The Sole Survivor
16-20 (Beautiful Dreamers)
22 and older (Render Unto Caesar)
35 (American Nothing)
Transgender man (he/him)
Joseph Alessio Puglisi
Render Unto Caesar/American Nothing: Joey Poole (Americanized name he uses when he falls off the map), Caesar (cape name)
Beautiful Dreamers: Giulia Puglisi, Giulia Benedetta Puglisi, Giulie, Venus (cape name)
Formerly the League, now...nothing.
Caesar; Joey Poole (he Americanized his surname when he fell off the grid to blend in)
Stranger in a Strange Land
Render Unto Caesar
Alcoholism, depression, disordered eating, PTSD, forced kiss
God Will Add
(Joo-lee-uh; pronounced like "Julia" as it's the Italian variant of it. Giulie is pronounced as "Julie")
Someone From Apulia (Someone Who Lives By a Pool)
He didn't have any specific reason for picking Joseph/Joey as his name besides just liking it. He chose Alessio after his father and because he wanted to still have one name of Italian origin. When he was born, he was given the middle name Benedetta after his paternal grandmother.
I was reading Jane Eyre for AP Lit when Joey first popped into my head and I think that's where I got the surname of Poole from for his alias.
Human (white; specifically Sicilian and Italian)
BD: A bit above average height, with a body type that slowly goes from healthy to underweight as the story progresses and the stress of being in the spotlight and pigeonholed as "the chick" weighs down on him. Pierced ears, fought tooth and nail not to wear dangly earrings with his costume and won.
RUC/AN: Average height, stocky build. Used to be muscular, but now he's more heavyset. Any money he gained as compensation for his time with the League went straight into hospital bills following the ambush that wiped out the rest of his team, and so he has yet to get top surgery, although he wants to at some point; alternates between a binder (on "normal" days) and a sports bra (on days when he knows he's going to do vigilante work to) to bind since the physical stuff he does during his vigilante work would be dangerous if he did it in a binder. Almost all of his scars are a bit jagged since he's sewn up most of his injuries himself.
BD: Starts the story off with a pretty average build for a teenage girl, but his increasing role as the "chick" of the team and status as "the attractive one" puts more and more pressure on him to lose weight. By the time of the ambush, he's constantly dizzy and nauseous and at an unhealthy weight.
RUC/AN: Above average, due mostly to fat but some muscle.
Light with olive undertones
BC: Long and a bit wavy, and always loose--not ideal for fighting crime.
RUC/AN: Messy and unkempt, slightly overlong but not so much that he can tie it back. Thick and wavy.
Some stubble. One of those guys who pretty much always has a five o'clock shadow.
- Burn scar on his thigh, which he gains at the end of BD in the apartment fire. It wasn't quite big enough to warrant a skin graft but it was close. It's pinker than his normal complexion and looks almost taught. He will not wear any shorts that fall above it both because he dislikes looking at it and because it could potentially be an identifying mark.
- Assorted other scars racked up during nearly two decades of crime fighting. As Venus, he was given state of the art medical care (and since his role was "the pretty one", minimalization of scars was a priority) but as Caesar he's on his own.
- The League provided appendix-removal surgeries for their heroes to avoid ruptures, so he has a scar from that.
- The most notable one is a scar on his stomach from being stabbed.
- Slightly jagged scar on his right palm from breaking a bottle.
- His less notable scars range from very neat lines to much more jagged--it really depends on how easily he could stitch the wound up and if it was especially painful (or, earlier in RUC, if he was drunk) the stitches are generally less elegant because his hands would be less steady.
- Broke his nose at least twice. The first time it was set perfectly, the second time left it more crooked.
- Pain in his lower back due to breaking it at the end of BD. It's generally irritating but not unmanageable, but it's one of the leading reasons in why he put a pause to his vigilante work--the exertion and injuries put more strain on the pre-existing injury.
- Broke his arm fighting Wunderkind, who gave him a sturdy kick to the forearm that snapped one bone and cracked the other. It healed well since he sought out an actual medical professional, but it still wasn't the best experience.
- As his story progresses and he spends more and more time in crime-fighting scenarios, the amount of times he's had guns fire close to him (along with other intense auditory stimulants) has left him partially deaf in his left ear--not to the extent that he needs a hearing aide or anything, but enough that you need to speak a little louder if you're facing that way and you might have to repeat yourself.
BD: Joey is fairly tall and on the slender side, with an olive complexion and some faint freckles usually covered with foundation or concealer. His hair is wavy and thick, falling down to his mid-back. Thick eyebrows that are usually plucked to be narrower. As the story progresses, he gets noticeably skinnier and more tired in the face. As Venus, he wore a lot of makeup that wasn't the most practical.
SIASL: About the same, but at a healthier weight, though still on the lighter end. Very short hair, baggy clothing.
RUC, AN: Joey is on the shorter end of average height with a broad, heavy build and a moderately large burn scar on his left thigh. He has a soft face, thick eyebrows, and a slightly crooked nose. His hair is thick and wavy and falls into his eyes a bit--it can be brushed back. Been on T for about 12 years, started at around 23. Fairly hairy. Generally looks like he needs to sleep. Stands very sturdily--arms crossed, feet hip-length apart, etc.
Joey's voice is low and a bit gravelly. As Venus, he spoke almost entirely with his head voice but could switch between head and chest very easily, which some of his teammates found jarring since he'd drop his voice whenever the cameras were off.
BD: His out-of-costume clothing is just run of the mill late 90s/early 2000s clothing popular among girls in their late teens/early 20s. His Venus costume is Roman-inspired and a bit like a toga, but less loose, accompanied by a silver laurel-esque crown.
RUC/AN: Dark jeans, a button-up shirt that's either black or black and red (or, later on in AN, some bright color combination), and a jacket, usually dark denim or a dark red bomber jacket. He doesn't have much of a change of costume as Caesar; it depends on the temperature but sometimes he'll shed his jacket for ease of movement.
Beautiful Dreamers: While initially a loudmouthed and energetic 'tomboy', Joey was made to play the role of the "chick" of the team's five (or six, technically) man band as Venus since he happened to be more conventionally attractive than, and his power was also far less physical--it was his voice while Eliza's was enhanced strength. At first it was something he could easily slip in and out of (hence his close friendship with --at the beginning of their time with the League, they were fairly similar) but by the ambush it's not a mask anymore. He's perpetually tired and has a growing discomfort with both the Venus persona and being seen as a woman at all, even if he doesn't have the words to describe it at the time (although he did try to use his power on himself so he could be happy as a girl. It didn't work.). Finds some solace in his relationship with Eliza, but it's equally weighed by the pressure to keep it secret. Similarly to Barry, Joey often feels overlooked by the League, but unlike Barry, he doesn't take this anger out on other people. By the end of the story he's almost unrecognizable from the person we meet at the start, who was naive and good-natured, if a bit brash and impulsive. Everyone in the team gradually breaks down during the story but Joey shows the biggest difference. All of the rough edges of his personality are shaved off into a cheerful, slightly ditzy girly-girl persona that he initially shucks off after each public appearance but soon becomes more mandated by the League's leaders--he's discouraged from "breaking character" and soon the Venus persona goes from something he takes off after every mission to more or less his default personality even though he's aware that it's all fake. The pressure to be the "pretty one" also weighs on him and he begins to restrict his eating in hopes of keeping a slim figure--which in turn results in him feeling lightheaded and nauseous more often than not towards the end of his career and impacts his ability to fight crime. Even after he recovers from this disordered eating after his time in hospital, the insecurities about his appearance take longer to shake.
Everything else: At the start of RUC, Joey's main concerns are flying under the radar and shaking off everything remotely Venus-like about him. At this point he's emotionally volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, whether warranted or not--he loses his first job as a bartender by breaking a man's wrist after he catching him trying to roofie a woman at the bar. It's at this point that his self-worth is at its lowest and he engages in unhealthy coping mechanisms, mainly by seeking out relationships that he knows will just fall apart before he has a chance to get really attached, binge-drinking, smoking, and of course vigilante crime fighting. He's an emotional drunk and he knows it, which only makes the spiraling worse. There was a point where once every few weeks he'd spiral and drink until he felt sick, going over every possible way that the ambush could've gone differently. As much as he blames the League for it, he also blames himself since he's the one who said they needed to try and help the tenants even though tensions were running high. He especially blames himself for Eliza's death since they went in together but Joey split off to save a young
On the whole, Joey is stubborn, brash, and a bit gruff–he's a bouncer, after all. He has a performative disinterest in getting to know people that comes from the fact that the last time he had a close group of friends, they all died. Beneath the surface, though, he's a man who cares very deeply about the people in his life, even if he doesn't always show it in the best way. Very much postures as a cool, disaffected guy but underneath…I wouldn't say he's a softie, but he's softer than he lets on--he wants to love and be loved without the fear of it falling apart. Very much in love with Mabel and very much has no idea how to woo them at first, as well as surprisingly easy to fluster when he has his guard down, which admittedly doesn't happen often. He's still sort of actively forming his identity–he lived the first 20 years of his life not really knowing that being trans was, like, a thing he could be and for the four years he was in the League, he was assigned the part of "hot girl" since he was more conventionally pretty than Folly, and all of his brashness was basically trimmed off so he didn't "break character", and it can still be hard to figure out who he is really without the years of being forced to be something he's not. Unlike , Joey can tell when it's best to pull out of a situation before he gets in too far over his head--a big part of his arc in RUC is learning that sometimes the better decision is to back out and recollect yourself instead of pointless self-endangerment. Even after he has a more solid sense of self and is working through his self-worth issues, he still struggles to see himself deserving of good things and constantly catches himself waiting for the other shoe to drop when something good happens, as seen by his panicked response when Mabel proposes and how he immediately jumps to imagining the worst case scenario of what could happen. He's loyal until the end and is more than willing to put his life on the line for his friends, as well as lend them places to stay and medical care if they need it.
In American Nothing, Joey becomes the de facto mentor figure to and --especially Dally. He's still brash and grumpy, he still has a reckless streak and his mental health issues aren't gone so much as manageable, but he's overall in a much better place in AN and the last parts of RUC than he was.
BD: Near-constant nervous smile. Towards the end of his career, a sort of unfocused expression and slight swaying.
RUC/AN: Very expressive facial features and not the best at controlling his expressions. Stands with his arms crossed, shoulders squared, and feet hip-width apart, which is something he picked up at work to make people think twice about crossing him. Tendency to over-gesticulate when talking and isn't great at vocal moderation. Scoffs about as much as he laughs.
BD: "charmspeak" ability, agile, very pretty. Did some theatre and wasn't half bad. Can cook and sew well thanks to his grandmother. Fluent in Italian.
RUC, AN: Good in a fight, very good saxophone player. Still has the charmspeak ability, but it tends to fizzle out--he's not sure if it's just something that happens to powers as their wielders age or if it's tied into something else. Knows about as much first-aid stuff as he can due to both classes and research. Rusty Italian but still can speak it.
BD: To improve the world! Clearly his superpowers have to mean something; it's his duty to protect others.
RUC: To stay under the radar and not get involved in anything involving League politics. He does vigilante stuff, but it's mostly just stopping crimes that are actually happening.
AN: To help expose corruption within the League, and to keep an eye on the new upstarts and make sure they don't get themselves injured or worse.
Motivations that span multiple appearances include:
- Working through the trauma of his last days with the League, especially the ambush and how he feels responsible for it.
- Working through issues surrounding his self-confidence, insecurities, and self-worth.
- His struggle with depression is at its peak in RUC but it doesn't fully go away and is something he has to continue to live with.
Joey is predominantly attracted to women and identified as a lesbian when he was younger. His love interest,, is nonbinary, but presents as very feminine, uses she/they pronouns, and from a visual standpoint is not really distinct from a cis woman. If pressed, he'd probably call himself straight or bisexual, but not entirely sure which--probably bisexual, but in the "attracted to two or more genders" (in his case, women and nonbinary people) sense as opposed to the "attracted to all genders but with preferences" sense.
Fight, 100%. He fights dirty, too, especially if someone he cares about is in danger.
Saxophone and a bit of trombone. Vigilante crimefighting. Cooking, when he has the time and energy, as well as baking stuff for Mabel. As a teen, he did some theatre (nothing relevant except for playing Anybodys in West Side Story, which itself would be irrelevant ifdidn't do the same) and played volleyball.
- Will go out of his way to avoid anything League-related, which can be tricky. The sole exception is Mabel since Mabel hates working for the League but feels like she has no other option.
- He initially struggles to adapt to working with Ira, partially due to Ira's autism and occasional mutism and partially just because of who Ira is as a person. It took some time working together (and Ira saving his ass a few times) for him to stop treating him with kid gloves and assuming he had no idea what was going on.
- Unlike Ira, Joey doesn't focus his efforts into specific types of crime to fight: he'll take on corrupt politicians and break up a mugging in the same night, sometimes with his power and sometimes by force, and he'll let people go without a fight fairly often. There is one group of criminals that he does not offer that ticket out to, though, and it's sex criminals: whether it's pedophiles, human traffickers, rapists, or anyone else in that ballpark, he will not hesitate to give them a beatdown they won't soon forget. He insists that this stems from basic human decency, which is true, but it also stems from his past experience with Barry.
- He generally doesn't have enough energy to care about his past time as a superhero or people's reactions to it--he knows that people broadly didn't like Venus and hell, he didn't like the Venus persona either. That being said, if someone has a pin-up or otherwise "sexy" picture of Venus (especially in the debut outfit, since he started working with the League at 16) his opinion of them instantly plummets into the ground.
Gen1: Borderline--if not outright--eating disorder.
Gen3: Depression, PTSD
Charmspeak--he can convince people to do or even believe what he wants by ordering them to, with the caveat that they have to actually hear him say it, like a Jedi mind trick. When he was in the League, he disliked his power because it was not only the least flashy of his teammates but also the subject of mockery and even sexist jokes (ha ha, the girl's power is being bossy :/) by both the public and even his teammates. His distaste towards his power grows even stronger after Barry forces a kiss on him--he knew beforehand that his power was iffy and he quickly learned to be specific with his word choice and tap in and out of using it, but after that he could barely stomach using it at all since the idea of taking away someone's consent even in a non-sexual context repulsed him, although he still used it in combat and to save lives during the ambush.
As likely inferred by other information, Joey is someone who's generally more physical as opposed to someone who'd end a fight with "put your gun down!" and in his early days as Caesar especially he would ignore his ability in favor of the thrill of an actual fight. He mostly uses it to diffuse fights while working as a bouncer, but even then it sometimes doesn't work. He's unsure if powers naturally fade with age since he is, to his knowledge, the oldest surviving hero with powers, if whatever provides him his powers was injured at some point during his long career of fighting crime, or if there's some other cause.
Keeping this brief as it's all mostly a recap of stuff mentioned prior:
Born in the mid to late 1980s, Joey Puglisi is the only child of Alessio and Sofia Puglisi. He grew up in a mostly Italian-American community that was part of a much larger city (more akin to historical Greenbush, Madison, than Little Italy though) and was "one of the boys" growing up, often trailing a bit behind his cousins and other friends as they played outside. Besides them, his grandmother Benedetta Puglisi was his closest friend, as she moved in with the family after the death of her husband. Joey's mother was an Italian immigrant and Benedetta and her husband immigrated decades earlier from Sicily, and so Joey grew up speaking Italian about as frequently as English while growing up. His parents both worked long hours and so he was predominantly raised by his grandmother, who taught him to cook and sew, among other things. When he was around ten years old, he started to notice that people around him listened to him--like, really listened to him--but figured it was nothing special since even though superheros were a well-established part of American culture, superpowers were not. When he was sixteen, however, he realized that this extended past any sort of naturally-occuring charisma into something superpower-related, and the League realized this too, sending out a call for any people with superpowers. It was then that five local teens came together: Tobias Thompson, Eliza Lenya, Barry Rodgers, Jacob Spring, and Giulia Puglisi, with Michael Brell added on as out-of-combat support. At first, working with the League was a dream come true--after all, what kid doesn't want to be a superhero? But things quickly soured. Everything about the League was curated, but it become even more so as the heroes aged and once Joey hit 18, the pressure to lean into the sex appeal of Venus was on and he had to actively fight to keep a semi-practical costume (it's still got too much loose fabric and his hair is still impractical, but at least it's more than a leotard). The pressure to stay as "the pretty one" also weighed on him and he began to restrict his eating to keep a slim frame, and he and Eliza didn't even mention their relationship to their employers. As the other members of the team also begin to be weighed down by their personas, things internally fall apart. Everything came to a head when a tipsy Barry announced that he was leaving the League to fight in the war in Afghanistan, to which Tobias harshly objected, conjuring up an illusion of Barry dying brutally in combat to try and dissuade him. They got a call about an emergency and Tobias elected to only take Eliza and Jacob, with Michael already at a separate location, leaving Barry and Joey at the headquarters together. Barry kept on drinking and rambling as Joey just tried to ignore him, already exhausted from the day's work. Barry forces himself on Joey and kisses him, Eliza returns and throws herself onto Barry until the others pull her off, and for a brief few hours everyone tries to sort of ignore what happened--Barry sobered up and apologized and Joey just tried to avoid him for the time being until they received a second call asking them to come upstairs to the official League building. It was there that they learned that Michael was dead, shot point-blank through the head at his desk. And with that everything erupts again: Jacob jumps first and accuses Barry of orchestrating something to take Michael out to eliminate competition for attention, Barry shoots back that Jacob's only saying that because he's in love with Michael (effectively outing him to the League) and then accuses Eliza of being a Russian spy who killed him to stick it to America, Eliza accuses Tobias of getting Michael killed to try and keep the group together, and in the only time he's used his power against his teammates, Joey forced everyone to stop arguing and go rest.
Everything was as uncomfortable as you'd expect the next morning, to the point where they almost vote to leave a massive fire to the fire department until they're on better terms. Joey was the dissenter, arguing that Michael would've wanted them to help the tenants and it wasn't fair to let people die just because they weren't on great terms. They reluctantly suit up and arrive...and it was an ambush. Jacob was killed first, shot through the chest while trying to turn nearby items into water to douse the fires. Eliza, Joey, and Barry made a break for the building and got in, splitting up into Eliza-and-Joey and just Barry, as Joey was obviously not comfortable being alone with Barry even in this scenario. At this point, Joey is underweight enough that he's constantly tired, dizzy, and nauseous, something that's not helped by the smoke, and he and Eliza barely make it through the staircase in one piece. They try their best to get everyone outside, but one of the people they're ushering out calls that she doesn't know where her son is. Joey sees him, a boy crouching under a table in the hallway, and goes back for him as Eliza helps the others to the fire escape. Joey runs back to the boy and orders him to go outside by the firemen, as he's close enough to that exit to just leave that way. He listens, compelled by Joey's power, and then Joey tries to get back to Eliza. A beam falls through the hallway and he can't get past it and has to go out the same exit that the boy did. Once outside he sees Tobias crumpled on the ground, his neck snapped, and veers back in, barely making it back up the stairs without vomiting. He tries to get to the next level but can't, and narrowly avoids being crushed by falling debris that takes out part of the wall. He falls through and lands hard on his back, cracking his head against the ground as a metal beam pins down one of his legs. The firemen get it off before too much damage is done, but the burn is still bad. They carry him to a safe location and he's too weak and disoriented to protest, as well as too badly hurt to fight back. It's there that he notices that the fire escape Eliza was on is completely gone, and he calls out for her to no avail. The boy Joey saved punches a cop and makes a run for the building before being sedated, and from his position on the ground, Joey can just barely make out Barry as he falls from one of the top stories, his body wrapped in a flaming curtain as it hits the flag pole, the point stretching through his chest until his power finally gives way with a sickening pop. Joey blacks out and wakes up in a hospital bed. His leg was treatable without needing a skin graft, but they needed to do surgery on his lower back and skull. They also end up admitting him for disordered eating. Once released, his first act is to use his power to convince his family that he's dead to avoid them being endangered by any supervillains. His second act is to shave his head, and his third is to begin publicly presenting as a man, having learned that there was a name for the way that he felt. He starts HRT a bit over a year later, and after about ten months, he gets his name changed from Giulia Puglisi to Joey Poole (no specific meaning to Joey except that he likes it, and none to Poole except that it's close enough to Puglisi without being obvious).
Everything from here on out is covered in RUC (I say, as if everything prior isn't covered in BD and SIASL).
Went to public school from kindergarten to his sophomore year, at which point he switched over to the League's tutoring programs, which were surprisingly not bad. He's taken a handful of community college courses but nothing beyond that.
Alessio and Sofia Puglisi
Art credit to the makowka character maker II Picrew by makowka
I/Me/Myself (in the very specific case of BD) and 6up 5oh Cop-Out (Pro/Con) by Will Wood, though the latter applies just as much to Ira. Otherwise any "training montage music" like Eye of the Tiger. Maybe Whistle For the Choir by the Fratellis? I don't know much beyond theatre when it comes to music. Oh, anything with an epic sax solo I guess.