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Real name
Aliases
Greysuit; Spartacus
Universe

Characteristics
Gender
Hair
Status
Citizenship
Marital status
Occupation
Secret agent
Education
Élite fee-paying school
Origin
Origin
Product of brainwashing
Place of death
Smithereens
First appearance
Death

2000 AD prog 1540
2000 AD prog 2049

History

Greysuits: 1) Name used by criminals to describe secret agents working for the British security intelligence services. 2) The powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge. 3) Surfing term for sharks.

John Blake is the protagonist of Greysuit, a 2000 AD strip by Pat Mills and John Higgins which is set in the present day. He is a Delta-Class assassin working for the British government who was brainwashed into (a) having incredible superhuman powers and (b) doing exactly what he was told. The words of his conditioning pulsed in his head like a throbbing artery: "Love is a lie. Trust no one. Kill to order."

When Blake's brainwashing began to tarnish he decided to train his sights on his boss instead, but was captured and reprogrammed by the shadowy powers whose pawn he is. Then his programming wore off again because he remembered his best friend Tom killing himself at their horrible boarding school, so he decided to try and bring down the arms dealer Hugo Prince. Defensar, Prince's company, was collaborating with the British government to try and overthrow the government of Bolivaria, a country in South America.

Prince was also guilty of murdering his wife, Annabel, by hitting her over the head with a flaming log from his fireplace. This was because Annabel had been shocked and appalled to discover that the arms dealer she'd married was selling weapons, and had started a campaign against her husband's company. The murder was covered up by the British government, as Prince was too important and useful to them to go to prison. However, Blake used the alias 'Spartacus' to spread rumours about Prince's crime all over the dark web, the only part of the internet not under government control.

Blake's opportunity for revenge (it was Prince's bullying when they were at school together that had caused Tom to kill himself) came when Prince and his government friends were going on a march to celebrate Britain's victory over Napoleon hundreds of years ago. All the marchers were dressed in identical suits and bowler hats, and carrying tightly-furled umbrellas, making it easy for Blake to pretend to be one of them. He may have slipped into the crowd when they were distracted by chanting, "Victory! Boney has been beaten! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!"

Blake used a needle-tipped umbrella to inject Prince with the drug barbizole, which made him sink into a death-like coma. Prince's government friends decided not to administer the antidote to him because he had become a liability. They knew he was still alive and conscious when they buried him, as by the time his funeral arrangements had been completed the drug had worn off enough for him to move his eyelids, but they didn't care.

The final act in Blake's life was played out in Smithereens, the top-secret sea fortress where the greysuits were trained. He infiltrated the fortress by wearing a prosthetic mask of the face of Sir Giles, the government minister in charge of the greysuits, after murdering him and putting his head in a makeup artist's fridge. 'Sir Giles' persuaded Dunstan Wood, Blake's handler, to kill himself in order to make himself the scapegoat for the greysuits' crimes, which Blake had published details of on Twitter.

Wood shot himself, but Blake had replaced the bullet in his gun with a low velocity, small calibre bullet that left him paralysed and brain-damaged but not dead. Blake then raided Smithereens' armoury and started to blow the fortress up, room by room. An empath called Miranda Davis got him to come out into the open by sympathising with him about his deep-seated psychological issues. While they were talking another greysuit called Humphries, enraged that Blake had blown up the snooker hall, shot him with an automatic rifle. Blake died with a smile on his face, causing Davis to realise that his death was what he had wanted all along.

The government covered up or made excuses for all the wrongdoing that Blake had exposed. This task was made easier for them because, as Davis explained, "the public know what they have to do, what they're conditioned to do. Look the other way." Dunstan Wood spent the rest of his life unable to communicate and requiring twenty-four hour care. Davis and Humphries went out for dinner together. Smithereens remained operational.

Powers and abilities

Powers

Super-speed; can jump several times his own height; telekinesis; night vision; hearing "amplified a hundredfold"; enhanced lateral body awareness.

Abilities

Espionage and assassination; can literally punch someone's face off; can twist someone else's head through 180 degrees; can destroy a door with a single kick; can remain as still as a rock while someone else punches his face repeatedly; can throw a fully grown man through a closed window; moves very quietly; can speak Spanish; is a very convincing actor.

Strength level

Superhuman.

Weaknesses

Hot temper.

Paraphernalia

Equipment

Rubber gloves; nitrous oxide.

Transportation

4x4 (looks a bit like a Land Rover).

Weapons

Guns; needle-tipped umbrella used to inject the drug barbizole; grenades.

Notes

There are four series of Greysuit:

  • Project Monarch in 2000 AD progs 1540 to 1549
  • The Old Man of the Mountains in progs 1617 to 1624 (first part in prog 2009)
  • Prince of Darkness in progs 1900 to 1911
  • Foul Play in progs 2040 to 2049.

Trivia

To read Pat Mills' explanation of why Suits are evil, click here.

Links

Discover and Discuss

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