Ex-CIA agent Simon Stroud becomes a special investigator for the NYPD, only to find his cases are of a supernatural nature.
As a young man, Stroud gets tapped to work for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While an agent, he works alongside Russian assassin Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, and she ends up owing him. He eventually leaves the CIA to join the NYPD.
Around the time that John Jameson failed to appear at NASA for a secret mission, the NYPD sends Stroud to investigate a werewolf’s rampages. Stroud discovers the werewolf in question has attacked Daily Bugle editor-in-chief J. Jonah Jameson. Stroud aggressively questions him. He puts two-and-two together and deduces that Jameson’s astronaut son John was the werewolf based on a tattered piece of an astronaut’s uniform that was left at the scene of the assault. He investigates John’s apartment, only to find a werewolf attacking criminals. Stroud shoots at him, but the “Man-Wolf” flees. Stroud tracks Man-Wolf to the Statue of Liberty, but the beast falls from the statue’s torch and escapes.
Determined to catch Man-Wolf, Stroud begs his lieutenant for another shot at capturing him and sets out on his mission. He follows Jameson, but Sergei Kravinoff, AKA Kraven the Hunter, intervenes. A fight follows that ends in Kraven’s capture and Man-Wolf’s arrest after he becomes human again, which also confirms Stroud’s suspicions about John’s dual identity. John eventually gives himself up to the FBI, but Man-Wolf isn’t the last creature Stroud hunts.
Handy with a Handgun
Trained in the use of deadly force, Stroud often wields a handgun and is a decent shot. He also uses his surroundings and weapons known to affect vampires, like a cross and stake, when he goes up against vampires. When he doesn’t have any weapons, he becomes the weapon, utilizing his skills in hand-to-hand combat.
Bad News Brutes
Stroud’s modus operandi becomes hunting down criminals of the supernatural sort— at least, those he suspects are criminals, such as Man-Wolf and Dr. Michael Morbius, AKA Morbius, the Living Vampire. He also goes up against Helleyes, the Owl, and mercenary-turned-undead-killer Vic Slaughter.
Stroud occasionally allies himself with some unlikely associates. This includes the monsters he hunts, such as Morbius the Living Vampire. He also becomes good friends with Black Widow while he works for the CIA. He assists her as well as Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, in taking down criminals like the Owl.
A History of Hunting Dangerous Creatures
While working with local authorities to track down a killer vampire in Boston, special investigator Stroud came to view Morbius as the prime suspect. While Morbius was busy discovering his psychological need to drink blood from living victims, Stroud tracked him down to Mason Manor, where he arrested Morbius’ accomplice Martine Bancroft for helping Morbius to escape. He got a call from the precinct notifying him that the authorities had captured a female vampire. Stroud, beyond belief, convinced himself she was one of Morbius’ victims and drove off towards the station with Martine in handcuffs.
While in custody, Martine convinced Stroud that another vampire was responsible for the killings. Full of questions, Stroud took off towards the manor to pick up Morbius’ trail. When Stroud arrived, he caught sight of Morbius and followed him. As a result, he was whisked away to Helleyes’ dimension, where he learned there are more dimensions than his own. He reluctantly teamed up with Morbius to escape. Once they returned to the manor, Stroud felt no closer to solving the murders.
With no time to rest, the pair found themselves surrounded by real vampires, whom they battled. Returning to the precinct where Martine was being held, they found her transformed into a vampire. In response, Morbius impulsively bit her, infuriating Stroud. However, Morbius’ bite turned out to be the antidote Martine needed to restore her humanity. When Stroud indicated he was ready to arrest Morbius for the murders, the Living Vampire fled through the hospital window. Stroud expressed regret to Martine that he couldn’t help Morbius find his cure and that he was on his own now.
Later, Stroud helped his old friend Black Widow by tracking down an arms deal coordinated by the Owl. Stroud ended up shot and captured, but Black Widow and her ally Spider-Man found him tied up in an estate. Stroud escaped and helped them fight back against Owl’s henchmen. As the Owl tried to flee in a hover chair, Stroud shot it down by firing at its exhaust fan.
Stroud returned to the U.S. upon learning Morbius was active again, and engaged in a battle with him; though Stroud was ultimately defeated. He hired U.S. Marine-turned-mercenary Vic Slaughter to hunt down Morbius. They laid a trap for the Living Vampire at Martine Bancroft’s grave, but an angered Morbius killed all except for Slaughter, on whom he feasted. Morbius buried Slaughter alive after breaking some of his bones.
Slaughter survived and visited his employer Stroud, who tracked Morbius down. Slaughter followed Stroud’s lead to Boston, where got shot by an Exorcist gun during a fight between Morbius and Stonecold. The following battle with the Nightstalkers and Morbius left Slaughter in pieces, which led to his mutation and transformation into a pseudo-vampiric being.
Holding Stroud indirectly responsible for his transformation, Slaughter promised to kill Stroud as soon as Morbius was dead. Stroud came face-to-face with his former associate after Slaughter tracked him down following a lucrative deal with the CIA. Morbius and Spider-Man intervened, saving Stroud and slaying Slaughter in the process.