Thursday, February 19, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 23: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man/Lethal Foes of Spider-Man

This is part twenty-three 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.

DEADLY FOES OF SPIDER-MAN#1-4 by Danny Fingeroth (writer) and Al Milgrom #1-4, Kerry Gammill #1-2, Mike Machlan #1-4, Harry Candelario #4 (artists)
LETHAL FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1-4 by Danny Fingeroth (writer); Scott McDaniel #1-2, Brad Vancata #1-2/4, Frank Turner #2, Keith Pollard #3, David Boller #3-4, Ian Akin #3-4, Keith Aiken #3-4, Jim Amesh #3-4, Mike DeCarlo #4 (artists)
Victim/Disguise: No Scourge is actually present.
The Shocker has recurring nightmares about Scourge and is obviously extremely scared about being hit by him. Taking advantage of the Shocker's fears the Kingpin send a Scourge imposter to kill the Shocker but the Shocker survives. The Ringer's wife Leila Davis becomes the villain Hardball in tribute to her husband who was apparently killed by Scourge.
Lethal: Hardball's grief-stricken plot is finally ended when the Ringer, now Strikeback shows up and explains how he survived Scourge's massacre.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Not really. No Scourge actually appears in this stories, but we do get to see the effect Scourge has on other villains, more so in the first limited series.
Does it tie into the main story in these issues? Only indirectly: Scourge's past activities are felt throughout both mini-series but he is not an active player.
Other comments: Both limited series are about the Sinister Syndicate. Because Scourge's involvement is only indirect, these mini-series only get a barebones coverage in the Scourge Files. The first limited series happened before the next actual appearance of a Scourge (Captain America #394) and the second one after that. Since the first limited series had a greater Scourge influence, this coverage is placed accordingly. Strikeback finally dies later from the Scourge shooting when his Strikeback suit runs out.

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