The Silver Agent

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The Silver Agent
SilverAgent.jpg
© Juke Box Productions


AstroFacts


Status: dead
Real Name: Alan Jay Craig
Origin: Astro City: Silver Agent #1 & 2
Affiliation: Honor Guard; The Silver Centurions
Base of Operations: Astro City
Range of Operations: The majority of the Silver Agent's solo adventures focus on Astro City, but his affiliation with Honor Guard broadens his operational range to include more global activities.
First Appearance: 1956


Personal Data


Occupation: Mail Carrier
Date of Birth: 1932
Civil Status: Single


InfoDump


Headlines: April 8, 1968: Silver Agent Quells Riot in Bakervile District
February 27, 1973: Guilty
Appearances (in Publication Order): Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.1 #2

Wizard Presents: Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1/2
Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 #13, 14, 16, 19
Astro City: Local Heroes #4
Astro City: The Flip Book
Astro City: The Dark Age Book One #1, 2, 3, 4
Astro City: The Dark Age Book Two #3, 4
Astro City: The Dark Age Book Three #1, 2, 3, 4
Astro City: The Dark Age Book Four #1, 2, 3, 4
Astro City: Silver Agent #1, 2
Astro City #35


Event Timeline

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He burst onto the Astro City super-hero scene in the 1950s and was an immediate, popular sensation, garnering admiration and respect for his heroic activities. The Silver Agent symbolized the new era of the sixties, "the best and the brightest."

History

The Silver Agent was born in 1932, and died in 1973. There is a great shame associated with his ultimate sacrifice, as attested to on his statue. He is a symbol of all that is good in man, while his death is a reminder of a weakness in human nature. Emotional judgement overcame rational thinking. It was a time that very much enabled a mob mentality to ridicule, bring down, even destroy heroic figures.

Origin

Alan Craig was struck by polio in infancy, leaving him with a badly diseased leg. This deformity seemed as if it would leave him crippled for the rest of his life. This greatly disappointed Alan. His family had a strong tradition of pursuing careers that served the public good, and usually such careers were in physically demanding fields such as fire-fighters, police officers and the like. Alan greatly admired his elders and dreamed of following in their footsteps. In the end he became a mail carrier, the best job his physical condition allowed.

While on the job he stumbled onto a ballot-stuffing scheme by members of organized crime. When they gave chase, he tried to lose them in a nearby park, an environment he was thoroughly familiar with. In his flight, he stumbled upon a cave he'd never seen before. This was near the original Romeyn Falls (Waterfalls). Inside he found a bizarre construct of glowing silver, something alien to his every frame of reference. When he touched it, his body was transformed: his disability vanished, he became stronger and faster, and his senses increased. Using his new athleticism, he became the Silver Agent, finally able to serve the community the way he longed to all his growing years.

The Eternal Shame

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In 1972, the Silver Agent was framed for the (seeming) murder of the Mad Maharajah.

Following his conviction and shortly before his execution, he was teleported into the 43rd century by the Silver Centurions, an organization from that era. Future Earth and the other Hundred Worlds were at war with the iGod. The Silver Centurions retrieved the Silver Agent, the legend who inspired them, for help. For three long years he fought alongside them to an eventual victory.

After the fighting concluded, Alan chose to return back to his own time, to avoid the risk of altering the timeline for the worse. His journey back took the form of a series of time jumps, each one sending him further into the past, closer to the day he would be executed. Each one skipping less time than the last. Many of these time-stops were far from safe. There were future eras where he fought against the danger of some potent threat. There were eras where civilization had fallen and he aided in its rekindling. Throughout his eventful journey, the Silver Agent kept a detailed journal, in the hopes that his notes might someday help humanity against the various dangers he encountered.

As he traveled ever further back, the process was causing his body to accumulate an undefinable kind of energy, imbuing him with more and more power.

On a day approximately thirty years in the future of his initial teleportation, he was visited by his nephew, Tommy. A young boy when he'd last seen him, Tommy was now a U.S. Senator and older than Alan. He knew where and when to find his uncle, because Alan himself had told Tommy during another stop in the timeline. A stop that was in Tommy's and the world's past, but Alan Craig's subjective future.

After that, the Silver Agent visited four more crisis points in Astro City's timeline:

In each, he was of immense aid against whatever forces were imperilling his city. By the last one (but first from the universe's point of view), his store of accrued energy from his travels was so vast that he had tremendous super-abilities at his disposal.

Making use of the flight ability he now possessed, he hid his journals in a support beam beneath the Calkins Bridge. The journals were designed by Ømnix of the 43rd century Silver Centurions. It wasn't a collection of books, their appearance instead that of a glowing blue cylinder. It would convert itself into a format readable to future generations when the need arose.

Next, he visited his nephew Tommy, at a earlier time and a younger age. This stop occurred on the day of, but after the Agent's execution. He told Tommy of the journals location so that they could be retrieved sometime in the future.

Finally, he made his final step across time, arriving in the prison from whence it all began, mere seconds after he'd vanished. To an outside observer, it would almost have been as if nothing had happened, except of course the replacement of his prison garb by his battle-torn costume made it clear something had.

He was executed by the state in the Spring of 1973.

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In the Silver Agent's last life moments, he released all the strange energy he'd collected, sending that accumulated store across the city, suffusing the land with it, marrying the rivers to it, even extending it beyond four dimensional constraints into the past and future. It became the very silvery artifact that made him the Silver Agent, and whose energy touches what is, or one day would be, Astro City.

Equipment

Uniform and Weaponry

  • Carries a small pistol that fires various kinds of trick bullets, including ones that act much like smoke bombs upon impact.
  • Upper part of body is covered in chain mail, with shield shaped armour over the chest and upper back.
  • Same metallic material is used for arm gauntlets. Note: they do not cover the hands.
  • Helmet is also metallic and is a half-style, with Germanic knight design influences.
  • Wears chain mall leggings and cavalier boots.

Speculations, Theories

  • Despite the brief appearance, the motivations, personality and character make-up of the Silver Agent are strongly suggested in his first published appearance in Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.1 #2. He seemed to have a significant amount of peer admiration, which gave him leadership skills and the ability to motivate others and call upon them for help when needed. He was also very good at making tactical decisions in battle situations.
  • Insight suggested early on, and was confirmed in later appearances, that a personality like the Silver Agent would not have had much of a personal life. He was dedicated to his work, passionate about doing the best possible work he could. Accommodating personal time and family responsibilities would have proven difficult. Not all people are wise enough to know this limitation, but the Silver Agent seemed disciplined enough to understand the sacrifices of his choices.
  • His abilities gained when traveling through time are similar to the transformation of the Samaritan, when he journeyed from the far future back in time to the present.
In the end, was the Silver Agent's energy release his death? A rebirth? Or perhaps, something beyond such classifications?


Other Timelines

Footnotes

Some Interesting Comic History Related Alignments of the Silver Agent:

His debut appearance in a 1959 flashback, references the Silver Agent first appearing just a few years earlier, coinciding with Showcase Comics #4, the generally agreed upon beginning of the Silver Age.

His death in 1973 symbolically aligns with the Death of Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man comics, considered by many Silver-Age fans as the last major event occurring within the overall framework of the Silver-Age Marvel Comics material.

Named for comic book fan, comic historian, and Comic Buyer's Guide writer, Craig Shutt (Mr. Silver Age).