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The Wrong Side: Daredevil vs. the Avengers

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In this feature, I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!

If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!

Today, based on a suggestion from David P., we take a look at Daredevil taking out the Avengers…

As always, the first page spotlights their power levels and the second page examines the fight itself.

And as always, the first question we need to ask is…

How did these people do when they fought Spider-Man?

First off, let’s look at Daredevil. In Amazing Spider-Man #287 (by Christopher Priest, Erik Larsen and Art Nichols), they tussle and while Spider-Man is clearly the winner of the fight, DD holds his own…

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As for the Avengers, however, the team at hand is Captain America, Beast, Black Widow and Hercules. Let’s not even show how Spider-Man has done against that specific team (mostly because I don’t believe he has ever fought that specific team), but let’s just look at how he did against ONE of those Avengers, Hercules, in the Assault on New Olympus Prologue one-shot from a few years back by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente and Rodney Buchemi…

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As you can see, just ONE of those Avengers is a formidable foe, but ALL FOUR of them?

And yet, let’s see how Daredevil does…

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35 Comments

>> I don’t think he should do that well against the Avengers, and especially not that easily. >>

We all have good days and bad days, lest we forget George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali. Nobody expected Ali to win that fight.

Ali had 3-1 odds in his fight against Foreman. An underdog, to be sure, but not that much of an underdog. He had worse odds in his fight against Sonny Liston.

No way should he do that well. By the way what sort of mind control is he under here?

For most of these lopsided fights, it’s not so much that the wrong side won. Rather, it’s the win itself that is bogus. In this fight, we are supposed to believe that a single blow from Cap’s shield can take out Hercules. That’s nonsense. However, DD using his super hearing to anticipate Cap’s moves? That’s believable.

Especially good at making it believable is the DCAU/Young Justice. The Batman Family holds its own against ridiculous threats, yet I rarely get the feeling that the wrong side won.

Wow, I never would;ve guessed Name Withheld drew that DD-Spidey fight.

Springer retiring because that issue was ill received sounds like BS to me. With the lead time, Colan already had to be drawing that issue when Frank’s hit the stands. I wish he hadn’t retired, being one of my favorite artists back then. Heck, if he’d not retired he’d also have prevented a lot of awful comics in the future since Miller wouldn’t have gotten his big break!

@Fraser: It is never fully established, but it seems to be because of a concussion suffered in #153 while fighting Mr. Hyde. However, that was in a story involving Purple Man and Death-Stalker was making appearances at the same time, It is possible that they considered giving another explanation and decided against it.

@Steve: I’m not Miller’s biggest fan myself, but his DD stories at this point were good – particularly when it comes to drawing. I figure the staff itself felt conflicted about his art and probably reached an early settlement with him.

In any case, it is just not likely that the book could survive with Frank Robbins’ art at that point.

A win against the Avengers not counting the Wasp as a member is a hollow victory. That said, DD seems pretty strong, he could realistically provide five seconds of distraction against her before being utterly crushed.

David Gallaher

>>We all have good days and bad days, lest we forget George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali. Nobody expected Ali to win that fight.<<

Forget Foreman/Ali, what about Ali/Superman? In a million years, would you have expected Superman to last as long as he did against Ali?

I could buy DD taking down Cap. He held his own in a fight against Black Panther (who is generally around Cap’s strength level), so that one wasn’t too much of a stretch. But Hercules? No way.

Other than the shield knocking out Herc, there wasn’t too much in that fight that was out of line. I’m not sure I buy Beast going down to one punch, but hey… ninja training.

teek- At the time of this story, the retcon that gave Daredevil ninja training in his background hadn’t happened yet.

@Teek
Taking out Hercules that way was so bad that it makes the whole fight look worse.

Even stranger is that Black Widow gets up almost immediately after Daredevil throws the shield directly into her crotch(?). And this happened not long after Daredevil had managed to catch the shield’s edge with his club, using the club to fling the shield back at a wall, with the ricochet tagging Herc in the back for a one-hit KO.

Hey… this one was my suggestion! Thanks Brian!
I love the Robbins/Springer art here but even fighting in darkness the Avengers look like a clumsy outfit in this one.
There’s a pacing problem… all of the Avengers that get dropped seem to take way too long to recover.

Gene Colan art!!!

“IGNORAAAAM!!!” What kind of punching sound effect is that? But yeah, no way Herc is taken down in one shot like that, even if it was a heavy mead day for him. Kind of messes with the whole DD as a scrappy blue collar hero thing when he’s defeating gods in one shot, too. Bad writing and characterization.

@Steve I know it’s pretty common to rip on Miller now (even ignoring his recent bizarre behavior, he probably hasn’t made a good comic since 300, IMO), but those Daredevil issues he did (both runs) are still some of my favorite comics of all time, for writing and art. I think #181 is probably in my top 10 favorites comics of all time. In fact, part of what makes the featured issue of this article all the more surprising is that Roger McKenzie wrote it. Even before Miller took over writing duties, I thought McKenzie’s issues on DD with Miller were really well done, although I’m not sure exactly when Miller started co-plotting with him.

I thought this was going to to the most laughable one ever…till I looked at it, and it ALMOST works. Beast and DD should be a good fight, Beast more powerful, but not ridiculously so, and DD the much better fighter, even when he was just gymnastics boxer. So that’s ok. And Cap doesn’t know who it is, so he kinda underestimates him, and that blow could take him down. It’s Herc that’s the problem. That blow might momentarily daze him, but not take him out. Heck, in the next issues panels he’s conscious, but just lays there through the whole fight with Black Widow. That’s where it falls apart. Otherwise a team rushing in and not acting as a team is par for the super hero course.

And really, that’s not the first time DD whacked Black Widow in the crotch with something, amiright?

Careful where you aim that shield, DD…

Like others have mentioned, DD knocking out Hercules was where the fight jumped the shark. I could kind of accept DD taking out Beast and Cap that way (although they both seem to be suffering from a bad case of “Glass Jaw Syndrome. Wasp was not fighting at first, not wanting to harm him.

Never thought I’d see Daredevil throw Captain America’s shield at Black Widow’s crotch…

ln that Daredevil vs. Spiderman fight, was Spidey wearing the Symbiote or was it the non-symbiote one? Because if DD held his own vs. Spidey in the alien suit, that’s extra impressive.

My favorite part is that Hercules is still clearly conscious. So Daredevil either broke his back or simply horrified him into surrender.

It would be easier to buy if Daredevil played ninja and defeated them one by one, striking by surprise, from the shadows and so on.

@Melsner

Non-Symbiote.

Yeah Steve, let’s get rid of the guy who’s responsible for some of the best comics ever!

What I’d like to hear is someone explain how that hit can immobilize Herc. Maybe Daredevil’s sense was able to pinpoint Herc’s “Achilles heel”, and went for it. And his sonar gives him 360 vision, even if it’s dark. The same can be applied for Beast. And maybe some slight mind control unleashed his inhuman strength that we all possess in times of duress (you know, like a guy lifting a car just to save a person and so on).

Considering that Amazing Spider-Man #287 was written by Priest, I’m surprised that Spidey did as well as he did against Daredevil in that story :P

DatHomieSilverSurfer

February 15, 2016 at 10:44 pm

@meisner

regardless of whether Pete was wearing the Symbiote suit or not, it never amped his strength or other physicals in any way. Common misconception that seems to have almost seeped into actual continuity from newer writers who have never heard of spider-man before 2006.

Indeed. As originally presented, the suit actually made Peter more tired. Despite being called a symbiont, it was more of a grafted parasite.

Common misconception that seems to have almost seeped into actual continuity from newer writers who have never heard of spider-man before 2006.

Huh? The symbiote’s effect of amping the host’s strength and powers was established as early as 1988, with the debut of Venom. Eddie went from being a normal (if buff) guy to a supervillain who surpassed Spider-Man’s strength and abilities thanks to the suit. Later writers merely did the sensible thing and went along with the retcon by establishing that it had the same effect on Spidey, even if it wasn’t shown during the pre-Venom comics.

Ben Herman, Spidey does not come off well in the story. He is constantly manipulated by DD, and even that fight is just DD buying time on Spider-Man’s expense. Spider-Man has to spend a lot of effort to put DD down, DD still manages to save Spider-Man from that bullet, and DD is back on his feet really fast.

I count that as a victory for Daredevil all around. It’s Christopher Priest. He’s gotta Wolverine humiliating Spider-Man for not being illegal enough, and Daredevil humiliating Spider-Man for not being legal enough.

As for DD x Avengers, it’s pretty unusual. It was rare for an unpowered superhero to dominate a superteam, not in those pre-Dark Knight days. So that is even more of an anomaly. But also, the story also was published before the Marvel Handbooks’s domination of fandom discussions. I love the Handbooks – I mean, what kind of nerd I woud be if I didn’t? – but I sorta dislike how they set hard guidelines for everybody’s strength, so you have people saying Spider-Man should destroy Wolverine with his pinky, because Spidey is X times more strong than Wolvie or something.

In those days they had a vague notion that Spider-Man was stronger than normal people, and Hercules was stronger than Spider-Man, but there were no hard stats. I liked that. I liked that Hercules being taken out by an adamantium shield in a bad day was possible without people resorting to charts and tables. Mind you, it was still very weird for Hercules to be taken out that easily.

Rene – yes, it was just a rehash of the dynamic of Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, except in addition to being an amateurish idiot who needs to be chaperoned and manipulated, he’s also incredibly irrational and unhinged. Peter is just flipping out left and right like a maniac. Very weird characterization.

@Rene: I agree, that ASM issue was a poor showing for Spider-Man. I was just surprised that Priest didn’t make him look even worse!

Ben – Yeah. :) I think Marvel in the 1980s had enough editorial control so that you couldn’t just totally trash a character. I guess that is why they couldn’t make Spider-Man so scared of Daredevil that he was pounded into a pulp.

“As originally presented, the suit actually made Peter more tired.”

Is that correct? It’s been a while since I read any of this, but my memory is that Peter would go to sleep and then the suit would creep onto him and go out and fight crime, which he would have no memory of when he woke up, exhausted (because he hadn’t actually gotten any sleep). It wasn’t making him more tired. If anything, you’d have to argue that *something* was making it so that Spider-Man could still function despite the suit over-using his body, so why not the suit itself?

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