Captain Patriotic

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Courage, Honor, Loyalty, Sacrifice, the American Way!
"My Country, Right or Wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."
Carl Schurz

This Superhero is motivated by one thing above all: love of country. He loves everything it symbolizes, all its values, and is damn proud of its history.

He's heroic, maybe The Cape, and will normally follow Thou Shalt Not Kill. Unless it's war, then you can expect him to be on the front line, taking down as many of Those Wacky Nazis and Dirty Communists as he can. He is a master of the Rousing Speech or can give somebody a powerful Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! moment. If he becomes Older and Wiser, he will almost always end as The Mentor.

No matter how near the cynical end of Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism the major premise is, he will be idealistic. In the Five-Man Band he is The Hero, on a Super Team or any other kind of super group he will be The Captain. He can be very harsh and strict - The Cowl may not get along with him. The Anti-Hero should not expect to see him among his fans. If you are a Nineties Anti-Hero, better stay the hell away from him if you don't want to get your butt kicked. On the other hand, he is respectful of true patriots, no matter what country they serve - he will quickly recognize that their patriotism is akin to his own. The same goes with dissenters with his government's policies and/or his nation's current public sentiments, if their ultimate principles are in keeping with the larger ideals he values. For instance, if a historical 1960s American Captain Patriotic heard growls accusing Martin Luther King Jr of being a traitor, he'd be first to answer, "No, he is a true American patriot!"

However, all Mad Generals, crooked politicians, Evil Presidents, and infiltrators from The Illuminati must remember that he's not loyal to government, law or army. He may serve them, but his true loyalty is to his country's spirit and ideals. Attack his values, use the symbols he values as a hypocritical excuse to commit injustice, or limit people's freedom with law, and he will be the first to kick you in the face.

Discovering that his country has fallen and become corrupt is the best way to cause his Heroic BSOD. This is temporary. You can be damn sure he will stand again to restore his fatherland to glory. In case he is forced to give up his costume and secret identity, he will join the army or the police, or adapt a similar superhero identity. He knows there are many ways to serve his country.

Plenty of them, but not all, are Captain Geographics. Just because they wear their country on their sleeves doesn't mean they're good guys. Daredevil's enemy Nuke, for instance, who has the flag tattooed on his head, is just a psycho who believes he's Captain Geographic and of course is no match for the real Captain America.

This archetype was most popular in The Golden Age of Comic Books and almost vanished during The Dark Age of Comic Books. Compare The Cape; often there is overlap, sometimes he is both.

Compare Patriotic Fervor, The Paragon, Captain Superhero, All-American Face.

Note: Many of the Golden Age superheroes mentioned here, who have entered the public domain, have been repackaged in Tom Strong and Project Superpowers comics.

Examples of Captain Patriotic include:

Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Played straight, parodied, played for laughs, lampshaded, and justified with America in Axis Powers Hetalia. As he is the (admittedly stereotypical) personification of the US, he is deeply loyal to it. He hates Communists and Nazis, and claims, "I'm the Hero!" However, he is completely clueless (giving him the nickname AKY in the Japanese fandom, short for Aete Kuuki Yomenai, which roughly means "Doesn't read the atmosphere") and orders his allies to be his backup.[1]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Captain America is the most famous, and greatest embodiment of this trope ever. If you need to sum up his deepest values with one line, it's "I am loyal to nothing...except the [American] Dream."

Ultimate Captain America to Commie Super-Soldier: Yeah, I'm gonna fight you. You know why? Because I fought beside Russians during World War 2. They were good and decent men, and they made terrible painful sacrifices to save their country. And for their country to then turn around and put monsters in prisons with nuclear landmines... to see people like you, proudly complicit in this nightmare... Yeah, I'll fight you. You've waited forty years for me in this hellhole, I feel it'd be impolite not to kick your head in.

    • Marvel has a few other examples: Miss America, Citizen V, Josiah X or Patriot from Young Avengers(the latter two are actually the son and grandson of one of the guys to wear the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers).
    • Also the Superpatriot/USAgent, the original Patriot, the Spirit of '76, the Defender, Jack Flagg, the Free Spirit, American Eagle, etc. The first three especially, since at one point or another they were Captain America themselves!
      • Of course, there's dozens of failed attempts at replicating the Captain America formula for success (or prototypical attempts that didn't fare well either). Anti-Cap (the Navy's Super-Sailor), Protocide (Failed early attempt), GI Max, Nuke, the 50s Cap who went crazy, etc.
    • Iron Patriot is supposed to look like one, but is the ultimate perversion of this.
    • In MC 2, this role is occupied by American Dream.
    • Another Marvel example is Captain Britain, who stands for all values of England, and all his alternate counterparts do the same - the only Evil Twins he has are from worlds where England is an evil empire. Such as Captain Airstrip-One, the ultimate government tool with nothing resembling a will of his own. He fights for the glory of Ingsoc.
    • And we cannot forget about Falcon, the biggest Captain Patriotic not dressed in the flag.
    • Parodied in Twisted Toyfare Theatre: Captain America is a jingoistic Ugly American, sometimes even indulging in Black Comedy Rape.
    • And other people who were carrying the name of Captain America, like Patriot's grandfather, 1950s Cap or Bucky (who, in an inversion of Captain Geographic, wore a costume that looked more like the flag of Puerto Rico).
      • That was a case of Did Not Do the Research on the part of the costume's designer.
        • Come to think of it, Captain America's original costume, bearing only one star on the chest and back, looks more like the flag of Liberia than the Stars and Stripes. At least Puerto Rico is US territory!
        • James MacDonald Hudson once pointed out in discussing his own costume that Cap's costume was meant to be a loose interpretation due to U.S. restrictions on flag-wearing, while his own costume as Weapon Alpha/Vindicator/Guardian was essentially the Canadian flag wrapped around him.
    • And then there's Black Panther, the king and national hero of the African nation of Wakanda.
    • Silver Sable is a European example, hailing from Symkaria. Notably more True Neutral, with a dose of My Country, Right or Wrong for good measure.
    • Doctor Doom could be considered a villainous version of this trope for his nation of Latveria. Ironically, in-universe, the people of Latveria -like- him and think of him as a good ruler as while he may be a tyrant, he honestly thinks of his country and people as his own and protects them/provides for them as such.
    • Another villainous Captain Patriotic was the Tarantula, who was hyped as this trope but was mainly The Dragon to the murderous dictator who ruled his South American country.
    • Marvel's version of Germany has Hauptmann Deutschland, which translates as "Captain Germany".
  • Archie Comics character The Shield, created fourteen months before Captain America, brought back for a while by DC Comics.
  • Canada has Captain Canuck.
  • In Stormwatch: Team Achilles (the Wildstorm Universe, Earth-50 of the DC Multiverse), Citizen Soldier is so much a super-patriot that he renounced death itself to protect America. In fact, he's George Washington (yes, that George Washington), constantly reincarnating thanks to a magic ritual designed by Franklin, Jefferson, and the other Freemason sorcerers.
  • Nedor Comics had a few of those, like Liberator and American Eagle, but its best example was Fighting Yank, powered by the American Spirit itself and with the ghost of a World War I hero as The Mentor. Since Nedor's characters fell into the public domain, they've seen several revamped uses in recent years, including Terra Obscura and Project Superpowers.
  • Fighting American, who quickly turned into parody when Joe Simon and Jack Kirby realized he was not as popular as they expected. Even when Rob Liefeld bought the rights to this character in order to turn him into a Captain America rip-off it didn't work.
  • DC Comics takes it up to 11, having its equivalent of Captain America as Uncle Sam - the Anthropomorphic Personification of the American Spirit - himself.
    • Other DC characters who embody this trope are Major Victory, Lady Liberty and the first Star-Spangled Kid.
    • DC Comics also has Unknown Soldier; and Dynamite has Soldier Unknown based on a different "Unknown Soldier" character.
    • DC's Spirit of America went through a metamorphosis from Minuteman (Revolutionary War) to Brother Johnathan (antebellum period), then splitting into Billy Yank and Johnny Reb (the Civil War), then merging again and becoming Uncle Sam (post-Civil War to today). Well, okay, he was also briefly the Patriot circa 2002, but went back to Uncle Sam after only one or two appearances in that form.
    • Wonder Woman was this initially, but her character has developed significantly over time. In her first stories she was a foreigner dressed in a costume that Americans would interpret as "patriotic", apparently as conscious propaganda.
    • American Eagle in Captain Carrot And The Final Ark is a parody of the trope; a right-wing radio host who talks entirely in patriotic cliches. He has no powers "except those granted to me by the Constitution".
  • Image Comics has Super Patriot, who was in his heyday a direct Captain Ersatz version of Captain America. His kids with the superhero clone names Liberty & Justice also qualify.
  • In Watchmen, the government tries to portray The Comedian as one of these, but he's very obviously not a hero of this type.
  • The Flag from Ace Publications, who was informed he was America's Chosen One by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
  • Man of War
  • Minuteman from Freedom Force.
  • In Rising Stars, corporate superhero Flagg (who later changes his name to Patriot), is working on his reputation as one. However, the real Captain Patriotic in this universe is officer Matthew Bright. Bright wanted to serve America and its people so much he joined the police force. He has to hide his powers, because Specials cannot be members of any force. And when the government found out and was trying to kick him out, his fellow police officers protested so much, they had to give up and try to use a Legal Loophole to forbid him from wearing a police uniform and badge, thus making it impossible for him to work. They underestimated his friends from the Police Department, who just brought an uniform and badge designed only for him.
  • The Gerosha expanded universe has the Gray Champion, based on Hawthorne's character. More about "God" than "country," he takes the "God and Country" thing very seriously. Almost too seriously some times.
    • Which actually helps balance him somewhat. Unlike Ciem, who is always worrying about her family and her sexual problems, Gray is already mature and nearly beyond having such concerns. It also gives him a compass to control his emotions, so he doesn't degenerate into the Emotion Eater, Reality Warper, Ax Crazy, Type IV Anti-Hero Noble Demon that Extirpon is.
  • PS238 had several examples. They have a Captain America clone, Freedom Fighter, hanging around, but he's not immortal, and is nearing retirement. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are grooming their own 'Replacement' flag-waver: US Patriot Act and American Eagle. Their constant attempts at out-patriot each other are obnoxious, the constant quarreling prevents them from accomplishing much of anything, and instead they cause trouble for anyone hanging around. Political commentary? Where?
  • Superman. "Truth, justice and the American way." Superman, being an alien, adopted the USA as his country.
    • Spoofed in the Saturday Night Live sketch "What If?". With the statement, "What if Superman had grown up in Germany instead of America?". Superman becomes Uberman.
      • Done deadly serious in Kim Newman's "Ubermensch!".
    • And then there's Superman: Red Son, an Elseworld where Superman's adopted country is the USSR.
    • And Superman: True Brit, in which he is raised by an incredibly bland and none too bright British family; he's still a defender of Truth, Justice, and the British Way, but is kind of a nitwit.
    • Overman of Earth-10 is an aversion - a Superman adopted by Nazi Germany in a world where the Nazis went on to win World War Two, who has abiding guilt over their atrocities.
      • A different Overman (a native of the Darker and Edgier Earth-17) wore an American flag cape.
    • Earth-23 has a black Superman who, in his secret identity, became US President. Naturally enough, solicits and fans call him President Superman.
    • In JLA-Avengers Superman had to carry Cap's shield at some point. He felt honored.
  • Socialist Red Guardsman of China's Great Ten. While August General in Iron and Immortal Man in Darkness are also true patriots, Socialist Red Guardsman is the only member of the team to actually have Das Kapital and The Little Red Book committed to memory. Socialist Red Guardsman believes he is the revolution, and has frequently broken his back to ensure that his teammates toe the party line with his endless rants and lectures. He even attempted to quit the team in disgust at his country's growing commercialism.
  • Tomorrow Stories features the First American and his sidekick U.S.Angel as it is, but one issue sees FA consulting with other national heroes - Captain Uzbekistan, Le Premier Francais, Deutschlander Zahlein, and the Fightin' Limey ("who sleeps in my garage").
  • Parodied with Capitán Hispania, who carries a shield with the colours of the Spanish flag, but never says anything that can be considered patriotic.
  • American Eagle is a C-List Marvel hero who combines this trope with Animal-Themed Superbeing and Magical Native American.
  • Superdupont, by Jacques Lob and Marcel Gotlib, is a French parody of the concept.
  • Ritter Germania from the Block 109 series, a In-Universe nazi propaganda hero, with In-Universe movies and comics to boot.

MMORPGs[edit | hide]

  • Statesman, Hero1 and Hero 1 from City of Heroes.
    • Miss Liberty and Ms. Liberty (the daughter and granddaughter of Statesman) would also count.
    • The robust character creator also allows many players to make their own Captain Patriotic.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • While wrestling has plenty of All American Faces, only one man can cross the line into a full-blown Captain Patriotic—The Patriot.
    • Kurt Angle could be seen as a Subversion of this, especially at the beginning of his career. He even adopted The Patriot's old music, which is now known as the "You Suck" theme.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Lady Liberty and the Patriot in Freedom City setting for Mutants and Masterminds.
  • Steel Commando in the Halt Evil Doer setting for the same.
  • Kapten Sverige (Captain Sweden) in the Swedish superhero RPG Supergänget (Supercrew in the English translation).
  • Cygnar's Commander Coleman Stryker is described in-universe as such : "Coleman in a word ? Patriot."

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Freedom Force - Minuteman and Liberty Lad are basically Captain America, but different enough to not pay copyright fees.
    • "I don't know what will come from all of this, but I must use these new powers to help my country fight her enemies - within and without. Those reds might have killed Frank Stiles, but they're about to meet... The Minuteman!"
  • Guile of Street Fighter, so much so that as part of the Guile Theme Goes With Everything a significant portion of the comments will relate the action in the video to FOR AMERICA! (or being a family man).

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Captain Patriot, of the Whateley Universe. He leads a super-team in Cincinnati.
  • In the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions The Great Emancipator.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, there's Captain Texas, Ultra-Man, the Citizen, Doc Liberty, Independence, Uncle Sam, and every single member of the Arsenal of Democracy.
    • Interestingly enough, the otherwise appropriately-named hero known as "The Patriot" is not a Captain Patriotic, as he is themed after the New England Patriots football team, and not on patriotism. Despite the correct color scheme, he's definitely Captain Sporting-Goods, not Captain Patriotic.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  1. Although, perhaps his ego is a little justified considering he was swinging a full-grown bison over his head. As a baby.