Sunday, February 8, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 9: Titania

This is part nine 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 Ron Wilson & Kim DeMulder (artists)
Victim: Titania (Davida DeVito)
Disguise: Golddigger, a female wrestler
Synopsis: With the Grapplers now gone legit as wrestlers, Titania takes a shower after losing a match with Battleaxe. One of the other female wrestlers, Golddigger shoots her with an explosive bullet, declaring "Justice is Served!" She makes a getaway, claiming it was a man who killed Titania; The Thing suspects Golddigger is the actual killer but is blocked by a distraught Battleaxe, who finds the body and is fooled by Golddigger's story.
Is this a key part in the Scourge story? Somewhat. It would be hard for a male to fit into the Golddigger disguise, making this the first indication that there might be more than one Scourge, who is female; all previous instances of a female Scourge could be attributed to a man in drag.
Does this tie in to the main story in this issue? A lot of the issue is devoted to reintroducing the Grapplers and establishing them as legit wrestlers so it ties in in that sense.
Postmortem use of victim: Another Titania, Mary MacPherson was already active at this point. Davida DeVito is later revived by the Hood and takes on the alias Lascivious.
Other comments: The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition claims that Golddigger was in fact the original Scourge, unlikely as that may seem, but subsequent Handbooks treat this Scourge as agent Caprice, making this Caprice's first appearance. An actual Golddigger, Angela Golden later turns up. It is unclear if Caprice was impersonating Golden or if Golden co-opted Caprice's abandoned alias. Probably due to her being naked, we don't actually die Titania die, just Scourge opening fire and then Battleaxe finding the body. Her actual death is depicted in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe v2#20 (i.e. Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition); #16 credits all death scenes drawn for the Book of the Dead issues to James Fry and Josef Rubinstein. This is the first time a second Scourge hit occurs in the same title, since Scourge killed Miracle Man in #24. This is the first time that a character is killed off by a co-creator (Mark Gruenwald).

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