Icon is a Milestone Comics superhero series written by Dwayne McDuffie, which ran from 1993-1997. Along with the other Milestone characters, he has recently been imported into the DC Universe. (Only he and Superman know that the Dakotaverse had its own, separate existence.)
Augustus Freeman IV, in reality an alien space traveler stranded on Earth, is persuaded by a young woman, Raquel Ervin, to use his alien powers to become a superhero. He takes the name Icon, and Racquel becomes his sidekick, Rocket.
This series provides examples of:
- Black Republican: Icon is explicitly a black Republican, in order to contrast with his liberal partner Rocket. This ended up creating some headaches for Dwayne Mc Duffie, as Icon developed a Misaimed Fandom among actual black conservatives like Clarence Thomas who didn't understand that Icon was supposed to be wrong sometimes.
- But Not Too Black: Icon in his civilian life is a lawyer, and very well educated, and lives in the suburbs. Because of this, some have accused him of being a sellout and not "acting black". Icon himself admits that this had been true before he put on the suit, his time as an upper class lawyer having insulated him from the plight of black people.
- Captain Ersatz:
- Supporting character "Buck Wild, Mercenary Man" is a parody of Marvel Comics's Luke Cage: Hero for Hire (with occasional forays into being a parody of other token black heroes including Black Goliath, The Falcon, and Black Lightning).
- Icon himself is a counterpart to Superman, something which has actually been noted in-universe in series such as Final Crisis and Young Justice. This is taken further in the crossover between the two characters, wherein Rift, the bad guy of the crossover, notes that the difference between Superman and Icon is that Superman was allowed to share and spread the values of his homeland, while the only thing of Icon's that had been valued was his physical strength.
- Cleavage Window: Rocket's first costume, to the conservative Icon's disapproval. When he later designs and gives her a second costume, the window is pointedly absent.
- Cloning Blues: When Icon finally returns to his home planet, he discovers that, after he was declared dead, he was cloned, or "reconstituted," from medical and psychological recordings made a few weeks before the accident that sent him to Earth. The whole time he was trapped on our planet, the "new" version of him had been living his old life.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Rocket, who is gifted an alien utility belt which gives her the power to make force bubbles. When she passes it on to her friend Darnice while pregnant, Darnice also figured out how to use it to fly.
- Expy: Icon is one of Superman.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: One storyline has Raquel discovering that she is pregnant. Everyone she asks for advice — including the socially conservative Icon himself — is sympathetic to her situation, and offer no objection to the possibility of her aborting. She eventually decides that she was really fishing for a trusted authority figure to tell her to do what she wanted to do anyway — carry the baby to term.
- Homage: Raquel named her baby "Amistad". A few years later Steven Spielberg had directed a film of the same name.
- Imagine Spot: Racquel has an extended one where Icon is approached by a corporation who offers to fix his pod in exchange for him acting as America's hero... and turning himself white. The spot ends with an adult Racquel reconciling with her teenage son and Icon.
- Jive Turkey: Buck Wild and his absurd 70's slang (Sweet Easter! Aunt Jemina's do rag!). When he fills in for Icon, he switches to Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. All a part of his Affectionate Parody nature.
- Last Disrespects: At Buck Wild's funeral, almost none of the congregation have anything decent to say about Buck, and pretty much agree with the pastor when his opening words are nothing but insults to Buck. Darnice, who was the Rocket to Buck's Icon, is disgusted by the lack of gratitude everybody has for Buck and reminds them of the good he'd done as Icon and that he died fighting to protect everyone. It's only after Darnice's outburst that Buck's Rogues Gallery starts appearing and reminisces about their battles with Buck.
- Legacy Character: When Icon returns to space and Racquel is pregnant, Racquel arranges for their places as Icon and Rocket are taken by Buck Wild and Darnise. Later, both identities revert when Buck is killed
- Mood Whiplash: Buck's funeral, which goes from somber to wacky when his Rogues Gallery starts waxing poetical about his various attempts to reinvent himself, all of which are parodies of Marvel's black superheroes
- My Grandson Myself: Augustus Freeman IV was also Augustus Freemans I through III — he's been stranded on Earth for over 150 years.
- Plea Bargain: Part of Buck Wild's backstory:Buck: It all started when I wuz convicted of a crime I didn't commit. I plea bargained down from the crime I really did.
- Really 700 Years Old: Icon has been on the planet for a couple of hundred years.
- Sufficiently Advanced Technology: Icon's powers are the result of advanced alien medical technology, supplemented with advanced alien gadgets. The belt that gives Raquel her powers is an air bag from Icon's ship, to give you an idea of how advanced the tech is.
- Transplanted Human: Apparently, the reason why he looks human is that he automatically copied the genetic code of the first human he met - A plantation slave woman. In his natural form he looks like one of The Greys.
- Translator Microbes: When Earth is finally visited by Icon's people in Hardware #19, they use universal translators. Lampshaded when, during a fight, one of the aliens is hit, and their word balloon says:Alien: Scream: exclamation of extreme physical discomfort.