April 17, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #452: Codename: Assassin

Some guy I never heard of before was also in that Danger Street mini-series.

I mentioned last time that the Danger Street Black Label series popped a bunch of lesser-known DC heroes into a more adult sort of story, one where the only thing the characters had in common before appearing in this mini-series was each of them was featured in DC’s 1st Issue Special series.  Now, I’m fairly well-versed in DC lore, and most of these characters were recognizable to me.

But then there was Codename: Assassin.

Codename: Assassin…man, that is one unwieldy alias…goes by the name Jonathan Drew.  First appearing in 1st Issue Special #11 from February of 1976, his initial story came courtesy of Gerry Conway, Steve Skeates, and Nestor Redondo.  He was a miserable orphan whose only real loved one as an adult was his sister Maria.  Maria was an attorney who was killed by the mob.  She might have been in bed with them (literally or not), but it didn’t much matter.  Jonathan decided to take ’em down and called himself “Codename: Assassin.”

He called himself that?  Really?  That’s, uh, not a good name.

Now, Dedondo was apparently not really a superhero artist, so the idea was to make the character more of a nonpowered vigilante.  That more or less held true as Codename: Assassin…OK, I don’t think I’ll be using that full name again.  He was a standard Punisher type.  You know, until he went to study with a university professor who taught him telepathy and telekinesis.  The usual.

Regardless, this is really about all there is to say about this guy.  He was seen, pre-New 52, as part of Sam Lane’s anti-Superman squad, having murdered a number of Cadmus personnel and nearly taking out Jimmy Olsen.   As far as the Danger Street mini-series goes, he was a hired bodyguard for the Green Team, getting into a fight to the death with Manhunter while also having a philosophical discussion with him.

The basic gist of the argument starts when the guy who thinks “Codename” is a good half-name for his superhero persona says there are three possible scenarios where the Assassin wins with two of them, namely that either he kills Manhunter or they both die since Manhunter can’t kill the last surviving member of the Green Team if he’s dead.  Manhunter counters that Assassin can’t win at all if he’s dead.  Then they both die and apparently need to keep fighting in the afterlife.

Man, Danger Street is weird.

So is someone calling himself “Codename” anything…