Parsons Family

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Most well known in the world of Sentinel Comics for the role of Legacy in the world of superheroes, the Parsons family history is significant enough to warrant its own explanation.

Unlike the vast majority of heroes in Sentinel Comics, the super powers enjoyed by the Legacy line of heroes are not unique to an individual. Most human characters with super powers are a result of a one-off event, whereas the Parsons family extends back generations.

Family History

In the early days of the American Revolution, Joseph Parsons, an apprentice of silversmith and revolutionary Paul Revere, discovered that he had an ability to sense when danger was imminent and could act upon it. Indeed, his ability to notice danger was instrumental in prompting Revere's famous ride to warn of the British forces prior to the battle of Lexington and Concord. Joseph continued to use his newfound "danger sense" to avoid many hazards and prevent catastrophes throughout the war and eventually settled down in Philadelphia, PA.

Later, when Joseph's son was born he was named Paul in honor of Joseph's mentor. As young Paul grew, he discovered that he had inherited his father's ability to sense danger, but also appeared to naturally be in exceptional athletic condition. Seeing this potential in his son, Joseph made sure to instill in his son a sense of duty to help others, ultimately seeing Paul serve the young nation in the War of 1812.

This trend continued, with each generation's hero's first child inheriting the powers of his predecessors while also developing one of his own. In addition to passing on a suite of powers, each also passed on the set of heroic ideals and a family heirloom - a simple silver ring, crafted by Paul Revere for Joseph, with an inscription along the inner band that reads "Furthering Your Father's Legacy".

Further traditions included instilling a sense of duty and patriotism as well as a naming convention as a long line of Pauls began.

Paul's son was Paul Parsons II, also known as "Lucky Paul Parsons" in that he didn't serve in an active military conflict like his ancestors and progeny would, although he still performed heroic deeds. His power was an unnatural level of speed - nothing like what would be seen in the modern era by heroes such as Meredith Stinson, but still impressive.

Paul Parsons III fought in the Mexican-American War and possessed superhuman strength.

Paul Parsons IV fought in the Civil War and could perform the occasional feat of astounding durability. He proved able to entirely negate an attack or other hazard, such as catching a cannonball without injury. This seems to take some internal reserve of power that needs time to recharge, though, as it cannot be relied upon to prevent injuries from incidents that happen in quick succession.

Paul Parsons V moved his family to Chicago, IL from Philadelphia and fought in the Spanish-American War. His new power was a great vitality and robust constitution. He seemed to age slower than usual, would recover from injury or disease faster, and could perform feats of endurance such as holding his breath for 10s of minutes or longer.

Paul Parsons VI fought in World War I and developed the ability to fly. Additionally, he was the first member of the family to take up a special name for himself. Drawing inspiration from the ring that had been passed down over the generations, he called himself Legacy.

Paul Parsons VII fought in World War II and, like his father, used the Legacy identity during his wartime service. He developed exceptionally keen eyesight. In addition to fighting normal soldiers on the front line, his experiences also involved new threats in terms of mad scientists like Fyodor Ramonat who was working for the Nazis. Following the war, he continued fighting crime as Legacy back in the states. He is eventually killed by Ivan Ramonat, the son of Fyodor, who ushers in a new era of threat - the Supervillain.

Paul Parsons VIII breaks the long tradition of military service. While he continues his family's tradition of patriotism and serving the public good. Rather than taking part in military actions between belligerant nations, he focuses on the new threat of independent Supervillains. He marries his college sweetheart, Emily Evans, and the family moves to Megalopolis, CT. Additionally, during his lifetime the number of exceptional heroes also increases dramatically and he becomes something of an inspirational figure and de facto "leader" of the superhero community and, as part of a government-affiliated program, the literal leader of the hero team known as the Freedom Five. His power is a more reliable form of injury prevention - he has bulletproof skin. Paul VIII also manages to accomplish something none of his predecessors did: survive until retirement. While not necessarily dying in a war, all of the previous members of this line of powered Parsons died in the line of duty as heroes. Paul VIII lived to pass on the mantle of Legacy and active heroics to his only child, taking up a more administrative role at the Freedom Academy and serving as the United States' representative to the international hero organization, G.L.O.B.A.L.

Pauline Felicia Parsons is the first woman to inherit the family powers. She follows in her father's footsteps as a costumed superhero under the Legacy name. Her new power is the ability to project powerful beams of energy from her eyes; for the first time giving the line of heroes an ability to engage with threats at range. Before her father's retirement from active heroics, she was also notable for being an active hero while her father was still using the Legacy name and maintaining a secret identity in her private life as Felicia Fields. This lets her attempt to make her way in the normal world without banking on her family's reputation. As the current Legacy, she maintains an active presence on the team known as the Sentinels of Freedom.

Behind the Scenes

Unbeknownst to most people, if not everyone, the source of the Parsons family's powers was cosmic in nature. The largest threat the planet, an indeed the entire Multiverse, ever faced was the cosmic entity known as OblivAeon. Other beings of similar scale worked to oppose OblivAeon's plans, and one of these was Wellspring, Singular Entity and the Prime Aspect of Progress.

As a Singular Entity who could operate across realities and at various points in time, Wellspring enacted a plan to allow for heroes to be present at the time of conflict with OblivAeon. It was Wellspring who set in motion the process of Joseph Parsons gaining a power and his descendents each inheriting those possessed by their predecessors as well as gaining a new one.

The line could be broken. If the inheritor of the powers were to die before having a child of their own, there would be no further Legacies.

The Metaverse

The European theater of World War II began in 1939. The US isn't involved in the war at first, but some people already wonder why we aren't, including some comic book publishers. The idea these people come up with is to make up a superhero character who can be a soldier (and obviously one who'd be as American as possible), but one who can really make a difference.

Sentinel Comics created Paul Parsons VII and began publishing his adventures as the hero Legacy in Justice Comics #1 from May 1940.

For the first batch of issues there's not really an idea of super-villains, mostly just enemy soldiers. They want to introduce antagonists that represent actual threats and are more interesting (otherwise why isn't our American hero just winning the war on his own). We get a handful of mad scientist types who are developing stuff for the Nazis (augmented soldiers, etc.), but they're mostly on-offs who don't appear again. We do eventually get Fyodor Ramonat, a weapons developer making death machines for the Nazis (war Zeppelins and walking tanks, for starters).

In Justice Comics #40 from August 1943, we get one of the few face-to-face confrontations between Legacy and Fyodor in a weapons plant. This story resulted in the facility blowing up and Fyodor's death and sets up the first appearance of Baron Blade in JC #61 in May '45 who wants to avenge his father's death (although the first few appearances of this character it's not immediately apparent that he's the son of Fyodor Ramonat). As the real war wound down, the writers needed new reasons for Legacy to be fighting, so they introduced this new threat - somebody who's got his own troops and death machines unrelated to the German Wehrmacht. This sets the stage for heroics outside of a war context that would become the standard in superhero comics.

In this era the Justice Comics writers had been working with this flying, super-strong guy without much in the way of explanation as to why he could do these things. As was somewhat common in old comics, there would be some new ability introduced to get him out of whatever situation he was in with the justification being given later. For example, they could have him survive getting hit by some big single attack with some throw-away speech given afterwards ("Good thing I have that thing that lets me prevent one big attack") but he's also shown actively working to avoid gunfire. It's not until issue #66 in October '45 that the writers finally bother inventing the backstory involving all of the previous Parsons men who had powers and how the powers are passed on. However, the explanation of Wellspring being behind everything could not be established until the OblivAeon event itself was in development in the 2010s.

With that background finally established, Justice Comics #77 introduces Legacy's wife and teenage son. The story for the issue involves the young Paul getting kidnapped and Legacy trying to find him. Legacy finds his son, but only after he had his latent powers activate and he dispatched the villains himself.

Additionally, the popular Legacy character had been appearing in a regular radio serial and other forms of media for some years now. This version of the character had some notable differences from how his comics counterpart had been portrayed, but was turning out to be very popular in his own right. This resulted, ultimately, in a decision to have the Legacy character in the comics adopt some of these features by the means of having Paul Parsons VIII replace his father in the costumed hero role.

This new Legacy would be a major feature in Sentinel Comics from his taking up the name in 1948 until shortly after the end of the OblivAeon event and the line-wide relaunch in the spring of 2017. Given how much of a reset in the status quo the OblivAeon event was for Sentinel Comics, it was a good opportunity to finally pass the torch again, leaving Felicia Parsons as the active Legacy.