Thursday, February 19, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 21: Government Agent Posing as Watchdog

This is part twenty-one 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.

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.

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