The Many Faces of Statesman
When I asked the community for ideas for future content they would like to see there was one idea that I had been toying with for a while, an explanation of who Statesman is and the many faces and names that are thrown around in the community when talking about him. After all, there are the different characters but there is also the developer who used the Statesman name. This can all be quite confusing, especially for a newcomer. So that’s why I’ve sat down to take a look at the many faces of Statesman. Obviously, there will be spoilers for the events that take place in City of Heroes so if you aren’t at least caught up to the last content that was published in the game before shutdown you may want to tread carefully.
Statesman is the equivalent of Superman in the City of Heroes universe. He was one of the first heroes of Paragon City and much of the game’s lore revolves around him. When the mask comes off he is Marcus Cole, a loving Grandfather to Ms. Liberty, who stands in the courtyard of City Hall to help young heroes level up. Yes, he looks like a spry younger man but Statesman was born well over a hundred years ago. As a young man, he was in the first World War where he was exposed to mustard gas and grew quite ill. Instead of going home he teamed up with his best friend Stefan Richter to find the fabled Well of the Furies. The two men gained incredible superhuman powers but they would go down very different paths as Stefan became Lord Recluse. His full origin story is explored in the novel The Web of Arachnos which is a very enjoyable read and I recommend any City of Heroes fan give it a read. You can also find out more about Statesman’s history and that of the Freedom Phalanx in the novel The Freedom Phalanx.
Unfortunately, any talk about Statesman from this point on is spoiler-filled. So, if you don’t want to know what has become of Statesman since the launch of the game please skip down to the next section on Tyrant.
Statesman was the co-founder and leader of the Freedom Phalanx until his death. In 2002, when the Rikti invaded Earth Statesman rallied heroes and took charge of an attack. At the climax of the war he led a thousand heroes into battle, 800 of whom did not survive. He is one of the Surviving Eight, a group of prominent heroes who survived the Rikti War and dedicated themselves to helping Paragon City.
Until his death, he could be found in Independence Port recruiting for the Statesman’s Task Force in which he sent heroes to fight his old friend Lord Recluse. His death takes place in the Signature Story Arc called Who Will Die?
After these events his Granddaughter Ms. Liberty took over his position in Independence Port as the contact for the Statesman’s Task Force now called the Ms. Liberty Task Force or MLTF. If you’re interested in reading more I recommend Statesman Deserves Better, an opinion piece on Statesman’s legacy in City of Heroes.
Praetoria is ruled by Marcus Cole, the Emperor of Earth. After he brought an end to the Hamidon Wars he created what he called a perfect utopian society for any who followed him, Praetoria. His official bio was incredibly well written and I know I couldn’t do a better job of explaining him so please, give it a read. I promise you that even seasoned players will learn something new.
Born into poverty in the poorest district of Shroud City, Marcus Cole was destined for greatness that would defy his humble origins.
In the aftermath of the Great War, Cole discovered a source of power that would change him and the world forever; the Well of Furies. Infused with the power of the gods, Cole was the first of many super-powered individuals to be seen in the world. War changed, supers were the new heroes of war, and they fought on both sides of every conflict. Cole was unstoppable, for a time.
The invention and use of atomic weapons would change the course of history forever. The deployment of supers in war had already escalated conflicts to a point where conventional weapons were becoming worthless. Against Cole, no amount of bullets could stop him, no fighter plane could out run him, and no armor plating could resist him. That would no longer be the case in the Korean War. Cole was on the ground in Korea and it looked like even he couldn’t stop the Reds and their supers from overrunning the Americans. General MacArthur had one option left to him. “Nuke ’em!”
A lot of things changed that day. Even though a Communist reprisal attack destroyed the city of Los Angeles, America won the war, but at such a great cost. Millions were dead, thousands of American troops and dozens of her supers were killed by the blast from their own bomb. But some would say, worst of all, Cole was nowhere to be found.
Cole was thought to have been completely atomized in the explosion. He let the world think that, for he was disgusted with what he had seen first hand, the power now wielded by petty common men. He turned his back to those he’d championed and sacrificed so much for and wandered the earth, looking for a new purpose. The world had their new weapons; they’d work things out or kill each other off, whichever came first. As it turned out, the world had a plan of its own.
Years had passed when Cole re-emerged onto a semblance of civilization somewhere in the Australian outback. The title of Time Magazine caught his eye, “The End is Nigh: Will MacArthur nuke Shroud City?” Cole raced back to his home, but it was too late, the power of the atom destroyed Shroud City and countless citizens in a nuclear fireball.
Furious and confused, Cole confronted now President MacArthur and demanded an explanation. MacArthur, briefly shocked by the revelation that Cole was not dead, did so. A new threat had appeared, all across the world, a threat that no super could defeat and no weapon could stop, except for the bomb. They were dubbed the Devouring Earth, and the consumption of mankind was their agenda.
Cole’s return to the world stage gave mankind its first ray of hope in years. If Cole survived the atomic blast in Korea, then surely he was more powerful than the Devouring Earth creatures. Cole set forth to combat this new enemy that had driven humanity to the verge of self annihilation at the hands of their own nuclear weapons. He was the other solution.
The world was at war. Even America did not escape unscathed. The Devouring Earth launched a surprise joint attack on Washington D.C. and NORAD, destroying the capital, killing President MacArthur, the Vice President, and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cole vowed to avenge this attack, to discover what hateful intelligence had beheaded them, for it was now apparent that these creatures were cunning, and he meant to destroy every last one of them. He had no idea that this brief speech to America’s people would get him elected as the next president by a staggering 98%.
Cole swept a swath through the creatures, driving them from city after city, restoring hope and rallying supers behind him. It was bitter, grisly work, but Cole had once again found his calling. In a year’s time Cole and America’s Super Corps had stopped the Devouring Earth dead in their tracks, at least, in America. At the same time the rest of the world was fighting a losing war, and the detonation of dozens of nuclear weapons only seemed to kill off more of humanity and simply enrage their enemy. Desperate, the world’s refugees flooded into America, hoping that Cole could protect them.
Cole addressed what was left of the United Nations Security Council. In that momentous speech, Cole spoke of the Roman Empire, and how in times of greatest peril, Rome would elect one man to lead her people and armies against their enemy. Divided, said Cole, they would fall, but united in this conflict they would triumph. Cole, careful to silence cries of dictator, stated that he would not pursue this role, he needed to be on the front lines. The Council exploded into conflict, nobody could agree on who should become the Consul, everything descended into petty bickering, all of which was of little consequence given the nature of the looming threat.
Only Cole’s booming voice would silence the delegation. It was at that moment that it all became crystal clear to everyone in the assembly. Only Cole could truly lead mankind against this, their greatest threat. He took the office grudgingly. Never one for details, Cole delegated many of his tasks to more capable commanders in the world’s combined Super Corps. He dubbed this new fighting force the Praetorian Guard. Cole’s mandate to this new force was that they were going to cut off the head of whatever was leading these monsters.
A massive combined strike by the Praetorian Guard against hundreds of concentrations of Devouring Earth appeared to do the trick. At first it was rumors, but then there was proof positive evidence. A giant monster had appeared somewhere in South America and was destroying every Praetorian Guard unit that encountered it. Entire cities were being leveled and the thing was moving steadily north toward Central America. When it crossed into Mexico, the Mexican government let loose with a small, but devastating stockpile of nuclear weapons they had purchased from America. They had no effect.
This was what Cole was destined for. Not wishing to see more of his Praetorian Guard killed, he went alone to face off against the beast. It was to be a showdown that would be remembered for all time.
The battle was brief, and at first indecisive. Cole’s attacks seemed to damage the creature, but the same physiology that had rendered it immune to the combined effects of a half dozen nuclear weapons were able to easily deal with Cole’s powers. Likewise, Cole proved too tough for the flailing tentacles and claws to do much more than swat him around, but Cole would recover just as quickly. Desperate to kill the beast, Cole called upon a reserve of energy he had only ever suspected lie within him and unleashed a devastating bolt of power that nearly laid the beast low. Now he had its undivided attention.
The creature quickly healed the injury and then responded by projecting a tangible beam of psychic energy at Cole, rendering him as helpless as a rag doll. A battle of wills ensued, and the world held its collective breath for what seemed like hours.
Then, with a clap of thunder, the energy field around Cole shattered and the great beast shuddered, lumbered away, and then collapsed. Cole had defeated the beast, but he had also learned much more from his brief joining of minds.
The effect was palpable to the world. Devouring Earth attacks decreased dramatically, and in some places halted all together. The world had turned a corner. The people cried out for the creature to be killed, and Cole agreed completely. However, nothing they did would kill the creature. It seemed to be tied to the Earth itself. The best they could do was contain it.
With the Devouring Earth threat destroyed the world began to return to its normal state of affairs. The mass exodus around the world combined with roaming clouds of radiation left much of the world uninhabited and ripe for reacquisition. Nations fell into fighting amongst themselves as they began carving the world up into territories once again. Borders were ignored and alliances were forgotten.
Once again, Cole spoke to the world, but this time he spoke not to its leaders, but to its people. He told them that they had come too far, survived too much, grown too close to simply let their leaders throw it all away. Cole explained that he had a plan on returning the Earth to the way it once was, better in fact. He had tamed the beast now known as Hamidon – a creature tied to the very Earth itself. This creature could be used to heal the Earth of all the ills mankind visited upon her. The charred ruins, the polluted waters, even the radiation zones could be cleansed, but to do that, he needed all the people of Earth to trust in him to lead the way to a new brighter future.
It worked, the people demanded that their leaders follow Cole, whether they liked it or not. Some spoke out while others openly resisted and were quickly crushed by their own citizens. The nations of the world dissolved and in a ceremony where Cole renounced his title of Consul to the people of the world, they gave him an even greater title, Emperor.
Over the next twenty five years, Emperor Cole did as he promised and more. The advancements accomplished without the threat of war and annihilation were wondrous. The devastated population of the world was replaced in a matter of years by a race of loyal robots that would become the backbone of the working force around the world – always ready to work, always on time, always precise, the Clockwork earned Dr. Raymond Keyes the Nobel Prize and a position in Emperor Cole’s advisory council of Praetors.
25 years after being crowned Emperor of Earth, the nuclear wastelands of the world have returned to lush forests and farmland, cities have modernized, and the oceans have been cleansed of their pollutants. The people of the world are clothed, fed and educated, while a workforce of diligent workers allow humans to pursue more joy and happiness in their lives. He has truly created a Utopia on Earth. Ever vigilant of his subjects, the Emperor and his Praetors protect the people from all outward threats, including Cole’s newest declared enemy, the breeding ground of villainy known as Primal Earth.
Emperor Cole is a savior, but others know there’s more to the story that isn’t written in the history books. Most citizens of Praetorian Earth respect him or even love him. Some who know the truth fear him, and fewer still dare to stand against the lies. No matter what he is called in the halls of power or history books, no one can stop the hushed whispers in the streets and back alleys of his empire where he is called by another name…Tyrant.
Imperious is the deposed ruler of Cimerora who asks for aid from outsiders after the Kingdom is taken over. He looks quite similar to Statesman and even has similar powers. Many of the contacts in Cimerora look just like heroes from Paragon City. Imperious is the contact for the ITF, the Imperious Task Force, one of the most popular task forces in the game.
I’m fairly certain that there is a law in fiction that states if you can go to multiple dimensions then there must be a dimension that is ruled by the Nazis. City of Heroes is no exception to that rule. Reichsman is Statesman from this alternate dimension where the Nazis won World War II, in fact, he helped them invade the United States. To get the full story we actually need to go all the way back to the first World War. Marcus Cole (Statesman) was dying from exposure to mustard gas. To save his life he set out to track down the Well of the Furies. You can read about his origin in the prime universe in the novel The Web of Arachnos. But this is where things go very differently for the Marcus Cole who will become Reichsman. Rather than gaining power and becoming a force of good Cole was corrupted and took on the name Reichsman. You can come face to face with Reichsman in the Barracuda Task Force as well as the Dr. Kahn Task Force.
Statesman the Developer
Each of the developers who worked on City of Heroes who was the head of a department or would be put in front of the players was given a Hero or Villain name. Rather than referring to people by their real names, these hero names were used instead. You could also find them on the official forums for City of Heroes. Statesman was the name that City of Heroes lead designer Jack Emmert who also co-founded Cryptic Studios, the original creators of City of Heroes used.
These days Jack Emmert is best known in the City of Heroes community as being the person responsible for a number of unpopular updates to the game. To this day the City of Heroes community has a lot of hatred for him and many will go so far as to say that they won’t play any game he is involved with. Despite all of this Jack Emmert continues to be part of City of Heroes community groups and show his love for the game he helped create.
What did he do that was so terrible that people still speak ill of him all these years later? Most notably he was the developer in charge during the Global Defence Nerf. The Global Defence Nerf was a set of changes made in Issue 5, all the way back in 2005 that made it so players got less from defense buffs and were also less likely to be hit. Specifically, nearly every power in the game that gave a defense bonus had that bonus reduced by 3/5ths. This change was nearly universally hated and 15 years later it is still being talked about.
After City of Heroes was sold to NCSoft Jack Emmert along with the rest of Cryptic Studios started work on Champions Online. He was also the Online Producer for Star Trek Online. Currently, he works for Daybreak Game Company as the head of the studio responsible for DCUO and a game that is rumored to be a Marvel MMO.
Shortly after the shutdown of City of Heroes was announced Jack Emmert spoke about the game fondly at a panel at PAX East saying among other things that City of Heroes should never die.