Issue #3: Flags of our Fathers, Pt. 1
Commander Edward Strucker (first appearance)
Ursula Armströnge (first appearance, flashback only)
· John Walker (first appearance)
· Left-Winger (first appearance, dies)
· Right-Winger (first appearance)
SCENE 1 – STRUCKER FLAT IN GERMANY CIRCA LATE 80S – DAY
Andreas, around the age of 17, is sat lounging on a couch watching TV with his feet up on a table in a scruffy looking flat. He is wearing a typical anarchist type of shirt, maybe something like an “A.C.A.B.” shirt but more German. He has one sleeve rolled up proudly displaying his swastika tattoo. He is sharpening a knife – not because it needs sharpening but just because it gives him something to do. This is Andreas at his most anti-social. On the TV a news reporter, Ursula Armströnge, is reporting on some apparently dull happenings in Germany.
(the following is translated from German… I could write it in German but you wouldn’t understand it)
URSULA (on TV)
…witnesses say that it was sudden and unexpected. The robber, Larry Edler, was taken into custody following the conflict. We managed to catch up with the hero earlier today.
On the TV we cut to a hastily filmed interview with a man in a scarlet and yellow caped costume, Ursula is interviewing him as the apparent superhero known as the Phoenix hogs the spotlight to preach.
URSULA (on TV)
--joined by Phoenix, a new superhero making a name for himself in Germany… do you have a few words to say to anyone watching?
PHOENIX (on TV)
I say to Germany, we will rise again. We were robbed of our past victory and we shall reclaim what is ours. History betrayed us but we will rise from those ashes. Rise like the Phoenix!
At this point, Andreas gets fed up and puts his foot through the TV screen. And continues to stamp on the TV, laughing uproariously, and generally wrecking the living room in an angst-ridden anarchist way. That is until his father, Edward Strucker, barges in to the room in a panic with a double-barrelled shotgun in hand.
Strucker, realising it’s his son, lowers his gun. His son stomps his rampage abruptly.
What in sam hell is going on in here, you maggot.
Aw, I’m sticking it to that pansy-ass Phoenix loser, man.
The superloser more like.
There's a calm quiet as his father doesn't respond. It's awkward, Andreas smirks continue.
What's the matter? Cat got your--
Without a moment’s hesitation, Strucker smacks his son in the face with the back of his hand. Andreas falls back onto the couch as his father looms over him.
You insolent little thug! Show some damn respect for your country. As much as a pansy-ass as this Phoenix may look to you, he is trying to unite this confused country. He is a symbol for which people may follow. Just like that sorry piece you have plastered on your arm.
Andreas attempts to get up, his father pushes him back down onto the seat however.
You listen to me and you listen hard. You’re pathetic. You’re a worm. A worthless piece of crap. You could be doing something worthwhile. For this country. For our country. For the world. You and your stupid slut sister. Instead you waste your time with reckless abandon and anarchy. Completely unmotivated and unorganized destruction. Now, that damn superhero may look silly to you, but some people probably thought Hitler did too. And you proudly display your little Hitler mark for all to see. Goddamn, some people probably thought Jesus Christ looked silly. But it's people like that superhero out there who could save this country. You just need to learn a thing or two about what it means to be German and proud.
Shut up! Shut up, man! You’re not even German! You’re American, you oaf!
Andreas braces himself for more physical abuse from his father, shielding himself with his arms and closing his eyes. However, when nothing happens he looks on to see his father has left without another word.
SCENE 2 – NEW YORK ALLEYWAY – NIGHT
We cut to present time as our titular “hero” Swordsman, dressed in his purple and grey armor, looms over the corpse of his latest victim. He retracts his sword from the gut from the lifeless lump that was once a person. His victim looks to be a bit of a meathead - someone who looks like they’ve abused steroids at some point. He’s wearing combat trousers, a vest and… oh, most importantly, a Captain America mask. We'll call this guy Left-Winger... because that's his name.
This one was messy. Some scum was trying to mug an old lady… the mugger is over there…
We now see at the other end of the alleyway another dead body – this time one of a scummy looking back-alley mugger - against a wall with an enormous slash across his chest. Andreas wipes down his sword as he turns back to Left-Winger's corpse.
And this idiot here tried to save her. I had to step in. The old lady’s ok though.
We know see a by-the-books frail old lady curled in a ball near the entrance to the alleyway, she’s in hysterics unable to cope with the violence she’s just witnessed.
Oh dear… oh my… Lord. Oh, Lord.
Andreas sheaths his sword and exits the scene, stepping over and leaving the old woman hyperventilating to herself.
Her grandkids will probably thank me some day for saving their world from this filth.
SCENE 3 –MOTEL – NIGHT
Andreas is sat in a motel, he is sharping a series of smaller knives in the dark. The only noises are the sleazy noises of motels. Loud music, drunken people yelling, people having sex and the faint noise of police sirens. Andreas doesn't care. He remains silent and brooding, engulfed by darkness.
My mission statement might be a bit vague but it’s clear to me. If we get rid of all good, there can be no evil. If we get rid of all evil, then there can be no good. It's a cycle. Killing muggers, coked-up junkies and pathetic rich kids with too much time on their hands only goes so far. Sooner or later, I’m going to have to face genuine threats. A sword might work well against two-bit thugs and steroid-abusing meatheads, but against the likes of Spider-Man or those mutant kids up North I’m gonna need a bit more.
Andreas finishes sharping a combat knife and fastens it to a holster on his boot. He takes another two small daggers, and holsters them up his sleeves. They're on a latch system so he can retrieve them quickly with ease.
Just a few extra knives and blades. I need to rely on more than just my sword. In a life or death situation, these little bastards can make all the difference. The Daredevil guy might have me beat six ways to Sunday, but I slide one of these into his jugular and the bitch is dead. Then I can tick another off the list.
SCENE 4 - SMALL LIQUOR STORE – NIGHT
An empty liquor store. A meek looking middle-aged Store Owner, let's call him Jake, is sat behind a counter, bored. He is reading a magazine, whistling along to a song on the radio. Y’know, typical “gee, it’s a slow day at work” things. In walks a bulky man in a vest and combat trousers and a Captain America mask. Hey, this looks familiar! No, don’t be fooled, true believers, the dead aren’t walking – this is another guy! Jake double takes at his new costumer. Clearly unbalanced, the Captain America wannabe (henceforth known as Right-Winger) walks over to the counter looking agitated.
Security camera outside on the wall...
What about it, what with the costume, man?
Tapes. Give me the tapes.
Whoa, calm down, Uncle Sam, you can’t just—
Right-Winger grabs Jake by the scruff of his neck, literally lifting him from the floor. Jake looks petrified.
SCENE 5 – DARK ALLEYWAY/STREET – NIGHT
Detective Martin Soap and Bart Gallows are on the scene of our earlier double-homicide. They’re investigating the crime looking over the body of Left-Winger.
Our swordsman strikes again, eh?
And again another mask. Do we have any clue to who this one is?
Not a superhero. I know these guys. Prance around at night dressed like Captain America. The Super-Patriots. Based a few blocks over. Tried to recruit me few months back.
And some people say our partnership is one-sided?
So, Mr. Criminal Psychology Degree, what ya make of this one? Kinda goes against your whole “killing supers” angle, dunnit? Sure, he sliced a bozo in a mask, but he’s just a flag-waving idiot. Coupled with some nobody mugger over there, let’s see ya peg his M.O. this time.
I…I still think it’s a sound theory. It’s not a coincidence two of these victims have the same… hobby… of going around dressed in masks. Maybe the mugger was just collateral damage. He was in the way? Didn’t want to leave a witness.
Then why let the old lady live? She could finger ‘im.
She could finger him if she wasn’t so severely traumatised and broken by what she saw. He let her live because she wasn't a target. We’re dealing with a psychotic serial killer here, but with a clear motive. We're just not entirely sure what it is exactly. Right now, we need to find out as much about him as we can. Not just that he likes slicing people up with some fancy sword. We need to canvas the area, try and find witnesses, maybe somewhere got our perp on camera or…
Ok ok, Marty, as long as you ain’t pressing your stupid superhero serial killer bull again I’ll do what—
Before Gallows can finish his sentence their attention is drawn to a beaten and limping Jake, the store owner, stumbling across the street from his store towards the officers. Soap and Gallows run over as the store owner collapses on the floor, so bruised and beaten.
Ah jesus, man, think it’s another one of our guys vics?
SOAP (yelling o.s.)
Diaz, radio in for medical. Fast.
JAKE (babbling in pain)
I gave him the tapes. The damn tapes.
JAKE (in pain)
Security… security tapes… recorded something.
Our damn murder over there. Great. Let me guess, he showed you a great big pointy sword and you had to give it over.
Calm down, Detective Gallows! Give the man some space.
JAKE (in pain)
No no… no sword. Mask. Captain...Captain America.
When did this happen?
JAKE (in pain)
I…don’t… know. Don't know. Blacked out…last I...last I remember…close to midnight…about to close…close for the night.
An ambulance arrives, sirens blazing. They rush to help the store owner as our two detectives get up to discuss these new discoveries.
What now then. Our guy over there's been cold for hours. Couldn't've been him who did that. Our little serial killer scene just got more complicated than it already was.
You say, the Super-Patriots are based a few blocks away? I think it’s time we paid them a visit.
SCENE 6 – ROOFTOPS – NIGHT
Swordsman, fully armored and ready for action, runs along rooftops leaping from building to building.
Can’t mope around in my room all night. Again. Need to make this a regular thing. Prowl the nights. One a night isn’t enough. I’m going to have to up my game.
Swordsman reaches a point where he looks down onto the street from atop a building. Below him he sees the aftermath of his earlier murder.
Probably was sloppy. Coming back. I don’t know what it was. People like me… we like to see the aftermath. We… no, not anymore. I’ve got to go. Could get caught. This is sloppy.
Swordsman turns to leave when he is hit in the face with the lid of a trash can that someone has thrown at him as a projectile. He stumbles over on the rooftop, holding his head in agony.
This was sloppy.
The attacker is Right-Winger, who picks up the trash can lid and holds it like a certain star-spangled man’s shield.
Swordsman looks up to see his attack.
SWORDSMAN (in pain)
Ugh… didn’t I already do you?
Right-Winger kicks Swordsman in the face, making the hero again fall to the floor, this time back first.
You. You killed my brother.
Right-Winger throws the trash can lid square at Swordsman’s head. It hits hard. Very hard.
Saw you on the tapes. You did it.
Right-Winger picks Swordsman up from the floor and punches him hard in the gut.
Killed my brother. Came back to laugh.
Right-Winger continues his assault with an elbow to the face. Followed by a powerful kick in the crotch and a tremendous throw across the rooftop. Swordsman lands at the opposite end of the rooftop close to the edge.
Sword. Gotta get sword.
Swordsman reaches for his sheathed sword, but Right-Winger grabs his arm as it reaches and twists it. We hear an almighty snap and crack as Swordsman bits his lip.
Scream. Ambulance down there. Cops too probably. They’ll come save you.
Right-Winger picks Swordsman up again and throws him about some more. This time head first into the wall surrounding the little stairway into the building. He collapses to the floor again, holding his head and quietly whimpering.
No. No, you’re pathetic. You’re a worm. A worthless piece of crap. You could be doing something worthwhile. For the world. Like Jesus Christ.
As Right-Winger looms over Swordsman, Swordsman stops whimpering and suddenly looks determined. He quickly retrieves one of his new daggers from his sleeve and stabs Right-Winger square in the middle of his left foot. Right-Winger screams in agony, as Swordsman retracts the dagger and blood splodges out. He rapidly sinks the dagger back into the foot and out again and in again as more and more blood splats out with every small sharp thrust.
SWORDSMAN (in agony)
You oaf. You oaf. You stupid American Oaf.
As Swordsman continues his assault on Right-Winger’s foot, he obviously forgets that there’s more to a man than a foot, as Right-Winger reaches down and grabs Swordsman by his hair (oh yes, remember Swordsman doesn’t have a mask or a helmet, just purple armor) and again throws him aside. As Right-Winger investigates his foot, assuming his prey is going to remain subdued momentarily, Swordsman slowly begins to pick himself up. After nursing his broken hand as he pulls himself up, and with his other hand pulls out his sword. The two size each other up as each awaits the other to make the first move.
You’ll pay. Killed my brother.
You’ll pay. Broke my damn arm.
SCENE 7 – HOUSE – NIGHT
This scene takes us to the inside of a house, as a man – John Walker – is speaking to Detectives Soap and Gallows at his doorstep. Their little conversation has already happened (who says Swordsman is all talk and no swords?) and it seems that Walker is bidding farewell to the detectives.
Yeah, sure, sir, I’ll call the station the minute I find out more.
Thank you, Mr. Walker, you’ve been helpful.
S’all for the good of the country. I’ll be in touch.
The Detectives leave as Walker closes the door behind them and after doing so instantly goes towards his phone. He begins dialling a number and after waiting for an answer.
WALKER (on phone)
Yeah, this is Walker. Captain of the Super-Patriots… yeah, I know what time it is, sir. I was told to contact this number if the authorities started poking their nose into our group… it’s happening, sir. Two detectives stopped by. One of our guys was killed, another one has gone AWOL and beat an American citizen within an inch of his life… what shall I do, sir?
SCENE 8 – AN OFFICE SOMEWHERE… BUT WHERE? – NIGHT
We see the other end of the conversation. A man on a chair with its back turned to us. More noteworthy is up on the wall is the costume of the Phoenix! Germany’s own superhero! What’s going on here?
CONTACT (on phone)
Don’t worry, Mr. Walker, I know who killed your man. I have plans for him. As for your other problem, I wouldn’t worry too much about him. I’m sure American spirit will take a blow to see another thug wrapped in a flag…
The contact in the chair turns slightly so the viewer can see their identity… and holy hell! GUESS WHO IT IS!! It’s only damn well COMMANDER EDWARD STRUCKER!!
STRUCKER (on phone)
…but there’s always a patriot like me around to pick up the pieces.
TO BE CONTINUED
NEXT ISSUE: Swordsman battles to the death with a Super-Patriot, there’s a Watcher in the Shadows and a face from Swordsman past isn’t too happy to see him.