City of Heroes' Statesman will face his newest villain, the mysterious Tyrant, in the upcoming Going Rogue expansion, for whom we have a detailed overview and a comic-worthy biography:
SECRET IDENTITY: Marcus Cole
AFFILIATIONS: The Praetorian Empire
POWERSETS: Invulnerability / Super Strength
WEIGHT: 225 lbs
DISTINGUISHING MARKS: None
Marcus Cole came from the streets of Shroud City with nothing to his name and ascended to ultimate power. He pulled the planet back from nuclear annihilation, ended the Hamidon Wars with his own indomitable will, and created a perfect Utopian society for his followers. Cole has had many titles in his long life: soldier, hero, president, consul, and for the last 25 years, emperor of Earth. A few see behind the veil of his seemingly perfect world and know him by a different name: Tyrant.
Born into poverty in the poorest district of Shroud City, Marcus Cole was destined for a greatness that would reach beyond 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 seen in the world. War itself changed with the ascendance of the super-powered, and supers become the new heroes of war. Supers fought on both sides of every conflict. With his strength and invulnerability, Cole was unstoppable for a time.
The invention and use of atomic weapons changed the course of history. The deployment of supers in war had already escalated conflicts to a point where conventional weapons were becoming worthless. No amount of bullets could stop Cole, no fighter plane could outrun him, and no armor plating could resist him. But on the ground in the Korea War, it looked like even Cole couldn't stop the Reds and their supers from overrunning the Americans. General MacArthur had one option left to him: "Nuke 'em!"
Many things changed that day when MacArthur ordered the nuclear attack. A Communist reprisal destroyed the city of Los Angeles, but America won the war-at great cost. Millions were dead, and the American nuclear bomb blast killed thousands of American troops and dozens of its supers. Worst of all (some said), Cole was missing.
Intelligence indicated that the explosion completely atomized Cole. But Cole had simply let the world think that, for he was disgusted with what he had seen firsthand, by the power now wielded by petty, common men. He turned his back on those he'd championed and sacrificed so much for and wandered the Earth, looking for new purpose.
Years passed, and one day, Cole emerged from the Austrialian outback to the outskirts of civilization. The headline of a 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 had destroyed Shroud City and countless citizens in a nuclear fireball.
Furious and confused, Cole confronted (now) President MacArthur and demanded an explanation. MacArthur, shocked by the revelation that Cole was not dead, explained. A new global threat loomed over the world, a threat no super-powered being could defeat and no weapon could stop, except for the bomb. This threat was the Devouring Earth, dubbed so because the consumption of humankind was its agenda.
Cole's return gave humankind its first glimmer of hope in years. If Cole had survived the atomic blast in Korea, then surely he was more powerful than the Devouring Earth creatures. Cole set his sights on this new enemy, an enemy that had driven humanity to the verge of self-annihilation at the hands of its own nuclear weapons. Cole was the only other solution.
The entire world was at war with the Devouring Earth. The Devouring Earth launched a surprise attack on Washington, DC, and NORAD. The attack destroyed the capital, killing President MacArthur, the vice president, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cole publicly vowed to avenge this attack, to discover what hateful intelligence had laid them low. It was now apparent that the creatures of the Devouring Earth were cunning, and Cole meant to destroy every 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% majority.
Cole cut a swath through the Devouring Earth 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 stopped the Devouring Earth dead in its tracks in America. At the same time, the rest of the world was fighting a losing war. The detonation of dozens of nuclear weapons killed off more of humanity and appeared only to enrage the 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 its people and its armies against its enemy. "Divided," said Cole, "humankind will fall, but united in this conflict, it will triumph." To silence cries of "Dictator!," Cole stated that he could not pursue this leadership role because he needed to be on the front lines. The Security Council exploded into conflict. No one could agree on who should become the consul. The members descended into petty bickering, distracting any of them from the looming threat.
Cole's booming voice silenced the Security Council. At that moment, it became clear to everyone in the assembly that only Cole could truly lead humankind against this, its greatest threat. Cole's appointment was immediately proposed, and 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 it was to cut off the head of whatever was leading the Devouring Earth monsters.
The Praetorian Guard attacked in a massive combined strike against the Devouring Earth, obliterating it. However, it was soon apparent that that the strike had not done the trick, as a giant monster appeared in South America. It began destroying every Praetorian Guard unit that it encountered. The monster leveled entire cities and was moving steadily north across Central America. When it crossed into Mexico, the Mexican government attacked with a small tactical stockpile of nuclear weapons it had purchased from America. The attack had no effect.
This challenge was what Cole was destined for. Not wishing to see more of his Praetorian Guard killed, he faced off alone against the beast. The battle was brief, and at first, indecisive. Cole's attacks damaged the creature, but the same physiology that had rendered it immune to a half-dozen nuclear weapons was able to deal with Cole's powers. Likewise, Cole was too tough for the flailing tentacles and claws of the monster to do much to him other than swat him around. Desperate to kill the beast, Cole called upon a reserve of energy he had not ever suspected lay within him and unleashed a devastating bolt of power that nearly laid the beast low. Now Cole had its undivided attention.
The creature quickly healed the injury and responded by projecting a tangible beam of psychic energy at Cole, rendering him limp and helpless. A battle of wills ensued, and the world held its collective breath.
Then with a clap of thunder, the energy field around Cole shattered, and the great beast shuddered, lumbered away, and collapsed. Cole had defeated the beast. He had also learned much from it with his brief commingling with its mind. The effect of the monster's death was immediately apparent to the world. Devouring Earth attacks decreased dramatically. In some places, they halted all together. The war had turned a corner. The people cried out for the creature to be killed, and Cole agreed. However, nothing anyone tried could kill the creature. It seemed to be tied to the Earth itself. The best anyone could do was contain it.
With the Devouring Earth threat ended, the world began to return to its normal state of affairs. The mass exodus around the world, combined with drifting clouds of radioactive fallout, left much of the world uninhabited and ripe for conquering. Nations fought among themselves as they began carving the world up into territories, ignoring previous borders and alliances.
Once again, Cole spoke to the world, but this time he spoke not to its leaders, but to its people. He told humankind that it had come too far, survived too much, grown too close to simply let its leaders throw it all away. Cole had a plan to return the Earth to the way it once was-in fact, to better than how it had been. He had tamed the beast now known as Hamidon, and Hamidon was a creature tied to the Earth itself. Hamidon could be used to heal the Earth of all its ills. The charred ruins, the polluted waters, and even the radiation zones could be cleansed. To do so, though, Cole needed all the people of Earth to trust in him to lead the way to a new brighter future.
It worked. People demanded that their leaders follow Cole, whether the leaders liked it or not. Some leaders or governments joined voluntarily, while others resisted and were crushed by their own citizens. The nations of the world dissolved. In a ceremony where Cole renounced his title of consul to the people of the world, the people instead gave him an even greater title: emperor.
Over the next twenty-five years, Emperor Cole did as he promised. 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 designed by Dr. Raymond Keyes that would become the backbone of a global workforce. This robotic force, the Clockwork, was always ready to work, always on time, and always precise. The Clockwork earned Dr. Raymond Keyes the Nobel Prize and a position in Emperor Cole's advisory council of Praetors.
Twenty-five years after being crowned emperor of Earth, Cole has ensured that the nuclear wastelands of the world are now lush forests and farmland, cities are modernized, and the oceans are cleansed of their pollutants. The people of the world are clothed, fed, and educated, while a workforce of diligent robotic personnel allows humans to pursue more joy and happiness and have less drudgery in their lives. Emperor Cole has truly created a Utopia on Earth. Ever vigilant over his subjects, Emperor Cole and his Praetors protect the people from all outward threats, including Cole's newest enemy, the breeding ground of villainy known as Primal Earth.
Emperor Cole is a savior, but his story has more to it than what is written in history books. Most citizens of Praetorian Earth respect him or love him. Some who know the truth fear him, and fewer still dare to stand against his lies. No matter what he is called officially and publicly, no one can stop the hushed whispers in the streets and back alleys of his empire. There he is called by another name: Tyrant.