- "It's a funny thing to be working for S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm not a spy. Never have been. I'm a soldier. All the way to my core."
- — Brian Grace
Brian Grace was always strong willed. He has always known right from wrong. In every sense of the word he was a true American boy scout. However, he has recently taken to a more realistic solution when dealing with crime and terrorism. He protects the innocent as the Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.; U.S. Agent.
- "I know things seem terrible right now, but it will get better. You will accomplish a lot in your life. I have faith in you. And your parents did too."
- — Barbara Gray
Brian Grace was born in Miami, Florida in 1983 to James and Samantha Grace. His childhood was a fairly normal one. He was a good student and a gifted athlete that was well on his way to a bright future. His parents were very proud of the man he was growing into, especially after he received a full ride to UCLA, despite it being on the other side of the country. On the night of his high school graduation his father had to work later than he had planned. Because they were late to the ceremony the couple sped as fast as they could. Unfortunately it was raining out, and it was difficult to see. James hit a large puddle in the road and the car hydroplaned out of control and into oncoming traffic. The couple were killed instantly. It wasn't until after the ceremony that Brian learned about the fate of his parents. Devastated as he was he chose not to attend school at UCLA or anywhere else for that matter. His parents left everything to him in their will and so he did very little for the next three months. His aunt Barbara had invited him to move in with her and her daughter, Sarah. Though grateful for the invitation he turned it down, just as he had turned down the same invitation from his half brother Derek Sheppard, and instead joined the military as a member of the Marine Corps. Being as smart and athletic as he was he made an excellent soldier. His superiors recognized his talents early on and began his training for more important jobs. Brian became a sniper and was dispatched to several remote dangerous places around the world. He had an extremely high success rate for his missions and it wasn't long until another branch of the United States government became interested in him.
Central Intelligence Agency
- "You're one of our best agents, Grace. That's why I'm placing you in charge of this task force. Keep an eye on the capes and make sure they don't get out of hand."
- — CIA Director
Brian was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency as a deep cover spy and assassin. He was given a top notch, though informal, education by the CIA. It was during this time that he mastered numerous combat techniques and gained skills that most people could never have access to. He was sent into several dangerous war zones as well as unfriendly countries such as North Korea. He was also loaned for a short time to the British to work directly with their own intelligence department; MI6. It was while working with the English that he first heard about the surge of new heroes that was taking place, mostly in the United States. However, it wasn't just heroes that were appearing. Villains by the legions were popping up all over the world, though mostly in the USA. Brian decided it was time to come home. He was placed on the front line of a new CIA home team who's primary directive was to keep tabs on all new super people and bring down the ones that were considered high level threats.
- "It's good to know we have an ally in the government like you. Feel free to call on us should you require our aid."
- — Arsenal
Grace's task force, Vanguard, was extremely effective. They brought down numerous villains and even assisted some heroes, though they very rarely did so. Vanguard came to be a miniaturized version of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, its directive was much the same. However, it was only a branch of the United States government, not an international organization, which meant its authority was limited to the USA and its holdings around the world. However, that didn't stop it from becoming an incredibly effective organization. Grace established a trust between Vanguard and the Avengers. Agents often aided the team when they were requested to do so, because the Avengers were one of the only nationally recognized, legal super teams alongside a few others such as the Fantastic Five. During one such visit to Avengers Tower Brian was in a meeting with the team leader, Arsenal. It was during this meeting that Grace got his first close look at the team's super soldier, American Dream. Though she wore a mask she looked immensely like his own cousin, Sarah Gray.
- "You are now like me. You're a super soldier. I hope you choose to do something productive with your new abilities."
- — American Dream
Brian became somewhat obsessed with discovering the identity of American Dream. The more he investigated her the more he was convinced that she was indeed his cousin. He had his agents frequent Avengers Tower more often than not. Though they were helpful, both Arsenal and Iron Man were well aware of what they were doing there. When they spoke to American Dream about this they discovered that she too was aware of their true mission, to discover her identity. The three discussed whether or not it was a good idea to just tell Grace that American Dream was actually his cousin, Sarah. They ended up deciding that there were too many variables to consider. If Grace ever decided to share her secret it could lead to the identities of every member of the team. However, Grace was adamant about discovering her identity, and completely believed at this point that she was Sarah. One night Grace decided to just ask her directly. He left his New York office and went in search of her. He tracked her down to Hell's Kitchen where she was in the middle of taking on an extremely large street gang alone. Though she was a skilled warrior, they had an amazing amount of numbers on their side. She was becoming overwhelmed and Grace jumped into to help her. He was not prepared for a confrontation at the time, and so was not wearing his vest nor carrying any weapons. He took down several thugs before the inevitable happened. Seven shots rang out and Grace hit the ground. He took four bullets to the chest, two in the right arm, and one in the right leg. He collapsed and began bleeding to death. He lost consciousness and woke up in the hospital. Standing over him was a doctor and his cousin, Sarah. His doctor told him it was a miracle that he survived and that he was very lucky that his cousin, who had brought him in, had the same blood type as him. It was in that moment that Grace was finally one hundred percent positive that Sarah and American Dream were one in the same. She asked him to keep her secret and he vowed to do so. Because of the blood transfusion Brian had been exposed to the Super Soldier Serum and was now the newest member of the Super Soldier legacy. He used his abilities to help Vanguard and did not keep them a secret from his superiors in the government. Following the Avengers' battle with Mainframe and Darksyde Sarah discovered that her mother had become very sick. She retired from the team and crime fighting in order to take care of Barbara. She then asked Brian to take her place as the team's super soldier. He accepted the invitation, and Sarah's shield, and joined the Avengers as Patriot.
Enemy from the Deep
- "I am Costin, the Sub-Mariner! I am lord of the seas and King of Atlantis! Let no man challenge me!"
- — Costin
Stark Industries eventually gained government contracts to help build new defensive weaponry for the U.S. Navy. He opened the new naval production plant in Paragon City, Florida, and began work immediately. It was soon after production began that one of the plant's store houses was destroyed by means of explosives. The authorities investigated but no perpetrators were discovered. The government offered military guards to protect the plant and Burke accepted. However, he also publicly asked fellow Avenger Patriot to come down and help protect the new naval yard. Brian, as Patriot, accepted. He had just finished running around New York City as Arsenal while Carter Jones simultaneously appeared in public. No one believed Jones to be Arsenal any longer. There were no more incidents at the naval yard while the military and Patriot were there, not for awhile anyway. On the day that Stark Industries was unveiling its new battleship, the USS Iron Avenger, for the Navy, tragedy struck. As soon as the ship was away from the dock numerous blue skinned warriors with white tattoos appeared out of the water and began scaling the side of the vessel. Once on board they began slaughtering the crew and tearing the ship apart. Alex wasn't present at the christening which means neither was Iron Man. However, Patriot attempted to make it to the vessel but was cut off by the group's apparent leader. He looked fairly human except for his pointed ears and winged feet. He shot up from the depths and engaged Patriot in combat. Though Patriot fought well and valiantly he couldn't get passed the Sub-Mariner in time to help the crew of the Iron Avenger. Everyone aboard was murdered and the ship was taken down to the depths. John Carlton, the Chairman of the Board for Stark Industries had been the company's representative at the engagement. He immediately informed Alex after the incident. By the time Iron Man arrived on scene the vessel was gone and the naval yard had been razed to the ground. Patriot was there to greet his friend. Though the star spangled hero couldn't defeat the army he was able to take two members hostage. Alex and Brian interrogated them both and learned that the leader of the mysterious aqua army was named Costin and he claimed to be the rightful heir to an undersea nation called Atlantis. Apparently, Paragon City held some importance to Costin and he didn't want anyone building warships anywhere near it. Though Patriot and Iron Man originally would have liked to negotiate with the man before any hostilities broke out it was too late for that. Costin and his men had murdered innocent men and women. As a ploy Alex had Stark Industries start rebuilding the naval yard. It wasn't long until the Sub-Mariner attacked again. This time his army came onto dry land to do battle. However, what they weren't expecting was a large group of well trained Vanguard soldiers, Patriot, and Iron Man. The Atlanteans took severe casualties and Patriot and Iron Man together managed to deliver a powerful beating to Costin, himself. Those still capable of retreating did, including the Sub-Mariner. Stark Industries rebuilt the plant and Vanguard, with authorization from the President, offered to provide protection, which Alex willingly accepted.
America's Top Cop
- "With the death of Jackson Cole there is a power vacuum in Washington. We need a new Vanguard Director and we needed him yesterday!"
- — Anonymous U.S. General
The successful assassination of Vanguard Director Jackson Cole stirred up a hornet's nest in Washington. Vanguard was the most powerful U.S. organization in existence and everyone wanted to be the new director. The fact that the assassin was never caught and no one knew who it was also was cause for concern. The government higher ups were unsure if it had been a national enemy that made the hit or if it was some political killing by someone who wanted Cole's job. Regardless, however, someone was needed immediately to fill the very large shoes that had been left empty. In a meeting with the joint Chiefs of Staff it was decided unanimously that the new director should be the man that had led the original task force. The President made the offer to Brian in person. He accepted the position and relinquished his membership with the Avengers. The first thing he set to work doing was to completely overhaul the roster to the Thunderbolts; Vanguard's premiere super team. He extended an offer of membership to his cousin, Sarah, and returned her shield when she accepted. The second thing he did was to create a completely new, covert team called the Secret Warriors. This team was personally led by him and he was joined by old allies Wolverine, who had left the Avengers, and Moon Knight, formerly known as Arsenal. This team was meant to handle issues in a more permanent manner than the Thunderbolts, Avengers, or Fantastic Five were used to.
Genetic Enhancements: Due to a blood transfusion Brian was exposed to a version of the Super Soldier Serum that has enhanced his physical being to the pinnacle of human potential.
- Peak Human Strength: Brian's physical strength is enhanced to the very peak of human potential. He is capable of lifting 800 lbs.
- Peak Human Speed: He can run at a speed of approximately 30 miles per hour easily and has run a mile in a minute when under duress.
- Peak Human Agility: His agility is superior to that of any Olympic athlete that has ever competed.
- Peak Human Stamina: Grace's body eliminates the excessive build-up of fatigue-producing poisons in his muscles, granting him phenomenal endurance. He can exert himself at peak capacity for up to one hour.
- Peak Human Durability: His ability to resist or recover from injury and disease are superior to those of most ordinary humans. However, he can still be injured in much the same way.
- Disease Resistance: He is highly resistant to most diseases.
- Alcohol Immunity: He is virtually immune to intoxication by consuming alcohol.
- Tactical Genius: Brian's mental performance has been greatly enhanced. This manifests as an ability to quickly process multiple information streams (eg, threat assessment) and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations.
- Peak Human Reflexes: Grace possesses reaction time superior to any Olympic athlete that has ever competed.
- Peak Human Senses: He has exceptionally keen eyesight and hearing.
- Master Combatant: Brian has mastered the martial arts of American-style boxing, jujitsu, aikido, and judo, and has combined these disciplines with his exceptional acrobatic talents to create his own unique hand-to-hand style of combat. He has also shown skill in and knowledge of a number of other martial arts, even pressure point fighting. He engages in a daily regimen of rigorous exercise (including aerobics, weight lifting, gymnastics, and simulated combat) to keep himself in peak condition, and has often defeated opponents whose size, strength, or other powers greatly exceeded his own.
- Master Shield Fighter: Brian's training and experience with his unique shield, as well as its physical properties, allow him to accomplish mind-boggling feats with the item. Aside from bashing foes with it and blocking incoming attacks, he is able to throw the shield with nearly perfect aim. He is able to hit multiple targets with the same throw by means of ricochet, and can even achieve a boomerang-like return effect with it, allowing him to strike enemies from behind or retrieve the shield without objects to ricochet from. However, after his cousin became American Dream again he returned the shield to her.
- All Terrain Acrobatics: His years of training have made him an expert in the field of acrobatics and gymnastics as well as a stunning aerialist.
- Expert Marksman: He is an extremely accurate marksman. Skilled in sharpshooting and knife throwing.
- Operational Equipment: He's a phenomenal pilot and is also versed in many if not all Military and Avengers equipment.
- Advanced Scout: Grace is a very gifted scout.
- Multi-lingual: He is fluent in English, Russian, German, and Japanese. He might be able to speak other languages.
- U.S. Agent Uniform: The Uniform is black with red stripes across his chest and muted red stripes that run down the side of his ribs to his knees. The bullet-proof Nomex and Kevlar uniform represents the latest in military war apparel. The uniform also features a communicator in his right glove and straps the allow him to magnetically latch his shield to his back. The uniform was designed specifically for Grace by his friend, Alex Burke.
- Utility Belt: Brian often wears a utility belt containing mission-specific equipment.
- U.S. Agent's Shield: Grace now wields the shield that John Walker, the first U.S. Agent, wielded during his time of service. Originally the shield came from the Captain America of Earth-13584. It has been repainted and carries a red, white, and black color scheme.
- Side Arm: Grace often carries a military grade side arm with him.
- Shield: Patriot's shield is a concave disk 2.5 feet in diameter weighing 10 pounds. It was forged from a Vibranium-Adamantium combined alloy.
- Energy Shield: Grace wields an energy shield that resembles his shield he used as Patriot. The shield was designed and built specifically for him by Alex Burke.
Though his immune system is phenomenal he is still subject to all other human vulnerabilities.