Thursday, February 19, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 19: Red Skull

This is part nineteen 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 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.

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

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