Saturday, February 14, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 14: Blue Streak

This is part fourteen 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#318 by Mark Gruenwald (writer) and Paul Neary & Dennis Janke (artists)
Victim: Blue Streak (Don Thomas)
Disguise: Trucker
Synopsis: Blue Streak, out of costume, has a drink at the Bar with No Name. The bartender tells him to speak to a man in a booth who identifies himself as Gary Gilbert, formerly Firebrand. Gilbert tells Blue Streak that he has pieced togther that there is a serial killer targeting super-villains and is trying to organize an underground network to track the killer. Blue Streak declines to join up. Subsequently he ends up at the same rest stop as Steve Rogers, who recognizes him. They get into a fight, Blue Streak believing Rogers to be a SHIELD agent and soon after changes into his new costume while Rogers changes into Captain America. After moire fighting, Blue Streak gets away and he picked up by a trucker. He mentions to the trucker that the trucker must be wondering about the way he's dressed. The trucker replies, "Not at all," shoots him, and declares, "Justice is served, Blue Streak!"
Is this a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? Definitely. We learn that super-villains are finally starting to organize again the threat.
Is this part of the main story? Yes. In this case the main story is about two things: the hunt for Scourge, and Captain America's clash with Blue Streak, the outcome of the latter tying into the former.
Postmortem use of victim: Don Thomas was resurrected by the Hood and then promptly killed again by the Punisher's ally, Henry Russo. There is one confirmed successor, Jonathan Swift who may or may not be the same Blue Streak as a psychic who was killed by Bullseye. There is another Bluestreak in the alternate reality MC2 (Blue Kelso) but while really fast there is reason to believe she was away of the earlier villains.
Other comments: Death Adder also dies in this story at Scourge's hand. See the last post. Blue Streak claims not to be a joiner despite having infiltrated SHIELD on behalf of the Corporation; likely he was using shorthand for "I've been a joiner in the past but it ended badly so no more". Blue Streak's real name wasn't revealed until later, hence his being referred to as Blue Streak even out of costume. Oddly, Blue Streak's new high tech gear appears just in time for Scourge to kiil him in it; this may have been a bit of misdirection for the readers, making his death slightly more of a disguise.  As with Titania, Blue Streak's death is not directly shown though through the dialogue is confirmed. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe v2#16 (i.e. Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition) shows his death for the first time. He was shot in the head rather than through the chest like most hits, probably due to where both were sitting in the truck. The same issue credits James Fry and Josef Rubinstein as the artists drawing previously not depicted deaths in this Handbook series. The bartender's name is given as Jake in the next issue. One of the newspaper clippings is for Wraith; however, Scourge didn't kill Wraith until later.

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