Free Spirit

by Jeanne Burch

Real name: Cathy Webster
AKA: Freebie.
First appearance: Captain America 431
Favorite quote: "I can do this! I can do this!" (Captain America 436; taking on the Serpent Society, Cathy surprises herself by actually pulling off a complicated maneuver in mid-battle.)
Team affiliation: A shy honors college student whose overall GPA was being brought down by her lackluster performance in physical education, Cathy volunteered to participate in what she thought was a psychology experiment using subliminal tapes. In truth, the tapes were programming her mind to hate all men, while her body was being subjected to a ray that enhanced her physical performance to that of peak human efficiency. Breaking her brainwashing the first time she hit someone too hard, Cathy went hunting for the woman in charge of the experiment, Superia. Her search led her to cross paths with the Zemos, Diamondback, and her idol, Captain America. Taken on by him as a training project, she and Jack Flag inherited his network of computer operatives when the break-down of the super-soldier serum in Cap's blood forced him to cut back on his non-super-human activities.
Powers: Although not exactly super-powered, Cathy has been augmented to effortlessly perform at peak proficiency during combat. That includes an instinctive knowledge of advanced acrobatics and basic fighting techniques, the latter of which was improved upon by a massive training session with Captain America, and several follow-up sessions with her fellow Cap wannabe, Jack Flag.
Favorite storyline: Hey, I admire anyone who only needs a few panels to shake off intensive brain-washing the way Free Spirit did during her first appearance!
Least favorite storyline: Alas, poor Cathy. She popped into the Captain America cast of characters just in time to deal with a domesticated Baron Zemo (the same guy who is now the ruthless Citizen V, if you can believe it), sky-skiing terrorists, and that wacky Madcap. Here's hoping she gets some meatier storylines after the pocket universe collapses!
Update: The aforementioned pocket universe is where Captain America was imprisoned for a year or so as a result of Heroes Reborn, and he has long since returned, but many of his old supporting characters (including Free Spirit) haven't been seen much since then. They may be the lucky ones, seeing as how Cap gal pal Diamondback recently resurfaced just long enough to be crippled... -Cynical Sean



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