Citizen V

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Citizen V is the codename of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original incarnation was an obscure hero from the Golden Age of Comic Books, but the character's identity was revived in the modern day in the pages of Thunderbolts. The various incarnations of the character have usually been affiliated with the V-Battalion organization. The "V" in the character's and group's name is the letter "V" - as opposed to the Roman numeral 5 - and is derived from the World War II-era slogan "V for Victory".

Fictional character biography

John Watkins

The original version of Citizen V was John Watkins, an Englishman who assisted the resistance in Nazi-occupied France.[1] He led a group of freedom fighters called the V-Battalion, the membership of which included Paulette Brazee, also known as the She-Wolf. He was killed in action by Baron Zemo,[2] and Paulette took up the Citizen V identity.[3]

Paulette Brazee

The second version of Citizen V was Paulette Brazee, the French lover of John Watkins and mother of JJ Watkins. During the war, she was a spy sent to romance Baron Zemo. Paulette betrayed Zemo and eventually discovered she was pregnant. When John and the majority of the V Battalion were slaughtered by Zemo, the remaining survivors had Paulette smuggled to England. There Paulette met a red-headed soldier and married. After the V Battalion was reconstituted in 1951, Paulette was given the Citizen V role. The V Battalion began hunting down Nazi war criminals and was allowed to place their secret headquarters Castle Masada in Symkaria. In 1953, Paulette was sent on a mission to Argentina to find Nazi scientist Johann Weimer and bring the scientist to the V Battalion so they could use the Nazi's skills for them. Weimer was murdered by one of the Everlasting, a group of gods who had frequent run-ins with the V Battalion.[4]

John Watkins Jr.

The third version of Citizen V is John "JJ" Watkins Jr., the alleged son of John Watkins Sr and Paulette Brazee[5] (although an affair between Paulette and Baron Zemo had been implied). In 1953, he was nine years old so he was presumably born in 1944. Since his father died before he was born and his mother was often away on missions as Citizen V during his childhood, JJ was primarily raised by nannies employed by the V Battalion. In 1971, JJ asked the Shadow King for help in researching the Everlasting. JJ died when his own son John Watkins III was two years old.[6]

Helmut Zemo

Helmut Zemo as Citizen V. Art by Mark Bagley

The supervillain Helmut Zemo took the Citizen V name for his imposture as a super hero when various superheroes were thought to be destroyed. Claiming to be John Watkins's grandson, Helmut took the name as an ironic taunt due to original version's murder by his father's hands. Helmut assembled a group of villains change their costumes and codenames to pretend to be a new team of superheroes with Helmut's leadership and fighting abilities to successfully pose as the superhero Citizen V. Eventually, Helmut revealed himself as a villain and was defeated by the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the Thunderbolts that turned against him. This marked the end of Helmut's tenure as Citizen V and he went back using the Baron Zemo name. Helmut would eventually come into conflict with a new female Citizen V (Dallas Riordan), the Thunderbolts former liaison to New York City's mayor's office. Eventually, Zemo had the opportunity to play Citizen V for a second time. Helmut gets beheaded after a battle with Scourge (aka Nomad). Helmut's mind was ironically arranged to end up in the comatose body of John Watkins III, the grandson of the original. Helmut took back the Citizen V identity and due to a deal worked out between the V Battalion and the CSA he began recruiting members for the Redeemers. As Citizen V, he soon discovered that Baron Strucker was the mastermind that manipulated Henry Gyrich into sending Scourge to kill him. Helmut got his revenge by chopping off Strucker's hand. Helmut returned to the Redeemers but they were soon wiped out by Graviton. Helmut escaped the battle but perhaps due to Watkins's influence he came back to fight Graviton with a reassembled Thunderbolts. The battle ended with the Thunderbolts being sent to Counter Earth. The V Battalion had tried to teleport Citizen V away and were successful but due to a fluke Helmut's mind wasn't transported with Watkins' body and Helmut found himself trapped in Fixer's tech pac (later he had Fixer place his mind into the younger body of his Counter Earth counterpart).[7]

Dallas Riordan

Dallas Riordan was the Thunderbolts' liaison to the office of the Mayor of New York.[8] The Mayor of New York had wanted to capitalize on the Thunderbolts' popularity after the Avengers and Fantastic Four were presumed deceased during a fight with Onslaught. When the Thunderbolts were revealed as villains, Dallas was devastated and fired by the Mayor of New York, but was soon offered a job with the V Battalion by Roger Aubrey. Vengeful for what the Thunderbolts did to her, she agreed to be the new Citizen V and soon confronted Helmut Zemo at his base in Mexico and later in South America alongside Captain America. Initially, Dallas wore a padded uniform identical to Helmut's purple-tinged Citizen V costume, and appeared to be male. After Captain America deduced her true gender from the way she moved in combat, Dallas stopped disguising her gender and donned a new uniform without the purple tint. Dallas soon went after the Thunderbolts and encountered Hawkeye. Too busy trying to deal with the Crimson Cowl's weather machine, Hawkeye refused to deal with Dallas. Shamed by Hawkeye, Dallas decided to help stop the Crimson Cowl's weather machine but was knocked unconscious when she tried to do so. When the Crimson Cowl was defeated, she teleported away and teleported Dallas into her costume. Dallas went to jail for the Crimson Cowl's crimes and was far too bitter to admit the truth to the Thunderbolts. Dallas was rescued from jail by the V Battalion. When she tried to track down the Crimson Cowl, she instead ran afoul of the Imperial Forces of America (a group unknown to her to be funded by Helmut Zemo). Dallas parted ways with the V Battalion when they ordered her to assassinate Henry Gyrich who had been a victim of the mind controlling nannite conspiracy orchestrated by Baron Strucker. Dallas went to the Thunderbolts for help but was abducted by the Crimson Cowl. The two fought a long battle and Dallas was left paralyzed after falling off a bridge. Dallas's paternal grandfather was a member of the V Battalion and stayed in Europe after WWII and died on a mission for the V Battalion. This is why Dallas was selected to be Citizen V.[9]

John Watkins III

John Watkins III was raised to be a version of Citizen V. He presumably served as a field agent for the V Battalion before he actually took the Citizen V title and was left comatose for five years. When Helmut Zemo's mind was placed in his body, John was remarkably healthy for someone who had been in a bed for five years. When Helmut was no longer in his body, John decided to change costumes and stayed on as Citizen V. He soon found himself fighting the Everlasting. He installed ULTIMATUM as the leader of the country Rumekistan but that was a decision which later came back to haunt him. Later under the holographic guise of Nenad Petrovic, Watkins orchestrated events to make Cable leader of Rumekistan.

There is a mention in Citizen V (vol. 2) that John Watkins, III is the seventh version of Citizen V.

Roberto da Costa

When Avengers Idea Mechanics merged with the U.S. government to form the American Intelligence Mechanics, Roberto da Costa began to lead the U.S.Avengers under the alias of Citizen V.[10]

Other versions

Ultimate Marvel

An Ultimate Marvel counterpart of Citizen V is depicted. In Ultimate Origins, an American super-soldier (a normal GI dressed in a special uniform) rallies his men in the face of a Japanese onslaught at Battle of the Tenaru in 1942. However, the soldier is shot and killed, his blood staining the American flag. A photograph of this image is released around the world to which President Roosevelt demands a true super-soldier from his advisors, rather than a normal soldier wearing a special uniform. His real name is never mentioned but he's assumed to be John Watkins.[11]


  1. ^ Daring Mystery Comics #8
  2. ^ Thunderbolts -1 Distant Rumblings
  3. ^ Citizen V and the V-Battalion - The Everlasting 1
  4. ^ Citizen V and the V-Battalion Everlasting #1
  5. ^ Captain America/Citizen V 1998 Annual
  6. ^ Citizen V and the V-Battalion Everlasting #1
  7. ^ Thunderbolts #1
  8. ^ Thunderbolts #1
  9. ^ Thunderbolts Vol 1 42
  10. ^ U.S.Avengers #1
  11. ^ Ultimate Origins #1 (June 2008)

External links

  • Citizen V (John Watkins) at
  • Citizen V (John Watkins) at Marvel Wiki
  • Citizen V (John Watkins) at Comic Vine
  • Citizen V (Paulette Brazee) at
  • Citizen V (Paulette Brazee) at Marvel Wiki
  • Citizen V (Paulette Brazee) at Comic Vine
  • Citizen V (John Watkins Jr.) at
  • Citizen V (John Watkins Jr.) at Marvel Wiki
  • Citizen V (John Watkins III) at
  • Citizen V (John Watkins III) at Marvel Wiki
  • Citizen V (John Watkins III) at Comic Vine
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