Freedom Ring (real name Curtis Doyle) is a fictional superhero in the Marvel Comics universe, created by writer Robert Kirkman. Curtis first appeared in Marvel Team-Up #20, becoming Freedom Ring in the next issue.
Fictional character biographyEdit
After the Master of the Ring story arc in Marvel Team-Up ended, Captain America and Wolverine showed up. Cap told everyone he would take the reality-altering ring that the Ringmaster was wearing into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Unfortunately, A.I.M. sent a group of soldiers called a M.O.D.O.C. (Military Operatives Designed Only for Combat) Squad to fight Cap for an unknown reason. Although, it can be speculated that they were probably trying to get the Cosmic Cube fragment set in the ring.
The ring falls out of the pouch that Cap was supposed to bring it to S.H.I.E.L.D. in, but he doesn't notice.
The ring is eventually found by mild-mannered Curtis Doyle, whose friend Troy calls the ring a "free, dumb ring". This comment helps Curtis find his superhero name later. He discovers that the ring gives him the ability to alter reality when he accidentally creates an ice cream sundae. He runs away terrified, but when he returns, he finds that the sundae has disappeared without a trace. He calls Troy, and later, they have a long night of super-power practice.
The next day while Curtis is on a date with Jeffrey, the Abomination attacks nearby and Curtis runs off to fight him. While fighting Abomination along with Spider-Man and the X-Men, Curtis is seriously injured. Spider-Man rushes him to the hospital while the X-Men defeat the Abomination.
Curtis recovers, but is told he will never walk again. Troy helps him return home, and Curtis uses the ring to restore his legs. Going after Troy, who just left, he finds that his neighbor is an undercover Skrull who was sent to monitor the Avengers just before they disassembled. Losing track of them, the Skrull turned his spy equipment towards his neighbors. He knows everything about Curtis, and having decided to become a Superhero himself (dubbed the Crusader), asks Curtis if he wishes to be his partner.
Curtis is unsure, given what happened with the Abomination, but the Crusader convinces Curtis that he can do it, because if he fixed his legs, he can make himself stronger and faster, and less reliant on conjuring up the right item. Curtis agrees, making himself stronger, and practices with the Crusader for two weeks. In a later battle with Iron Maniac, who had just defeated Spider-Man and Wolverine and was currently facing Captain America, Luke Cage and Spider-Woman Curtis reveals the source of his power. Though he had caused the villain's limbs to remain still, Curtis did not expect Iron Maniac's armor to expand outwards. His ring finger is sliced off and his body is pierced multiple times.
Captain America defeats the Iron Maniac by bouncing his shield off the villain's head. It is too late to save Curtis, who is dead. Captain America notes that they didn't even know him and yet he saved them all by buying them time to recover.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Curtis Doyle originally had no inherent super-powers on his own, however the character comes into possession of a ring crafted from a fragment of a destroyed Cosmic Cube which allows the wearer to alter reality within a radius of roughly 15 feet (4.6m) around him, giving him a 30-foot sphere of reality he can alter.
After his first attempt as Freedom Ring, he altered his physiology to give himself superhuman strength, stamina, durability and enhanced speed.
Robert Kirkman on Freedom Ring's characterEdit
Curtis's death was met with some negative reactions, including accusations of homophobia from gay comic book sites Gay League and Prism Comics, specifically because Joe Quesada touted him as Marvel Comics' leading gay hero a month prior to his death.
Robert Kirkman commented on the controversy, stating "Freedom Ring was always planned as an inexperienced hero who would get beaten up constantly and probably die. I wanted to comment on the fact that most superheroes get their powers and are okay at it... and that's not how life works. During working on the book, I was also noticing that most gay characters... are all about being gay. Straight characters are well-rounded characters who like chicks. So I wanted to do a well-rounded character who just happened to like dudes. Then I decided to combine the two ideas. In hindsight, yeah, killing a gay character is no good when there are so few of them... but I really had only the best of intentions in mind."
Kirkman later stated, "Frankly, with the SMALL amount of gay characters in comics in general, and how unfortunate the portrayals have been thus far, whether intentional or not--I completely understand the backlash on the death of Freedom Ring, regardless of my intentions. If I had it to do all over again... I wouldn't kill him. I regret it more and more as time goes on. I got rid of what? 20% of the gay characters at Marvel by killing off this ONE character. I just never took that stuff into consideration while I was writing." 
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