Wacky power #3 – may I read your aura?

by Mar 9, 2008Wacky Powers5 comments

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the word sense (noun) is defined as follows:

“Mechanism by which information is received about one’s external or internal environment. Stimuli received by nerves, in some cases through specialized organs with receptor cells sensitive to one type of stimulus, are converted into impulses that travel to specialized areas of the brain, where they are analyzed.”

Sounds pretty straightforward, don’t you think? However, some Daredevil writers have taken a kind of “it’s magic, we don’t have to explain it” approach to Matt’s senses. The physical senses are our means of perception, and it is therefore an appealing idea to have someone with hypersenses be extra perceptive. Right? In the early comics, Matt seemed to have an uncanny ability to be able to sense whether people were evil or not, as evidenced by the panels below where Matt is having encounters with first the Owl (Daredevil #3), and later the Purple Man (Daredvil #4). Notice the wonderful use of the word “villainy.” You’ve gotta love it…

Panel from Daredevil #3, by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

Panel from Daredevil #3, by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

Panel from Daredevil #4, by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

Panel from Daredevil #4, by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

While Matt simply comes off as being good at reading people in his meeting with the Owl, he’s borderline psychic when encountering Purple Man. Many years later, Matt would demonstrate this ability again. In Daredevil #90, when Matt is introduced to Larry Cranston’s partner Jason Sloan, the above two panels are referenced:

Panels from Daredevil #90, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Panels from Daredevil #90, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

So, I guess if being a lawyer doesn’t work out for Mr. Murdock, maybe he can make some cash reading people’s auras. Unless they want to know the color of the aura, in which case… Okay, nevermind. Delightfully wacky, it is!


  1. Gloria

    mmmh… Daredevil, the aura-reading man, teaming up with Dr. Strange? I dunno, but I’m mighty glad that Matt uses his radar more than his aura-sensing habilities (or maybe he’s just a good psicologist)

    With hindsight, one is pretty shocked that he was able to spot Sloan’s aura in the moment… and not Cranston!!

  2. Christine

    Yes, considering that they went all the way back to law school, Matt should have been able to pick up on Cranston’s own villainy, which – as we know – is considerable. Perhaps he is blinded (no pun intended) to people he has known a long time and from whom no such villainy is expected. Kind of like how people who live next to serial killers will tell you that they never could have imagined that someone so sweet and innocent could be a serial killer. As for the radar thing, stay tuned for the upcoming series “A natural history of the radar sense” told through panels from various points in the book’s run. With both writers and artists picturing it and using it in so many different ways throughout the run of the book, there is much to tell.

  3. Franco

    With reference to the pic with Killgrave.

    We have already concluded that Matt can’t exactly tell if someone is looking at him or not, right?
    In the light of this, then, how is he so sure that it’s not HE who has caught the Purple Man’s fancy, instead of Karen? :p


  4. Christine

    Wait, are we suggesting that Killgrave might be gay?!! *gasp* Well, that’s an interesting idea… 😀

  5. Duane Thomas

    I always saw Killgrave as being, basically, a super-powered rapist, and that was why he was scary. Come to that, that’s why Dracula is such a compelling fictional creation: he’s the original super-powered rapist. He can make women want him, make them do whatever he desires. He uses them and tosses them away, or makes them his “brides,” slaves to serve him forever. Killgrave is just Dracula with purple skin and fewer powers.

    As for Killgrave as gay, though? Interesting. There are gay men who hate women. When he’s kidnapped women in the past, we’ve seen him humiliating them but any sort of sexual abuse was never even mentioned. I just assumed that was because comic books couldn’t deal with the more sexual elements, they left it unsaid, between-the-lines, subtext.

    Then came Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias.

    If we look at Killgrave’s actions in Alias, I can’t see him as gay. True, he didn’t rape Jessica Drew when he had the chance. But Jessica specifically states that part of his emotional torture of her was to make her watch him have sex with other women, then tell her she wasn’t even desirable enough for him to want to rape. So: not gay.


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