The deus ex machina antidote

by | Jun 28, 2008 | Silver Age Madness, Stupid Villains | 0 comments

While we usually think of major events like divine intervention or – in the Marvel U – a visit from Dr. Strange or Mephisto as being more typical instances of a deus ex machina plot device, the term actually has a somewhat broader meaning. From Wikipedia:

“The phrase deus ex machina […] describes an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot.”

Comic book history is full of these kinds of events, and Daredevil history is no different. I would even say that Daredevil’s senses have historically been used as deus ex machina devices on many occasions. Examples of this would be his radar sense suddenly detecting a hidden destruct mechanism just as our hero is to be robot snack. However, more traditional cheats have also been common. The below sequence of panels, from Daredevil vol 1 #91, is from the storyline by Gerry Conway which introduced Larry Cranston as Mr. Fear. What we have here is every lazy writer’s best friend – the magically appearing antidote!

All you need is foresight, apparently. An advanced degree in chemistry, a lab, a way of analyzing the chemical agent you seek to counteract, or a way of testing your antidote are all totally superfluous. I’m suddenly getting an image of Matt, Natasha and Ivan preparing this antidote on the stove while waiting for their dinner roast to cook in the oven. Too bad Matt doesn’t remember the recipe, in which case he could tweak it a little to work on Cranston’s new goods. I guess it just ain’t the good ol’ days anymore.


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