PERSUADER

Real Name: Ernest "Ernie" Evans

Identity/Class: Human paranormal (mutate, mutant, other); apparently active in 1950s; retired throughout pre-modern era and modern era

Occupation: Unrevealed;
    former adventurer

Group Membership: Part of an unidentified group that included Smokin' Joe (Joe Johnson), an unidentified female, and an unidentified male (see the Persuader in costume in that image)

Affiliations: Cloak (Tyrone Johnson), Dagger (Tandy Bowen)

Enemies: "Monster in the Basement"

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: (South) Boston, Massachusetts, USA

First Appearance: Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (August, 2002)

Powers/Abilities: The Persuader could apparently manipulate the perceptions of others. Apparently able to perceive certain monstrous creatures (or perhaps perceiving collections of negative energy, such as hatred, as monsters), he could cause others to see things the way he could. He was allegedly able to contain a hatred-inducing monster (or perhaps a manifestation of hatred/prejudice) for decades, though the negative energies seeped out over time and as Evans' powers faded with age.

 

Height: Unrevealed; approximately 5'0" as a senior (presumably taller in younger years)
Weight: Unrevealed; approximately 115 lbs. as a senior
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black (balding, with grey on lower sides)

 

 

 

History:
(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Persuader, Smokin' Joe, and a few others, including at least one other black male and female were active in Boston (presumably) in the 1950s. Apparently due largely to their skin color, the heroes never got much press coverage. Nonetheless, when the monsters came, the heroes stood up to them when no one else would.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Persuader caused his allies to see things the way he could.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) <October 9, 1956 (see comments)> - Persuader, Smokin' Joe, and their partners locked an old monster in the basement of an apartment because there wasn't any else they could put it. Smokin' Joe and the others except the Persuader "burnt out for the last time," sacrificing themselves leaving a barren circle in the basement in the process of hurting the monster sufficiently for the Persuader to contain it.
    The Persuader felt guilty because his friends had died because he had caused them to see things the way he did. He spent the rest of his life trying to make amends for that. Nonetheless, Ernie lacked the "spark" to kill the monster on his own, and it took all he had to keep it locked up ever since.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - Ernie knew Joe Johnson's son, who Ernie considered to be another stubborn bastard.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - After 10 years, the monster's evil began to seep through the building's walls. The people in the neighborhood were affected by this, and bad things started happening. Year after year, thing got a little worse.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - Unable to hold the "monster" in any longer, Ernie contacted Joe's grandson, Tyrone Johnson, now the vigilante/super hero known as Cloak, and arranged to meet with him outside of the building holding the "monster."

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2) - Ernie walked up to Tyrone, who had brought along his vigilante partner, Tandy Bowen, aka Dagger. Ernie recognized the bond of power between the two, despite Tyrone's initial attempts to deny it, figuring Tyrone would have some "spark running through his blood" based on his grandfather's power; he further noted that he couldn't imagine a girl as pretty as Tandy hanging around with Tyrone unless there was a special bond between them. Ernie introduced himself, also revealing that Smokin' Joe had named him the Persuader, back in the old days, and that he had been a hero, "the same as you two." While Tyrone continued to try to play dumb, Tandy told him that Ernie knew and he was one of them. Ernie noted that his powers were not what they used to be, barely enough to cause a spark anymore; he announced that there was a monster in the basement and he needed their help because he could not hold it in anymore.

    Hearing of the monster and the effects on the neighborhood, Tyrone was convinced Ernie was making things up, and that the changes in the neighborhood were just due to real life problems, like drugs, racism, and other forms of hatred. When he insisted Ernie show them his spark, Ernie told them he couldn't as it took all he had to keep the monster locked up. As Tyrone prepared to leave, Ernie pulled out a picture of Smokin' Joe, himself, another male, and another female, all dressed as super heroes. Tyrone still didn't believe him, but Tandy reasoned that prejudice WAS the monster in the basement. Tyrone finally agreed to go down into the basement to get both Tandy and Ernie to shut up.

    In the basement, Ernie showed Tandy and Tyrone a barren circle, noting it was the place where Smokin' Joe and the others (except the Persuader) burnt out for the last time on October 9, 1856. Recalling the date his grandfather had disappeared and was never heard from again, Tyrone finally accepted that Ernie was telling the truth; he and Tandy changed into their Cloak and Dagger costumes, and Ernie showed them the energies about. Ernie seemingly harnessed their energies, causing a massive power/ectoplasm backlash that showered them in slime; after which Ernie announced that it was alright, and the monster was gone now. Cloak and Dagger both doubted Ernie again, figuring he had simply used his powers to mess with them; Ernie admitted that that was his power, and then laughed at the look that had come over their faces when they had sensed the "monster." He further told Cloak that there weren't any old, black heroes (see comments).

    When Cloak asked what the point of this was, Ernie told them he couldn't make them see it until they believed it, and that after they believed, they were prepared to do something about it. Tandy reiterated that the monster was actually prejudice and that Ernie was a sad old man who never did anything with the little power he had had; he was just trying to make a point. Ernie then led them out of the basement and showed a massive exit path apparently carved by the monster on its way out, which had leveled the apartment that had previously been there. After Ernie asked them if it made them want to do something about the problem, both Cloak and Dagger wondered if what they were now seeing was real. Ernie told them it was as real for them as it was for him; unable to hold it down there any longer, he had had to call them, and they had the right sort of spark that he could nudge a bit. He further told them that now they couldn't help see things the way he did: He was never certain whether it was real or not; perhaps the world was full of monsters and he had the curse of seeing one of them; or, perhaps he could just see the pain other people do to each other; but, if it was real, there was no one except them to see it, fight it, and stop it from spreading through the world.

    He apologized for doing what he had done to them, but he felt he couldn't take the chance of that thing going free with no one knowing. He speculated that maybe they weren't like him: Maybe they wouldn't see things like that all the time, and maybe they were not really like that all the time. Regardless, the monster was out of the basement now, and they could deal with it or ignore it..."It's up to you."

 

 

Comments: Created by Peter Gross and Ryan Kelly.

    This story was one of those ones that leaves it open to the reader to decide how much of what Evans said was true vs. fabrication. Based on the picture, which could have been falsified, the date Evans gave coordinating with the date remembered by Cloak, and the demonstration that Evans had some power, I choose to believe that the Persuader, Smokin' Joe, and the others were real heroes of the 1950s. Nonetheless, I've tried to include any evidence on panel or via conversation in the profile so you can draw your own conclusions.
    At a minimum, we learned the identity of Cloak's paternal grandfather, and that Cloak's father had siblings.

    October 9, 1956. Topical or not...?
    Twelve years have passed since the story came out, and that the sliding timescale has its effects on things.

    When Ernie said there were "no old black heroes," I took that to me that none of them got to make to old age...they all died or lost their powers, etc...But, it's definitely possible that he literally meant that he had fabricated the notion of he, Joe, and the others having been super heroes. I prefer the first interpretation.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Persuader
should be distinguished from:


Smokin' Joe and others

    Smokin' Joe apparently had fiery powers and could engulf his head and shoulders in a flames of some sort, perhaps to conceal his identity.
    We don't know anything about the other two people shown in the picture, nor do we know for sure whether there were more members of that group of heroes, and if so, who else might have perished containing the "monster in the basement" in 1956.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - Joe Johnson obtained fire-powers under unrevealed circumstances: mutant, mutate, magic, etc.?

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - Joe took the name Smokin' Joe and adopted a super heroic costume at some point.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Joe married and had a son and at least one other child.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Persuader, Smokin' Joe, and a few others, including at least one other black male and female were active in Boston (presumably) in the 1950s. Apparently due largely to their skin color, the heroes never got much press coverage. Nonetheless, when the monsters came, the heroes stood up to them when no one else would.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - Though they were apparently friends, the Persuader considered Joe to be a stubborn bastard.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Persuader caused his allies to see things the way he could.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) <October 9, 1956 (see comments)> - Persuader, Smokin' Joe, and their partners locked an old monster in the basement of an apartment because there wasn't any else they could put it. Smokin' Joe and the others except the Persuader "burnt out for the last time," sacrificing themselves leaving a barren circle in the basement in the process of hurting the monster sufficiently for the Persuader to contain it.
    The Persuader felt guilty because his friends had died because he had caused them to see things the way he did. He spent the rest of his life trying to make amends for that. Nonetheless, Ernie lacked the "spark" to kill the monster on his own, and it took all he had to keep it locked up ever since.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - After Joe's sudden disappearance, his son (who would later father Anna, Otis, and Tyrone Johnson, the latter of whom would become the vigilante Cloak) thought he had run out on his wife and kids. Tyrone's father considered it the worst day of his life.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - Ernie knew Joe Johnson's son, who Ernie considered to be another stubborn bastard.

(Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - Joe's son told his son, Tyrone, about "Grandpa Joe" (who had died long before Tyrone's birth) and his friends, presumably including Ernie, though nothing was discussed of Joe's powers or super heroic nature.

--Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2

Comments: "Smokin' Joe" is obviously an homage to the famous boxer Smokin' Joe Frasier, though Joe Johnson's period of activity started and ended before Joe Frazier's first boxing match...at least as far as I can tell. Unless, of course, the 1956 date is topical...

    I'd love to see the 1950s Avengers, or Department Zero, or Blade, any other characters active in the 1950s encounter Smokin' Joe and/or any of his allies.

 


"monster in the basement"

 

    The main profile spells out all of the detail, but the "monster" is apparently either a manifestation or cause of hatred, or how Ernie Evans saw hatred and other negative emotions and behavior.

 

    It would seem to be real on some level, because Smokin' Joe and the others apparently perished containing it on October 9, 1956. All we saw was a massive discharge of energy or ectoplasm when the Persuader apparently tapped into Cloak & Dagger's energies...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...and what appeared to be a path of devastation caused by the monster's release/departure...

...but both of those may have been illusory to some degree, things that Ernie made Cloak & Dagger see. 

 

 

--Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2

 

 

 

 


images: (without ads)
Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2, pg. 2, panel 1 (full body, senior/civilian);
        pg. 3, panel 9 (senior face/detail/slight oblique);
        pg. 4, panel 2 (Persuader, Smokin' Joe, two others);
            panel 3 (senior face/straight);
        pg. 6, panel 5 (basement);
        pg. 7, panel 8 (glowing);
        pg. 10-11 (monster's exit)


Appearances:
Marvel Knights Double Shot#3/2 (August, 2002) - Peter Gross (writer, breakdowns), Ryan Kelly (finished art), Stuart Moore (editor), Kelly Lamy (assistant managing editor), Nanci Daresian (managing editor)


Last updated: 04/27/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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