Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Legacy of Scourge

Under duress, our staff therapist compiles a history of the deadly vigilante.

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By Tim Stevens

Mr. Gyrich,

Here are the summaries you requested. These are entirely based on publically available information and sources. As I stated previously, any more than that will require a subpoena. Your title and badge do not change that. We do not work for the government and we would appreciate you keeping that in mind the next time you consider coming to our offices and acting the bully.

Scourge of the Underworld: While played by various individuals, nearly all Scourges possess a few similar features. For one, all are singularly dedicated to following orders although, it should be noted, this dedication may not be simply a product of their desire. Previously Scourges have been blackmailed or mind controlled into assuming the role.

Scourges typically target criminals as their victims—there is a notable exception here to be discussed later—and these criminals are usually low-grade, under powered “super villains” as marked by their garish costumes and improbable code names.

Early on, it appeared the Scourge’s were part of  a society, possibly beholden to the vigilante known as The Angel who, records show, was an active costumed adventurer around the 1930’s and 40’s. This, however, no longer seems to be the case. Instead the U.S. Government appears to have co-opted the identity and used it to its own ends.

(NFN) Delazny: Although it is not clear whether Delazny was the “first” Scourge he is the first Scourge unmasked and, however, briefly, captured. He disclosed to Captain America that he was related to The Enforcer, Charles Delazny Jr., his apparent initial victim. Delazny claimed he killed his brother for shaming their father by pursuing a life of crime. He was shortly thereafter killed by another Scourge and therefore was unable to explain why he then went on to kill several other villains and/or how his personal drive for vengeance led to his involvement with the Scourge society.

Unknown Scourges (II-IV): II and IV were similarly killed by other Scourge counterparts while in capture; these Scourges have never been properly identified. Perhaps with more modern forensics they might be accomplished but this does not appear to be a priority at this time.

III was a tool of The Red Skull. It remains unclear whether Red Skull was simply using the moniker to confuse, had recruited a former Scourge, or the Scourge organization and Skull had worked out an alliance. Skull ultimately killed his Scourge and, once again, III was unable to be identified at the time.

Priscilla Lyons (Vagabond), Caprice, and Bloodstain: This trio proved the death knell for the original Scourge organization. Lyons was the sister of a criminal who worked for Slug, a Miami crime boss, and apparently died of a drug overdose. Lyons dated Jack Monroe—who will intersect with Scourge again—for a time but was unable to accept both the story of her brother’s death and her emotions on the matter. She was an easy recruit due to this but found herself unable to go through with her first assignment when the time came. Fearing reprisal, she ran to the West Coast Avengers with Caprice and Bloodstain on her heels. Ultimately, the duo of Scourges proved too enthusiastic and, rather than simply disappear and regroup elsewhere as Scourge had previously, went all in on killing Lyons. This left them vulnerable and Lyons, with USAgent, was able to capitalize on that to destroy the organization. Both The Angel and Bloodstain were killed during the incursion.

Bait and switch: At least twice the Scourge name and appearance were used by super villains to achieve their own ends. Mother Night utilized the Scourge appearance and reputation, via hologram, to fake the deaths of Jack O’Lantern and Blackwing to allow them to commit crimes with the Skeleton Crew without being suspects and Kingpin paid someone to dress up as Scourge so as to scare the PTSD afflicted Shocker. These would be the last instances of the “classic” Scourge presentation: all white, skull mask, and so on. After this, the Scourge organization and presentation as it had been heretofore known was utterly eliminated

Jack Monroe (Bucky, Nomad): The former Captain America sidekick and wandering vigilante was taken, near death, and placed in suspended animation where his body could be laced with nanites. These nanites granted control of Monroe to one Henry Gyrich, allowing the government to manipulate Monroe’s actions. Monroe was fully aware of what he was doing but unable to stop himself. Under Gyrich’s command this Scourge, in a wildly different costume, targeted the Thunderbolts in specific until the team of villains seeking redemption was able to deprogram him. Gyrich claimed he too was not responsible for his actions, pointing to the machinations of Baron Stucker, but this remains an open question.

Frank Simpson (Nuke): A severely dissociated victim of a Super Soldier program gone awry, Simpson became Norman Osborn’s personal Scourge. Although he targeted Songbird initially, he was less a killer of criminals and more a team leader who was wholly loyal to Osborn during his time with the Thunderbolts. Given his mental state, it is entirely likely that Simpson had no idea the significance or legacy of the name of Scourge

Paladin: The mercenary assumed the Scourge identity, presumably to pose as Simpson, at the request of Misty Knight. In the role, Paladin disrupted a team of so-called Villains for Hire, sowed discontent, and ensured that Knight’s plan stayed on the tracks throughout. He acted more like the Simpson version in any case, showing interest in hurting criminals only insofar as they were from a rival squad, not as acts of vengeance or justice.

???: While the newest iteration spotted is obviously not Simpson or Paladin given their locations are known and the physical body type of the current Scourge, nothing else is known at this time. I suspect, however, that you might have some awareness of what is happening here.

As requested, here is the Dennis Dunphy addendum. Again, all information is public knowledge. Please do not use us as your research firm again.

Dennis Dunphy, known as the wrestler and vigilante Demolition Man (or D-Man for short), has had a dubious and difficult career as a costumed adventurer. Although he began as one of Captain America’s closest allies during a difficult time for the patriotic hero, much of his life following that has proven hard.

He was badly injured and abandoned, spending some time in a mute stupor. Upon returning to health, he became the hero of an underground homeless community of so-called “Zero People” only to be mocked by his fellow “heroes” for his personal grooming habits and not held up as an example of true selfless heroism.

Complicating matters further, it appears Dunphy experienced a psychotic break at some point and began to refer to a mission to collect the Infinity Gems. No evidence that this was true was ever found. Yet, just as quickly as the break occurred, Dunphy appeared to regain control of his faculties and served as a soldier and was considered for Initiative membership.

Unfortunately, this upswing now appears short lived as once more the subject is demonstrating erratic and unreliable behavior—appearing weepy and confused at a nanny interview and joining with Wonder Man on a raid upon the Avengers before once again disappearing. Although many assume he has returned to the Zero People, there is no clear evidence what happened to him and rumors abound that he was seized by a government organization. Perhaps his stories about seeking Infinity Gems were not so far fetched?

For further comprehensive information on the Scourge legacy, please review Doctors Ed Brubaker and Patch Zircher’s seminal pamphlet on the topic, CAPTAIN AMERICA #13. It should be available for purchase on June 13.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee at a community mental health clinic.

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capuniverse
capuniverse plus member

It was not The Angel who died when the Scourge organization was brought down, but his associate Domino.