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Captain Patriotic
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 Super Hero 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:

Anime
  • 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. note 
  • Played with in one of the Mobile Suit Gundam sourcebooks, styled as a collection of news photos from the One Year War, featuring a shot of war orphans watching a Captain Zeon cartoon.
    • Also "G Gundam" as each fighter is characterized along national stereotypes.

Comic Books
  • Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, 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."
    • The "River of Truth" speech in Amazing Spiderman #537 makes it clear that Cap is not guilty of blind jingoism; he says (paraphrased) that if someone else, or even the whole country, decides something wrong is something right and tells you to move out of the way, "your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, you move.'"
    • Captain America: The First Avenger downplays his Patriotic Fervor and emphasizes him being The Cape ("I don't like bullies. It doesn't matter where they're from.") That's not to say he doesn't love his country, though.
    Red Skull: I have seen the future, Captain! There are no flags!
    Steve Rogers: Not my future!
    • Prior to becoming a hero, he plays a hokey parody of this concept while touring with the USO.
    • Ultimate Universe Cap seemed to be an subversion of this in The Ultimates, where he is more a Jerkass than anything else (patriotic, yes, but to the point of xenophobia), but Warren Ellis managed to make him a little better, as evidenced here:
      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 Iron Man 3, the Iron Patriot is simply War Machine repainted in star-spangled colors as a means to boost the nation's morale in response to the terrorist threat posed by The Mandarin. And this carried over back to the comics: Rhodey now wears an Iron Patriot armor more like the one in the movie, while Ultimate Tony Stark took on the moniker in a new suit with a paint job similar to Norman Osborn's.
    • 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 The 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).
      • 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!
      • It gets hilarious when you consider that, under this logic, Osborn's Iron Patriot armor looks more like the flag of Cuba (white star on red field + blue and white stripes).
      • 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".
    • It seems like every major nation on Marvel Earth has at least one official Captain Patriotic. The U.S. has Captain America. Britain has Captain Britain. Canada has Guardian. Russia has Vanguard. Japan has Sunfire. France has Adamantine. Germany has Hauptmann Deutschland. Ireland has Shamrock. Saudi Arabia has the Arabian Knight (both of themnote ). Israel has Sabra. Argentina has Defensor. China has Collective Man. Even make-believe countries have them. Wakanda has the Black Panther. Symkaria has Silver Sable. And Latveria has... Doctor Doom.
      • Speaking of Captain Britain, his Ultimate Universe counterpart portrays him as part of an EU-sponsored task force, rather than being empowered magically and being a living representation fo the UK. Among his teammates there's Captain France, Captain Italy and Captain Spain.
  • 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, the first Star-Spangled Kid, and Stargirl and Stripe.
    • 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. These days, she's too integrated with Classical Mythology to be a straight-up patriot (Superman being a better fit for this role, what with the whole "truth, justice and the American way" thing).
    • 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".
    • Don't forget Steel, who started off as an embodiment of this trope, but became a subversion when his grandson took up the mantle as a member of the JLA. The original Steel was now shown to be an ultra-conservative and a bit of a bigot, and his patriotism was played as a negative character trait.
    • The (now defunct) Global Guardians were essentially a whole team of Captain Patriotics from around the world.
    • And as a twisted example, Stalnoivolk ("Steel Wolf", or perhaps "Stalin's Wolf"). Fiercely loyal to the USSR—but that's the USSR of Josef Stalin, who created him. He'll work for later Soviet leaders, but he considers them, at best, to be poor and unworthy implementers of Stalin's glorious vision.
  • 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.
    • A milder Deconstruction also in Watchmen is Dollar Bill: he has the most overtly patriotic costume of any character in the book, and he's also the only character who's a corporate mascot.
  • 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.
  • 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 parodic 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 CapitŠn 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 Gotlieb, 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.
  • Tarn from Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is wholly devoted to the Decepticon cause, fully believing in Megatron's Peace through Tyranny (He named his ship the Peaceful Tyranny). So great is his devotion, he grafted the Decepticon symbol onto his face, he changed his name to Tarn, which was Megatron's home city.
    • In addition several ships, Worldsweepers, are in the shape of Giant Decepticon symbols, flown by the most powerful or loyal, and they're so big, even from space, one sees them and knows, this is a Decepticon controlled planet.
  • Miss (later Ms.) Victory of Femforce.

Literature

  • Michael A. Stackpole's superhero short story Peer Review has one, Colonel Constitution, who's got his own shield and whose real name is Bill Wright. Unfortunately for the characters he's an Expy of, his character is of the 'overzealous, letter of the law chomping at the bit soldier' type.

MMORPGs
  • 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
  • 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.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • Lady Liberty and the Patriot in Freedom City setting for Mutants & Masterminds.
  • Steel Commando in the Halt Evil Doer setting for the same.
  • Kapten Sverige (Captain Sweden) in the Swedish superhero RPG Supergšnget (Supercrew in the English translation).
  • Cygnar's Commander Coleman Stryker is described in-universe as such : "Coleman in a word ? Patriot."
  • Adeptus Evangelion has an attribute called "Flagship" for your giant cyborg of choice. Your Evangelion was built and/or funded by a country and is a source of national pride.
  • Legacy in Sentinels Of The Multiverse is pretty much a fusion of Captain America and Superman. His entire family,from the Revolutionary War and onward, have used their genetic superhuman powers to protect America and the rest of the world from various villainous threats.

Video Games

Web Original
  • Captain Patriot, of the Whateley Universe. He leads a super-team in Cincinnati.
    • Cerebrex dearly wants to be 'Captain Canada'...and can't, because he's only a student yet and using a rank he doesn't actually hold would be against school rules.
  • 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.
  • Worm provides Miss Militia, whose Immigrant Patriotism leads her to lobby (successfully) for the right to include an American flag scarf in her costume.

Western Animation


Blood OathLoyalty TropesThe Cavalry
Captain GeographicSuperhero TropesCaptain Superhero
The CapeFountain of ExpiesChar Clone
Beleaguered BureaucratRomanticism Versus EnlightenmentChummy Commies
Cape SnagImageSource/Comic BooksCold Sleep, Cold Future

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