Wacky power #2 – Daredevil lands a rocket

Well, this is not so much an example of a wacky power as just a case of Daredevil using his powers in wacky ways. You see, in Dardevil #2, our favorite hero finds himself in a bit of a predicament. Having been sent into space by Electro while unconscious, he has to figure out a way to land the rocket safely back on Earth.

Daredevil #2, as a whole, is not a good issue. It has that “make it up as one goes along” feel to it, and that applies to his powers as well. To quote from the review of this issue on (the now defunct) The Daredevil Companion website:

“There’s really no two ways about it: this story is a mess and a half. I wonder if it was a little more rushed than other issues of the period, because the plot seems built wholly on contrivances holier than the Pope–beginning with the rather baffling idea of sending the very blind Matt Murdock to do an assessment of the Baxter Building.

Now the reader knows that Matt has special senses, but it’s baffling how neither Foggy or Karen seem to find assigning Matt the task odd (this may be the source of the many, many years of writers treating Foggy as a goof of the first order).

There’s also the arbitrary use of Electro, in a role that could be filled by any one of (at that time) a dozen villains–in fact, probably should have, considering how the character was not portrayed as much of a big time schemer in his previous appearance. […] And there’s just the way Stan contorts logic, and Daredevil’s powers, in such a way that he’s not killed within the first half of the story.

Heck, there are moments like DD’s escape from the Pogo Plane where his powers are amped up and misrepresented to get him out of danger.”

Below is the actual scene of Daredevil landing the rocket:

Daredevil lands a rocket, from Daredevil #2 by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

“Imagine a blind man operating a space ship!! Not as impossible as it seems if that man can hear the levers move, feel the power needed, sense the direction of flight!!

Daredevil: “I’ve done it! I’ve reversed the missile’s course!!”

“And then, the most incredible task of all being… The task of landing the powerful spaceship back on Earth without injuring any hapless humans!”

Daredevil: “By hearing the slight movement of the astro-compass, I can gauge my direction perfectly! And by feeling the action of the radarscope I can pinpoint my landing! I’ll bring the ship down in the middle of Central Park in New York, finding an open spot where I hear no human heartbeats.”

Daredevil #2, by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

This begs another question: Even aside from the fact that hearing levers move is pretty useless if you don’t know which lever indicates which function, do they teach space navigation in law school? Sure, Matt is supposedly a self-trained engineer (he was in the old days at least), but this has wacky written all over it.

One thing I do find fascinating is the conflation of the word “sense,” in its biological and physical sense, with its more colloquial meaning. This is something that affects our understanding of the character of Daredevil to this day. In casual conversation, people use both “sense” and “feel” all the time to talk about things that they have come to understand or form an opinion about.

When used this way, sensing something comes awfully close to simple having a hunch about something. And, hunches don’t necessarily need to be explained. However, if we actually mean to use the word sense, as in “becoming aware of something that is being relayed to us through one or more of our sense organs,” then the explanations given in Daredevil #2 end up explaining nothing at all.

Thus, the colloquial usage of “sense” can be used to gloss over the fact that the relevant features of the craft’s navigation panel cannot be presented to Matt Murdock in a way that allows him to make adequate use of that information.

Though this is perhaps the worst example of them all, there have been many instances during the history of the book where the writers use Daredevil’s enhanced senses for solving problems that really cannot be solved that way. Some might just call it comic book logic. I just think it’s lazy writing. Still, it is kind of funny…

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

5 comments

  1. Why, of course they teach space navigation in law school! And many other besides! That’s why Nelson and Murdock is a multi-discilinary firm.

    One of the reasons why Nick Fury once wanted to hire Franklin Nelson for the SHIELD Board of directors was because he knew that our dear Fighting DA was pretty able to handle a machine-gun in proper Howling commandoes manner (as seen in the “Foggy Nelson, Agent of SHIELD” saga!). Also, he knew that Foggy could pilot the helicarrier in his spare moments ;p

  2. And isn’t it wonderful how Matt knows how to pilot a rocketship at all? Man, those courses in law school must have been more all-encompassing than you’d think.

    I have to say though, I did love Electro’s criminal enterprise in this issue. A series of daring bank robberies? Knocking over a string of top-end jewelers? Taking over the world? Nope. Hot car chop shop. Now **that’s** a lame super-villain.

  3. Actually, when Foggy, DD and the Black Widow were once taken captive by Hydra, the boys-in-green-and-yellow considered the last two so dangerous they chained them to a wall, and Foggy so pathetically harmless they didn’t even bind him at all. How did they escape, you ask? Foggy overpowered a guard, grabbed his fully automatic weapon, and, before anyone else could react, blasted the chains out from around DD and the Widow. While screaming at the top of his lungs. Fun and games ensued.

    Let’s add hand-to-hand combat skills and advanced full-auto work to the New York school system’s legal training. (Man, that bar exam must be a bitch.)

    I mean really….shot the chains right off them without even a scratch on their pretty bodies. DAMN impressive, I say.

  4. Even if we ignore his ability to run the rocket, which wasn’t built to to act like a plane much less be flown by a guy who can’t read the controls, his ability to hear over the rocket noise and air stream whether or not there is a heartbeat below on the ground is silly.

    1. Ha ha, well that’s another layer of absurdity to this situation.

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