Recognizing that perhaps throwing huge waves of of faceless troopers at his enemies was not the way to finally defeat the G.I. Joe Team, Cobra Commander instead tried to duplicate their success by forming his own equivalent team of specialists, drawn from the various Cobra forces. The Plague comprises:
- Blackout - a former Joe recruit who defected to Cobra
- Guillotine - an Eel
- Bayonet - a Snow Serpent
- Body Bags - a Range-Viper
- Gallows - a S.A.W.-Viper
- Grim Skull - Sand Viper
- Incision - formerly Aleph, an excommunicated Night-Creeper
- Infared - Crimson Guard
- Vanguard - Lt. Nick Bailey, a new Cobra recruit
- Vector - a Laser-Viper
- Velocity - A.V.A.C.
A Real American Hero comics continuity - Devil's Due
At some point, Blackout and Guillotine led an assault on a Lincoln, Nebraska hospital, with orders to leave no witnesses. Even though they were surprised to be receiving orders from an Eel, the members of the squad - Munitia, Sky Creeper, Interrogator, Rip-It and Aleph - quickly fell in line. Their mission was to kidnap a baby, which Sky Creeper and Rip-It questioned. Back at Cobra Headquarters, Cobra Commander asked whether the situation had been sufficiently resolved: the two that questioned his orders had been killed on the return flight. Cobra Commander was pleased - with the addition of the three members that passed the test, the Plague was ready for activation.
The Plague Troopers make their official debut after the G.I. Joe Team successfully prevents the assassination of the Israeli prime minister during the early stages of Cobra Commander's ultimate plan to dominate the world. Several small fights break out, but the Plague has the upper hand.
In Malta, the Joes that haven't yet scattered try to take the fight to the Plague, but are surrounded. As Scarlett and Snake-Eyes split from the group, Guillotine gives the order for everyone to stay close, rather than divide their forces. Guillotine refuses to call Bailey "Vanguard" until he's earned the codename - by killing a Joe. Eventually the Plague is facing off against just Spirit, Gung-Ho and Wild Bill. Holding the high ground and with the three Joes trapped in a narrow alleyway, the Plague has no trouble herding them northeast. When they run into a building, Black Out and Velocity collapse it with bazookas. There is no time to search for bodies, however, as the Plague is recalled to New York City.
In Manhattan, the Plague Troopers hunt Duke and Agent Delta, chasing them into the subway tunnels, but are driven back by a claymore. As they tend to the wounded, they're attacked by citizens of New York. Velocity speeds back to aid his teammates, but is jumped by Spirit and steered into a building. The citizens have been rallied by the returned Joes, leaving Guillotine to curse the fact that there wasn't time to verify the kill in Malta. Surrounded, the Plague retreats and calls in a H.I.S.S. battalion to clear the mob. The Plague is next deployed to Philadelphia to pacify a rebel group. Guillotine questions the wisdom of chasing the Joes all over the globe, rather than dealing with uprisings, but still follows his orders.
During Cobra Commander's "Scorched Earth" endgame, the Plague Troopers are divided into two squads. Guillotine, Vanguard, Bayonet, Velocity, Infared, Body Bags and Gallows are stationed in Antarctica, while Black Out, Incision, Munitia, Vector, Grim Skull and Interrogator are in the Amazon. Both teams guard nuclear weapons, and when they are activated, the Plague retreats. In the jungle, Incision is killed by Storm Shadow. Regrouping in the Appalachian Mountains, the Plague awaits orders. Velocity says they should all just escape while there's time. When he uses his jetpack to fly off, Blackout shoots him down.
That night as the Joes attack, Guillotine orders his Troopers to stay disciplined.
Blackout has Duke in his reticle, and prepares to cripple him just like Hawk, when his brother attacks him from behind. The two fight, and Blackout boasts about launching the missile at Boston before Barrel Roll knocks him out.
The rest of the Plague was presumably captured or killed during the battle.
|Plague Troopers vs. Steel Brigade (2006)
The Plague Troopers were sold in a massive pack with the Steel Brigade. However, they are nowhere near the impressive lineup seen in the comics as only three characters ever made it to toy form: Gallows, Grim Skull and Guillotine.
Bayonet and Body Bags were also planned to be released by Hasbro, but were cancelled when the DTC line failed and things switched over to Sigma 6.
- Though Hasbro's Plague Troopers vs. Steel Brigade set showed Gallows and Grim Skull in identical armor, in the comics each member of the Plague wore a black cableknit sweater and a black version of their previous division's helmet.
- The only member of the Plague not available in toy form is Vanguard: the rest were available in the DTC six-pack (Gallows, Grim Skull, Guillotine), as individual named figures (Black Out, Interrogator, Munitia) or as members of their respective divisions.