I may be cheating a little with this installment of the “indecisive villain” series, since Doctor Doom isn’t actually trying to kill Daredevil, but the plot is contrived enough that it makes the list anyway. The scenes we’re going to look at are from Daredevil #37, by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, the issue which forms the first part of the two-parter in which Daredevil and Doctor Doom change bodies.

For a brief comment on the absurdity of one of these plot points, see my previous post “DD stands for Doctor Doom”. Here we are just going to look at the cat and mouse game that got Daredevil into Doctor Doom’s body in the first place…

Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 1, from Daredevil #37
Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 1, from Daredevil #37

As alluded to by Doctor Doom in these first few panels, the villain of the issue finds our hero already beaten and his strength depleted after his encounter with the Trapster in the previous issue. You’ve gotta love Matt’s complaining to himself regarding his poor luck: “How come I’m usually in the middle whenever anyone wants to tackle some other costumed cut-ups?

Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 2, from Daredevil #37
Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 2, from Daredevil #37

The action turns surprisingly violent in the next few panels where Doctor Doom makes clear his intention to dispose of Daredevil as one would a “bothersome flying insect!”

Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 3, from Daredevil #37
Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 3, from Daredevil #37

Needless to say, Doom doesn’t actually dispose of Daredevil, but picks him up like a sack of hay and carries him to his car. From there, it’s off to the embassy!

Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 4, from Daredevil #37
Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 4, from Daredevil #37

Matt regains consciousness just in time to enjoy having his red-clad ass tossed into the embassy dungeon. Apparently to hide his insecurity, Daredevil fights back hard, with insults and (by now) dated pop culture references. You go, Matt! Hit him where it hurts!

Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 5, from Daredevil #37
Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 5, from Daredevil #37

Because Doom is a megalomaniac super-villain of the first order, he has turned the whole place into a strange house of horrors. When Daredevil finally escapes from the dungeon, he find himself shrunk to the size of a child. Of course, Doctor Doom has done nothing of the sort. He just enjoys spending vast amounts of money on messing with his prisoners’ heads. Daredevil hits the nail on the head by asking “But it this was his aim… Why did he do it?? What purpose can possibly be served??”

Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 6, from Daredevil #37
Daredevil versus Dr Doom, panel 6, from Daredevil #37

After spending yet another few pages playing mouse to Doom’s cat in spinning rooms, upside down rooms and being the subject of every other sort of redundancy imaginable, Daredevil finds himself realizing the real purpose of his capture. The house of horror stuff was in no way central to the plot of this issue, or to Doom’s real plan. In order to get to the Fantastic Four, he must first get himself into Daredevil’s body!

For more information about this, and the equally contrived next issue, Daredevil #38, read Robert’s wonderful entries over at The Matt Murdock Chronicles.

This was the 300th post here at The Other Murdock Papers. I’ve had a lot of fun so far, and I hope you have too. Let’s hear it for another three-hundred issues, and I’ll see you back here very soon! 😀

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.

9 comments

  1. I hadn’t actually seen that previous post of yours, so I had no idea Doom had been featured in Daredevil in the past, and it’s actually fascinating for me, as Doom is my favorite character ever. I wish I had knowledge of his comic history like you with Daredevil, but some day, some day 🙂

  2. Looking back on the Silver Age really makes me thankful that ridiculous “science” isn’t nearly so prevalent now as it was then. It’s so hard to take the story seriously when practically anything is possible via black box science. (One can see this wonderful comic tradition still alive in the pages of New Avengers with “power-cancelling” devices. I think that makes even less sense than mind transfers personally.) Though, maybe the problem is just me. I don’t like mind transfers, but I have no problem with a blind guy with internal radar! *bonk*

    Here’s looking forward to another 300 posts! Congratulations, Christine!

  3. Hey guys, and thanks for commenting!

    @Aaron: You are totally preaching to the choir here. Keep it up! 😉 I love the relative realism of modern Daredevil (and, yes, I can say that with a straight face). There really is a spectrum of believability when it comes to different superheroes and comics, and I would argue that Daredevil is easily the most believable superhero out there. I’ve read people reacting to DD with “but how can he be a superhero if he’s blind?, that’s just stupid!” while having no problems at all with Wolverine being burnt to a crust, people flying and Mr Fantastic stretching in every ridiculous direction imaginable. They have a hangup on his being blind more than the general idea of people having special powers.

    As for Daredevil’s radar, I’m leaning more and more towards an interpretation of it that’s closer to what Bendis imagined (though not nearly as poorly executed). Continuity-addicted fans will go into a fit of rage when you question the idea that Stan Lee’s honest to goodness real radar (i.e. radio waves), maybe shouldn’t be interpreted that literally. On the other hand, even decades ago writers started referring to the radar as “radar” (with quotes) and had Matt saying things like, “I call it my radar sense.” Frank Miller’s interpretation, particularly in Man Without Fear, suggests a more natural explanation for the radar sense. The more I read about how our senses work in real life, the convinced I become that Matt’s radar very well could (should?) be essentially the same kind of echolocation ability that real life blind people have. Contrary to what one might think, his enhanced hearing alone would explain his much better ability to move around freely and detect relatively smaller objects. As you can probably tell, this is one of my favorite topics. I should just go back to working on that “Daredevil Science” book draft I’m not-so-secretely working on. 😀

    Another thing, yours was actually comment #700, so congrats to you too!

  4. I almost feel sorry for Doctor Doom, in the panel where he, the snotty monarch of the imaginary mitteleuropean country, has to haul DD away by himself, like a peasant!

    Aaron, you probably aren’t reading Incredible Hulk right now! There are preposterous black box science things these days, too! Bruce Banner is shown to be able to modify an iPod so that it can reprogram missile courses in an instant with a mere click, or generate a personal forcefield milliseconds before impacts, and actually has a pocked black hole in his bag that allows him to reach beers stored inside a fridge in his lab!

  5. @Christine: The “most believable superhero”? Let’s not get carried away. 🙂 I think someone like the Punisher is a little more believable: he’s a guy with lots of guns who keeps himself in peak physical condition and has trained extensively in martial arts and weaponry. Really, any of the depowered heroes fall into this camp, e.g., Hawkeye or Black Widow (unless you think whatever age-defying serum she took is a super-power).

    Is Daredevil the most believable “super-powered” hero? Well, that’s a fine claim. I’m trying to think of a possible counter, but I’m coming up nearly empty. How about Captain America? Via the super-soldier serum, he has enhanced strength, stamina, durability, etc., but that’s it. Some sort of serum that increases body mass and muscle strength isn’t that preposterous an idea at all. (But how the heck does he always get his shield to ricochet back to himself?) Still, I think you might win!

    @Francesco: No, I am not reading the Hulk books. Really though, who doesn’t have a pocket wormhole to their fridge? 🙂

    While you cite some pretty weird examples of pseudo-science, I still think they’re more “realistic” than a generic power-nullifier. First, it identifies super powers… somehow. It can tell that Ms. Marvel has flight and energy beams, but Luke Cage has unbreakable skin. It can tell that these are “super powers” and not just natural variations. Second, it turns those abilities off, despite their manifest differences between persons, without in any other way affecting the person.

    The comic I’ve always had the biggest problem with is X-Men. Natural genetic mutation has resulted in persons who can shoot lasers out of their eyes (Cyclops), adapt their bodies to whatever the situation demands (Darwin, the Evolving Boy), teleport (Nightcrawler and others), turn their bodies to metal at will (Colossus), or understand any language (Doug Ramsey). And why are mutations so danged useful? I’m waiting for some useless X-Men, like the man who has the uncanny ability to pair meals with wine perfectly. That’s more reasonable (to me), so far as genetic mutation is concerned, than someone who can affect chance (Longshot and early Scarlet Witch). I’ve always preferred superheroes who get their powers through freak accidents or aliens. Hey, gamma radiation will screw with your body! I can dig that!

  6. @Aaron K: There were actually a fair number of mutants with “useless” powers back when Grant Morrison was writing New X-Men. In fact, his first issue featured “Ugly John,” a three-faced Australian whose only “power” was that he was…well, ugly. A number of the students at the Xavier Institute around this time don’t seem to have any special qualities either, aside from their freakish appearances.

    Other writers have depicted mutants without “super” powers as well. At the beginning of Joe Casey’s short tenure on Uncanny X-Men, there was a mutant who used his powers to become a world-renowned fashion designer. And if I recall correctly, Brian Vaughan’s excellent Chamber miniseries also deals with the issue of mutants without powers that are seemingly very practical.

  7. @Marc: Thanks for the info! I’m glad to see that some writers have realized that mutation is just as likely to result in relatively boring “powers” as it is in exciting powers. Ugly John may be my new favorite X-Man!

  8. @Marc and Aaron. For me, one of the biggest problems with the X-men (aside from the laws-of-physics-bending powers) is that their mutations all stem from the same gene. It doesn’t make sense that a mutation in one single gene would lead to such diverse – and complex – traits. And what causes the same gene to spontaneously mutate in so many individuals? Makes no sense. 😉

  9. In Dan Abnett’s 1998 Marvel Comics 2-issue mini-series Conspiracy we hear a tale of a government entity known as Control comprised of high ranking military officers and ultra-rich industrialists like General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (the Hulk’s old nemesis), Howard Stark (Tony’s father) and Bolivar Trask (inventor of the Sentinels) who financed and tricked scientific masterminds like Reed Richards, Henry Pym, Bruce Banner, Charles Xavier, Theodore “Ted” Sallis (the Man-Thing), Dr. Otto Octavius, Elias Starr (Hank Pym’s foe Egghead), and Calvin Zabo (Mr. Hyde) into “accidentally” creating many of Earth’s superheroes and coincidentally villains.

    Their efforts were largely centered in and around New York City (thus explaining why the vast majority of the Marvel Universe’s super-powered heroes and villains are located there).This included deliberately exposing visitors to displays of radiation technology to intense levels of mutagenic radiation (Spider-Man is the result of one such experiment that went a little haywire), and may also have done the same sort of thing on a larger level to create the race of mutants as a whole. Part of the purpose is allegedly to give the military a reason to create new and expensive weaponry, as the public reacts with fear to the new super-powered beings.

    It’s a very interesting story, in large part because it’s never really nailed down whether the conspiracy actually exists. But it would explain why the same gene began to “spontaneously” mutate in so many individuals. It wasn’t spontaneous, it was deliberately orchestrated by “them”. 🙂

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