Marvel has many patriotic heroes, frequently, people think of one in particular. Captain America does inspire many and when it comes to the heroes called Patriot, they took it to another level. So who is Patriot? What can they do? What did they do? Let’s find out!
Jeffrey Solomon Mace was a reporter for the Daily Bugle but when the United States entered World War 2 and hearing of the adventures of Captain America, Jeffrey decided to don his own costume. Becoming the Patriot, he would fight stateside against crime and Nazi threats hiding in New York. He’d acquire a sidekick, Miss Patriot aka Mary Morgan, and the two would have a special radio broadcast that they would use to expose the threats they were finding and fighting.
When Bucky Barnes gets a hold of their signal, he asks Jeffrey and Mary for help in rescuing Captain America and the rest of the Invaders from the Red Skull. The two would work with Bucky and several other masked heroes to form the Liberty Legion to rescue the Invaders. After their mission proved successful, the team would stay together returning to protect the home front back in the U.S.
While the war would end, Jeffrey would remain in action as a hero and even rescue the original Human Torch and his sidekick Toro from an evil android. He would join the post-war Invaders team, now called the All-Winners Squad. Since Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes had gone missing toward the end of the war, two new heroes had taken on their mantles. When the second Captain America would die from the android Jeffrey had rescued the Human Torch from, it was up to Jeffrey to take on the mask and shield.
Now the third Captain America, one of his first missions had him rescue a young congressman, John F. Kennedy from robotic replacement. He would work with the new Bucky and Golden Girl over the years. Eventually, as time went on, Jeffrey would feel that America could move on without Captain America and retired in 1950. This would not be the end of picking up the Captain America for the U.S. nor Jeffrey. When Jeffrey was an old man, dying of cancer, was summoned by a celestial being and granted the ability to be Captain America one last time. He would fight an alternate reality’s android that he’d fought many times before and with saving another reality, he was able to die happy and peacefully.
Elijah Bradley is the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, the black Captain America. He is the son of Isaiah and Faith’s first child, Sarah. Meaning he was born with no inherited superpowers like his uncle Josiah X, who was born post-serum. This didn’t stop Eli from claiming he’d gotten super powers from a blood transfusion from his grandfather when the time traveling young Kang the Conqueror, masquerading as Iron Lad, came looking for his uncle for help.
Eli would get his hands on Mutant Growth Hormone, a drug harvested from mutants granting superpowers to non-powered, to gain powers similar to his grandfather’s. He would don a costume similar to Bucky Barnes’ and go by Patriot. Working with the Young Avengers, Eli would become the defacto leader and eventual co-leader with Kate Bishop, Hawkeye. The two would be extremely hot-headed and even attempted dating for a time.
The team would eventually learn of Eli’s drug use for his powers and he would leave the team in disgrace when they begged him not to go. While he forced himself into exile, it was when his friend and fellow teammate, Hulkling was being kidnapped by the Skrull, he would dive back into heroics, sans powers. The fight would escalate into the Avengers, Young Avengers, Kree, and Skrull duking it out. Eli would get shot in the process and be tended to by Captain America while the fight ended. Steve Rogers was ready and willing to give his blood to save Eli, but Captain America was already doing that. Isaiah gladly gave blood to his grandson, this plus his genetic match with Eli, granted Eli the powers he’d so desperately wanted.
During the superhero Civil War, Eli was deeply anti-registration and was on the run with many of his teammates. He would also do battle on the front lines during the Skrull invasion. He and Kate would have a near death experience during the Siege while trapped under rubble.
When it turns out that his friends, Wiccan and Speed, may have found out their mother, the Scarlet Witch, was alive, Eli was ready to help. During the events that follow, he would witness the death of teammates Stature and Vision while seeing the moment when Iron Lad begins to take the path toward becoming Kang the Conqueror. All this shock and loss would have Eli step down from the team and retire. His current whereabouts are unknown but some extra-dimensional entity would take on Eli’s appearance in his first Patriot costume.
There you have it! Patriot has been around for quite some time and whether it’s Steve Rogers or Isaiah Bradley, Captain America inspires them to become the heroes they always were. While Jeffrey’s tale may be over, Eli’s has plenty left to tell and I hope he returns some time soon. I miss him and hope he gets to see the return of Cassie Lang and just catch up with his friends and family. Maybe some day. See you next time!
Human Torch Comics #3
Captain America #285
Young Avengers, Vol. 1
Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade