Thursday, February 19, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 22: Power Broker (Failed Hit) & Scourge; also Kalousek & Scanlon

This is part twenty-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 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 #358-362 (backup tale) Mark Gruenwald (writer) Mark Bright & Don Hudson (artists)
Would-be victim: Power Broker (Curtiss Jackson) (all issues)
Actual victims: Kalousek (guard), Scanlon (either guard or maid), other guards, maid if not Scanlon (#358); Scourge (real name unknown; the one who killed the above) (#362)
Scourge II eliminates some of the Power Broker's guards and shoots dead the maid as he enters the mansion; he cuts the phone line. Curtiss Jackson, with Priscilla Lyons, hears the shooting and first tries the phone, then a walkee-talkkee; in the latter case Scourge tells him he's coming for him. Jackson uses a special phone to alert others he's in trouble and a general contacts USAgent at Avengers Compound to rescue Jackson. USAgent flies off in a scooter.
#359: USAgent arrives at Jackson's place and finds the bodies. Jackson and Lyons get on a bed that's a secret elevator down. Scourge tries shooting through the floor after the elevator closes. Once the shooting stops Jackson and Lyons run through a tunnel. USAgent hears shots and runs upstairs and finds a hole in the floor, Scourge apparently having shot his way down. USAgent jumps into the hole, which causes Scourge to shoot towards his shield.
#360: USAgent breaks Scourge's gun with his shield and chases after him. Jackson locks himself and Lyons into a secure room, where the Power Brokjer augmentations happen. Scourge, now armed with a backup gun, shoots at the ceiling to cause debris to fall down on USAgent. Scourge tells USAgent he hopes he hasn't killed him. He shoots at the door to the secure room and when that doesn't work, he plants a charge and blows up the door.
#361: Scourge learns there is still one more door to go. Jackson starts to use the machine on himself, US Agent starts to wake up. Scourge blows up the inner door. Jackson, powering up, tells Lyons to distract Scourge. She partly changes into Vagabond and confronts Scourge. Scourge, undecided about her decides to leave her alone for now, but Jackson has left. He finds Jackson and seems amused by what he sees. He says, "Justice is served, Power Broker!"
#362: USAgent makes it out of the debris and runs after Scourge. Scourge finds that shooting the Power Broker doesn't seem to be working and doublesback, findign both USAgent and Vagabond. Scourge tries using Vagabond as a hostage but she kicks hium in nthe groin, allowing USAgent to throw his shield at Scourge. USAgenet beats Scourge but then is distracted by Power Broker, now misshapen. After calling an ambulance and escorting Lyons out, USAgent starts to fly the unconscious Scourge in his scooter, but Scourge is shot by an unseen assailant. USAgent opts to try to find the other killer, presumably another Scourge rather than taking the captured Scourge to the hospital, but is unsuccessful.
Is it a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? More or less: it's a full-length Scourge story involving a previously seen Scourge who dies in this story, and yet another Scourge is introduced (though not actually seen)
Is is a part of the main backup story in these issues? The entire backup story revolves around Scourge (Captain America is of course the lead in the main story these issues).
Postmortem use of victims: None of Power Broker's employees have returned from the dead, nor has anyone taken on the mantles of Kalousek or Scanlon.
Other comments: Vagabond's presence would have further implications in the USAgent series. There's a definite contrast between #362 and #320. When the first Scourge is fatally wounded, Captain America stays with him and tries to save him until he dies. When this Scourge is fatally wounded, USAgent lets him die and goes after the assailant. The unseen Scourge is likely Decker. Vagabond is not listed as a would-be victim as Scourge had not yet decided if she was a target; when he was shooting at the bed elevator, he was actually trying to kill Jackson, with Lyons just in the way.

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