They call them "easter eggs." It's a term to describe a hidden item, message or image that is right in front of you... if you look close enough. FREED's creative team hid a few throughout the comic book. See if you noticed them. And here we've provided a few other nuggets our readers have asked us about.
Kioni's service weapon... official?
Since 1989, the official service weapon of the DC Metro Police Department--Kioni Freed’s employer--has been a standard issue 9mm Glock 17s or Glock 19s. But because she is so unique (a detective with a Georgetown law degree!?#), we wanted Kioni to carry a weapon to reflect her maverick character. So we issued her a Vintage 1947 Colt official police revolver with a long, lean six inch barrel. (Later in the comic book, she does loan Ben an “official” Glock at the Reginald Gates home.)
Is the Avenger wearing a Washington Redskins cap?
Yes. For many years, Native Americans complained that the term "redskin" is racist and asked the Washington pro football team to change its name. The Avenger wears the cap as an ironic taunt against white leaders and those in power. In 2020, Native Americans got their wish--the Washington Redskins finally changed their racist name.
Did all of the historic events really happen?
Yes, with the exception of Kioni's and the Avenger's backstories. Sitting Bull did slash himself 50 times in a vision quest and then defeated Custer at Little Big Horn. Crazy Horse was bayoneted by a U.S. military guard. The Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to 26 U.S. cavalry troops for killing 300 Native Americans. The quotes of Black Elk and Chief Joseph are also accurate. (See our poster Broken Promises, Shattered Dreams for more atrocities against African Americans and Native Americans.)
Are all of the locations real places?
Yes, mostly. Washington, Los Angeles and the Coliseum, the Black Hills Reservation, Yankee Stadium, Andrews Air Force Base, Alexandria and the coast of Maine are all real as is Piscataway Park and Marshall Hall (though Kioni's home would more accurately be in Bryan's Road, MD. So, for those seeking complete accuracy, the panel with Ben in the bathtub with Steve is not exactly correct.)
Is Steve based on a real dog?
Yes, and his name is Cooper, a feisty, very loyal Maltese. And unlike Steve, Cooper does not like chasing Canada Geese, drinking whiskey and running after kites. He also has never met the President of the United States but he would like to see a female president one day, soon!
Are the characters based on real people?
Only Kioni is based on a real person. All other characters are composites or are entirely made up. Kioni is based on a real person Carl met. At the time, she was in her mid 20's; she was Kenyan American, a dual-major graduate of Stanford, had just passed the LSAT and was preparing for law school. To pay for law school expenses, she drove ride share. And she loved head scarves.
Wasn't that chase scene in the park out of focus?
No, it was planned. In that chase scene in Piscatway Park, the Avenger shoots an arrow that whizzes by Kioni’s head. The “fuzzy” visual depiction in that panel that Ian and Fedde (artist and colorist) used is an old comic book technique popularized in the 60’s and by Asian manga artisits. Known by various names—motion blur, motion lines, movement lines, action lines, speed lines or zip ribbons—they usually appear in a panel meant to show motion, movement, speed or force. An arrow whizzing by Kioni’s head seemed like the perfect situation to use this technique.
Who is that at The Last Stand bar?
You may have noticed a familiar character in the poster on the wall behind the bartender at The Last Stand bar where Kioni first meets Ben.It's the Avenger exactly as shown in his splash page in the comic. Fedde Mattsson, the book's colorist, hid it there as an "easter egg" for readers paying keen attention.
Why does the Avenger tell Kioni her bullets are useless against "the Ghost Shirt?"
Records indicate that a Sioux warrior killed in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre (depicted in the comic book) was wearing a Ghost Shirt. Artist Ian Miller based his comic book art on that simple cotton shirt that was pierced by bullet holes and was displayed in a wild west museum until it was returned to the tribe in 1999. The Lakota believed that Ghost Shirts and similar clothing would protect them from white men's bullets and were, therefore, sacred objects wielding enormous powers for those who wore them.