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Vincenzo the Undying Don (7 Soldiers) (DC Comics)

Vincenzo the Undying Don

(aka Kid Scarface)


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

“He showed me kindness in this dark age, and died a warrior, slain by the Celestial Huntsman.”
– Vanguard’s brief eulogy to the Undying Don.


Context

The Undying Don features in Grant Morrison’s landmark mid-2000s meta-series The Seven Soldiers.

This profile includes a bunch of S P O I L E R S, and having that epic story would be terrible.

This entry is also meant to be read after the Newsboy Army article, which explains a lot of key background elements about Vincenzo.


Background

  • Real Name: Vincenzo Baldi.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Newsboy Army. Member of a West Coast mob.
  • Base Of Operations: Formerly Nowhere Street, New York City; later the Villa Rocco, Los Angeles.
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 197 lbs.
  • Eyes: Dark brown Hair: Black, balding


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Powers and Abilities

Even as Kid Scarface, Vincenzo was hard to scare and gifted with weapons. Though back then he only wielded kid “weapons” – mostly slingshots).

He went on to become an experienced criminal and manager. The Don is also much tougher than he looks. Repeated exposures to the Cauldron seem to have enhanced his vitality, strength and resistance to pain. Even as a kid, he seemed exceptionally strong for his age and size.

Vincenzo and his men have remarkable arsenals and resources. He knows things, he has seen things in his Kid Scarface days, and he’s a well-connected man. Beyond even the great perils of leading organized crime in a comic book world, he knows that the Harrowing is coming. Thus, he has been stockpiling and organising to take out as many Sheeda as he can before they ravage Earth.

His assets ranged from the mystical to cybernetically-enhanced lieutenants. His bodyguards routinely pack multiple pistols and a recent assault rifle with a loaded underbarrel grenade launcher, and most are likely ex-military.

The Four Tops

The men Crazyface nicknamed the “Four Tops” were four made men from the Undying Don’s mob. They all had some kind of occult training or potential.

They stood around the Cauldron, eyes closed, head tilted backward and arms hanging loosely. What they concentrated on is unclear, but it seemed to enhance the effectiveness of the Cauldron. They could stay in their special trance for hours.

The "Four Tops" resurrect Don Vincenzo in the Undry Cauldron

The “Four Tops” were killed during Don Vincenzo’s last sortie. But it is not entirely impossible other major mobs had one or two comparable wise guys, especially after they witnessed the edge the Undying Don had. All four where White guys in their 30s with dark gray suits, black T-shirts and black shoes.


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Crazyface

Crazyface was apparently Don Vincenzo’s chief bodyguard, aide and lieutenant. Like everybody else he died during the Neh-Buh-Loh-led assault on Don Baldi’s criminal Camelot.

Crazyface had sophisticated cybernetic eyes with a computer analysis of what he saw constantly running (range finders, crosshairs, random cool-looking text, etc. etc.).

Crazyface dual-wielding pistols

Crazyface would almost seem to fit more in the entertainment industry. He’s voluble, slightly hyper, and very concerned about looking cool at all time. He seems to be a competent wise guy and lieutenant, however, and knows how business is done and with whom. He seemed to genuinely like and respect Vincenzo. In fact he treats him pretty much like a small-g godfather.

Crazyface commanded the guards at the Don Vincenzo’s home, which counted at least 20 heavily-armed bodyguards.

The normal side of Crazyface’s mug looks exactly like Grant Morrison’s.

Strato

Strato was the most powerful of the Don’s bodyguards. He was an air golem from the East. It *might* have been one of the Golem Four built by Baby Brain, but this is neither clear nor particularly likely. While it always spoke in an Asian language (something written with Chinese characters — probably Mandarin, in fact), it understood English just fine.

Baldi occasionally called it ’Strato-san’, so it *might* of Japanese origin. But I wouldn’t bet the Don knew or cared about the specifics.

Strato the wind golem


History

For much of the known history of Kid Scarface see our Newsboy Army entry. As was the style of the day he was a total ethnic cliché about Italians and the Mafia. His bout of bloody rage against Cap was likely fueled by both the curse of the Time Tailor and the death of Suzi, since all the boys of the Newsboy Army loved her.

It was Kid Scarface who apparently tortured and blinded Cap as Lil‘ Hollywood and Ali cheered in manic hatred. He then beat him up with a baseball bat until he made him fall inside Ali’s magical Cabinet.

His hands already covered with blood, and his family likely having strong mob connections, Kid Scarface became a wise guy as he grew older. A smart and strong man with a vast capacity for efficient violence, he gradually rose in the ranks. Vincenzo likely became a capo before his men found the Cauldron of Rebirth.

The undry cauldron

This relic had long been used by the Sheeda in rituals to renew the ruler of the Last Kingdom of Man.

However, when the second Shining Knight stormed the castle along with her horse Vanguard, she threw the Cauldron into the waters within. These are a tributary to the time stream, and the Cauldron thus was timelost. It landed in Slaughter Swamp, North of Gotham, at some unclear date – likely before the mass disappearance at Roanoke.

The Undry Cauldron’s seeping waters permeated the swamp. They later helped create Solomon Grundy. It was also found by Melmoth, the King of Earth’s Last Day. Melmoth used the Cauldron to replace his own blood and become immortal and indestructible.

His ’blood‘ was later used to create Frankenstein and the Bride. And his semen, also permeated with the Water of Life, would result in the creation of the grundies in Limbo Town.

The Undying Don

Melmoth had a long-standing alliance with Don Silencio in New York. He cultivated those allies through successive generations as one of his armies against the next Harrowing. These mob ties are likely how the former Kid Scarface learned of the Cauldron, and managed to steal it.

A likely, but unsupported, hypothesis would be that Baldi was at that point a Silencio made man. In this scenario, he betrayed his capo to steal the Cauldron. Then he escaped West to flee from the bulk of their attempts at retribution.

Fates of the Newsboy Army

Still largely driven by the Time Tailor’s curse and the destruction of his fantastic childhood, the man who would soon become known as the Undying Don started his ascent toward great power in L.A..

Baldi claimed that he died a hundred times during these days, and killed a thousand men. While this is likely a poetic exaggeration, it is obvious that his gradual control of the greater part of L.A. was a long orgy of violence, assassinations, intimidation and gangland massacres.

At one point, Don Baldi recovered the corpse of Millions, the only member of the Newsboy Army to have died peacefully. He used the Cauldron to resurrect it as a much younger-looking dog.

Shortly before the Harrowing, Ystin the Shining Knight crashed in a LA street. Her winged horse Vanguard was killed by the fall, and the corpse was taken in by the LAPD. Knowing the Undying Don’s interest in the occult and unusual, police on the take almost immediately shipped the horse to the Don. Whole, not just the head. That was a joke.

Horsefeathers

Don Vincenzo’s lieutenant Crazyface presumably used the Cauldron to resurrect the super-equine, whom he put in the stables to show to the Don. The Don was astounded, but took it as a sign that the Harrowing was near.

Eventually the horse spoke. After a few days, the Don recognized the language from one of his occult tapes. It was the tongue of Camelot – or, at least, one of the Camelots.

Soon, Sheeda forces located the Cauldron. Perhaps through the Ludlow family connections of I, Spyder, their new agent in the XXIst century. Spyder performed one of his impossible archery shots, embedding a poisoned arrow in the Don’s heart from a distant helicopter.

The Don’s men brought him to the Cauldron and resurrected him. But the return of the Don’s heartbeats triggered a transmitter in the arrow. This allowed Spyder to precisely locate the Cauldron.

Ultimo atto

I, Spyder, Neh-Buh-Loh and Sheeda shock troops stormed the mansion of the Don. Although they encountered ferocious and heavily-armed resistance, they eventually prevailed and killed everyone.

The Undying Don Vincenzo on his winged horse

Meanwhile the Don emerged from the Cauldron, hidden in a massively armoured underground vault under his mansion. He was left with a small cadre of his troops – Crazyface, the Four Tops, his prized winged horse and Strato. Accepting his fate and his nature, he decided to go down fighting and to kill more Sheeda before he would die.

He and his men, who remained loyal to the Don to the very end, charged out. They managed to inflict further casualties to the Sheeda before being cut down by the powerful Neh-Buh-Loh.

Among the dead men

Shortly after those events, Zatanna, Misty Kilgore and the ghost of Ali Ka-Zoom arrived at the Villa Rocco. Ali held the hand of his dead childhood friend, then guided him into the afterlife.

When a minor demon tried to accost Vincenzo on the soul bus, Ali violently repulsed it. Perhaps the ghostly psychopomp intended to make sure that Kid Scarface would not needlessly go to Hell despite the bloody life the Time Tailor had crafted for him.

Shortly after the battle and the Undying Don’s house, Zatanna confronted and helped destroy the evil Time Tailor. This finally lifted the curse off the Newsboy of Nowhere Street. Perhaps this allowed Vincenzo Baldi to find some form of redemption in the thereafter.

Don Vincenzo appointed Millions the Mystery Mutt as the sole executor of his business interests, which proved enormous. Furthermore the chief rival of the Undying Don, the East Coast’s Don Silencio, a Melmoth ally, had just died of a coronary after learning his only son had been killed on Mars by Frankenstein. This left Millions, the dogfather, as one of the main crime lords in the US.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

As Kid Scarface, he was a tough little guy, afraid of nothing and always ready to jump into action and fight it out. He had a streetwise manner and vocabulary, and always dressed in neat, cliché mafioso garb. Comics were that way back in the 1940s, I’m afraid.

Scarface and Lil‘ Hollywood were the closest friends of Mo Colley, a grownup friend of the Newboys and a champion heavy-weight boxer. Mo was killed by the police in front of his little friends after a murderous Sheeda-possession-induced rampage.

During his rise to power, Vincenzo Baldi probably made Tommy Vercetti look like a sweet, caring, harmless nun.

Undying

By the early 2000s, his power base well-established, his allies numerous, he slowed down and felt tired. He ran the business, but not as aggressively as before. Though any attempt to harm his interests would be met with brutal retaliation.

In his old age he felt melancholy. And the weight of the guilt he had been dragging on ever since he killed Cap was unbearable. He would often perform small acts of personal mercy. Don Vincenzo seemed to love horses – when his men procured Vanguard (whom he called ’Horsefeathers’) he treated it exceptionally well, even before realizing that the horse was sapient .

The Don maintained a keen interest in the occult. His men were always on the lookout for new weapons and artefacts. With the DCU magic being a different take on reality, they perpetually missed most of those, such as Cassandra Craft’s shop. But they did procure quite a few genuinely mystical things.

In the end, Baldi knew he was a fighter, a brawler and a killer, and decided to die with guns blazing. He was a man without apparent fears or inhibitions taking his revenge for decades of terror and the destruction of his magical childhood friends and innocence.


Quotes

(1940s, all the Newsboy from Nowhere Street pledge in front of the UN Building) “And nothing will ever divide us.”

(1940s, entering the hovel of Cyrus Gold) “Scared ? I ain’t scared.”

“You’re wondering how a man could have scars like this ? Three bullet holes around the heart, for instance ? You’re looking at a man who did some very bad things, Horsefeathers, very bad things… and he got away with it, too, until now. Vincenzo the Undying Don, at your service.”

“They shoot a poison arrow in my heart ? Where I come from, that’s an invitation to a party. The Don says bring ’em on !”

(Preparing his Butch Cassidy and the Kid moment against the Sheeda, addressing his soldatos) “Would you be willing [to help] Vincenzo fulfill a violent childhood fantasy ? This is it, ain’t it ? This is fucking mythology calling.[…] Gimme them guns. These are the end times. This is where we make our peace with who we are and go down fighting.” (Charging out with his men) “To the death, boys ! To the fucking DEATH !”

(After being impaled with Neh-Buh-Loh’s thrown spear) “gahh… gukk… had worse… survived a hundred deaths ! Killed a thousand men !” (tears himself from the spear, gets back his machineguns).

(Opening fire on Sheeda troops with a Thompson in each hand, mowing them down) “Come and get your share, you fairy goth motherfuckers ! This is for Mo Colley, you bastards ! This is for all the years of being scared !”


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Don Vincenzo

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Mafia Don
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 015
Init: 012 HP: 025

Powers:
Damage capacity*: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:
Damage Capacity does not help against Stuns (-1).

Skills:
Animal handling (Horses): 02, Charisma: 06, Occultist (Identify artefact, knowledge): 05, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry: 08

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (LA), Credentials (American Cosa Nostra, High), Expertise (Organized crime management), Iron Nerves, Language (Italian and/or Sicilian), Schticks (Lightning reload, paired firearms, sweeping autofire). Vincenzo may have had Leadership, too.

Connections:
West Coast mob (High), Underworld (Low), Street (Low), LAPD (Low), Californian politicians (Low).

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearances (Scars all over his body, especially weird gill-like scars on his neck from a decapitation), Age (Old), Guilt.

Equipment:

  • UNDRY CAULDRON [BODY 35, Invulnerability: 14, Limitation: Invulnerability takes at least four hours to work, but may work on corpses that are pretty old and in bad shape].
    The Cauldron of Rebirth was of course Vincenzo’s chief piece of “equipment”. But he could not tap its full potential for lack of sorcerous expertise. He only reached 14 APs of Invulnerability by employing the services of the “Four Tops”. Being plunged in the Cauldron would allow him to recover from death. He kept the scars and kept ageing, however.
    It is possible that the Cauldron can be used even on pretty old corpses. If Vincenzo indeed resurrected Millions, it likely implied digging up a corpse that had been buried decades before.
    The Cauldron was kept in an armoured vault with walls with BODY 15.
  • Modified Thompson M1928A1 “Tommy Gun” SMG w/drum magazine (x2) [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 06, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 01, Ammo: 12, Advantage: Autofire].
    Those weapons were devastating, and seemed to have been re-chambered to fire rifle ammunition – presumably 5.56mm, and those seemed to be armour-piercing rounds of some sort. With his talent for weapons, Vincenzo could fire one with each hand. They seemed to have been specially shortened and rebalanced for this use.
  • ’Special Bullets’. The nature of those bullets are unknown, but they were able to damage even Neh-Buh-Loh. Perhaps they have high APs of Sharpness against certain types of creatures, and Neh-Buh-Loh fit into this category.

Design notes

Neither the languages, nor that the mob he belonged to was the Cosa Nostra, is clearly demonstrated. But since the Newsboy Army references 1940s ethnic clichés in comic books, these seem to be a safe bet.


The Four Tops

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 03 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 007 HP: 005

Skills:
Occultist: 02, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Advantages:
Credentials (American Cosa Nostra, Low).

Connections:
Underworld (Low).

Equipment:
They either had .45 Pistol (x2) [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#03] or a Shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 03): 06, Ammo: 07, R#03, Recommended STR: 02, Drawback: Very Long Reload].

Rituals:
A trance allowing them to add their Occultist score in non-AP maths to the Cauldron’s Invulnerability Power. Thus, without the Four Tops, the Cauldron would have a 06.


Crazyface

(As he’s about to show Vanguard to the Don) “Godfather, I saw your [LAPD] stooges bring him here with my own technologically enhanced eyeballs. Seriously, I fear you may just pee your silk pants this time, mæstro.”

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 014 HP: 015

Powers:
Telescopic vision: 04, Ultra-vision: 06

Skills:
Charisma*: 04, Scientist (Analysis): 05, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Bonuses and Limitations:
Scientist is a Powered Skill and is Contingent upon Ultra-vision.

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (LA), Credentials (American Cosa Nostra, Medium), Lightning reflexes, Sharp Eye.

Bonuses and Limitations:
Lightning Reflexes and Sharp Eye are Powered Advantages and are Contingent upon Ultra-vision.

Connections:
Underworld (Low), Street Low), Vincenzo Mob (High).

Equipment:
Recent pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 15, R#03].


Strato

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 02 Min: //// Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 03 Aur: //// Spi: //// Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 015 HP: 005

Powers:
Air animation (Self-linked): 06, Growth: 02, Dispersal: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Dispersal is Always On but can be made Partial.

Skills:
Weaponry (Sword)*: 06

Advantages:
Language (unspecified), Lightning Reflexes.

Connections:
The Undying Don (High).

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance.

Equipment:
Big Sword [BODY 07, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 08), Sharpness (EV): 01, Descriptor: Slashing, Piercing, Recommended STR 02]. Strato uses his Air Animation as his base EV for Enhance to, err, enhance.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Seven Soldiers meta-series.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan.

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