Paul Michael Lincoln in his youth was a Metropolis street punk who, together with his friend Jimmy Maloney, collected protection money for the criminal boss Mister Moran. It wasn't until the murder of a friendly shopkeeper, Abe Gold, who had failed to pay Moran, and a narrow escape from the Crimson Avenger that Paul begins to question his career choice and friendship with Jimmy. When, in the course of a raid, Paul saves The Atom's life by calling out to him and is thanked for the deed, he decides to permanently end his small-time crook ways and becomes a paper boy. As a result of his close encounters with these so-called Mystery Men, Paul also begins to collect and follow their every move.

Even though Paul left his life of petty crime behind, it wasn't the end of his encounters with Jimmy and other low-level thugs. While selling newspapers, Paul is hassled by a group trying to collect protection money from him. He ignored them initially but was quickly overwhelmed and pummeled until another group of boys showed up to intervene. The tables quickly turned as the newcomers began to take down Paul's attackers. In a desperate move, one of the boys, Slick, pulled out a gun and fired, only to have his bullet stopped by the shield of the Guardian. The boys introduced themselves as the Newsboy Legion and had been in the process of introducing Guardian, when he disappeared. The boys attention was then drawn to the appearance of the local beat cop, who they introduce as Jim Harper (none other than the Guardian himself, although they don't have the proof to back it up). This encounter would end up having a life-changing impact on Paul Lincoln's life.

Paul would later run into Jimmy, who joined working for Vandal Savage and on the run after the Justice Society busted Vandal and his gang, begging for money to leave for Gotham City. After Jimmy had an altercation with his sister Peggy, Paul stopped his friend from hitting his sister and warned him to leave and never come back. Over the years later Paul worked his way through college, graduating at the top of his class, and becoming a boyfriend for Peggy. Concurrently, Paul witnessed a brief end of the Mystery Men following the JSA's refusal to reveal their public identities to the House of Un-American Activities during the height of the Red Scare.

As Paul grew to adulthood he witnessed the surge of 'normal' adventurers in place of the costumed vigilantes such as the Challengers of the Unknown and the Sea Devils. While overhearing about these adventurers and trying to get a job, Paul discovered that Jim Harper was dying from complications, and taking inspiration from his encounter with the Guardian, he decided to do his part to keep Metropolis safe by becoming a police officer. After graduating from his police training, Paul asked Peggy to marry him, which Peggy accepted. He became partnered with John Jones and during a police crackdown, he came across Jimmy who pleaded into letting him go now that he has a family too; however, Jones arrived and arrested him, and Paul vowed to see that Jimmy learns his lesson after some time behind bars. Although Paul bears some regret for putting Jimmy away while confronting Peggy and even considering calling off the marriage to ease his lover's feelings. But, Peggy reassures Paul that there is no reason to apologize and what happened with him and Jimmy was inevitable, and decide keep their marriage. Thereafter, Paul married Peggy and weeks later assigned to a new partner with Nelson Bell, who is skeptical all about superheroes, after Jones left to become a detective. Years later, Paul became excited over the new dawn of the superheroes after witnessing Superman in action and the arrival of Batman. Later, Peggy gave birth to their daughter at the same time Wonder Woman made her debut, which inspired Paul to name her Diana.

As superheroes began appearing following after the formation of the Justice League and the Justice Society finally coming out of retirement, Paul would frequently visit Jimmy in prison and speak on his behalf at his parole hearings. In which his friend has thought back over the mistakes he made and vowed to reform. While having a vacation with his family, Paul witnessed a darker direction for heroes following the apparent deaths of the Doom Patrol. Nevertheless, Paul firmly believed that heroes are still heroes. After Jimmy was finally released on parole, and took a security job at S.T.A.R. Labs, Paul confirmed Jimmy's reformation during a battle between Superman and Chemo, after he learns that Jimmy evacuated the labs' staff on his own, saving nearly everyone's life in the process.

Paul later invited Jimmy and his family over for dinner just as the Crisis on Infinite Earths began. Paul was called into duty on the streets to help save civilians, and had Jimmy take the rest of the family down into the basement of their house for safety. He joined Nelson and the rest of Metropolis police to bear witness to the chaos of the Crisis. While helping a woman trapped under some debris, he received helped from the Guardian, who for years he believed dead while in his identity (unaware that he was cloned by Project Cadmus). Paul tried to reintroduce himself to the Guardian, who he believes is Jim Harper, only for the Guardian to intend to him that Jim Harper is dead. He then reminds Paul that they still have lives to save, and go their separate ways - but remaining unaware that the Guardian secretly congratulated for the man he has become. Paul continued to aid in the rescue effort and witnessed the Anti-Monitor for the first time, and watched as all the heroes flew in the entity's direction for a final showdown. Following the end of the Crisis reunited with his family and learned that Jimmy was injured and remained paralyze to the waist for life; in which Paul bear the guilt for his friend's paralysis and promised to make things right.



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