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SCRAMBLE

Real Name: Lionel Jeffries

Identity/Class: Human mutant

Occupation: Surgeon;
formerly army medic

Group Membership: None;
formerly US Army Medical Corps

Affiliations: Roger Bochs, Deadly Ernest;
formerly Dr. Whitman "William" Knapp

Enemies: Alpha Flight (Aurora/Jeanne-Marie Beaubier,  Madison Jeffries, Northstar/Jean-Paul Beaubier, Puck/Eugene Judd, Purple Girl/Kara Killgrave, Sasquatch/Wanda Langkowski, Vindicator/Heather Hudson), Manikin (Dr. Whitman "William" Knapp)

Known Relatives: Madison Jeffries (brother), unidentified parents (deceased), Lillian Crawley (Diamond Lil, sister-in-law, deceased)

Aliases: The Mixed-Up Man, Omega the One-Man Army (while combined with Roger Bochs)

Base of Operations: New Life Clinic, Vancouver;
formerly Montreal General Hospital, Montreal

First Appearance: Alpha Flight I#30 (January, 1986)

Powers/Abilities: Scramble possessed the mutant ability to twist and mold flesh in much the same way his older brother Madison Jeffries controls and reshapes machinery. He could regrow people's lost limbs, cure natural occurring diseases, instantly set and mend broken bones and heal heavily damaged organs. It is unclear what the limits of his healing powers were. The legs he created for Roger Boch soon decomposed, although that could be because he used dead tissue from other patients. Scramble was obsessed with the notion of "curing" death, a quest that in the end cost him his sanity. He repeatedly tried to resurrect corpses and has no moral qualms about using bodyparts from the dead in his work. Lionel's eyes flare up when he used his power. He could also sense superhuman potential in people and used his own powers to catalyse theirs. He could sense his brother's location if he was nearby.

   As Omega he possessed superhuman strength, could extend tentacles and fire bone missiles.

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Height: 6'3"; (Omega) variable
Weight: 180 lbs.; (Omega) variable
Eyes: Blue (red when using powers)
Hair: Brown

History:

(Alpha Flight I#30 (fb) ) - Lionel and Madison Jeffries grew up together and discovered they both possessed transmutative powers. While Madison hated his mastery over machines, Lionel readily accepted his control over organic material. He even decided to study medicine to further his knowledge of the human body. Upon graduating he started working as a surgeon at Montreal General Hospital.

(Alpha Flight I#30 (fb) ) - Madison and Lionel were always able to sense each other's presence.

(Alpha Flight I#30 (fb) ) - Hoping to use his powers for the greater good, Lionel joined Madison when he enlisted in the United States Army as a medic during the Vietnam War. (see comments) They were part of a squadron that got ambushed by the Vietcong. Surviving the attack, Lionel saw his massacred comrades and desperately tried to transmutate them back to life. When he realized he wasn't able to restore the fallen, his mind snapped. Madison had to use his own powers to restrain his brother, making sure he didn't touch anyone. Eventually, Madison made sure Lionel ended up in a padded cell at Montreal General.

(Alpha Flight I#30 - BTS) - Alpha Flight leader Heather Hudson complimented Madison Jeffries on the wonderous things he could do with his mutant control over machines. Jeffries deflected the compliment and claimed that his power was nothing compared to his younger brother's. Intrigued because she wasn't even aware Jeffries had a brother, Hudson decided to do some digging. She found out about Lionel Jeffries through Madison's personal file stored in the team's Alphanex computer. Lionel was listed as a surgeon working at Montreal General Hospital. Figuring he might have powers as well, Heather decided to look him up. Not wanting to reveal she had accessed Jeffries' personal file, Heather didn't tell anyone about her plan and took off on her own in the team's Omniship.

(Alpha Flight I#30) - When Heather arrived at Montreal General Hospital and asked to see Dr. Lionel Jeffries, she learned that he had actually been a patient there for the past couple of years. Her security clearance allowed her access to him, but she was the first visitor Lionel had in years. When she entered his padded cell, she noticed he was being kept in a straightjacket and fed intraveneously. She introduced herself to Lionel, told him she knew his brother and reached out for him. When he touched her hand, his transmutation powers kicked in, transforming her into a monster he forced to free him. He then turned his attention to doctors and patients alike, "scrambling" them into horrible creatures that went on a rampage.

(Alpha Flight I#30 - BTS) - Worried about Heather's sudden disappearance, the rest of Alpha Flight traced her to Montreal. Madison Jeffries was furious at her for invading his privacy, claiming she had no idea what kind of obscene power she might set loose.

(Alpha Flight I#30) - Alpha Flight entered the hospital and were immediately besieged by Scramble's creatures. They found a grossly mutated Heather in Scramble's cell and Jeffries figured that she wouldn't survive long in this twisted shape. The team spread out to find Scramble, but it was Madison who found his brother first. He was in the morgue where he was once more trying to raise the dead.

   The two brothers fought, an insane Lionel claiming the reason Madison had locked him away all these years was out of jealousy over his power. He then explained that the only reason he experimented on the living was to teach himself how to heal the ultimate disorder: death. During their struggle, Scramble used his transmutation powers on his brother. Their transmutative powers mixed and he was able to compare his brain to that of his sane sibling. Turning his power on himself, Lionel reshaped his mind, allegedly restoring his sanity.

   A newly sane Scramble was released from the hospital's psychiatric ward. He restored all his victims to normal, including Heather Hudson who had great trouble being in his presence after the ordeal she had suffered through. He begged for her forgiveness, which she reluctantly gave while remaining distrustful of him.

(Alpha Flight I#30 - BTS) - Unbeknownst to Scramble, his attemps to breathe life into the dead had started the resurrection of criminal Ernest St. Ives whose remains were stored at General Hospital. Soon, a newly revived Deadly Ernest escaped the morgue.

(Alpha Flight I#48 (fb) ) - Scramble had actually lied about ridding himself of his insanity. He believed he had been sane all along and simply acted reformed and normal long enough to convince his brother that he had been cured.

(Alpha Flight I#31) - Scramble was offered to join Alpha Flight but refused, preferring to continue his career as a surgeon if the Department of National Health was willing to readmit him. Puck suggested that Alpha Flight could put in a recommendation on his behalf, while the still wary Heather added that a thorough psychiatric evaluation would be in order. Just then, Puck was overcome by the pain caused by carrying the evil of Black Raazer inside him. Lionel was concerned the Alphan might have been hurt during the fight with his creatures and offered to help, but Puck assured him his pain was beyond his or the medical profession's power to cure.

   Moments later, an ambulance arrived at General Hospital, bringing in a coma victim that had been found naked in an alleyway. Lionel tried to use his power to restore the man, but noticed that it felt like there was something missing from his body even his powers couldn't put back. Hearing Scramble describe the man's condition reminded Northstar and Aurora of their fight against Deadly Ernest, which led the team to head out and find the death dealing villain.

(Alpha Flight I#43 - (fb) - BTS) - Lionel's medical license was not reinstated, but when he used his powers to save the life of an unidentified business tycoon, the man was so impressed with Jeffries that he bankrolled the New Life Clinic. This private clinic, located on the outkirts of Vancouver, offered medical aid to those conventional medicine had given up on. The clinic came equipped with a hidden, underground research lab. Lionel hired Doctor Knapp to be his intern.

(Alpha Flight I#48 - fb) ) - Lionel officially hired Knapp because of his impressive surgical skills, unofficially he wanted Knapp around because he sensed great power inside him that might be beneficial to his plans.

(Alpha Flight I#48 - (fb) ) - Scramble secretly expanded the underground lab beneath the New Life Clinic and started using it for his own experiments. He continued his quest to "cure" death by restoring the incurable people under his care using bodyparts acquired from others. His experimentation led to a stack of corpses and a number of transmutate patients he considered superior beings, all of which he kept locked away in his secret lab.

(Alpha Flight I#43) - When Roger Bochs became trapped inside the Box armor, after contracting a severe case of Decompression Sickness (more commonly known as "the bends") (see comments), he became unsure if he could ever escape the living robot's form, which drove him insane with fear and anxiety and started attacking his teammates while they were flying over Vancouver. Madison Jeffries decided to bring Bochs to his brother at the New Life Clinic. The team left Bochs in Lionel's care when they went out to deal with an international incident involving the American supervillain Mesmero and a squadron of Sentinels. Puck was mortally wounded at the end of this confrontation.

(Alpha Flight I#44 - BTS) - Puck was rushed to the New Life Clinic where Lionel was able to mend his wounds.

(Alpha Flight I#44) - After Puck was cured, Alpha Flight headed back to Maison Alpha while Lionel continued to work on Bochs. Aided by Dr. Knapp, Jeffries managed to free Bochs from Box and used his control over organic matter to rid him of the "bends" as well. When the paraplegic Bochs expressed dissatisfaction at being cured while still remaining only half a man, Jeffries offered to make him whole.

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(Alpha Flight I#45 - BTS) - Lionel used his powers to give Roger Bochs a new pair of legs, claiming he used Bochs' own excess bodyfat for raw material. Scramble had secretly used tissue from his deceased patients. Lionel and Dr. Knapp then decided to accompany Bochs back to Maison Alpha, travelling on the New Life Clinic's motor launch boat.

(Alpha Flight I#45) - The members of Alpha Flight were astonished to see the new and improved Roger Bochs and complimented Lionel on his achievement. Emboldened by this, Lionel asked a dumbstruck Heather if this meant he had finally redeemed himself in her eyes. Madison Jeffries looked on and encouraged Heather to not only bury the hatchet, but make Scramble an honorary Alphan as well. Lionel refused however, claiming his duties at New Life Clinic kept him busy enough. After promising to be there for the team during medical emergencies, he and his associate left Tamarind island.

(Alpha Flight I#46) - Alpha Flight visited Scramble at his Vancouver clinic, hoping he could help turn Walter Langkowski back into a man after he got resurrected in fellow Alphan Snowbird's female form. After listening to the astonishingly complicated history that had led to this situation, Scramble unsuccesfully tried to force Langkowski's body to change from female back to male. His intern Knapp explained to the stunned Scramble and Alpha Flight members why Lionel failed. Knapp's bio-probes had shown that Langkowksi wasn't exactly human, more like an amalgam of his old male self, the human/inuit goddess-hybrid Snowbird and the Great Beast Tanaraq he once possessed. Scramble can only affect human organisms, rendering Langkowksi immune to his touch.

   After Alpha Flight left the clinic, Knapp tried to discuss the concerns he had over some of Jeffries' miracle cures. He had noticed strange splotches on Roger Bochs' new legs, which looked to him like early signs of decomposition. In response, Scramble lashed out at his intern, even threatening to use his power to disfigure him beyond recognition if he didn't keep quiet. He could accept not being able to cure Langkowski, he explained, but his power over human subjects must be unquestionable. If he was to ever doubt that fact, he might go mad again. As Jeffries walked off, Knapp thought to himself Lionel might already be insane.

(Alpha Flight I#46 - BTS) - Hours after returning to Maison Alpha, the blotches Knapp noticed on Roger Bochs' legs developed into patches of dead tissue. The realization his legs were decomposing shattered his already fragile mental stability. He went on a rampage, venting his frustration over his situation on the team and severly banging up Puck. For his own safety, Alpha Flight locked Bochs in a protective shell, while they contemplated what to do with him.

(Alpha Flight I#48 - BTS) - Alpha Flight was divided on the right course of action for treating Roger Bochs' madness. Madison Jeffries suggested to call on Scramble again, which was seconded by Northstar who secretly wanted to visit Lionel in hopes of finding a cure for his own mysterious ailment. Heather was less enthused about running to Scramble at every turn, partially because she still couldn't trust him after he violated her body during their first encounter. Despite that she gave in and allowed Madison to call his brother and arrange a consultation.

(Alpha Flight I#48) - Scramble welcomed Alpha Flight back to the New Life Clinic, casually curing Puck of the wounds and broken bones he had suffered during their fight against Bochs. He told the team that restoring Bochs' sanity was a different matter altogether. Though he had been able to cure his own diseased mind, but that was only because he could use his brother Madison's mostly similar brain as a biological blueprint. Still, he agreed to do it and retreated to his sub-basement's operating theatre, accompanied by Madison and Dr. Knapp. When they were alone, Scramble showed his true colors and revealed his plans for the creation of a new race of superior men, using Alpha Flight's super-powered bodies as templates. Madison tried to stop his brother, but he was quickly rendered immobile when his arms and legs were transmuted together and his mouth was fused shut. Knapp attempted to assault Scramble, who easily evaded his attack and then used his powers to jumpstart the seeds of power he had sensed in the young surgeon. Scramble then turned his attention to Bochs, offering him a chance to literally join with him. Scramble figured that with Bochs' extraordinary inventive genius and his own transmutation powers the new race of supermen he dreamed of could be in reach. Bochs called Jeffries nutty as a fruitcake but agreed to his proposal.

   Aurora quietly followed her brother Northstar, who was looking for Scramble in order to ask him if he could cure him from his debilitating condition. She lost track of him and accidentally entered Scramble's secret lab where he encountered five of his experiments, all locked up in giant size test tubes. Before she could call for her brother, Northstar had reached Scramble's operating theatre and knocked on the door, asking if he could come in. In response, the grotesque combination of Scramble and Bochs slammed its meaty tentacles through the door, attempting to grab Northstar who sped away and warned the others "it" was coming. Scramble and Bochs slithered across the complex towards the team. In full view of Alpha Flight, they revealed their new form and announced themselves as Omega, the first of a new race. Omega immediately attacked Alpha Flight with lethal ferocity, hoping to get to work on their corpses as soon as possible. While the other members of Alpha Flight fought for their lives, Madison Jeffries was still lying helpless in the lab, watching as Knapp started to evolve thanks to Scramble's touch.

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(Alpha Flight I#49) - While Omega continued its assault on Alpha Flight, Scramble's brother Madison Jeffries witnessed four distinct beings emerging from Doctor William Knapp. One of the forms, referring to himself as "tomorrow" explained how Scramble's transmutation blast had jumpstarted Knapp's inate powers which called forth they who once were, and those he would one day become. After some initial misgivings about the nature of his power, Knapp rallied his past and future selves in the battle against Omega. He got his neanderthal duplicate to return Madison Jeffries to his Box armor, restoring his mobility and fighting skills.

   Box, Knapp and his four selves engaged Omega, who was in the middle of trying to absorb Alpha Flight into his own form, just like Lionel Jeffries had absorbed Roger Bochs. Madison pleaded with his brother to stop, but the power mad Lionel wouldn't listen, exclaiming his power made him a one-man army. Madison then used his metal bending powers to transform the clunky Box automaton into a sleek, multi-adaptive battle armor and lunged at his transmutating brother, claiming his mutant gifts made him every bit as much a one-man army.

   Despite Vindicator's plea it was her task as teamleader to destroy Omega, Jeffries kept hitting his brother. The fight continued until Roger Bochs made his presence inside the creature known by forcibly manifesting his own face just underneath that of Lionel Jeffries. Bochs claimed that being part of Omega not only convinced him he was mad, but that both Lionel Jeffries and himself needed help. When Bochs tried to stop Omega, Scramble used his powers to grab Bochs' head and quickly robbed him of independent thought. This gave Lionel unrestricted access to Bochs' immense creative genius. Shocked to see how his brother lobotomized his best friend, Madison shifted his Box armor into a massive blast cannon that gravely injured Omega.

   Lionel mocked Alpha Flight for being heroes, limited by their lack of a killer instinct. He claimed that was exactly why he would win in the end: he would not rest until he had absorbed all of them into his form while they couldn't bring themselves to kill him. The mind-controlling neophyte Alphan Purple Girl (Kara Killgrave) then rose up and used her powers to force Omega to undo the damage he had caused, starting with restoring Madison Jeffries. When she demanded he also healed Roger Bochs, Lionel admitted that was beyond his powers because there was nothing of his mind left to restore. This prompted a discussion amongst Alpha Flight on what to do with Lionel. Madison Jeffries ignored his teammates' advice and made a decision: holding his severely mutated brother prisoner would be a nigh impossible task, nor would it be possible or even morally right to ask Kara Killgrave to stand watch and control the villain indefinitely. That's why he shifted his Box armor into one of its most lethal configurations imaginable, and fired to end his brother's menace.

(Alpha Flight I#50 (fb) - BTS) - Vindicator contemplated the recent adventures of Alpha Flight, including the conflict against Omega.

(Alpha Flight I#65 (fb) - BTS) - As Madison Jeffries was about to marry Heather Hudson, he was plagued by nightmares featuring his best friend Roger Bochs and his brother Lionel. They were still connected after joining together as Omega, but Madison was thorougly affected by seeing them either way. While in the waking world, it seemed that the Lionel/Bochs mental amalgam had somehow survived and actively tried to assault both Madison and Heather. It looked like Omega had somehow survived death and lived on inside the Box armor. But just as Box was about to kill him, Madison realized the armor was actually being controlled by his own subsconscious fear and doubts over his upcoming nuptials. That anxiety manifested itself as fever dreams of Lionel and Bochs. In the aftermath, Heather and Madison visited their graves and paid tribute.

(Alpha Flight I#66 (fb) - BTS) - After Manikin (Knapp) somehow managed to break the fourth wall and realized he was in a comic called Alpha Flight, he started a lengthy discussion with writer Bill Mantlo on the nature of comic writing and how Mantlo needlessly kept putting him and friends through the emotional wringer to make his stories more interesting. Manikin then reasoned that his character was created just to provide an out when Mantlo's villain Scramble proved too powerful.

(Alpha Flight I#89 - BTS) - Unbeknownst to even Scramble himself, Eshu the self styled Master of the World obtained a sample of his transmutagenic enzymes at some unrevealed point.

(Alpha Flight I#89 - BTS) - When Alpha Flight discovered founding member Puck was still alive, yet horribly mutated and imprisoned by the Master of the World, they quickly learned that Puck's mutation was caused by the mutagenic material Eshu obtained from Scramble. Madison Jeffries, aided by the X-Men's Forge, managed to restore Puck, negating Scramble's enzymes in the process.

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo (writer), Mike Mignola (pencils), Gerry Talaoc (inks).

Bill Mantlo had a real knack for writing disturbing villains during his tenure on Alpha Flight that gave the book the feel of a typical horror movie. Scramble's arc was nicely structured over the course of one and a half year worth of stories that slowly made him likeable before it was revealed it was all an act. While certainly a fun character, I always felt Scramble was a tad derivative. He's basically a barely disguised redress of the body morphing Morlock Masque, albeit with a shave and a valid medical degree. It wasn't the first time Mantlo would let himself be 'inspired' by his colleagues...

Interestingly enough, Madison and Lionel don't share an immunity to each other's powers, unlike other mutant siblings Havok, Cyclops and (Kid) Vulcan.

Due to Marvel's sliding timescale the Vietnam War is topical and it has to be assumed that the Jeffries brothers participated in another conflict in Asia.

In Avengers I#272 (October, 1986) during a deepsea mission with Alpha Filght and the Avengers, Roger Bochs remained merged with the Box armor longer than was safe and he started to experience severe discomfort. When Vindicator ordered him to return to the surface and get out of the armor, Bochs came up too quickly and contracted a severe case of Decompression Sickness. Bochs was forced to stay inside his Box armor for his own continued survival.

Scramble received a profile in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Update#5 (2010).

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Scramble has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Alpha Flight I#30, p21, pan4 (main image)
Alpha Flight I#31, p5, pan1 (face)
Alpha Flight I#46, p4, pan4/5/6 (fails with Wanda Langkowski)
Alpha Flight I#49, p2, pan 4 (as omega)


Appearances:
Alpha Flight I#30 (January, 1986) - Bill Mantlo(writer), Mike Mignota(pencils), Gerry Talaoc(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#31 (February, 1986) - Bill Mantle(writer), Mike Mignota(pencils), Gerry Talaoc(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#43 (February, 1987) - Bill Mantlo(writer), David Ross(pencils), Whice Portacio(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#44 (March, 1987) - Bill Mantlo(writer), David Ross(pencils), Whice Portacio(inks), Carl Potts, Joanne Spaldo(editors)
Alpha Flight I#45 (April, 1987) - Bill Mantlo(writer), June Brigman(pencils), Whice Portacio(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#46 (May, 1987) - Bill Mantlo(writer), June Brigman(pencils), Whice Portacio(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#48 (July, 1987) - Bill Mantlo(writer), Terry Shoemaker(pencils), Steve Leialoha, Hilary Barta(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#49 (August, 1987) - Bill Mantlo(writer), June Brigman(pencils), Whice Portacio(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#50 (September, 1987) - Bill Mantlo(writer), June Brigman(pencils), Whice Portacio(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#65 (December, 1988) - Bill Mantlo(writer), Hugh Haynes(pencils), Al Milgrom(inks), Carl Potts(editor)
Alpha Flight I#66 (January, 1989) - Bill Mantlo(writer), Hugh Haynes(pencils), Gerry Talaoc(inks), Carl Potts, Marc McLaurin(editors)
Alpha Flight I#89 (October, 1990) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Michael Bair(pencils), Mike Manley(inks), Danny Fingeroth(editor)


Last updated: 01/07/14

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