November 28, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #326: Battlestar

U.S. Agent's main partner may have a more interesting story about his creation than his actual adventures.

OK, given how much I have been more or less promising to do a Battlestar write-up since, you know, we had all these other columns in this ongoing series about different characters from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and hadn’t gotten around to him yet, here we finally are.

But then I read over the character’s history, and, quite frankly, the behind-the-scenes stuff was much more interesting than the character itself.

Battlestar was one Lemar Hoskins.  He and his Army buddies John, Hector, and Jerome got themselves superhuman strength and went off to fight evil, as one does.  You know, after a career in pro-wrestling.

Why do so many Marvel characters take up pro-wrestling?

Anyway, as heroes, Hector, Jerome, and Lemar became the Bold Urban Commados (the BUCkies) while John was the Super-Patriot.  When John took over as Captain America, it was decided he should have a Bucky as a partner.  Longtime Captain America writer Mark Gruenwald figured he’d make it Lemar.  The three BUCkies were fairly interchangeable in terms of personality, so he opted to make it the African American one since at least he looked a little different from the other two and Cap hadn’t had an African American partner in a while.

So, Lemar was Bucky to John Walker’s Cap.  And here’s where the story gets interesting:  Gruenwald didn’t know the name “Bucky” attached to a African American man was racist.  That fact was explained to him by Dwayne McDuffie, and Gruenwald, to his credit, realized his mistake right away and worked to find a new name and costume for the character, eventually settling on Captain America penciler Kieron Dwyer’s suggestion of “Battlestar”.

So, even as Walker went from Cap to U.S.Agent, Lemar bounced around, settling at one point as a member of Silver Sable’s Wild Pack.  He tends to pop up as one of those background characters who appear during big stories who don’t necessarily play a key role.

You know, until he popped up The Falcon and the Winter Soldier for a few episodes as played by actor Cle Benett.

OK, things didn’t go well for that version, but he was still there, and I got a column out of the character, and here we are.