March 3, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #204: The Swordsman

The 90s did some confusing things with the Avengers.

Marvel Comics in the 90s had a bit of a rep, but most of that rep, involving hyperviolent guys with big guns and lots of pouches, didn’t apply to every hero in their universe.  Sure, that could be the Punisher or various X-Men teams, but other Marvel characters had less-than-memorable decades.  That would include the Avengers.

Let’s take a look at that with a really weird bit of nonsense involving the Swordsman.

Who was the Swordsman?  Well, originally, he was one of those characters that are sent to join superhero teams with the express purpose of betraying them later.  The Swordsman was one those sorts of characters.  His real name was Jacques Duquesne, and he was really good with a sword.  He’d known Hawkeye before either joined the Avengers and had taught the bowman how to use a sword too.  Put onto the team by the Mandarin, the Swordsman like many such characters saw the nobility of the heroes he was meant to betray and as a result didn’t betray them.

Or he did.  It’s hard to say, really.  The Swordsman, unlike similar character set-ups like Wonder Man and the Vision, didn’t always come back as an ally and was something of a supervillain according to the story’s needs.  He died trying to rescue Mantis from Kang the Conqueror, but his body was resurrected to father a child in the Celestial Madonna story.

I don’t really want to talk about him.

He did have a jaunty mustache.

No, see, in the 90s, the Swordsman came back!  Sort of…

See, this wasn’t the Duquesne Swordsman, a character who has been resurrected from time to time, but was instead a new character named Philip Javert.  He worked for a guy named Proctor.  Proctor wanted one thing:  the death of Sersi!

And it wasn’t just the Sersi who was, at the time, serving on the Avengers.  No, Proctor wanted every Sersi from throughout the multiverse dead.  He’d gone around and had a few minions, one of which was the Swordsman of another dimension and that Swordsman’s love interest, a woman named Magdalene.

Now, that sounds pretty straightforward.  But this was the 90s, so that bit of information was only gradually revealed, allowing the Avengers team of the time to assume Javert might have been a resurrected Duquesne, wondering who the mysterious and rarely seen Proctor was, and why he had a mad on for Sersi.

Short answer:  Proctor was the Black Knight from another reality, and he was out to take out every Sersi because of the mindmeld thing that also happened in the 616 universe to that dimension’s Black Knight and Sersi.  Eventually, Swrodsman and Magdalene realized that Proctor was evil, defected, and eventually joined the Avengers.

This fight must have been confusing for one of these guys.

So, what happened to Javert and Magdalene?  Well, eventually, they left Earth-616 to travel the multiverse or something.  Point is, 90s-era Avengers stories aren’t exactly looked back upon fondly, so the likelihood of those two finding their way back to Earth-616 is probably pretty slim.

Considering how long it took for their backstory to get cleared up in Avengers, that may be for the best.