Full Name: Jack Freeman
Occupation: Green Beret, former drug dealer
Mutant Abilities: Ability to adapt his body to survive in a wide range of environments and gain a temporary burst of strength and enhanced durability
History: For Jack Freeman, he has lived two lives. There is the life he had before he became a Green Beret and an accomplished soldier and the life he had after it. And for much of his adult life, Jack has been trying to distance himself from his first life.
He was born to a teenage mother in San Francisco. His mother was a self-professed hippie who ran away from home when she was 14-years-old and lived in various hippie communities where she immersed herself in drug-fueled promiscuity. The identity of his father is not known, but his mother appeared to have gone through an emotional breakdown shortly before she became pregnant. This breakdown persisted after she gave birth and was often negligent of Jack as a child. While she would eventually emerged from her breakdown and try to raise her son, she didn’t appear to put in the necessary effort. This created a distant relationship between her and Jack, which persisted for most of his life.
For most of his early life, Jack followed his mother through various hippie communities and public housing projects. Much of his early years were filled with poverty due to his mother’s inability to hold a job. So in order to provide for them, she often sold drugs to supplement their income. This created an environment of drug-fueled decadence and irresponsibility. At times, Jack had to remind his mother and her fellow hippies to pay certain bills to prevent their utilities from being cut off. He gained a reputation as being a “major buzzkill” around his mother’s hippie friends, which led him to distance himself from her even further.
Because of this, he was forced to raise himself for much of his early life. Everything from tying his own shoes to cooking his own meals had to be learned on his own, but he often proved to be a slow learner. This showed when he began attending school. He was a poor student who struggled with complex tasks. However, he frequently resisted letting others help him and often clashed with authority figures. While he was rarely violent or confrontational, he frequently got in trouble and his mother rarely disciplined him.
It got to a point where social services threatened to take Jack away from his mother. This prompted his mother to finally clean up her act, at least temporarily. She and Jack moved to an apartment away from the hippie communities where she started her own business, running a hippie apparel shop. This provided her and Jack with a more comfortable life, but by then the damage had been done. Their relationship was beyond repair.
As Jack entered his teen years, he spent less time with his mother and more time forging his own path. He started hanging out with street gangs and adapting to a new life. And since his low academic skills gave him few options and resources, he utilized the one skill his mother did teach him and began dealing drugs. At 15, he began dealing to various athletes at his school and local college students. This allowed him greater autonomy and led him back to a world of drug-fueled decadence. He handled it better than his mother, adapting better to the inherent dangers and avoiding the mistakes he saw others make. This adaptability became his greatest strength and would later manifest in his mutation.
When he was 16, Jack was hanging out with some of his customers at a dock near the San Francisco Bay on a cold winter day. After becoming intoxicated on marijuana, they became uncoordinated and he fell into the water with two others. While they suffered severe hypothermia, Jack emerged unaffected. He later discovered that he had adapted his body to survive the cold water. A doctor at his school later identified this as a mutation. Since Jack didn’t understand it, he kept it a secret. However, he explored it on his own and learned that this ability gave him a wide range of skills. He could adapt to breathe under water, make his skin tough enough to stop a bullet, and gain a quick burst of strength. This power is what led him to cut ties with his mother completely.
By the time he was 18, he had already been held back two grade levels and dropped out of school. In addition, his mother’s drug use relapsed and she became more distant. Once legally emancipated, Jack moved out. Using the money he made from selling drugs, he bought a pickup truck and began selling drugs all throughout San Francisco. He was a one-man operation, rarely getting involved in major drug operations or gangs. And because of his mutant powers, he was able to survive and thrive in this dangerous trade. He learned more street smarts and also became more violent. He learned how to fight and defend himself from attacks from police, gang members, and unruly customers. His powers ensured he could enjoy the fruits of being a drug dealer for as long as he wished. He lived as he pleased, did what he want, and had no authority figures bothering him. However, this life eventually left him disenchanted and bored.
Then one day he met an old war veteran named Lenny Romita, to whom he sold drugs. He was an affable and somewhat off-beat drifter who befriended Jack and told him stories about his colorful life. He spent most of it in the military and had served in Vietnam. He had also been diagnosed with lung cancer and was almost completely broke because of the medical bills. Yet for some reason, he was happier than Jack had ever been. Being in the military and being a soldier gave his life meaning. Since he and Lenny had a similar upbringing, Jack started contemplating a different path for his life. Then the day came when Lenny’s cancer caught up with him and he died while staying in Jack’s apartment.
The day after Jack attended Lenny’s funeral, he enlisted in the military. At the time, mutants were banned from all militaries under an international treaty. This didn’t stop Jack from bribing his way in and taking advantage of low recruitment numbers in his area. For the first time in his life, he had a sense of order and discipline that he never knew growing up. Because of his powers and physical abilities, he thrived in basic training.
However, he frequently clashed with his commanding officers the same way he clashed with all authority figures. He also had a habit of not working well on a team, earning him the ire of his fellow soldiers. But because of his physical skills, he managed to start training with Special Forces units. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep his mutant status secret through the intense training. When one of his officers discovered that he could breath underwater, he was immediately sanctioned and faced criminal charges. This led him to cross paths with General Nathan Grimshaw.
At the time, Grimshaw was an obscure but highly respected General with a great deal of influence. He saw Jack during a visit to a base California and saw potential in him. After meeting with Jack, he used his influence to keep him in the military. He even helped Jack continue his Special Forces training, eventually attaining the rank of Green Beret. Because of his influence, Jack came to see General Grimshaw as a father figure. He was the only authority figure he respected and the only officer who would give him a chance on missions.
Under General Grimshaw’s leadership, Captain Freeman was deployed to various war zones all over the world. He specialized in infiltrating from hostile environments, his adaptive body giving him an advantage that no other soldier had. His skills along with the General’s tactical abilities made them a valuable team. For years, they ran numerous successful operations. Being a soldier gave Jack a sense of identity and purpose, which resonated with him profoundly. However, he continued to struggle with notions from other soldiers and officers of his mutation being the reason for his skills. This ensured he remained distant from many of his fellow soldiers. He also distanced himself from mutant issues. But that all changed when General Grimshaw launched a bold new mission aimed at confronting mutant threats.
As part of this bold mission, Captain Freeman carried out a daring mission under the alias, Renegade, to infiltrate Magneto’s citadel on Genosha and steal his helmet. This operation set the stage for Grimshaw’s new initiative, which Captain Freeman is expected to be part of. The extent to which he’ll participate and how much his mutant status will affect his role remains to be seen.
Character Breakdown: Jack Freeman is a man who is rarely comfortable in his own skin. He never cared for his previous life in San Francisco and because of that life, he still feels out of place as a Green Beret. He spent much of his life seeking an identity while often despising the one he has. This is leaves him dissociated and distant, creating a personality that is mired in uncertainty and inadequacy.
Jack Freeman is also an outsider. For most of his life, he didn’t develop any strong attachments to others. He never had a father growing up and his mother was ill-equipped to deal with him or the many other issues they faced. Being immersed in a culture of deviance and irresponsibility made it difficult to develop strong social skills. However, it did help him develop a sense of “street smarts” or intuition. This ability is what allowed him function on his own both as a drug dealer and later as a soldier. Between this and his mutant powers, he prefers to function on his own rather than rely on others. Aside from General Grimshaw, he is very untrusting and prefers to rely on his own wits.
However, his wits are handicapped by his low intelligence. In addition to not developing social skills, Jack Freeman did not develop strong academic skills. While he shows a willingness to learn, he has difficulty processing complex issues. It causes him to more readily resort to violence rather than reason. This has helped him as a soldier, but it also forces him to rely on others for tactics, which is partly why he hold General Grimshaw in such high regard.
But while his low intelligence and inclination to fight make him a deadly soldier, he is not impulsive. And in his striving to distance himself from his former life, he is also highly motivated. He seeks to be more than the man he once was and constantly works to improve himself. This helped him break away from the irresponsibility and the deviance of his former life while giving him the tools he needed to succeed as a soldier. In some ways this is reflective of his mutant ability to adapt and become durable. While confronted with many difficult circumstances in life, he is able to adjust himself accordingly to rise to the challenge.