In honor of America’s Independence Day, we thought we’d compile a list of the most American of super people. It was hard to narrow the list. There had to have been roughly a hundred from the World war II era alone, but alas most of those characters have faded into obscurity. Here are ten favorites from the modern era.
Celia Forrestal – granddaughter of a World War II vet – was a Navy pilot who was prevented from advancing due to her race and gender. Instead, she embarked on a career fighting crime as Skyrocket, donning a red, white and blue suit of armor that could absorb and redirect energy. She operated as a member of the corporate super team The Power Company as well as solo and even joined an all-woman group led for one mission by Wonder Woman. The character is currently dormant, but has loads of untapped potential! I just think it’s refreshing to see an African American woman in the role as a U.S.A.-themed hero.
9. Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Pat Dugan was originally Stripsey, the adult sidekick to teen hero The Star-Spangled Kid in World War II. (He is still fairly young due to a time travel incident.) He once more took on the sidekick role when his rebellious step-daughter Courtney Whitmore took up the Star-Spangled Kid identity, this time donning a powerful suit of armor and going by the more modern code-name S.T.R.I.P.E. (Special Tactics Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer). Courtney was subsequently gifted the Cosmic Rod once belonging to Starman, Jack Knight, when he decided to retire from super heroics. Now a dual legacy hero, she goes by Stargirl and served as a proud member of the Justice Society of America.
8. American Eagle
Here’s an American-themed hero that’s actually one of the few Native American heroes in comics. He even teamed up with another Native American hero, Wyatt Wingfoot to battle Klaw in the Savage Land. American Eagle, a.k.a. Navajo Jason Strongbow, actually gained his powers from exposure to a combination of Klaw’s sonic blasts and unknown radiation he encountered in a cave-in. Originally, he sported a stereotypical costume, complete with a full feather headdress and carried a bow and arrow. Since then, he has adopted a more modern costume and traded up to a crossbow.
7. The Shield
I know what you’re thinking but, believe it or not, The Shield debuted fourteen months before Captain America. For whatever reason, patriotic heroes have a thing for shields. Though he never caught on like Cap, The Shield has continued appearing over the years, along with other characters created by MLJ Comics, currently known as Archie Comics. Archie is about to relaunch its heroes once again, casting The Shield as an older mentor to new teen heroes based on former Archie heroes, as the New Crusaders.
Eli Bradley’s grandfather Isaiah was the “Black Captain America” a test subject inspired by the real life story of the Tuskegee Airmen. Isaiah’s exposure to the Super Soldier Serum resulted in severe brain damage. Eli donned the Patriot identity to honor his grandfather and operated as a member of the Young Avengers. Not having any powers, Eli took Mutant Growth Hormone to enhance his abilities, but after he took a bullet for Captain America, he received a blood transfusion from his grandfather and gained super abilities as a result, although he recently retired from heroics, following the death of his teammate Stature.
5. Liberty Belle
A semi-forgotten character from the Golden Age, the Veronica Lake of super heroes achieved much more success later, in the 80s in Roy Thomas’ World War II-set ‘All-Star Squadron’ comic. Though perhaps not accurate to the era, she was appointed the leader of this super team that included EVERY DC super hero from that era. So this woman with minimal super powers was in command of Superman and The Spectre and so forth. She and fellow hero Johnny Quick married and had a daughter Jesse Chambers, who has carried on both their legacies, first as Jesse Quick, then as Liberty Belle II. Here’s hoping she pops up in the new ‘Earth 2’ series.
4. G.I. Joe
Representing our real-world heroes, America’s armed forces, are G.I. Joe, “America’s daring, highly-trained special missions force.” Drawing members from all of our branches of the military – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard – these heroes are the best of the best in every field, from commandos to communications experts to… ninjas? (Just roll with it.) In more recent times, the group has been recast as an international team, but the patriotism is still there in the name: A Real AMERICAN hero.
3. Captain America
Do they come any more patriotic? Captain America was a 4F weakling who was determined to serve his country during World War II. He got his chance when he was selected to be the Super Soldier, a super human power house. He fought valiantly during the war and was then frozen in suspended animation and revived in the “modern” age. Though sometimes old-fashioned, he stays true to the values of freedom and standing up for the underdog and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with gods, monsters, and technological marvels.
Though not expressly America-themed, Superman is decked out in red and blue and represents the ultimate American ideal, immigration and naturalization. Coming from the planet Krypton, Kal-El, renamed Clark Kent was raised on a Kansas farm and instilled with the all-American ideals of truth, justice, and honesty by his salt of the earth parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. Though not born on U.S. soil, he exemplifies the best of our society even without the super powers.
1. Uncle Sam
He’s the very spirit of America, taking physical form during times of turmoil. (Two forms during the Civil War, one for each feuding side.) His Wiki page list “American Idealism” as one of his super powers. How’s that for patriotic? It’s also listed as one of his weaknesses! “When the overwhelming spirit of America falters, Sam’s strength and stamina declines. During the American Civil War, the country’s faith was sundered and Sam was split into two composite forms, Johnny Reb and Billy Yank.” He’s a super hero powered by public opinion! As such, something tells me he’s on his death bed right now.
So what do you think? Any glaring omissions? Please respond below!