- "You wanted to save the human race. Instead, you handed its future over to a psychopath."
- —Lena Luthor to Ben Lockwood[src]
Professor Benjamin "Ben" Lockwood is the former host of The Lockdown and a former history professor of National City University. He is also the son of the late Peter Lockwood, the husband of the late Lydia Lockwood, and the estranged father of George Lockwood. After Ben's life was torn apart by consequences of alien attacks, he began working with Mercy and Otis Graves as the leader of the Children of Liberty, known as Agent Liberty, serving to exterminate all extraterrestrials and establish humans as the superior race on Earth. As a result, he began clashing with Supergirl and the Superfriends.
Ben was arrested once his identity was revealed to the public until the then-corrupt President Phil Baker pardoned him. Ben was appointed as Director of the United States Bureau of Alien Affairs under Baker, which soon became an official Cabinet department and the position was renamed to Secretary of Alien Affairs.
Ben eventually learned that he and the Children of Liberty were pawns of Lex Luthor for the latter's own scheme, but he still continued his vendetta against aliens. After a final confrontation with Supergirl, Ben was defeated for good and incarcerated for various crimes of domestic terrorism against the alien citizens of National City.
Ben was a history professor at National City University, living with his wife Lydia, his son George, and his father Peter. He had helped his father out at his steel factory for some time, even negotiating with Lena Luthor for help with the factory.
At dinner with his family, the news showed Supergirl trying to snap the city out of Myriad, but Peter didn't approve of Supergirl and the Alien Amnesty Act, hating so much of aliens that he wouldn't accept material from them. Ben tried to convince him otherwise, but his father wouldn't have it. However, after their argument, a fight at the Nth Metal Factory across the street included a fight between Peter's workers and two aliens at the factory, one of whom ended up accidentally shooting Ben in the chest. Supergirl arrived at the scene to break up the situation and Agent Alex Danvers helped to deal with Ben's stab wounds. Later, Ben also had bad luck when Lena denied any help for his father.
Ben's life got worse after the Daxamite invasion as his home was destroyed in a fight between a Daxamite and Martian Manhunter. As a result, he began showing more prejudice to his alien students, which cost him his job. He began giving flyers on how aliens were taking away everything from humans until the Worldkillers attempt to
terraform Earth. He went to save his father from the steel factory, but to his horror, his father didn't want to be saved and could only watch as his factory crushed him in the end. He spoke at his father's funeral afterwards and was surprised to see that Lena had come to pay her respects. She wanted to help him and his family during their time of need, but he refused, stating that she chose the aliens over the humans and they are to blame for everything that was happening. She told him that if he chose this path of blaming people for everything that was happening to him, no good would come from it, but he refused to listen.
Becoming Agent Liberty
Ben soon met his friends outside his father's ruined steel factory and together, they set fire to the Nth Metal factory as revenge for putting their factory out of business. During the fire, a person came out gasping for air. At first, he wanted to help him as he thought he was human but was actually an alien disguised as a human. Recognizing him as the same alien that shot him once and refusing to consider aliens as people, he beat him to death with a pipe. He began recruiting others to his organization dedicated to ridding the earth of aliens when he was contacted by a person named Mercy Graves. Ben was unaware that he was working with Lex Luthor, and that he was the one who sent Mercy and Otis Graves to recruit him. She told him that she and her brother Otis knew about his organization, that they were hunting down aliens and the alien that he killed. At first, he thought they were going to arrest him, but they actually wanted to recruit him for their plans against the aliens. They gave him equipment that would be useful to him. To test him, they told him he had to kidnap and kill an alien named Fiona Byrne who was beginning a group that would protect aliens from humans.
After the plan to expose the president in her alien form worked, he stood behind Fiona ready to kill her. Before he did, he told her that he never sought conflict with aliens, but they left him with no choice. When she asked who he was, he merely responded he was an agent of liberty and stabbed her in the back. He soon watched on TV as Supergirl stopped a fight between two human groups: ones that supported aliens being on Earth and others that didn't. While watching, he knew she would be a problem for them, but Mercy revealed she had Kryptonite that could be used against her. He told her to be careful with it as they couldn't kill Supergirl yet, as she would then become a symbol of hope, but she told him it was just insurance. He soon went to his followers giving a speech that they would take back Earth from the aliens and went back to Otis and Mercy to see what their next move is. After returning from his followers, he saw Otis and Mercy were going to kill the D.E.O agent that freed them. Although willing to kill aliens, he refused to kill his own humankind. Although Mercy said it was necessary so they could tie up loose ends and that Jensen was a nobody. He convinced her otherwise though as he not only released Mercy and her brother but could also bring them back into the D.E.O.
Identity exposed to the public and incarceration
When Ben was revealed as Agent Liberty, he was incarcerated for his crime. However, he soon won new recruits.
A war against Supergirl and aliens
Later, Ben was released by Baker and continued his war against Supergirl and aliens with the Children of Liberty, with his wife and son at his side.
Losing his wife and son
Ben (seemingly) won his war against aliens, but his son left him. Being disillusioned by his father and his wife, Lydia was killed by an alien, in retaliation for her husband who was wrongfully arrested by the Children of Liberty.
Discovery to be Lex Luthor's pawn
Enraged by his wife's death, he took the Harun-El serum to defeat Supergirl and her allies, but discovered shortly thereafter that he's been the unknowing pawn of Lex Luthor for almost a year from Lena Luther when she confronted him. He then went to look for answers and found Otis Graves who confirmed everything Lena told him before he tried to kill Ben, as his boss Lex saw Ben's usefulness was at an end. In a fight Ben killed Otis before Ben resumed his search for Lex Luthor.
The final confrontation with Supergirl and her allies, and his re-incarceration
Ben and the Children of Liberty went to Shelley Island to get revenge on Lex Luthor for using them as pawns and also to kill Lex's alien prisoners who were innocent, Ben and his agents got into a confrontation with Supergirl and the Superfriends. One by one the Children of Liberty were defeated, and he got into a direct confrontation with the Kryptonian, managing to land a few blows. However, he was no match for her superior strength and combat skills, as she quickly overpowered him.
Ben then got into a direct confrontation with James Olsen, whose combat skills were also superior to his, the two men simultaneously stabbed each other with Lena's Harun-El extractors, removing each other's powers, but James lost an eye. Ben was ultimately defeated by Alex Danvers and re-incarcerated for his various crimes of domestic terrorism against the alien citizens of National City.
Legacy of anti-alien hatred coming to an end
In the prison cafeteria, Ben watched his son give a speech about the co-existence towards aliens to the press in disappointment. Watching his son completely rejecting his corrupt and hateful ideals; completed Ben's defeat.
During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, the Coluan, Querl Dox showed concern for the human population because many of the resources needed to be called into bare in order to evacuate Earth-38 during the crisis were alien-owned and that they would not lift a finger to help humans; due to the actions of the former president Phil Baker, Ben and the Children of Liberty. But the Martian, J'onn J'onzz had faith that both aliens and humans put aside their differences and do the right thing. Thankfully for 3 billion citizens of Earth, J'onn was proven right.
Despite the Alien Amnesty Act being revoked (and later reinstated) by the last administration, the aliens did the right thing and helped the humans escape the Antimatter wave sent by the immensely powerful interdimentional war-criminal, Anti-Monitor, and they made it to Earth-1, though 1 billion of them owe their lives to one of Earth-1's greatest heroes, Oliver Queen as he made the ultimate sacrifice. This showed that good human-alien relations survived despite the actions of Ben.
- "Well, history is extreme, truth is extreme. The classroom isn't a safe place where everyone gets to hear a fairy tale version of the facts. And if students can't handle perspectives that are different than their own, then I don't know. Maybe they don't belong here."
- —Ben Lockwood[src]
Ben was once a mild-mannered and open-minded individual, whose views eventually turned to anti-alien sentiment due to multiple alien-related incidents that have befallen the Lockwood family. He also worried about his father, Peter Lockwood as he tries many times to prove him wrong about aliens and was devastated when he died.
Initially, Ben bore no hatred for aliens, as he was considerably more open-minded then his father, Peter, however, as a result of his father's negative influence, he gradually began to hate all aliens in general and ultimately developing an intense prejudice towards them, regardless whether or not these said aliens are good or evil, Ben also eventually became similar to Peter in his narcissistic traits, always attributing blame to others for his own problems; for example, after Ben got fired from his job as a history professor of National City University, he tried to blame one of his former students for this - when it was actually Ben who brought it on himself, as he had been warned multiple times by the tenure board about conferring his personal prejudicial ideology to his non-alien students; which eventually led to Ben's justified removal from National City University.
- "Because we can come together and we can tear out this alien disease that threatens to poison our world, we can invite them to return to the planets that they came from and we can restore health and vitality and security to this country. And I, as your Agent of Liberty, will stand with you as we dare to put Earth first!"
- —Agent Liberty[src]
As Agent Liberty, Ben is a human patriot and nationalist, who seeks to empower his fellow humans, regardless of ethnicity or faith, to unite against their ungodly extraterrestrial immigrants. Ben has witnessed many tragedies befalling, not only his family, but also many humans due to extraterrestrial activities. This is further fueled by the media disapproval (James Olsen) to help these humans or even L-Corp to help them in their times of crisis, causing many humans to be let go without jobs and homes.
With the United States government turning on its human civilians in favor of extraterrestrial amnesty, Ben decided to help humanity by exposing extraterrestrials of the threats they really are. He was kind to his followers and not willing to kill humans as seen when he let Raymond Jensen go despite Mercy Graves wanting to kill him.
As noted by James Olsen, Ben is a selfish, delusional-psychopath, as he claims that he started his crusade against aliens to protect the human race against alien threats, however, in truth, he actually started his crusade against the aliens out of selfishness.
After becoming being granted the title United States Secretary of Alien Affairs by the President, Ben becomes even more arrogant and self-righteous then ever, willing to arrest any aliens for wrongful reasons and that he has the power to do. He also became obsessed with Nia Nal (under the persona of Dreamer) who he sees as a threat to his plans and willing to break into the Daily Planet just to arrest her, regardless of the consequences, after his beloved wife, Lydia died, he becomes more unhinged and obsessed with revenge to the point that he abandoned his son, Georgie in his time and grieving and need.
Even when Ben caught the alien who killed his wife, he wanted to arrest more innocent aliens, completely disregarding the fact they were not involved in his wife's death, proving how consumed in anger he has become, as J'onn J'onzz pointed out, he has become no different from the late Manchester Black. He ultimately proven to be caring for one but himself and will focus on aliens more than his own family; losing the complete trust, respect and love of his son in the process.
These negative traits of Ben's, are what eventually led to his deserved/justified incarceration.
Powers and abilities
- Harun-El mutation: After injecting himself with Harun-El, Ben gained meta-human powers. He lost the powers after the Harun-El was taken out of his system by Lena Luthor's extractor.
- Superhuman strength: Ben was able to throw a car without much effort. However, Ben's strength was proven to be inferior to Martian Manhunter and Supergirl's respectively; although he was able to land a few blows on the kryptonian, she was able to overpower him relatively easily.
- Superhuman durability: Ben was unaffected by one of Dreamer's blasts, and was able to withstand completely unharmed by a fiery explosion.
- Superhuman speed: Ben found he could move at phenomenal speeds to dispatch clones sent by Lex Luthor.
- Accelerated healing factor: Ben was able to instantly recover from a broken arm.
- High-level intellect/Skilled tactician/Leader: Ben is a capable leader, coupled with good communication skills. Mercy Graves has compared his rhetoric skills to Franklin Roosevelt and Mussolini. Ben was able to recruit many individuals into the Children of Liberty by feeding on the increasingly tense atmosphere following numerous alien battles. Before being recruited by the Graves siblings, Ben and his friends were able to keep cause against alien immigrants a secret from federal authorities and even the D.E.O.
- Master debater: Ben possesses great knowledge of alien politics and cultures and even human politics and economics. During a TV debate against Kara, Ben was able to use logical and factual statements, bringing up certain points in human history, to prove his points, vocally defeating the disguised Kryptonian much to Kara's disdain.
- Charisma: as noted by Mercy Graves, Ben has the ability to win over hearts with his words. Even when he initially hid his identity as Agent Liberty, Ben could still inspire trust in others by identifying with the fear andnanger towards aliens.
- Skilled hand-to-hand combatant: Ben is a capable hand-to-hand combatant, most likely having received minor training from Mercy Graves, as he was able to temporarily fight against Manchester Black, but his combat skills are proven to be inferior to Black's, he also quickly beat down Coop, using his Agent Liberty helmet as a blunt weapon, before he could react. However, Ben's combat skills are also ultimately inferior to Supergirl, Alex Danvers and James Olsen's; as the three of them individually were able to overpower him relatively easily.
- Skilled knife wielder: Ben is proficient in using a knife in combat. This is seen when he used an antique bayonet against Manchester Black, even managing to stab him in the shoulder.
- Deterioration: Due to taking an unfinished dose of the Harun-El, Ben's body deteriorating slowly; as seen when he started to lose his hair after talking to Lena Luthor. In an effort to remedy this, he continued injecting himself with more unfinished Harun-El. After the Harun-El was taken out, his deterioration stopped.
- Agent Liberty suit: Ben possesses a suit that protects his identity and himself from threats.
- Retractable blade: The suit has a retractable blade hidden in its arm. This is displayed when it is used to kill Fiona.
- Handgun: Ben carried and used a handgun during his attack on Dreamer. He used Manchester Black's own handgun against him in an attempt to execute him.
- Unlike most villains, Ben didn't don a mask to conceal his true identity; the Agent Liberty mask was to emphasize that who he was as an individual didn't matter; what he stood for did.
- While what Ben stood for was extremely prejudiced, the idea of himself not mattering more than his crusade in the long run arguably ensured his following.
- Ben could be seen as an initial foil to Manchester Black:
- Both their ideologies involve violence against those whom they feel wronged them. Unlike Manchester though, Ben started his crusade with allies and support.
- Ben remained close to his family and friends upon beginning his vendetta while Manchester grew estranged from his family and friends due to his vendetta.
- Both of their journeys began after the loss of someone they loved; Ben lost his father, Peter Lockwood, while Manchester lost his fiancée.
- Ben shares similarities with Orlin Dwyer/Cicada:
- Both of their vendettas are based on xenophobia; Orlin hates meta-humans while Ben hates aliens. They're also willing to kill any individual of the aforementioned species, be it heroes or criminals.
- Both faced repeated attacks and losses due to the prominent heroes in their cities; Orlin lost his sister to a meta-human attack while Ben lost his home and family business as a direct/indirect byproduct of the extraterrestrial presence on Earth.
- A beloved family member getting hurt as a result of the final battle in their show's previous seasons was the final catalyst for their descent into villainy; Orlin became Cicada after his niece was rendered comatose during the Enlightenment. Ben became Agent Liberty after his father died during Reign's terraformation of Earth.
- Orlin and Ben were both presented as the main antagonists of their respective shows during the 2018-19 season until another villain usurped them; Orlin was killed and replaced by his time-traveling niece while Ben was revealed to be a pawn of Lex Luthor's agenda.
- Ben also shares similarities with Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker:
- Both were educators at universities before they became corrupted.
- Both eventually lost their families while trying to achieve their misguided goals.
- Both of their endgames involved "saving" humanity; Ben aimed to rid Earth of all extraterrestrials to prevent them from hurting native humans. DeVoe wanted to reset the populace's brains in order to "enlighten" the human race on the dangers of advancing technology.
Behind the scenes
- In the main DC Comics continuity, Ben Lockwood was the first Agent Liberty, an ex-CIA operative turned superhero who worked for the Sons of Liberty organization.
- Unlike the show's adaptation, Ben in the comics was more heroic, being disgusted with the violent methods of intelligence, though the two still share a number of similarities: looks, suit elements, the fact that the suit was provided for him by the interested organization, and said organization opposing Superman, eventually targeting politicians, which made Agent Liberty break away from the group.
- Later on, Ben investigated an influx of Kryptonians on Earth, similar to how three terrorist attacks on Earth involving Supergirl motivated Ben to eventually spread his anti-alien propaganda through the Children of Liberty and The Lockdown. In the comics, Ben was killed by Superwoman (Lucy Lane) during his investigation.
- Ben served as the main antagonist of the first arc of Season 4 of Supergirl.