Thursday, November 17, 2011

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 2: Miracle Man

LAST UPDATED: February 6, 2015

This is part two of a series of posts examining 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. 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.

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.
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.

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