One of the most controversial heroes of Astro City, Winged Victory is also one of its most powerful and well known. She is dedicated to championing women's rights, and prioritizes her missions to helping women first and foremost. She sponsors several shelters and schools dedicated to helping women abused or in need of special help.
Although now a full time member, for reasons related to gender politics, she declined invitations to join Honor Guard in the past.
Origins: A Summons to Samothrace
Before she became Winged Victory, Lauren Freed was a woman who was, in her own modern self's opinion, emotionally weak and dependent. She lived a life utterly devoted to her husband, only to have her world crashing down when she learned he was cheating on her with another women. As a housewife with no career skills, and as someone who'd built her existence around her spouse, she was at a complete loss about what to do with her life after she left him.
So she simply fled, flying to Paris on a ticket intended for what was originally a planned romantic getaway. While at the Louvre museum, she saw the famous Winged Victory of Samothrace, and was captivated by how this statue, without arms or even a face, nevertheless evoked power and confidence. A stark contrast to her own personality.
That night, Lauren had strange dreams, where she was offered power to help others. Guided by inexplicable instinct, she soon traveled to the island of Samothrace itself. There, at the site of a ruin, she had a mystical encounter with the Council of Nike, an enumerable group of powerful women from countries, races and ethnicity all around the world. They offered her the power to help women in need like herself and, accepting, Winged Victory was born. ("The View From Above")
A Victorious Champion
Over time, through her crime-fighting feats and her other feminist causes, Lauren's new identity as Winged Victory built a reputation as one of the world's foremost superheroes. That is not to say her career is free of controversy, however. Just the opposite, in fact. Various organizations and individuals have reacted with hostility to her sociopolitical positions.
She is in a long term relationship with Samaritan. Their first date was in 1996, a night during which various other superheroes filled in for the two to give them a night for personal activities. Though their differences created no small amount of tensions, the night ended on a positive note. They are still regarded as a hot-item by the gossip-trades and handsome couple to the general public.
We've seen quite a number of her adventures over the years, though they are no doubt a fraction of the whole: In October or November of 1995, she fought the Iron Horde alongside Samaritan and possibly Jack-in-the-Box as well. It's probable other heroes were there too. Not long after, she broke up an armored car-jacking. In September of 1996, she was one of many heroes who defended Astro City against Thunderhead. One year later, in July of 1997, she stopped a bombing attempt at the Gaia Women's Clinic. Around this term, she also encountered outrage from the public over her critical comments towards the Catholic Church. The month after that, she, as with pretty much every hero on Earth, took part in repelling the Enelsian Invasion. In November of 1998, she happened to be at Honor Guard's headquarters, cooperating with them on a case, when Steeljack staged his break-in. During the Conquistador's massive attack on Astro City shortly after, she fought with Strangematter over the Outcault Bridge.
Her Exploits With Honor Guard
For the longest time she resisted joining Honor Guard because she wanted her achievements to be seen as standalone accomplishments of a woman, not diluted in a team environment. Over time, her feelings shifted and by 2013, she had finally accepted team membership. She was present at Telseth's arrival on Earth, fought Lord Volcanus, and laid siege to the Skullcrushers' hidden base. The latter two adventures were alongside her Honor Guard teammates.
Winged Victory's signature weapon is a sword.
In her civilian identity, she wears a medallion in the shape of a sword and two wings. It allows her to magically transform to Winged Victory form, a change that encompasses her build, face, and even clothes. Through its magic, she receives visions of situations where women are in danger, alerting her to where she's needed.
While Winged Victory runs a number of women's support centers around the globe, her headquarters and primary home is the one in Astro City known as Samothrace One. There, a dedicated female staff help her manage the bureaucratic and organizational side of her endeavors.
Together with the other centers across the world, they form a comprehensive support structure for the heroine, and while most of these allies are ordinary women, there are some more unusual members as well. The mysterious healer "Meg," for example, resides at Samothrace One itself, where her strange healing powers are a great boon to those who come to its doors bearing injuries. The psychic woman Delphi, meanwhile, designed the centers' comprehensive and foolproof screening process, created to weed out people who enroll for ulterior or sinister reasons.
She was wielding an unusual manner of gun when assisting with the onslaught to break down a mysterious and alien doorway that appeared over the Gaines River ( 'Through Open Doors'}.
Some of the many influences on the design and creation of the character, include the Greek goddess Nike and the famous Hellenistic sculpture the Winged Victory of Samothrace.