Sympathy for the Devil

a blog devoted to comic books in general and Daredevil in particular


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Volume 1, issue 106 "Life Be Not Proud!"
DD
sympthy4devil

"Life Be Not Proud!" December 1973
Writer: Steve Gerber
Penciler: Don Heck
Inker: Sal Trapani
Colors: George Roussos
Lettering: S. Lefferman
Cover: John Romita

Okay. I'll give credit where credit is due.

Last recap, I stated that this storyline by Steve Gerber was a little too weird for my taste. I still stand by that. Last issue was certainly very odd. It also required too much non-Daredevil back story and exposition. This issue I am changing my tune a bit: Gerber turned last month's weird episode of Babylon 5 into a very moving and emotional saga about the line between heroics and villainy.

I am utterly compelled by this character of Moon Dragon. I had never heard of her before reading last issue and felt pretty strongly that her obvious science-fiction genesis didn't belong here. However, after reading where Mr. Gerber takes this saga, I will admit that I was wrong. In fact, I find the character fascinating.

Check out her Wikipedia page. Affiliated over time with both The Avengers and The Defenders, Moon Dragon has a rich history that extends throughout the Marvel Universe.


Daredevil stands before Kerwin J. Broderick with the nearly-dead body of Moon Dragon in his arms. "You've murdered this woman! Why?" he screams.

Broderick, with gun pointed at Daredevil, proceeds, in typical nefarious villain fashion, to let spill with every aspect of his dastardly plan. He could kill Daredevil. He could unmask him. But...no. Instead, he shoots his mouth off: "...observe the monster she unwittingly gave me the power to control! He is called...Terrex! And his power is that of life itself!"

He goes on: "...I'll show you the others I have at my command!" On the wall, there is a massive view screen. We see Terrex facing off with the police. Kerwin switches views and we see that Dark Messiah has sealed off the entire city behind an impenetrable force field. He uses his eye beams to destroy everything that gets in his way. Switching views again: Ramrod uses his brute force to destroy buildings and clear a way for Broderick's Law! Broderick states that he does not know where Angar is, but he assures Daredevil that he, too, is on the loose and under Broderick's control.

Instead of punching Broderick in his stupid face, Daredevil asks an obvious question: "Why?"

Broderick prattles on: "In a word, my overly emotional friend: power." It's now flashback time! Broderick explains that he's been using his law firm to virtually rule San Francisco for years. He used his clout and power to earn the gratitude of the underworld and the silence of its public servants. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if that pesky Daredevil hadn't gotten involved!

What's funny in this flashback sequence is that Broderick almost makes the Murdock/Daredevil connection: "Murdock wouldn't play the game. He refused to plead cases my way-- and my office became a verbal battleground-- just as you made a real battleground of the streets, mucking up some of my most profitable operations with your obsessive do-gooding." It became imperative to get rid of Daredevil! But how? You convince Moon Dragon that it's the right thing to do. She had sought him out, based on his sterling reputation, because she needed an honorable man to aid her on her mission to protect Earth from Thanos. With her powers and the machinery available in her underwater fortress, she could destroy Daredevil once and for all! But also: "I wanted be king of San Francisco-- an absolute monarch with absolute power! Kerwin The First-- King of The Golden Gate!"

Daredevil calls him insane. He tries to punch him in the head. Broderick pulls the gun he shot Moon Dragon with and fires. It is, however, the final charge of the gun, so the shot is weak. It's enough to knock Daredevil unconscious, though. Rather than kill Daredevil, he decides to come back and do it later. "...No matter. He can't escape from this place. I'll kill him later-- when I return here-- after the joining with Terrex!"

Speaking of...Terrex. Is. Bad. Ass!

He is still on Broderick's lawn, fending off police officers as if they were nothing. With a wave of his hand, he turns the garden into a massive jungle. A police officer tries to stop him, but it is of no use. Another wave of his hand and the police officer grows older and older until he completely withers away! "At my whim, living things grow...or die," Terrex explains. "...What I am is the embodiment of the life force itself! I am neither good nor evil. He who can control me, shapes me. But my power over any life form is total."

Terrex exits the scene, taking all of the scenery with him. The path he takes was once alive with grass and trees, but becomes nothing more than a dead pile of earth. It's as if he consumes the life energy of the vegetation as he moves, making himself more powerful the further and further he moves away! These events are all caught on tape by Lucretia Jones. I'm sure that will be important later.

Cut to a short scene at the police station. Commissioner O'Hara is working overtime to find a way to bust through the force field surrounding the city. A telegram arrives. It's about his brother, who was found dead near his home in Africa. I'm sure this will be important later, too.

Cut to Moon Dragon's underwater fortress. Daredevil wakes from his unconscious state, shocked and surprised that he is still alive. "That blast should have finished me," he says. Guess who else is still alive? Moon Dragon! But she won't be alive for long unless Daredevil can save her! "No...time...Must have...regenesis...treat...ment. Lab...down...corridor...!" she gasps.

Daredevil carries her through the fortress to the regenesis lab. Daredevil puts her down on the operating table and moves to the controls of her machine. She begins to talk him through the process of regenesis: "Begin...with the...yellow...dial...turn to..."

"I-- I can't!" Daredevil screams. He explains to Moon Dragon that he is blind. He explains that he can "see" colors with his fingertips by gauging the heat that they absorb. He also states that this process takes time...What?! A few issues ago you were flying an airplane, nancy pants! You can fly a plane but you can't differentiate between yellow and green without a crap ton of dramatics! What. Ever.

Moon Dragon uses a beam from her finger to shoot Daredevil in the face. It isn't an attempt to kill him. She's helping him. Daredevil's vision is restored! He can see again!

Of course, the first thing he sees after being blind for so long is a scantily-clad bald woman. He's sure taking this calmly: "Give me those instructions again! Now more than ever...I've got to save you!" He presses a few buttons-- beep beep boop!-- and Moon Dragon's power and health are fully restored. Daredevil offers to help her down from the operating table. "No need," she says. "I am fully recovered." That isn't good enough for Daredevil:

"...May I just hold you...without making excuses?" he asks. "I owe you so much more than any man could ever hope to repay. A whole world-- of light...and hue...that I never thought I'd experience again--!"

Tsk tsk, what would Natasha say?

Moon Dragon leads Daredevil through her fortress. Seems that Kerwin has done quite a number on all the machinery: destruction! Except for a plastic cylinder that easily teleports Daredevil and Moon Dragon back to the surface. They arrive on the scene just in time to organize a search party for Terrex!

Terrex shambles along, leaving death and lifelessness in his wake. He sees an approaching car: it's Angar! With him, there is a hippie woman named Janis. She exists just long enough to ask Angar to slow down before Terrex sucks the lifeforce out of her, leaving an elderly corpse.

Wow. That was kinda gross.

Angar doesn't think so, though. He giggles with glee: "Can ya dig it? With him on my side, no enemy can live to defeat me."

Cut to Black Widow and Daredevil. They're right in the thick of the traffic jam caused by the chaos downtown. Black Widow is full of questions: Why is Daredevil so cozy with Moon Dragon? How did you get your sight back? Daredevil calls her jealous, and then BAM! Right into battle with Dark Messiah. Of course, Daredevil doesn't know who it is since he's never actually seen him before. "Alloweth me then to refresh thy failed memory--" Mordecai teases and then pins our two heroes to a wall with his eye beams. A wall that is soon knocked down by Ramrod! He grabs the two of them and swoops them away to safety, if by "safety" I mean "a place where he can kill them himself."

Daredevil and Widow manage to get away from them. The ensuing battle is laughable at best. With his vision back, Daredevil is having one heck of a time. His depth perception is off. His radar senses are not alerting him to impending strikes. The best part of the battle is Dark Messiah speaking like he has a lead role in a biblical epic: "Mayhap thou art puzzled-- but not I! 'Tis His divine will that thou perish at his son's hands! And perish thou shalt-- e'er another moment passeth!"

Seeing that Daredevil has no chance of winning this battle on his own, Moon Dragon intervenes. She shoots Dark Messiah with an eye beam of some sort and turns him back into Mordecai Jones. She states: "A simple matter, really-- a reshuffling of his intraform molecular migration." But then she apologizes: "A pity it will not work on Terrex or Ramrod."

Daredevil asks her to make him blind again. "Without my hyper senses--" he says, "I just can't function as Daredevil!" He argues that it is imperative that he is able to function. With Ramrod and Terrex on the loose, there are lives at stake. Moon Dragon asks if he is certian that this is what he wants. Daredevil responds with the biggest "aaawwww" moment of the series to date: "It doesn't matter now. I've seen Natasha now. That's what I wanted most of all..."

Aaawww. How sweet!

It would be sweeter if you weren't totally molesting Moon Dragon just a few short pages ago, but it's sweet just the same.

With a tear in her eye, Moon Dragon requests that he never forget what she looks like either. Daredevil is all like "How could I forget? You're the first naked woman I've ever seen!" and she takes his sight and gives him back his powers.

Cut to Black Widow. She's getting her butt kicked by Ramrod. Her weapons are, basically, useless against him. Daredevil manages to save her by wrapping his billy club cable around Ramrod's ankles. One swift tug and Ramrod tumbles to the asphalt. Ramrod rises, starts to make another strike. He doesn't get a chance, though. Their battle is interrupted by Terrex.

He has grown to a height of several stories. His skin appears to have hardened into rock. In his hands, he carries Kerwin J. Broderick, who exposits: "Look, Terrex-- our heroic friends seem a bit surprised by how much you've grown! Why, they haven't even noticed-- the emptiness in your eyes-- signifying my total control over you! Or how your features and form have become molten in preparation for the joining! I'll wager they don't even realize this city has but an hour to live-- unless I am crowned King of San Francisco!"

Ooh, lofty goal, Mr. Broderick!

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