Arnus/Augustus Freeman (Icon)

Gus FreemanThis week’s episode of Gotham introduced a couple of new characters from the comics, and the first one is quite a surprise. In Strike Force, new GCPD captain Nathaniel Barnes leads his new right-hand man Jim Gordon to the local police academy, in order to collect a team of idealistic recruits not compromised by a life in the most crooked city of America. Barnes selects the recruits following the suggestion of their instructor, Gus Freeman, portrayed by Danny Johnson, a guy who surely exists in the comics, but in a completely different version. In the show, Freeman is just an old cop training GCPD recruits, in the comics, he’s a superhero whose powers rival the ones of Superman himself. Let’s see together.

Far from Earth, on planet Terminia, the Cooperative worked for assuring justice and order, administering law, defending the innocents and charging the guilty ones (essentially, it was a cosmic law firm). In the Cooperative, idealist Arnus believed in the rightfulness of his and his colleagues’ doing, until the firm was involved in the defense of Oblivion, a famed criminal who managed to escape justice. Arnus had suspects, supported by evidence, that the Cooperative itself had helped Oblivion, and wanted to investigate the case, but he was forced to “take a vacation” before doing anything by his superiors. While on an interstellar voyage, Arnus’ ship was attacked, probably by Oblivion’s agents, or even by the Cooperative itself, and the lawyer was forced to use an escape pod to crash-land on the nearest planet…which happened to be Earth. The year was 1839, and Arnus crashed in a cotton plantation in the iconcomics1United States; the alien’s body was severely damaged, and the pod recreated his body mimicing the DNA of the closest sentient being: Miriam, a slave. Scared yet curious, Miriam approached the pod and opened it, only to find inside it a baby who looked like her. She decided to take the baby with her and to raise him as her own son, and she named him Augustus. Augustus still retained Arnus’ memories, and while he had to learn to speak the local language as all the other children, his sense of justice was always the same. Upon learning the unjust caste system that granted different rights to people depending on the skin’s color, Augustus decided he would have helped the ones he now considered to be his family and friends to obtain justice, and founded the Underground Railroad, a resistance movement aimed to the abolition of slavery. Despite being still extremely young, Augustus spoke with authority, and many followed him. Finally, slavery was abolished by the time Augustus was fifteen years old: he even fought in the Civil War, where he discovered that his alien tech had given him an incredible strength, and much more. Not a slave anymore, Augustus adopted the last name Freeman, and he attended First University, becoming a lawyer even on Earth.

Augustus Freeman crossed human recent history keeping his true identity and nature a secret, conceiling his alien immortality by pretending, from time to time, to be his own son. Waiting for Earth’s technology to reach Terminia’s one, allowing him to repair his pod and come back home, Augustus Freeman lived in New York City and practiced law; he met in Harlem a woman, Estelle Jackson, whom he fell in love with. They got married, and they moved together in ParisFrance, tired of the growing racism that still engulfed the United States. Estelle was the only one who knew about Freeman’s secret, and always encouraged him to use his powers for other people, but he always preferred to act in secret, without being acknowledged. After World War II, hoping that a world united against Nazism and his racist ideology would have changed things in America as well, Augustus and Estelle came back to the States, where they were fairly disappointed, as racist tensions only grew during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1977, Estelle died of cancer, and Augustus chose a life of seclusion, only appearing for working and not caring of iconcomics2humankind anymore, wanting just to come back home. He invested his remarkable fortune in Alva Technologies, one of the most advanced industries on the planet, hoping they would have been able to repair his pod soon enough. One night, however, Augustus’ house in Dakota City was robbed, and he used his powers for the first time in years. One of the teenagers who tried to rob him, Raquel Irvin, saw everything, and she tried to confront him over his powers. A young idealist born in Paris Island (Dakota City’s poorest and most ill-famed neighborhood), Raquel blamed the lawyer, who was at the time known as Augustus Freeman IV, for hiding his powers instead of using them for helping people who needed him. Raquel told Augustus that he had the potential of becoming something great, even something more than a hero, “an icon” who could inspire people. Augustus recognised in Raquel some traits of his beloved Estelle, and decided to listen to her. He created the masked identity of Icon, taking inspiration from her words, and started fighting regular and superpowered criminals: lawyer by day, superhero by night, Freeman’s life was now totally consecrated to justice.

Arnus, known on Earth as Augustus Freeman, is a serious and stiff man, completely devoted to justice in any form; especially after the love of his life died, he’s totally bent on both his work as a lawyer and his activity as a masked hero, allowing himself no personal relationship of any kind. As Icon, he’s one of the most powerful men on the planet, able to stand toe-to-toe with Superman or Captain Marvel: as a Terminian, he has an extraordinary longevity, that makes him practically immortal to the eyes of humans; the DNA manipulation of his pod gave him other abilities, such as a vast amount of superhuman strength, speed, stamina and reflexes, enhanced senses, invulnerability, and energy projection that he uses both offensively (in direct blasts or by channelling his energy in his fists) and defensively (force fields). Extremely intelligent and wise, with an experience coming from centuries of life, Icon serves justice with no compromise, a champion of good who knows no moral ambiguity.

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  1. […] Arnus/Augustus Freeman (Icon) […]


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