You know how the baddies won’t just kill the good guy even when there’s a golden opportunity to do just that? Well, this has happened enough times in Daredevil history to warrant its own series of posts, starting right here. Be warned that this ride through the history of the contrived may cause headaches and nausea and may not be suitable for our more sensitive readers.
The poorly conceived plot device of having the villain not kill the hero for reasons that defy all logic was used as early as in Daredevil #2 (by Stan Lee, with pencils by Joe Orlando), an issue that seems to have been plotted out in full during a brainstorming session that might have lasted all of five minutes. Let’s analyze the situation below…
Daredevil vs Electro
Why “the kill” would be easy
Daredevil has been knocked unconscious. In Electro’s own words: “He struck his head against the giant dumbbell! He’ll be unconscious long enough for me to make sure he can never interfere with Electro again!” Electro obviously has the means and the motivation. So what’s keeping him?
Electro is clearly a megalomaniac with illusions of grandeur. He doesn’t want an easy kill, he wants to execute people in stolen space craft, wasting hundreds of gallons of rocket fuel. He wants everyone to know he can stage a death like no one else. In his own words: “I must find a fitting fate for him… One worthy of the ingenuity of the master of electricity! Here, among the marvelous possessions of the Fantastic Four, I’m sure to find what I want! Of course! Here it is!! How perfect! How simple… And how foolproof! Here is the world-famous skyscraper rocket launcer of the FF!!” How simple? Geez, if you wanted a theme-appropriate death that would have the whole town talking, how about just letting him take a swim with a hairdryer?
As we all know, letting him live was a big mistake, though apparently not big enough to keep Electro from making the very same mistake again in a later issue. But that’s for another day.