In the wake of the latest Captain America movie, we should take a moment to remember that he is merely the best known of the various patriotically-themed superheroes. Some have been fairly serious, and some not so much.
Though one of the more common recent trends is to take a patriotic hero that, despite his name or general appearance, actually does not work for the American government. One such case there was Agent Liberty.
Perhaps owing to Watergate-inspired disenchantment, or even just 80s American conservatism, every so often a patriotic character appears who has a beef with the American government but claims to represent the true American values. Sometimes the character is a hero, and sometimes he’s a villain, or even a misguided hero who happens to have fallen in with a bad crowd.
Heck, Steve Rogers has even done that sort of thing a couple times.
Agent Liberty started off that way.
CIA agent Benjamin Lockwood was growing increasingly disenchanted with his agency’s, and by extension his government’s, actions. That means he’ll do what any reasonable person would do, namely join a paramilitary organization to gain a supersuit that would grant him some nifty powers.
Wait, that’s only reasonable in a superhero universe.
As Agent Liberty, Lockwood’s suit granted him some nifty weapons, like weird saw blades in his gloves, a jetpack, and some guns. He’s good in a fight, oh, and because patriotic heroes need a shield, he had a forcefield too.
Agent Liberty’s group, the Sons of Liberty, were patriots who believed in rooting out the corruption in the federal government. As a result, Lockwood was often either at odds with or fighting alongside Superman.
But, see, here’s where Agent Liberty was actually a better man. When the Sons ordered a hit on Pete Ross, Congressman and childhood friend of Clark Kent, Liberty didn’t follow through. Pete Ross was a good man, not a corrupt politician needing a bullet to the head or whatever Liberty would have done otherwise. Instead, Agent Liberty actually decided to bring the Sons all down, and he did.
By leaking all their secrets to the press.
Namely, a reporter named Clark Kent.
That actually went poorly for Agent Liberty because his association with the Sons didn’t keep him from being a wanted criminal after they came down. That might be why he joined the Justice League.
Seriously, during a period after Superman had just been killed by Doomsday and his Justice League teammates were in total disarray, Wonder Woman took over leadership and various new heroes were recruited. Some stuck around for a while, but Agent Liberty only stuck around for a single mission. But why did he join? He needed a place to hide out for a while. And he didn’t exactly keep that a secret from his new teammates.
I am not making that up.
Following his one and only League mission, Agent Liberty became one of those background heroes who pop up when you need a big group shot.
At least until he died from a heat vision lobotomy at the hands, er, eyes of a mysterious “Superwoman”.
That’s actually how it usually ends for those guys, too, now that I think about it.