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Sachs and Violens (Peter David comics) - J.J. in action

Sachs

(Juanita Jean Sachs)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Sachs & Violens was a 1993/94 Limited Series by Peter David. The series meant to capture the vibe of late 1970s and most-of-the-1980s grindhouse/exploitation cinema, with a squalid and lurid vibe (and George Pérez art).

The two characters returned out of the blue in 2005, in another creator owned David series – Fallen Angel. There are S P O I L E R S concerning both the original LS and their Fallen Angel appearances in there.


Background

  • Real Name: Juanita Jean Sachs.
  • Other Aliases: J.J., ’nita.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: MacArthur Sachs (aka Sister Isabella, aka Bumper, sister), unnamed father.
  • Group Affiliation: Partner of Violens.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City, later Mobile, later Bête Noire.
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 130 lbs. Age: Mid-20s.
  • Eyes: Dark brown Hair: Black


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Genre theory

Both the Sachs and Violens Limited Series and the Fallen Angel series wherein Sachs and Violens later appear operate in very specific genres. Here is what you need to now.

Mood indigo – the urban wasteland genre

Sachs and Violens operate in an exagerrated version of a genre that was common in American fiction from the mid-1970s to the 2000s. This genre was heralded by movies such as Dirty Harry and Death Wish, and TV Series such as Baretta.

It could be called the “urban wasteland genre” or the “new gangland genre”, being a subgenre of the more general crime thriller.

These stories are based on scares about then-contemporary issues, such as :

  • A surge in crime rates, though the genre continued well after these crime rates collapsed then kept on diminishing.
  • Subcultures cultivating a nihilistic, violent reputation. Punks, one-percenter bikers, new-school street gangs such as the Warriors in Coney Island, etc.
  • The mythologisation of inner city decay, as a result of White flight.
  • Sensationalistic reporting about crime and drugs, particularly those popularly associated with minorities (such as crack cocaine).
  • The malaise and feeling of national impotence that followed the bloody failure in Việt Nam.

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Urban wasteland stories feature a dramatised version of these trends, real or imagined. Beyond Sachs and Violens, other characters with WORG entries in this genre include Mark Hazzard, Cinder & Ashe, Marion Cobretti and of course the Punisher.

When running adventures in this genre, tropes to keep in mind include :

  • Urban violence is omnipresent, random, senseless, and can easily involve automatic weapons.
  • The police is inefficient and/or stretched thin, and many officers are corrupt. The only good cops are tough-guy mavericks in street wear who make their own rules and kill people left and right.
  • Large urban areas are practically lawless — the burnt-out ghettos and barbaric ganglands trapped in deep poverty.
  • Soldier of Fortune is full of legit job offers. International mercenary or even urban mercenary are viable and potentially lucrative career choices.
  • Many characters are Việt Nam invasion veterans. They were probably not corrupt, but many officers and CIA agents around them were, and were smuggling heroin.
  • Heroic upstanding citizens take up guns to kill irredeemable, bestial criminals making everybody’s life an untenable hell. Because it’s either that or craven surrender to chaos.
  • The judicial system is ineffective, corrupt and lax. Government is corrupt and uninterested in its constituents. No criminal ever stays behind bars for long.

J.J. Sachs delivers a flying kick during Mardi gras

Sachs and Violens in particular draws inspiration from the Times Square area at its most squalid, dysfunctional and crime-ridden, and pushes things a little bit further. There is a sense that the world is about to crash, and Mad Max (1979) could easily be the near future as everything descends into lawlessness and the centre cannot hold.

The series was written in 1993, so using this genre was already writing a retro story. It further throws in numerous elements of 1980s moral panic. Thus, the world of Sachs and Violens is what an outsider circa 1980 might have imagined from fire-and-brimstone speeches and poor journalism about the American big cities as lawless hives of vice, violence and deviancy.

Bête Noire

Many years later, J.J. and Ernie end up in a completely different milieu – the city of Bête Noire. See our Fallen Angel character profile for a description of the city, its mystical role, and the special rules that apply to people living there.


Powers and Abilities

Sachs is a ferocious, agile close combat expert with quick reflexes. She is fearless, devious and brutal, and has an assertive personality.

Her signature weapon is a whip, which she bought as a high-end sex toy (the “Dominatrix X-10”). This thing can cut flesh open as well as most fighting knives, and has way more reach.

J.J. also carries some shuriken, and has been known to wear spiked knuckles. In Bête Noire she occasionally armed herself with a sword.


History

J.J. and her sister MacArthur were raised as Army brats. Their dad taught them to take care of themselves. He may have been a hand-to-hand combat instructor, since Mac is quite dangerous in a fight and J.J. is downright deadly.

To her father’s satisfaction, Mac became a nun. J.J. drew a different reaction by posing for innumerable adult magazines. Some of her well-regarded work, ranging from cute pin-ups to would-be-classy porn, was shot by New York City genre photographer Ernie Schultz. Schultz became a friend.

In 1993 another close friend of J.J., Wendy — a fellow adult magazine model — was beheaded on camera. She had been tricked into shooting a snuff movie. This was the fifth such death within a few months, and Schultz was now nervous for Sach’s safety.

J.J. found a message from Wendy on her telephone answering machine, from which she could deduce where her friend had been executed.

On the warpath

Mad as hell and not trusting the police, Sachs armed herself with hardcore SM gear. Then she applied to the studio where her friend was murdered. However, the crew found a photo of Wendy in her purse, and tried to kill her. She single-handedly demolished them, but was beaten back by the man-mountain who had decapitated Wendy.

J.J. Sachs with her whip and a sword

Meanwhile, Schultz realised what was going on. However, the notion of impending violence made him nauseous. His years as a photojournalist in Việt Nam, which had revealed him to himself as a savage killer nicknamed “Violens”, had traumatised him.

He nevertheless quickly found J.J., since the sex shop where she had bought her whip was operated by his parents.

Knowing that she had gone after a snuff operation, he used his knowledge of the New York City porn production scene and his talent for brutal interrogation to locate it. Ernie came in just in time to relieve J.J.. The whole situation degenerated into a firefight, leaving a pile of bodies.

Always on the run

Sachs and Violens drove away in Ernie’s station wagon. Joining them were a couple of kidnapped brats they had found at the studio, who needed to be returned to their parents. The excitement of the fight had triggered a craving for sex in Sachs, who kept making passes at Schultz.

Though the photographer had had a crush on her for years, he awkwardly resisted. Schultz felt that he was too old and too much of a dysfunctional has-been for such an attractive young woman – but eventually gave in. While the sex was certainly something, waking up together was terribly awkward. They resumed driving the brats home.

However, the kids mentioned that some friends of theirs had also been kidnapped. Ernie wanted to go to the police, but the thought of more deadly violence was exciting for J.J., who convinced him to raid the kidnappers’ compound together.

Kill ’em all

The two killer vigilantes successfully stormed the compound. However the head of the operation, a massive sadist nicknamed Moloch, got away.

All children were freed. But by that point Sachs and Violens were wanted for 27 counts of homicide plus endless charges including trespassing, possession of illegal weaponry, assault, etc. They had little choice – stay covert and on the move, or die.

By this point J.J. and Ernie were far more comfortable as lovers. That left them to run like a new version of Bonnie and Clyde, and have considerable amounts of sex.

Examining Moloch’s medallion, Violens recognised the insignia of the Rajah. This was a mob hiding in plain sight as a New Orleans krewe. The Rajah dealt in vice and slavery while simultaneously manipulating an ultra-conservative religious movement. The latter proved useful to shut down their competitors on the porn market.

Multiple sticky liquids

As they investigated the Rajah, Schultz and Sachs discovered a terrorist plot by the krewe’s militant reactionary arm. They had planted a bomb in a Mardi Gras float. Since he didn’t know how to disarm a bomb, Violens knocked J.J. back and took the float on a suicide run. His goal was to get it away from the crowd.

A Rajah enforcer nearly stopped him but was attacked by a recovered J.J., then shot by Violens. Sachs was left with multiple broken bones, burns, cuts and a concussion, and Schultz was believed dead in the explosion as he crashed the float into the sea.

Sachs and Violens cover art

Moloch found Sach’s hospital room. He was about to kill her, but J.J. and her sister MacArthur fought back and killed him. Ernie, who had actually survived, then came in. He spirited his lover away before the police could take her in.

Their further adventures are unrevealed, but they continued acting as killer vigilantes in a squalid world. Eventually, they accumulated so many enemies that their continued survival was becoming impossible. Looking for a way out, J.J. suggested that they join her sister in a strange town called Bête Noire.

MacArthur had made a non-trivial career change. She no longer was Sister Isabella, but called herself Bumper and was the madame of a brothel.

Bête Noire

The couple’s early times in Bête Noire are unchronicled. But is is known that Ernie survived an unrevealed conflict with the Fallen Angel (Lee).

After the death of the Shadow Boxer the city needed a new Chief Enforcer, and Ernie was selected. Though J.J. liked the danger permeating Bête Noire, especially now that Ernie was the sheriff, she started feeling stale and now wanted to move on.

An international terrorist named Scirocco then bombed a church in Bête Noire. Violens managed to get almost everyone out in time. Ernie killed Scirocco’s aide but was then hit by a thrown dagger, which seemingly killed him.

Sachs and Violens (Peter David Comics) face closeups

Beside herself with rage, J.J. gave chase. She ended up in a sword duel with Scirocco while suspended on a ladder under an helicopter. She lost, and would have died had not the Fallen Angel intervened.

During the night, Ernie fully recuperated from his fatal-looking wound. The city of Bête Noire liked him well enough to heal him. This harrowing experience made Sachs realise that she loved Violens in a different way than she thought. She now wanted to live in Bête Noire with her man rather than resume their fugitive vigilante lifestyle.

Hierarchical

When the vampire Hierarchy invaded Bête Noire, Sachs and Violens fought this overwhelming force. But their side lost. J.J. was captured and tortured, yet Ernie miraculously managed to free her and run. They hid in the serpentine cave of Berny the Ourobouros, and were joined by J.J.’s sister Bumper.

Ernie, J.J. and Bumper joined the final fight against the Hierarchy, and are presumably still living in Bête Noire.


Description

J.J. has a spectacular body with far more than her fair share of T&A[glmoss].

Most of the time she enjoys her cliché style halfway between a porn star, a dominatrix and a bomba latina. But she occasionally let go of it to be herself for a bit.


Personality

Sachs is a super-tough New Yorker, in a setting where New York City is a lawless den of iniquity, random violence and perversion. She is inured to violence and conflict – in fact she relishes in it.

She is abrasive, hardened and highly assertive. She is also capable of risk-blind rages backed by elite fighting skills. What J.J. wants J.J. gets, and whoever pisses her off will have to learn how to eat through a straw.

The adrenaline rush from heavy fighting is a powerful aphrodisiac for her. In this state, she will act horny and uninhibited until satisfied. Once the high has worn off though, she might regret her actions. Nevertheless she’s actively looking for violence in a blatantly irresponsible, almost-but-not-quite-addicted manner.

My guy

Sachs originally saw Violens as her good middle-aged friend. But the arousal from violence would make him look like a super-stud to her. This alternation of ordinary and maniacal phases gradually became an actual relationship, and after Ernie was nearly killed, genuine love.

But even within days of starting their rampage, our vigilante Bonnie and Clyde were fanatically devoted to each other, unhesitatingly taking stomach-churning risks to defend their mate.

Juanita is fully aware that she can easily play the role of a porn fantasy laden with heavy race and class subtext. She just has to pretend to speak poor English, show off her amazing bust and act submissive. She’ll seldom hesitate to use this as a diversion.


Quotes

“The cops’ll just arrest them. Not good enough. Nowhere near. I’ll get them for you, Wendy. They’ll never see it coming. Just like you didn’t. Eye for an eye, like the Bible. They killed my best friend and I’m gonna show them what happens when you piss off Juanita Jean Sachs.”

“Distraction ? I got your distraction right here, you murdering sack of shit !” (kicks nearest guy in the bollocks, does a flying tumble forward to create distance, draws her whip) “Oh dear… is that a leaky canteen in your pants, or are you just scared to see me ?”

(Putting her breasts back into her bustier after Violens shot everybody) “See ? The Modesty Blaise riff worked. They never saw you coming.”

(Draws a sword) “You like swords so much, perra ? […] You hurt my man ! You don’t walk away from that !”

Ernie: “J.J., be careful !”
Juanita: “Yeah, that’ll happen.”

Ernie: “Something’s up.”
J.J.: “Gee, Ernie, you’re insatiable !”
Ernie: “No, that’s not what’s up. At least, not at the moment.”


DC Universe History

Bête Noire has many odd properties. Therefore, its residents could show up in many settings without an explanation as Bête Noire just happens to also exist there.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Juanita Jean “J.J.” Sachs

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Justice
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Vigilante
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 020 HP: 045

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics, climbing): 05, Artist (Modeling): 04, Martial artist*: 06, Weaponry (Melee, missile): 07, Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Advantages:
Attractive, Familiarity (Porn production scene), Iron Nerves, Language (Some Spanish), Lightning Reflexes.

Connections:
Street (Low), Black Mariah (Low).

Drawbacks:
MPI (Strongly aroused by the delayed adrenaline reaction to combat and danger), MIA toward Protecting her friends, Minor Rage.

Equipment:

  • Reinforced whip [BODY 06, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 07 w/Martial artist), Stretching: 02, Limitation : Stretching allows No Fine Manipulation (-2)].
  • SPIKED BRASS KNUCKLES [BODY 04, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 04), Descriptor: Blunt, Bonus: +1CS OV/RV to resist Disarm attempts].
  • Shuriken (x4) [BODY 03, EV 04, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback]
  • Katana [BODY 07, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 08), Descriptor: Slashing, Piercing, Recommended STR 02]. J.J. starts using this in Bête Noire – though she likely grabbed it specifically to meet a swordswoman in combat.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Sachs & Violens miniseries (Epic).

Helper(s): Darci, Brent Walters.

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