LEGION of the DAMNED

Membership: Anton Vierken (leader,destroyed), Thomas Lawson, Ponce (d), Stephan Roak (d), Harry(d), numerous others

Affiliations: Billy-Blue, Marguerite D'Alescio

Enemies: Blade, Kate Fraser, Quincy Harker, Josie Harper, Madame Vanity, Neva Wytte

First Appearance: Vampire Tales#8/4 (December 1974)

History: The Legion of the Damned was a London based cult of vampires, led by Anton Vierken, who in turn was directed by Marguerite D'Alescio, a human agent of the vampire lord Dracula. The goal of the Legion was apparently to develop a formula to enable vampires to survive the otherwise fatal rays of sunlight.

D'Alescio, who possessed significant financial and political power in London, allowed the Legion to use her townhouse as their base of operations. Presumably using human scientists under their control they made significant strides, eventually stumbling across what appeared to be an effective "Sunlight Serum."

The Legion's plans hit a snag when the vampire hunter named Blade became involved. A prostitute named Neva Wytte notified Blade after Legion members drained the blood from and killed a man known only as Billy-Blue, who was a regular client of hers. Although it was not clearly stated, Billy-Blue was apparently involved with the development of the Sunlight Serum. When he escaped them and attempted to convince Neva Wytte to come away with him, they tracked him down and slew him. Wytte worked at a brothel in London, which was run by Madame Vanity. Madame Vanity had, in the past, employed Blade's mother and then cared for him as an infant after his mother was slain by the vampire Deacon Frost. Blade remained in contact with Madame Vanity throughout his life, and thus Wytte knew how to find him when she needed his help.

Three days after Billy-Blue's death, Blade located Blue's body in the morgue, and ambushed him just as he revived as a vampire. After learning the Legion's location from him, Blade sent him to his final death. Blade attacked the vampire's at one of their bases, but was overwhelmed by them. Anton Vierken drank of Blade's blood, intending to use him as a human slave, in order to destroy Quincy Harker and his band of vampire hunters. Thinking Blade to be mesmerized, Vierken bragged of the Sunlight Serum to him. As soon as he was alone, Blade managed to escape, and he fled back to Madame Vanity's brothel to rest. Blade contacted Harker for assistance, but was suddenly ambushed by the Legion, who slew Madame Vanity, Neva Wytte, and the rest of the prostitutes who had aided Blade. The approach of dawn forced the Legion to flee before they could slay Blade. Blade commanded Harker and his vampire hunters to leave this business to him, as it was now personal.

The Legion opposed Blade by framing him for the murder of a young girl, Josie Harper, as well as by kidnapping Blade's lover, Safron Caulder. Blade rescued inspector Kate Fraser from an attack by the Legion. She joined him in tracking the Legion to D'Alescio's townhouse, and stopped him from mistakenly slaying Safron. Safron had been bitten by the vampires and had developed fangs from the exposure, but they had not drained enough of her blood to kill her. Fraser pulled the curtains open, exposing Safron to the sunlight, and proving she was not a vampire when it did not destroy her.

Blade managed to track down Vierken and destroy him. He and Fraser destroyed the prototype Sunlight Serum before it could be used, as well as all notes on its creation. Fortunately for Blade, Vierken had despised the fact that he had to obey the human Marguerite D'Alescio, In his determination to bring her down so that he could rule the Legion his own way, he recorded all of his conversations with her. He had planned to use these to have her convicted. Fraser located the tapes and used them to clear Blade of all charges. Due to D'Alescio's political stature, the recordings were apparently insufficient to convict her.

Comments: The Sunlight Serum is possibly based upon the process by which nazi scientists made Baron Blood able to survive sunlight. It resurfaced again in Marvel Team-Up II#7, as the Sun-Walker formula. Marguerite may or may not have had anything to do with these formulae.

In Marvel Comics Presents#64, Blade was again duped (by Reaver) into nearly slaying Safron, when she had seemingly been transformed into a vampire. I'm pretty sure the exact same thing happened, with another of Blade's girlfriends, in the MAX line Blade: Vampire Hunter limited series. Some guys just don't learn.

Inspector Dai Thomas, later a supporting character for Captain Britain and Excalibur, and a former member of the Knights of Pendragon was introduced in this storyline.

Ponce's real name was revealed in Vampires: The Marvel Undead#1 (December, 2011).

In Blade III#12 a prophecy was fulfilled that brought back all vampires that ever died. This most likely included the Legion of the Damned as well. We'll have to wait if they resurface.
--Markus Raymond

Profile by Snood, reformatted by Daevanator.


Anton Vierken
Vierken appearances: Vampire Tales#8?,9, Marvel Preview#3 (destroyed)


Stephan Roak
In his quest to locate the Legion, Blade tracked down and destroyed member Stephan Roak, which resulted in his brief imprisonment until Roak's nature could be confirmed. This police encounter introduced Inspectors Dai Thomas and Kate Fraser. Roak's father did not believe his son was a vampire, and demanded justice for the murder of his son by Blade. Nothing has come of that as yet. Appearances: Marvel Preview#3 (destroyed)


Thomas Lawson
Thomas Lawson was a constable who accompanied Thomas and Fraser to investigate the death of Josie Harper. Fraser's psychic powers informed her that Blade was innocent, and that the girl had been slain by the Legion. Lawson informed D'Alescio of this, causing her to direct the Legion to kill Fraser. It is not clear if he survived the defeat of the Legion. Appearances: Marvel Preview#3


Ponce
Ponce (Leon Bichsel) was a pimp years ago who attempted to force Safron Caulder to work for him. Blade saved Safron from an assault by Ponce when she refused. This was the start of their relationship. Ponce eventually became a vampire, as well as owner of his own nightclub. Under direction of Marguerite D'Alescio, he had his followers direct Kate Fraser to his club in hopes of learning more about the Legion. He ambushed and attempted to kill her, but she caught him unawares and placed a cross around his neck. This was believed to have destroyed him. --Marvel Preview#3 (3(fb), 3)


images: (without ads)
Marvel Preview#3, p46, pan1 (main image)

p54, pan4-5 (Anton Vierken)
p2 (Stephan Roak)
p21, pan6 (Thomas Lawson)
p25, pan3 (Ponce)


Appearances:
Vampire Tales#8 (December 1974) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Tony DeZuniga (artist)
Vampire Tales#9 (February, 1975) - Marv Wolfman & Chris Claremont (writers), Tony DeZuniga (artist), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Marvel Preview#3 (September, 1975) - Chris Claremont (writer), Tony DeZuniga (pencils), Rico Rival (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)


Last updated: 09/09/13.

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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