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The Commissar (Avengers enemy)

Commissar


Context

The Commissar is a tough robot who appeared in an early — 1965 — adventure of the Avengers.

He’s not genuinely notable, but :

  1. I like robots.
  2. Discussing him involves an intriguing bit of Marvel Universe history.

Background

  • Group Affiliation: Proxy of Major Hoy.
  • Base Of Operations: Sin Cong.
  • Height: About 10‘ Weight: About 450lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


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Powers and Abilities

The Commissar is extremely fast, strong and tough.

He was programmed with a remarkable skill in hand to hand combat. Against most opponents he prefers wrestling, in order to bring his superior strength and weight to their full use.

The maximum range between the controlling console and the Commissar is unrevealed. Probably no more than a few kilometres, if that.

My guess would be that the Commissar was built by Half-Face (Trung Tuấn). But it’s a complete hypothetical, without support.


History

The Commissar appeared to be the superhuman dictator of the small country or province of Sin Cong. More about it below.

In actuality, he was a lifelike robot. The real dictator was Major Hoy, who secretly remote-controlled the Commissar.

(The name “Commissar” derives from the function of political commissar  in many XXth Century Communist militaries. In Mandarin Chinese it’s pronounced cheng-way. Well, more or less – I suck at tonal languages.)

Cold War

In 1965 Hoy decided to strike a great blow for Communist propaganda. He lured the Avengers to Sin Cong, and captured them using gas.

Holding the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) hostage, Hoy organised one-to-one fights between the Commissar and the Avengers (Captain America (Steve Rogers), Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Hawkeye (Clint Barton)).

The Commissar won every duel. But Captain America guessed what was going on. He challenged the Commissar to meet the Scarlet Witch in an all-or-nothing fight.

Wanda, briefed by Cap, uncovered the place where Hoy was remote-controlling the Commissar. She then blew up the console with an hex, winning the duel and exposing Hoy’s deception.


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One step beyond

Major Hoy retained power after this defeat and exposure. In fact, it made him even more determined to have superhuman operatives – and even bigger super-weapons than the Commissar.

The dictatorship remained a militarised rogue state, apparently with ties to Hydra. Hoy’s son eventually took over, with the country becoming an expy  for North Korea rather than Việt Nam.


The Sin Cong mysteries

The country of Sin Cong, was an obvious fig leaf for Việt Nam. This 1965 story was published as US ground deployment there started shifting from instructors and advisers to combat troops. By the next year, the number of US ground troops sent there would explode.

Decades later, continuity researchers suggested using it as a Việt Nam stand in. That was because the actual Việt Nam invasion was receding in the past, yet was still closely tied to the background of many characters. If this “sliding timeline” quandary is new to you, see our explanations in our article about aging in the Marvel Universe.

At first, this suggestion did not make it in official continuity. As per the 2007 Marvel Atlas , Sin Cong had no special historical presence beyond its few appearances in the comics. Mostly flashbacks or mentions of the 1965 Avengers story.

Historical materialism

During the 2010s, writer Kurt Busiek used and developed that notion in continuity. It doesn’t replace every tie to the Việt Nam war with Sin Cong, the goal remaining to cool continuity conflicts for some characters. Such as Tony Stark, or Spider-Man (Peter Parker)’s friend Flash Thompson.

As of this writing (late 2020) this process is still ongoing, but :

  1. The country’s spelling has changed to Siancong. This is presented as a better transliteration of its name in English. That occurs a lot with Sinitic names, such as “Peking” now being spelled “Beijing”. Less diegetically , it sounds more credible and less 1960s.
  2. The History of the Marvel Universe  (HMU) published in 2019 officialises the Busiek developments. Its author Mark Waid goes a little bit further, stating that the likes of James Rhodes and Frank Castle, but also Ben Grimm and Reed Richards, fought there. In the 1960s stories, Grimm and Richards were veterans of the war in Korea.
  3. The HMU notes that the Siancong War lasted for decades.
  4. The HMU explains that one layer of this quagmire was control of a mystic energy called the Dragon’s Breath. It is part of the backstory of Night Thrasher (Dwayne Taylor). See the Left Hand character profile for more.

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar ?


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

A hulking, overconfident Red Menace out to crush the capitalist imperialistic running dogs.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Commissar

Dex: 09 Str: 13 Bod: 09 Motivation: Robot
Int: 04 Wil: /// Min: /// Occupation: Enforcer, dictator
Inf: /// Aur: /// Spi: /// Resources {or Wealth}: ////
Init: 015 HP: 000

Powers:
Density increase: 01, Growth: 01, Self-link (Gadgetry): 09

Bonuses and Limitations:
All Powers are Always On and Already Factored In.

Skills:
Charisma (intimidation): 05, Martial artist*: 09, Weaponry (melee)*: 09

Advantages:
No Weak Points, Misc.: The person controlling the Commissar can animate the robot, speak through him in a convincing manner and uses his Hero Points on the Commissar.

Connections:
Underworld (Low).

Drawbacks:
Attack Vulnerability (-3CS OV/RV vs. attacks on his controlling console).

Equipment:

  • Sometimes uses a sort of Scimitar [BODY 15, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 15), Descriptor: Slashing].
  • On his uniform was a pistol, which he never used. I’d assume one of those Chinese Mauser 96 replica [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 10, R#03].


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Commissar — Averaged PL 12.5

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
13 11 02 02 12 /// /// ///

Powers

I, Communist robot ● 73 points (Subtle) ● Descriptor: Technology
– Immunity 60 (Will, Fortitude).
– 1 Rank of Lifting-Only Strength.
– 10 Ranks of Impervious for Stamina.
– Feature 1 (the Commissar is superhumanly large).

Combat Advantages

Improved Initiative.

Other Advantages

Equipment 2.

Skills

Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+14), Intimidation 5 (+5), Perception 3 (+3).

Equipment

Sword ● Strength-based slashing damage 2, Imroved Critical 1 ● 3 pts
Light pistol ● Ranged ballistic Damage 2 ● 4 pts

Offense

Initiative +6
Unarmed +14, Close, Damage 13.
Scimitar-ish sword +12, Close, Damage 15, Crit 19-20.
Pistol +5, Ranged, Damage 2.

Defence

Dodge 13 Fortitude N.A.
Parry 13 Toughness 11
Will N.A.

Complications

  • Appearance The Commissar is readily noticeable.
  • RC dictator The Commissar robot needs to be remote-controled in order to take significant initiatives.
  • RC dictator If the hidden remote control console is attacked, its Toughness is but 03.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 14, Dodge/Toughness PL 12, Parry/Toughness PL 12, Fort/Will PL N.A.
  • Points total 173. Abilities 80, Defences 12, Skills 5, Powers 73, Devices 0, Advantages 3. Equiv. PL 12.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Doug Barnes, Darci.

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