The 1977 Gang War
The Gang War that erupted in January 1977 in Astro City involved most of the cities major crimelords fighting one another.
There was already all sorts of infighting between rival mobs and not to mention dealing with super powered beings. In the previous years before the Scarpelli Mob and Forgione Mob had been shattered and splintered elsewhere, leaving power vacuums. The Ace had recently died. And in October of 1976, Jack-in-the-Box busted up Seven organized crime leaders. By December 1976, it was really starting to heat up.
Mob Leaders Involved
Start of warfare
The quest for power was everywhere, with the mobs starting to really step on one another's toes. Bamboo was mainly centered in Fujitani Bay, Braintrust in the City Center area, Tommy Gunn in the former Forgione territory and Joey Platypus working out of the Sweatshop.
The crime bosses all used their own "special forces" too. Bamboo used ninjas and marital arists. Gunn employed his Gunbirds, while The Deuce had The Shaders and Braintrust The Dominos, while Joey Platypus seemed to be without a specialized group. Gunn's crew hitting one of Platypus' casinos set him off to call his friends from Chicago; Pyramid.
Pyramid was the secret backer of Platypus, and his top lieutenant Deke MacManus, in Astro City. They decided to sent help in the form of Jitterjack the Divided Man, a superpowered killing machine.
By January 1977, the war was in full swing, with all the powers going after one another. The rise of the darker vigilantes in Astro City helped the fighting roll right along.
Hellhound had a vendetta against Braintrust and helped to wreck his network. The Jade Dragons were out to avenge their father's death. "Energy" Brown and Black Velvet had it out for the men responsible for turning them into the super-powered beings they were.
Black Velvet, was particularly nasty, using her darkness powers to one by one gain revenge on the men who transformed her. She even turned the Street Angel into a hardened vigilante who used excessive force.
And when Jitterjack finally arrived, he proved his worth for Joey Platypus, decimating and killing whole squads of rival gangs and helping to intensify the fighting of the others. By one fateful evening in late January, the final battle was taking place with all of the gangs striking one at one another weakened and unsure of what moves to make.
When Black Velvet was getting close to her "employer," who had contracted her to kill Dr. Lewis Oscar Croft in Milwaukee, the renowned criminal scientist who had a hand in her creation, as well as many other of the super powered vigilantes of the day, her "employer" decided it was time for a preventive strike. When Jitterjack found her, it was revealed that it was MacManus who was her "employer" and the one responsible for her transformation. After battling Jitterjack and appearing to defeat him, she was unaware of his dual hearts and he delivered a fatal blow to her, though he himself was badly injured. But Black Velvet spilled her darkness power into the Astro City populace creating even more problems for the heroes and vigilantes. The madness and darkness that Black Velvet housed took a hold of the city. Even Hellhound transformed into a giant creature that the combined might of the heroes, could barely contain, before the Silver Agent returned to help at this "Crisis Point". The Agent was able to relieve her pain and helped to end her life, which alleviated the city's madness. The turmoil also gave MacManus the proper time to reveal himself as the true player in the igniter of the whole war and the one with the Pyramid connections. He killed Platypus and essentially had control over all of the cities organized crime syndicate.
In addition to Platypus, Tommy Gunn and the Deuce were also killed, Braintrust thought destroyed and Bamboo left town, leaving MacManus, who became known as The Deacon, control of the city, which he has held onto for 30 plus years. An by bringing in Pyramid and its agent Aubrey Jason, it would create larger problems down the road... The Deacon, along with Damon Black and Oswald "Massacre" Morton, using Dr. Croft's technologies, were some of the first prominent mob leaders, who thought to try and create their own super-powered enforcer. Though Dr. Norton Ganss had been doing it a decade before. It would serve the dual purpose of having an edge of rival gangs and someone who could go toe-to-toe with the heroes who stand in their way. The rise of the vigilantes already established and created by the mobsters, led to a continued period of distrust of heroes where people wondered, "how different they were than the actual criminals and killers?" Black Velvet had already tarnished the Street Angel with her powers and it turned Hellhound into an uncontrollable creature in which it took several years before he returned to the public light.