Citizen V

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Citizen V is the codename of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original Citizen V was an obscure hero from the Golden Age of Comic Books, but the character's identity was revived in the modern day in the pages of Thunderbolts. The various incarnations of the character have usually been affiliated with an organization called the V-Battalion. The "V" in the character's and group's name is the letter "V" - as opposed to the Roman numeral 5 - and is derived from the World War II-era slogan "V for Victory".

Fictional character biography[edit]

John Watkins[edit]

The original Citizen V was John Watkins, an Englishman who assisted the resistance in Nazi-occupied France.[1] He led a group of freedom fighters called the V-Battalion, the membership of which included Paulette Brazee, also known as the She-Wolf. He was killed in action by Baron Heinrich Zemo, and Paulette took up the Citizen V identity.[2]

Paulette Brazee[edit]

The second Citizen V was Paulette Brazee, the French lover of John Watkins and mother of his son JJ Watkins. During the war she was a spy sent to romance Baron Heinrich Zemo. Paulette betrayed Heinrich and eventually discovered she was pregnant. When John Watkins and the majority of the V Battalion were slaughtered by Heinrich the remaining survivors had Paulette smuggled to England. There Paulette met a red-headed soldier and married. After the V Battalion was reconstituted in 1951 Paulette was given the role of Citizen V. The V Battalion began hunting down Nazi war criminals and was allowed to place their secret headquarters Castle Masada in Symkaria. In 1953 Paulette was sent on a mission to Argentina to find Nazi scientist Johann Weimer and bring him to the V Battalion so they could use his skills for them. Weimer was murdered by one of the Everlasting, a group of gods who had frequent run-ins with the V Battalion.[3]

John Watkins Jr.[edit]

John "JJ" Watkins Jr. is allegedly the son of John Watkins Sr and Paulette Brazee (however an affair between Paulette and Baron Heinrich Zemo had been implied). In 1953 he was nine years old so he was presumably born in 1944. JJ's father died before he was born. His mother was often away on missions as Citizen V during his childhood. JJ was primarily raised by nannies employed by the V Battalion. In 1971 JJ asked the Shadow King for his help in researching the Everlasting. JJ died when his son John Watkins III was two years old.[4]

Baron Helmut Zemo[edit]

Main article: Baron Zemo
Helmut Zemo as Citizen V. Art by Mark Bagley

The supervillain Baron Helmut Zemo took the name Citizen V for his imposture as a super hero when the Avengers and Fantastic Four were thought to be destroyed by Onslaught. He also claimed to be the grandson of the original Citizen V. Helmut took the name as an ironic taunt due to his father's murder of the original. Helmut assembled former members of the Masters of Evil, and they all changed their costumes and codenames and pretended to be the Thunderbolts the world's newest team of superheroes. As Citizen V, Helmut used his leadership and fighting skills to successfully pose as a superhero team. Eventually Helmut exposed himself as a villain and using bio-modem technology stolen from the Enclave he began to take over the world using the new security clearances his team had been given but was defeated by the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the Thunderbolts who turned against him (all but Techno). The battle ended with Helmut's space station being destroyed and Helmut receiving a severe beating by Moonstone but being saved by Atlas. This marked the end of Helmut's tenure as Citizen V and he went back using the name Baron Zemo. Helmut would eventually come into conflict with a new female Citizen V who was actually Dallas Riordan, the Thunderbolts former liaison to New York City's mayor's office.

Eventually Zemo had the opportunity to play Citizen V for a second time. After a battle with Scourge (aka Nomad) Helmut was beheaded. Unknown to him, Techno had played a prank on Helmut where his body was injected with bio-modem technology after the beating he received from Moonstone. Techno arranged for Helmut's mind to end up in the comatose body of John Watkins III the grandson of the original Citizen V. Ironically, Helmut—who had originally lied about being the grandson of John Watkins—now found himself to actually be that grandson. Helmut took back the identity of Citizen V and due to a deal worked out between the V Battalion and the CSA he began recruiting members for the Redeemers. As Citizen V he soon discovered that Baron Strucker was the mastermind that manipulated Gyrich into sending Scourge to kill him. Helmut got his revenge by chopping off Strucker's hand and impaling his daughter Andrea when she deduced his identity.

Helmut returned to the Redeemers but they were soon wiped out by Graviton. Helmut escaped the battle but perhaps due to Watkins' influence he came back to fight Graviton with a reassembled Thunderbolts. The battle ended with the Thunderbolts being sent to Counter Earth. The V Battalion had tried to teleport Citizen V away and were successful but due to a fluke Helmut's mind wasn't transported with Watkins' body and Helmut found himself trapped in Fixer's tech pac (later he had Fixer place his mind into the younger body of his Counter Earth counterpart).[5]

Dallas Riordan[edit]

Main article: Dallas Riordan

Dallas Riordan was the Thunderbolts' liaison to the office of the Mayor of New York.[6] The Mayor of New York had wanted to capitalize on the Thunderbolts' popularity after the Avengers and Fantastic Four had died during their fight with Onslaught. Dallas soon began dating Thunderbolt member Atlas. Dallas was devastated when the Thunderbolts were revealed as villains. Dallas was fired by the Mayor of New York, but was soon offered a job with the V Battalion by Roger Aubrey. Vengeful for what the Thunderbolts did to her, she agreed to be the new Citizen V and soon confronted Baron Zemo at his base in Mexico and later in South America alongside Captain America. Initially, Dallas wore a padded uniform identical to Zemo's purple-tinged Citizen V costume, and appeared to be male. After Captain America deduced her true gender from the way she moved in combat, Dallas stopped disguising her gender and donned a new uniform without the purple tint.

Dallas soon went after the Thunderbolts and encountered Hawkeye. Too busy trying to deal with the Crimson Cowl's weather machine, he refused to deal with Dallas. Shamed by Hawkeye Dallas decided to help stop the Crimson Cowl's weather machine but was knocked unconscious when she tried to do so. When the Crimson Cowl was defeated she teleported away and teleported Dallas into her costume. Dallas went to jail for the Cowl's crimes and was far too bitter to admit the truth to the Thunderbolts. Dallas was rescued from jail by the V Battalion. When she tried to track down the Cowl she instead ran afoul of the Imperial Forces of America (a group unknown to her to be funded by Helmut Zemo).

Dallas parted ways with the V Battalion when they ordered her to assassinate Henry Gyrich who had been a victim of the mind controlling nannite conspiracy orchestrated by Baron Strucker. Dallas went to the Thunderbolts for help but was abducted by the Crimson Cowl. The two fought a long battle and Dallas was left paralyzed after falling off a bridge.

John Watkins III[edit]

John Watkins III was raised to be Citizen V. Presumably he served as a field agent for the V Battalion before he actually took the title of Citizen V and was left comatose for five years. When Helmut's mind was placed in Watkins' body he was remarkably healthy for someone who had been in a bed for five years.

When Helmut was no longer in Watkins' body Watkins decided to change costumes and stayed on as Citizen V. He soon found himself fighting the Everlasting. He installed ULTIMATUM as the leader of the country Rumekistan but that was a decision which later came back to haunt him. Later under the holographic guise of Nenad Petrovic, Watkins orchestrated events to make Cable leader of Rumekistan.

There is a mention in Citizen V (vol. 2) that John Watkins, III is the seventh Citizen V.

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

An Ultimate Marvel counterpart of Citizen V appeared in Ultimate Origins. In 1942, at Battle of the Tenaru, an American super-soldier (a normal GI dressed in a special uniform) rallies his men in the face of a Japanese onslaught. However, the soldier is shot and killed, his blood staining the American flag. A photograph of this image is released around the world, and then-President Roosevelt demands a true super-soldier from his advisors, rather than a normal soldier wearing a special uniform. His real name is never mentioned, but it's assumed to be John Watkins, Sr.[7]


  1. ^ Daring Mystery Comics #8
  2. ^ Avengers/Invaders #1-12
  3. ^ Citizen V and the V-Battalion Everlasting #1
  4. ^ Citizen V and the V-Battalion Everlasting #1
  5. ^ Thunderbolts #1
  6. ^ Thunderbolts #1
  7. ^ Ultimate Origins #1 (June 2008)

External links[edit]