Immortality. To never grow old, to never die, to live every day with the possibility that it may never be your last. What would that kind of life do to a man? For Daedalus this is no mere abstract question, it is his daily life made manifest. The inventor has lived from the time of the ancient Greeks through to the present day. He has seen humanity at its best and brightest, and at its most depraved and cruel.
Idealism. If there is one attribute that belongs to Daedalus at his core, it is a near unshakable faith in the potential of humanity to attain everything it could possibly envision and more. He has worked with some of the finest minds on the most noble goals and seen them realized. He has lived to see humanity inherit the stars, and knows in his heart he will probably live to see humanity spread out amongst those stars as a proud member of the galactic community. Combine that with his insatiable curiosity, his need to know, to understand, to explore all of existence and examine it from every angle, all to answer those most two vexing of questions: ‘Why?’ or ‘Why not?’
While he has faith in humanity he often wonders as to his place amongst mortals, so much so he had to leave the planet for an extended period to reevaluate his opinion and take stock of his lot in life. But even then, he never lost that need to know, that unflappable spirit of exploration and curiosity. It is this childlike wonder and desire to explore combined with his faith in human nature that has kept Daedalus from becoming as embittered as other immortals. To him, every day offers something new to discover and explore. While still not completely happy with his immortality, he has made a peace with it and decided that if he is going to have to live forever, he intends to make the most of it. While no slouch in arms or armor, he prefers to meet the unknown with a smile and an open hand rather than any aggressive posturing.
A pacifist warrior? Daedalus embodies that odd paradox in his choices in weapons and tactics. All of his more aggressive inventions—his armor, the weapons on the Icarus, the defense systems for Freedom Hall and the Lighthouse—are purely defensive, lined with safeguards and programming to ensure they cannot overtly attack anyone. While more hard-line vigilantes tend to sneer at his ‘molly-coddle’ attitude, the inventor has lived too long and seen too much of fighting and battle to know that the only victor in any war is death itself. Perversely, this nonlethal attitude has earned Daedalus a modicum of respect amongst the less psychotic of the supervillain community. As one unnamed villain remarked ‘Sure he’s an uptight prig, but at least with him you know you’re goin’ to Blackstone alive and in one piece. Better him than the Silencer hey?’ Among the more mastermind-level villains there is something of a badge of honor to duelling with the maker of the maze; be it placing him in an elaborate deathtrap or attacking him with their latest weapon-du-jour. He defeats them all with practiced ease, but that never stops them trying.
In battle Daedalus is the first to advocate talking things out. His faith in the power of reason is sorely tested in these times, however, as its more likely the antagonist in question would rather fight than talk. When it does come to a brawl, Daedalus is the first to strike hard and fast, determined to overwhelm his opponent’s defenses and bring them down to restrain them as quickly and surgically as he can. His armor was built to take punishment and he frequently is second in line to take point in the League after Johnny Rocket. While not a warrior born, thousands of years of living in the world and walking its breadth have taught him a few tricks, and he is a canny and competent fighter in or out of his powered armor. He has particular skill in aikido, which he often uses with the enhanced strength of his servos to hold larger opponents at bay until bigger guns like Captain Thunder or Lady Liberty can arrive for the takedown. Heaven help the enemies that utilize high technology, for there isn’t a system yet devised that Daedalus can’t hack into to turn against his opponent. If one name fills the artificial intelligences of the Foundry with something akin to dread, it is Daedalus.
Amongst his teammates Daedalus is the rock of the Freedom League. He has been with the group since its beginnings and represents in many ways the underlying principles of the organization, offering a friendly hand and open ear to any of his teammates. Captain Thunder views him as a sounding board, someone on whose experience he can draw when dealing with a given crisis or situation. He offers support and encouragement to Bowman, listening to his frustrations at being a former big fish now open to the much, much large pond of the big leagues. He offers his experience of humanity to both Doctor Metropolis and Pseudo in equal measure, and always has a friendly ear open to allow Lady Liberty to vent her frutrations with her husband on those occasions when tensions flare. To them all he is a mentor and friend, never too busy to put aside his project of the moment and offer whatever wisdom he can bring to a particular problem. He cherishes what friends he has deeply, knowing all too well that eventually time will take them away from him. He doesn’t dwell on it often, but the pain can occasionally be seen in his eyes.
One member of the Freedom League that Daedalus cares for first among all is Johnny Rocket. Of all the souls Daedalus has encountered in thousands of years he has never seen one that more resembled his lost son Icarus than the cocky young speedster. He loves Johnny as though he were his own son, though one would never guess to look at their relationship. With Johnny, Daedalus (or ‘Dade’, as Johnny has dubbed him) is a stern taskmaster, never hesitating to critique the latest bull-headed attack or half-cocked plan the younger man comes up with. Among the team, the running joke is their battle-cry should be Daedalus’ outraged ‘JOHNNY NO!’ In truth Daedalus doesn’t mean to be so hard on the younger man; but the fear, the gnawing fear that one day Johnny will enter a situation where Daedalus can’t protect him. . .to lose another he views as a son would utterly destroy him. So he hides it beneath bluster, gruff, and criticism, though in calmer moments he’s as much mentor and friend to Johnny as he is to the other members of the team. For his own part, while Johnny doesn’t understand exactly why Daedalus is so rough on him and gives him such a hard time, he appreciates that the older man is just trying to look out for him. Not that this protects the inventor from the odd helmet filled with shaving cream, or similar practical joke.
This fatherly attitude even carries over to his android creations the Furies Three. While they have little interest in ‘the father that abandoned us’, Daedalus has made it clear he harbors them no ill will and would welcome them home if they wished to return. The actions of the former Chorale have seriously concerned him, but the thought to simply scrap them or capture them for reprogramming has never crossed his mind. For good or evil they are individuals, as real as any child of flesh and blood and they must be allowed to make their own decisions. Every year he seeks them out, reaffirming his love for them and telling them that the cold brutality they’ve embraced is not the way, that there is always a place for them with him. Every year he is rejected, but that never stops him from trying. As he once remarked to Captain Thunder after stopping them slaying a drug dealer. ‘Faith manages’
While not lacking for a rogues gallery, there isn’t anyone that Daedalus loathes per se. Like an older sibling or parent he merely professes a disappointment in those with gifts who squander them on avarice and cruelty.
Doctor Otaku is a grievous disappointment. So much potential wasted on greed and pettiness. The most impressive apprentice the inventor has had in generations and this is what’s become of him. With each battle they have Daedalus attempts to talk Takashi back from the edge, and each time he’s disappointed. That won’t stop the older hero from still trying, but it’s becoming more and more exasperating.
Talos is another failed effort. All that potential, all that power, and for what? The dream of conquest, the mechanization of the war machine into an absolute ruler of the world. Daedalus will not have it, and works to thwart the mechanical madman at every turn, all the while planning for the day when permanent deactivation may be his only option. . .
When not in battle alongside the Freedom League, Daedalus is often found working with scientific thinktanks like the Albright Institute or Astro Labs on creating new and environmentally friendly sources of energy or other solutions to modern problems; creating microrganisms that will feed on greenhouse gases and create oxygen, or acclerating growth hormones within seedlings for reforestation efforts in the amazon. Even while on duty at the Lighthouse he’s never far from a notebook, jotting down ideas on harnessing solar radiation and ambient microwaves from sunspot activity as a possible basis for fusion power, or some other scientific discovery that could benefit mankind. For gadgeteer heroes he would make an excellent mentor and patron, or for heroes whose power came from accident or experimentation he could be an advisor, helping them to discover their capabilities and how best to live with their newfound abilities (a task he’s sometimes asked to assist Duncan Summers and the Claremont academy with from time to time).
" We believe in heroes because, ultimately. we believe in ourselves. " -Jack Kirby.