Justice is Served: The Scourge Files - Chapter Three

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Justice is Served: The Scourge Files - Chapter Three

Postby Capes (Optional) » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:53 pm

This is part three of a series examining the original Scourge storyline in the 1980s to 1990s, in which an organization devoted to the assassination of super-villains, typically with a modified submachine gun with explosive shells went into action, usually uttering the catch-phrase "Justice is served!" after killing the villain. Adapted from material previously written in the 1990s on an older website, it was put together from memory, but in 2014 I purchased the Scourge of the Underworld trade. Along with the most recent Marvel Index volumes, I am therefore editing this series accordingly. This series covers Iron Man #194 (May 1985) to USAgent #4 (June 1993). 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 included. For successful hits, postmortem uses of victims are noted.

(May 1986)
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.
(June 1986)
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, keeping 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 simply "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 entry).

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 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and soon after changes into his new costume while Rogers changes into Captain America. After more fighting, Blue Streak gets away and is picked up by a trucker. He asks the trucker if he is 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 previous entry). Blue Streak claims not to be a joiner despite having infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. 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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