Simon “Plague” Crill (CORPS! K9 Recon)
Lanard’s CORPS! line, which has been around since 1986, surprisingly didn’t add any clearly labeled antagonist group until the late 2000’s. Although cats like Whispering Willie and Crowbar were Mad Max-esque types, they didn’t seem to belong to a named group. I guess they were meant to meander into your Cobra forces and blend in with the Dreadnoks. Anyway, the Marauders, a vague group of just three modern figures in the small scale (and a couple others in the 12 inch series, one named Crowbar again) showed up when the line was refreshed with specialty groups. These enemies even got their own set of vehicles (albeit repainted CORPS! rides) and also a fancy logo. I welcomed this added bit of story within the Lanard-verse. On the kids’ side, the bad guys aims weren’t spelled out exactly, leaving room for more imaginative play. It’s a refreshing change, as I sometimes think there’s too much story planning in toy lines. I know from watching my young ones that they don’t tend to stick with established packaged continuity. Not to get too geeky (too late) but I think my son has already developed his own “headcanon” for all the various series he collects.
Plague can be anyone you want him to be within the Marauders. I think he makes for a great crazed type of loose-cannon villain. Maybe it’s the dark circles around his eyes, but he looks pretty unhinged to me. This version, I believe released only overseas, includes an animal companion. Joe fans may recognize the similarity to Junkyard, which isn’t surprising considering that Lanard has liberally borrowed from Hasbro accessories in the past. Plague himself is absent so far from the newest iteration of the CORPS! villain group, named The Curse. Crill’s disappearance from the line is most likely due to the new group’s leader, a former CORPS! agent Shadow who turned bad and is now called–you guessed it–Plague. So does that name mean that this Plague was the former Marauders’ leader? Man, this is the kind of continuity torture that could keep a toy collector up at night. Thank goodness for headcanon.