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Context

Skorpio is a minor DC villain. He primarily appeared in late-1990s Steel stories, during the Priest/Cowan run.

  • He’s an easy-to-use hitman, which we appreciate.
  • He hasn’t really been used in 20+ years, so you could develop him a bit.
  • And he can also appear in hospital dramas. People like those shows.

And now a message to DC Comics. Please do a digital reissue of the Steel run so I can finally write these characters up thank you.


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Background

  • Real Name: Doctor Dennis Samuel “Sam” Ellis, MD.
  • Other Aliases: “Doctor Pintsize”, “Doctor Mack Daddy”, “Doctor Lovejones”, “Doctor Short Guy” and other nicknames from Natasha Irons.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former helper for Dr. Arthur Villain. Member of the Society, and apparently of the Injustice League Unlimited.
  • Base of Operations: Jersey City, NJ.
  • Height: 5’3″ Weight: 120 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black.


Powers & Abilities

Dr. Ellis is a competent internist, working in the ER of an impoverished and violent city. He’s thus familiar with treating all sorts of urgent medical issues, including gunshot wounds and overdoses.

He’s also smart, exceptionally collected and charming. He’s a shrewd planner, easily defeating standard police techniques.

Despite his moderate size, Skorpio is a solid athlete, an excellent acrobat, and surprisingly strong. He also extensively trained with throwing small blades.

An experienced manipulator, he has a way of getting under people’s skin if he decides to provoke them. He’s also good at spotting emotionally vulnerable persons, even if it’s just a moment of dismay.


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Gear

His suit includes a wrist-mounted launcher. It is chiefly useful when a bladed projectile of his needs to hit a hard surface.

His vaguely S-shaped throwing blades can be coated in chemicals. Usually it will be the medium for a highly-selective, custom-tailored virus brewed in Dr. Villain’s lab.

The suit has some sort of punch daggers mounted on the back of the hands. These are poisoned. One scene depicts him as using fingers-mounted claws instead, which I guess is an art error.

Skorpio once used specialised throwing blades with a static charge. These could break up the link between Steel’s armour and its peripherals. This specific Gadget was built with Dr. Villain’s help.


Soundtrack

Skorpio debuted in 1997, so here’s an obvious choice of sound.

Available for download on Amazon .


History (part 1 – Steel)

Sam Ellis is originally from St. Albans. But perhaps not the New York City community. One turn of phrase might imply that it’s a fictional one in a more distant state.

A young internist, Dr. Ellis worked at the Garden State Medical Center (GSMC). However, he wasn’t in the upper floors with the wealthy surgeons. He was down in the ER trenches. Almost a different world, and certainly not as affluent.

The administrator of the GSMC, Dr. Arthur Villain, was a curious and frightening figure. Extremely intelligent, suave and goal-focused, Dr. Villain was also devoid of morality.

His objective was to have GSMC be successful. And he didn’t mind how many eggs would get broken for that omelet to happen.

Zodiakal

Dr. Villain conducted most of his crimes by himself. But in 1997 he recruited Dr. Ellis as a helper. They designed the Skorpio identity, complete with a supervillain costume.

(The name may have been inspired by the serial killer in the original Dirty Harry movie.)

Part of Dr. Ellis’ motivation was that the money from being Skorpio would help him pay for his student loans.

The message

Skorpio soon made his first move, seemingly patterned after movie serial killers. He killed a number of street criminals whose family names spelled I-R-O-N.

Skorpio - DC Comics - Steel villain - With Dr. Villain

As Steel (John Henry Irons) had recently moved to Jersey City, he and the police assumed :

  1. That it was a way to draw his attention.
  2. That the next victim would be his friend Dr. Amanda Quick, whose maiden name started with a S.

But this was just misdirection. Dr. Villain’s actual plan was just to have Skorpio hit Steel with a virus-coated projectile. This forced Steel to teleport away before he would overwhelm Skorpio.

Sanevillainy

During this operation, Dr. Ellis developed a romantic interest in Dr. Quick. Though they worked at the same hospital, they barely ever saw each other. Dr. Quick was one of the luxury floors surgeons.

The interest was reciprocated to an extent. Dr. Quick had correctly intuited that Skorpio had no intent to harm her.

Skorpio also helped to a small extent when Irons’ niece Natasha ran into trouble with a young gangster. To be on Dr. Quick’s good side.

Dr. Quick recognised Dr. Ellis as Skorpio when she ran in to relieve overloaded ER services. But she decided to cover for him, if only because they had dying gunshot victims to save.

Meanwhile, Skorpio continued to run jobs for Dr. Villain. Such as stealing diamonds from the mob to drag the GSMC’s budget into the black.

Damn pretty Quick

Though Dr. Quick had been in love with Dr. John Henry Irons for months, he kept stonewalling her.

His psychological issues and refusal to acknowledge Dr. Quick’s feelings led her into Dr. Ellis’ arms.

However, that lasted for but a night. Amanda decided to double down on John, and dumped Sam.

From the block

When a random stabbed youth was brought in, Dr. Ellis didn’t care much. He assumed that he was a gang member. But he soon realised that the lad was the son of a childhood friend.

Skorpio - DC Comics - Steel villain - Talking with Dr. Quick

The knife was lodged in the heart. Fighting to keep the patient alive, Dr. Ellis had Dr. Quick called in.

With their combined expertises, they narrowly succeeded. Even through a gang attempted to raid the hospital to finish off the wounded lad.

However :

  • Pulling Dr. Quick from the lucrative surgery she was supposed to conduct at that time put a bad dent in Dr. Villain’s financials. This put Dr. Ellis in the doghouse with his employer.
  • Dr. Quick finally managed to have Dr. Irons admit to his feelings for her.

Though Sam considered killing John, he apparently renounced that for Amanda’s sake. But his bitterness festered from there, and took over.

Crash

By this point, the deadly Crash (Clay Irons/Reggie Glover) had been taking over the Jersey City underworld. Skorpio offered this newcomer his services as a local expert. This could compensate for the loss of jobs from Dr. Villain.

However, Skorpio actually intended to use Crash to get at Steel, and help him destroy his life.

Ellis started by attacking and poisoning Natasha Irons, Steel’s beloved niece. The idea was to force John into an extensive blood transfusion to save Natasha, so he’d be a sitting duck for Crash to kill. But unbeknownst to Skorpio, Crash was Nat’s father.

As Crash froze due to his concerns about Nat, Skorpio attempted to kill Steel himself. He failed.

An emergency blood transfusion from Crash then narrowly saved Nat.

Dr. Arthur Villain was arrested, depriving Dr. John Irons of a benefactor. And Dr. Amanda Quick was arrested for withholding information about Dr. Ellis being Skorpio.


History (part 2)

(Steel’s run ended in 1998. Once the book was gone, Skorpio got relegated to being a costume seen in “big crowd of random villains” scenes).

Skorpio apparently spent years in prison. But by 2005, he had joined the newly emerging Society. This organisation enlisted dozens of super-villains. They may have been the ones freeing him.

As part of the Society’s onslaught, Skorpio launched a one-man bio-terrorist attack in Metropolis.

Shortly after that, Manhunter (Kate Spencer) arrested a bank robber wearing a Skorpio costume. However, this clearly wasn’t Dr. Sam Ellis. This impostor didn’t even seem to have the Skorpio weapons.

Glimpses

  • In 2006, Skorpio was glimpsed during one of the big Infinite Crisis battles against the Society.
  • In 2007, he attended an Injustice League recruitment pitch by Lex Luthor.
  • In 2008, Skorpio was part of the second wave of criminals exiled to a hostile alien planet by the US government. When the exiles split into camps, he sided with the Joker.
  • In 2009, he was part of the horde of super-villains attempting to get a magical “get out of Hell” card held by the Secret Six.
  • In 2010, he was glimpsed at an auction for supervillains.

Description

The Skorpio costume somehow makes Ellis look taller – by four or five inches. It’s generally designed for intimidation.

Ellis’ official listing puzzlingly lists him as being 5’9″. Which is manifestly wrong, unless it’s his apparent height when in costume.

Dr. Ellis is unusually young for a MD. Between that, his short size, and his kid-trying-to-look-older moustache, it’s easy to think of him as just some everyday-but-jocular working-class 20-something. A bike messenger, maybe. All he has to do is put on some streetwear.


Personality

Dr. Ellis is very much shooting for an unflappable, witty, prepossessing super-cool-and-masterful persona. His life is meant to be a movie where he’s the slick always-right hero with killer lines and most everybody else are just the straight men.

Skorpio - DC Comics - Steel villain - High fight

However, while that certainly can be useful during a date, it also leads him to underestimate the risks he’s taking. It also might lead to flamboyant actions that don’t quite serve a purpose. Ellis has bought his own lines.

One gets the impression that he’s a working-class man who soldiered his way all through medical school. He seems to resent upper-class colleagues and administrators.

Other traits

Dr. Ellis isn’t quite as amoral as Dr. Villain. But they certainly share ground in that area.

Specifically, Ellis considers that killing criminals is no big deal and nobody cares about those. Part of it might be desensitization from working in the ER.

He also has a cruel, sociopathic edge. This isn’t normally visible since he has the charm on, but in his Skorpio guise it becomes obvious.

Though he’s just a first-year resident, Dr. Ellis is constantly referring to the ER as “his” service, with “his” trauma room and so forth.

Sam Ellis was in love with Amanda Quick. This led to ditching basic security measures about his secret identity, as he felt life wasn’t worth living without her.

Afterwards

In 2005, Skorpio makes a cryptic reference to joining the Society for “the Light”. Perhaps he gained ties with Vandal Savage’s secret society whilst in prison ? However, during Salvation Run, he didn’t seem to know who Savage was.

The 2006 Skorpio imposter was just some goober with a cheap pistol. He almost immediately surrendered. Aunt Petunia would totally take him.


Quotes

“Cars will I steal for you. Crack will I sell for you. Burgers will I flip for you. You love me. Say it.”

“Look, doc — I’m just a part-time assassin. You call me up, I go bop somebody for you. Kind of like Pizza Hut. Awards banquets — not in my job description.”

(Doing a cardiac massage to a wounded man entering the ER) “People, be gowned or begone. Get me a crash cart, chest tube tray, 6 units O-neg, portable X-ray…” (nods in Dr. Irons’ direction) “And somebody get ‘MC Stupid’ out of my trauma room.”

Dr. Quick : “Give me the bullet.”
Dr. Ellis: “Knife wound pictured left atrium. Bilateral hemothorax. Cardiac tamponade BP 40 over 20. Pulse 80. Estimated blood loss 20%. 500cc’s from a right laparoscopy. Dopamine, fentanyl, dicumarol. Six units O neg.”


Marvel Universe

He could have claimed the Viper identity created by Jordan Dixon.

Maybe he’d have been a minor Falcon (Sam Wilson) enemy, with a rivalry for Leila Taylor’s affection ?


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Skorpio

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: ER MD
Inf: 05 Aur: 06 Spi: 04 Wealth: 005
Init: 017 HP: 035

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Charisma (Persuasion): 06, Gadgetry: 03, Martial artist: 04, Medicine (First aid, treatment): 05, Thief (Stealth): 04, Weaponry (Ranged small blades): 06, Weaponry (Firearms, heavy): 04

Advantages:
Familiarity (Jersey City mobs), Financial Backing (Millionaire (Dr. Villain) – defunct).

Connections:
Dr. Arthur Villain (Low – defunct), Dr. Amanda Quick (Low – defunct), Street (Low).

Drawbacks:
MPR (Likely a minor farsightedness – may not even be significant in game terms), MIA toward Dr. Quick.

Equipment:

  • Throwing blades [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 10, Bonus: Autofire]. These will often be coated with some tailored agents. As a rough default, assume 8 APs of power – usually Poison Touch.
  • SUIT [BODY 02, Enhance (Projectile weapons): 01 (cap is 06), Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 05), Poison touch: 07, Bonus: Poison Touch can be Combined with EV ; Limitation: Enhance can only augment the Projectile Weapons of Skorpio’s throwing blades.]
  • Static-charged throwing blades [BODY 02, Neutralise: 07, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 02, Bonus: Neutralise has No Range but can be Combined With Projectile Weapons and ride its Range, Limitation: Neutralise only works against small electrically-powered system].

Design Notes

We don’t see Skorpio in action much. The stats are therefore speculative rather than AP-perfect.

He delivers some pretty good attacks, but these usually are Blindsides.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Comics.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 2nd of January, 2021.

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