Finally, in the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we met the organization’s new director portrayed by Jason O’Mara…and he’s indeed a character from the comics, a veteran with his origins dating back to 1941. Some of you guessed it before the episode’s release (I didn’t…), but in Meet the New Boss we learn that the director is in fact Jeffrey Mace, and the show reinvented him from the super-soldier he is in the comics by turning him into…yes, an Inhuman, apparently gifted with superhuman strength and durability, as we can guess from how easily he incapacitated a deranged Melinda May. His presence in S.H.I.E.L.D. is part of a government-sponsored plan to include Inhumans after the events of the previous seasons, and it’s funny that he mentions Captain America at a certain point, since the two character are closely related in the comics. Let’s see together.
Jeffrey Solomon Mace was born in New York City, and he grew up in Yancy Street. As a young man, he got hired by Walter Goodman as a reporter for the Daily Bugle, and on his workplace he met two of his entire life’s best friends, fellow reporter Mary Morgan and photographer Jack Casey. When World War II engulfed Europe, Jeffrey tried to enlist to do his part, but he was rejected because of his flat feet. Despite this, Mace didn’t resign himself to just stand and watch, and tried to make the difference through his work as a reporter…but that still wasn’t enough (also because his job was at risk: Goodman didn’t apreciate reporters who tended to be part of the stories they told). Then, one day, Jeffrey witnessed Captain America fighting some Nazi spies disguised as dock workers: unable to simply stand aside, he joined the hero in his battle; Cap, impressed, thanked the man for helping him out, and called him a “true patriot”. Inspired by Captain America, by his words and by what he represented for common people, Jeffrey Mace decided to follow his footsteps, and secretly underwent a severe training to be just like him; soon enough, he tailored a costume for himself, and as a homage to Cap’s words, he named himself Patriot. When Mary told him about some problems her father, Otis Morgan, had at his company, Morgan Shoe Company, Jeffrey decided it was a good occasion to make his public debut: dressed as the Patriot, he arrived on place, and single-handedly fended some union busters off. From that moment, Jeff used his job as a journalist to find situation in which the Patriot could be useful, and he repelled the invasion from the private militia known as the Yellowshirts, stopped the Nazi killer Mad Violinist, prevented the escape of captive Nazi officer Lt. Heinrich Von Betz and much more; he even met other heroes such as the Human Torch, Toro and Angel, and with his spontaneous heroism and proud patriotism he became an inspiration even for the veteran heroes.
The first major emergency the Patriot faced was when the king of Atlantis, the Sub-Mariner, attacked the surface world: the Patriot led a small army of heroes against him, gathering the robot Electro, Hurricane, the Phantom Reporter, Mister E and Fiery Mask. All the heroes united could do nothing but buy time until Captain America and the Human Torch arrived to subdue the Sub-Mariner, but their heroism didn’t go unnoticed, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself congratulated the Patriot. During this meeting, the Patriot had the chance to talk to the President heart to heart, and convinced him to have the United States join the conflict in Europe. Jeff joined the other heroes another time, when Bucky asked for his help after the Red Skull had brainwashed the Invaders, Captain America included: the Patriot contacted other heroes (namely Thin Man, Whizzer, the Red Raven, Miss America and Blue Diamond), and together they formed the Liberty Legion; the Liberty Legion faced the brainwashed Invaders in an epic battle in the Yankee Stadium. The Patriot managed to defeat the Red Skull and to free his idol and the other Invaders from his control: while Cap and the others came back to England for the war, the Legion swore to stay together and defend America from any threats while its greatest defenders were in Europe. The Patriot himself led the Legion against hundreds of Nazi spies, super criminals and mad scientists; one of the latters, Doctor Hanz Groitzig, kidnapped Mary Morgan and experimented on her: when the Patriot intervened to save her, she had been mutated already, and had gained superhuman abilities…which she used to confirm the Patriot’s secret identity, and to join her long-time friend in his everyday war against evil as Miss Patriot. Finally, World War II came to an end, and the world mourned the loss of its greatest hero, Captain America: to honor his memory the best he could, Jeff decided not to abandon the Patriot’s identity, and kept fighting crime on American soil even in times of peace…especially considering that the Cold War was already providing new enemies to the US.
Jeffrey Mace is a hero born: selfless, altruistic, ready to do his part, he never backs down from a challenge, and constantly pushes himself over his limits, often sacrificing his personal interest to a greater good. As the Patriot, he doesn’t possess any superhuman ability, but he’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant, a trained athlete, and a skilled pilot, a man who trained his body to perfection in the effort of following the footsteps of his hero, Captain America. Dedicated to the cause, always on the side of the weak and the defenseless, the Patriot will fight with determination and courage to his last breath to make the world a better place.