It’s official: this year, in Supergirl, I’ll be rooting for the villain. The big bad in Season 4, in fact, will be the charismatic and fascinating Benjamin Lockwood, portrayed by Sam Witwer. The show’s version has been reinvented as a “brilliant orator in the guise of a family man”, who secretly is Agent Liberty, the founder and leader of a human-first movement named the Children of Liberty. Despite the tv series chose to turn Agent Liberty into a militarized version of Donald Trump, the original one from the comics is actually a superhero, and one who is born in direct response to the disgust for the “official way” of military and secret services. A homage to Marvel‘s Captain America, with energy shield and stars-and-stripes suit, Agent Liberty ironically plays the good guy the moment Kryptonians are the bad ones in the comics… just like he’ll pretend to do in the series. Let’s take a look.
Benjamin Lockwood had been raised in a very conservative family, and taught immortal values like patriotism and self-sacrifice for his country, the glorious United States of America. It was only natural that, growing up, he joined the military, and he ended up being so good and determined that he was eventually selected to join the ranks of CIA, becoming one of the best agents around. The reality of the secret service, however, was much different from the idealized version Ben treasured, and he became increasingly disgusted by the methods the CIA was employing both on national soil and abroad. As he tried to report the injustice and brutality of CIA, poor Lockwood soon realized that the entire Federal Government was part of the same system, and that kind of violence was not only tolerated, but supported and encouraged: the price for democracy was the death of freedom, especially if the one of other countries. Ben’s moral contempt became action, and he joined the paramilitary group the Sons of Liberty, ultra-patriotic terrorists who were just as idealistic as he was, and whose aim was to overthrow the government to create a more righteous and just one. The Sons of Liberty, finally having an operative worthy of the name, equipped Lockwood with a high-tech suit and a number of gadgets and weapons, transforming him into Agent Liberty, the strong arm of the organization. Agent Liberty accomplished a variety of missions for the Sons, even and especially some that didn’t exactly fit with the “legality” category: this eventually brought him to exchange blows with some superheroes, but not even the perspective of facing a powerhouse like Superman made him falter from his intent. He had found a home for his ideals and his values, and nothing could make him betray or abandon his new family… until the founder of the Sons of Liberty, former U. S. Air Force Major Charles Holcroft, was arrested by Superman and brought to trial.
Holcroft accepted to testify in front of a Senate Committee, something that would have obviously destroyed the Sons of Liberty. The Sons kidnapped Lana Lang, fiancee of Senator Pete Ross, to convince him to kill Holcroft before he could testify, but Ross didn’t obey, so Agent Liberty was sent to kill him instead. He successfully assassinated Holcroft before he could talk, but this particular mission reminded him his days in the CIA a little bit too much to maintain his faith in the Sons intact. More to that, the Sons decided to kill Ross as well to silence him, but Ben opposed this: for a change, they had found a truly honest senator, and killing him was against the Sons’ principles. Agent Liberty decided to cooperate with Superman, and learned from him that the Sons had already killed Ross’ predecessor. Investigating the group, Agent Liberty was shocked in learning that the true leader and founder, the puppet master behind it all, was Reese, his former CIA mentor. This was enough for him: he killed two prominent members of the group, Jay Harriman and Ronald Kramer, who had discovered his betrayal, and then sent all the information he could to Clark Kent, reporter of the Daily Planet. With this, Ben personally signed the end of the Sons of Liberty and, disgusted by himself and by his own naivety, he swore he would have never used the Agent Liberty equipment or identity again. Then, Superman died. In sign of respect for the fallen hero, Ben Lockwood became Agent Liberty once again, and even joined the Justice League of America, helping them into repelling an attack from Brainiac. Brainiac himself later brainwashed him and used him as a drone, but the heroines Huntress and Vixen saved him. Realizing there was much he could do even on his own, Ben finally embraced his alter ego, and joined many other heroes into defending Metropolis from the Secret Society of Super-Villains. The victory he collected that day finally convinced him to come out of retirement, and to give another opportunity to institutions… just as, in Washington, everyone was worried for the huge number of Kryptonian refugees arrived from Kandor.
Benjamin “Ben” Lockwood is a belligerent patriot, so disgusted by the inconsistency of the government and by the lack of true values of institutions that he’s ready to adopt extreme measures to fix a corrupted system. As Agent Liberty, his suit increases his strength and durability, it can generate an energy shield from the back of his gloves and plasma knives from the palms, and it also includes a jetpack that allows him to fly for short periods of time; he’s also an extremely skilled hand-to-hand combatant and marksman, with years of training in espionage and military tactics. Talented, determined and incorruptible, Agent Liberty is now the worst nightmare of the ones who trained and formed him, a man who, for a change, truly believes in the values mostly used for sheer rhetoric, something that his crooked and greedy superiors definitely didn’t see coming…