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Scourge of the Underworld (Marvel Comics)

Scourge of the Underworld


Context

The “Scourge of the Underworld” killer vigilante conspiracy was a 1985-1986 Marvel story arc, primarily taking place in Captain America. It saw the murder of numerous lesser villains. Back then it was still new and shocking, though by 1989 or so it had already become trite.


History

The organization calling itself the Scourge of the Underworld got started back in the forties. A minor hero, the Angel (Thomas Halloway), was horrified when he failed to save a woman. As a result, he set up the Scourges. A whole group of people were trained as “The” Scourge, and they kept watch on each other for weakness. It all fell apart much later when USAgent got involved, of course.

It has also been revealed that the organization actually was backed by the Red Skull to both provide a distraction for his enemy Captain America, and to “weed” the supervillain community. The latter the Skull’s own version of Nietzche’s “that which does not kill you makes you stronger” principles. The Skull wanted to toughen up any potential recruits for his Skeleton Crew.

Like most of the groups the Skull created after his return as a clone of Steve Rogers (such as the Watchdogs and the Resistants), the members weren’t aware they were working for the Red Skull. The official version within the organization is probably that the Angel started it even though it was secretly the Red Skull who controlled it.

Murderer unknown

Prior to his death, the Scourge who was first seen in 1985 claimed to be the son of a Hollywood movie director famous for his westerns. He also said that he was the younger brother of the Los Angeles-based criminal called the Enforcer (Charles Delazny).

Sickened by his brother’s criminality and how it was tormenting their father, Scourge acquired a special gun. He then disguised himself as a derelict woman using skills learned from his father’s make-up men, went out, and gunned down the Enforcer.

This Scourge then supposedly decided to devote his life to serving the cause of justice. He bought a truck to use as his mobile headquarters, bought a computer and elaborate make-up equipment, and hired a private detective named Domino to gather information on criminals for him.

The Scourge then drove about the country, ruthlessly exterminating criminal after criminal while wearing various innocuous disguises.

After numerous successful hits, Scourge was thwarted by Captain America, who prevented him from killing the injured villain Constrictor. Scourge managed to get away. But after he committed a mass murder of 18 costumed criminals, Captain America lured him out of hiding and apprehended him.

Scourge confessed to the numerous killings, providing information that was never released to the media. His was the misguided notion that he could make Captain America see they were on the same side of the law. It was then he revealed his alleged background.

Justice is served

But before Captain America could turn him over to the authorities, Scourge was shot by a gun identical to his own. The unseen assailant then shouted “Justice is Served !”, Scourge’s own slogan. The Captain could not prevent the Scourge from dying from the wounds nor could he apprehend Scourge’s killer.

To protect the secret of the others, this one Scourge had been sacrificed.

The second known Scourge was after Curtiss Jackson alias the Power Broker. But the USAgent stopped him, and the second Scourge was shot dead before the Agent’s much the same way as the first Scourge had been killed. As his last words, the second Scourge claimed that the Power Broker had turned his brother into a misshapen monster.

Another Scourge, Priscilla Lyons, was well trained but just couldn’t kill in cold blood. She fled, sparing the life of the long-since retired, impoverished Matador. As a result, she had to rely on Captain America’s protection for a time, becoming the super hero Vagabond.

Later on US Agent broke the organization. Two other Scourge were revealed during USAgent’s attack. One was a woman named Caprice, the other a man claiming to be USAgent’s big brother and also known as Bloodstain.

Book of the dead

Scourges known victims include :


Description

The Scourge appears to be a well-trained, slenderly built man all clad in white. He wears a coat, looking like a doctor’s. It covers most of his body including his neck, upper body, arms and outer sides of his legs down to his feet. He wears completely white trousers, barely seen from the front, beneath the coat. His shoes are shining white, as are his gloves.

The face is all covered up by a white mask with parts on both sides of his mouth and around his eyes being completely black. This gives the total impression of a skull. He also wears a white broad hat with a black band around it above the seem. All clothes are worn very tight and strict.


Personality

The Scourge is the ultimate, pitiless “Nemesis”. There is no reprieve from his death sentence.

He’s a master of disguise who never lingers at the scene of his murders. His usual modus operandi is :

  1. Traveling the country looking around for supercriminals using his contact.
  2. Possibly infiltrating various organizations and locales.
  3. Locating the victim.
  4. Sneaking up on him in disguise.
  5. Gunning them down with the massive use of Hero Points  to kill in one shot.
  6. Shouting “Justice is served !”.
  7. Disappearing to locate his next victim.

DC Universe History

The first Scourge followed a definite pattern. All of his victims (barring “self defense” scenarios where this agent is personally attacked) were convicted felons, and all had some kind of superhuman ability or unique weaponry. A mere reputation wouldn’t count in his case unless the character has also been arrested.

Scourge basically went after flotsam, villains that were “dead” in print long before they were actually killed off. The only real exceptions were the Melter and Death Adder (and he shouldn’t have gotten the latter — I mean, why were the Serpent Society sending a mute man to do negotiation ?).

The second Scourge, however, didn’t follow the same pattern. He killed anyone working for the apprehended criminal regardless of position : hired guards, housekeeper, the cook and so on completely regardless of legal status or reputation.

The change in modus operandi from Scourge to Scourge leaves some degree of freedom for the GM. The Scourge could be just another maniac, or he could be strict as the first Scourge was.

Marked for death

Any player with the reputation of being a vigilante or a supercriminal (Mistrust Drawback, in DC Heroes RPG terms) stands the risk of being the next victim of the second Scourge. This Scourge would probably sneak up to the player/s to gun down the appointed victim. If the player fails his Perception check he is in for an heavy assault.

It also seems the Scourges first go after the criminal responsible for their reason being the Scourge in the first place.

Or the players could witness the (seeming?) execution of a famous villain. This could be the beginning of a long hunt into something bigger…


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Scourge of the Underworld (typical operative)

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Psychopath
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 04 Occupation: Vigilante assassin
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources: 006
Init: 014 HP: 030

Skills:
Artist (Actor): 06, Detective: 06, Thief (Forgery, Stealth): 07, Vehicles: 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 08

Advantages:
Iron Nerves, Rich Family Connection : Underworld (High)

Drawbacks:
CIA-killing supercriminals

Note:
Individual stats may vary by an AP or two.

Equipment:

  • VAN [STR 05, BODY 06, Running: 07, R#3].
  • Make-up/disguise equipment.
  • Scourge’s Gun [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 07, Ammo: 04, R#2].
  • Standard computer.

By Peter S Piispanen

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet and others (sorry, lost your names, but thanks anyway !)

Source of Character: Various comics (Marvel Universe)

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