American Eagle (Marvel Comics)
American Eagle's new look, from Thunderbolts #114,
artist Mike Deodato
|First appearance||Marvel Two-in-One Annual #6 (October 1981)|
|Created by||Doug Moench (writer)
Ron Wilson (penciler)
|Alter ego||Jason Strongbow|
|Team affiliations||Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, sturdiness, and senses
Carries a crossbow which fires special bolts
American Eagle first appears in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #6 (October 1981), by writer Doug Moench and penciler Ron Wilson. In the story entitled "An Eagle from America!" Strongbow gains superhuman powers and becomes American Eagle. He joins with Thing, Ka-Zar, and Wyatt Wingfoot to defeat Klaw.
The character subsequently appears in Contest of Champions #1, 3 (June & August 1982), Incredible Hulk vol. 1 #279 (January 1983), and Rom #65-66 (April 1985-May 1985). He makes several appearances in stand-alone stories in Marvel Comics Presents vol. 1, including issues #27 (September 1989), 128 (May 1993), 130 (June 1993), and 147-148 (February 1994). The story "Just Another Shade of Hate", in issue #27, is its first solo adventure where American Eagle defeats the Peace Monger.
The American Eagle is not seen again for some time until his appearance in Thunderbolts #112-115 (May 2007-August 2007) where the writer Warren Ellis and the artist Mike Deodato Jr gave him a new look. American Eagle appears in his own digital comic on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited published Nov. 12, 2008. Titled American Eagle: Just a Little Old-Fashioned Justice, it is an eight-page story written by Jason Aaron with art by Richard Isanove. This eight-page digital story was later printed in Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #1 (2009). He plays a big role in the story "Homeland" in War Machine vol. 2 #6-7 (2010) written by Greg Pak. He appears in Heroic Age: Heroes #1 (November 2010) and Fear Itself: The Home Front #5 (October 2011).
American Eagle received an entry in the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1, in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #1, in The Marvel Encyclopedia (2009) and in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A To Z Update #2 (2010).
Fictional character biography
Jason Strongbow is a member of the Navajo Nation who was born in Kaibito, Arizona. He attempted to stop a mining company from excavating a mountain sacred to his tribe. He discovered that the villain Klaw was in league with the mining company. Klaw needed uranium to augment his sonic powers. Strongbow's brother Ward did not agree with him about preserving the mountain. Inside the mine, an argument erupted between the brothers and Klaw which led to violence. During the fight, Klaw used his sonic blaster on the two brothers. Somehow, a combination of the sonic energy of the blast and the exposure to the uranium gave both of the Strongbow brothers enhanced physical abilities. Klaw fled with his crew and Ward to the Savage Land in hopes of gaining vibranium to augment his powers.
Jason emerged from the mine. Taking inspiration from a flying eagle, he took up the mantle of American Eagle. He followed Klaw to the Savage Land. There, he met Ka-Zar, Thing, and Wyatt Wingfoot. The four joined forces and defeated Klaw and his minions. During the battle, Ward was shot and killed by one of the miners.
American Eagle returned to become a champion of his tribe, subsequently identified as the Navajo Nation. Since his battle with Klaw in the Savage Land, he was among the heroes of the world gathered to take part in the Contest of Champions, he was among the heroes who gathered to honor the Hulk, and he was among the heroes who helped Rom the Spaceknight defeat the Dire Wraiths.
In his first solo adventure, the American Eagle defeated the Peace Monger and his Knights of Saint Virgil in Washington, D.C.. With the NYPD, American Eagle arrests his cousin Jimmy Littlehawk who - along with two friends - robbed a casino on the Reservation then left for New York City. He helped F.B.I. agent Dale Peck arrest Jonas Murphy, a mutant and a serial killer. With Detective Frank Ramirez, Strongbow stopped a drug ring led by a man named Sinner, who used children to sell his merchandise. Strongbow escaped execution by John Marshall, who stole land from Native Americans man and was later ruined through a real estate charge by American Eagle. With the help of Interpol, Strongbow lured Marshall and his soldiers into a trap.
After the Civil War event, Jason Strongbow confirms to his friend Steve Rogers that he is strongly against the Super-Human Registration Act, and is planning to fight Iron Man over it. He also bears a new costume with fewer stereotypically Native American attributes, including a leather jacket and a helmet resembling the head and beak of a bald eagle. It is his intent to prevent the Steel Spider from direct confrontation with an angry group of men from Jason's Navajo reservation by persuading the Steel Spider to ease up on his zealous vigilante act. By talking to Ollie, he hopes to defuse a time bomb of local violence just waiting to explode.
The Eagle finds the Steel Spider in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, as the Thunderbolts unexpectedly arrive. Ollie argues that they will try to kill him and replace him with "Some Good Government Worker". When the Thunderbolts eventually do emerge, Jason decides to ally himself with Steel Spider, shooting the team's leader, Moonstone, through the wrist with a crossbow bolt. After a prolonged fight, Sepulchre becomes involved, and the three defeat Venom, the Swordsman, Songbird, and Radioactive Man. Though the latter two wish to try to defeat them using the old team's methods, leaving Sepulchre and the Eagle, Moonstone orders that Bullseye cripple the Eagle in the same way he did Jack Flag. The issue ends with Songbird, Radioactive Man, Penance and Venom squaring up against Steel Spider, Sepulchre and Jason, in what Steel Spider describes as 'almost...a fair fight'. The Eagle ends up crippling Bullseye before making his escape.
A news reporter stated that because American Eagle lives on a Native American Reservation he is exempt from the Registration Act, and that the Commission on Superhuman Activities would take no action against him because of this.
During the Dark Reign storyline, it is revealed that Jason is hiding James Rhodes' mother inside the Navajo County. Norman Osborn later tries to convince him to subdue War Machine, besides he has no jurisdiction over Strongbow. Jason refuses to act for anyone other than the interests of the Navajo and fights together with War Machine against a "Giant Ultimo Head" Rhodes stumbled upon along the way to find the men behind the "Ultimo Virus" deployed in Acquiria.
Powers, abilities and equipment
American Eagle possesses superhuman strength, enabling him to lift (press) approximately 15 tons under optimal conditions. He also possesses superhuman speed, agility, stamina, and sturdiness as a result of radiation-induced mutation. Strongbow's bodily tissues are somewhat harder and more resistant to physical injury than that of an ordinary human. However, he is far from invulnerable. While he can be injured by weapons composed of conventional materials, he can withstand impact forces that would severely injure or kill a normal human with little to no injury to show for it. He can run at a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour for approximately 5 hours before tiring to an appreciable degree.
American Eagle's sensory organs have also been fortified by the radiation-induced mutation. Like his namesake, the Eagle, he has hyperkeen eyesight, able to see at 800 feet (240 m) what the average human being sees at 20 feet (6.1 m). His senses of hearing, smell, taste, and touch are approximately three times that of an average human being.
He also carries a crossbow which fires special bolts.
In Native Americans in Comic Books - A Critical Study, Michael A. Sheyahshe notes that while American Eagle "may have some inherent stereotypic issues, the fact that American Eagle's powers come from a non-ethnically based source (and not, say, the Great Spirit) marks a significant improvement for Indigenous characters."
For a character whose total appearances I could count on my fingers, not to mention having some of the worst costumes in the history of tacky superherowear, I felt American Eagle had such a tremendous potential within the Marvel U as a whole. With his strong identification to his Native American heritage and disaffected attitude towards the larger superhero community, he’s a principled man with his own brand of justice. Pair that with his bone-dry sense of humor and take-all-comers power set, he is a force to be reckoned with.
In an interview, Greg Pak, the writer of the story "Homeland" in War Machine vol. 2 #6-7 (2010), told that Jason Strongbow, aka American Eagle, is easily his "favorite reinvented character of the past decade." Indeed, the modern character has undergone some transformations compared to its appearances from 1981 to 1994. At the beginning, the Navajo hero was wearing a stereotypical costume with feather headdress and buckskin boots. When the writer Warren Ellis and the artist Mike Deodato Jr. used the character in Thunderbolts, its new look is composed of ordinary clothes, a leather jacket and a helmet resembling the head and beak of a bald eagle. In its first appearances, Strongbow was running under his own power, at the opposite the new version uses a motorcycle.
Other characters named American Eagle
World War II
There was an American Eagle before Strongbow took the mantle. Lt. Col. James Fletcher, a renowned battlefield hero of World War I in recent times became the security chief and trainer for Project: Rebirth. He was captured by agents of the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) and was tortured by the Master Interrogator. He refused to yield any information and committed suicide to avoid breaking under further torture. First appeared in Adventures of Captain America #1 (September 1991) and appeared through to issue #3 (December 1991) which depicted his death.
There have also been two incarnations of characters named the American Eagle in the Squadron Supreme:
- The first being Johnathon James Dore Senior, who was a member of the Golden Agency and a founding member of the Squadron Supreme. He is also the father of Blue Eagle. He first appeared in Squadron Supreme #1 (September 1985).
- The second incarnation, is the son of the original Squadron's American Eagle. The character debuted as a member of the team of superheroes called the Squadron Supreme in The Avengers vol. 1 #85 (February 1971) as American Eagle, then as Cap'n Hawk in The Avengers vol. 1 #148 (June 1976), and finally as Blue Eagle in Squadron Supreme #1 (September 1985).
- Green, Paul (2009). Encyclopedia of weird westerns: supernatural and science fiction elements in novels, pulps, comics, films, television, and games. McFarland. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7864-4390-1. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- Native American Superheroes: Author Michael Sheyahshe talks to C&I about the fine line between celebrating and stereotyping. by Steven Phelps
- Kiel Phegley (November 11, 2008). "Tuesday Q&A: Jason Aaron". Marvel.com. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- Shaun Manning (November 10, 2008). "Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited: Year 1". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
- Vaneta Rogers (October 23, 2008). "Marvel Digital: Jason Aaron Talks 'American Eagle'". Newsarama. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- James Hunt, (April 7, 2009). "Review Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #1". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- Greg Pak: Creating an Asian American Hero with The Citizen Newsarama
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1, Abomination To Avengers Quinjet (January 1983), p.8
- Native Americans in Comic Books: A Critical Study
- Doug Moench (w), Ron Wilson (p), Gene Day (i), George Roussos (colorist), "An Eagle From America!", Marvel Two-in-One Annual #6 (October 1981)
- Ward Strongbow at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Steven Grant, Mark Gruenwald, Bill Mantlo (w), John Romita Jr. (p), Pablo Marcos (i), "Chapter 4: Third Contest: Siege in the City of the Dead!", Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions #3 (August 1982)
- Bill Mantlo (w), Mark Gruenwald (p), Greg LaRocque (i), "Everybody Loves a Parade, Right?", Incredible Hulk vol. 1 #279 (January 1983)
- Bill Mantlo (w), Steve Ditko (p), P. Craig Russell (i), Rom #65-66 (April–May 1985)
- Scott Lobdell (w), Ron Wilson (p), Jeff Albrecht (i), "Just Another Shade of Hate", Marvel Comics Presents vol. 1 #27 (September 1989)
- Peace Monger at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- John Figueroa (w), Ron Wilson (p), Don Hudson (i), "The Hunter and the Hunted", Marvel Comics Presents vol. 1 #128 (May 1993)
- Jimmy Littlehawk at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- John Figueroa (w), Ron Wilson (p), Don Hudson (i), "Screams", Marvel Comics Presents vol. 1 #130, (June 1993)
- Jonas Murphy at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- John Figueroa (w), Ron Wilson (a), "Saints and Sinner", Marvel Comics Presents vol. 1 #147, (February 1994)
- Sinner at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- John Figueroa (w), Ron Wilson (a), "500 guns", Marvel Comics Presents vol. 1 #148, (February 1994)
- John Marshall at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Warren Ellis (w), Mike Deodato Jr. (a), "Faith in Monsters" (part 3), Thunderbolts #112 (May 2007)
- American Eagle reborn, August 11, 2008
- Warren Ellis (w), Mike Deodato Jr. (a), "Faith in Monsters" (part 5), Thunderbolts #114 (July 2007)
- Thunderbolts #115 Preview
- Warren Ellis (w), Mike Deodato Jr. (a), "Faith in Monsters" (part 6), Thunderbolts #115 (August 2007)
- CBR News Team (July 30, 2007). "A Storm is Brewing for the "Thunderbolts!"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- Warren Ellis (w), Mike Deodato Jr. (a), "Caged Angels" (part 1), Thunderbolts #116 (October 2007)
- Greg Pak (w), Molly Lazer, Mahmud Asrar (p), Nelson Pereira, Jeffrey Huet (i), "Homeland" (part 1), War Machine vol. 2 #6 (July 2009)
- Kevin Fuller (May 28, 2009). "War Machine #6 Review". IGN. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- Dave Richards (April 17, 2009). "THE OSBORN SUPREMACY: War Machine". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- Greg Pak (w), Mahmud Asrar, Allan Jefferson, R.B. Silva (p), Nelson Pereira, Jeffrey Huet (i), "Homeland" (part 2), War Machine vol. 2 #7 (August, 2009)
- Simon Spurrier (w), Jason Latour (a),"Red/White Blues", Fear Itself: The Home Front #5 (October 2011)
- Sheyahshe, Michael A. (2008). Native Americans in Comic Books - A Critical Study. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-3565-4.
- Shaun Manning (April 13, 2009). "Marvel Assistants Assemble!". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- Kevin Mahadeo (May 19, 2009). "Tuesday Q&A: Greg Pak". Marvel.com. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- Fabian Nicieza (w), Kevin Maguire (p), Adventures of Captain America #1-3 (September–December 1991)
- Mark Gruenwald (w), Bob Hall (p), John Beatty (i), "The Utopia Principle", Squadron Supreme vol. 1 #1 (September 1985)
- Roy Thomas (w), John Buscema (p), Frank Giacoia (i), "The World is Not For Burning!", The Avengers vol. 1 #85 (February 1971)
- Steve Englehart (w), George Pérez (p), Sam Grainger (i), "Right Between the Eons!", The Avengers vol. 1 #143 (January 1976)