Issue(s): Thing #33
The Thing steps into the ring to break things up when the original Grappler Titania refuses to give up after losing a match to a new one called Battleaxe.
Later, a disgruntled Titania goes off to shower alone, and is killed by Scourge.
This sets off a confused sequence where word quickly gets out that Titania was killed by a man, and hey, the Thing is a man, so let's beat him up.
Sharon Ventura shows up and tries to stop them, and while she's not at all in their weight class, Auntie Freeze likes her spunk and gives her the number for a Power Broker that can make her stronger.
Later, Battleaxe suggests a co-ed match between herself and the Thing. The Thing finds the idea absurd, but he and Sharon get into an argument about it and also about her decision to call the Power Broker.
Befuddled by his argument with Sharon, the Thing agrees to the fight with Battleaxe, but while in the ring decides to throw the match, further angering Battleaxe. Sharon doesn't even show up.
There's potentially something interesting here regarding the mystery of the Power Broker, but for the most part this is just an odd book and not very good. This is also Ron Wilson's last issue; his art was generally the biggest appeal of the book. Not that there's many issues left, in any event.
I wonder if Titania was chosen as a Scourge victim to clear the way for the other Titania, from Secret Wars, to play a larger role in the Marvel universe.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAuntie Freeze, Battleaxe (Grappler), D-Man, Gladiatrix, Letha, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Poundcakes, Scourge, Songbird (Screaming Mimi), Thing, Titania (Grappler)
In the first US Agent limited series, we're introduced to a female member of the Scourge organization called Caprice. I always thought she killed Titania, although it was never stated explicitly.
Posted by: Michael | November 25, 2013 11:02 PM
I just realized something: Screaming Mimi is joined here with a group of "redeemed" Grapplers; yet not too long after is part of the Masters of Evil as part of the Siege on Avengers Mansion...then she really doesn't have any sort of inkling of reformation until she becomes Songbird with the Thunderbolts. I know she was a really minor villainess at this point but it is weird to think she could have gone good much earlier than prior to Zemo's big scheme (and even then she'd be stuck in the ridiculous "Screaming Mimi" outfit if she did go good here)
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 26, 2013 8:52 AM
I wonder if there was a grand plan for who Scourge was going to eliminate, or if individual writers got to pick some characters. Yes, a lot of it is disposing of disposal characters, but they got knocked off in so many different books, it makes you wonder how it all was organized (by the writers, not by Scourge).
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 12, 2015 9:04 PM
Also, despite being shown here, Mimi doesn't seem to have gotten the strength augmentation all the others received. I don't suppose her sonic scream was considered enough to put her in the UCWF?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 14, 2015 6:29 PM
This has always bugged me a bit, a lot of sites (including Marvel Appendix) cite this issue, and the Scourge attempting to kill Flash one, as early appearances of other Scourges. For example, the first comment here even mentions the Caprice idea.
If you look at Captain America #320, Scourge is shown wearing female masks (and he also even mentions plans to target Hobgoblin, which is an appearance that takes place between pages of Cap #320).
So as implausible as it sounds, there's no reason the Scourge in this can't just be the one Scourge we were seeing disguised (very well) as a woman.
I honestly believe that Scourge was only the one person in the initial Scourge story. And then another one/a copycat took his place at the end for his assassination (or maybe even rather died in his place, killed by the real Scourge).
Of course the later retcons and revelations made it that there were a whole squad of Scourges and stuff, but considering there's an enormous lag between Scourge's death in #320 and the re-emergence of Scourge in #348, the idea that there were multiple Scourges active during the first run doesn't make much sense... if that was the case, there'd not be a dry spell without Scourge kills.
Posted by: Scott | December 27, 2015 5:44 PM
@Erik Beck: From what I understand, Gru compiled a list of "disposable" villains, and let the individual writers pick from the list. (And sorry this is so late)
Posted by: Thanos6 | December 27, 2015 6:11 PM
Note though that the Official Handbook points out that (a) it's highly unlikely a man of Scourge's build could have posed as Golddigger and (b) it's highly unlikely a man could have posed as Golddigger without appearing unclothed. Gruenwald had a huge influence on the Handbooks, so this probably reflects his intentions.
Posted by: Michael | December 27, 2015 6:21 PM
Scott, about this...
"he also even mentions plans to target Hobgoblin, which is an appearance that takes place between pages of Cap #320"
I didn't get that from Domino's conversation at all. He said he had just uncovered the TRUE identity of the Hobgoblin. Even if he were wrong and thought Thompson was the Hobgoblin, he'd been publicly unmasked as the Hobgoblin a few issues of ASM prior to Scourge's appearance. Even if Domino were of a mind to take credit for someone else's work, the reveal of Thompson was too public. Hell, the guy was in jail for BEING the Hobgoblin. Given that, it's a bit too much to think that Domino would ring up Scourge and say, "Hey, you'll never guess... er, unless you've glanced at a newspaper or a TV..."
fnord has that ASM appearance taking place in between Cap 319 and 320 and I think that's the way to go, whether you want to argue that the Scourge in ASM is a different person or not. It was subsequent to that attack on Thompson that Domino discovered that someone else was the real Hobgoblin and that Thompson was a patsy. Who exactly Domino believed the Hobgoblin to be is a mystery. Maybe he actually found out it was Roderick Kingsley or maybe he was following the breadcrumbs to Ned Leeds, who was already (according to later retcons) masquerading as the Hobgoblin on occasion by this time.
I will say that even though I prefer the idea that the Scourge who killed Titania and the one who attacked Thompson were not the "real" Scourge, I also didn't like the later "Scourge organization" reveal. I prefer the idea that he had one or two additional accomplices early on and he/she/they ended up performing copycat killings and even killing the original Scourge to cover their own tracks.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 28, 2015 10:29 PM
I think one idea that might have worked was that the Scourge in AMS 278 was a copycat. His methods and motives that issue do seem significantly at odds with what had been established previously, but could have been interpreted that way by someone hearing about the Scourge through the media. The whole Scourge organization, ties to the Red Skull, and eventually the Golden-Age Angel all seem a little convoluted and made-up-as-we-go.
Also, it's not established in AMS 278 that "Scourge" realized Flash was a patsy… why would Domino decide Thompson wasn't the Hobgoblin based on that encounter?
Posted by: mikrolik | December 29, 2015 12:49 PM
I don't believe Domino's discovery that Flash was a patsy was based on the encounter in ASM 278. If it was the same Scourge, then some time had obviously passed between Scourge's assault on the jail and that conversation between Scourge and Domino (for one thing, it was still daylight when Scourge got away after killing the Wraith and it was the middle of the night when Domino and Scourge spoke. So even if it was the same day, it was a good six or more hours later).
Domino would have known about the jail attack (again, assuming it's the same Scourge) and he would have known that calling to tell Scourge that the Hobgoblin was Thompson would have been silly. So his discovery of Hobby's "true" ID was obviously referring to someone else. HOW he discovered it, I don't know, since the most I think he would have gleaned from the Thompson/Scourge encounter is that Flash wasn't the Hobgoblin. There was obviously something else we weren't privy to (since Hobby's ID also wasn't revealed to us yet) that led Domino to conclude that someone else was the real Hobgoblin.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 29, 2015 1:41 PM
But to the "copycat" point, yeah that whole issue has the Scourge acting out of character. He later would claim that he never killed anyone who hadn't been convicted of a crime, yet here he targets Flash, who's been arrested but not convicted and has no previous criminal history. Plus he's specifically targeting him because he thinks he's the Hobgoblin, something he absolutely hasn't been convicted of.
Then he releases a bunch of prisoners. Hardly serving justice.
And for good measure, on the way out, he kills the Wraith, who was not only never convicted but actually exonerated in a court of law for his actions while under his father's mental control. And there was none of the internal debate about doing any of these things that the real Scourge would later display when he ran from Captain America, then tried to warn him off, and finally failed to pull the trigger, leading to his own capture.
Granted he probably had a very different opinion of Captain America and the Wraith, but still the fact that he went to that jail to kill Flash in the first place violated his whole code.
Of course the REAL reason is we're talking different writers and Scourge's personality and ethics hadn't been completely fleshed out, so it's probably simply due to translation error and the fact that some plot device was needed to free Flash, so they just expanded a typical Scourge cameo to a full issue.
In hindsight, I wonder if Gru had asked for the Scourge to originally show up to target some other costumed (and previously convicted) felon who was at the jail after being recaptured, with the idea being that Flash would just seem to be in danger as he was there and we didn't yet know that Scourge didn't target anyone but convicted criminals. And then the story morphed without Gru's direct involvement to what we got, with Flash being the original target, the Scourge causing a jailbreak, and the Wraith being killed as the Spiderverse creators considered him excess baggage.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 29, 2015 1:54 PM
But Gruenwald had Firebrand show Blue Streak a headline of Scourge killing the Wraith in Cap 318, so Gruenwald must have known about the killing of the Wraith. Did Gruenwald forget that the Wraith was never convicted?
Posted by: Michael | December 29, 2015 7:41 PM
I forgot about that - like fnord says in that ASM issue entry, it can't be the case that Cap #318 takes place after that ASM story AND that the ASM story references the bar massacre in Cap #319. So I've always just written that off as a continuity error and never thought any more about it...
But Gru may have known and simply decided that the die had been cast and went ahead and referenced the Wraith's death even if he knew it would have been against Scourge's code. After all, somebody claiming to be the Scourge had killed the Wraith and it's not like Gilbert would have had any reason to suspect it wasn't really him.
Even if I'm right in speculating that the ASM appearance went a little sideways and the targeting of Flash and the killing of the Wraith would have been overruled by Gru if he'd been able to do so, that's still no proof that he actually would have tried to retcon that appearance as a copycat Scourge, even if he did tease the possibility with the end of #320. That ASM Scourge is acting very out of character, but it's a different writer and editor and we know what a nightmare that was causing on ASM at just this very time. DeFalco has complained that Priest kept messing with his scripts (repeatedly taking out his scenes where he was re-introducing Richard Fisk with the intention of eventually making him the Hobgoblin, for example). #278 is credited to DeFalco only for the plot (which he may have worked up with Gru's input) and then Peter David and Mary Jo Duffy are credited as co-scripters so there was obviously a lot of scrambling going on.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 29, 2015 11:30 PM
By the way, I could be wrong about the Wraith not being a convicted criminal. He was definitely exonerated for the crimes he committed while his father was controlling him, but I don't know what the resolution for his later involvement with the Maggia was. It's stated in the story that he's unstable and they were manipulating him, but maybe he received a suspended sentence rather than just being acquited for that. He would still qualify as Scourgebait if that were the case.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 29, 2015 11:54 PM
Yep, good point about the Hobgoblin line (I was recalling from memory).
But, honestly? Chalk up ASM to being a badly written story (for Scourge).
I honestly don't think Peter David wrote that story with any insight or idea about Scourge (or where he'd end up) and I think it was just one, of a few appearances, that later "made more sense" with the eventual revelations.
To be quite frank, judging from Peter David's general attitude towards crossovers and continuity, I wouldn't be surprised if he purposely wrote Scourge destructively.
The idea that in the initial run there was any other Scourges completely undercuts and undermines the ending with the reveal of "another" Scourge. So I definitely don't think it was really written to be "other" Scourges since it was a reveal. (And after the Alpha Flight #12 incident, I would imagine newbie writer Peter David would be the LAST person made privy to details about Scourge)
Posted by: Scott | December 30, 2015 8:31 PM
I think another issue is that who knows how much what the Scourge said to Cap in CA320 before he was killed was the truth and what wasn't was left ambiguous. He claimed to be the Enforcer's brother, but the Handbooks (which Gru had a big hand in helping to formulate) said that was BS, as the Enforcer had no siblings. So maybe he was lying about only targeting those with criminal convictions as well.
Posted by: mikrolik | December 31, 2015 12:04 PM
Yeah, we've discussed the problems with the "Enforcer's brother" story on one of these pages...
But you can't use that as a yardstick either, since the original version of the Handbook had the wrong identity for the Enforcer (taking after the Enforcer's appearances in Spider-Woman, where he was originally misidentified). So if Gru was under the impression that that's who the Enforcer really was, the backstory he gave Cap would have been fine. It was only with the Deluxe Edition of the Handbook (which came out after the Scourge storyline) that the Enforcer's identity was corrected.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 31, 2015 7:27 PM
Well, both of the Enforcer's identities had no known siblings, so I don't think the brother story would have worked with Carson Collier Jr. anymore than with Charles Delazney Jr.
And again, Gru was pretty heavily involved with the Handbooks, so if he really wanted the Enforcer to still be Collier Jr. instead of Delazney Jr., he probably had veto power (though I don't know who ultimately made the decisions on the Enforcer's identity in either case).
Part of the problem with Scourge is that the concept was created first (i.e. let's have a serial killer start offing minor super-villains!), and then the character and origin were both clearly afterthoughts. To that end, maybe Gru purposefully left in ambiguities and the possibility Scourge was lying and decided to fill in the gaps later.
Posted by: mikrolik | January 1, 2016 11:56 AM
The "known siblings" thing isn't really the stumbling block. Comics are full of previously-unknown siblings showing up.
The problem with the Enforcer being ID'd as Collier Jr. is that the Ghost Rider had met him, yet just a short time later he didn't recognize the unmasked Enforcer. But unfortunately the unmasked Enforcer still looked enough like Collier to fool some readers who weren't paying close attention.
And a couple of issues later, Dr. Druid probed the mind of Delazny Sr. and discovered that his son had recently been revealed the be the Enforcer.
So that was that - open and shut. Delazny Jr. was the Enforcer.
But then another writer decided to use the Enforcer in Spider-Woman and apparently read the issue where he was unmasked a little too rapidly, coming away with the impression that he was actually Collier (who was just a red herring). He was thus referred to as Collier multiple times in Spider-Woman.
And the first edition of the Handbook simply went with this incorrect identification and even created some new background information based on this false premise.
And Gru maintained this when he came up with Scourge's backstory, as Collier Sr. was a movie director while Delazny Sr. was not.
But as to Gru imposing this wrong identification once the discrepancy was discovered, it sounds like he'd have been far more likely to put his own needs aside, even if it had bad implications on one of his own stories/characters, in the name of respecting prior continuity. Better to just say the Scourge was lying and come up with the "real" story down the road. Hell, the guy was dead at this point so there was no hurry.
But you're right about the problems with having the Scourge be a blank slate. We didn't learn everything about how he selected his targets, but it sure sounded like he had no business being in place to execute some of them (how on Earth did he know when and where the Basilisk would resurface, for instance). Also, that appearance in Marvel Fanfare (which was intended for the regular Hulk book) has him displaying all sorts of ridiculous knowledge and having the ability to calm the Hulk, basically just to throw the reader off the track of who the guy could possibly be before he's revealed as the Scourge at the very end of the book.
Posted by: Dan H. | January 3, 2016 12:45 AM
This whole matter of the real identity of the Enforcer is something that has bothered me for years. I was reading/collecting both Ghost Rider and Spider-Woman at the time but I didn't notice the discrepancy until a decade or more later. In fact, I probably only realized that there was something off when I reread those Ghost Rider issues after having read the Official Handbook's profile on the Enforcer.
Anyway, once I'd noticed the discrepancy, I came up with my own explanation. My idea was that Carson Collier, Jr. was the real Enforcer and the reason why the Ghost Rider didn't recognize him when he was unmasked was because Carson was wearing some sort of advanced make-up that made him look like Charles Delazny, Jr. underneath his mask. This was a back-up disguise to hide his identity in case he was unmasked and it was durable enough that he was able to remain disguised as Delazny Jr. while in police custody until after Dr. Druid read the mind of Delazny Sr. (who was also fooled).
I was very content with this theory and thought that it made for a better explanation than the one that the OHotMU provided. However, after twenty or so years, I finally noticed something that proved that Carson couldn't have been the Enforcer. In Ghost Rider #22, the first issue in which either character ever appears, the Enforcer is shown killing a mob boss "even as" Coot Collier confronts an intruder in his home who turns out to be his son, Carson. So, Carson Collier Jr. couldn't be the Enforcer because he has an alibi! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
With my long-held pet theory now crushed, I tried to come up with another explanation and soon came up with one that was very simple but quite convincing. Given that there was conflicting evidence regarding the identity of a masked criminal during his first few crimes, why was it necessary that there be a convoluted explanation for why some of it was wrong? What if, instead, the evidence was actually right all along? Maybe it wasn't just one man behind the Enforcer's mask but TWO?
Consider this idea: Delazny Jr. was the original Enforcer but he was caught by Ghost Rider, unmasked and sent to jail. Then somebody breaks him out of jail and "the Enforcer" resumes his criminal career - but now it's actually Collier Jr. wearing the mask and costume. With everyone "knowing" that the escapee is the Enforcer, Collier Jr. has no one looking for him when he's out of costume. But then he's defeated by Spider-Woman, taken into police custody and unmasked as Collier Jr. And that, to my mind, is a great explanation for why "the" Enforcer was revealed to be two different people at two different times in "his" career.
Anyway, this posting is getting a bit far afield from the whole idea of who Scourge really was. I have just three more things to say. First, just because the comics only revealed that Coot Collier and Charles Delazny each had "a" son doesn't mean that either of them couldn't have had other sons. As long as Coot never referred to Carson as his "only" son (which he didn't) the possibility that he had another, younger son remained.
Second, I actually liked the origin story that the Scourge told Captain America after he was captured and had no problem accepting it as the truth. The fact that he was killed by someone using his own M.O. didn't bother me. And when the revelation about the whole Scourge organization came out, I was able to rationalize that as Domino and his bosses using the Enforcer's brother as a test case. The first Scourge kills his brother and a few other criminals, his actions are noticed by those who want to clean up society, and Domino is sent to "help" Scourge while guiding him in the direction that the organization of Scourges-to-be want him to go. While the original is pursuing his own agenda, agents of the organization help him by posing as "the" Scourge and using his M.O. to kill other targets (like Flash or Titania). Then, once Cap catches the original, an agent kills him and then takes over the role full-time.
Third, regarding that newspaper headline of Scourge killing the Wraith in Cap 318, I noticed that there was no picture associated with it. My explanation is that the Wraith, who was a trained police officer, had been able to recognize a pattern in the killing of criminals and realized that he would be a prime target. So, being paranoid, he decided to hide by faking his death. With his mental powers, it would have been easy to set up a situation in which he could cause several people to "witness" the Wraith being killed by a gunman in the same way as other criminals had been reported to have been killed. With that, the Wraith is "dead" and safe - until he tries to kill Flash Thompson and runs into a Scourge who kills him for real this time.
Posted by: Don Campbell | January 3, 2016 4:01 AM
Yeah, if you want to make liars out of the fewest number of people and insert the lowest number of retcons, the only way to do that is to conclude that both Delazny and Collier were the Enforcer at different times, just as you suggest.
That way the Ghost Rider isn't fooled by a disguise, Dr. Druid's mindprobe is legit, and even the Scourge's story is fine (he simply doesn't know or doesn't care that his brother was the SECOND Enforcer, not the original).
This also helps to explain the Enforcer's different speech patterns and M.O. in Spider-Woman and (I believe) his slightly-different headgear.
Of course the REAL reason for that stuff is different writers and artists and absolutely no one involved up through the death of the original Scourge ever intended for there to be more than one Enforcer, but weirder things have happened in a shared universe. Hell, weirder things have happened just to explain changes that occurred way back when Stan was writing everything and simply forgot or decided to ignore stuff he'd already written.
Posted by: Dan H. | January 11, 2016 12:14 AM
Seems kinda weird to kill off dopey character in a story that introduces a whole bunch of dopey characters that are just like the dead one. Too bad Scorge didn't just use a big bomb.
Posted by: OrangeDuke | January 1, 2018 6:04 PM
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