Real Name: Nimrod Hugo Strange (see comments)
Identity/Class: Human, technology user
Occupation: Anarchist, terrorist
Group Membership: Leader of the Third World Army
(see comments; Chu-Lin, Master Sniper, Slayers Elite (Jou-Jouka, Kareesh-Bek, Sumaro), and his
personal bodyguards (Assigi, Jeesala, Sheena, Sonia, Yumi, presumably many
formerly Black September, the Red Army, Black Hand, and numerous other terrorist groups
Affiliations: His bodyguards (Assigi, Sheena, Sonia (see comments), Jeesala (see comments), Yumi, numerous others; Marlene Alraune posed as a bodyguard), the Slayers Elite (Jou-Jouka, Kareesh-Bek, Sumaro)
Enemies: Anna Abramov, Benjamin Abramov, Marlene Alraune, Jean-Paul "Frenchie" DuChamp, Eban, Moon Knight (Marc Spector), Mossad, Strelgov, US anti-terror task Force (Mr. Brent, others), US President Of The United States (POTUS)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Commander Strange, "One-Man Army"
Base of Operations: Unidentified island base; the next issue blurb for #19 described, "Assault on Island Strange" (given Strange's ego, that seems as good a name as any)
First Appearance: Moon Knight I#17 (March, 1982)
Powers/Abilities: Though possessing no superhuman powers, Arsenal was highly skilled in armed and unarmed combat. Fanatically dedicated to his goal of wiping out the world's governments, Arsenal generated the same fanaticism and a fierce loyalty within his own soldiers, all of whom were more than willing to die for their mission. "His love is not politics, but terror itself." Though a self-professed anarchist, Nimrod Strange served the role of dictator extremely well.
Amongst his weapons were a bandolier of knives he used with skill taught him by Kareesh-Bek; a sawed-off or otherwise short shotgun, which he used via proficiency for firearms trained by Jou-Jouba; twin forearm mounted guns, adopted from the Master Sniper's weapons, with which he was a reasonably skilled marksman and could fire repeatedly in rapid succession; nunchaks he gained from and was trained with from Chu-Lin; a garrote picked up from Sumaro; and numerous concussion grenades on a belt. He also had a helmet protecting his head from trauma, as well as a high-intensity head lamp (at least in the design/cartoon).
Strange was served by the Third World Army, the Slayers Elite, and his trio of beautiful female bodyguards. Strange's favored form of passive amusement was watching his bodyguards demonstrate their skills in brutal combat against one another.
Height: 6'4" (possibly including added height from his
helmet and boots?)
Weight: 220 lbs. (possibly including weight from his costume and weapons?)
(Moon Knight I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Nimrod Strange served in Black September, the Red Army, Black Hand, and numerous other terrorist groups.
(Moon Knight I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Strange formed the Third World Army, a coalition of extreme leftist and rightest terrorists. Privately disavowing all political affiliations, they publicly played both ends against the middle, accepting aid and weapons from communists and right-wing dictators alike. Their goal was to bring the world, both East and West, to its knees; while the world powers scoffed at them, they exploited their amused neglect to build themselves into a position of strength.
(Moon Knight I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Strange constantly surrounded himself by a trio of beautiful but deadly -- highly trained in the art of terror -- female bodyguards: "One black, one white, and one Asian, symbolizing his coalition of the three major factions of his Third World <Army>." The women were periodically replaced by successors, who either surpassed a predecessor or replaced one incapacitated or slain.
(Moon Knight I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Strange employed a personal cadre of terrorist assassins, the Slayers Elite, who did anything he asked of them.
(Moon Knight I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Strange's right-hand man was the Master Sniper, who struck like a ghost and disappeared similarly. After his hits, no man with a rifle, concealed or otherwise, was ever seen departing, nor was an abandoned weapon ever found near the scene.
(Moon Knight I#18 (fb) - BTS / Moon Knight I#19 (fb) - BTS) - Strange prepared his Third World Army to strike in a coordinated series of more than two dozen simultaneous major assaults worldwide (including Tokyo, Lebanon, Poland, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Buenos Aires, South America). This was intended to launch the beginnings of the ultimate chaos that would bring the world's governments to their knees.
(Moon Knight I#20 (fb) - BTS) - Chief amongst Strange's plans was a plot to hold the entire nation of Manhattan, New York hostage, based on a situation designed by the US anti-terror task force to prepare anti-terrorist responses in the event such a situation ever came to pass. The plot entailed destroying the city after blocking the four major access points to the city: The Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges. The plan was to hijack four oil tankers and anchor them by the four access points, after which all four tankers would begin purging their oil; gases would build as the oil levels dropped, until a critical point was reached, and the tankers would explode, destroying the access points. The purged oil would then ignite and spread to the piers, docks, and land waiting beyond. The fires would spread quickly, destroying the other smaller bridges off the island, and the entire island would be surrounded by flame and everyone within would eventually die from the inwardly burning fire, like panicked rats; casualties were estimated to approach 97%.
How Strange learned of this plan is unrevealed.
(Moon Knight I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Israeli agent Benjamin Abramov learned that Nimrod Strange's organization was prepared to attack US soil and several other locations simultaneously; as the CIA (and the British, French, and German governments) still did not believe Strange or his army a legitimate threat, Abramov decided to seek aid from his old ally Marc Spector.
(Moon Knight I#17 - BTS) - Abramov warned his old ally Marc Spector of Nimrod Strange and his armies, asking him to deliver a coded message to a man named Streglov, in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, the Master Sniper then struck, shooting Abramov. Dying, Abramov referenced his third rib over his heart before perishing. The Sniper shot Spector when he pursued as Moon Knight, but the Sniper fled Spector's approaching allies, Marlene Alraune and Jean-Paul "Frenchie" DuChamp, uncertain of their number, etc.
(Moon Knight I#17) <1 week later> - Strange watched as his body guards challenged each other in combat. He was briefly distracted by an aide who noted the arrival of new recruits; calling the aide a fool, Strange ordered him to begin their indoctrination and to not bother him there again. When Sonia fell in combat, Strange praised Jeesala, but told Sonia (see comments) she was getting slow. She asked his forgiveness, but he refused it, demanding instead complete and constant protection; if she could not provide it, she would be replaced.
(Moon Knight I#17 - BTS) <2 weeks later> - Marlene revealed that a false mole over Abramov's left third rib had concealed a microdot, which contained the coded message. Ten hours later, Spector and Marlene arrived via plane in Switzerland, where Spector tracked down and met with Strelgov. After the Master Sniper apparently perished battling Moon Knight, Spector gave the microdot slides to Strelgov, who hoped the dot would reveal the location of Strange's training base.
(Moon Knight I#18 (fb) - BTS) - Strange summoned his Slayers Elite (Jou-Jouka, Kareesh-Bek, Sumaro) for discussion of a mission to Jerusalem to locate and eliminate Marc Spector.
(Moon Knight I#18) - In his palatial "command center," Nimrod Strange watched his bodyguards battle.He noted his pleasure in Yumi and Assigi, halting their stand-off, but warned the fallen Sheena (see comments) that she had slowed down and that if she did not improve quickly, she would be replaced. When Assigi questioned why she and Yumi, who he had admitted were as skilled as ever, were not being sent on the mission to Jerusalem, but he assured them that he needed them by his side. With the Master Sniper dead, the Slayers Elite would handle the mission; Strange then summoned in the Slayers, smiling as each confirmed their skills and most-recent developments. Reviewing their mission and the importance that the Third World Army's planned simultaneous attacks were not jeopardized by Spector or anyone else, Strange then reviewed the planned attack on Jerusalem, which might draw out Spector for them.
(Moon Knight I#18 - BTS) - Members of the Third World Army slaughtered those gathering at synagogue to celebrate the Sabbath. As Moon Knight and DuChamp defeated the Army members, the Slayers Elite kidnapped Marlene and Abramov's widow, Anna, but Moon Knight rescued them, apparently killing the Master Slayers in succession in the process.
The next day, as Streglov's forces had decoded the microdot, learning Strange's base's location and begun preparing an assault, Spector happily agreed to join them.
(Moon Knight I#20 (fb) - BTS) - In preparation for the Manhattan assault, Strange sent a number of his Third World Army agents off of his island base and stationed them in Manhattan.
(Moon Knight I#19 - BTS) - At a remote airstrip in Lebanon, Spector, DuChamp, and Marlene infiltrated the Third World Army's recruits as Yitzak Topol, Francois Valjean, and Mary Sands, respectively. They entered the transport plane with the other recruits, bound for the Third World Army's island training base.
(Moon Knight I#19 (fb) - BTS) - Nimrod Strange watched his bodyguards battle again. He again noted that Sheena was becoming too slow.
(Moon Knight I#19) - Nimrod commended his bodyguards on an excellent workout, noting that no man had ever been blessed with better or more beautiful bodyguards. However, he again chided Sheena; having thrice noted that she was growing too slow, he told her that she would have to be replaced. Pleased to see the new recruits' approaching plane, he invited his bodyguards to join him as he review them. After reviewing the Third World Army's purpose, he questioned the names and histories of the new recruits, including Francois Valjean and Mary Sands. Strange took an interest in "Mary," noting she had the requirements to be one of his bodyguards. When he ordered is agent Chu-Lin to train her in the rest (of the requirements), "Mary" insisted she had already been trained, and Strange instructed Yumi to test her and show her the type of training required of her. When "Mary" defeated Yumi, Strange acknowledged that she had passed the test and then replaced Sheena with "Mary"; he told Sheena she was dismissed from his personal service, but could join the others to be outfitted for uniforms; he then took "Mary" to show her her new uniform and to prepare her for the night's initiation.
(Moon Knight I#19 - BTS) - Investigating further, Sheena confirmed that there were three extra recruits, and no Mary or any other woman in the manifest.
(Moon Knight I#19 (fb) - BTS) - Strange had "Mary" change into a blue or purple bikini to match his other bodyguards.
(Moon Knight I#19) - Later, at the compound behind Strange's personal barracks, Strange noted the recent loss of both the Master Sniper and the Slayers Elite, that they needed someone colorful to take their place...someone who was more than a normal man...someone from whom men could draw inspiration. Donning the weaponry of the Master Sniper, Jou-Jouka, Kareesh-Bek, Sumaro, and Chu-Lin as part of his new costume, he introduced himself as Arsenal and ran a gauntlet to demonstrate his proficiency and power, killing several human-like targets with the above weapons and finally destroying a tank with a powerful grenade. After asking Mary if she agreed that the costume was effective, Arsenal excused himself to meet with his lieutenants.
One of his lieutenants, perhaps Chu-Lin (completely in shadows), noted that the training of the new recruits would be completed in two weeks, after which the world would sit up and take notice of the Third World Army via their simultaneous raids on multiple targets; but Strange interrupted, telling him to not be so eager for recognition, as their success thus far was due only to the fact that the world had refused to take them seriously -- only the Israeli Mossad (as well as "the two Americans, Marc Spector and Moon Knight") considered them a true threat. He further announced that with the USA reeling in shock over the previously noted attacks, they would be too stunned to deal with their main hit, the blackmailing of the USA via taking Manhattan hostage.
(Moon Knight I#19) - That night, as Moon Knight and DuChamp sabotaged most of the Third World Army's weapons and planes, Strange prepared to "initiate" "Mary"; after some wine, he kissed her passionately, and she was forced to go along with it to avoid blowing her cover.
(Moon Knight I#19 - BTS) - Sheena informed Chu-Lin of two infiltrators in the new recruits; after confirming the empty bunks at the barracks, Chu-Lin awakened the rest of the Army, while Sheena entered Strange's barracks, intending to deal with "Mary" herself. With the Army's weapons neutralized, Moon Knight and DuChamp took them out easily.
(Moon Knight I#19) - Irritated when Sheena knocked on his door, interrupting his intended romance, Strange sent "Mary" to deal with it, allowing Marlene to incapacitate Sheena before she could voice her concerns; "Mary" told Strange that it was just a servant with more wine, and that she had sent the servant away as they were already drunk on love. Pleased, Strange told her to come to him, as he was not quite drunk enough...
However, subsequently hearing the explosions of their planes, Strange realized something was amiss, just as Chu-Lin arrived and informed Strange what was going on. Strange instructed him to gather the other bodyguards, and they would use the hidden motor-launch to leave the island at once; Strange, meanwhile, donned his Arsenal costume and went to confront his attackers.
(Moon Knight I#19 - BTS) - As Moon Knight crashed Strange's last plane into the Army's weapons depot, sending off a massive explosion, Strelgov and his allies, including Eban, took that as their signal, and they guided their ship towards the island.
(Moon Knight I#19) - After directing "Mary" to the motor-launch -- fearing ruining their planning, Marlene continued to play along -- Arsenal was confronted by Moon Knight. After Moon Knight explained the reasons for his desire for revenge, Arsenal chided him for wasting the element of surprise and opened fire. However, when Arsenal's grenade, deflected off-course by a crescent dart, exploded close enough to Moon Knight to leave him seemingly dead amongst shattered wreckage, "Mary" departed with Arsenal after seeming Moon Knight's hand move and realizing he was still alive.
(Moon Knight I#19 - BTS) - By the time Moon Knight recovered,
Strange, "Mary," Assigi, Yumi, and Chu-Lin were long gone. Finding a piece
of Nimrod's shattered giant globe, Spector told Stelgov of Strange's plans to
destroy the bridges and tunnels out of Manhattan.
Streglov and Eban's men captured the Third World Army members present on the island.
(Moon Knight I#20 (fb) - BTS) - Receiving Strange's signal, the Third World Army agents stationed in Manhattan initiated the plan, hijacking the four oil tankers and anchoring them by the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges.
(Moon Knight I#20 (fb) - BTS) - Strange and his allies met up with his Army members, occupying the tanker under the George Washington Bridge, controlling his men aboard the other three tankers via "radio-phone" (a topical reference?). Not interested in insignificant hostages, Strange had all four crews released.
(Moon Knight I#20 - BTS) - Moon Knight approached the tanker via scuba gear just as Strange's men began purging the oil into the water. Scaling above the oil line, Moon Knight burnt a hole into the hull to release the built up gas before it could reach the point of explosion.
Streglov and Eban met with the anti-terrorist command post staff in Lower Manhattan led by Mr. Brent, detailing Strange and his allies' ongoing threat. Streglov revealed the presence of his ally aboard Arsenal's tanker, acknowledging that he would be expelled from the Mossad and perhaps even Israel herself should his plan fail.
(Moon Knight I#20) - As Moon Knight continued to infiltrate the tanker, Arsenal ranted about Moon Knight destroying his army and island base. Nonetheless, he vowed the final victory would be his; and even if they denied his victory, still would Moon Knight and all of Manhattan perish in flames. Claiming to be the greatest warrior that ever lived and to be unstoppable with his beautiful bodyguards by his side, he pulled "Mary" in for another kiss. Moon Knight continued to work his way through the Third World Army soldiers on the ship, but one man recovered quickly enough to warn Arsenal that Moon Knight was aboard the ship. When Moon Knight burst into the room, Arsenal commanded "Mary" to stop him. Both "Mary" and Moon Knight hesitated, allowing Assigi and Yumi to strike unseen from other side with powerful kicks to the head that knocked Moon Knight unconscious.
Rather than execute his enemy, Arsenal tied Moon Knight over the ship's generator, took his truncheon, and mocked Moon Knight as he awakened. As Arsenal pulled off Moon Knight's mask, Marlene apparently received Moon Knight's mental urging (or facial expressions through his mask) that she not blow her cover just yet. Arsenal laughed at having captured the man who was both of his nemeses, then warned that only an hour remained for his demands to be met or else the tankers would explode. As Arsenal took his bodyguards away for a last bit of fun, Moon Knight popped off his crescent darts on the generator's rivets and eventually caught one in his hand and began cutting through the ropes binding him; meanwhile, Mr. Brent received a message from the President of the United States, that Moon Knight had 15 minutes to succeed or an anti-terror commando squad would strike.
When Strange, Assigi, and Yumi dozed off, Marlene tried to sneak away and free Moon Knight. Assigi awakened and questioned "Mary"; not believing her excuse of going to get some fresh air, Assigi awakened Arsenal.
(Moon Knight I#20 - BTS) - Arsenal readied himself for an assault on his cabin.
(Moon Knight I#20) - Marlene reunited with the already-free Moon Knight, and took out the crew together, but when they entered Strange's cabin in hopes of finishing him off, they narrowly dodged a shotgun blast from Arsenal. Strange sent Yumi and Assigi after his foes as he rushed to reach the detonator in the forward hatch. Marlene took both women on and eventually defeated them, while Moon Knight pursued Arsenal, who ambushed and stunned him with a near miss from a grenade. Before Arsenal could fire his shotgun at his fallen foe, Moon Knight kicked a steam pipe (damaged by the grenade) causing it spew steam in Arsenal's face. Moon Knight's next strike took off Arsenal's helmet, but Moon Knight could only get in one more hit before Arsenal punched him away and forced him to flee from his wrist gunfire. As Arsenal neared the detonator, Moon Knight swooped in from behind and slammed Arsenal to the ground, but Arsenal stunned Moon Knight with his next blow. As both men crawled towards the detonator, Moon Knight rallied to punch out Arsenal from behind and then catch his body before he fell atop the detonator. After spitting on Arsenal's face, tying up Arsenal, and ripping the wires from the detonator, Moon Knight departed with Marlene, met up with DuChamp, and departed in the Mooncopter.
(Moon Knight I#20 - BTS) - Mr. Brent's forces retook the other three tankers.
(Moon Knight I#20) - Reviving, the unsupervised Strange, sat up, reconnected the wires to the detonator, and pushed the plunger with his head. Though the gas had already been vented, everyone aboard Arsenal's tanker (just he and other members of the Third World Army apparently) were instantly killed. The George Washington Bridge was undamaged, and the oil fires on the water burned themselves out harmlessly.
Comments: Created by Doug Moench, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Steve Mitchell.
In 1980, a childhood friend of mine, Pete Staz, got subscriptions to Spectacular Spider-Man and the Defenders when I got my first subscriptions, Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man, and we each happily let the other read our comics; I believe our older brothers, Dave and Greg, respectively, got them for us as part of a school fund-raiser. After a couple years, Pete switched over to Moon Knight as one of his titles, just in time for the Arsenal arc. Nimrod Strange intrigued me from the first time I read his story as a dangerous ally of Moon Knight. Thirty-two years later, here's his profile...
A page after verbally and visually (via film) introducing Nimrod Strange to Spector, Abramov called him Hugo Strange. Was that a mistake, or is Hugo his first or middle name?
In Moon Knight I#17, Strange's army was consistently referred to as the "Third World Slayers." In #18-20, they were consistently referred to as the "Third World Army." While the general policy is to follow the precedent, it seems to me that since the writer (Doug Moench) was consistent throughout the whole arc, the latter name was a correction of an earlier error...perhaps confusing the names of his "Slayers Elite" and the "Third World Army," or perhaps Third World Army and Third World Slayers are two names for the same group?
Reading the story, even with an eye for
detail, it consistently seems to me that Sonia and Sheena are the same person.
They look identical, and only the name difference calls it into question. Sonia
and Sheena were the names used for the Strange's Caucasian female bodyguard in
#17 and #18-20, respectively. Both women failed to match their Asian and/or
African partners in combat, and Strange noted they were slowing down and would
be replaced. I don't think there was much time between #17 and #18, and I think
the easiest explanation would be that they were indeed the same woman, and
Strange just called Sheena the wrong name once in #17. Either just so loyal to
Strange or so fearful of the consequences, Sheena didn't bother to correct her
master. Further, in #19, Strange tells Sheena that he had three times noted she was
growing too slow.
Then again, the names used in #18-20 for the other bodyguards, Yumi, and Assigi, were different than the name, Jeesala, for the non-Caucasian bodyguards (it was the Asian woman who won the battle and thus seemed deserving of the praise, but I'd have thought the name more fitting for the African woman...)
Whatever. Dorcas Farcas.
In #19, Marlene, while posing as the
terrorist Mary Sands, falsely tells Nimrod that she was a member of the
Weathermen in the early seventies. You can Google the Weathermen, but they were
a radical group that formed in 1969. This is a topical reference, asfor Marlene,
who looks to be no more than 30 years old in this story, to have been a member
of that group 10 years ago (which would fit with the date in which the story was
published) is plausible. Within the sliding timescale, however, the story would
have taken place about 8 years ago; and, with 32 years having passed since the
time of publication as I write this profile in 2014, that would
mean that Marlene would have to have been 50 years old in that story to have even been 16
years old when she would have been part of the Weathermen. Not quite so
plausible. And time marches on...
Unless she meant these guys: Weathermen
...probably not... ;)
Also, on the topical references, when the story was written, Ronald Reagan was the US president. As of 2014, the POTUS from eight years ago would be G.W. Bush. etc. The POTUS wasn't actually identified or seen on panel in this story. Topical reference regardless, of course...
Irrelevant to the story, Marlene, as "Mary," is in a black bikini top and some lingerie-type bottoms with a light blue bikini bottom-type garment covered by a transparent slip/skirt. Minutes later (during an ongoing kiss between Strange and Marlene), when Sheena barges in, "Mary" is back in the outfit she was wearing when she arrived on the island. Maybe Strange enjoyed watching her change outfits...
Ah...the master villain...always doomed
that when a foe is captured, the foe is kept alive to witness the villain's
success, or left unwatched in a slow-moving death-trap...
There was a good Saturday Night Live sketch about this...but I couldn't find it.
Then again, Moon Knight's not much better...leaving Arsenal alone to rewire the detonator...what a maroon...
Still, I loved the story when I was 11, and I still enjoyed it now!
Profile by Snood.
Arsenal/Nimrod Strange should be distinguished from:
STRANGE - see PARADOX. magical construct representing sorcerous portion of Dr. Strange--Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#61
Strange's Black Hand, Black September, and Red Army have no KNOWN connections to:
BLACKHAND, COMMANDER of Earth-691 - 31st century Stark, attacked Courg alongside Taserface, fought the Guardians of the Galaxy--Guardians of the Galaxy I#1
images: (without ads)
Moon Knight I#19, cover - cartoon, with battered Moon Knight);
pg. 9, panel 2 (in military uniform, with bodyguards);
panel 8 (military uniform, hat/face);
pg. 14, panel 1 - main;
pg. 15, panel 1 (from rear);
pg. 21, panel 3 (unmasked face)
#20, pg. 24, panel 4-5 (firing on Moon Knight)
Moon Knight I#17-20 (March-June, 1982) - Doug Moench (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (penciler), Steve Mitchell (inker), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Last updated: 03/27/14
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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