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Quote1 They're an extremist right-wing group, they hadn't been seen for a while. Organized, well funded, violent... They were known for attacking abortion clinics, pornographers, homosexuals... mostly moral issues. They got a lot of support, playing on people's fear. Quote2
Officer Wally Layton[src]

The Watchdogs were an extreme right-wing homegrown terrorist group who claimed to be dedicated to upholding and restoring traditional American values, and sought to impose their moral views upon others using violence, terrorist attacks, and intimidation. They opposed pornography, obscene materials, homosexuality, abortion and sex education, among other subjects, and used arson, vandalism, assault, abduction and murder as their tactics.[1]

As one of their first missions, John Walker, who had recently taken over the role of Captain America, and his partner Lemar Hoskins were sent to investigate the group. Walker inveigled his way into the group, while Hoskins posed as a pornographer. Walker felt somewhat conflicted, as many of the Watchdogs' views matched his own. The Watchdogs attempted to lynch Hoskins because of his supposed crimes, as Walker looked on, worried for his friend's safety. Due to his superhuman strength, however, Hoskins' neck muscles were strong enough for him to survive being hanged. Walker and Hoskins busted that particular local 'pack' or 'Dogpound,' though others continued to operate.[1] Soon after this, two of Walker's disgruntled former partners, the Left-Winger and the Right-Winger vindictively revealed Walker's secret identity on national television. To take revenge on Walker, the Watchdogs abducted Walker's parents to force Walker to turn himself in to them. When he did, they attempted to execute him. In the ensuing fight, Walker's parents were shot dead. Walker went berserk on seeing his parents' murder, and slaughtered those Watchdogs in attendance.[2]

Unknown to all but the Watchdogs' leader, Watchdog Prime (or 'Top Dog') and a few others, the group were actually funded by the Nazi criminal the Red Skull. The Red Skull sought to use the Watchdogs to undermine America from within.[3] Watchdog Prime acted as one of the Red Skull's division chiefs.[4] The Red Skull lured Walker and the previous Captain America Steve Rogers (then known simply as The Captain) to his headquarters, hoping they would kill each other. Also in attendance were representatives of various groups the Red Skull had a hand in - an U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. agent, a member of the Resistants, an unidentified Scourge of the Underworld, and a Watchdog among them.[3] When Rogers was later reinstated as Captain America, the Watchdogs abducted his former girlfriend Bernie Rosenthal, and Rogers and Walker (by that time known as the USAgent) rescued her, smashing the Watchdogs' Vermont pack in the process.[5]

Watchdogs (Earth-616) from Captain America Vol 1 603 001

Post-Civil War Watchdog.

In the aftermath of the Civil War and the apparent death of Steve Rogers, the Watchdogs were resurrected as a high-tech, militia-style organization made up of far-right, anti-government extremists from Boise, Idaho. The group set up base at a compound in the foothills outside the city. Three of the Watchdogs' members were sent to attack the new Captain America, James Barnes, with rocket launchers and jet-packs. When Barnes managed to defeat the trio, he asked one of them why they were fighting with him despite their patriotic ideals, to which the Watchdog responded that "he wasn't the real Captain America".[6] After Steve Rogers' return, the schizophrenic Captain America from the McCarthy era, William Burnside, travelled to Boise, his hometown, and became the leader of the Watchdogs, sharing their same beliefs in terms of "old-style American values". Burnside and the militia attracted the attention of Nick Fury, who at the time was hiding from Norman Osborn's regime. Fury sent Barnes to investigate, and Bucky managed to infiltrate the group with help from Falcon. However, Burnside recognized Barnes [7], and lured him into a trap at the Watchdogs compound. Meanwhile, the Captain America from the 50s neutralized and captured Falcon as a means to remove Vibranium components from the hero's suit, and use the metal to build an explosive device.[8] At the compound, Burnside forced Bucky to wear his old World War II uniform, threatening to kill Falcon if he didn't comply. Then, they boarded a cargo plane bound for Hoover Dam, where Burnside revealed his intentions: blow up the dam to send a message to the world, inspire other militias, and start a revolution. In the meantime, Falcon freed himself from his captors and avoided another bombing at a corporate lobbyist conference in Las Vegas, which was meant to be a diversion for the main attack at Hoover Dam. Once Bucky learned that his friend had managed to get free, he ripped off his handcuffs and engaged in a scuffle with the Watchdogs and Burnside. When Falcon finally arrived to provide back up, Burnside decided to activate the Vibranium bomb manually, claiming that he preferred to die rather than receive therapy and live in the present world thinking it was right. However, before he could pull the switch, Burnside was shot with a submachine gun by Barnes, fell in the Colorado River, and apparently died.[9] [10]

Following the defeat of the regime headed by the fascist Supreme Commander, a new iteration of the Watchdogs, whose members wore masks based on the Confederate colors, popped up and began attacking and kidnapping immigrants trying to cross the United States border. They used cloaking and teleporting technology supplied by A.I.M..[11]



The Watchdogs wore identical costumes similar to riot gear, including armored kevlar vests, and helmets with built-in visors.[1] They also carried walkie-talkies, and short-wave radios.[1] The group customarily fitted their hostages with 'dog collars' that administered an electric shock.[2]


The Watchdogs armed themselves with conventional American-manufactured handguns, shotguns, and rifles, and Army surplus explosives.[1] The Red Skull specifically denied Watchdog Prime access to exotic weaponry so that they continued to look like a "grassroots" movement.[4]


The Watchdogs used their own vehicles, usually pick-ups, vans, motorcycles, and RVs.[1]

See Also

Links and References