You know those numbers you can call to have someone read your fortune or give you advice on a pressing matter? I’m not going to get into a discussion on whether psychic abilities are real, but I will take a look at how, in the Marvel Universe, you can call a trusted superhero colleague for guidance. At least if you happen to be friends with Matt Murdock, owner of the sharpest ears in town. Too bad this particular scenario, from Daredevil #38 (volume 2), by Brian Michael Bendis and Manuel Gutierrez, doesn’t actually work. Read the below scene carefully (click the images to enlarge), and we’ll get to all the ways it doesn’t make sense…
Let’s first get to the obvious fact here: Matt isn’t in the room! Nor is he in the next room or even the same building. This trick presumably happens over the phone, and that is all kinds of wacky. The most obvious problem here is that a regular telephone would not transmit a particularly broad range of sound frequencies. A heartbeat would be too low (and too soft) to even be picked up by the microphone. Superhearing is pretty useless in this case.
As if this isn’t wacky enough, there’s also the notion that Matt appears to be hearing things in stereo (he can tell which guy is sitting on the left versus the right?). This wouldn’t work either, even if we go along with the idea that he’d be able to hear the heartbeat. It’s like talking to someone who’s got two screaming kids in the background. You can tell they’re there, and estimate how far away from the phone they are, but that’s about it. The sound is entering through a single telephone receiver, which you are then holding to one ear. All complex three dimensional information is lost.
Unless Matt actually is psychic, nothing about this situation makes any sense at all, and I suspect I wasn’t the only reader to lift an eyebrow upon reading this scene for the first time. Sorry Bendis, this just doesn’t work.