Statesman is the iconic in-game superhero of Paragon City and founding leader of the Freedom Phalanx.
(From the City of Heroes website)
Statesman is one of the first heroes of Paragon City.
He is the leader of the Freedom Phalanx as well as one of the co-founders.
Born Marcus Cole, he began his transformation from a poverty born child to world hero after serving in the US Army during World War I.
Instead of coming home in 1918 he headed east, bent on exploring the world now that he'd had a taste of it. Where he went and what happened to him during that lost decade remains a secret to this day.
What is no secret is that when his ship pulled into Paragon City port in 1931 he was much more than the young private who had shipped out to fight for freedom in Europe.
Cole claimed to have unlocked the power of his own Inner Will, an obscure explanation at best. Whatever their true origin, it was undeniable that Cole possessed something that hadn't been seen since the age of the Greek Heroes: superpowers.
Cole was strong beyond human limits and impervious to fists, knives and even bullets. However he'd come by these powers, Cole now found a cause to which he could apply them: saving his beloved Paragon City from itself.
The would-be hero took on the name Statesman, an identity that personified all the values and ideals that Paragon City currently lacked.
Statesman went after crime head on, going after gang bosses, corrupt politicians and other lowlifes with a vengeance. His costume allowed him to hide from police while still leave behind an indelible impression on the city's populace.
In a few short months he had begun to make a difference. But his initial successes only served to unite the city's criminals against him. The tide began to turn when other costumed heroes appeared in the city. Extraordinary men and women, inspired by Statesman's example, were rising to meet the challenge.
On July 4th, 1932, Statesman collected these new heroes under the banner of the Freedom Phalanx.
The group battled together throughout the 1930s, taking down numerous criminal operations, including the gangs ruling Kings Row. Statesman's successes led to the Crime Fighting Act of 1937, which made the Freedom Phalanx a legally recognized crime fighting organization.
Much of Statesman's origins were romanticized versions of the truth.
Born in Paragon City, he was orphaned at a young age and was adopted and raised by the Richter family, which included their son and his best friend Stephan and his sister Monica. Marcus was in love with his foster-sister from their teen years, but he never could express it because it seemed "wrong", even though they were not related by blood, and because he felt it would betray his friendship with his foster-brother.
Marcus and Stephan did join the military and fought in World War I. But both were injured by mustard gas near the end of the war. While in the hospital, they heard of a special place where an ancient cure would be found. Instead of going home, they sought out this cure, taking on mercenary tasks in the war-ravaged Europe to find the answer.
Eventually, Marcus and Stephan found the Well of the Furies, the wellspring that healed them both and gave them the essence and powers of the Greek Gods. Marcus was given the power of Zeus. Stephan, the essence and power of the Titan Tartarus. Another object was there as well: Pandora's Box. Thinking that it was simply an empty container that they could use to carry more of the wellspring waters, they opened it. This unleashed a wave of metaphysical changes that allowed all the gods of old to return and bestow power to many others around the world.
Marcus and Stephan journeyed back to America and witnessed what they unleashed by opening Pandora's Box. So many people suddenly with powers and abilities. Marcus believed that they should use these powers for the betterment of society, like the Greek heroes of old. But Stephan, now twisted with the essence of Tartarus, believed these powers were a means to a greater end, which was to rule. The two friends parted on this disagreement, with Marcus returning to Paragon City and becoming the masked superhero Statesman, and Stephan returning to Europe to master his powers and build his army as Lord Recluse.
Marcus reunited with his foster-sister Monica, and, thanks to the horrors of war, it no longer seemed "wrong" to show their affections to each other. She was even given powers of her own, which allowed her to be almost his equal as a hero, and she too began to operate as Maiden Justice. Together, they brought together the other heroes in the city and created the Freedom Phalanx.
For decades, Marcus kept the truth of his relationship to Stephan and Monica a secret from others. This was partially to "protect" himself and Monica from scandal, but also to hide his connection to Stephan, especially when his former best friend became the leader of the terrorist group Arachnos and quietly took over the Rogue Isles in the 1960's.
World War II
During World War II, Statesman and many of the other heroes joined the British in protecting England from Nazi Germany. Thus, they were not at home when Paragon City was invaded by the Nazis on December 7th, 1941, at the same time as Japan attacked the American naval base in Pearl Harbor. Statesman regretted not being there when it happened, but was relieved that the heroes that were there stopped the invading force, even at such a great price.
Statesman thought he would enact some revenge for the invasion when he led the Allied Forces into France on D-Day, but their invasion was stopped by the super-powered Nazi team Storm Korps. Statesman forced the Nazis back, but not without being badly wounded in the conflict. He was bed-ridden for most of the war, even though Americans were told he was still around and coordinating the Allied forces. In truth, it was Maiden Justice that led the Allied push to reclaim Europe along with Hero One, Great Britain's sworn champion.
Statesman would return to duty after Adolf Hitler's suicide in 1945, and he personally led the assault that terminated the Storm Korps, which gave him some measure of revenge and ensured the end of the war.
After the war, Statesman and the other heroes returned to America, where they were honored by President Truman. Marcus and Monica would eventually get married quietly and give birth to a daughter, Alexis.
The sense of peace would not last, though. The supervillain Nemesis, the original arch-rival from the 1930's when the Phalanx was first created, would threaten America with poison gas bombs. Statesman and the Phalanx stopped his plans, but it would not be the last time they would have to.
Conflict with the Soviet Union would be waged not only with nuclear brinksmanship, but also with super-powered acts of aggression. The Soviets had their own hero groups, as well as propping up and supporting various petty dictators around the world, some with their own hero groups.
The nuclear brinkmanship came to a head in 1976, when Statesman rescued a downed spy-plane pilot, and the Soviets retaliated with a nuclear missile. The blast over Finland nearly brought the world to a full-on nuclear conflict, but was quickly ended when every hero of the time followed Hero One's lead and disabled and destroyed every nuclear device. Again, Statesman was nearly killed, but eventually recovered.
During the first Rikti Invasion in 2002, Statesman was forced to retreat with the other heroes when Paragon City was overwhelmed by the extradimensional assault force. He organized the remaining heroes into a fighting force that would later become the Vanguard. Working again with Hero One, the two laid out a two-pronged assault now known as the 'Alpha-Omega Gambit. Statesman would lead an all-out assault on the main base, while Hero One would lead a smaller group to the main Rikti dimensional portal, where they would enter the Rikti home-world and place a mystical barrier that would cut off the two worlds.
The gambit worked. The Rikti were cut off from their home world and their incursion came to an end. But the cost was great.
Statesman would stay active as a hero and leader, rebuilding the Freedom Phalanx yet again, and serving as an inspiration for all other heroes that would come to Paragon City.
In January of 2012, after a grueling battle and quest for revenge for the death of his daughter, Statesman was killed by Darrin Wade as part of the ex-Midnighter's mad quest for power.
Marcus married Monica Ricter (sister to Stefan), who was also known as Maiden Justice. They produced a daughter named Alexis Cole, who became Miss Liberty. Alexis had a daughter named Megan Duncan, otherwise known as Ms. Liberty.
Sometime in the 1980's, after the death of his wife, Marcus was seduced by an Arachnos agent. The end result was an illegitimate son named John Cole. The parentage was kept a secret for decades, partially because John was working for Arachnos at the time. Father and son briefly met, and the revelation of his connection to Statesman was the reason why John walked away from Arachnos.
He appears in several issues of the Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight series.
(See his Paragon Wiki entry for more information.)
As an iconic character, there are several alterate versions of Statesman in other universes.
- In the Praetorian Universe (Upsilon Beta 9-6), Marcus Cole's career as Statesman took a turn for the worse during the Cold War, and he would respond by taking over that planet. There he is known as either Emperor Cole or simply Tyrant.
- In the universe designated as Delta-Zeta 24-10, Marcus Cole sides not with America, but with the Axis powers, becoming the evil Reichsman and taking over the United States and ruling it for almost fifty years before coming to the Primal Universe looking for new lands to conquer.
- In the universe designated as Omega Xi 6-4, Marcus Cole did not gain superhuman abilities as magic was considered illegal. Instead, he served as capatin of the Royal Guard for the Global King. His daughter, however, would use illegal magic to become a revolutionary known as Miss Liberty. His granddaughter Jessica would later follow in her mother's footsteps as the second Miss Liberty, only serving at the side of King Maximus Rex instead of conspiring to overthrow him.