From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
"Stubborn. That girl does things she shouldn't be able to because she's too stubborn to admit she can't. What 16 year old is student body president, going to be valedictorian, captains three teams, trains for a marathon, and then decides she wants to put on spandex and fight crime? With nothing but a sledgehammer, no less!"
Regina Howard, better known publicly as American Promise, is a 17 year old college student who is exceptionally bright and athletic. Her determination and willpower border on unnatural, but she possesses no known super powers and has rejected any offers to technologically enhance her physical abilities.
Regina has been working as a hero for a little less than year now. She first got the idea after winning an essay contest for an entry titled "Delivering on the American Promise." This led her to think about the symbolism associated with American ideals and who these symbols privilege. She decided that she herself was a symbol of what could be achieved in this country as well as representing a portion of society which has traditionally been underrepresented in the superhero community, especially among patriotically-themed superheroes. Designing a costume to reflect American imagery and selecting a sledgehammer to represent hard work and the idea that anyone can make a difference, Regina began adventuring as American Promise.
Regina's family had an emergency a few years back, which brought them closer together but has also allowed her to pursue her superhero career with less interference. Her father was in a severe car crash, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down due to the spinal damage. Because of this, she is training for the Paragon City marathon and is seeking sponsors to raise money for spinal injury research. Due to the constraints of physical therapy and doctors appointments, Regina is fairly free to pursue crime-fighting without having to explain her frequent absences from home.
Recently, Regina was given the honor of being named a "Hero of the City" in recognition for her contributions to Paragon City. She was extremely honored to learn this, but also a little embarrassed to think of herself being honored alongside some of the greats as she sees them. Fittingly, right after receiving the honor, Atlas Park was attacked by the Rikti.
American Promise is a 17 year old girl in phenomenal physical condition. She works out regularly, both strength training and cardio-conditioning, and ran her first marathon earlier this year, in addition to running track when she was in high school and playing softball and basketball. As a result, she is faster, stronger, and has better endurance than the average human with no super abilities. She has received some training in hand to hand combat but is not an accomplished martial artist. Instead, she relies mainly on her sledgehammer for her offensive capabilities. She uses this hammer quite effectively and has brought down much stronger opponents than herself with it. Furthermore, she has a remarkably high threshold for pain and is able to absorb a better-than-average level of punishment, an ability she shrugs off by saying "mind over matter". It is not believed that this is a super power, but that she simply possesses a high degree of willpower. American Promise has shown a resistance to acquiring technological enhancements or weaponry, although she recently asked Ace Troubleshooter to build her a weapon capable of hurting some of her team's more resistant foes. The result was an energy mace based on Rikti technology. She only uses this weapon sparingly as she prefers to remain a symbol of what a person can achieve on his or her own.
American Promise's costume is made of a kevlar weave that offers her some protection against firearms, as she is not bulletproof. Her costume is most heavily armored behind the shield logo on her chest as this presents itself as the clearest target for attackers.
She is the daughter of two professors at Paragon City University: Dr. Marcus Howard, professor of African studies and anthropology, and Dr. Winifred Jones-Howard, professor of American literature. This background has given Regina the opportunity to be around intellectuals and forward thinkers her entire life and has left her much more mature than the average 17 year old, but had also made her something of an outcast among her peers while in high school who thought of her as "that weird, brainy chick".
Despite this, she has been recognized for many of her accomplishments, being voted to the position of captain on the basketball, softball, and track teams as well as being elected student body president. Although very bright, her IQ is not genius level but her status as valedictorian is more of a reflection of her hard work and the high level of demands she puts on herself. She graduated this Spring and is now attending Paragon City University, although she is unsure if she wants to study cultural anthropology, philosophy, political science, or psychology.
American Promise is a dedicated member of the All Star Teen Sentinels. Most of her contacts in the superhero community are members of this group. She has begun to forge a number of friendships among her teammates.
American Promise has also worked closely with De-Frag on several assignments and the two of them get along well.
Six of Diamonds is another Teen Sentinel who Regina has begun a friendship with. They first met when Six helped American Promise apprehend the deadly villain, Night Widow Nocturne.
American Promise has also worked quite a bit with Kid Regal, although the two talk very little.
American Promise's closest friend on the team has been Ace Troubleshooter. The two of them hit it off very quickly due to similar personalities and interests. Regina is also attempting to help her friend deal with the death of his fiance, Twilight Harlequin, whom she also considered a friend. Despite protestations to the contrary, Regina feels she bears some level of blame in Harley's death. This is because she took her life after being psychically manipulated by Bouncing Jack and Regina feels she might have stopped Jack before this happened, thus preventing Harley's death. Although no one holds her responsible, a feeling of guilt remains. This has been compounded by her romantic feelings towards Ace which she has been unable to articulate.
Regina is also good friends with Bodkin-Girl and Omega Lass. The latter has begun to teach Regina to surf. All three heroes attended Paragon High School, a realization they made when they learned each others' secret identities.
Regina is in a relationship with her teammate, Kid Harrier. The two met while patrolling and immediately hit it off. Although Regina is usually none too bright when it comes to boys, she could tell immediately that Kid Harrier was interested and felt herself drawn to him as well. Unfortunately, recent events in her life as well as their busy schedules as heroes have limited their opportunities to do normal teenage dating things, but their relationship continues to develop.
Weaknesses and Limitations
American Promise is a human teenager who possesses no special resistances or immunities, despite her physical training. Although she is capable of running great distances and is quite fast, she has no travel abilities, such as super speed or flight. This limits her mobility compared to her powered counterparts. Furthermore, her high level of self-confidence has occasionally put her at risk, but this is tempered by her intelligence. Furthermore, despite her good natured personality and ability to converse about difficult subjects, or maybe because of these factors, American Promise often finds it difficult to relate to people in her own age group. She is hoping this will not be the case with her teammates, but has little experience operating in large social networks.
American Promise is a strict vegetarian and credits this practice with much of her physical condition, especially her ability to quickly recover from injury.
Regina plays five instruments: piano, violin, French horn, tenor saxophone, and mbira.
Regina speaks English, French, Spanish, and American Sign Language fluently.
Regina skipped third grade and is about a year younger than most of her classmates at Paragon City University. American Promise has never missed a day of school.
Regina graduated as her class' valedictorian.
Teleportation makes Regina temporarily nauseous for some reason.