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1/09/2020 6:30 pm  #1


Justice is Served! The Scourge of the Underworld Files

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Adapted from a series of posts from my blog and elsewhere. At one point these were on Capes(Optional) and the Capes(Optional) versions may have been slightly different than the blog versions, particularly for the first five parts. These examine the original Scourge storyline in the 1980s to 1990s, in which an organization devoted to the assassination of super-villains, usually with a modified submachine gun with explosive shells went into action, usually uttering the catch-phrase "Justice is served!" just after killing the villain. Adapted from material I previously wrote in the 1990s on an older website. Previously I was going from memory but in 2014 I purchased the Scourge of the Underworld trade. I also have the most recent Marvel Index volumes. I am therefore editing this series accordingly. This series covers Iron Man#194 to USAgent#4. It does not cover subsequent appearances of characters called Scourge as all subsequent appearances deviated in key ways from the original concept. On the other hand, hits that were considered unsuccessful even at the time are covered. For successful hits, postmortem uses of victims are now noted.

IRON MAN #194 May 1985 by Denny O'Neill (writer) and Luke McDonnell & Steve Mitchell (artists)
Victim: The Enforcer (Charles Delazny Jr.)
Disguise: Homeless woman
Synopsis: The Enforcer is hired by Madame Masque's bio-duplicate on behalf of Obadiah Stane to kill the Termite. En route, a homeless "woman" stops him, asking for change, and "she" and the Enforcer have a brief heated exchange. The Enforcer brushes her off. "She" shoots him (through her bag) in the chest with a sawed off shotgun containing explosive bullets and says "Justice is Served!"
Is it key to the Scourge story? Yes, the Enforcer was the first hit by a Scourge. Also, apparently the same Scourge, when captured by Captain America would tie the Enforcer into his bogus origin, claiming to be the Enforcer’s brother. This claim was bogus however, as he claimed to be the brother of Coot Collier Jr. and not the Enforcer’s actual real name of Charles Delazny Jr.
Is is key to the rest of the story in this issue? Marginally. Madame Masque's bio-duplicate was a recurring character in Iron Man at the time, and Stane the main villain of that era.
Postmortem use of victim: Charles Delazny, Jr. has not been brought back from the dead as of February, 2005. However, Mike Nero has taken on the identity of the Enforcer.
Other comments: Evidently Scourge didn't know where the Enforcer was headed. Otherwise it would have made sense for him to let the Enforcer kill the Termite first, since the whole reason behind the Scourge operation is to eliminate super-villains.

THE THING #24 June 1985 by Mike Carlin (writer) and Ron Wilson & Joe Sinnott (artists)
Victim: Miracle Man (Joshua Ayers)
Disguise: Bearded bus passenger
Synopsis: The Thing sits in an aisle seat of a bus, not realizing his old foe the Miracle Man is sitting in aisle seat directly to Thing's right. A bearded man in a window seat to Thing's left tries to engage Thing in a game of Trivial Pursuit. Miracle Man uses his powers to stop the bus so he can break the Rhino out of a Project: Pegasus vehicle. The Rhino ultimately resists the Miracle Man's attempts to manipulate him. As Miracle Man struggles for control, he his confronted by the bearded man, who guns down the Miracle Man, declaring, "Justice is Served!"
Is it key to the overall Scourge storyline? No. Just a random hit.
Does it tie in to the rest of the issue? Yes. as noted above, Scourge is a bus passenger and even interacts with the Thing, only striking near the end. His victim was the main villain of the story (aside from the Rhino, who was just a dupe) .
Postmortem use of victim: Miracle Man was one of a number of super-villains brought back from the dead by the Hood.
Other comments: This is the oldest of Marvel's villains to get slain by Scourge, first appearing in Fantastic Four#3 March 1962. Scourge does not attempt a hit on the Rhino in this story. There are probably two reasons for this: it's unlikely that even explosive bullets could penetrate the Rhino, and Scourge likely didn't want to engage the Thing, who was physically too close to the Rhino both during the rampage and after the Rhino calmed down. Miracle Man. Curiously, even though Miracle Man spots the Thing prior to boarding but not vice versa, he still ends up sitting beside his old foe. Scourge doesn't attempt to play Trivial Pursuit during later hits, so it's unknown if that was a genuine interest of his or just part of his cover.
 
SECRET WARS II#2 August 1985 by Jim Shooter (writer) and Al Milgrom, Steve Leialoha and Joe Rubenstein (artists)
Victim: Hate-Monger (“H.M. Unger”)
Disguise: Unknown
Synopsis: After the Hate-Monger's defeat in a confrontation with the Fantastic Four and the Beyonder, Scourge, hidden in an alley, guns down the Hate-Monger, revealing him to be an artificial lifeform.
Is it key to the Scourge storyline? No.
Does it tie in to the main story? Only to the extent that Secret Wars II covers events from Fantastic Four#279-281. Since Psycho-Man begins using the Hate-Monger there, Scourge's hit actually ties more into the Fantastic Four issues.
Postmortem use of victim: Unger has not been recreated as of February 2015. He was the third of four (to date) villains using the Hate-Monger name and hate motif but otherwise bearing little resemblance to one another.
Other comments: This is the first Scourge victim to be killed in his initial storyline, as well as the only one to be an artificial lifeform. Scourge's disguise, if any, is not actually seen here. While the gun the Scourge uses is referred to by She-Hulk as a raygun, it actually looks fairly similar to the gun Scourge used to kill the Miracle Man.

THOR #358 August 1985 by Walt Simonson (writer and artist)
Victim: Megatak (Gregory Nettles)
Disguise: Old man
Synopsis: Not far from Beta Ray Bill and Sif, Megatak prefers to go into action oinly to be shot dead by an old man who declares, "Justice is Served".
Is it key to the overall Scourge storyline? No
Does it tie into the main story in this issue? Very little. Megatak appears to want to take advantage of the distraction caused by Sif and Beta Ray Bill having finished their battle with Titanium Man, but that's about it.
Postmortem use of villain: Nettles has not been revived as of February 2015 nor has anyone taken on the Megatak identity
Comments: As with the Rhino in the hit on Miracle Man, it makes sense that Scourge wouldn’t target the Titanium Man, due to his armour and not wanting to attract the attention of Beta Ray Bill and Sif.
 
MARVEL AGE ANNUAL # 1 1985 by Kurt Busiek (writer) and James Fry (artist) (note: there were other stories and features in this issue, but only this one involved Scourge).
Victim: Phone Ranger (A.G. Bell)
Disguise: James Fry
Synopsis: The Phone Ranger is present during a skirmish between various Marvel heroes and the Lethal Legion in the Marvel offices, and is shot by Scourge, disguised as James Fry, apparently not realizing that the Phone Ranger is a hero.
Is it key to the overall Scourge storyline? No
Does it tie into the main story in this issue? Well, it ties into this particular story at least in the sense of the hit occurring during the chaos
Postmortem use of victim: Bell turned up alive during the Civil War, his suit having protected him somehow despite being shot passing through his head. There have been no subsequent Phone Rangers.
Other comments: This is the first time that Scourge shot someone in their first appearance and the second time that a character got shot in their initial storyline, such as it is. It’s unclear why Scourge would shoot the Phone Ranger and leave the more obvious villains alone. Perhaps he felt that he could only get in one shot during the chaos.  This is the first time that Scourge shot someone who was not actually a villain and the first time that Scourge impersonated a specific person.  Prior to his revival, this story was believed to be non-canonical.
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #311 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Paul Neary & Dennis Janke (artists)
Would-Be Victim: Constrictor (Frank Schlichting/Frank Payne)
Disguise: Nurse
Synopsis: The Constrictor is in the hospital recovering from injuries in the previous issue. A nurse asks Captain America to leave and then pulls out a gun. Before "she" can kill the Constrictor, Captain America returns to the room to say one more thing to the Constrictor. Realizing what's happening, he stops the hit, though Scourge gets away, abandoning the padded suit and latex mask.
Is it a key part of the Scourge storyline? Somewhat. It’s his first failed hit and it’s where Captain America first becomes aware of Scourge. It's also the first time that Scourge uses a version of his codename, in this instance "the Scourge of All Criminals!"
Is it part of the main story in this issue? Partly since Constrictor is in the hospital for crossing the Serpent Society, whom Captain America started investigating as a result.
Other comments: This is the first Scourge appearance to be written by Mark Gruenwald, who came up with the original concept for the character.
 
WEST COAST AVENGERS #3 by Steve Englehart (writer) with Al Milgrom & Joe Sinnott (art)
Would-Be Victim: Kraven the Hunter (Sergei Kravinoff)
Disguise: Man in park
Synopsis: While Tigra battles Kraven, Scourge watches the fight and decides not to take the hit, fearing hitting Tigra. 
Is it a key part of the Scourge storyline? No
Does it tie in to the main story in this issue? Yes, since the fight between Tigra and Kraven is the focus of the issue.
Other comments: Scourge needn't have worried with this one. Kraven commits suicide in his next adventure, in the Fearful Symmetry storyline that ran through various Spider-Man titles (though he was subsequently brought back after a series of successors). Now that the Marvel Age Annual story is canon, it is arguable that Scourge is being extra careful not to hit an innocent this time around as a result of that mishap.
 
AVENGERS #263 by Roger Stern (writer) with John Buscema & Tom Palmer (artists)
Victim: Melter (Bruno Horgan); also Keegan
Disguise: Keegan (Melter's assistant)
Synopsis: Melter is observing an Avengers Quinjet through a view finder. He gloats to his assistant Keegan that he has a ray that will wipe out Avengers Mansion and everyone in it. He finds the real Keegan dead in a locker, at which point the imposter guns him down, declaring, "Justice is Served!"
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? No
Does it tie into the main story? No, beyond the fact that the Avengers are present in the mansion as a result of the main story. I don't believe the Avengers ever found out they were in danger.
Postmortem use of victim: Neither Bruno Horgan nor Keegan have been revived. There have been two subsequent Melters (Christopher Colchiss and an unidentified patron of Roderick Kingsley) but no one has taken up the mantle of Keegan as of February 2015.
Other comments: This was probably Scourge's most significant hit. We never find out if the ray actually worked. In the case of Keegan, this is the first time a kill occurred off panel; Keegan has never appeared alive anywhere.

THE THING #33 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Ron Wilson & Kim DeMulder (artists)
Victim: Titania (Davida DeVito)
Disguise: Golddigger, a female wrestler
Synopsis: With the Grapplers now gone legit as wrestlers, Titania takes a shower after losing a match with Battleaxe. One of the other female wrestlers, Golddigger shoots her with an explosive bullet, declaring "Justice is Served!" She makes a getaway, claiming it was a man who killed Titania; The Thing suspects Golddigger is the actual killer but is blocked by a distraught Battleaxe, who finds the body and is fooled by Golddigger's story.
Is this a key part in the Scourge story? Somewhat. It would be hard for a male to fit into the Golddigger disguise, making this the first indication that there might be more than one Scourge, who is female; all previous instances of a female Scourge could be attributed to a man in drag.
Does this tie in to the main story in this issue? A lot of the issue is devoted to reintroducing the Grapplers and establishing them as legit wrestlers so it ties in in that sense.
Postmortem use of victim: Another Titania, Mary MacPherson was already active at this point. Davida DeVito is later revived by the Hood and takes on the alias Lascivious.
Other comments: The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition claims that Golddigger was in fact the original Scourge, unlikely as that may seem, but subsequent Handbooks treat this Scourge as agent Caprice, making this Caprice's first appearance. An actual Golddigger, Angela Golden later turns up. It is unclear if Caprice was impersonating Golden or if Golden co-opted Caprice's abandoned alias. Probably due to her being naked, we don't actually die Titania die, just Scourge opening fire and then Battleaxe finding the body. Her actual death is depicted in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe v2#20 (i.e. Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition); #16 credits all death scenes drawn for the Book of the Dead issues to James Fry and Josef Rubinstein. This is the first time a second Scourge hit occurs in the same title, since Scourge killed Miracle Man in #24. This is the first time that a character is killed off by a co-creator (Mark Gruenwald).
 
FANTASTIC FOUR #289 by John Byrne (writer and artist)
Victim: Basilisk (Basil Elks)
Disguise: Construction worker
Synopsis: Basilisk crawls up from the construction area of the then-future Four Freedoms Plaza after killing a construction worker. He brags about his return and starts declaring his plans. Another construction worker shoots him out of the building and declares, "Justice is Served!"
Is the story key to the overall Scourge storyline? No.
Does the scene tie into the main story in this issue? Not really, beyond tying into the subplot of the new headquarters being built.
Postmortem use of victim: There was a Basilisk before and after Elks, but none of them have any real connection to one another. Basil Elks was revived by the Hood.
Other comments: This was the first time Scourge was written and drawn by John Byrne, who came up with the name Scourge.
 
MARVEL FANFARE #29 by John Byrne (writer/artist)
Victims: Hammer and Anvil (Leroy Jackson and John Anvil)
Disguise: Elderly First Nations man
Synopsis: the Hulk encounters an elderly First Nations man in the desert, who manages to calm the Hulk first by talking and behaving peacefully towards him, then by using neuro-tranquilizing vapours. The old man is clearly expecting additional company, who prove to be Hammer and Anvil. They attack the Hulk from behind. The old man shoots Hammer in the head. With their Anvil's life force linked to Hammer's by a chain, Anvil dies as well, and the old man/Scourge declares, "Justice is Served!" A confused Hulk finds Scourge's discarded disguise.
Is is a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? No.
Is it part of the first main story in this issue? Yes, since the the only character in the story besides Hulk and the villains turns out to be Scourge, who apparently learned that Hammer and Anvil were going to attack the Hulk and so used the Hulk as bait.
Postmortem use of victims: Leroy Jackson and John Anvil have not been revived, nor has there been a new Hammer and Anvil team as of February 2015.
Other comments: This story was published out of sequence (after Captain America #320) but takes place roughly here. The Scourge trade places it after Amazing Spider-Man #276 but Handbooks place it right before that issue. While not the only story in Marvel Fanfare #29, it is the main one, all done in full pages, with pages with a cartoon Al Milgrom discussing the story right before and after the story. It is unclear if this was an inventory story leftover from John Byrne's short lived Hulk run, or if Byrne did one more Hulk story specifically for Marvel Fanfare. If so, then this made be the first story written and drawn to focus on Scourge (as opposed to Scourge being a peripheral character), though it's not the first story to do so in publication order. Anvil's death is the only time a villain died indirectly rather than directly from a Scourge attack.
 
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #276 by Tom DeFalco (writer) and Ron Frenz (artist)
Victim: Human Fly (Richard Deacon)
Disguise: Psychiatric ward orderly/garbage man
Synopsis: Two orderlies at a psychiatric ward, one new, bring garbage to the Human Fly's room for food, only to find he has escaped. Later, near a trash bin, the Human Fly spots Spider-Man, then notices a garbage man who has a strong resemblance to the new orderly (the Human Fly had escaped before he could spot the orderlies). Dismissing the garbage man as not a threat, he flies after Spider-Man. The garbage man shoots the Human Fly and declares, "Justice is Served!"
Is this a key part of the overall Scourge story? No.
Does This tie into the main story in this issue? No. The main story dealt with Spider-Man battling the Hobgoblin.
Portmortem use of victim: Richard Deacon was revived by the Hood. There have been no subsequent villains called the Human Fly or the Fly; see below, however.
Other comments: The Human Fly acquired his taste for garbage in Spectacular Spider-Man #86. His not noticing the gun with his eyes is likely the result of his focus on Spider-Man. At the time he was also called the Fly, presumably to avoid confusion with the superhero/real-life stuntman called the Human Fly (who made his first Marvel appearance less than a year after the villain's first appearance), but the full version of his code name is used here. This is the only time a failed hit subsequently became a successful hit. Part of this sequence was omitted from the Captain America: Scourge of the Underworld trade.
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #318 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Paul Neary & Dennis Janke (artists)
Victim: Death Adder (Roland Burroughs)
Disguise: Cab driver
Synopsis: After something hits the Serpent Society saucer, Death Adder, en route to transport Princess Python back to the Circus of Crime, crash-lands the aircraft. He hides away Princess Python, keep her safe due to her random value. He blocks the path of a cab and tosses out a passenger, getting in himself. After the cab driver drives Death Adder a ways, talking all the while, he shoots Death Adder through the right front seat. The driver removes a face mask and declares, "Justice is Served, Death Adder."
Does this tie into the Scourge storyline? More or less. This story begins the hunt for Scourge story, but this hit occurs before we see any of the organized attempts to stop Scourge in action.
Is this part of the main story? Pretty much since it's the opening scene of a storyline about Scourge
Postmortem use of victim: Roland Burroughs was revived by the Hood, albeit in mutated state, but was subsequently killed by Venom. Between his first death and his revival, Ted Scott took on the identity of Death Adder.
Other comments: Oddly, Scourge says, "Justice is Served, Death Adder" instead of just 'Justice is Served." It is likely that Scourge was somehow responsible for the saucer crashing. Given that, it is unclear why he would accept a passenger after a hit had begun; possibly another Scourge shot the saucer and the Scourge depicted had no chance to ditch his fare once the hit commenced. Death Adder hiding Princes Python away likely saved her life. Another hit occurs in the same issue. See next post. 
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #318 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Paul Neary & Dennis Janke (artists)
Victim: Blue Streak (Don Thomas)
Disguise: Trucker
Synopsis: Blue Streak, out of costume, has a drink at the Bar with No Name. The bartender tells him to speak to a man in a booth who identifies himself as Gary Gilbert, formerly Firebrand. Gilbert tells Blue Streak that he has pieced togther that there is a serial killer targeting super-villains and is trying to organize an underground network to track the killer. Blue Streak declines to join up. Subsequently he ends up at the same rest stop as Steve Rogers, who recognizes him. They get into a fight, Blue Streak believing Rogers to be a SHIELD agent and soon after changes into his new costume while Rogers changes into Captain America. After moire fighting, Blue Streak gets away and he picked up by a trucker. He mentions to the trucker that the trucker must be wondering about the way he's dressed. The trucker replies, "Not at all," shoots him, and declares, "Justice is served, Blue Streak!"
Is this a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Definitely. We learn that super-villains are finally starting to organize again the threat.
Is this part of the main story? Yes. In this case the main story is about two things: the hunt for Scourge, and Captain America's clash with Blue Streak, the outcome of the latter tying into the former.
Postmortem use of victim: Don Thomas was resurrected by the Hood and then promptly killed again by the Punisher's ally, Henry Russo. There is one confirmed successor, Jonathan Swift who may or may not be the same Blue Streak as a psychic who was killed by Bullseye. There is another Bluestreak in the alternate reality MC2 (Blue Kelso) but while really fast there is reason to believe she was away of the earlier villains.
Other comments: Death Adder also dies in this story at Scourge's hand. See the last post. Blue Streak claims not to be a joiner despite having infiltrated SHIELD on behalf of the Corporation; likely he was using shorthand for "I've been a joiner in the past but it ended badly so no more". Blue Streak's real name wasn't revealed until later, hence his being referred to as Blue Streak even out of costume. Oddly, Blue Streak's new high tech gear appears just in time for Scourge to kiil him in it; this may have been a bit of misdirection for the readers, making his death slightly more of a disguise.  As with Titania, Blue Streak's death is not directly shown though through the dialogue is confirmed. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe v2#16 (i.e. Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition) shows his death for the first time. He was shot in the head rather than through the chest like most hits, probably due to where both were sitting in the truck. The same issue credits James Fry and Josef Rubinstein as the artists drawing previously not depicted deaths in this Handbook series. The bartender's name is given as Jake in the next issue. One of the newspaper clippings is for Wraith; however, Scourge didn't kill Wraith until later.
 
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CAPTAIN AMERICA #319 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Paul Neary & Joe Sinnott (artists) 
Victims: Gary Gilbert (formerly Firebrand), Bird-Man (Archille DiBacco), Turner D. Century (Clifford F. Michaels), Cheetah (Esteban Carracus), Commander Kraken (real name unknown), Cyclone (Andre Gerard), Grappler (real name unknown), Hellrazor (real name unknown), Hijacker (Howard Mitchell), Jaguar (Ramon De Rico), Letha (Hellen Feliciano), Mind-Wave (Erik Gelden), Mirage (Desmond Charne), Rapier (Dominic Tyrone), Ringer (Anthony Davis), Shellshock (Gary Buser), Steeplejack (Maxwell Plumm), Vamp (Denise Baranger)
Disguise: Jake (bartender)
Synopsis: After Captain America apprehends Blacklash, Blacklash admits that he is resorting to jewelry heists because he expects to be killed by the super-villain serial killer, known to Captain America to be Scourge, and wants to put away enough money to support his mom after he's gone. Sidewinder brings Death Adder's corpse to the Serpent Society Headquarters and orders the super-villain team to track down the killer. At the Bar with No Name Gary Gilbert meets with Ramon "Jaguar" De Rico and Hellen "Letha" Feliciano and they agree to help; Letha has a personal stake as Scourge killed her friend Titania. Captain America learns from his allies Stars and Stripes who all Scourge has killed thus far. The Serpent Society's leads go nowhere. Gary Gilbert chats with Jake the bartender before meeting with Anthony "the Ringer" Davis. Captain America visits Greg "Foolkiller" Salinger; while that proves to be a dead end, Serpent Society agent Diamondback is pursuing the same lead and they  join forces. Gary talks to Jake about the security measures being taken for an upcoming meeting at the bar. Captain America starts to part ways with Diamondback when her flirtation goes too far but she is shot by someone Captain America initially believes to be Scourge but who proves to be a farmer thinking there were Martians in his field. Captain America arranges hospital Care for Diamondback. Seventeen super-villains join Greg and Jake for a super-villain meeting, those villains with gadgets being forced to remove them in case Scourge is posing as a super-villain. The villains start to argue with one another as to the plan. Greg tries to maintain order and hear the plans one at a time. Jake says, "Say Gary -- may I make a suggestion? You could all... eat lead and die!" Jake opens fire with two semi-automatic guns with explosive bullets at the same time at the same time, so there's no chance to veto that particular suggestion. After the shooting stops, Jake, removing his mask says, "Dead -- all eighteen of them! Justice is served!"
Is this a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Oh yes. Aside from being a key part of the Hunt for Scourge story, it's his greatest success, though it also plays into his downfall in the next issue.
Does this tie into the main story in this issue? It is the main story this time.
Postmortem use of victims:
•    Firebrand: Greg Gilbert was brought back from the dead but then almost immediately after killed again by the Punisher. Subsequent Firebrands include Russ Broxtel, Rick Dennison, and Amanda (surname unknown);
•    Bird-Man: Archille DiBacco was revived by the Hood. He has an unidentified successor and is himself a successor to Henry Hawk as Bird-Man; Arnim Zola created a proto-husk of him prior to his revival;
•    Turner D. Century: Clifford F. Michaels was revived by the Hood. There have been no subsequent villains named Turner D. Century, though Arnim Zola created a proto-husk of him prior to his revival;
•    Cheetah: Esteban Carracus was revived by the Hood but killed again soon after by the Punisher. There have been no subsequent Cheetahs, though Arnim Zola created a proto-husk of him prior to his revival;
•    Commander Kraken: He has no successors and has appeared in Pluto’s Underworld, still deceased;
•    Cyclone: Andre Gerard was revived by the Hood but killed again soon after by the Punisher. Gregory Stevens took over the identity but was killed soon after. Pierre Fresson is active as the third Cyclone; Arnim Zola created a proto-husk of him prior to his revival;
•    Grappler: Grappler remains dead and has no successors;
•    Hellrazor: Hellrazor remains dead and has no successors;
•    Hijacker: Howard Mitchell was revived by the Hood but killed again by Venom; he has no successors as Hijacker;
•    Jaguar: Ramon De Rico remains dead; while using the name Jaguar, Major Buxley is likely not a true successor;
•    Letha: Hellen Feliciano was revived by the Hood; there have been no subsequent characters usuing the name Letha;
•    Mind-Wave: Erik Gelden was revived by the Hood but killed again soon after by the Punisher; there have been no subsequent Mind-Waves
•    Mirage: Desmond Charne was revived by the Hood; Boomerang apparently subsequently killed him again; while two subsequent characters used the name Mirage prior to his death, neither have any connection to Charne; Arnim Zola created a proto-husk of him prior to his revival;
•    Rapier: Dominic Tyrone has not been revived nor have there been any subsequent Rapiers;
•    Ringer: Anthony Davis: despite his body being seen by Water Wizard and Captain America, Anthony Davis was found barely alive by AIM agents, saved, and brought back as Strikeback. However he eventually did die from Scourge’s wound after his Strikeback armour broke down. His wife Leila Davis used his equipment for a time as Hardshell. Keith Kraft is the current Ringer;
•    Shellshock: Gary Buser has not been revived nor have there been any subsequent Shellshocks;
•    Steeplejack: Maxwell Plumm has not been revived; while not the first Steeplejack, there have been no subsequent Steeplejacks, though Jack Monroe as a later version of Scourge used his welding gun;
•    Vamp: Denise Baranger remains deceased, though Arnim Zola created proto-husks of both her Vamp and Animus identities.
Other comments: This issue was the start of the Captain America/Diamondback romance, though it wasn’t particularly romantic at this stage. It is unrevealed if Scourge created the Jake identity from scratch or if he usurped the real Jake’s identity; Jake is dark haired in #318 and blond here, but that is likely just a colouring error; most likely Scourge had been setting this trap for a while. The Ringer’s revival seems unlikely because his body was still there hours later, having been seen by both Water Wizard and Captain America, and subsequent news footage seemed to include the Ringer in the body count. Also, the wound was in a location that should have been fatal given the amount of time that had passed (very close to the heart). The villains aren’t directly depicted as dying here; a panel shows Scourge opening fire and then standing in front of the corpses. Various entries of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe v2 (Deluxe Editions) depict the deaths directly for the first time in the Book of the Dead issues (16-20); #16 credits this new art to James Fry and Josef Rubinstein. Many of the Bar with No Name death illustrations depict characters other than the subject of the entry dying, as follows:
•    #16 Turner C. Century: Turner C. Century;
•    #16 Cheetah: figure in shadows, Bird-Man, Commander Kraken, Cheetah;
•    #16 Commander Kraken: Cheetah, Commander Kraken, Bird-Man;
•    #16 Cyclone: three figures in shadows, Cyclone;
•    #18 Letha: Letha;
•    #18 Mirage I: Mirage;
•    #19 Ringer: Ringer;
•    #20 Vamp: Vamp, Turner D. Century.
 
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #278 by Tom DeFalco, Peter David, & Jo Duffy (writers) and Ron Frenz & Vince Colleta (artists)
Would-Be Victim: Flash Thompson
Actual Victim: The Wraith (Brian DeWolff)
Disguise: Jack Brennan (police officer)
Synopsis: A man disguises himself as a police officer while listening to a news broadcast of the Bar with No Name massacre. He arrives at the prison at the same time as Peter Parker, who is there to visit Flash Thompson. While not an immediate threat to Parker he mildly triggers Parker's spider-sense, but Parker attributes this to the police officer's gun. Brian DeWolff puts on his Wraith costume, preparing to seek vengeance on the police force for their role in his sister Jean's death. Police officer Jack Brennan enters the men's room and the fake cop follows, emerging soon after with his ID. After visiting Flash Thompson, being held for allegedly being the Hobgoblin, Parker enters the men's room after the imposter triggers his spider sense again, and he finds the real Brennan. Parker changes to Spider-Man. Unaware that Thompson has been framed, fake Brennan is about to shoot him and starts to utter the Scourge catchphrase, but Spider-Man intervenes. SWAT cops see the fight and try to stop Spider-Man. Scourge takes advantage of the chaos to try to escape. He opens the cells and announces that he is Scourge. He tells the the prisoners that he'll kill them if they don't leave. The prisoners run towards the SWAT team and Spider-Man. With the good guys distracted. He escapes to the roof top just as the Wraith is breaking in, knocking out a guard. Scourge decides his trip wasn't wasted here after all and tells the Wraith, "I am the Scourge. Learn my name... and die!". He shoots the Wraith dead and declares "Justice is served!"  Spider-Man and the SWAT team find Wraith's body and Scourge's disguise just before the guard wakes up.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Marginally. Next month's Captain America #320 more or less confirms this is a hit by a second male Scourge, though earlier hits have subsequently been attributed to this Scourge as well.
Is it part of the main story in this issue? The attempt on Flash Thompson definitely is the main plot of the issue. The actual hit on the Wraith is more incidental, with the Wraith going on a revenge trip and being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Postmortem use of victim: Brian DeWolff's mind was transferred to a new body and he was killed by Morbius. He was revived a third time by the Hood and killed once more by the Punisher. There are other characters called Wraith but none using Brian DeWolff's costume or motif.
Other comments: This issue came out the same day as the massacre issue of Captain America (#319). However, the announcement of the massacre at the beginning of the story means it takes place after. Chronology it has to takes place after page 9 of Captain America #320, when Domino offers the Hobgoblin hit to the first Scourge.  Likely it starts closer to page 14: the news report in this story mentions "17 or 18 victims", suggesting that Captain America's fake story of one victim surviving was starting to hit the news. One of the SWAT team members resembles Lt. Howard Hunter, played by James Sikking on Hill Street Blues.
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #320 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Paul Neary & Dennis Janke (artists)
Would-Be Victims: Cobra (Klaus Voorhees), Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), "Mirage" (Steve Rogers disguised as Desmond Charne)
Actual Victim: Scourge (real name unknown)
Disguises: Blond-haired woman (while talking with Domino); Man in trenchcoat and hat with skull cowl (attempt on Cobra & Diamondback); camouflage gear (attempt on "Mirage"); unknown (Scourge's killer).
Synopsis: Captain America evades an attack by Water Wizard, demanding to know why Water Wizard attacked him after calling him. Water Wizard apologizes and explains he had to confirm Captain America was genuine.  Water Wizard takes Captain America to the Bar with No Name and shows him the bodies. He explains that he had met with Greg Gilbert about attending the meeting to deal with Scourge, only a flat tire delayed his arrival until after the massacre had happened and Scourge had left. Captain America promises the scared super-villain to keep him safe. Captain America briefs a sheriff that evening but leaves out the Water Wizard to prevent word from getting back to Scourge. Scourge hears a video phone ring and puts on a fake woman's cowl on before answering. Domino briefs him on various super-villain sightings. After hanging up, Scourge removes his disguise and decides to target Diamondback. Cobra breaks Diamondback out of the hospital and takes her to a Serpent Society hovercraft. Scourge shoots at the craft but it only sustains minimal damage. Diamondback wants to get Scourge but Cobra, piloting the craft, decides they need reinforcements. Captain America arranges with the sheriff to pretend to be Mirage and report that he survived the massacre in order to smoke Scourge out. After the fake news is leaked, Domino sees "Mirage" leaving the police station in protective custody and follows them to a cabin. After the police leave, Scourge attempts to kill Mirage and finds himself in a conflict with Captain America. Captain America captures Scourge, who turns out to be an anonymous white haired man. Scourge claims that he has only killed people convicted of a crime, and that he was the son of a famous movie director and the Enforcer's brother. He says he killed the Enforcer to end the shame to the family, then continued the killing spree with the help of a private detective. Scourge is then shot to death by an assailant hiding in the bushes, who declares, "Justice is Served!" Captain America unsuccessfully tries to save the Scourge who was shot rather than pursue his killer.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Yes. Domino, a former member of the Conspiracy, is revealed to be working with Scourge, giving Scourge info on various villains' whereabouts. The Scourge responsible for most of the original killings dies in this story. This is the first irrefutable proof that there is more than one Scourge, and by extension the first time two Scourges appear in the same story.
Is is part of the main story in this issue? The whole issue is devoted to the hunt for Scourge
Portmortem use of victim: A Scourge later appeared in the afterlife in Pluto's realm; while other Scourges were dead by then, it is probable that it is the Scourge who died here who appeared, being the most worthy of being with other combatants in the afterlife. Two other Scourges were already active at this point (a woman later revealed to be Caprice and the first Scourge's killer) and four more confirmed Scourges are examined in later Files. Subsequently a brainwashed Jack Monroe became a Scourge but was not part the true Scourge operation. Frank Simpson (Nuke) also went by Scourge but was even less connected to the Scourge operations. No dead Scourges have been revived.
Other comments: Scourge's assailant, according to various Marvel Handbooks starting with Master Edition, is the same person who killed the Wraith. It's debatable whether Scourge is telling the truth about only killing people who have been convicted of a crime. Some victims such as Hate-Monger and Wraith had no criminal record, but it's possible that this specific Scourge only targeted people who were convicted (though his "Go ahead and check" line about the convictions is an obvious bluff). Enforcer's bogus story coincides with inaccurate info in the first Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe as to whom the Enforcer really was (both the original Ghost Rider stories and The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition get the true alter ego correct; the latter even used the true scenario to point out why Scourge had to be lying, which was not clear from this issue. Domino apparently did not know what this Scourge really looked like. It's possible given Scourge's willingness to work with Domino that he really did think Domino was a private detective, albeit a costumed one rather than a Conspiracy member. Given that this is the third time that this Scourge dressed as a woman (previous times being when he killed Enforcer and shot at Constrictor; Titania's murderer was a real woman) he may have had a taste for cross-dressing. As noted above, Ringer's body is still present, making his revival in Lethal Foes of Spider-Man rather unlikely. Other than the hat and trenchcoat being black here and white elsewhere, the costume Scourge used when shooting at Cobra and Diamondback becomes the standard Scourge costume in most subsequent appearances.

THE OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE v2 #11 & 19 & v4 #33 by Mark Gruenwald or Peter Sanderson (writer #11), Peter Sanderson (writer #19), Glenn Herdling, Peter Sanderson, or Murray Ward (writer#33), John Byrne & Josef Rubinstein (artists #11), Tom Palmer & Josef Rubinstein (artists #19), Keith Pollard & Josef Rubinstein (artists #33) (credits only for new material)
General Comments: #11 is subtitled Deluxe Edition while #19 is subtitled Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition. #33 (Master Edition) is strictly speaking beyond the USAgent #4 cut-off point but was published not long after so is an exception to the rule. Handbooks after the 1990s are not covered. This Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition series concluded prior to Scourge's next hit, hence its placement after Captain America #320. The Master Edition came later but I've opted to let it piggy-back on the earlier Handbooks.
v2 #11 Comments: Only handbook entry Scourge noted. This is a rare instance in the Deluxe Edition where a deceased character appears in the main section and not the Book of the Dead. Scourge trenchoat/skull cowl/hat are all white, which wasn't the case for the Scourge discussed here (in Captain America #320 he wore a black variant of this) but was the costume most frequently used by his successors. This entry outlines why Scourge could not have been whom he claimed to be (in short, the director he mentioned was Coot Collier while the Enforcer was Charles Delazny). One note suggests that originally every Scourge victim was going to get an entry in the Book of the Dead, which did not prove to be the case. The retroactive Marvel Fanfare #29 story had not yet been published.
v2 #19 Comments: Only handbook entry Scourge's Victims noted. This entry summarizes Scourge's history more briefly than in #11, then gives headshots of Scourge's victims to date, including alter ego if known, First Appearance, Final Appearance (at the time). By this time Marvel Fanfare #29 had been published, and Hammer and Anvil are placed between Basilisk and Fly.
v4 #33 Comments: Only Scourge entry noted. Roman numerals given for many of various Scourges are now considered false for Known former members (e.g. Caprice is now considered to be the second or third Scourge due to her hit on Titania), not sixth and at least one hit in the Bibliography is considered to be wrongly attributed (Scourge I is listed as Titania's killer)
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #347 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Kieron Dwyer & Al Milgrom (art)
Victim: Red Skull (Albert Malik)
Disguise: Helicopter pilot.
Synopsis: Mercenaries break the Albert Malik out of prison and get him to a helicopter. One mercenary tries to join Malik in the helicopter but Malik kicks him off.  After the helicopter takes off Malik dons the cowl of the 1950s Red Skull. The pilot literally shoots him out of the helicopter and declares, "Justice is Served". Shortly thereafter he calls up a man in red light to tell him what happened, which causes the mysteryman to laugh in delight
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Somewhat. It shows that the Scourge operation is back in business in some fashion. It also begins a lengthy red herring.
Does it tie into the main story in this issue? Yes. The mysteryman, whose identity is revealed in this Scourge's next appearance, #350 (see the next Files) had been behind the scenes regarding many of Captain America's recent problems when this story was written.
Portmortem use of victim: Albert Malik has never been revived. Sinthea Shmidt has since assumed the identity of the Red Skull, but she is more a successor to her father, the original Red Skull than to Malik.
Other comments: This is the first appearance of a Scourge working for the man in red light (see next Files). At least retroactively the Red Skull is Scourge's oldest victim.
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #350 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Kieron Dwyer & Al Migrom (artists)
Would-be Victim: Captain America (John Walker)
Disguise: White trenchcoat/skull cowl/hat
Synopsis: The employer of the Scourge from #347, revealed to be the original Red Skull claims that the Scourge operation was his idea. He has Scourge and other agents of organizations who had fought Captain America (Steve Rogers and/or John Walker) of late attack Captain America (at the time John Walker) who defeats Scourge. Scourge is not captured, however.
Is it a key part of the Scourge storyline? Only marginally. It makes for an interesting red herring, but Scourge is basically used as a token gunman here
Is it part of the main story in this issue? Scourge is part of the main plot, but mainly as window dressing.
Other comments: Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Masters confirms what one can extrapolate from the US Agent mini-series: the Scourge in the Red Skull plot thread is a renegade, and the Red Skull lied about coming up with and running the show. This makes sense since while one can see the Red Skull taking advantage of the Scourge operation to eliminate the competition, had he thought of the idea on his own, he most likely would have targeted heroes first. While a darker version of the Scourge costume had appeared previously and the all-white version in a Handbook entry, this is the first time the all-time costume is used in a story. This is the first time a Scourge made a full attempt at killing a hero, though the first one threatened to shoot Steve Rogers previously.
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #351 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Kieron Dwyer & Al Milgrom (artists)
Victim: Government agent posing as Watchdog (real name unknown)
Disguise: White trenchcoat/skull cowl/hat
Apparent Synopsis: A member of the Watchdogs kills Captain America (John Walker) while Captain America (Steve Rogers) is present. The Watchdog is then shot in the head by Scourge who drives off before Rogers can reach him.
Actual Synopsis: The government arranges for an agent disguised as a Watchdog to pretend to shoot Captain America (John Walker) so that Walker can assume the identity of USAgent. Unaware of the ruse, Scourge kills the agent and then drives off before Captain America (Steve Rogers, also present) can reach him.
Postmortem use of victim: The unidentified government agent has never been revived, nor has anyone else taken on the mantle of "government agent posing as Watchdog".
Is it key to the overall Scourge storyline? Somewhat; it's the return of the Scourge who killed Wraith and the first Scourge after a lengthy absence. At the time the return didn't seem so dramatic since it was then possible that he was the Scourge the Red Skull was using.
Is is part of the main story in this issue? Only in the sense of inadventently helping the government's deception, which is followed up more in later issues of this title and West Coast Avengers.
Other comments: This is the only time Scourge inadvertently killed an innocent. The ruse is revealed in Captain America #354. This Scourge was probably lying low to take the heat of Captain America's search. It's possible that the renegade Scourge's actions resulted somehow in this Scourge returning to action.
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #358-362 (backup tale) Mark Gruenwald (writer) Mark Bright & Don Hudson (artists)
Would-be victim: Power Broker (Curtiss Jackson) (all issues)
Actual victims: Kalousek (guard), Scanlon (either guard or maid), other guards, maid if not Scanlon (#358); Scourge (real name unknown; the one who killed the above) (#362)
Synopsis:
#358:
Scourge II eliminates some of the Power Broker's guards and shoots dead the maid as he enters the mansion; he cuts the phone line. Curtiss Jackson, with Priscilla Lyons, hears the shooting and first tries the phone, then a walkee-talkkee; in the latter case Scourge tells him he's coming for him. Jackson uses a special phone to alert others he's in trouble and a general contacts USAgent at Avengers Compound to rescue Jackson. USAgent flies off in a scooter.
#359: USAgent arrives at Jackson's place and finds the bodies. Jackson and Lyons get on a bed that's a secret elevator down. Scourge tries shooting through the floor after the elevator closes. Once the shooting stops Jackson and Lyons run through a tunnel. USAgent hears shots and runs upstairs and finds a hole in the floor, Scourge apparently having shot his way down. USAgent jumps into the hole, which causes Scourge to shoot towards his shield.
#360: USAgent breaks Scourge's gun with his shield and chases after him. Jackson locks himself and Lyons into a secure room, where the Power Brokjer augmentations happen. Scourge, now armed with a backup gun, shoots at the ceiling to cause debris to fall down on USAgent. Scourge tells USAgent he hopes he hasn't killed him. He shoots at the door to the secure room and when that doesn't work, he plants a charge and blows up the door.
#361: Scourge learns there is still one more door to go. Jackson starts to use the machine on himself, US Agent starts to wake up. Scourge blows up the inner door. Jackson, powering up, tells Lyons to distract Scourge. She partly changes into Vagabond and confronts Scourge. Scourge, undecided about her decides to leave her alone for now, but Jackson has left. He finds Jackson and seems amused by what he sees. He says, "Justice is served, Power Broker!"
#362: USAgent makes it out of the debris and runs after Scourge. Scourge finds that shooting the Power Broker doesn't seem to be working and doublesback, findign both USAgent and Vagabond. Scourge tries using Vagabond as a hostage but she kicks hium in nthe groin, allowing USAgent to throw his shield at Scourge. USAgenet beats Scourge but then is distracted by Power Broker, now misshapen. After calling an ambulance and escorting Lyons out, USAgent starts to fly the unconscious Scourge in his scooter, but Scourge is shot by an unseen assailant. USAgent opts to try to find the other killer, presumably another Scourge rather than taking the captured Scourge to the hospital, but is unsuccessful.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? More or less: it's a full-length Scourge story involving a previously seen Scourge who dies in this story, and yet another Scourge is introduced (though not actually seen)
Is is a part of the main backup story in these issues? The entire backup story revolves around Scourge (Captain America is of course the lead in the main story these issues).
Postmortem use of victims: None of Power Broker's employees have returned from the dead, nor has anyone taken on the mantles of Kalousek or Scanlon.
Other comments: Vagabond's presence would have further implications in the USAgent series. There's a definite contrast between #362 and #320. When the first Scourge is fatally wounded, Captain America stays with him and tries to save him until he dies. When this Scourge is fatally wounded, USAgent lets him die and goes after the assailant. The unseen Scourge is likely Decker. Vagabond is not listed as a would-be victim as Scourge had not yet decided if she was a target; when he was shooting at the bed elevator, he was actually trying to kill Jackson, with Lyons just in the way.
 
DEADLY FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1-4 by Danny Fingeroth (writer) and Al Milgrom #1-4, Kerry Gammill #1-2, Mike Machlan #1-4, Harry Candelario #4 (artists)
LETHAL FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1-4 by Danny Fingeroth (writer); Scott McDaniel #1-2, Brad Vancata #1-2/4, Frank Turner #2, Keith Pollard #3, David Boller #3-4, Ian Akin #3-4, Keith Aiken #3-4, Jim Amesh #3-4, Mike DeCarlo #4 (artists)
Victim/Disguise: No Scourge is actually present.
Synopsis:
Deadly:
The Shocker has recurring nightmares about Scourge and is obviously extremely scared about being hit by him. Taking advantage of the Shocker's fears the Kingpin send a Scourge imposter to kill the Shocker but the Shocker survives. The Ringer's wife Leila Davis becomes the villain Hardball in tribute to her husband who was apparently killed by Scourge.
Lethal: Hardball's grief-stricken plot is finally ended when the Ringer, now Strikeback shows up and explains how he survived Scourge's massacre.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Not really. No Scourge actually appears in this stories, but we do get to see the effect Scourge has on other villains, more so in the first limited series.
Does it tie into the main story in these issues? Only indirectly: Scourge's past activities are felt throughout both mini-series but he is not an active player.
Other comments: Both limited series are about the Sinister Syndicate. Because Scourge's involvement is only indirect, these mini-series only get a barebones coverage in the Scourge Files. The first limited series happened before the next actual appearance of a Scourge (Captain America #394) and the second one after that. Since the first limited series had a greater Scourge influence, this coverage is placed accordingly. Strikeback finally dies later from the Scourge shooting when his Strikeback suit runs out.
 
CAPTAIN AMERICA #394 by Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins & Bob LaRosa (artists)
Would-be victims: Gamecock, Shocker (Herman Schultz), Steel Wind (off-panel)
Actual victims: Bio-Plastoids (Secondus, Tertius, Quarternius); off-panel: Black Abbott (real name unknown), Lionfang (Alejandro Cortez), the Wrench (Kurt Klemmer)
Disguise: White trenchoat/skull cowl/hat (Bio-Plastoids); unknown (everyone else)
Synopsis: Captain America and Hauptmann Deutschland find the bodies of Red Skull, Sin, and Crossbones and call in the police and government agents including Duane Freeman, Another agent shows Freeman footage of Scourge killing Red Skull, Sin, and Crossbones. The actual Red Skull, listening in with Sin and Crossbones gloats about the Bio-Plastoids faking their deaths. He leaves them for a meeting with other agents, including Scourge. After a Watchdog gives a report, Scourge reports killing Black Abbott, Lionfang, and the Wrench. The Red Skull gets him to admit failing to kill Gamecock. Shocker, and Steel Wind, then kills him for his failure.
Is it a key part of the Scourge storyline? Marginally. It concludes the Red Skull agent aspect of the Scourge storyline.
Is it part of the main story in these issues? In the sense that Red Skull, Sin, and Crossbones were recurring villains at the time.
Posthumous use of victims: Black Abbott was revived by the Hood; he had no previous successors. Alejandro Cortez later turned alive with no reference to the Scourge shooting; there were no subsequent Lionfangs. Kurt Klemmer has not been revived; other characters called Wrench are unrelated to him. The Bio-Plastoids have not been revived.
Other comments: As noted previously, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition confirms what one can extrapolate from the US Agent mini-series: the Scourge in the Red Skull plot thread is a renegade, and the Red Skull lied about coming up with and running the show. This makes sense since while one can see the Red Skull taking advantage of the Scourge operation to eliminate the competition, had he thought of the idea on his own, he most likely would have targeted heroes first. No other Scourges are co-opted by the Red Skull; in fact this is the final Scourge appearance before the USAgent mini-series which answers most of the remaining questions about the Scourge operation. There is some question of the veracity of the kills (or even the kill attempts) other than the Bio-Plastoids, as they happened off panel; even the Black Abbott looked different upon revival, suggesting he may not have been the original. This is the second time Shocker has been shot at in Scourge related matters: the Kingpin sent an imposter after him in Deadly Foes of Spider-Man.

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1/09/2020 6:32 pm  #2


Re: Justice is Served! The Scourge of the Underworld Files

USAGENT #1 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and M.C. Wyman & Keith Williams (artists)
Would-be victims: Manuel Elongato (formerly Matador), Priscilla Lyons (occasionally Vagabond)
Disguise: White trenchcoat/skull cowl/hat (hit on Matador); mercenary (hit on Lyons)
Synopsis: Scourge enters a rundown apartment and sees two kids playing. Scourge tells the kids to be "very, very quiet". Scourge enters the bedroom and finds Manuel Elongato with three more kids (Elongato is feeding one, a baby). Elongato swears on his mother's grave that he has no intentions of returning to villainy. Elongato resigns himself to his fate but asks Scourge to send the kids out of the room so the kids will not see him being killed.  Scourge decides to spare Elongato and runs to his van. Domino on a radio asks how the hit went and Scourge shoots the radio. USAgent, flying ona jet-cycle spots a minister struggling with a flat tire and helps him change the flat. The minister, Ned Nordstrom gives him a pamphlet with his contact information. After passing on a party at Avengers Compound (and finding that someone, likely Hawkeye, has left him a party doll in his bedroom), USAgent decides to join Sandrose in the Communications Center. A woman's voice comes in saying that Scourge is targeting her. Flying on a jet-cycle to the bar. USAgent gives a code phrase to different women until one identifies herself as the caller. The woman claims to be Lisa Winters and claims that Scourge is targeting her due to her twin sister Mysteria. USAgent flies off with a form wearing his trenchcoat. The form is shot, revealing it to be the party doll. The jet-cycle is shot. Upon landing, USAgent spots a van and reaches it, getting on the roof, where the driver shoots at him. The shooter bails out before the van hits a mountain; USAgent also manages to jump to safety. USAgent is unable to find the probable Scourge and arranges for a Quinjet flown by Wonder Man to pick him and Lisa up. USAgent figures out that Lisa is a Scourge herself. She confesses she is but that she wasn't able to go through with her first assignment.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Definitely. It is the start of the storyline that reveals many of the Scourge secrets.
Does it tie into the main story in these issues? Other than a few bits about USAgent's past, the story is largely about Scourge.
Other comments: Scourge (Lisa)'s "Be very, very quiet") comment is likely a reference to Elmer Fudd; she called Elongato the Masked Matador but he was more often simply called Matador. This is the only time a Scourge spared the life of a victim out of a sense of mercy. Lisa Winters' real name is revealed in the next issue. It is not clear why Wonder Man does not continue to aid USAgent after this story; while USAgent can be grating, Lisa's life was in danger. While this is the first time the second shooter is seen, he is most likely the Scourge who killed the Scourge who was previous captured by USAgent in the failed hit on the Power Broker. His surname is revealed next issue.
 
USAGENT #2 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and M.C. Wyman & Keith Williams (artists)
Would-be victim: Priscilla Lyons (formerly Scourge, occasionally Vagabond)
Actual victims: Blowtorch Brand (Peter Brand) and unidentified homeless former super-villain
Disguise: Businessman (hit on homeless victim), movie goer (hit on Blowtorch Brand), trucker (failed hit on Lyons)
Synopsis: USAgent visits a former Scourge training area but finds it abandoned. When Lisa Winters enters after him to act as backup, USAgent scolds her, saying he needs her alive as she's his only lead, Driving off after an incident with a would-be hubcap thief, USAgent tells Lisa to tell her story from then beginning. Lisa admits to being Nomad's ex-partner Priscilla Lyons, aka Vagabond.. He tells USAgent a bit about her pre-Scourge life, then reminds USAgent that they'd actually met before, during the earlier Scourge's attack on Power Broker. Priscilla relates how she had attempted to leave town but was approached by a representative of the Scourge operation, Caprice. She says she was trained by the best fighter she'd ever seen other than Captain America, who taught her martial arts, firearms, surveillance and eavesdropping, and escape techniques. She relates how she followed a Scourge do a hit undetected before being given her first hit, the failed hit on Manuel Elongato.  Domino over a van radio tells the active Scourge to proceed with his mission. Disguised as a patron, Scourge enters an adult movie theatre and sits behind Blowtorch Brand. He shoots Brand through his seat and says, "Justice is served." Priscilla tells USAgent about her abandoned van. As part of a trap, Lyons contacts Domino through the van radio and asks to come in. The Scourge who killed Blowtorch Brand arrives and shoots at disguises placed around the van steering wheel to appear to be a sleeping Priscilla. USAgent jumps at Scourge. Scourge uses tear gas to try to get away, but USAgent manages to capture him with Priscilla's help. As Priscilla drives, USAgent strips Scourge to his underwear and puts tape over his mouth, then has her drive them to Reverend Ned Nordstrom's church. Ned reluctantly agrees to let USAgent store Scourge in the basement, and USAgent tells Priscilla to guard him. USAgent returns to Scourge's van to find it being towed away before  he could search it. He instead goes to Priscilla's van and, pretending to be Scourge, contacts Domino and arranges for a pick-up; he puts on a disguise. Ned gives Priscilla food; she tells him she won't open the door for any reason, not even to give Scourge food, drink, or amenities. A woman USAgent doesn't recognize picks him up, calling him Decker. After they drive off, the woman shoots him, telling him she knows he's not Decker.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Definitely. It is part of the storyline that reveals many of the Scourge secrets. It also has Scourge's final successful hit on a villain not connected to the Scourge operation.
Does it tie into the main story in these issues? Other than a few bits about USAgent's past, the story is largely about Scourge.
Postmortem use of victims: The homeless victim has apparently never been revived and it is unknown if anyone ever took up his super-villain identity. Peter Brand has never beenn revived nor has anyone else taken up the alias Blowtorch Brand.
Other comments: The woman who picks up USAgent resembles Caprice in the flashback and is confirmed to be her next issue. While never confirmed in-story, some Handbooks claim she was the Scourge who killed Golddigger. This is her first appearance as Caprice. With Decker, this is the first time real names of a Scourge is revealed; Caprice, assuming she's the woman in Thunderbolts #121, is another alias. With Mark Gruenwald's death, we'll likely never know who if anyone he had intended the homeless victim to be; no subsequent writers have revealed his identity either. Priscilla's trainer is identified in the next issue. It is unclear why Priscilla's radio is intact after she shot it in the previous issue. Perhaps she had multiple vans. It appears from next issue that Caprice's goal was to incapacitate USAgent, not kill him, hence his not being listed as a would-be victim.
 
USAGENT #3 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and M.C. Wyman & Keith Williams (artists)
Victim/Disguise: While the Scourge organization is heavily involved in this issue, no one is actually targeted.
Synopsis: USAgent has a nightmare about being in a war in southeast Asia with his brother Mike. He wakes up chained in a steam room as Caprice and a man in a blue suit. Caprice asks USAgent what his brother's name is and he correctly tells her Mike; when asked what his own real name is, he tells her John or Jack Daniels, John being his actual real name and Jack Daniels being his cover identity. Caprice lets USAgent rest and the suited man leaves the steam room to contact Domino, who identifies him as Bloodstain. Bloodstain tells Domino what they know. Domino is annoyed that they haven't learned more. Bloodstain replies that it took hours to get the right dosage of sodium pentathol with USAgent's metabolism. Domino runs the surname Daniels through his computer but only comes up with Drew Daniels, the Texas Twister. Dismissing a connection with that hero as not probable, he pulls up a list of patriotic heroes and starts playing with that list. USAgent has a nightmare about his parents' deaths at the hands of the Watchdogs. When USAgent wakes up, Caprice learns from the hero that his parents' names were Caleb and Emily. At the church, Reverend Ned Norstrom expresses to Priscilla Lyons his concerns about holding Scourge without food or water. Through the door, Scourge begs for water but Priscilla tells him to shut up. Ned tries to calm Scourge down and asks him to be patient. Scourge complains that his treatment is Unamerican and demands a lawyer, threatening to sue. When Ned starts to consider his point, Priscilla tells him Scourge will say anything to get out and suggests to Scourge he tell Ned about his victims. Scourge refuses to say anything without an attorney present even with an offer of water from Priscilla. US Agent has a nightmare about killing Left-Winger and Right-Winger. As he awakens Caprice considers the possibly that USAgent might before one of their best Scourge. Having learned that someone died, she asks him who and learns his friends Hector and Jerry died. Bloodstain contacts Domino, who has already pieced together USAgent's identity from his parents. Domino contacts another person and tells them they may be able to create the best Scourge ever. Bloodstain frees USAgent over Caprice's protests. He appears to unmask as USAgent's brother Mike Walker, claiming that his death was faked and he joined the CIA. He further claims that the Project Scourge was a CIA operation. He offers USAgent a role in the Scourge operation, pointing out that USAgent has killed before. When USAgent asks about Priscilla, Bloodstain claims they weren't really going to kill her, just give her a new identity. Bloodstain gives USAgent a card with contact info and lets him leave. Ned agonizes over what to do with Scourge and gets a call from USAgent, who admits he is feeling confused. He promises to get back when he can but that he might be an hour or two yet. After he leaves the phone booth Caprice offers him a ride to his car. Bloodstain contacts Domino and says he's ninety percent certain USAgent bought his story and points out that even if USAgent doesn't join, he'll lead Bloodstain to the other Scourges. He says he'll handle this personally.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Definitely. It is part of the storyline that reveals many of the Scourge secrets; this issue focuses on their information gathering and recruitment techniques.
Does it tie into the main story in these issues? Other than a few bits about USAgent's past, the story is largely about Scourge. In this part in particular the bits about USAgent's past largely blend into the Scourge storyline.
Other comments: Bloodstain seems surprised by the names of USAgent's parents, suggesting he may in fact be the real Mike or someone who knows him. However, this is never followed up on. While he appeared last issue in flashback as Priscilla's trainer, this is Bloodstain's first appearance in costume as Bloodstain. The CIA story was false, however. The person Domino contacts is revealed next issue. Not counting afterlife appearances, this is the only Scourge appearance where no Scourge is trying to kill anyone.

USAGENT #4 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and M.C. Wyman & Keith Williams (artists)
Would-be victims: USAgent (John Walker), Priscilla Lyons (formerly Scourge, occasionally Vagabond)
Actual victim: Scourge (Decker)
Disguise: Decker targeting USAgent: in his underwear; Bloodstain targeting USAgent the first time, Caprice targeting Priscilla: white trenchcoat/skull cowl/hat;  Bloodstain targeting USAgent the second time, female nurse, then blue Bloodstain costume.
Synopsis: While in Bloodstain's gun sights as Bloodstain talks to a Scourge in shadows, USAgent arrives at Minister Ned Nordstrom's place; Bloodstain mentions the bug he has planted on USAgent. Ned complains about the prisoner not having been fed in days. USAgent agrees to feed him. USAgent brings food to the door of the room Scourge (Decker) is being kept in and Priscilla Lyons tells him that Scourge has been silent of late. USAgent opens the door and can't see anyone. As he enters, Scourge, having untied himself, tries to choke him with the rope. USAgent easily subdues him and ties his wrists again. When USAgent asks Scourge who Bloodstain is, Scourge tells him Bloodstain is his trainer, but when asked about the Scourge organization having government sanction, Scourge tells him he doesn't know about that; USAgent believes him. USAgent and Priscilla take Scourge to USAgent's car, which won't start. Another Scourge appears and demands they make the Decker Scourge get out of the car. They toss him out and the new Scourge kicks the door shut, but USAgent tears the roof open and flings his shield at the new Scourge before he can kill Decker. As USAgent and Scourge fight, Priscilla tries to get Decker to safety, only for a third Scourge to point a gun at her, much to the dismay of Ned, watching through his window. The standoff ends when Priscilla attacks the third Scourge, then the Scourge fighting USAgent throws a grenade at him, knocking him out before killing Decker. He tries to shoot Priscilla but misses, hitting the third Scourge. Priscilla uses his Scourge as a shield, and the second Scourge's thoughts reveal the third one to be Caprice. Priscilla shoots the second Scourge in the abdomen but he gets away. USAnget tells Priscilla to go inside and call an ambulance for Caprice. Inside, as Ned tends to Caprice, USAgent picks up the phone and calls "Mike Walker"/Bloodstain, who proves to be the remaining Scourge, reaching his van. He answers the phone and USAgent pretends to agree to join him. Bloodstain tells him to be at the warehouse he was interrogated in in three hours. USAgent, uncertain if Mike is the Scourge he just fought, asks Caprice who is behind the Scourge program. Caprice tells him to ask Domino. USAgent tells her to tell him Domino's location. As the ambulance arrives, USAgent tells Priscilla to go with Caprice to protect her. Two hours later USAgent smashes into Domino van and forces Domino to drive him to his employer, a Mr. Halloway. A guard lets Domino and USAgent through with Halloway's permission. They meet with Mr. Halloway (in a wheelchair) and his apparent nurse. Halloway tells him he was the 1940s superhero the Angel who retired after an innocent died taking a bullet meant for him. He relates that he met with Dominic Dunsinane (Domino) and the two started the Scourge program, with Halloway providing the money and Domino providing the personnel. USAgent tells Halloway he'll be back with the police. The nurse shoots USAgent in the shoulder and the removes the nurse disguise, revealing the Bloodstain costume underneath. As they fight, Domino tries to get Halloway to safety. Bloodstain's attempts to shoot USAgent causes the stone angels in the yard to fall like dominoes, one landing on Domino, killing him. Another statue pins USAgent's feet. Two more statues start to fall towards but hit each other instead. USAgent, now free leaps towards Bloodstain who tries to shoot him. USAgent protects himself from the bullets with his shield and some of the ricochet kills Bloodstain. USAgent walks away as Halloway rants. Priscilla and Ned visit him in the hospital and Priscilla tells him Caprice is expected to recover. USAgent plans to seek salvation.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Definitely. It is conclusion of the storyline that reveals many of the Scourge secrets. This issue reveals the origins of the organization. Domino and Bloodstain getting killed and Halloway being revealed as the financier effectively shuts down the Scourge operation
Does it tie into the main story in these issues? Other than a few bits about USAgent's past, the story is largely about Scourge.
Posthumous use of victim: Decker remains dead. A brainwashed Jack Monroe borrowed elements of Scourge but was not a true successor to Decker et al, and Frank Simpson even less so. Dennis Dunphy recently became a brainwashed Scourge not unlike Monroe.
Other comments: There is a religious theme running through this series and it's particularly strong in this issue, particular as a light seems to shine throne the stone angels that colliding with each other and USAgent thinks, "I'm... I'm saved!" This is the only time a character previously targeted by Scourge under one name was targeted again under another: John Walker (USAgent) was previously targeted by the rogue Scourge while he was Captain America. It is ambiguous whether Bloodstain really was Mike Walker; Caprice seemed to suspect he may of been but USAgent concluded he wasn't. Halloway's first name is later revealed to be Thomas. After this issue was published, Mark Gruenwald later learned about an earlier then-modern appearance of the Angel. In Captain America #442, that Angel was revealed to be his brother who substituted for him; this brother was then killed by Zeitgeist. The same story revealed that Halloway was released due to lack of evidence. However, other than appearances from his time as the Angel, he has not appeared since. If Caprice is the same one as Kendra Louise Price, she was killed by Bullseye in Thunderbolts #121. This is the final appearance of the original Scourge of the Underworld organization and the last time the late Mark Gruenwald used Scourge.

This ends the Scourge files. PUM-SPAK Justice is served!
 

Last edited by Andy E. Nystrom (5/02/2020 4:51 pm)


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5/02/2020 4:52 pm  #3


Re: Justice is Served! The Scourge of the Underworld Files

Made minor edits and added a couple of images.


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