The Watchdogs

Real Names: I counted a dozen in just two issues, but since this isn't a census...
First Appearance: Captain America 335
What's Their Problem? Their problem is anything they consider to be their problem, bascially whatever is immoral and harmful to a decent American way of life: abortion, pornography, sex education, the teaching of evolution and other so-called forces of corruption. They tend to handle these problems with arson, lynchings, kidnappings and murder. Yes, sir; dilemma-solving violence for the benefit of all good Americans everywhere...
Weapons: Under orders from an infamous (but anonymous) backer, the packs currently don't use any truly high-tech weapons; they do have plenty of conventional firearms and enjoy playing with fire. Virtually every member wears a padded uniform complete with helmet and kevlar vest. "Guests" of the Watchdogs wear "dog collars" that deliver electric shocks to help them keep focused during constant Americana therapy.
The Oath of Allegiance: "I solemnly vow to walk the virtuous path... to safeguard society from the forces that would corrupt it... and to destroy the enemies of decency... of morality, and of the values upon which our country was founded!" New recruits must swear this on the Bible; pardon me for asking, but isn't this the same book that states "Thou shalt not kill"?
Heroes They Keep Running Into: The first assignment for John Walker and Lemar Hoskins, then the new Captain America and Bucky, was to infiltrate and arrest a Watchdog pack in Georgia. This came back to haunt Walker after his identity was revealed on national TV. The real, reinstated Cap ran across a group of Hounds gunning after his pal (and fellow Dog Brother) Mike Farrel. They made the mistake of taking Bernie Rosenthal as getaway insurance, putting both Rogers and Walker (now the decaffeinated USAgent) on their case and resulting in plenty more arrests.
People Who Think They're Not So Bad: Playing righteous commando against controversial factors in a powerful but imperfect nation has got to be popular; while concentrated in the South, more packs have been established northwards in New York, Vermont, et al. This could mean there are well over a thousand or so Dog-Brothers. There may be just as many sympathizers, some of whom in local law enforcement. Even John Walker shared some of their beliefs at first. However, no one else seems to know that Watchdog Prime works for the Red Skull, who knows potential chaos (and how to exploit same) when he sees it.
Most Despicable Act: The Custer's Grove pack expressed their anger at Walker by kidnapping his totally innocent parents so he'd come to his own lynching (Captain America 345). Caleb and Emma Walker died from rampant gunfire during John's escape; the fault, however, lies with those who took them there, many of whom the ersatz Captain killed or maimed in his fury. Maybe that fiasco is why that New York pack almost let Ms. Rosenthal go, although it didn't stop them from leaving a bomb in her building for her favorite Avenger to defuse...

by Ray Schaff


Watchdog Mug Shots!


Captain America 335
1987

Captain America 345
1988

Captain America 385
1991



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