Dead Eye Jake
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Dead Eye Jake|
|Player: @Drimble Wedge|
|Threat Level:||50 (+1)|
|Real Name:||Benjamin Grey|
|Known Aliases:||Dead Eye Jake, Charles Morgan, the Bandit in Black|
|Eye Color:||One blue, one gray|
|Nationality:||Citizen of the United States, de facto citizen of the Rogue Isles|
|Place of Birth:||Homewood, AL|
|Base of Operations:||St. Martial|
|Undefined connection to the netherworld|
|No additional information available.|
The original creative process producing Dead Eye Jake took inspiration from real-life old western outlaw Charles E. Bolles, better known as Black Bart.
The Man, the Myth, the Legend
Almost anyone can read up on the history of great America Old Western outlaws and discover information about Dead Eye Jake and others. On occasion, Jake himself has opened up an encyclopedia to have a good laugh on what scholars have written about him and his peers. However, in this case the past is much different than what records say, as many stories and events told by the people involved have been embellished or invented by those wishing to bolster their reputations. This is true even more so in Jake's case, as due to certain circumstances in his life he was forced to take on an identity that was not entirely his, and so historians trying to uncover the events of his life would be inevitably misled. What follows is the true account of the life and times of the man who would eventually be known to the world both past and present as Dead Eye Jake.
The Early Years
Benjamin Grey was born in 1865 on a small farm in what is present day Homewood, Alabama. The eldest of five children, Benny was quickly thrust into manhood when at the age of twelve his father passed away, leaving the care and responsibility of the family to Benny. At first he attempted to work both the necessary chores of the farm and continue to go to school, in compliance to his father's dying wishes and mother's insistence. However, conditions eventually forced him to spend all of his time at the farm to keep his family from starving. Despite the grueling labor, Benny remained physically sparse and lanky as he grew into a teenager.
By the age of 16 conditions had improved somewhat for young Benny. While still poor, his family could care for itself enough, as his siblings had become old enough to help. While schooling had passed him by, his mother had made sure there were always a few books in the house, and Benny would not grow up illiterate.
It was also in the summer of this year that Benny began a romantic relationship with long-time childhood friend Daisy Lou McCormick, the 17-year-old daughter of a neighboring farmer's family. By the summer's end both had pledged their love to one another, and for a brief time none of the hardships Benny had so far experienced seem to matter when looking forward to spending the rest of his life with his beautiful southern belle.
It was around this time that a man named Charles Morgan moved into the area. Morgan, a big and burly individual in his mid-twenties, had long established a reputation as a ruffian and troublemaker in his travels west, so much so that he had been on the move for some time to avoid the law. The quiet southern town of Homewood thus became his new haunt for a while as he frequented whatever bars and seedy establishments the surrounding county had to offer.
It was during a visit at a local barn dance that Morgan would first set his sights on Benny Grey and Daisy Lou, the latter leaving much more of a lasting impression in the scoundrel’s mind. After an initial refusal to dance by the young lady early in the evening, Morgan would spend the rest of the night becoming more and more drunk while his eyes never left the golden-haired girl spending time with the homegrown farm boy. Later that evening, as the festivities died down and people began to depart, Benny and Daisy were unaware of a skulking, stumbling blackheart dogging their steps under the cloak of night. When at last the couple had entered a deserted country field on their way home, Morgan made his presence known. Benny had time enough to turn around before being bashed in the skull with the butt of a gun and was immediately knocked unconscious. Daisy, on the other hand, was not treated nearly as nice by their mutual attacker, and unfortunately remained wide awake for most of the events that would follow that night.
As dawn broke over the quiet field, Benny awoke to find his face sticky with his own blood and a terrible gash across his forehead that miraculously had not been fatal. After groping blindly for several minutes while simultaneously trying to piece together his last few moments of memory, he recovered his sight just in time to discover the dead body that once answered to Daisy Lou McCormick. Words cannot describe Benjamin’s feelings upon viewing the lifeless corpse of his beloved that day, glistening in the morning dew, clearly the victim of sexual assault either before or after she was strangled to death.
Several hours later Benny would arrive at his home, and despite the many startled demands for explanation by his mother and siblings he offered no information while acquiring his father’s old rifle and saddling the family’s workhorse. Riding into town, many people were extremely puzzled, although not necessarily surprised, that a young boy with a wide cut on his head and blood-matted hair should be looking for a man matching Morgan’s description. Eventually Benny got the information he was looking for, and headed toward the local tavern inn after leaving the owner of a general store to shake his head at the morning’s bad tidings.
Minutes later Benny burst into the room occupied by Charles Morgan, leaving worried residents to fret at the sudden sounds of angry shouting, thrown furniture, breaking glass, a violent symphony ending ominously in gunfire. Those standing in the upstairs hallway saw Benny exit the room, sporting a new bruise across the side of his face, torn clothing, and a dazed expression. No one stopped him as he wandered back into the city street, but the shouts and outcries heard behind him told the story that the body of Charles Morgan, now missing a chest, had been discovered in a crimson pool left on the bed. It was at that moment that Benny numbly realized he had just murdered a man in cold blood after alerting nearly everyone in town of his intentions and ensuing actions. Despite the circumstances surrounding the killing, a cold fear over rid the torrent of emotion that had driven his actions that day since waking up on the ground, prompting him to mount the old horse and ride hard away in the opposite direction of which he came. No one followed him that morning, and after the investigation by the local authorities correctly pieced together the events of that night and day, no formal charges were ever registered against the boy later identified as Benjamin Grey. Benny would not become aware of this until many years later, as he never went back to Homewood or the farm again.
Becoming An Outlaw
Years later, on a dark and dusty trail outside of Coldspring, Texas, a carriage was made to halt by a masked man holding a gun. Declaring his intentions with the telltale phrase “Stand and deliver!” he forced the buggy’s driver and passengers to step out and hand over all of their valuables. Despite the circumstances, the robber seemed friendly and dealt politely with his victims, and after asking for information struck up a conversation. When finished the bandit ordered everyone back into the cart, and before slipping into the twilight an older gentleman recently deprived of his monies demanded his name. Benjamin Grey, deciding on a whim to answer the man with an alias, picked from memory the most hated name he could think of, the perfect moniker for a hardened criminal. Shouting “The name's Charles Morgan!” for all to hear, he disappeared into the brush. Thus began his life as a highwayman.
Benny’s new career choice came as an inevitable result of several deciding factors: He had no education, despised destitution, could not play poker, and held a bitter disillusionment of life and all its empty promises. Still, he could not fully shake years of growing up as a well-mannered farm boy of a church-going family. As a result, “Charles Morgan” initially avoided violence, was polite, and was never needlessly cruel.
The life of a lone outlaw also carried its own kind of adventure for the young man, who eventually began a cycle of roaming the roads by night to provide for his needs, then spend the following week in the next town, spending like a sailor until the sheriff started getting wise. He would spend these nights in town getting drunk, losing at cards, bedding women, and getting into fistfights. No longer the scrawny child of his youth, years of living off the land and natural biological processes had filled him out into a tall, sturdy man with a lean, muscular physique, and so he found reserves in strength and stamina for all his nightly events. These wild weeks would be followed by equally long periods of camping out in the wilderness, where between robberies he would spend many lonely hours thinking over the events of his life, and what might have been.
The reputation of Charles Morgan built in those days in certain circles, and one evening several men approached him. They asked if he was interested in a job. The work in question was a train robbery, the expected payout numbering in the hundreds of dollars each. By this time he was a man in his early twenties, fearless and brash, with an uncanny aim that prompted others to call him “Dead Eye” despite the rarity of his ever shooting someone to kill. He instantly accepted the offer. Four days later he and his new partners in crime hopped from galloping horses to a moving train in a gun-toting blaze of glory. That a few of his new associates were somewhat trigger-happy and shot down several guards with reckless abandon was justified, in his mind, by the fact that these same guards would have killed them just as quickly, and besides which they chose such a dangerous job for themselves and should not have expected better. Several hundred dollars to his name also helped ease his conscience.
From then on he rarely bothered with the life of a solo outlaw, the low pay-offs good only for a few spare dollars when money was tight. Instead, he became associated with other young bloods trying to make a name for themselves. Planning heists and seeing them to fruition became a dirty pleasure for him, as he had always previously considered himself simple-minded for his lack of schooling; instead it seemed he had a talent for the diabolic. After such successful completions of a robbery he and his cohorts would spend several raucous nights at a town saloon, where whiskey and women made for an inebriating cocktail. During these nights the retelling of the events of their adventures grew to epic proportions, where the deputy he winged in the arm became the sheriff they riddled with bullets, and two security guards shot in the back became the dozen hired gunmen. On occasion he ended up working alongside several notorious figures well known in their dubious profession, answering to colorful names like “Killin’ Jim”, “Billy the Kid”, and “Dynamite Dick”. Having become tired of associating himself with the name of Charles Morgan, but never once giving his real name, he started encouraging others to call him "Jake". In time he received an injury to the right side of his face that left a long, ugly scar and a discolored eye, and so his old nickname was also reused and permanently attached to his fame. He was now known far and wide as “Dead Eye Jake”.
The Morgan Gang
By 1896 no bank or train was safe from the notorious Morgan Gang. Despite only being referred to as “Dead Eye” or “Jake” on threat of a severe beating, officials who tracked the bandit in black believed his real name to be Charles Morgan, and so the gang’s name eventually stuck. Approaching the age of 30, Jake had lived far longer than many of his former comrades, and was considered a wily veteran of many escapades. Younger outlaws looking to make names for themselves flocked to his company, while a few other unfortunates tried to claim fame my shooting him down. Those that joined him became members of the Morgan Gang, and rode alongside the desperado in quiet awe. Those that chose to challenge him occupied unmarked graves beside dirt roads.
Eventually a consortium of city officials, lawmen, and bank and business owners began to form in those Texan towns most frequented by the gang, and steps were taken, initially without much luck, to bring the gunslinger to justice. While sometimes a member of Charles Morgan’s gang was caught, the gang’s leader seemed untouchable, only serving to bolster his reputation and attract more thugs to his name. Something had to be done.
In the summer of 1897 the Morgan Gang, which at this time numbered a dozen men, settled at the edge of Thee Hill Canyon near Ferguson City. Although increasing surveillance in the area had made traveling the countryside more difficult in recent weeks, no one in the sleeping town nearby guessed that Dead Eye Jake was finalizing his plans to rob their bank.
It was after midnight that several of the gang's members returned to camp. They were two of the four that had wandered off earlier that night, too restless to sleep. Excitedly the pair told a strange story.
It seems, so they said, that Three Hill Canyon was not as deserted as they originally thought. A tiny settlement of Indians dwelt along the banks of the stream, but these were unlike any natives the men had ever seen. They wore only scraps of clothing, carried large masks carved from wood, and dwelt in small huts, but this is not what made them so strange. What struck the men stumbling into the valley was the village was made up primarily of the elderly, woman, and children. For reasons they could only speculate, the men of the village that may have provided any protection were gone, nor was there any sign of them. The reactions given to the interloping outlaws varied: from the small children, curiosity; from the young women, fearful concern; from the old men, passive acceptance. The story ended with the two outlaws deciding to go back and make the report to camp, while the other two, seeing an undefended settlement vulnerable to whatever violent whims they could muster, opted to stay behind and amuse themselves for a while.
Upon hearing the news, Jake was outraged. Gearing up and ordering several men to follow, he followed the paths to where the village was reported. The entire story seemed fishy, and months of living on the run had made him paranoid to the point that he suspected it might have been a trap. At any rate, the thought of his men exploiting helpless savages on the eve of a dangerous bank heist was just stupid. When he arrived on the scene, he found a group of the wizened elders huddled in a semi-circle in front of a small hut illuminated by a fire within. Guessing his men had something to do with it, he pushed through the crowd, hearing noises of what was carrying on inside. His guts churning, he burst through the leather curtain of a door as meanwhile the men that accompanied him pushed the crowd of aged men apart to make a clear space.
What Jake saw inside made him sick, then hot with anger. Grabbing both men by the hair, disentangling them from two sobbing young girls, he pulled them out to throw their sprawling bodies onto the dirt. There, in front of his cringing followers and solemn Indian chiefs, he beat both men bloody, black and blue. He then dragged them to the edge of the village, finally aided by his cohorts, to let them flee naked through the woods, perhaps to survive, perhaps not. Finally Jake swore that if he saw either of them again they would not survive the encounter. As Jake stormed back through the village, out in the direction of his camp, he received only somber stares from the old men, searching him with wide, watery eyes. They made no attempt to speak, and neither did Jake as he departed.
One of the two men beaten and humiliated was never seen again. The other, who had surprising fortitude and a vindictive streak, made it to Ferguson City before dawn.
At about 11 AM the next day, a late start thanks to last night’s ruckus, four men charged into the middle of town on galloping horses, firing shots haphazardly into the air, rushing toward the vicinity of the bank. Before reaching their destination, however, they halted their mounts, hopped off and jumped for cover in a few designated safe spots, and waited for law enforcement and the like to rush out in response so they could be picked off by sharp-shooters already stationed around town who had arrived quietly nearly an hour before. No one showed up. One of the men who had led the initial charge, who was dressed head to toe in black leather, stood up and looked frantically about, surveying the scene through mismatched eyes. No sheriffs or officers of any kind made themselves known, nor had barely any townsfolk appeared. He could see a few worried glances on the other side of windows looking back at him before hiding away, but otherwise Ferguson City was quiet as the grave.
Jake had no time to consider the strange reaction, or lack thereof. Instead he barked out orders, rounding up the other three who had rode with him, and feeling secure that his gunmen were still keeping watch around him, he headed toward the bank. With a bit of foresight, he had one of his henchmen bust inside the door and lead the way in, but no spray of bullets welcomed them, convincing Jake it was not a set up. Inside the men found frightened employees who readily obeyed orders at the barrel of a gun, and monies were transferred into gunnysacks. Two gang members strained to lift either side of a small, black, metal safe out to the front room. As planned they would do their best to crack it open, time permitting, or find some way of taking it with them.
Minutes ticked by, and Jake supervised as two of his desperadoes worked at the safe’s lock and a third man kept watch by the door. A growing sense of apprehension caused the hairs at his neck to stand up straight. He dismissed the sensation, up until the cracks of gunfire broke out behind him in the distance, the rifling shot of one of his shooters positioned in town, amidst shouts of surprise and anger. Carefully taking cover at the doorway’s arch, Jake peered as best he could outside to find out what was going on, and eventually pieced it together.
The local authorities had somehow known where his sharpshooters were placed. Quietly they had gotten the drop on two of them, but one had gotten the better of his attacker, and now yelled out to the rest what had happened. As this seemingly small snafu was dealt with, shouts from the edge of town relayed a grim message from the gang’s furthest lookout: a force of approximately thirty men were riding into town, already blocking off the way they had come, deliberate and menacing. Jake concluded it was time to get the hell out of Ferguson.
What followed that day became an epic battle between outlaw and lawman, a desperate confrontation whose sides principally differed on whether or not a man wore a mask over his face or a star on his shirt. Although outnumbered 3 to 1, Jake’s pre-positioned gunners provided cover while they found a place to make a stand, and for a while those few on the rooftops could shout messages of where their attackers were coming from to the Morgan Gang’s advantage. Shots rang past noon, but the hastily assembled posse representing Texas justice had the advantage; to survive the day the bandits had to get out of town, so all they had to do was hold the line.
An hour into the standoff and Jake was desperate. He knew they had been betrayed, the culprit probably being one of the sick excuses for a man he had expelled from the gang the night before, and Jake cursed for not having ended their lives then and there. Running out of ammo, he realized it was only a matter of time until they were all taken out. A gun in each hand, he dashed out from cover and made it to a horse belonging to one of his men, his own black steed having been killed in crossfire. Leaping into the saddle and making a break for it, he trusted in his aim and remaining sharp eye to shoot at whatever guns he saw pointed his way before they shot him first. In a last show of loyalty, one of his sharpshooters above kept his rifle trained on the fleeing desperado, covering for his leader at the risk of his own exposure, finally receiving a bullet in the back for his bravery.
By the evening Jake had made it to the edge of the woods outside of town, having traveled the long way around to shake off the pursuers that had initially followed. Deciding that no roads were safe, but not wanting to abandon the horse, he dismounted and led the beast into the forest, where for the next day and a half he would travel cautiously between fits of a few minutes sleep and treating wounds. His plan was to check out the camp and, if no one was there waiting in ambush, pick up his supplies and make a getaway.
Two days after the fateful ride into Ferguson City, Jake quietly walked in on the deserted camp. Watching and scouting the place since the night before, he was confident enough to approach the area and now made his way in. While searching the sight and its meager provisions, a thought occurred to him, and leaving the horse tied up he headed in the direction of the Indian settlement his men had found days before. In his current state of affairs Jake sought to strong-arm the defenseless natives into giving him food and possibly even shelter. Instead he ended up muttering and cursing for lost time as, upon climbing down the valley and following the stream, he found the village empty.
Slowly back up the rocks, slowly back through the woods and to the camp, Jake began to untie the horse just before a shot whizzed by and blew a chunk of bark out of the nearby tree. Scrambling up the startled animal, he dug his heels and immediately fled with more shots sailing past. Deep down Jake already knew this was the end. Riding out from the camp in one direction, he ran right into another group of men jumping out from behind trees, firing guns to down the wanted criminal. Yanking reigns and dashing another way, another face appeared, and although the image was blocked by a rifle leveled his way Jake recognized one of the men who had fought his gang in Ferguson City. Another direction and more men appeared, taking aim. With only one avenue available to him, which in Jake’s better moments he would have realized was toward the valley, he urged the horse about. A sudden blast of hot pain burst into his back. Two more followed, flying through his shoulder, and then again along his lower back, causing him to slump forward and grab at the horse’s mane to prevent falling off.
His vision blurred. Trees rushed by in a growing haze of white, the sun’s beams appearing brighter as he moved swiftly past. Behind him there was shouting and yelling, incoherent yelps of excitement from those whose shots had hit their target. Frightened out of its mind, the horse charged with speed, its way becoming easier, which Jake noticed as well; the path was becoming steadier, the trees were sparser. In a last moment of clarity, lifting his head to see between the horse’s ears, he realized this was because there was no more forest in front of them, only empty air and sky and the big bright sun. For a moment Jake reflected, as his horse’s hooves stopped beating the ground and flailed wildly in the air, that his pursuers could not follow him off a cliff, and so he would be safe. On the way down, though, with the ground rushing up to meet him, he felt something was wrong with that assessment. He did not have enough time to figure out what it was.
Minutes later a group of men stood over the same cliff, looking down into a rocky gulch where Dead Eye Jake, a.k.a. Charles Morgan, had fell. Splattered horse parts paved the area, but from their vantage they could barely see the body. Eventually they climbed down safer slopes, but to their chagrin they found the path to where he had fallen was blocked off by dangerous rock formations and the threat of a rockslide. After searching as much as they could, they proceeded back to town, and a few days later convinced all parties concerned that Charles Morgan was dead and gone. Indeed, every one of them was emphatic on this point; especially since it was the only way they could collect their reward money. The conclusion remained valid, however, as the legendary outlaw was never seen again, and no crimes were ever again attributed to his name.
Jake dreamed. He saw the Indians, or silhouettes of them, standing over him, mumbling quietly in an incoherent tongue. The sky was dark, but they were the sky, looking down from the heavens and shaking their head. He tried to make sense of their words, but he was dead, so he could barely hear them. It lasted forever.
And then one day he awoke. He sat up, blinking in the sunlight, laid out on a dusty, rocky patch of ground at the foot of a cliff, looking out over a green, unspoiled valley of fields and trees. After examining himself he found he was completely without injury, although his vest had two holes in the back and two along his shoulder. Even his hat had somehow survived the fall. Jake stayed in that spot for a long time, standing, looking up, and inspecting the sky and the cliff and the ground. His horse was nowhere to be seen. Confused, but happy to learn he was invincible, he climbed out of the gulch.
Six days later a dispatch arrived for the offices of Freedom Corps in Paragon City, RI. According to authorities of Archer County in Texas, a costumed criminal calling himself Dead Eye Jake had been captured by Archer City police and was now being detained. His crimes included attacking several civilians, robbery, and resisting arrest while held up in a gun shop until being flushed out by a SWAT team. Moreover, though at times appearing rational, he seemed generally confused and spoke like it was a hundred years ago. Finally, strange reports of unusual activity from the suspect prompted them to call for the experts of Paragon. In short order, a few Longbow Guardians and a specialist from MAGI flew in to the Texas town and, after moving through the proper channels, were able to observe the crazy man in question.
It was an open-and-shut case. The Longbow officers confirmed the classic telltale signs of super villain dementia that caused these deranged individuals to dress up as antisocial archetypes and adopt their mannerisms, thus liberating them from society’s laws. The representative from MAGI, a low-level sorceress, could detect the faint whiff of supernatural emanations radiating from the bandit’s person. According to regulation, they took official custody of “Dead Eye Jake” who soon found himself on a secure transport to the facility designed to hold such bizarre criminal elements, Zigursky Penitentiary.
Life in the Big Zig was not so bad for Jake. After a few prison brawls gained him the respect he needed, he was able to converse with fellow inmates and learn all about the strange new world he lived in. In time the other prisoners enjoyed volunteering information to him, as explaining the wonders of the modern age made them feel smart rather than the uneducated losers most of them were. In turn Jake told unbelievable stories of being an outlaw in the Old West, and with such vivid detail and conviction to enthrall his convict audience.
By the time Arachnos showed up offering him a way out, he was ready to go. With plans to strike it big in what he now knew was the “future” he flew out of the Zig, toward the Rogue Isles, and once more into history.
So what ever became of Dead Eye Jake? These days the Rogue Isles are his playground. He has traveled to every one of them as well as alternate dimensions, the netherworld, the past, the future, and every bank in Paragon City. His new running buddies, the Dead Eye Gang, have battled street gangs and international terrorists alike, and have sent more than one well-known super hero limping home to lick their wounds. He has made friends, and he has made enemies, but most importantly, Dead Eye Jake has made a whole lot of money.
Final Note: To this day Jake has never quite figured out how, or if, he died, and if so, how he came back to life more than a hundred years into the future. His only clue to the truth first came when he visited a deplorable piece of real estate known as Bloody Bay and saw what he thought to be the same mysterious Indians he saw in Three Hill Valley, only twisted and sinister. These people, he learned, were called the Banished Pantheon, named after the exiled gods they served. He found more skirting along the shores of Potter’s Field in Sharkhead Island. That they could raise the dead and hold dominion over them seemed like no coincidence. Investigating further he could only find out that much more of them inhabited places in Paragon City, but beyond that he could learn nothing. Whether or not they are at all related to his plight remains unknown.
The Dead Eye Gang
For information on the Villain Group see the Dead Eye Gang.
During his stay in Ziggursky prison, Jake's flamboyant style, commanding presence, and crazy stories attracted the attention of several fellow inmates. These consisted of young street punks whose own attempts at crime in Paragon City had ended in dismal failure. Teaming up with Jake, they too enjoy the dangerous lifestyle of a criminal posse like the Morgan Gang before it.
After arriving in the Rogue Isles, goons of a higher class have come to associate themselves with the gunslinger, forming the elite cadre commonly referred to as the Dead Eye Gang. Of these select few, Jake has bestowed professional trade names on them in honor of famous outlaws from his own time.
Curly Bill: Named after William Brocious (1845-1882), Bill was carried in tow when Jake escaped from the Zig. He emulates his hero with a pair of colt pistol revolvers. Bill's reckless fighting style and tendency to run up and confront enemies twice his size often forces Jake to cry out the warning "Billy, don't be a hero!”
Lame Johnny: Styled after the nickname of Cornelius Donahue (1850-1878), Johnny met Jake in jail and was able to join up with him shortly after his mentor reached Mercy Island. His style mimics Bill's.
Apache Kid: Insisting on coming up with his own nickname, the Kid can charitably be described as mentally unstable. He also expedited his own release from the Zig after pledging his loyalty to Jake in jail, and found him in the Rogue Isles soon afterward. He has a knack for incendiary devices and explosives. His fighting style makes Bill seem timid, which is why he is always injured the most.
Arkansas Tom: Coming into contact with Jake well after his arrival to the Rogue Isles, Tom was a professional hit man. Tired of working odd jobs for the Family and desiring fame and fortune, he hooked up with Jake as a machine-gun-carrying enforcer. He was named after Roy Daugherty (1871-1924).
Texas Jack: Owing his nickname to one Nathaniel Reed (1862-1950), Jack was also on his way to becoming a skilled gun for the Family, but was deterred when the gang war broke out over Port Oakes. Choosing to get out of the game before taking sides with either the Marcones or the Mooks, the Dead Eye Gang offered a third alternative.
Big Nose George: The strongman of the gang, named after George Curry (1864-1900), Big Nose met up with Jake later on and proved himself to be a valuable asset. George uses no weapons aside from his scary brute strength, and seems to be impervious to pain. Whether or not his abilities come naturally, or are the results of illegal drugs like Superadine, is unknown.
Many more reserves answer the call of Dead Eye Jake, though their fighting skills and strengths are negligible. Still, they are sometimes useful when Jake wants to overwhelm a force with superior numbers, and it keeps the gang on their toes to know any one of them can be replaced.
Even seeming underpowered compared to his megalomaniac peers, Jake's skills and experience as an outlaw have made him a formidable force in the Rogue Isles, enough to let him make his mark in Spider City.
Dead Eye Jake possesses a unique connection to the forces of the netherworld as a result of his unusual experiences. He hardly understands them, and to a certain extent ignores them, but over time he has come to hone in upon and master certain techniques. These powers stem from an unknown source of which Jake has been able to tap. Although reluctantly at first, over time Jake has reached deeper and deeper into himself to produce strange effects by mysterious means. These include the ability to siphon life energy from enemies to distribute among himself and others, the ability to induce an irrational fear in his targets, the ability to petrify his targets with merely a stare, and being able to cloak himself and others in a layer of murky darkness.
These powers finally seemed to culminate when Jake, in a rare fit of experimentation, summoned a sentient servant from the void, which has since then become an ominous addition to his gang. The true nature of this apparition represents a sinister reminder from Jake's past.
Some aspect of these powers would also seem to account for Jake’s nearly superhuman constitution, which has endured even after extraordinary damage, contributing to his survival from multiple bullet wounds, explosions, extreme temperatures, etc.
When he started working for the infamous Ghost Widow, Jake began to display a few more dark abilities under the tutelage of the deceased Arachnos assassin. He has neglected some of these talents, however, preferring modern equipment.
Jake is a superb marksman, favoring twin pistol revolvers. Jake’s fortitude and charisma have made him the unquestioned leader of a group of criminals called the “Dead Eye Gang”. These streetwise punks have become an integral part of his escapades. They can usually take Jake’s direction without so much as a word. Finally, Jake has a keen tactical mind and is usually good for coming up with one or two effective battle plans when things get rough.
His traditional outlaw outfit consisting of a cowboy hat, bandit’s mask, buckled leather, vest, gloves, leather pants, and cowboy boots, all in black, has most commonly identified Jake. Usually he substitutes the vest for a long black trench coat. He has worn other notable outfits in the past, including the embarrassing cowboy outfit of sparkling red, white, and blue. An ensemble inspired by Malta gunslingers, consisting of a heavy military vest over a layer of Kevlar body armor, is sometimes used in the most dangerous of situations. He sometimes wears more casual clothing or different colors to better blend in with his gang.
For years Jake's weapon of choice has not altered much from when he terrorized Texan towns in the Old West. Thus he has often drawn a pair of six-shooters.
However, Jake is not averse to upgrading his equipment, and has long envied the efficiency of some Arachnos weaponry. While becoming proficient with a customized assault rifle, the bandit had one of his men, a powerful young mutant formerly a member of the Dead Eye Gang named Anton Bradley, steal a Crab Spider backpack from an Arachnos armory. Since that time Jake has practiced with the massive set of mechanical arms strapped to his back, and has been using funds from his heists to purchase and customize a more powerful arsenal.
Finally, over the years, throughout a number of exploits and criminal endeavors, Jake has amassed a large cache of weapons and gear, including various rifles, personal shielding devices, stealth equipment, and even magical charms. Sometimes jet-powered backpacks are used to get him places he needs to go.
Despite some of the strange abilities acquired by Dead Eye Jake from beyond the grave, his body is very much a thing of flesh and bone, entirely human. He can sustain injury and presumably will die without proper medical treatment.
Jake’s most obvious limitation when compared to most of the other super-powered criminals of the Rogue Isles was that he had no way to help him travel long distances in a short time, as by flying or running at super speeds, on his own. He has gathered some devices to help him keep up.
By the late 1800's Dead Eye Jake had been a member of several outlaw gangs. This finally included the Morgan Gang, named after Jake's alias Charles Morgan, of which Jake was designated leader. The gang officially dissolved when law officers killed all its members. Since then he has sometimes been a part of other social circles.
After living in the Rogue Isles for about a year Jake became a member of an organization known as the Sadists Blades. Although he befriended several of its members, he found the group lacking direction, and he himself had become disillusioned with the life of an outlaw within the strictures of Arachnos dominion. Jake resigned from the group and disappeared for many months.
Jake would ride again, however, and after enjoying the independence of leading the Dead Eye Gang through many madcap adventures he finally joined what was then a small but growing group called the Dread Aces. His motivation for joining stemmed mainly from his friendship with several of the group's principal members, particularly the leader, the notorious Crimson Cutlass. For a long time Jake was pleased with these circumstances, and fought alongside his fellow Aces through various trials and tribulations. At one time even awarded the rank of "Captain" among the would-be sky pirates, Jake was happy to fight for something other than himself for a while.
However, after remaining a member for about a year, Jake became dissatisfied with his place in things. Feeling out of touch with a general sense of camaraderie from the now sizable organization, the outlaw soon found himself at odds with several of its members, even long-time friends. Furthermore, his relationship with the Crimson Cutlass had deteriorated. After lingering for some time, he finally came to the decision of leaving the Dread Aces on reasonably good terms.
Some time later, Jake began the task of expanding and building the Dead Eye Gang, a band of Rogue Isle outlaws. For a time he also joined the ranks of the Empyrean Mandate, though his time in the group was short-lived. However, after watching his Gang grow to include many colorful members, Jake made the decision to officially retire. While remaining on as a respected, honorary member of the group, he no longer considered himself to be in active service. Passing on the torch of leadership to former ex-member Calamity Blaze, and then to Webmaster Grave, he watched as others attempted to fill his shoes and make their own admirable efforts at mustering the gang's forces. However, apathy and disinterest seemed to set in by then, and Jake perceived the group was on its last legs. Mercifully, the outlaw closed shop for good, officially removing everyone else from the Gang roster. The question of whether the Dead Eye Gang will ride again, or if Jake will simply horde his money in the mansion that was their old headquarters, remains to be seen.
The Friendly Skies
Much of Jake's past social circle consisted entirely of Ace members. He still considers himself to be on good terms with some, even if they rarely meet anymore.
Jet Nitro: Trans-dimensional warrior and founding member of the Aces, Jake considers her a dear friend. Jake trusts Jet as a source of good advice, and she was largely responsible for his training in battling metahuman enemies.
Precious Bounty: The pretty pirate Amelia, another early member of the Aces, is considered by Jake to be the nicest person he knows. Her loyalty to her friends and pleasant, witty demeanor makes her a joy to be around. She no longer appears to reside in the Isles.
RageBrood: A good friend from the old days, Jake was happy to hear through the grapevine that the shape shifting terror returned. Jake has fond memories of the man, like when he stood up for Jake when no else would, or the time bludgeoning Rage on the back of the head with a pistol helped to save his life.
Colleagues and Cohorts
Although not always easy to get along with, Jake has made a few friends on his own in the hostile world of the Rogue Isles. For a long while Jake never use to befriend any of the superhero population of Paragon City, viewing such people as his enemies whose sole purpose was to throw him in jail. However, on occasion, this rule has been bent. This truce mainly extends while occupying the interdimensional nightclub, Pocket D. Outside of the bar Jake has no illusions about who his friends and enemies are.
Delinquent Behavior: Jake knows this woman as Ms. Spectra of the Last Bastion, a safe house situated in the Rogue Isles for various persons including young children. The two seem to have developed respect for one another, and Jake considers her a trustworthy individual despite her Paragon connections. Although one time committing the efforts of his criminal gang to helping out her charges, Jake has not heard or seen the woman in a very long time, leaving him to doubt if his friend still exists.
Nujiru: The ninja master of assassins who stalks the islands today is in fact related to a man Jake knew back in the Old West. Jake's association and friendship to Nujiru Hanzo has been carried over to his descendant, Nujiru Yosho. Nujiru is usually more than willing to perform any number of dangerous services for the outlaw, for the right price.
Thag Zhug: The outlaw likes this giant orange ogre man from down under, as the two share a similar boisterous sense of humor. Thag is also easy-going enough that Jake is able to get along with him, so much so that Jake even gifted him with a stylish black cowboy hat on his last birthday. Ironically, Jake still hopes to meet up with Thag during one of his criminal escapades, anticipating an epic battle with the powerful Ogre Crusader.
During its heyday, many unusual but loyal characters earned the right to call themselves outlaws in the Dead Eye Gang. Although Jake eventually cast their fates to the wind, the possibility exists that, when needed, he might one day call upon their violent services again.
Dizzy Willis: One of the last members of the Gang, "Diz" (as Jake refers to him) appears as a typical zombie capable of summoning the undead to fight. His outfits reflect an Old Western feel, though this may be an aesthetic choice and not having anything to do with his origins. Though sometimes appearing naive in a City of Villains, Jake considers him trustworthy.
Ghostslinger: Ruby is a woman who seems to share a similar history with the gunman, and so it may be only natural that she ended up in the Dead Eye Gang. It has yet to be explored if the details of her past might shed any light on the mystery of Jake's origins as well.
Webmaster Grave: This former Arachnos agent became a reliable addition to the Gang, despite concerns over the bounty on his head. Jake thinks of him as a young buck, headstrong yet capable, liable to charge into battle with crab guns blazing. Always respectful to the outlaw, Jake learned that Grave's loyalty might be hereditary, as records indicate that he is a descendant of a member of the old Morgan Gang. So impressed with his dedication and leadership abilities, Jake appointed Mazzo to the role of boss in the Dead Eye Gang, and was the last official leader of the notorious band of outlaws carrying his namesake.
Wild Bunch Rose: Not much is known about this woman except that she exhibits some of the supernatural powers demonstrated by Jake himself, as well as possessing a quaint way of speaking. However, she is also street-smart and practical, making the only thing certain about her is that she was a loyal outlaw of the Gang, although she has the tendency to get under Jake's nerves.
It’s hard to believe an ugly, rustic, barely intelligible old crook with a bad eye could be involved with many women, but somehow Jake has managed.
Blazemane: This scorching female's temper is way hotter than any flame her body can produce, yet she found a warm spot in the outlaw's heart. Somehow able to weather the storm of her emotions on a daily basis, Jake seemed to enjoy her torrential nature, or at least endured it well. However, she has not been seen for some time, prompting Jake to conclude she has left the Rogue Isles for good.
Crimson Cutlass: The Commander of the Dread Aces, Jake's former boss, and long-time friend. No doubt Jake considers his past relationship with Sierra Hawthorne his most significant since coming to live on the Isles, but the romantic part of that relationship seems to have died a long time ago. Although a source of bittersweet memories for the outlaw, he still trusts the Cutlass implicitly, and reserves a certain place in his heart for her. Besides which, she still owes him on their bet.
Inferno Flux: This mutant firebrand was one of the very first superheroes Jake might have counted as a friend. He enjoyed her company until they had a falling out which Jake attributed to her welshing out on a dare. They were able to meet up again many months later, where they renewed their friendship. After making an effort to see much more of each other Jake once again met up with other interesting people through his relationship with Eloise. Unfortunately since then she seems to have disappeared completely.
Miss Jasmine: Jake shared a brief but passionate affair with this telepathic woman a long time ago, but considered the matter over when she chose to leave the Rogue Isles to live a life in Paragon City. Thus Jake was naturally very surprised when she contacted his mind again, not as a psychic, but as a ghost. Learning of her death from the deceased herself, she explained her spirit had somehow bonded to him. Jasmine has since returned to the realm of the living. Currently they live apart.
Naomi Briggs: Jake first met this woman when she was a brunette, having earned her attention with his fighting prowess in the arena. Much later, she returned as a blonde and began sharing in different parts of his life. Although not seen often, she served as a part-time member of his Gang for a short while. Their romance was brief.
Aside from law enforcement agencies like the PPD, Longbow, Wyvern, and the superhero community in general, Jake has few long-standing enemies, preferring to solve most disputes immediately and definitively.
Queen Xena: Jake has not formally declared war on the race of alien survivors, but he has had hostile dealings with the Vegan queen. Although he could never trust her again, he still considers her attractive.
For a more complete list of works see Dead Eye Jake Poetry.
As hard as it is to believe, the hardened gunman has an affinity for poetry. While first starting as a joke, he would sometimes amuse members of the Morgan Gang with short, witty stanzas in the style of notorious outlaw Black Bart, one of Jake's contemporaries whom he admired. He eventually found the activity a soothing diversion when camping in the woods or on a lonely trail outside of town, recalling memories of simpler times on a farm in Alabama.
Since arriving in the Rogue Isles Jake has sometimes renewed his old interest, taking time to jot a few lines down when the mood strikes him. He once had the idea to write a ditty about each one of the islands he visited, but only got as far as the very first when he wrote:
"On Mercy Island I killed a lot
of Snakes that were offendin'.
My reasons why? Well here's a thought:
My boots they need a mendin'."
Later in his career Jake developed a melancholy stance on his life as a Rogue Isle villain. Reminded of the freedom he lost living in his own time, replaced by the strict, domineering rule of Arachnos that permeated all parts of his new home, he penned the following lines, which thereafter became his creed and one of his most favorite written works:
"The outlaw's life is rife with strife.
Like a horse without a rider
No longer vogue to live a Rogue
In the shadow of the Spider."
Jake has sometimes used a bank robbery as an opportunity show off his abilities not just as a gunman, but as a wordsmith. Paragon City police are sometimes baffled upon finding vaults empty save for bits of paper bearing the outlaw's work. Jake's favorite among these is the following:
"The government forced my contribution
when tax dollars it did take.,
Consider this my retribution
compliments of Dead Eye Jake."
Million Dollar Challenge
For a more information see the Official Fight Record.
Jake has spent the majority of his life experiencing some form of combat. In recent times this has become a source of pride and amusement for him. Battling opponents in the sanctioned arena system situated throughout the Rogue Isles, Paragon City, and Pocket D provide him entertainment and a chance to demonstrate his fighting savvy. Though sometimes these engagements are personal or fought with a purpose, Jake just takes a natural pleasure in beating people to a pulp.
Some have argued that Jake "cheats" by using members of his personal Dead Eye Gang to help him fight. These people fail to realize, or prefer not to, that this option is entirely available to the outlaw according to the official rules of the arena. Of course, Jake never complains when his opponents use an army of killer robots, have super strength, stab him with swords, fly, shoot lasers, throw fireballs, or any of the things he is unable to do.
Many fights have been pivotal turning points in the story of Jake's life. However, a more lighthearted affair is the "Dead Eye Jake Million Dollar Bonanza Challenge", an eclectic event open to anyone who wants to win millions in prize money. Facing all comers, Jake chooses the match, offering cash if defeated. To date Jake has had to pay out only twice, winning the grand majority of his bouts. Listed here is a sampling of those fight results.
|22||2/08/09||Zombie Boy||50 Scrapper||Win||10:00||This brave Paragonian tried to win Jake's money by battling him in the "Tech Lab" area. Though he wielded his machete mightily, he proved to be no challenge for the outlaw. Even when toying with him Jake secured victory, at 7-0.|
|23||2/16/09||Patty-Sue Ivanova||50 Controller||Win||10:00||This young lady, consumed by some kind of bright purple flame, approached Jake after he made his challenge, stating that DJ Zero asked him to stop using the PA system. Jake told her what part of his anatomy DJ Zero could smooch, so she offered to fight him. Despite her size and gender, Jake gave no quarter to the heroine, scoring an easy 10-0 win in the bowels of the "Cargo Ship". After the fight she said Jake could continue to use the speaker system if he wanted.|
|31||3/04/09||Legionbreaker||50 Brute||Win||10:00||A man sporting armor similiar to a Roman answered Jake's challenge, though he freely admitted beforehand he probably had little chance of victory. Jake proved his doubts in "Perez Park" where after his foe was kind enough to wait and let him prepare for combat, the gang systematically destroyed him. Throughout the fight's banter the man revealed he was a demon, though Jake insisted he worked at making pizzas. Jake won 7-0.|
|32||3/04/09||Giordano Boys||50 Mastermind||Win||10:00||A genuine Italian restaurant owner accepted Jake's challenge, the ante of which was upped to 3 million, with the condition that if Jake won he would be served free meals for life (offer not good for his gang members). Outlaws and gangsters clashed in the muddy waters of "Perez Park" until Jake's men took the upper hand, felling the mafia crime lord. Jake punctuated his victory with 2 more knockouts, the final score coming to 3-0 in his favor. Afterward Jake was assured he would get his free dinners whenever he stopped by the Port Oakes eatery.|
|37||7/22/09||Wild Childs||50 Stalker||Win||10:00||After losing a bout with boredom, Jake reinstated his challenge months later. The first and only participant to answer his call at the time was a feisty she-tiger. Fighting in the over-sized battleground of Skyway City, the combatants eventually found each other so that in less than a span of ten minutes Jake and company could defeat his foe, 4-0. Afterwards Jake had another business proposition for the woman, but she was not interested.|
|38||7/22/09||Redoubtable||50 Tanker||Win||10:00||Trying to generate competition, Jake went on a limb and offered to give away the cash prize to anyone able to score a single knockout against him. The only one to answer the call was shield-wielding warrior. Although Jake warned him that due to the special circumstance of the fight that he would go all out, there was some dispute on whether or not Jake was stacking the deck at the battle kiosk. Regardless, the challenger and the gang fought it out in Perez Park, where Jake scored the first knockout. Although it was almost tied in the end, his opponent failed to beat him or the clock, securing the outlaw's victory at 1-0.|
Tales of the Gun
Jake has had many adventures, some of which remain largely unknown. Some have helped shape his life in different ways, while others are best left forgotten. While some are now documented, Jake's colorful life will always produce more.
A job to steal a valuable object from Ouroboros blows up in Jake's face when he is betrayed. What follows is a portal-hopping train ride spanning multiple dimensions and worlds, culminating in a final deadly showdown.
Part I: House of M: Jake ends up in a parallel universe controlled by his oldest and greatest enemy.
Part II: Maximum Jakeage: Jake bounces from world to world trying to get back home.
Part III: World War Jake: The final battle takes place while the true manipulator of events waits in the wings.
The unfinished sequel in which the origin and plans of the Quantum Reaper are at last known, sending Jake back to the time of his youth to confront a rogue Mender. Mysteries of the past are revealed that will change Jake's world forever.
For a more complete list see the Alternate versions of Dead Eye Jake.
By the time of his death, the man known as Dead Eye Jake had already lived under three different identities. Today, living in a place where costumed avengers hide their real identities, where portals to whole other worlds are opened via magic or technological means, and even time travel is available to those entrusted with the secret, its no wonder that other forms of the bandit might exist. Listed here are only a few of those that are known, picked from the myriad of infinite possibilities existing in this world and others.
Dead Man James: A resident of the dimension commonly referred to as the Inverse, Dead Man James is the closest thing to being Dead Eye Jake's counterpart there, though he also possesses qualities of the Crimson Cutlass. A famous pirate of the 1600's, Captain James Morrigan sought to evade pursuing British ships by entering the region of sea known as the Bermuda Triangle, only to be lost in the mists of time. He and his ship returned several hundreds of years later, attempting an ill-fated raid off the costs of the Paragon Isles, only to be captured by the heroic forces of Freedom's Web. He escaped from the island prison known as the Zig through the efforts of a coordinated assault by the States-Lord's Pantheon led by the modern pirate Captain Cor. He and other prisoners were given free passage to Etoile, Rhode Island, better known as the Rogue City. Dead Man James remains a threat to this day as a skilled swordsman possessing supernatural powers, at times partnering with the notorious Ruby Revolver.
Snake Eye Jake: In one alternate reality, the Snakes of Mercy Island proved far more powerful than anyone could imagine. Orchestrating a masterful attack on Fort Darwin following a massive influx of Ziggursky Prison escapees, the reptiles passed on their traits to a slew of Destined Ones with their cursed bite. Those affected became saurian hybrids and rose in power beyond all others, taking over the Rogue Isles and threatening the world. Among those bitten was the outlaw, who then changed his name to Snake Eye Jake, who was given the ability to spew toxic venom at his foes. Likewise his personality became as acerbic as his spit, creating a far more cruel and sinister version of the bandit.
Zombie Jake: Zombie Jake, also known as "Dead Man Jake," hails from an alternate reality sometimes referred to as the Mu'niverse. Summoned to life by the Banished Pantheon cult, he was given as a gift to a mystic ninja master as part of a secret alliance, where he served as an undead manservant and a member of the Damned Aces. The typical brainless zombie, he possessed only rudimentary intelligence while feeding on the flesh of the living. He survived the cataclysmic destruction of his world only to appear later during the climax of the Infinite Jake Crises where he finally perished.
- Jake hates being referred to as a cowboy, which almost everyone inevitably does when they first meet him.
- Jake's damaged eye came as a result of a simple accident that occurred while camping in the woods. Later he claimed that the scar came from a hatchet thrown at him by an Apache Indian chief he fought to the death.
- Jake use to live in a honeymoon suite above a casino, free of charge. However, his room was destroyed during the second Rikti invasion. He now resides in a mansion in Villa Requin that served as the Dead Eye Gang's headquarters.
- Theme songs that best compliment Jake include "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" by Gene Pitney, "Black Wings" by Tom Waits, and "Patches" by Clarence Carter, which inspired the story of Jake's early years.