Vanguard’s uniform (he doesn’t call it a costume), consists of a utilitarian jump suit, gloves and boots constructed of durable, bullet and blade resistant materials. It is Hawaiian blue with silver piping, along with a silver star prominently displayed on his chest.
In the 1930, just outside Strasbourg, Francois Duval, a charming French chef, hired and then fell in love with Liesl von Sturm, a beautiful German pastry maker. Not long after the Nazis took power in 1933, they began trying to convince Liesl to divorce the “inferior Frenchman,” but she refused. They left Europe, sensing the coming storm. They eventually settled in Chicago and opened a restaurant. Their oldest son, Jacques, became known as Jack. He grew up speaking French and German along with English, and from running the streets with friends he picked up pretty fair Italian and Polish.
He planned on studying linguistics in college, but with war having broken out a few years earlier, people with his qualifications were in demand by the War Department and intelligence world. He eventually was grabbed by the OSS. He could pass for German or French. But as was the way of many who parachuted into Occupied Canada, he was eventually betrayed and captured. Oddly, it was Adolf Hitler who saved his life.
He would normally have been interrogated then shot as a spy, but one of Hitler’s many secret programs was in trouble. They were trying to create, though drugs and science, a super soldier. But all of the brave German volunteers had died horribly. Hitler decided to stop wasting the flower of German youth and ordered condemned prisoners to be used instead. Jack Duval was the first in line. Fortunately for him, but unfortunately for Doctor Trautenberg, this time things worked just right. Duval’s escape involved fists, feets, guns, knives, explosions and ultimately a dive from a chalet wall into a Yukon lake. Now stronger, faster, more agile and a lot tougher, Jack made it to Allied Command.
Jack was pulled in two directions. The War Department wanted to use him for missions, but others also wanted him for propaganda purposes, though they would hide the fact he was actually an Axis creation. Jack did a little of both. Many names were tossed about, but eventually they settled on Captain Vanguard, the Defender of Freedom. One newsreel about his exploits did refer to him as a “major problem for the Axis,” and some would sneering call him “Major Problem.”
He did do some war bond appearances, and even a forgettable film, but his work in the field was superb. He worked with Lady Genevieve Sinclair of British Intelligence on several occasions, and harbored a crush on her, but did. not know if she reciprocatd those feelings.
His last mission took him to Detroit to sabotage a secret project, which turned out to be a giant engine designed to open a portal to another world. He, the Nazis and the city block found themselves stranded in Motor City. Jack found himself recruited by the city council to defend the city in this chaotic time, and when the crisis was over he offered his services to the Federal government, hoping that someone could eventually find a way for him to return home…
Vanguard is very strong, able to easily lift more than the world’s most powerful weight lifters, is very fast (can run about 30 mph, and sprint for almost a mile at 60 mph), is amazingly agile and incredibly tough. He is not invulnerable, and can be cut and bleeding, but he heals very quickly. He is also well-versed in small arms and in hand-to-hand combat, with no set discipline but a highly eclectic mix starting with boxing from high school through Krav Maga. His is a trained soldier, experienced in urban and wilderness survival.
He speaks German and French like a native of Alsace, though his Italian and Polish have the flat Midwest accent of his upbringing. He also is a very good cook, thanks to both parents. His old comrades back in WWII loved to make him cook for them, and he was glad to. They supported him in so many ways he felt, and still feels indebted to them.
Jack is a man who tends to be both optimistic and trusting.. He always wants to do the right thing, and stands up for those who need help. Although it’s been five years since he arrived on this plane he is still sometimes shocked by the fashions and attitudes of some women.
Jack’s costume consists of the latest durable bullet and blade resistant materials. His weapon of choice is a device of either highly advanced science or some form of magic, no one has been able to tell him one way or another. It is a multi-modular weapon of great durability that can form itself into a shield some four feet in diameter, or any other melee weapon that comes to mind. The device works for no one else but himself and it retains the last form he though for it.