Saturday, February 21, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 25: Matador, Priscilla Lyons (Failed Hits)

This is part twenty-five 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.

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.

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