- I am old by your standards. Old enough to know that justice is either for everyone, or no one.
- — Icon src
Arnus of Terminus is a marooned alien negotiator. After crashing in the Deep South in 1839, he worked himself up from slave to Union soldier to lawyer and was involved in much of Black history. He developed the persona of Augustus Freeman, posing as his own son four times. When he met young Raquel, she convinced him to become a superhero, an Icon for the black community of Dakota City.
In 1839, an alien starliner malfunctioned and exploded, and a jettisoned lifepod crashed in the middle of a cotton field in the American South. The pod automatically altered the appearance of its passenger named Arnus to mimic the first sentient life-form who discovered him. That life-form was a slave woman named Miriam, who saw the pod crash land. And so it happened that Miriam found inside a baby boy with her mother's eyes.
In the present, Arnus is still with us. He did not age visibly beyond adulthood; to disguise this fact, he periodically assumed the identity of his own son. By the late 20th century, he was posing as Augustus Freeman IV, the great-grandson of his original human identity. Still marooned, Augustus waits for Earth's technology to catch up to his lifepod's. Secretly possessing superpowers that belie his human appearance, he has always performed quiet acts of charity. But one night, Augustus' house is broken into, and he uses his powers for the first time in decades, an action witnessed by Raquel Ervin.
Raquel is an idealistic teenage girl who was born in Paris Island, the poorest, most gang-ridden neighborhood in Dakota. Her prospects seemed fairly bleak until a chance encounter with Augustus Freeman IV. After seeing him use his powers, Raquel persuaded Augustus to become a superhero named Icon, with herself as his sidekick, Rocket.
Augustus is portrayed as a very intelligent, somewhat stiff kind of person. Due to his upper-class job as a big time lawyer and "proper" way of speaking; is often criticized as being a "sell out" or "white washed". He usually prefers to do everything by the book instead of acting on instinct and is non-sympathetic of any wrongdoing. During the majority of his series, Icon mostly fought plain street criminals and those who gained powers from Dakota's Big Bang.
Powers and Abilities
- Unique Physiology: Icon's lifepod altered his DNA so he would resemble a normal human being, thus enabling him to blend among Earth's natives. A side effect of this process was the maximization of his now human/alien genetic structure. Thus, Icon possesses a variety of superhuman abilities that are unusual even for a Terminan.
- Superhuman Strength: Icon possesses vast strength due to the maximization of his DNA and alien heritage. He can lift over 100 tons effortlessly. Due to his alien heritage and the maximization of his potential as a human being, he has near limitless strength shown to at least be equal to Superman. At one point, he punched Superman out of the Watchtower 50ft into space. Later, Superman admitted that nobody including Darkseid ever hit him that hard.
- Superhuman Speed: Icon possesses the ability to move at superhuman speeds, and is immune to the effects of traveling at high speed. The exact limits of Icon's speed isn't known.
- Superhuman Agility Icon can move from place to place in the blink of an eye. His agility, balance, and bodily coordination are far beyond the natural physical limits and capabilities of the finest human specimen.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Icon possesses the ability to think, move, and react at superhuman speeds. Icon's reflexes are superior to those possessed by the finest human specimens.
- Superhuman Stamina: Icon's body also generates fatigue poisons at an incredibly slow rate, granting him superhuman stamina in all physical activities.
- Flight: Icon flies by manipulation of gravitons, manipulation of magnetic fields, control of his absolute molecular movement, and utilizing his superhuman speed. His top speed has not yet been determined.
- Enhanced Senses: Icon possesses superhuman senses.
- Invulnerability: Icon seems to possess limited superhuman durability, being capable of withstanding tremendous impact forces, high caliber bullets, exposure to extreme temperatures and pressure, and powerful energy blasts without sustaining injury.
- Accelerated Healing: Despite his near invulnerability, it is possible to injure Icon. However, he can recover from most wounds with astonishing speed. It took just days for Icon to heal from the chest wounds inflicted by Payback.
- Self-Sustenance: Icon can survive in harsh environments without air, food or water, and his bodily evacuations aren't needed. He's also able to survive unaided in space.
- Energy Projection: Icon has the ability to generate and control a radiant energy based on positrons. He can manipulate this energy for various effects.
- Concussive Force Bolts: Icon can release positron energy from his hands as bolts of concussive force. A low power force bolt can flick on a light switch but at maximum power the amount of damage is unknown.
- Force Field:Icon can use positrons to create quasi-solid energy fields to entrap opponents. By expanding his field in every direction, Icon can generate a devastating pulse of positron energy.
- Stun Bolts: Icon can project low-energy bolts that render human beings unconscious by disrupting the electrical impulses in their nervous systems. Icon can also use these bolts like an electromagnetic pulse to overload electronic devices.
- Energy Enhanced Punches: Icon can focus positron energy into his fists, which he can then use to shatter any substance.
- Positron Field: Icon can detect the presence of Bang Babies within his vicinity by flooding an area with a field of positrons. The field interacts with the invisible quantum well surrounding a Bang Baby, who then glows as he or she gives off mild gamma particles. Hence, Icon can use these fields to distinguish Bang Babies from other super powered individuals as well as normal humans.
- Terminan Physiology
- Decelerated Aging: Icon possesses extraordinary longevity, enabling him to age at a vastly slower rate than that of human beings. Hence, though centuries old, he appears to be no older than forty. Icon's lifespan is usual for a Terminan and is the only power that is not the result of his genetic maximization.
- Law: Icon is among the Cooperative's most celebrated mediators. He has extensive knowledge of the Cooperative legal system as well as decades of experience in his chosen field. Icon is an equally adept corporate lawyer due to his mediator background and a century's worth of experience in American law.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Icon is also a formidable combatant, whose fighting skills rival those of Superman. Icon is well trained in unarmed and armed combat, having fought in major conflicts ranging from the Civil War to World War II. Some opponents underestimate Icon's abilities since he tries to peacefully settle disputes before pummeling his foes.
- Multilingualism: Icon is fluent in English and Galactic Standard, the native language of the Cooperative.
- Icon Costume: Icon wears a costume composed of alien materials that grant him further protection from projectile weaponry, energy beams, and intense heat or cold. On his command, the Info Tool aboard his starship uses its Maker to construct Icon's costume over his civilian clothing (see Transportation).  When no longer needed, the costume is disassembled, converted back to energy, and stored in the Info Tool's structural files.
- Icon held conservative views on economic and social issues, which often put him in conflict with more liberal Milestone Comics superheroes, including Rocket. Under Rocket's influence, he eventually began re-evaluating his views.
- Icon is a conservative Republican and presumably has been a member of the GOP since the United States' Reconstruction period.
- Icon is a strong believer in the self-reliance philosophy of Booker T. Washington. Considering Icon's age, it would not be surprising if he personally knew Washington.
- Icon #1 announced a contest, where readers answered the question "Is this comic book about Augustus Freeman IV, marooned space alien, or Raquel Ervin, budding writer in a tough neighborhood, or both?" The winning letter, printed in Icon #9, was selected because it "captured the essence of the book. The ICON series is about both characters as seen through the eyes and told through the voice of Rocket."
- Because of the superficial similarity of his powers and origin story, Icon was sometimes referred to as the "black Superman." The letters page in Icon #2 includes three letters making this reference. The dismissive editorial response begins, "I think the resemblance doesn't go much beyond Augustus being a 'strange visitor from another planet.'" In conclusion, "If the Hero of Dakota was in any way inspired by the Superman mythos, it was because RAQUEL was inspired, not any of US!".
- Icon was nominated for three Eisners and is a three-time winner of Parents' Choice Award honors.
- Warren Gibson of Rochester, N.Y., wrote a long and thoughtful letter to Midtown Comics regarding Icon. So long, in fact it was 33 pages and they couldn't fit it inside the 32-paged book, let alone the letters page. In the letter he likened Icon to a physical manifestation of Black History, then explained in great detail how Augustus Freeman could have been the inspiration for or deciding factor of countless events in the past.
- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a known comic book fan, cites Icon's self-titled book as one of his favorite series.
- Icon is also known as Hero of Dakota and Arnus Prime.
- 38 Appearances of Augustus Freeman (Dakotaverse)
- 48 Images featuring Augustus Freeman (Dakotaverse)
- 8 Quotations by or about Augustus Freeman (Dakotaverse)
- Character Gallery: Augustus Freeman (Dakotaverse)