This page is for the original Steel, Hank Heywood Sr.
Hank Heywood was a talented biology student, working under Dr. Gilbert Giles to develop a special bioretardent formula, when the Second World War (WWII) broke out. He had almost graduated from Princeton when the war broke out and decided to join the United States Marines when the German Army invaded Poland. He was also in love with Dr. Giles daughter Gloria Giles. Gloria did not agree with Henry's decision to join the War effort and dump him. Some time later when he was defending his military base from a couple saboteurs, lead by the man would would eventually become Baron Blitzkrieg, Hank was caught in an explosion that left him more dead than alive.
Realizing he had little hope of survival, Hank offered himself to Dr. Giles as a guinea pig to test the bioretardent process. Through multiple operations, Giles rebuilt him from the skeleton up, using steel alloy tubing to replace the pulped bones in Hank's arms, legs and rib cage, then adding a metal casing to protect his skull, and micro motors to his joints to move all that steel. He also replace his lung and used back up devices for his damaged heart. Lastly and most painfully a sub-dermal layer of steel alloy to replace and regrow his burned skin. The new skin and bones made Henry virtually indestructible with enhanced strength. The new lung allowed him to stay submerged for over thirty minutes.
When Henry healed he rejoined the marines but was not allowed to go overseas if war came because of his injuries and he would be force to work at a desk job. This did not sit well with Henry and he wanted to do his part when the war came. Gloria who started going back out with him continually fought with him about his desire to do his part. She did not understand that the war was more than just a European problem. Feeling he had no other choice Henry built a costume in Dr. Giles lab and then stole weapons from Westchester Federal Armory and began his life as a superhero.
Steel was created Gerry Conway and Don Heck
Golden Age: Earth-Two
The medical alterations to his body combined with the armour mesh of his uniform and Hank Heywood became the hero known as Steel, the Indestructible Man. Steel engaged in several missions and later joined the All Star Squadron in the on going fight against the Axis powers. After his first mission with the All-Stars, Steel earned the rank of Commander.
Modern Age: New Earth
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, much of Golden Age Commander Steel history was fold over into New Earth history. Commander Steel died along with other heroes fighting Eclipso on the dark side of the Moon. He was a member of Amanda Waller's Shadow Fighters.The legacy of Steel continued in two grandsons. Hank Heywood III called himself Steel and joined the Justice League of America who were based in Detroit. Nathan Heywood called himself Citizen Steel and joined the Justice Society of America.
In the New 52, Hank tried to save his son's life, making him into Captain Steel in the process.
Major Story Arcs
At the time these stories took place, story arcs weren't used as often as the are today. Instead, every issue started and ended it's own stories. These are just the major events that occurred within All-Star Squadron #8 and 9.
While in London; Commander Steel prevented the assassination of the then-mayor, Winston Churchill by a costumed Nazi. A few nights later, Churchill sent Henry on a mission to kidnap Adolf Hitler, who was at a concentration camp near Tozew, Poland that was lead by a man Hitler referred to as 'Ein Schlachter. Heywood was captured and put in the concentration camp. While trying to escape, he was hit with a jeep and then suffered a head wound fro ma bullet. Over the next two years, he was brainwashed by Baron Blitzkrieg, the camp commander, and was told to assassinate Churchill and President Roosevelt. He later saved Churchill from yet another assassination attempt. This time, he had the All-Star Squadron to help him, though he is injured in the rescue. He joined the All-Star Squadron for a short time, not knowing he was Baron Blitzkrieg's remote-controlled assassin. He was later called 'Commander Steel' by President Roosevelt.
Powers and Abilities
Cybernetic Steel Frame
After being injured in an attack on his base, military scientist replaces his bones with a steel alloy tubing. This would end up giving his many powers and abilities
- Superhuman Durability: Commander Steel has steel rods for bones and metal plates replacing his skull.
- Superhuman Speed: The micro-motors in all of his joins, give him enhanced speed.
- Superhuman Agility: Also because of his micro-motors in his joints, he reacts faster to enemy attacks and can also jump great distances.
- Superhuman Stamina: Heywood has an artificial lung that allows him to be under water for 20 minutes. He also has devices that aid the pumping of his circulatory system.
- Superhuman Strength: Due to his skeletal system being made up of large pieces of metal, his bones stand strong and have powerful effects on enemies in battle.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat: Heywood has basic skills in hand to had combat.
- Intellect: Haywood was very smart and studied Biology.
Justice League Unlimited
In the Justice League Unlimited animated series, Commander Steel makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Destroyer". He is seen fighting Darkseid's army of Parademons with the Atomic Skull and Shayera Hol. He does not have a speaking role.