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Mark Hazzard with a grenade launcher

Mark Hazzard


Context

Marvel’s New Universe was a 1986-89 attempt at creating a brand new setting with more verisimilitude. It was meant to be almost exactly like our world, but with the sudden introduction of super-powers having a major, highly disruptive impact.

Hazzard was at the fringe of the setting, operating in scenes were super-powers had yet to make an impact. It was essentially a late 1970s/early 1980s hard man story, mixing Cold War mercenary stories (mostly in the Third World) and the American of urban decay back then. This article discusses this genre.

Mark Hazzard is thus an ex-military “have gun, will travel” gritty type in a harsh world.


Background

  • Real Name: Colonel Marcus E. Hazzard (ret.).
  • Marital Status: Divorced.
  • Known Relatives: Leonard (father, deceased), Margaret (mother), Joan (ex-wife).
  • Group Affiliation: Former US Army Ranger, former member of the US military’s SOG, former “colonel” of his mercenary crew.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City.
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 240 lbs Age: 42
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Reddish light brown


Hazzard’s “shop”

Hazzard’s primary mercenary contacts (his “shop” (crew) and some related allies) included the following :

The Sergeant-Major

I guess that he is a former Royal Marine given the distinctive beret he wears. After his service, he ended up with the famous Wild Geese  mercenary unit in Africa, but eventually drifted out given the unsatisfying nature of the work, the issues with getting paid and the casualties.

Hazzard recruited him a few years after Sergeant-Major Peel got married and settled into civilian life, with the understanding that he would be a military instruction specialist and not a rifleman. Ever since his marriage he’s had to suffer through “Mrs. Peel” jokes.

Lincoln “Stryker” Griffin

Griffin enlisted during the Việt Nam invasion and became a Navy SEAL without a clear idea of why he had decided to sign up. Becoming overconfident, he was spotted by a Vietnamese guard during a night-time sabotage mission, resulting in the destruction of his insertion boat. He managed to flee overland, and was saved by Hazzard who was on a one-man patrol to check for survivors.

Griffin became a sky marshall and then a cop, but things didn’t really work out and he became a merc, taking contracts from the CIA with his unit but growing to distrust them. He often worked with or against Hazzard, and later worked a lot with the Sergeant-Major.

After the death of Hazzard, Griffin, who had spent months training and stiffening the courageous freedom-loving fighters of the Taliban, led a raid into USSR from Afghanistan with his local allies to score propaganda points ; he wasn’t expecting to survive the raid.

Mal Rossi

This New Zealander was in Việt Nam with the Australian Army Training Team Việt Nam, training the RVN in demolitions. Rossi was caught in the Tet offensive  and eventually shot in the leg. But he and Hazzard banded up, got out of town and managed to acquire a radio and get some evac.

After the war Rossi found work as a demolition expert within the mining industry. Yet he couldn’t adapt back to civilian life and ended up with a major drinking problem. Hazzard came to recruit him and helped him beat his addiction so he could work as their explosive ordnance specialist.

Mal, furious that his sister was going out with a New York City biker, once enlisted Hazzard and the Priestess and told them that she had been kidnapped by bikers. After some vicious fighting, Hazzard discovered the truth and clashed with Rossi. Mal realised that he had been wrong and apologised to his allies (and presumably to his sister).

Louis “Treetop” Barrington

Once an elite helicopter pilot in Việt Nam, running Special Forces insertion and extraction for MACV out of Đà Nẵng.

His first contact with Hazzard was inauspicious. Treetop flew out when he started taking fire, with only part of Hazzard’s team on board. This resulted in getting beaten up by Hazzard when he made his second slick to come get the rest of the team. Yet they eventually became friends. Treetop frequently taxied Hazzard and his teams in and out during the war.

Though after the war Treetop very successfully sold his skill as a pilot in dubious circumstances, he became bored and was happy when Hazzard hired him. However, the pilot increasingly insisted on running the show. This eventually led to a new clash between him and Hazzard when the later became furious after realising the nature of an unsavoury mission Treetop had decided to take.

Given the circumstances Hazzard had to shoot Treetop in the legs before the pilot would try to stop him from killing the client.

When Hazzard was captured in Iran Treetop, who had come to realise he had made wrong choices in the type of missions he accepted and that Hazzard had been right, volunteered to join the effort. However, he still was confined to a wheelchair.

The Priestess

She has her own writeup. The Priestess was Hazzard’s most faithful ally.

Others

Occasional associates included Ritter (an ex-Air Force combat pilot who became an important asset for Hazzard after he burned his bridges with Treetop, but was executed in Iran) and the Doc (a Vietnamese female combat medic and soldier).

Beyond those contacts, Hazzard has accumulated a large number of markers with a variety of mercenary and military outfits, and has a generally solid reputation. Neither is a game item (like, say, a Connection) – it simply is something he developed during his work.


Soundtrack

For atmosphere, a classic with the right ambiance.


The world of Merc

Hazzard’s life occurred in the New Universe, in a Gritty genre. The New Universe, with some accidental exceptions, was “real world with superhumans appearing in it”. It was not intended to follow superhero comic book narrative conventions.

Hazzard’s genre was heavily grounded in late-70s and early-80s gritty action movies, such as The Wild Geese , The Guns of Navarone  clones, the early Bronson Death Wish  vigilante movies, The Deer Hunter  or The Octagon. It also employs all the 1980s mythology about big cities being lawless pits of decadence, violence, crime and sin.

The feeling of Hazzard’s world is that of a lawless, violent place. Civilisation is at best a veneer and brutal, armed incidents can and do occur anywhere and for any reason. Corruption is everywhere, and the foreign governments Hazzard get involved with are often absurd, caricature banana republics.

The Cold War is shaping everything. Though it is generally held in the stories that the Americans are the good guys and their opposite number the bad, Hazzard is starting to doubt that.

The police and justice are inefficient, politicised and lumbering administrations. They leave tough urban areas alone. Thus, Hazzard knew that he could trigger a small war with explosives, automatic weapons and a score of men dead in a bad New York City neighbourhood. The police would take a long while to arrive and would not really put any effort in investigating what had happened.

Likewise, Hazzard’s enemies thought nothing about sending three goons in bad suits, crappy sunglasses and wielding cheap pistols at a baseball match between schoolchildren to kill a mercenary.

The vast majority of the soldiers, hitmen, etc. that Hazzard fights have the stats given in the “stock soldier” WORG article for militia. They tend to manifestly lack training, discipline or acumen. They’ll often react emotionally, panicking and making stupid mistakes.

In this mediocre world a true, talented professional such as Hazzard seems by contrast to be an indestructible death machine. Yet his game stats are not humongous by action hero standards. In DC Heroes RPG terms Hazzard’s greatest assets are his Initiative and calm, though his decent OV also helps.


Powers and Abilities

Hazzard is a large, strong man and an exceptional soldier. He has tremendous endurance and an exceptional killer instinct. He is fascinated by, and very knowledgeable about, subjects such as military history, conventional and unconventional tactics, knives and firearms. He’s highly experienced and extensively trained, and competently handles a wide variety of modern weapons.

Hazzard has a strong, chilling presence. He can intimidate people just by being there – and he knows it. He is also a well-trained boxer and karateka.

Beyond his “tough even for a Special Forces vet with three tours” profile, Hazzard is remarkably observant. In DC Heroes RPG terms, his INT of 06 is genuinely superior in his world.


History

Mark Hazzard was raised by a demanding father. He wanted his son to be the best at just about everything and never accepted anything less. Nothing Mark did was ever good enough – including his future wife, whom Mark met at the prom.

The Hazzard men were traditionally military officers. At home, the atmosphere was glacial. Mark addressed his father formally and called him ’sir‘.

The younger Hazzard was accepted at West Point  and performed admirably, becoming a cadet officer. However he was not the valedictorian, which led to a conflict with his father. Fed up with all of this, Mark left West Point. He married his girlfriend and then reenlisted with the Army, which took him as a corporal.

Sent me off to a foreign land, to go and kill the yellow man

During the American involvement in the Việt Nam conflict, Hazzard further demonstrated his remarkable aptitude for soldiering. He was a particularly active SOG  operative. Despite his bulk he also worked as a tunnel rat .

Hazzard once was captured by the VC and held in a bamboo cage. An interrogator slashed his face open with a deft machete stroke. Though he managed not to lose an eye, Mark was left with an obvious facial scar.

Hazzard did three tours in Việt Nam, making Colonel. Some time later, to Mark’s open relief, his father died. His reaction led to his mother throwing him out of her house and likely disowning him.

In the civilian world, though, he couldn’t find a job. His financial situation became critical after his son Scotty was born. To pay the bills Mark went back to the job he loved, becoming a merc and eventually a merc commander. However, his marriage disintegrated since he never was home. And he was too much like his own father during his stays in the US.

Eventually his wife gave him an ultimatum to choose between her and his work. It ended up in a divorce and his wife’s remarriage to a stockbroker named Gordon. Hazzard and his shop continued taking contracts throughout the world, though Hazzard had standards about the morality of the contracts he would accept.

Merc

Joan’s new husband came to notice and then resent how fascinated Joan and Scotty were with the dangerous, far tougher Hazzard. Realising he could never compare favourably with the absent soldier of fortune, Gordon succumbed to jealousy.

He askes a connected client of his, attorney Henri Graymalkin, about arranging a hit on Hazzard whilst he was stateside. This assassination would exploit his uncharacteristic attendance to a baseball game in which his son was playing. The three amateur hitmen were out of their league against Hazzard, and were killed.

Hazzard continued his adventures. He :

  • Clashed with Palestinian terrorists (and was in part manipulated by the Mossad).
  • Rejected offers from the CIA despite being the kind of offer one cannot refuse.
  • Got into what was basically a war with a biker club in New York after Mal Rossi misled him and the Priestess into thinking his sister had been kidnapped.
  • Ended up as a bodyguard for a Central European politician.

After discovering that the politician was secretly a Nazi war criminal, Hazzard violently clashed with his shop. He shot Treetop (who had taken the contract) in the legs then went berserk and killed the client’s goons. But the police came in before Hazzard would shoot his former employer.

More contracts

Hazzard’s next job was to free a rebel paramilitary commander in a Latin American country. Though his allies could barely pay Hazzard, he and his shop had extensively worked with this particular faction several years before, and considered them to be comrades-in-arms.

Hazzard and several allies (including the Sergeant-Major, the Doc and eventually Ritter) closed the difficult mission. They led the imprisoned man’s soldiers in his stead. Despite the betrayal of his second-in-command, Hazzard’s side prevailed. The Doc decided to stay with the guerrillas.

However, by that time, rumours had spread about Hazzard going rogue on his client in Europe. That made it difficult for him to find work for a while. This eventually went away, presumably after it became clear that the client in question was a former Nazi.

During that time he was hired by a rogue Catholic cult with paramilitary and underworld operations. Hazzard closed he job. But thanks to his contacts in Lebanon also determined the truth about his employers. As a result he had them arrested by the carabinieri , escorted by a Vatican observer.

Imprisoned in Iran

Hazzard later associated with an old ally, “Stryker” Griffin. Griffin had been extensively working in Afghanistan (along with the Sergeant-Major) with local partisans. The op was to fly in a large shipment of miscellaneous weaponry and Stinger missiles. Hazzard and his pilot Ritter would run a convincing decoy flight so the far more discreet actual shipment could go through.

Though the operation was well-planned, Hazzard’s decoy flight was pounced on by superior Iranian forces. Thus, he and Ritter were captured. Though the shipping documents were for once correct (the plane was indeed carrying crates of farm implements), Hazzard and Ritter where locked in the infamous Bandar Abbas prison and tortured.

Meanwhile, Hazzard’s allies, led by Stryker, organised a major operation to storm Bandar Abbas. But as they assembled and planned, Ritter was executed to make an example. Hazzard’s old shop reunited. This included :

  • Treetop and Rossi.
  • The Priestess and two of her martial arts specialists.
  • The Sergeant-Major persuaded his old shop, the famous Wild Geese, to join.
  • Ritter had even called in a big marker with the Royal Air Force before his death.

The strike was successful. They reached Hazzard, who despite his weakened state had killed the man sent to kill him when the explosions started. Hazzard insisted that they find and kill the man who had ordered Ritter’s execution. But despite this complication everybody got out.

Endgame

Hazzard investigated who had leaked information about the decoy flight to the Iranians. The trail led to Graymalkin, who had extensive underworld and political contacts. After Hazzard killed off his security, Graymalkin confirmed that his stockbroker was the one who had requested Hazzard’s death.

Hazzard went straight to his ex-wife’s new home to confront her new husband. But Gordon unexpectedly produced a holdout pistol and shot Hazzard several times. Hazzard killed him with his bare hands before collapsing.

Taken to the hospital and repeatedly operated upon, Hazzard eventually stabilised. However, his EEG was completely flat. His friends and colleagues joined Joan and Scotty at the hospital, and eventually it was Scotty who told the doctor to turn off his father’s life support rig.

Post-1987 appearances

A 2006 short story featured Hazzard being hired by the wife of a South American dictator. She wanted Hazzard to serve divorce papers, which had previously been impossible. Hazzard stormed a high-rise from a helicopter, wounding the guards and serving the papers.

During this story, he was a more cinematic character than previously.

A version of Hazzard was seen in the Battleworld merged reality in 2015. He was one of the leaders of the province of Nutopia, a reality fragment resembling the New Universe. This version of Hazzard nearly killed a version of Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) who as an evil Batman. But Richmond survived and slew Hazzard.


Description

A muscular, tough, balding guy with a stony air and body language. He chain-smokes cigarettes (to the point of occasionally lighting the new one with the butt of the last one.

Hazzard wears a soft, flat cap while in his civvies. He seems to really like that hat.


Personality

Hazzard has largely become a cold, stony-faced soldier. He is addicted to war and treat everything else casually. He’s particularly remote from his family, being convinced he is only able to repeat the mistakes of his father.

His behaviour out of the job is generally strong and silent, sometimes with a threatening, even cruel vibe. On the job he’s a highly professional, fearless badass.

Despite his job he has a clear protective streak. Hazzard will unhesitatingly risk his life and his pay in order to protect children and youths. His colleagues resent that but, to a degree, also respect this stance.

Generally he’s not as cold as he looks. Hazzard will often follow his emotions, positive or negative, when deciding upon his next move. Among other examples of that tendency, he definitely nurse grudges. And due to his childhood, he absolutely hates looking like a failure.

Hazzard is also uncomfortable with the moral ambiguities of his job. This generally manifests as growing unease as he goes along with the job. Then he breaks and suddenly plays hero, jury and executioner. When he has reached this breaking point Hazzard is extremely dangerous. It becomes apparent he has more Hero Points  than most everybody he’s likely to encounter.

Rep

Hazzard has a strong reputation as a guy you can trust. This explains in parts his numerous markers.

This should not be misinterpreted as any sort of upstanding moral characteristics, though. It just means that Hazzard is a solid professional, will stand by his shop and rescue his men if they run into trouble. Thus, he is a top-notch choice when it comes to people you’d want to share a foxhole with.

His charisma explains the rest. He’s not a good guy (he can even be a complete dick) and you can’t really trust him outside of a job, but people *want* to respect him. Ironically enough given his dad issues, he comes across as a bit of a father figure, even for grown-ups.

Other traits

Hazzard occasionally has nightmares about some of the worst incidents which occurred during his tours in Việt Nam. This mostly occurs when the circumstances remind him of such episodes, such as being in jail.

The key character development at the beginning of the series was that Hazzard was becoming disillusioned. For too long the realities of his job had been clashing with his general, though murky and repressed, desire to do good in the world. He responded to this by wanting to be more present and a better role-model for his son, and trying not to be like his own father had been.

Despite his “inexpressive, coldly professional Green Beret” nature, he was trying to be supportive, loving and to show to Scotty that violence was not something cool like in the movies. He hoped to break the Hazzard family tradition by allowing Scotty to be something other than a military officer.


Quotes

“If I let you go, all you get is dead.”

“I’ve replaced one scuzzball dictator with another. I disappointed my kid for this.”

“Money isn’t everything. There’s some people we shouldn’t work for. No matter how much money they offer. Now get out of my face, Treetop. Now !”

“Finish them quickly ! Don’t give them time to team up !”

(To customs agents) “Just remember what you are paid for and who is paying you… and one more thing. Remember who *I* am !”

“Execute alpha. Now !”


DC Universe History

Hazzard could easily be inserted in, and probably kept in the late 1970s and the 1980s since that is his natural milieu. The New Universe was in a very low Genre, and thus he probably would not really have met any costumed hero. But he would almost certainly have fought along with Slade Wilson in Việt Nam.

Alternatively, the late 2000s, with the considerable efforts that went into having another US military quagmire and a recession, could be viable for a more modern DC version of Hazzard. Howbeit, the nature of paramilitary mercenary work has considerably changed since the mid-80s.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Mark Hazzard

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 020 HP: 025

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Charisma (Intimidation): 05, Medicine (First aid): 04, Martial artist*: 05, Military science: 05, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms, Knives, Thrown blades): 06

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (trouble spots of the world), Expertise (Military tactics, Military history, Infantry weapons and small arms of the world, Parachuting (inc. HALO jumps), Military equipment and protocols), Familiarity (Bodyguard work), Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Misc.: Hazzard is trained to fire weapons from either hand without a penalty, though it’s not Ambidextrous or Paired Weapons in game terms. Hazzard is said to have a talent for languages, but his linguistic répertoire is unknown. He formerly had Rank (from Corporal to Colonel within the US Army).

Connections:
The members of his mercenary shop (Low), Priestess (High), Jacob Ram of MOSSAD (Low), Mercenary scene (Low), Det. Claire Burnett, NYPD (Low), Amahl (from an unspecified faith/faction in Lebanon, Low), Omni-Connection.

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance (Facial scar, presence), MIA toward Nicotine, MIF of looking like a failure, Dependents (ex-wife, son).

Equipment:

  • Sykes-Fairbank-style commando knife [BODY 06, EV 03 (05 w/STR)].
  • Concealed Kevlar vest [BODY 04, Skin armour: 01, Limitation: Skin armour only vs. bullets, Drawback: Real Armour].
  • .45 handgun [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08].
  • When expecting close-quarter combat, Hazzard’s weapon of choice is a Mini-Uzi [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Range: 04, Ammo: 06, R#02, Advantage: Autofire, Limitation: Projectile weapon has No Range, use the listed Range instead] with two extra clips. He will occasionally pack two (and four clips), though he doesn’t really seem to have the Paired Weapons Schtick.
  • For heavier work, he’ll use his good old M16 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 08, R#02, Advantage : Autofire] and some Grenades [BODY 03, EV 07 (Area of effect 1 AP), Grenade drawback, R#03].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: New Universe (Marvel).

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