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Commander Sarah Stroud, codename Lady Freedom, is a Marvel Comics character from DasNordlicht91's SPECWAR series of imaginary comics. She first made her appearance in SPECWAR #1 as one of the members of Team Alpha. The story goes that her mother, Marian Kovac, was a Russian spy who defected to the U.S. shortly after meeting FBI Agent Lucas Stroud. Soon after, Marian gave birth to "Yvonne Kovac", (or in other words, the once and future Sarah Stroud). They returned to America and worked to help the US during the Cold War until they were killed by the Winter Soldier in the late 80s.

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As such, she was remanded onto the care of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, particularly Assistant Director Roy Feinberg, who "adopted" Sarah as his own. However, an attack on the SSR by HYDRA soldiers left Feinberg dead, and Sarah would've suffered the same fate had it not been for Captain America saving her. Subsequent to this, Cap took Sarah under his wing and personally trained her to be the best soldier that she can be. Over the years, that training has paid off, as Sarah is one of a select few to have successfuly surpassed the Tartarus training course, the final rite of passage for anyone hoping to join the Office of National Emergency's SPECWAR program. Plus, she's also able to pull off the same tricks Cap does with his shield, and is said to be able to actually best the Star-Spangled Avenger in one-on-one combat.

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At the end of the series, Sarah is promoted to Director of O*N*E to replace the deceased Gen. John Casey, who was amongst the many who died during the Dimensional War against the oppressive Empire of Earth-6325. In The New Invaders, she's given command of the new Invader Initiative's Team Delta, and continues to kick ass for the good of humanity. She also stars in her own solo title, The Legend of Lady Freedom, which debuted in November 2012. It features the newly-minted "Maiden of Liberty" in solo action, as she fights to protect the nation against evil as a member of the Anti-Terrorism Command.

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Sarah's still the badass soldier we all know and love, but with a drastically different origin. Here, she's Jennifer Stroud, a SHIELD agent who formerly served as a Russian Super-Soldier by the name of "Sarah Kovac". When she broke free of her brainwashing, she turned against her masters, and was aided by a SHIELD taskforce led by a female agent named Jennifer Stroud, who would later sacrifice her life to ensure Sarah escaped the captivty of her Russian bosses. To honor the agent who saved her life, Sarah took on the Jennifer Stroud identity and defected to America,where she would later join the U.S.'s Special Warfare Command as an invaluable member of Team Alpha. As of this writing, she's the head of President Steve Rogers' Emergency Strike Force, currently mobilized to deal with bringing peace to the divided United States.

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Note: All references to appearances of Lady Freedom in other media are fictional, and are solely to add "authenticity" to this entry.

Comics

  • SPECWAR Vols. 1-5 (2008-2012)
  • The New Invaders (2012): The continuation of the above-mentioned series, where we now see Stroud leading the new team of Invaders.
  • The Legend of Lady Freedom (2012): Her own solo series, part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch initiative, where she operates as a government-sanctioned intelligence agent fighting against supervillains and terrorists.
  • SPECWAR: The Stroud Identity (2008): A tie-in miniseries to the Death of Captain America storyline that reveals a great deal about Lady Freedom's as-of-then unexplored backstory, as well as her relations with Cap. Said past bits are framed by a story in the present day about Stroud hunting down Cap's killers to avenge his honor.
  • The Howling Commandos (2010-2012)
  • Ultimate Comics SPECWAR (2012)
  • SPECWAR: Sarah Stroud's Strike Back (2013): A prequel to the SPECWAR movie, focusing on Stroud's backstory in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Storylines

  • Dimensions at War: The finale story arc of the "SPECWAR" series, in which Stroud plays a major role.
  • The Death of Captain America: The aforementioned "Stroud Identity" miniseries was released during the storyline. She also goes on a manhunt to find the people that killed Captain America and make them pay for killing her mentor.
    • Captain America: Reborn: Cap finally returns to life, as Stroud and the SPECWAR team help stop the Red Skull from corrupting the newly-resurrected Captain for good.
  • New Heights: Lady Freedom's first trial by fire mission as the Commander of the New Invaders, wherein she and her team work to stop the Sons of Freedom from killing Jonathan Lacher, a high-ranking Homeland Security official.
  • Secret Invasion: This storyline featured Stroud and her SPECWAR teammates figuring in heavily on the Skrulls' ultimate defeat, with Lady Freedom even fighting a Skrull impersonator of Cap.
  • The Doomsday Clock: Lady Freedom & The New Invaders must stop a new Hydra, led by a demonically-powered Mr. X and Patrick Maxon, from destroying the world.

Film

Video Games

  • Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2012): Joins the playable character roster along with other new characters. She even also has Phil Coulson as an Assist Character for one of her Hyper Combo moves (albeit mostly just through a namedrop).
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012): Lady Freedom became a recruitable hero through completing Spec Ops 11: American Revolution, or by completing Cap's chapter in the Avengers Initiative iOS game 5 times without retreating.

Western Animation

  • Avengers, Assemble! (2013): Appears with the rest of her SPECWAR teammates in the episode "Homeland Security".

The adventures of Lady Freedom provides these tropes:

  • Action Duo: Lady Freedom and the President of the United States in Part Four of The Doomsday Clock, when the two have to work together in order to prevent the White House from falling to the hands of the HYDRA Liberation Army.
  • Action Girl: Goes without saying, really.
    • In her solo series, she regularly teams up with other female heroes in the Marvel Universe that definitely fit this trope.
  • All-American Face: Sarah's turn as "Lady Freedom" in The New Invaders probably counts, seeing as she's pretty much become a female Captain America. Wearing Cap's old outfit when he was Director of SHIELD, as well as using an energy shield that resembles the Mighty Shield prolly helps with that, too.
  • Alliterative Name: Our dashing heroine herself.
  • And This Is for...: In her fight with the Skrull Steve Rogers, Sarah lets loose with an impressive one:
    Stroud: This is for the American hero whose good name you tried to destroy, you star-spangled scumbag!
  • Appropriated Appellation: How she came to eventually use "Lady Freedom" as a codename, with Agent Coulson jokingly referring to Sarah as such in one issue of New Invaders.
  • Arch-Enemy: Mr. X, a former American hero-turned-terrorist.
    • In the Ultimate Universe, that world's equivalent of Moonstone becomes her archnemesis.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: This exactly how everyone's favorite Colonel-turned-Commander won the respect of her peers to be given command of the O*N*E.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Sarah regularly does this with Cpt. Colbert, and to a lesser extent, Captain America. And hell, even Mr. X on one occassion!
    • In one issue of her solo series, Stroud gets to pull this off with the President of the United States himself.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The first issue of The Doomsday Clock story ends with Patrick Maxon's HYDRA forces successfully capturing Cap and turning him to their side. Of course, it's just the first part of the arc.
  • Badass Crew: Stroud and the SPECWAR/New Invaders team.
  • Badass Family: The Stroud clan has proven their mettle through generations. Sarah obviously counts as an example, but then you've got:
    • Her parents Marian Kovac and Luke Stroud, who were formidable secret agents.
    • Also, her cousin Jen Lacher is an agent of SHIELD who worked with the "great" Phil Coulson and under the command of Steve Rogers.
    • Jen's brother, Jonathan Lacher isn't overly badass like her sister, but he still manages to hold his own when assassins (and demonically*enhanced ones, at that) come after him.
    • There's also U.S. Marine Major Missy Lacher, a World War II hero who actually fought alongside Cap and Peggy Carter.
  • Badass in Distress: Twice...
    • The first time was at the hands of Mr. X, who captured Stroud as part of a long strategy to destroy her reputation and break her at the same time. Fortunately, Sarah is tough enough to resist Mr. X's machinations, long enough for Team Alpha to make the save.
    • The second time involved being captured by the Empire of Earth-6325, and replaced by their world's equivalent of her. Again, Stroud refuses to let the enemy have their way, eventually escaping Empire captivity and meeting up with the Howling Commandos to coordinate a counterattack.
  • Badass Normal: She got Captain America to train her, people. Plus she's a former U.S. Marine.
  • Bat Family Crossover: The Doomsday Clock, which featured Lady Freedom and The New Invaders crossing over into a storyline featuring a newly demonic Mr. X and Patrick Maxon (the villain from the first issue of Lady Freedom) taking control of Hydra and declaring war on the world.
  • Battle Couple: Sarah and fellow SPECWAR teammate Captain Christopher Colbert. It's as awesome as you imagine it.
  • Battle in the Rain: She & Mr. X fighting off Empire forces on Liberty Island alongside Thor, who provides the rain and thunder to act as a distraction against the Empire's elite.
  • Berserk Button: Both Cpt. Colbert & Steve Rogers are very important to Sarah. One's her lover and SPECWAR teammate, the other's her mentor and confidante. Go after any one of them, and be prepared for an entire universe of hurt.
    • When Cap was believed to have been killed, Stroud went off the reservation and hunted down his assassins. She probably would've killed Sharon Carter had Stroud not come to her senses.
    • Note that this extends to the Captain America legacy itself, with attempts to tarnish said legacy a definite no-no on Sarah's list.
    "Go ahead. Y'might turn me into nothingness, but you are definitely not touching that shield."
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sarah's been on both sides of the coin, with her most memorable instance of saving the day being her return to Earth after months of being a prisoner of war in Earth-6325.
    • On the other end of the spectrum, the Iron Patriot drones flying in to save Stroud and the President from being overwhelmed by HYDRA Liberation Army forces in the White House is a gloriously satisfying moment.
  • Big Good: Especially in her new role as Commander of the New Invaders. This gets elevated in the Dimensions at War storyarc during the final volume of SPECWAR, where Sarah's return and subsequent leadership in the Dimensional War is pivotal in turning the tide against the Empire of the Light.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: She doesn't have superpowers, but Sarah did train under Captain America upon being recruited to the O*N*E. As a result, she's one of the few people on Earth that can match Cap in a hand-to-hand battle without superpowers. Plus, Sarah can also pull off the ricocheting trick with Cap's shield.
  • Braids of Action: How Stroud's hair looks like in her recent appearances. She's even depicted with braided hair in Marvel Avengers Alliance.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Stroud fights a brainwashed Captain America in the second part of The Doomsday Clock. Luckily, she wins and restores Cap back to normal as the issue ends. In the fourth part, the President's Secret Service detail are brainwashed thru Mr. X's new demonic powers and attack both the President and Lady Freedom.
  • Breakout Character: She's practically evolved from a generic action girl soldier to the most iconic character of the SPECWAR franchise.
  • Captain Patriotic: Sarah as Lady Freedom.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: All those years spent training with Cap could only lead to good things for Sarah.
  • Chest Insignia: Her Lady Freedom outfit has the white star inside a circle with white stripes extending from each side of the circle.
  • Cliffhanger: "Case Incomplete", as opposed to the "Case Complete" that ends non-cliffhanger issues.
  • Cloning Blues: Pops up when Mr. X returns with Agent Orange, a clone based on the identity that Sarah took on while infiltrating HYDRA.
  • Clothing Damage: Not generally the case for Sarah, but the first we see of her in a prison on Earth-6325, her BDUs have suffered some slight damaging.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Obviously not Sarah herself, but Agent Miles Wilco of the Anti-Terrorism Command's support staff fits the bill.
  • Code Name: The downright patriotic "Lady Freedom", which Sarah adopts in 'The New Invaders'.
  • The Comically Serious: Cmndr. Stroud herself, usually towards the antics of the aforementioned Agent Wilco as well as Phil Coulson.
  • Colonel Badass: By the time SPECWAR Volume 2.0 rolls around, Sarah's a Colonel, and she's badass. This lasts until....
    • Commanding Coolness: ....New Invaders, where Sarah is promoted to Commander of Team Delta, as well as Director of O*N*E.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Sure, Sarah can beat down enemies with relative ease thanks to years of training with Cap, but she's definitely not above kicking enemies in the groin or playing dirty when the situation calls for it.
  • Compelling Voice: The Spin Doctor has this ability, though it can only be manifested thru television or radio broadcast signals.
  • Composite Character: Her Ultimate Universe counterpart, Jennifer Stroud, shares her traits and surname with Earth-616's Sarah Stroud, uses "Warbird" as her codename (taken from Earth-616's Carol Danvers),and the Super-Soldier elements are an original concept created for Ultimate Comics SPECWAR. The program she's brought into is also codenamed "Project: Winter Soldier".
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Frederick R. Taney, the current chairman of Roxxon Energy and the brains behind the company's "Crusaders".
  • Costume Copycat: Upon taking up her post as O*N*E Director, Sarah dons an outfit that's quite similar to the uniform that Steve wore as SHIELD Commander.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Stroud hands a Skrull Captain America copy one hell of an ass-kicking during the Secret Invasion arc. Never impersonate the man that she idolizes.
    • The beating was so immense that Bucky Barnes (then serving as Cap, seeing as Steve Rogers was "dead" at the time) had to restrain Sarah from attacking the Skrull some more after she knocked him into unconsciousness.
  • Dark Action Girl: She takes on the appearance of "Agent Orange" in order to infiltrate a HYDRA sect during SPECWAR Vol. 1.0.
    • In her solo series, she takes on villains like Miss Cash of the Roxxon Crusaders, Superia, a returning Agent Orange, and the Red Widow (an evil counterpart to Black Widow).
  • David vs. Goliath: Sarah going up against a gargantuan Empire mook in the issue featuring her daring escape from a prison camp, and prevailing on the account of, well, being trained by Captain America.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sarah does have her moments of snarkiness.
  • Deflector Shields: She's got one that looks like Cap's Mighty Shield (both the circular one and the original scalloped shield from WWII).
  • Despair Event Horizon: Stroud's reaction over Cap's death. She not only suffers a Heroic BSOD, she also goes on a reckless revenge mission to find the culprits behind the killing of her mentor. Lucklly, she comes to her senses before she can kill Sharon Carter over her role in the assassination.
  • Determinator: Sarah is probably one of the more definitive depictions of this trope in the Marvel Universe, outside of both Spider-Man and Captain America. This narration in one issue is telling proof of why:
    Lady Freedom: Agh. No. Get up. Come on, Sarah. Surrendering was never in your vocabulary before, and it won't be here.
    • Being trained by the latter definitely helped forged her own reputation as a never-surrender soldier.
  • Die Hard on an X: Issue 9 (Part 2 of The Doomsday Clock) is Die Hard in the White House, as Lady Freedom and the President attempt to fend off the demonic HYDRA forces.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Much like her teammates, she's definitely no slouch in defeating more powerful enemies that could easily kill them all. Defeating an all-powerful demon who feeds off of human nightmares is the crowning acheivement of this.
  • Distaff Counterpart: In New Invaders, it becomes quite clear that Sarah is pretty much a female Captain America, right down to the Commander wielding a facsimile of his iconic shield, and adopting an equally-patriotic codename in "Lady Freedom".
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Much like his appearances in the New Invaders issues of The Doomsday Clock, Patrick Maxon loves to interrupt broadcasts to make his addresses to America.
  • Enemy Mine: She had to team up with Mr. X during Dimensions at War to fight the Empire's forces on Liberty Island.
    Sarah: If we let the Empire take over the world, you're likely not getting a chance to kill me. So, like it or not, we're in this together. But if you try to backstab me, better hope your insurance's paid up.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first we see of Sarah in SPECWAR is a scene of her taking down five HYDRA mooks by herself, in "two seconds flat", as the narration says.
    • In her very first acknowledged appearance as Lady Freedom, she makes a grand entrance to save the President and the First Lady from a rocket fired at their direction.
    "Mr. President, I suggest you and your First Lady get out of here as soon as possible, 'cause things are about to get real messy."
  • Evil Counterpart: Mr. X, a recurring villain in SPECWAR, is explicitly portrayed to be Sarah's Evil Counterpart. Like Stroud, X was considered one of the best up-and-coming soldiers for the SPECWAR program, but a combination of factors led X to go rogue.
    • In Lady Freedom, we're introduced to new villains Colonel Capitalist and Red Widow. The former is essentially a corporate version of Cap, and the latter is an evil version of Black Widow.
  • Evil Twin: In The Howling Commandos, we're introduced to an evil alternate version of Sarah from Earth-6325, home of The Empire of the Skull.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Many elements of her backstory (her association to Captain America, the Lacher family, etc.) weren't introduced in her initial appearances, only coming later on as the series progressed. The four-issue miniseries, SPECWAR: The Stroud Identity, especially sheds even more light on her origins.
  • Expy: In some ways, Sarah could be considered as Sharon Carter if she took even more levels in badass than usual.
    • Marine One, the U.S. Marines' own attempt at creating a Captain America for their branch, is essentially an expy of The Shield from Archie Comics.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Sarah is accused of pulling one in the latest storyline in SPECWAR Vol. 4.0 (supposedly giving some secret O*N*E files to some bad guys). Though it's an evil alternate version committing the acts, as she's been replaced and imprisoned on Earth-6325.
  • Fastball Special: Sarah gets the flippin' Hulk to toss her onto a giant Empire mecha in the climax of Dimensions At War. Yes, you read that correctly.
    Lady Freedom: Hey, "Big Green", how's your throwing arm?
  • Foil: In a way, the Commander acts as a heroic foil to Captain America. Both are tied to a strong sense of patriotism to the United States and have strong leadership qualities. However, whereas Cap is calm & collected when leading in battle, Sarah can be abrasive and headstrong at times, even letting her emotions get the better of her in some instances.
  • Follow the Leader: An in-universe example with U.S. military branches all setting out to create their own super-soldiers for their respective divisions in an attempt to create symbols not unlike Cap.
  • Four-Star Badass: The USMC issued Sarah the rank of Brigadier General to go along with her promotion to Commander of O*N*E as thanks for her years of saving the world on countless occassions.
  • Gendered Outfit: Averted with her use of Captain America's "Super-Soldier" costume, as it looks pretty much the same as when Steve wore it as Director of SHIELD, save for some minor differences..
  • Generation Xerox: Stroud shares a lot in common with her Soviet spy mother (her inherent asskickery and espionage experience), and her WWII war hero aunt (her patriotism to America).
  • Genre Savvy: Sarah can sense that something is off with Cpt. Colbert quite easily, much like how Colbert can sense something's not on the level with her.
    • She also manages to verbally fend off a potential alien invasion by pointing out to the would-be invaders that her team has fought off a potential Skrull invasion, saved the world from a dream-based demon, and the fact that there are other highly-powerful beings that would be more than happy to deal with the aliens.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In the tie-in issue to Age of Ultron, the O*N*E Headquarters is close to being overwhelmed by the Ultron drones. This forces Stroud to initiate the Prometheus Protocol, which involves activating the base's self-destruct sequence to prevent any unwanted intruders from compromising it. This essentially explains why Stroud sacrifices her life to stop the attack on the base.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Once New Invaders begins, Sarah is well aware that new approaches have to be taken in order to defeat new and dangerous threats to humanity.
    • She exhibits this herself too during Cap's death, where she's understandably trying to avenge him, but goes about it by nearly killing her targets.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: In addition to being the head of the Office of National Emergency, Stroud serves as a sanctioned operative of the Department of Homeland Security's Anti-Terrorism Command.
  • Guns Akimbo: Her default combat style before wielding an Energy Shield in her recent appearances.
  • Hate Plague: A part of Maxon's plan to tear apart the United States involves carpet-bombing American populaces with a biochemical that incites violent behavior in people. He naturally attempts to bomb Washington D.C. with this hate-inducing biochemical, which ends up affecting nearly everyone in the nation's capital, save for Lady Freedom and the President of the United States.
  • The Heart: As evidenced by her disappearance during the Dimensions at War mega-arc, the SPECWAR team without Sarah isn't a pretty sight at all.
  • Heel Realization: She isn't really a villain, but Stroud realizes that in trying to avenge Captain America's death, she'd turn herself into the exact same person that she vowed to never become if she killed Sharon Carter for her role in Cap's assassination. As such, she decides not to kill Sharon and hears her out.
  • Heroic BSoD: She suffers one during SPECWAR Volume 2.0 after Nightmare divulges the truth about her parents' deaths. Of course, Sarah does get better and proceeds to help in beating the demon.
    • Sarah again endures one after finding out that her mentor, Steve Rogers, was apparently murdered. Naturally, it leads to her snapping and personally going after the assassins.
  • Heroic Spirit: Even when Nightmare had a hold of her earthbound body, she just refused to attack her SPECWAR allies, while her ethereal form worked with Bucky in the Dream Dimension to to stop the dream demon's plot.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Sarah's romance with red-headed Chris Colbert in an interesting gender-flipped version.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Sarah and Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers.
  • I Have Many Names: Stroud's various nicknames and aliases include: Sarah Kovac, Jane Thornhill, Sarah Carson, Sarah Stephenson, the Star-Spangled Lass, Agent Orange, Star-Spangled Sarah, and the Maiden of Liberty.
  • I Let Will MacArthur Die: Cpl. William MacArthur served in the same unit as Sarah in a mission prior to the start of the series, and was killed by a group of mutated soldiers.
    • We see her also react to Captain America's death very negatively, causing Stroud to go on a revenge mission to find and kill the people that assassinated Cap.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Captain Marvel skips the convincing and just uses her photon energy to snap Stroud out of Purple Man's mind control.
    • Played straight for Lady Freedom in The Doomsday Clock when she has to fight Captain America, who's been brainwashed by HYDRA. Stroud knocks Cap on the head with his own shield to restore him back to normal.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Stroud's energy shield, modified SOCOM pistols, as well as the Tactical Recon Armor.
  • Instant Costume Change: Her "Super-Soldier" uniform can change from her dress uniform to combat mode in an instant.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: So damned much, that she can match Cap's shield aiming skills, including the ricocheting trick.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Even when faced with the increasingly complex world around her, she refuses to break.
    • Not that Stroud's completely infallible, though. When faced with something like Captain America's untimely death (but not really), she can fall off the slippery slope and become everything she strives herself not to be.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Lady Freedom", which Sarah ends up adopting as her codename, incidentally.
  • Indy Ploy: For when there's just no strategy for our gallant Commander to utilize...
  • Interservice Rivalry: A lot of Stroud's (being a U.S. Marine) interactivity with Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel and a member of the U.S. Air Force, falls under this category.
    • In contrast, Stroud is a bit more respectful when talking with Lt. Col. James Rhodes (War Machine, also a U.S. Air Force vet), which makes sense, considering that the two are teammates in the Invaders.
    • A more serious example pops up when Colonel Capitalist (ex-Navy SEAL) calls Lady Freedom a "Marine washout".
    • It's notably averted when she's talking with Lt. Col. Noah Abrams (leader of the USAF's Iron Patriot squadron) during The Doomsday Clock, since there's far more important things at the moment for them to be focusing on.
  • Invisible President: Averted. The Point One prelude to The New Invaders shows Stroud saving President Obama from a HYDRA squad out to kill him.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The first issue spoils the final few issues of SPECWAR, particularly the new development of Stroud becoming Director of the O*N*E.
  • Luckily My Energy Shield Will Protect Me
  • Made of Iron: Definitely in show during the extended arc of her escaping from the Empire's concentration camp, where she endures punishment that would've probably killed a normal person.
  • Majorly Awesome: Sarah started out as a Major, but got promoted as the series went on. Her aunt Missy Lacher was a major with the U.S. Marines during World War II.
  • Mercy Kill: Sarah reluctantly kills a heavily mutated prisoner before he turns into a monster that could go on a rampage.
  • Military Superhero: Very much the case in her role as Lady Freedom, despite not having actual superpowers.
  • Mirror Match: Sarah's fight with her evil mirror universe self in the latest SPECWAR Volume 4.0 issue, and yes, it's as awesome as you imagine it. How does Stroud win? She switches up her fighting style to something more like Cap's, and proceeds to school her evil version in one hell of a fight.
    • While trapped in Nightmare's dream realm, Stroud is faced with an twisted doppelganger of herself (based on the time she was vengeful in reaction to Cap's death) that the dream demon created to combat her.
  • Mirror Universe: In issue 6, Stroud is shunted into an alternate world where Spider-Man is a villain who rules New York City with an iron fist (and we're not talking about the hero).
  • Mission Control: The nameless support staff of the ATC act as this for Lady Freedom.
  • My Greatest Failure: The aforementioned failure to save Will MacArthur, especially since it was revealed that Mr. X had a hand in the poor Corporal's death.
    • She also saw Captain America's death as a failure on her part to protect her mentor. It's a good thing that he was Not Quite Dead, then.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Mr. X just ranting and ranting about how he'll disgrace the Colonel and not exactly in a hurry to kill her, allows for Sarah to have enough time to stall for her teammates to save the day.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Stroud's vicious (but rather righteous) beating of a Skrull impersonating Cap during the Secret Invasion storyline. It took Bucky forcibly restraining Sarah to get her to stop from pummeling the Skrull!Cap to death.
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero: Despite operating under a flamboyantly patriotic codename and wearing an equally flamboyant star-spangled outfit, Sarah doesn't have superpowers. Though, years of training and serving as a soldier has helped her gain enough experience to get by.
  • No-Sell: Of all the people affected by Nightmare during his attempt in corrupting the American Dream, Sarah seems to have the most success in resisting the demon's influence.
  • Odd Couple: Sarah seems to have this kind of relationship with Phil Coulson in The New Invaders, seeing as she personally asked Coulson to act as the Invader Initiative's liason to the United Nations.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Anti-Terrorism Command seems to just consist of Stroud and about eight other staff members, three of whom are given names. Also, none of them are shown to be field operatives like Stroud is.
  • Official Couple: Sarah and Captain Chris Colbert.
  • One-Woman Army: Holy. Freaking. Shit.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Missy" Lacher. Her actual first name's unknown, by the way.
    • In the backup story of Lady Freedom #3, we learn that Missy's actual first name is "Emma".
  • Our Presidents Are Different: in one alternate universe visited in the second story arc in The New Invaders, Stroud is the President of the United States, with her own team of Secret Service Super-Soldiers backing her up.
  • Overranked Soldier: She's given the rank of "Brigadier General" (O-7) by the U.S. Marine Corps despite being relatively young. It's somewhat justified due to her being given that rank on the grounds of her years of service as part of SPECWAR, having saved the world on countless occasions.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her parents were murdered by the Winter Soldier, leaving Sarah to be placed under the care of the Strategic Scientific Reserve.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Sarah is close friends with Steve Rogers, and owes a lot to Steve for helping her become the elite soldier that she is.
  • Popularity Power: Allegedly the reason why Sarah has been closely tied to Captain America in recent stories.
  • Powered Armor: The Tactical Recon Armor for Lady Freedom. Fellow hero Marine-One also has this.
  • Real Life Superpowers: Being trained by Cap aside, Stroud has the skillset one would expect after extensive years of military training and service with the Marines.
  • Recurring Element: Stroud fighting against evil Cap copies. To wit:
    • Secret Invasion featured her combatting against a Skrull impersonating Cap, subsequently kicking his ass.
    • A story arc in SPECWAR Vol. 2 had Stroud encounter a twisted illusion version of the (then deceased) Steve Rogers, along with a similar doppelganger of her while trapped in Nightmare's dimension.
    • She's also fought the Oppressor from Earth-6325 various times.
    • Lady Freedom has her fighting against Colonel Capitalist of Roxxon's Crusaders, who's essentially a corporate version of Cap. Of course, Stroud decidedly lampshades this:
      Stroud: Okay, just how many fake Caps are out there?
    • Then we see this taken to the next logical level in The Doomsday Clock, wherein Stroud fights Cap himself, though he's brainwashed by HYDRA.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: She's headstrong, aggressive, and determined, in direct comparison to Cap's calm demeanor.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Sarah, her parents, and Major Missy Lacher.
    • The Lachers (Jon, Jennifer, and Missy) deserve special mention, as they were introduced in the first arc of 'The New Invaders', with no indication that Sarah even knew who they were in the issues that came before the arc.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Stroud's mission to avenge Cap's death by finding and bringing the assassins behind his supposed murder to justice.
  • Rogues Gallery: L.F.'s gallery consists of foes like Mr. X, Red Skull, the Corporate Crusaders, ULTIMATUM, the mysterious Red Widow, the Purple Man, and the latest incarnation of the Hate Monger.
  • Save the Villain: She decides to save Mr. X from a contingent of Empire mutant super*soldiers in one issue.
    Sarah: Consider this your "Get out of Jail Free" card, X, 'cause right now we've got a group of other*dimension terrorists that both want us dead.
    Mr. X: How ironic. You're willing to compromise your moral compass just to fight off the enemy.
    Sarah: Stow it, before my vengeful side decides to override my gesture of kind mercy.
  • Secret Identity: Averted. While she's referred to "Lady Freedom" by various others, Sarah doesn't bother with concealing her identity. Fitting, considering that she's the head of a U.S. government agency.
  • Semper Fi: She apparently had a brief tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps.
    • "Missy" Lacher, a soldier who was a part of the SSR's Operation: Rebirth, also was one of the only female Marines fighting during World War II.
    • Marine Sergeant John Mitchell, also known as Marine-One, the USMC's secret weapon.
  • She-Fu: Sarah notably averts this.
    • Since becoming Lady Freedom, though, Stroud has integrated a lot more acrobatics into her fighting style, which goes along with her quasi-transformation into a female Cap.
  • She's Back: After a prolongued stay in Earth-6325, Sarah returns to her own world in style, being a key player in preventing the Empire's attempted take over of Earth-616, as well as beating ten shades out of her evil twin. Plus, she saves Colbert from being nearly killed by the Overlord.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: In her mission to find Cap's killer, Stroud nearly kills Sharon Carter for being the second shooter in the assassination, but soon comes to her senses after realizing that's not what Steve Rogers would've wanted at all. Sharon also explaining that she was brainwashed by Dr. Faustus when she shot Cap also helped bring Stroud around.
  • Sharp Dressed Woman: With her new role as Director of the O*N*E and New Invaders Commander, she wears her dress uniform as often as her "Super-Soldier" combat outfit.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A variant cover to Lady Freedom #1 pays homage to the iconic Hitler-punching cover of Captain America Comics #1, with Sarah taking the place of Cap on the cover. Instead of Hitler getting punched, it's Mr. X on the receiving end of Stroud's fist.
    • In Marvel Avengers Alliance, Lady Freedom has the Freedom Prevails passive (which grants her the ability to ignore all resurrection and avoidance effects when attacking) and the Final Justice LV 6 move. Both moves are named in tribute to Cap's appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom games.
    • In that same game, she also gets an alternate uniform based on American Dream, the female Captain America from the Marvel Comics 2 universe.
    • A lot of Patrick Maxon's mannerisms are partially inspired by the depiction of the Mandarin seen in Iron Man 3. He even uses similar methods of hijacked broadcasts to deliver messages to the American public.
  • The Smurfette Principle: She's introduced as the only significant female character on Team Alpha, though she's joined by others as the series continues on.
    • The Lady Freedom series goes out of its way to avert this trope by having the title hero often working alongside other female heroes.
  • Spotting the Thread: Stroud notices that the Secret Service agents were a bit too eager to bring her and the President to a safe room, realizing that the agents might be a bit too trigger happy to guard the President.
  • Spy Catsuit: Once when Sarah infiltrates HYDRA as "Agent Orange", and then again when she gets a new outfit, along with the rest of Team Alpha. She ultimately replaces this with a suit based on Steve Rogers' "Super-Soldier" outfit in The New Invaders.
    • Her Ultimate Universe counterpart, an Agent of SHIELD, wears an impressive red-white-blue one.
  • The Spymaster: More or less, her role as both O*N*E Director and the top operative of the Anti-Terrorism Command.
  • The Squadette: Mjr. Missy Lacher, USMC, who served as the only active female Marine on the frontlines during World War II.
    • It's justified due to her role with the Strategic Scientific Reserve, being a key staff member of Operation: Rebirth.
  • The Strategist: One of the Marvel Universe's best tactical minds, alongside her star-spangled mentor.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Just because she's had years of training doesn't mean that she's not against bringing some firepower to fend off superpowered foes.
  • Super Soldier: Her portrayal in the SPECWAR movie seems to imply that Sarah could be a super-soldier in the vein of Captain America. In the Ultimate Marvel universe, she truly is a super-soldier, thanks to Russian superscience.
    • The tie-in comics to the film pretty much spell it out, having Stroud as a prime candidate for Project: Legacy, the U.S.'s attempt to continue the Super-Soldier program in the 80s.
    • A running subplot in her solo series seems to involve branches of the U.S. military creating their own super-soldiers for their respective services.
  • Thematic Rogues Gallery: Sarah, and by extension, her teammates in the Invaders, tend to fight enemies who are either superpowered terrorists or direct threats to the American way of life. This in addition to the supernatural and paranormal threats they now encounter.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Comes with the territory of being trained under the tutelage of the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Yes, Sarah was already badass enough, but once more of her backstory was revealed (especially the fact that Cap trained her), she became even more badass.
  • Training from Hell: Sarah is one of only two people who successfully got past the O*N*E's Tartarus training course.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: Sarah strikes this pose in the variant cover for New Invaders #1.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The head of the Empire's detention facility sure made a big mistake in assuming that Sarah was of no threat to him and his personnel.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Stroud doesn't have superpowers and she certainly doesn't have the benefits her mentor has from the Super-Soldier Serum. That doesn't stop her from kicking ass, however.
  • Weapon of Choice: Once she gets promoted to Commander of the New Invaders, she gets an energy shield that's pretty much a copy of the Mighty Shield.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Roxxon Crusaders' aim is to bring the U.S. Government under the control of its parent companies to rid Capitol Hill of corruption and partisan politics. It doesn't help their cause when they're run by companies filled with undoubtedly corrupt businessmen that are probably far worse than the people in government.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Colbert decidedly calls out Stroud for being no better than someone like Mr. X while she's on her quest to avenge Cap's assassination.
  • Wolverine Publicity: She's practically become the face of the SPECWAR franchise, appearing as a character in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Marvel: Avengers Alliance, and starring in both The New Invaders and her own solo title.

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