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The Foreigner (Spider-Man enemy) (Marvel Comics)

Foreigner


Context

The Foreigner is a relatively obscure Spider-Man and Silver Sable villain. He first appeared in 1986.

As the master of an incredible network of spies and assassins, and a sort of amoral super-James Bond, he can be quite useful in a RPG campaign.

This profile is centered the Peter David take on the character. The quotes, characterisation and abilities chiefly reflect this version. Other appearances of the Foreigner have not been as witty or formidable.


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Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Marital Status: Divorced.
  • Known Relatives: Silver Sablinova (ex-wife, although he married her under a fake identity) ; may have a child whose mother is Sablinova.
  • Group Affiliation: Former head of the 1400 Club.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

The Foreigner is an impossibly skilled and intelligent man. He’s practically on the level of Batman. His endless talents arguably make him the best spy, assassin, thief and infiltration specialist in the Marvel Universe. Many of his feats border on the ridiculous.

He is an incredibly fast and strong fighter, well able to engage superhumans such as Spider-Man in combat. During his fights against Spidey, he accomplished such feats as :

  • Picking up and throwing a two-persons heavy mattress in one rapid movement.
  • Acting so fast as to impose his pace for the fight on Spider-Man (in DC Heroes terms, winning Initiative).

The Foreigner is immensely rich, and his legal and illegal resources are endless. He’s also very charismatic, and has been described as having a quasi-hypnotic force of will.


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Orbital

One later story reveals that much of this speed and strength come from a super-satellite. It was stolen from Justin Hammer, and later destroyed. The satellite was apparently directing some sort of enhancing beam at the Foreigner, much like the pre-Crisis Brother Eye with OMAC.

This retcon  can be kept in your campaign if you don’t think human beings should be able to perform the feats the Foreigner did.

Intrusion: Impossible, part 1

The Foreigner’s ability to infiltrate all sorts of organisations may be his most impressive ability. He has a seemingly endless array of alternate identities who work in senior positions in almost every organisation of interest to him.

He’s such a formidable actor and disguise expert than becoming these decisions-maker in the military, law-enforcement, espionage, business, etc. can be done in a heartbeat.

The Foreigner also personally trains agents of his to run these identities when he doesn’t need them. Nobody is able to tell the difference. These agents keep gathering intelligence as they occupy the cover identity, allowing the Foreigner to know endless secrets about these organisations.

He pays particular attention to memorising the layouts, security, secret exits, etc. of secret bases of theses organisations. This is for when he needs to break into or break out of such bases. He may very well know more than most of the security guards there do. He’ll certainly know all their procedures, routines and code words.

Intrusion: Impossible, part 2

The Foreigner also has many agents who can impersonate him. Some of them are basically decoys surgically given the Foreigner’s features and voice.

Many such agents are extraordinarily competent. Some of them even have artificial enhancements allowing them to replicate the Foreigner’s strength, speed and/or special abilities. These men do not usually have his wherewithal, though. In DC Heroes RPG terms they do not normally have more than 10 Hero Points.

Also of note are the counter-intrusion measures used by the Foreigner. Almost all his bases and offices include a number of traps, defenses and secret exits to elude attackers. Secret exits tend to be both everywhere and well-concealed. This allows the Foreigner to vanish behind a corner or a piece of furniture.

Examples of traps include :

  • Miniature laser turrets.
  • Explosives.
  • Electrified nets.
  • Highly convincing mirrors tricking intruders into thinking the Foreigner is in the other half of the room.>/li>
  • Etc..

Near-paranormal abilities

The Foreigner has at least two semi-mystical abilities, much like the Shadow’s.

First, he can concentrate deeply to perform brief feats of superhuman strength. For instance he once ripped steel bars out of a prison wall. Such bursts of power require long and intense concentration to harness his energy. And in the steel bars example he had to wear gloves not to shred the skin off his palms.

Our game stats assume that he could also perform brief actions with enhanced speed, precision or durability rather than just strength. But that wasn’t demonstrated in the material.

Furthermore, the Foreigner can perform a sort of instant hypnosis. That transfixes the subject for ten seconds through eye contact.

Being a devious fellow and knowing the subject is very unlikely to realize what is going on, he will act as if his “power” was actually bursts of super-speed. He’ll convince his opponent that the Foreigner moving so fast that his opponent can’t see him.

Fighting a martial arts master who can seemingly teleport around his opponent, positioning himself for powerful blows and blinking around to use the scenery, is very disconcerting. However, the Foreigner seems to consider it inelegant to use this trick against somebody who knows how it works. Or perhaps resisting it once one realises what is going on is much easier.

Assassins’ creed

For years, the Foreigner was the head of the world’s largest assassins guild, the 1400 Club. Entry to the Club was gained by locating and murdering one of the members and taking their place. Members of the Club reputedly could get training from the Foreigner. Members of the Club have included :

Foreigner (Marvel Comics) - red-clad assassins about to kill Hobgoblin Ned Leeds

The 1400 Club apparently had an inner circle called the 100 Club. Joining the 100 Club required locating the Foreigner, penetrating the astounding security in his mansion, and killing him. Those few skilled enough to do that would then discover that this Foreigner was a double.

The actual Foreigner would then give them one last task before joining. They had to become the next Foreigner double in the mansion, and survive the next assassination attempt for a person skilled enough to reach them.


History

The Foreigner is an almost complete mystery, as befits the greatest spy and assassin in the world.

His oldest known identity is one “Basil”, a dashing freelance spy. During the 1970s he was hired to kill the Symkarian government agent Silver Sable (Silver Sablinova). But he fell in love with her and instead allied with her, eventually wooing and marrying the youth.

“Basil” trained his wife and was instrumental in allowing her to become such a formidable operative. But he never revealed to her that being Basil and co-running the Wild Pack with her was but a part of his activities.

This came to an end in 1978. During the Camp David peace talks , the Foreigner came to kill President Carter  but was foiled by Silver Sable. Not only did Silver accomplish this, but a lucky shot by a Wild Pack operator wounded the Foreigner in the leg and allowed Sable to chase him down. She was shocked to recognise her husband, who escaped by using his hypnotic trick.

The two divorced, and started annual attempts at killing each other. Yet these murder attempts were closer to dysfunctional flirting than genuine assassination as they were both unable to let go of each other.

During this same general era, the Foreigner trained Sabretooth. Back then, Sabretooth was an exotic Iron Fist foe rather than a Wolverine-like mutant. But the two soon parted ways.

Notebooks of gold and platinum-haired women

As one of his cover identities as import/export businessman Raphael Sabitini, the Foreigner bought a curio from one Peter Parker. It was a notebook made of solid gold.

The Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) then stole the notebook. That resulted in an attack by Sabretooth, who was trying to regain the favour of his old boss. The Black Cat narrowly survived the attack. But the Foreigner decided to intervene – *nobody* steals from the world’s deadliest assassin.

However, the gorgeous, fierce and platinum blonde Hardy reminded the Foreigner of Sablinova. Thus, he offered her to become his companion rather than be killed. Angry over a recent perceived betrayal by Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Hardy took the offer out of spite against Parker.

Seizing the occasion, the Foreigner backed the Black Cat in a scheme to break and kill Spider-Man. He used his remarkable charisma to convince her that it would allow her to affirm her strength by showing that she could get over her failed relationship with Parker.

The man, the cat and the spider

The Foreigner assumed one of his cover identities (NYPD’s lieutenant Keating) and created a faux villain called Blaze (Kirk Donoghue). This allowed the Black Cat to frame Spider-Man for murder. She also used her newfound confidence and power to seduce Parker back… then cruelly reject him and make a show of preferring the Foreigner’s romantic and sexual ministrations.

Hardy also arranged for Spider-Man to find and fight the Foreigner. The fight did not go well for Parker due to the Foreigner’s hypnotic trick. However, Spidey eventually noticed that a nearby clock was skipping ahead whenever the Foreigner used his supposed super-speed power. Closing his eyes and using his spider-sense to fight, Spider-Man narrowly defeated the Foreigner.

Yet, the assassin escaped before the police could take him in.

In the end, Black Cat betrayed the Foreigner by proving Spider-Man’s innocence. She also compromised the Keating identity as she wanted to be free of both men’s influence.

The loss of the Keating identity was a blow. Being Keating was a traditional training assignment for impersonators in the Foreigner’s service. More than two dozen men plus the Foreigner had been Keating without the NYPD noticing.

The Foreigner never really attempted to kill the Black Cat, though. That was probably due to his fixation on silver-haired beautiful young women.

Ned Leeds

In 1987 mercenary Jason Macendale approached the Foreigner. Macendale was looking to kill the Hobgoblin, whom he thought was reporter Ned Leeds. Macendale offered one million dollars for Leeds’ death plus being able to appropriate the costume, gadgets and vehicles. He wanted to become the new Hobgoblin.

The Foreigner had Leeds killed before Macendale could even leave the room. At the same time he had Macendale’s Swiss numbered account hacked to take his million whether Macendale wanted it or not.

Months later, reporter Betty Brant-Leeds, Ned Leeds’ widow, somehow determined that the Foreigner was real and not an underworld myth as commonly thought. She became enough of a thorn in his side that he sent the Death Squad after her. But Spider-Man intervened and defeated them all.

In the end the only Foreigner base that Brant-Leeds could locate was destroyed, leaving her without any lead. The Foreigner decided to let her be. Killing her would be neither satisfying nor lucrative.

Justin Hammer

In 1992, Justin Hammer tried to take down the Foreigner in revenge for the theft of an experimental satellite. Hammer somehow had the cyborg assassin Dead Aim take over the 1400 Club and turn its resources against the Foreigner.

Spider-Man stumbled upon Dead Aim and the Death Squad chasing the Foreigner. He agreed to ally with the Foreigner if he surrendered and went to prison. The deal was struck and the 1400 Club operatives defeated.

The Foreigner swiftly escaped from the police, who didn’t believe in the existence of the Foreigner anyway. His goal was to destroy the 1400 Club before it would fall under Hammer’s power.

Though he had to fight Mia, a young woman he had wanted to make his second-in-command, the Foreigner was successful. He tricked Hammer into destroying the entire computer infrastructure of the 1400 Club. The Foreigner decided that his next assassins’ guild would be leaner, smaller and even more secure.

Back to Sable

Meanwhile, factions within the US government had been attempting to force Silver Sable to become their pet assassin. They dragged her into a conspiracy so she wouldn’t have a choice. Realising that even Sable would break sooner or later, her uncle Morty grew desperate. He contacted the Foreigner to save her.

Eager to resume contact with his ex-wife, the Foreigner stepped in under a new cover identity. He offered his services and those of his assassins guild so Silver Sable would no longer be needed. The deal was struck and the conspiracy let go of Sablinova.

Silver Sable was furious that she now owed a debt to the Foreigner. She fired her uncle for saving her.

At the same time, she resumed contact with her ex-husband. Their “relationship” was as dysfunctional as ever. They struck deals where Sable would sleep with the Foreigner in exchange for intelligence she needed to operate. But in actuality, they just wanted to have sex together. The deals were closer to erotic power games.

As he kept his new organisation small and extremely secure, the Foreigner needed external agents he could fully trust. Thus, he leapt at the chance to hire his ex-wife. Sable thus defeated Hammerhead’s plot to interfere with a recent investment of the Foreigner – a new Japanese bullet train line.

However, she did not tell the Foreigner that she was in the earliest stage of a pregnancy as a result of their recent encounters.

The 2000s

After Norman Osborne restructured S.H.I.E.L.D. to become HAMMER, the organisation became aware that the Foreigner wasn’t a myth. On the other hand, they considered that he was too expensive to hire with any regularity.

Learning this may have been possible through the artificial intelligence Quasimodo, whom Osborne had compile dossiers on potential assets. Whether the intelligence about the Foreigner survived the fall of HAMMER is unrevealed.


Description

The Foreigner is a handsome fellow, vaguely reminiscent of a young James Bond.

While he’s extremely powerful physically, he’s much more about incredible speed and litheness than raw muscle mass. The Foreigner prefers to move in graceful, seemingly effortless ways – especially if he gets to show off when a worthwhile woman is present.


Personality

The Foreigner is a sort of semi-evil, amoral James Bond cranked to 11. He has a sophisticated European man of the world vibe to him, follows his own concept of class and style, and is an hedonistic connoisseur of the rare and valuable.

He is particularly fond of making what he does seem easy and effortless. Also, unless he’s hard-pressed, he has a whimsical streak to him. He loves it when he gets to show off by performing — or having his organisation perform — seemingly impossible feats with ease.

Revealing himself to have been one of the guards around his target, despite being deep in an impenetrable secret base he couldn’t possibly be in, is a recurring stunt of his. He’ll then kill his target and escape using secret exits no-one else knew about.

To go along with this playboy-like, man of leisure image the Foreigner enjoys making witty remarks. These sound suspiciously like Peter David doing some good improv comedy. Along with the witty lines he enjoys using Britishisms. This presumably means that he uses a UK accent when in witty mode.

On some occasions he has even set up somewhat surreal, nonsensical skits to enjoy himself. One example was disguising himself as a heavy-set, middle-aged woman yelling about how she hated her husband and brandishing a gun.

Spider-Man and the Black Cat intervened as she seemingly shot Raphael Sabitini in his office, only to discover that the “woman” had shot a dummy. ”Sabitini” then shed his feminine disguise and politely greeted them, never explaining the eccentric incident.

Per sable and purpure

Like his ex-wife, the Foreigner is a person of impossible skill, grace, will and power… who is miserably dysfunctional when it comes to romance. Beautiful young women have a chance to manipulate him if they are highly skilled, which would be otherwise nearly impossible. He often wants to offer them opportunities with his organisation just to spend more time around them.

He is also fixated on his ex-wife. The Foreigner is frequently looking for schemes and plans to see her again and have sex with her. Sablinova is also interested in him, but cannot admit it out of pride and some shreds of common sense. For years they pretended that they hated each other and tried to kill each other once a year. But as they both grew lonely they gave up on this.

By the mid-1990s they indulged in scenarios where Sablinova pretended that she wasn’t attracted toward her ex-husband and was instead prostituting herself in return for highly valuable intelligence. Apparently that was supposed to sound more… dignified (??) though how that made sense isn’t obvious outside of their shared fantasies.

Seeing such mental and physical powerhouses reduced to such flimsy excuses and manoeuvres just so they could save face while still having sex was oddly pathetic.


Quotes

(His constant answer whenever people ask how he did what he does) “That would be telling.”

“Men call me the Foreigner. Women call me frequently.”

“You see ? There is far more to me than being the world’s most dazzling assassin.”

Sabretooth : “I’ve killed half a dozen guys looking for you, and you know what that has gotten me ?”
Foreigner : “A grateful undertaker, I’d imagine.”

Foreigner : “As for work, I must admit costumed assassins are hard to place. To be honest, old sock… you stand out in a crowd.”
Sabretooth : “Yeah ? And just what do I need to blend in ?”
Foreigner : “Orthodontia, electrolysis, a manicure. And pupils.”

“This is really annoying. How can I enjoy winning when it’s so easy ? I’d kill for a challenge. Then again, I’d kill for a good cup of tea.”

“Oh, twaddle. You’re made of sterner stuff than that.”

“Oh dear. Dust bunnies. I’ll be back in a tic.” (rolls nimbly under a nearby bed to reach a concealed trapdoor)

(Slaughtering Spider-Man in close combat) “I’m disappointed, mate. Felicia said you were formidable.”
Spider-Man : “Yeah ! What else did she say about me ?”
Foreigner : “Oh, she made other comparisons between you and I. You came up a bit short, I’m afraid.”


DC Universe History

The role of the Foreigner in the DC Universe is more or less occupied by David Cain. Cain also is a quasi-superhuman master assassin operating at a Batman-like level, but who finds himself half-broken by an everyday feeling of affection.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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The Foreigner

Dex: 09 Str: 05 Bod: 06 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 10 Wil: 10 Min: 09 Occupation: Assassin
Inf: 08 Aur: 07 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 019
Init: 031 HP: 050

Powers:
Mystic freeze: 10, Power reserve (DEX, STR, BODY): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Mystic Freeze cannot score more than one RAP – any further RAP is ignored (-2).
  • Mystic Freeze requires eye contact (-1).
  • Power Reserve requires lengthy, intense concentration (-2).
  • Power Reserve Burns out after but one action (Base Cost is 50).

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 09, Animal handling (Horses): 07, Artist (Actor): 09, Charisma: 10, Detective: 08, Gadgetry: 05, Martial artist*: 09, Military science: 08, Thief: 10, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 07, Weaponry: 09

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (World), Areak Knowledge (Secret bases of organisations he infiltrated, with the Floorplans bonus), Connoisseur, Expertise (Chess), Expansive HQs (Numerous bases and tricked-out offices), Iron Nerves, Languages (Symkarian, French, Japanese, Russian), Lightning Reflexes, Schtick (Contingency Plans).

Connections:
Silver Sable (Low), Underworld (High), Business world (High), Intelligence world (High), Law enforcement world (High), Assassins world (High), Kingpin (Low).

Drawbacks:
Secret ID, SIA toward Silver Sable, Attack Vulnerability (-1CS RV/OV against Persuasion from beautiful young women, doubled if they have silver hair).

Equipment:
The Foreigner doesn’t routinely carry equipment. He’ll procure whatever he needs, on site if need be. The traps, defences and tricks in his HQs tend to have 7 or 8 APs of power.

  • At one point it was revealed that one of his TEETH is filled with explosive [BODY 02, EV 07 (Area of effect 0 APs, Grenade Drawback]. This tooth can be dislodged by a powerful enough blow, which is when the Foreigner will use it as a weapon. It is rare for him to get hit, however.
  • Other occasional pieces of equipment have included :
    • A concealed PUNCH DAGGER [BODY 08, EV 02 (06 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)].
    • A Neural Disrupter [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 04, Invisibility (only vs. detectors): 10].

Sleeping satellite

According to one story, the source of the Foreigner’s strength is a special, cloaked satellite stolen from Justin Hammer. It had impossible remote surveillance capabilities (giving the Foreigner Remote sensing: 14, for all intents and purposes) and was the source for both his Power Reserve and the top AP of all his Physical statistics.

Without it, he went down to DEX 08 STR 04 BODY 05. All his relevant linked Skills (Acrobatics and Martial artist) went down one AP as well.

The satellite’s existence was revealed in the same issue where it ended up being destroyed due to Justin Hammer’s machination. The satellite was Hammer tech, and the Foreigner had appropriated it after Hammer failed to honour a payment to him. Hammer took his revenge via Dead Aim, as explained in the History section.

The satellite itself also had Invisibility (sight, radar): 14. It could only be traced back by analyzing the signal from the energizing gadget in the Foreigner’s costume.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel comics.

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