the Purest Heart.[7]

He graduated and earned a PhD, becoming a historian who specialized in historical reconstruction and deduction, calling himself a "time detective". He observed the past and current events of Earth One, with special interest in vigilantes, as shown by him deducing the identities of the Green Arrow and all members of Rip Hunter's team, identifying them as "the Legends" and figuring out their appearances in the past from research and overview of historical artifacts and written sources.[2]

Becoming a Legend

Nate Heywood introducing himself

Nate Heywood meeting with Oliver Queen.

In fall 2016, Nate started to notice how historical artifacts, and thus reality itself, started to change from what he knew of it beforehand. Figuring out that the Legends ended up in trouble, Nate gathered his courage and tried to sneak past the security at Mayor Oliver Queen's office when he was not permitted through, trusting Queen to believe his findings as the Green Arrow and as a friend of Sara Lance and Ray Palmer. Oliver was easily convinced by Nate's arguments about the changed timeline, with a nuked New York City and arranged for a submarine to lower himself as well as Dr. Heywood to the submerged Waverider. The two woke Mick Rory from stasis, apprehending him when the Legends member instinctively attacked the newcomers, but was quickly subdued by Oliver. Mick confirmed Nate's findings and suspicion and, on Oliver's advice, the two decided to travel through time and gather the Legends members that have been scattered throughout time, due to the ship's emergency function before it was hit by a nuke in 1942.[2]

Nate and Mick eventually located and saved all team members sans Rip Hunter, before setting up to safeguard both Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric in case the Nazis, or a rogue time traveler, tries to kidnap them once again. The Legends, with Nate as the newest member, appeared in 1942 prior to Albert Einstein's physics symposium in the guise of CIA, convincing the big guy to tell the public of his ex-wife's accomplishments. Einstein happily obliged, making Mileva's support of his research public, and thus prompting the United States government to safeguard them both. Nate listened to Einstein's speech with wonder and adoration, barely able to believe that they changed history for the better. As Nate was ready to leave the premises along with the other Legends, they were halted by the Justice Society of America members.[2]

The Legends in the JSA Headquarters

Nate in the JSA Headquarters with the Legends.

Nate was excited to meet the JSA, in particular, Commander Steel. The Legends tried to negotiate with the JSA but they insisted on taking them into custody with Nate being knocked out by Commander Steel with a punch. Imprisoned by the JSA, Nate revealed exactly who they were to the rest of the team though Commander Steel thought they were Nazi spies. Nate then revealed that he was wearing the same dogtags that he was and explained to Henry Heywood/Commander Steel that he was his future grandson. They then met Rex Tyler though he insisted that he never met the Legends before and asked them to leave as they had a new mission in Paris.

Sara Lance, at first intended to bid Nate goodbye, concerned with his unpreparedness for the dangerous adventure as an untrained historian, Nate vehemently opposed this, wanting to finally do something with his life. He then found that his dogtags were missing which meant history had changed and learned that the JSA never returned from Paris. Nate then revealed that he spoke six languages and Sara wondered why he became a historian due to his background though he said it was complicated. They infiltrated the nightclub where the JSA's target, a nazi named Krieger was arranging an exchange. A fight broke out in the club that had Nate getting injured. The JSA agreed to work together when they revealed that they never returned from this mission. Sara then learned that Nate had hemophilia meaning that his blood didn't clot normally and that was why he was sheltered his whole life but Nate refused to back down because he finally felt alive. He then visited his grandfather and wondered why the man seemed to be shutting him out and he revealed that his hero worship of him frightened him as he did what he did so others, like him, didn't have to. Nate told him that he just wanted to be a hero like him but couldn't because of his affliction but Henry told him that he didn't have to be a soldier to be a hero.

Henry and Nate Heywood

Nate with his grandfather as they say goodbye.

When the mission to intercept Krieger went south due to him transforming to a berserker creature due to a serum, Amaya Jiwe and Ray Palmer were captured. The Legends and JSA went to rescue them but Henry was left behind to get caught in the bombing run. Nate went to rescue him with a motorbike but they managed to get caught just outside the bombing radius and Nate was injured. His body wasn't healing due to his blood not clotting and was starting to die. Ray then injected Nate with the serum that he stole and modified and his body started to immediately recover. When he came to, he saw that his grandfather had been watching him and hoping to speak to him before they left. Henry told him that it appeared that he was a hero after all. Nate and his grandfather then saw his dogtags had returned which meant that history was back on track. [3]

As Nate was still recovering from his heavy wounds in the Waverider's medbay, Amaya Jiwe snuck onboard the ship, trying to assassinate Mick Rory, believing him to be the mysterious time traveler that murdered Rex Tyler. As Nate awoke, he stopped Amaya using his newfound meta-human powers of organic steel transformation. Excited by his new powers, Nate discussed a possible meta-human alias with the team, suggesting "Corporal Steel", "Citizen Steel" and "Mr. Steel". As Sara and Amaya came to an agreement, they ended up watching Nate excitedly testing his powers together with Ray Palmer, taking shots from Ray's A.T.O.M. Exosuit. In their excitement, the two vigilantes ended up damaging the ship and then freefalling through the timestream and out of the Temporal Zone, ending up in mid-17th century Japan. Awed by his historical surroundings, Nate passed out, before being found by Masako Yamashiro, a local villager. Despite it being dangerous for the villagers to assist a gaijin under the tyrannical rule of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, Masako and her father, Ichiro Yamashiro, nursed Nate to health. Masako gave Nate a bath, telling him of her unfortunate story of being betrothed to the cruel Iemitsu. Refusing to accept injustice, Nate tried to challenge the Shogun's Samurai, who arrived to the village to inform Masako of the coming wedding day, but ended up unable to activate his powers, getting flattened by an armored samurai, and heavily wounded once again.[4]

As Nate was being healed by Masako, he was being asked on his backstory, trying to fit facts that wouldn't seem strange for the Medieval Japanese with his real life, but ended up blundering, remembering that the United States would not exist for many years after 1641, further confusing Masako. Eventually, he was found by the rest of the Legends. Recovering from his wounds, Nate was being trained by Ray to reconnect to his abilities, but to no avail. Masako imparted him with wisdom that, to Ray, sounded reminiscent of that of a fictional character, Master Yoda, whom he claimed to have been his sensei. As the Shogun and his men approached the village, Nate came out to oppose him, but, once again, couldn't activate his powers, sustaining heavy damage from the A.T.O.M. Exosuit's light blast, getting knocked out. He eventually recovered, just in time to save Ray Palmer and Masako Yamashiro from being slain by Tokugawa Iemitsu. Transforming into his meta-human Steel form, Nate grabbed the Shogun's sword, then, together with Ray, confused him in the duel, before catching the Yamashiro family katana thrown by Ray and destroying the Exosuit's alpha-stabilizer with it, leading to a somatic overload that had the suit blown up, along with the tyrannical Iemitsu. As the village celebrated, Masako tried to persuade Nate to take the katana with him, but he disagreed, saying that she's just as worthy to be its wielder. Nate thought to ask Masako if she'd be interested in continuing their relationship, but she pragmatically noted that, as he "came from the sky," he'd have to return, and it was impossible. The two parted with one last kiss.[4]

During the Legends' mission to the times of Civil War, dealing with an outbreak of the TX-90, brought by a crash-landed time pirate, Nate joined the initial team to scout out the location of the pirate's ship. He later took initiative with informing Ulysses S. Grant, the commander of the United States Army, about the outbreak. However, he was unsuccessful with explaining what a "zombie" is to the 19th century person, before Sara Lance went on a recon mission and brought a still-moving undead head, causing Grant to prepare his sharpshooters for defense against the deceased Confederate soldiers. Struggling to gain control over his powers, Nate eventually succeeded, taking the infected soldiers' attention with a fiery signal, before making them follow him into a remote location to deal with. Once brought far enough from the Union's troops, Nate finally used his meta-human powers to protect himself, while blowing up the "zombies" that surrounded him with a bomb, getting covered in goo left from their corpses.[8]

On a mission to 1987's Washington, D.C., Nate joined Amaya Jiwe in figuring out what happened to the members of the Justice Society of America. They located an angry Todd Rice/Obsidian, whom Nate ended up knocking out in surprise. After getting healed, the aged Obsidian told the younger heroes about the JSA's fate and their role in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, including a tragic final mission in Leipzig in 1956. Nate, along with the rest of the team and Obsidian, interrupted the exchange between Damien Darhk and the KGB agents, joining the fight to defeat H.I.V.E. Ghosts in his meta-human form. After the mission, Nate and Amaya discussed Henry Heywood, with Amaya telling Nate of his grandfather's beautiful singing voice.[1]

On a mission to 1874's Wild West, Nate teamed up with Ray Palmer and Jefferson Jackson, investigating the influence of Quentin Turnbull first in the guise of tax collectors, then as bandits from his gang. Taking the results back to the team, they joined the fight against Turnbull and his outlaws. When Turnbull prepared to kill the Legends, Rory in particular, with his pistol's light blasts made from dwarf alloy bullets, Nate tried to block the shot with his own body in his form as Steel. He blocked the bullet, but it pierced his metallic skin, snapping Nate out of his meta-human form and damaging his internal organs. Brought back to the ship, Nate was nursed to health as he discussed with Ray Palmer just how hard it is to be brave, to be a hero. Together, they figured out Turnbull's plan to use a train to destroy the railroad. Nate, Jax and Ray were then sent to stop the train with dwarf alloy. Nate decided to stop the train by himself, riding away from the team and turning into Steel before the train, trying to stop it with sheer strength. Despite his fears, he succeeded, although damaging part of the railroad. Back on the Waverider, Ray discussed the latest events with Nate, and presented him with a Steel suit of his own, made out of dwarf star alloy.[9]

When the Legends returned to 2016 to help their friends with the Dominators, Nate and Amaya stayed on the Waverider so they could watch it.[10] After The Dominators took Oliver, Sara, Thea, Ray, and John captive and placed them under a dream while the aliens begin searching their minds for information on Earth One's meta-humans, the five managed to escape after stealing an alien spacecraft, pursued by the Dominators' starships, but were picked up by the Waverider, where they were greeted by Nate, who figured out that the heroes were chosen because they were not meta-humans themselves.[11] Regrouping, Nate, along with Amaya Jiwe, Mick Rory, Felicity Smoak and Cisco Ramon traveled back to 1951, to the site of the Dominators' first incursion at Redmond. Trying his new armor for the first time, Nate was called a "star-spangled idiot" by Mick. At Mick's lead, they prepared to capture one of the aliens, but were interrupted by Agent Smith and taken prisoner. The team managed to escape capture and, at Cisco's suggestion, released the captive alien, hoping for his good fortune. The gesture didn't change the Dominators' minds, but instead empowered their decision due to how a 'normal human' like Smith could be dangerous then meta-humans would be a galactic scourge. They offered an exchange: the life of one Barry Allen (seen as dangerous by the Dominators for his changes of the timeline) for the lives of all meta-humans on Earth.

The heroes take on the Dominators in a final showdown

Nate Heywood standing with the other heroes as they stand against the Dominators.

The heroes refused, with Nate joining the battle against one of their major forces as Steel, along with Heat Wave, Vixen, Supergirl, the Atom, the Green Arrow, Spartan, Speedy, Firestorm and the Flash. After the Dominators' retreat, Nate was present at the celebrations with the new President of the United States. He was recognized as "Dr. Heywood" by an older Agent Smith, but reacted coldly to the agent. Nate guessed that Smith was there to try and 'cover up' the good that their team did especially when they acted against Smith's attempts to capture Barry when Kara came over and informed him on some idea pitches she made to the President on alien affairs as well as reassigning Smith to Antarctica. Nate amusingly pointed out Smith should be careful in the future about angering visitors from other planets.[12]

The Legion of Doom

Returning back to the Legends' quest of hunting down time aberrations, Nate practiced his abilities in the meta-human form against Ray in the Atom suit, causing quite a ruckus on the Waverider. They two were reprimanded by Sara and Jax, but continued their training with jests. After the team were alerted to a new time quake in 1927, they discussed a plan to stop Al Capone's rise to the Mayor's Office in Chicago. Ray and Nate followed Eliot Ness, but, due to Ray's falling for corrupt cops' ruse, lost him. As Nate explained the historical peculiarities of 1927's Chicago, the team regrouped to stop Al Capone from killing Ness at the docks. While Amaya Jiwe saved the drowning Ness, Nate fought Capone's gangsters in his Steel suit. The Legends brought Ness to the Waverider, seeing that he suffered severe damage and leaving him in Gideon's care. After that, the team decided that one of them should play the role of Ness, with Ray and Nate both demanding the role: Ray for his acting skills, and Nate for his knowledge of history (dismissed by Ray as looking too much like Brad Pitt). In the end, they went together, posing as agents from the same agency, but their trail on Capone has proven false. With Nate's plan not so lucky, Mick Rory gathered the team to do things his way, as criminals, outright stealing important info to take down Capone from his home turf. After a battle against the members of Eobard Thawne's syndicate, Nate and Ray met with the real Eliot Ness and gave him the necessary papers to take down Capone, with Ness hardly believing the possibility of defeating the gangster through tax evasion charges.[13]

Studying historical documents and archeological artifacts, Nate was able to pinpoint that the Spear of Destiny was the artifact searched by Eobard and his cronies, whom Nate nicknamed "the Legion of Doom", in a reference to some old "Hanna-Barbera" cartoon. Gideon later noted that a piece of the Spear was seen in the possession of Rip Hunter before he time-scattered, but he refused to tell her of its origins. Notified about an aberration caused by Merlyn and Darhk in Hollywood, 1967, Nate went on a mission with the other Legends. To their surprise, they located an amnesiac Rip Hunter, now a director under the name "Philip Gasmer". Rip was then attacked by blaster-wielding Darhk and Merlyn, forcing the Legends to protect him. Unsuccessful in catching the time criminals, the Legends retreated, while Rip was arrested by the police under suspicion of starting the shooting incident, and then placed into custody. Rip's failure as a director affected his assistant, young George Lucas, who decided to throw away the movie props, a piece of the Spear among them, and quit film school to become an insurance businessman instead. This caused another aberration, changing the personal timelines of Ray and Nate, who, without watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, were now never inspired to pursue their respective academia. This led Nate to becoming a yoga instructor instead.[5]

As the aberration started to set in, Nate's meta-human powers and Ray's A.T.O.M. Exosuit also disappeared. Trying to now, hunt down both Lucas and the Spear, the two ended up trapped with George and Amaya in a trash compactor by Darhk and Merlyn, forced to find and give them the spear. As the four were about to be killed, Nate, Ray and Amaya pleaded Lucas to believe in himself and reaffirm his wish to dedicate his life to film making. Now ready to believe in the impossible, George shouted about how much he'd want to direct, removing the aberration and giving Nate and Ray their powers back. With them all back to normal they escaped from the villains' trap, along with the piece of Spear and even took back the medallion. It seemed like they would be able to defeat Darhk and Merlyn but then their speedster enemy reappeared and turned the tide of the battle back for the Legion. Rip Hunter then appeared, seemingly have gotten his memory back but it was quickly seen as just an act to try and distract the Legion. Nate and his team watched as the Legion captured him and then retreated.[5]

Movie night on the Waverider

Nate, Ray and Amaya relax on the Waverider and watch some of George Lucas' films.

Resting on the Waverider, they saw that history was back on track and all of the movies that Lucas was to make had returned and Nate had back all of his historical knowledge. Nate and Ray decided to treat themselves and Amaya to some popcorn and have a movie night dedicated to George Lucas's films.[5]

Nate was trying to find some clues to the identity of their speedster enemy when Martin revealed that he had caused an aberration which resulted in him having a daughter, Lily. Lily was brought onto the ship as she believed that she would be able to network the amulet with Gideon to be able to locate pieces of the spear for them. He and the others kept trying to find the speedster's identity when Nate realized that perhaps the reason they couldn't find anything about him was because he had somehow been wiped out of existence but was still somehow around. Martin then realized that the speedster was Eobard Thawne. They then learned that he had forged the Legion of Doom in order because he couldn't be in one place for too long or else his non-existence would catch up with him.[14]

Relationship with Amaya

Nate and Amaya were talking of how they loved what they did though they would like to get off the ship at times when they were docked in the Temporal Zone. Nate began to talk of dating in the future and how it was different from 'courting' in Amaya's time when there was a massive time quake that made her fall into his arms. The quake was from Christmas of 1776 which Nate knew was when George Washington crossed the Delaware during the American Revolution. The team learned that Washington had been killed. They figured it was a trap by the Legion but they had to save Washington. Nate and Amaya posed as wealthy newlyweds which caused a few heads to turn because of the racial prejudices of the time. They were then attacked by Redcoats wielding automatic weapons and Nate shielded Amaya from the bullet barrage with his steel body. They returned to the Waverider to learn that Rip was in 1776 and was working for the Legion as he went and shot Sara. Nate and Amaya went on the trail to get back both Mick and Washington but were ambushed and Nate ended up falling into the freezing river but was saved by Amaya. She heated him up with her body heat to keep him from succumbing to Hypothermia and ended up sleeping together. After, they quickly reached the British camp and helped Rory and Washington escape. Back at the Waverider, the two agreed that what they had was 'fun' though they weren't going to let it interfere in their work.[15]

The team then found that Lily's algorithm had located a fragment of the spear in 3000 A.D. While most of the team was excited to travel to the future, Nate wasn't too thrilled with the idea. Amaya told him that if he didn't want to go then he should just stay on the ship. When the team discovered Dr. Mid-Nite dead and the spear gone, they realized that Rip must've had something to do with the JSA. They then found another fragment in 507 A.D. in Britannia. Nate was excited to be back in the past though immediately shot down Ray's expectations of knights and jousts based on Arthurian lore. He also commented that what the medieval times weren't like the stories that the team seemed to grow up on when they were suddenly surrounded by knights. Ray then spoke to them in a dialect that Nate hissed was incorrect, however, it pacified the knights. One of them revealed themselves to be Guinevere, the queen of Camelot. When they were taken to Camelot, Nate quickly commented that this place shouldn't exist at all. They were taken before King Arthur who called for his adviser Merlin to see if they were trustworthy. They were all shocked to see that Merlin was really Stargirl.[16]

Nate, Ray and Jax feasted together in the castle when Ray pointed out Sir Galahad. Nate was wondering how he knew that and Ray informed him of the legendary seat reserved for him though Nate told him that there was a difference between legend and history. When Arthur returned from a hunt, it looked like he had captured the Black Knight that was terrorizing his kingdom. However, it was seen that it was a trap set up by Damien Darhk and Rip Hunter who had Arthur under their control from futuristic mind control tech. They demanded the spear fragment in return for Arthur and Camelot's safety. Nate was present for Guinevere speaking to the knights and calling them to fight and protect their kingdom from Darhk's army. He told Ray that they all didn't stand a chance and if it was worth it for a dream and Ray told him that it was as that dream meant the world to him once. As Ray left to join up with the knights, Nate looked through a manuscript of Arthurian lore and saw an image of Ray at his funeral.[16]

When Amaya and Sara found the spear fragment and were preparing to leave, Nate went to collect Ray. He had taken Galahad's sword and infused it with Ionic energy from his suit. Nate then told him that they were leaving as they found the spear but Ray refused to leave as he couldn't abandon the knights. Nate then told Ray about his death but Ray was determined to stay. When Nate returned to the Waverider, he told the team about Ray's decision and argued that they couldn't just leave him. Amaya told him that they couldn't risk losing another fragment to the Legion and that it was Ray's choice but Nate wouldn't have it. The team then realized that they couldn't abandon Ray, Stargirl or Guinevere's army. Nate headed to the battlefield with Amaya and Sara and when Ray asked if he came to fight for an imaginary kingdom after all, he told him that he came to fight for his dumb friend. When Ray left to try and stop Darhk from getting away, Nate went after him and found him, seemingly dead. Nate panicked until it was revealed that Ray had been wearing his suit under the army for extra protection due to his warning. Back at the ship, Nate admitted that maybe legend and history weren't so different as both could teach future generations and help them reveal who they could be.[16]

Nate started getting nervous when Gideon couldn't locate the final fragment of the spear that was carried by his grandfather. Everyone, including Amaya, assured Nate that they would find Commander Steel before the Legion did. However, Rip Hunter managed to override the ship's controls and had swiped the medallion. Nate moved to intercept him with Amaya and Rory. They cornered him before he could escape and he went and destroyed the medallion in front of them before Rory knocked him out. The Waverider then crash landed in Cretaceous times and had lost a vital part during the crash. Nate went with Ray and Amaya to look for it though his heart wasn't too into it as they had now lost the medallion. Amaya managed to cheer him up when she helped to take a snake that was wrapping around him and sent it on its way. Nate moved to give Amaya a kiss but Ray had interrupted when he tried to warn them of a T-Rex named Gertrude had locked in on his scent. They then learned that Gertrude had a grudge against Ray for stealing one of her eggs to eat when he was there last time.[17]

They then regrouped in a hut that Ray had built for himself when he was stranded in this time. Ray offered to catch an iguana for them to eat but Nate told him that he brought energy bars from the ship. Ray left the two of them alone and Nate and Amaya were ready to try and kiss again when Ray quickly came back with his catch before they could. Later that night, when Amaya left to use the bathroom, Ray went over to Nate and told him that he couldn't be with Amaya as she had a future to go back to in 1942. He told him about his granddaughter Vixen that was a superhero in Detroit and about what happened to her village. Nate wanted to tell her what happens but Ray said that he couldn't do it and risk all the good that Mari was meant to do. The next day, the group found the part they were looking for in Gertrude's nest. They managed to get it but Gertrude returned. Nate and Ray were ready to fight but Amaya used the power of her totem to pacify the dinosaur to their amazement. Nate assured Ray that he would stop his relationship with Amaya though when she told him that she would be waiting for him in her room, he told himself that he would start tomorrow.[17]

Rip Hunter revealed to the team that he left Henry Heywood in 1965, Manhattan. Nate went with Rip, Amaya and Sara to a moment after Rip had left Henry to find that he was gone. They went back to the ship and reviewed clues to where he could've gone and found a newsclipping image of Henry as a mission control manager of NASA in 1970 for the Apollo-13. They went to 1970 and Nate was reunited with his grandfather. He informed the Legends that he left his fragment of the spear on the moon in Neil Armstrong's flag which Nate thought was very clever. They moved to retrieve it when they learned that history had already changed since the Apollo-13 avoided a catastrophe that it was originally supposed to have. Nate's grandfather was cold with Rip Hunter for leaving him in 1965 and forcing his wife to raise their son by herself though Nate told him that Rip lost his family. Henry then suggested that he go back to 1956 and have it so it would be like he never left and Nate was happy at the thought of his father being able to have his own father back in his life and possibly making the man not become as cold as he presently was. Amaya then confronted Nate about the ramifications of changing his father's childhood as that would effect how Nate turned out himself but Nate was sure that events would be altered for the better. Amaya then informed Henry about the truth of time travel and the risks of going back to his son would have on how he grew up and what it could do to Nate. Henry asked Nate why he didn't tell him of all this before but Nate told Henry that his father needed him. Henry then reminded Nate that they can't forget that the mission must come first for the greater good, even over their own family. Nate became angry with Amaya for telling Henry about the risks but Amaya told him that it would change who Nate was and she liked who he was. Nate however told Amaya that they didn't have a future together and she had a destiny to go back to in 1942. He then spitefully alluded to her granddaughter and the fate of her village and asked her if she would still choose history over family. Nate went with the others to meet up with Ray as they picked him up from the moon with speedster weapons ready as he also brought in Thawne as their prisoner.

Henry Heywood's sacrifice

Nate with his grandfather before his sacrifice.

Before they could return to Earth, Stein and Rory contacted the team to tell them that Nate's young father Hank had arrived because he won a contest to see Apollo's mission command. Henry then revealed that he had rigged a contest because he wanted a chance to meet his son. When the ship needed to be angled a certain way to re-enter the atmosphere, the team saw that someone would have to open the cargo bay door but that person would be killed. Nate saw to his horror that his grandfather was missing. He then ran off in time to see that Henry had closed the door into the cargo bay trapping him inside. Nate frantically tried to tell his grandfather that his son was waiting for him back on Earth but Henry told Nate that he had to do this. He also made Nate promise to destroy the spear so that this wouldn't happen again. He then watched as his grandfather opened the door to angle the ship and was then sucked out into space.
Hank and Nate Heywood

Nate talking with his young father at Apollo's mission control.

Nate went over to mission command where he saw his teenage father. He noticed that his dad was wearing the dogtags and Hank told him that they belonged to his father though he never knew him as he died when he was a baby. Nate told him that he didn't have a close relationship with his own father but he was sure that both his father and Hank's were sorry.[6]

The Spear of Destiny

After losing his grandfather, Nate grew depressed, becoming apathetic toward the entire mission. However, he perked up after learning that the Spear, when burned with fire, displays a secret message, one that translates to, “Born of blood, undone by blood.” Nate alone figured out that it obviously means that Jesus Christ’s blood helped create the Spear — and that His very blood destroys it. Due to the dangers of the Legends traveling to the crucifixion to take some of Jesus’ blood, Nate pointed out that they can investigate a theory on Sir Gawain, the knight who set out for the Holy Grail. That theory states that he in fact brought back the blood of Christ, and that he buried a vial somewhere in Northern France. To find a clue where exactly did he leave it, the Legends agreed to find the theory’s author: J.R.R. Tolkien. Eventually, Rip and Nate found Tolkien suffering in a trench during World War I and managed to move him away from his commander and on board the Waverider. Nate filled him in on what they’re looking for and manage to convince Tolkien by talking about how the darkness of the war will pass one day, and how they’re fighting a much bigger battle for the sake of humanity. In the long run, Nate's kind words and heroic actions as Steel convinced Tolkien that he's not a coward, and gave him ideas for his future book series.

Nate took Tolkien with them when the team went to check out the chapel where the research said that Sir Gawain's remains could be found along with the blood of Christ. Mick found a golden goblet which helped both Nate and Tolkien navigate through the clues in the chapel's floor that led to the pillar where Gawain's remains were. However, they didn't find the blood with him, but a shield with an engraving. The team was then surprised with the sudden arrival of Leonard Snart, whom the Legion had gone back in time and recruited from before he joined the Legends. He and Darhk also brought in some World War I German soldiers and Nate moved to shield Tolkien from the gun fire. After Tolkien got the engraving, Nate took him back with the others to the Waverider. With the engraving, Nate and Tolkien found that it was a depiction of the site where the blood had been hidden, which was the current battlefield of the British and German armies.

The team was trying to come up with a way to get to the blood without getting killed from the warfare raging on the plain. Amaya proposed that they use the spear's power to erase the Legion but Sara and Rip were against the idea as the spear's power was too great and could tempt anyone. Eventually, they came up with a plan to get the two armies to call a cease fire. Nate left Tolkien with his regiment and then went off with Sara, Amaya and Mick to get the blood. They found a flask of it in a box buried in the middle of the field. However, Snart and Darhk arrived and held them at gunpoint, demanding the spear. Mick had it and when Sara grabbed the blood from Nate to destroy it, Mick took it away. He decided to use the spear to spare his own past and even asked Amaya to come with him but refused. Snart then threw a bomb into the air to spark the fighting back up between the two warring sides. Nate took cover and then tried to save the flask of Christ's blood but the gunfire shattered and destroyed it. He then watched as Thawne sped through and took Darhk, Snart and Mick to safety.

Back on the ship, Nate was lamenting on everything that had happened. He especially was upset about failing Tolkien as he had given him hope for a better future and instead had him cured of his disease so that he could return to horror of the war trenches. He wanted to go back in time and prevent Tolkien from ever having been involved, no doubt ruining the future impact of his stories, but Rip pointed out that with the spear in the Legion's hands that might be mute point. However, Nate still had hope as he guessed that even though the Legion had the spear, they didn't know how to use it. What he didn't know was that they had acquired the means to use it and his reality was then changed along with everyone else's.[18]

Nate is remembering the old reality

Nate going to Thawne for help at S.T.A.R. Labs not remembering he was his enemy.

Nate's life was altered so that he became a conspiracy theorist that ran a site that only his mother really read and he lived out of her basement. He began to have 'reality scars' which made him look into how the current reality was not right. He decided to go to Eobard Thawne of S.T.A.R. Labs to get his help to make sense of things, not realizing that he was going to the ones responsible. He managed to get through Thawne's security and made it to his lab where he found Thawne with Snart and Rory. Thawne listened to his theories and told Nate that he was onto something. Nate was happy that Thawne seemed to believe him but that went away when Thawne ordered for Snart and Rory to kill him. They took him out to the woods outside Central City to kill him though Nate didn't understand why, until he realized that his theories were all correct. Snart was ready to kill him but Rory stepped in and stopped him as he was starting to think that the changes to reality weren't what he hoped they would be. He then told Nate about the Legion and the spear and drove him to find Ray as he felt that he was their only chance.

Nate and Rory found Ray in a run down apartment, as he had been made a lowly janitor for Star Labs. However, Ray told them that he felt that things in the world weren't right either and made a device to try and undo changes done to the mind. Rory took it and used it on Nate and he instantly remembered everything, and he quickly punched Rory for his betrayal. They then restored Ray and were about to try and find the others, when Sara and Amaya barged in on them. At first, Nate and Ray were happy to see them but Rory informed them that they didn't know who they were and worked for Damien Darhk in this reality. Nate also realized that even though he had his memories back, he no longer had his powers but still tried to get through to Amaya but couldn't reach her as she and Sara tried to kill them. They managed to drive Amaya away and then restored Sara's memories. To avoid the Legion finding them they had to go into hiding and Nate brought them to his basement as he felt that would be the last place the Legion would look. Sara went to go get Amaya back, and then Jax, and they regrouped in Nate's basement. Jax then told them of Thawne's new project, a thermal reactor, which they realized he was going to use to destroy the spear and make this reality permanent. They then made the choice to try and get the spear back before that could happen and have Amaya use it to reset things back to how they were. Nate was able to find the incantation, with Rory's help, but the group felt that they couldn't trust Rory after what he had done.

Thawne faces the Legends

Nate and the others face Thawne at S.T.A.R. Labs.

They infiltrated S.T.A.R. Labs' new reactor but Stein, still under Thawne's influence, managed to alert the speedster. Thawne had the spear in his possession and called for his security force to surround the Legends. Stein then revealed that the reactor was complete and Thawne was about to toss the spear in to destroy it but the rest of the Legion arrived, with Mick, intent on betraying him and taking the spear for themselves. This caused a small fight to break out with everyone trying to get the spear. Nate managed to grab it but Darhk got to him. Thawne sped for them but Nate used it to launch the speedster across the room and knock him out. As soon as he did, Darhk then knocked him aside and took the spear from him. The spear kept changing hands before Mick got his hands on it and then chose to give it to Amaya to set things right. However, Nate watched in horror as Snart used his Cold Gun to freeze Amaya and then kill her by shattering her to pieces. Soon after, Thawne regained himself and stole back the spear and then tossed it into his reactor, destroying it and cementing the reality. Thawne then chose to spare the Legends so that they could spend the rest of their lives living in agony and defeat in the new world as he felt that was a fate worse than death for them. They all returned to his apartment, unsure of what to do now that the spear was destroyed. Sara then proposed that the only move they had left was to go back in time and stop the Legion from ever getting the spear in the first place, but for that they needed to find where Rip and the Waverider were.

While the rest of the team worked to find the Waverider, Nate was off by himself, grieving for the loss of Amaya. When the team found Rip, they had to break into Star Labs to get Ray's suit so that they could enlarge the ship which had been shrunk to a small size. Nate helped fight off some of Thawne's security while the others managed to find the suit and get passed Damien Darhk. With the Waverider back, they traveled back to 1916 against Rip's better judgment. Jax asked what would happen if they did managed to destroy the spear and they all realized that they would be erased as they wouldn't exist if the Legion never got it, making them the aberrations. The team tried to get the blood of Christ to leave it for their old selves to find but Thawne guessed what they were up to and arrived to destroy the blood. He then went and killed Ray. They then decided to try and sneak aboard the ship and steal the spear and simply time jump away with it. Nate went with Rip and Mick to the ship while their past selves went to the church with Tolkien. Nate went to the library where the past Stein and Jax were and told them that the mission to the church was a dead end but was taken aback when he saw Amaya again, alive. He then tried to point the team to the Galapagos Islands and left to rejoin the others. They had been waiting and he apologized for getting held up but found they couldn't leave as their past selves were returning. Jax and Stein realized they weren't the true them and attacked them but their past selves then realized that they were the future versions of themselves and not the Legion in disguise.

Damien Darhk kills Nate Heywood

Future Nate being killed by Damien Darhk.

Future Nate and his friends shared what happened with their present selves and let them soak it all in. Present Nate was crushed to hear that Amaya had been killed when he was visited by his future self who told him to stop trying to be calm and nonchalant about his feelings with her and tell her that he loved her. Nate argued that Amaya had a destiny waiting for her but his future self told him to forget about that as he knew what he felt and wanted as they didn't want to lose her. The ship then began getting attacked by the Legion and when they tried to time jump away, a time storm emerged and made the ship crash. They then decided to go to the future Waverider but the future versions of them knew they couldn't go with them or risk another time storm. All of them, the present and future Legends, prepared to face the Legion to get the spear out of there. Future Nate moved to point them to the Waverider but he was surprised from behind by Damien Darhk who stuck a sword into him. Sara went to fight him while Amaya held him as he slowly died. He then sent a reminder to his present self about their feelings for Amaya before he died. Nate and the others had taken care of Snart, Merlyn and Darhk but they were then surprised by Thawne who had returned with versions of himself throughout time. Nate and the others, save for Present Sara, were knocked out by the multiple speedsters. Sara quickly used the spear to depower it before Hunter Zolomon arrived and then erased Thawne from existence.

The Legends then moved to get the Legion back to their proper places in time and Amaya was getting ready to do the same. Nate went to Amaya and told her that he decided to go with her to 1942. Amaya tried to talk him out of it as she felt his place was with the Waverider but he told her that his place was to be with her. Amaya then decided to stick around with the team for a bit longer as her destiny could still wait for her. The team then decided to celebrate by going to Aruba per Rory's request but before they could arrive, they were hit with another time storm. They arrived in Los Angeles, 2017, to find that the past, present and future were all jumbled together as a result of them interacting with themselves.

Personality

Mick, Martin and Nate talk to Albert Einstein

Nate took part in the Legends' mission to convince Albert Einstein to reveal Mileva Maric's accomplishments to the public.

Nate is an easily excitable individual, with great passion for his work and a tendency to ramble off when describing his findings or hypotheses, clashing in character with the no-nonsense attitude of Oliver Queen. Nate is altruistic, ready to go and save a team of complete strangers at the bat of an eye, just because he noticed something terrible might have happened to them in a certain period of history. He is also brave, risking his skin to get help from Oliver and revealing to the vigilante's face that he knows their secret identity; as well as resourceful, in securing both human resources (Oliver's help) and relevant historical artifacts that helped located the Legends throughout time.[2]

Despite calling himself a "time detective", Nate is awed and humbled by the concept of time travel, at first refusing the call, saying that he only intended to go on a salvage mission, before being persuaded by Oliver that this adventure is something he's been waiting for his entire life. His adoration of time travel is further shown when he looks with awe at Einstein's speech, commenting on how he can't believe the Legends, him included, just changed history. However, it is seen that traveling to the future makes him uncomfortable as it's too uncertain and his historical knowledge is of little use. It also frustrates him when he encounters something that history has regarded as legend or fabrication but turns out to be true such as the legends of Camelot, though in that case it was partially a case of time travelers changing history according to the legend retroactively.[16]

Throughout his life, Nate has suffered from his hemophilia, spending half of his childhood in a hospital and never leaving home until 16. Sheltered at home and unable to make his own decisions, Nate longed for a life as an adult, where he took the choice to go on an adventure as soon as one came up. Brave and dedicated, he refused to agree with Sara's suggestion to have him leave the Waverider in fear for his safety. Instead, Nate risked his life for the team and the Justice Society of America, ending up on the verge of death, from where he was saved by Ray Palmer, who modified Eobard Thawne's biomolecular enhancer.[3]

After gaining powers due to the enhancer, Nate showed even more childlike excitement, testing out his strength against that of Ray's A.T.O.M. Exosuit rather recklessly, ending up with a damaged timeship and two time travelers freefalling through the Temporal Zone. Arriving to Medieval Japan, Nate immediately recognized the time period, claiming it to be awesome, before passing out. Despite being a historian and trying to make his story of a "gaijin merchant" to Masako Yamashiro seem believable, he ended up blundering when he referenced the United States, before realizing those weren't supposed to exist yet. Nate also shown himself to be a fan of popular fiction, referencing the fictional "Master Yoda" when listening to Masako's advice, further confusing her. During his stay with the Yamashiro family, Nate showed both a flirtatious side in his interactions with Masako, and, once again, his altruism when trying to protect her and the village's freedom from the Shogun's Samurai. Despite his infatuation with Masako, Nate agreed with her pragmatic response regarding their possible relationship: as a time traveler, he could not stay with her. He also was willing to kill in battle, as he personally took the life of Tokugawa Iemitsu when he destroyed the A.T.O.M. Exosuit he was wearing.[4]

When the Legends visited Liberty, Colorado Nate stopped a train containing dwarf star alloy that Quentin Turnbull was using to create Turbull Country, his own country. Nate stood in front of the train and stopped it using his steel powers. This ultimately fixed the time aberration. Since joining the Legends, Nate has shown to grow especially close to Ray, forming a brother-like friendship and friendly rivalry and started to develop feelings for Amaya along the way.[9]

Powers and abilities

Powers

  • Organic steel transformation: As a result of Eobard Thawne's biomolecular enhancer that Ray altered and injected into Nate, he gained the ability to transform his entire body into steel, though Ray claims that it is actually an organic form of alloy. In this state, his body increase somewhat in height and built. Despite being entirely constituted with steel in his altered state, Nate appears to retain his normal level of mobility, leaving his agility unhindered.[4]
    • Accelerated healing factor: A bonus effect of the biomolecular enhancer treated Nate's hemophilia. To which, Nate's enhanced body is able to recover from injuries much faster than a normal person. Even a direct hit to his chest by the A.T.O.M. Exosuit's blasters only knocked him out for a minute before he somewhat recovered shortly afterwards. Upon transforming, his body appears to instantly make a full recovery.[4]
    • Superhuman durability: While transformed, Nate is far more durable than any normal human. This makes him extremely resistant to injury from low to high-caliber bullets, knives and as well as an ion blast from Ray's A.T.O.M. Exosuit. He could also survive falls from great heights, such as when he fell from the Temporal zone, through the skies, and eventually crashing into solid ground in Feudal Japan while showing no physical injury. Nate's durability is not without limits as he can be affected by bullets or any weapons molded from Dwarf star alloy and possibly any metal/steel strong enough to penetrate his body.[4]
    • Superhuman strength: Nate is far stronger than any normal human at least quintuple his normal levels as stated by Ray. He was able to overpower Vixen, who was channeling the spiritual might of a gorilla, with ease and go toe-to-toe against Ray and his A.T.O.M. Exosuit. He is strong enough to lift and flung a full-grown man and even a Dominator like a rag doll. He strength was further tested when he tried to stop a train carrying tons of Dwarf star alloy, which is moving at full speed, and was able to slow its momentum until it completely stopped in its tracks. This is indicative of Nate's strength reaching beyond his base strength level when transformed.[12]

Abilities

Commander Steel design

Nate's sketch of a "Commander Steel" suit.

  • Acrobatics: Nate was able to successfully escape and evade a number of security guards on his quest to reach Mayor Oliver Queen.[2]
  • Drawing/Sketch artist: Nate has shown himself to be an alright sketch artist, drawing accurate sketches of the Askaran Amulet from memory, as well as designing the "Commander Steel" suit himself.[9]
  • Genius-level intellect: Nate is an accomplished and resourceful historian, priding himself on deduction. With his deduction skills and extensive work with sources, Nate deduced the identity of Green Arrow and Rip Hunter's Legends, as well as the locations of time-scattered members of the Legends throughout history. Nate is also sharp-witted, able to recognize that the timeline was starting to change due to aberrations, despite previously not being acquainted with the mechanics of time travel. He immediately thought to bring his findings to Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, requesting assistance with saving the Legends.[2] His talents for detective reasoning and analysis proved there worth even in the Legion of Doom's altered reality, soon realized how the world had been unnaturally altered.[19]
  • Hand-to-hand combatant: Since joining the Legends, Nate has begun sparring with his companions (especially with Ray) to better his combat skills. Despite not being as skilled as the other Legends especially compared to Sara, Mick, or Amaya, Nate can hold his own in a fist fight, partly because of his powers. Nate's style of fighting is mostly that of a brawler mixed with basic boxing, which is most probably taught to him by Ray.[4]
  • Engineering: Nate is proven to be very adept with machinery. After learning about how time travel works, he was able to design an alarm system to detect aberrations in the timeline.[8]
  • Multilingual: Nate is fluent in English, German, French, Japanese, Italian, and Latin.[4][2]

Weaknesses

  • Dwarf star: Although Nate is able to easily deflect normal bullets without getting affected, he was once shot with bullets laced with dwarf star, nearly costing him his life.[9]
  • Emotional State: While Nate's new powers make him very strong, his ability to access and maintain them are all dependent on his focus and emotional drive. If too careless, he could end up leaving himself completely vulnerable.[4]
  • Ophidiophobia: When a large snake had caught Nate off guard, Amaya threw it off. Afterwards he confessed his fear of snakes.[17]
  • Extreme Force: When the Legends went to 1916 for the second time in an attempt to stop the Legion of Doom from ever getting a chance to use the Spear of Destiny, Eobard hit Nate at super speed, which, in spite of Nate being in his steel form, was enough to knock him to the ground.

Former Weaknesses

  • Hemophilia: Nate was born with a condition where his blood doesn't clot properly, making his healing rate severely diminished. To which, even cut enough, he could easily bleed to death. However, after being injected with the biomolecular enhancer Ray had modified, Nate's condition was cured.[3]

Equipment

Steel suit

Steel suit.

  • Steel suit: After rebuilding his A.T.O.M. suit using the dwarf star allow savaged from the Old West, Ray Palmer realized there was still a lot of unused ore. Using Nate's sketch as concept, Ray created a suit for Nate.[9]

Appearances

DC's Legends of Tomorrow


The Flash

Season 3

Arrow

Season 5

Gallery

Concept artwork

Trivia

  • Like Tony Woodward, Nate seems to also be able to retain his ability to speak while his powers are active.
  • During the Legends' mission to 1874, Nate referred to himself as "the man of steel",[9] referencing Superman's well-known moniker. This is a third reference to that title, after Eobard Thawne referred to Tony Woodward as such, and Vandal Savage told of defeating "men of steel".

Behind the scenes

  • In the DC comics, Nathaniel Heywood is a superhero known as Citizen Steel, and a member of the Justice Society of America.
    • Additionally, in DC Comics Steel is a related, but ultimately separate superhero, who uses a metallic exoskeleton fighting crime as a member of Team Superman. Nate Heywood is a composite character, combining the first hero's name and the second's alias, while his powers are closer to the looks of either Steel's metallic exosuit, or The Flash's version of Girder. Later on, however, he gets a suit similar to the one Citizen Steel had in the comics.
    • Also, he was nicknamed the "star-spangled idiot" by Mick Rory after wearing his armor for the first time, possibly referencing the Star-Spangled Kid, a Golden Age of Comics superhero.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Compromised"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Out of Time"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "The Justice Society of America"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 "Shogun"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Raiders of the Lost Art"
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Moonshot"
  7. "Fellowship of the Spear"
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Abominations"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 "Outlaw Country"
  10. "Invasion!"
  11. "Invasion!"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Invasion!"
  13. "The Chicago Way"
  14. "Legion of Doom"
  15. "Turncoat"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 "Camelot/3000"
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Land of the Lost"
  18. "Fellowship of the Spear"
  19. "Doomworld"