Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bad Guys Brawl

A thing that really never gets old in superhero comics, and that every reader - though some won't openly admit it - deep down enjoys, is a good hero-vs-hero fight. An example of this involving Daredevil can be seen in the very recent crossover issue Magdalena/Daredevil, where the two titular characters start to fight each other the very first moment they appear on panel together.
A logical explanation for the fact that hero-vs-hero situations are so frequent could be the desire of protagonism incidental to deciding to wear a cape and go out to dispense justice, which coupled with a good dose of holier-than-thou attitude, translates into the irresistible impulse to beat the tar out of whoever threatens to steal the hero his/her spotlight.

Villains, on the other hand, don't seem to share this problem. If another villain shows up, it's quite rare to see the two fight each other for no good reason. Rather, they'll gladly neglect any mutual difference and take the more practical course of action of teaming up against the good guys (often also taking advantage of the fact that in the meantime the heroes have spent time and energies fighting each other).
Situations in which bad guys fight each other are less frequent, but they occur nonetheless. One such situation, magistrally scripted by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Michael Lark, happened in DD vol.II #102.

The issue is the second part of the "Without Fear" storyarc. In this arc, Mr Fear is causing trouble in Hell's Kitchen, starting a fearsome crime wave and pushing a new powerful chemical drug in the streets. He is aided in this by the notorious evildoers known as The Enforcers: Montana, Fancy Dan and Ox.
The trio is hanging around in a bar, putting in act an old-style intimidation against the owner. Montana and Fancy Dan are outside, making sure that no one dares to interfere, while their enormous comrade trashes the inside:

The Ox is thoroughly enjoying this activity, but is suddenly interrupted by Montana being thrown inside through the glass pane.

Oh yeah. The guy speaking is the Wrecker, the leader of the Wrecking Crew, packing an enchanted crowbar and imbued with the strength and durability of an Asgardian god. The one in the background is Razorfist, who is just a martial artist with blades in place of his missing hands (and don't ask me to make a joke about his condition, because it would be the equivalent of shooting at the Red Cross). As told by the Wrecker, both of them are in employment of the Hood, a fearsome ex-mobster who has managed to unite under his command a large number of supervillains, and is planning to control the post-Civil War New York underworld.

Not intimidated at all, the Ox responds with defiance. Taking advantage of the distraction, Dan repeatedly shoots Wrecker in the face and gets free.

Enhanced durability or not, a couple of point blank shot to the face gotta hurt. The Ox prepares to attack the opposing party's strong guy, while scoffing them for not coming in numbers.

You should'a brung more guys, Wrecker.

What a line.
It must be noted that in some places, the Ox's strength level is said to be peak human. I don't think it's the case. The Ox has superhuman strength. Since his first appearances in fact, he's been shown to be capable of feats like bending steel bars or breaking pig iron. And as shown here, he can give a Thor villain such as the Wrecker a run for his money.

In the meantime, Fancy Dan is tangling with Razor Fist.

Meanwhile, Dakota is informed of the situation by her NYPD contact. She turns the tip to Matt, who dons his costume, reaches the place as fast as he can, and enters the fray, both to stop the villains who are thrashing his neighborhood and in hopes of obtaining informations on Mr Fear's whereabouts.
So, from that moment onwards, Daredevil takes them all on, or at least, the Hood's party (the Enforcers seemed to be on the losing end of it). And by definition, that pretty much ends the bad guys brawl, I think.





... naah, I can't just end this post now that DD is about to lay the smack upon some villains with odds against him, can I? :P
The scarlet swashbucler takes full advantage of the element of surprise, and pushes the midget gunman Fancy Dan right into the reach of Razorfist's Blades:

At this sudden appearence and unexpected aid, Razorfist gets confused as a cat in a violin making factory, stopping to wonder whether DD has "switched sides". Daredevil is quick to remind him that sides and superheroes have stopped being cool in the same context with issue #2 of Civil War, by landing a boot on his face.

Razorfist slashes savagely through the air, in hopes of catching the paladin of Hell's Kitchen. But, unfortunately for him, hitting an acrobat with a built in radar sense isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. The Wrecker, in the meantime, has gained the upper hand on Ox and is about to turn his attention on the newcomer. Realizing that those blades are adamantium, Daredevil pushes Razorfist towards the Wrecker, making him inadvertently slash his own ally.

The enchanted crowbar fallen off the villain's hand, Daredevil concentrates on Wrecker, starting with a heavy dropkick to his head.

The scene switches for a moment to the Enforcers, who regroup together and decide that, with one of them severly injured and the cops surrounding the zone, it's best to make a strategic retreat. We then return to DD and the Wrecker, and this is what we see:

Yes. Daredevil is pounding the snot out of his superhumanly-strong opponent by hitting him repeatedly with the end of the street lamp Razorfist has cut before.
How cool is that?

However, focused on not letting the Wrecker catch his breath, Daredevil forgets about the Ox and his cronies, whom he was planning to pursuit to be lead to Mr Fear. When he notices that they are no longer there, he gets distracted for a moment, allowing the Wrecker to make a wall collapse on him.

And this ends the battle.
Ah, by the way don't worry about the fate of Daredevil, anyway. As someone else put it, in fact:

"he is a survivor. That's his curse, really... whether he knows it or not."


Christine said...

Great post Francesco! Like I commented in the MWOF chat before, the panel of DD versus Razor Fist is like some extremely twisted Marvel U hero vs villain version of the Paralympics: blind guy versus double amputee... ;) I still wonder if Razor Fist has another set of prosthetics at home or whether he wipes his ass with those blades. If so, that's gotta hurt! LOL

Francesco said...

Maybe there's some explaination for that in some Official Handbook of the Marvel universe?
I just hope it isn't something like:
"He is missing both hands, but his blades more than compensate for that" .

Christine said...

Sorry for my lateness in responding to your response, I only saw it just now. Well, if Stan Lee were writing a Razor Fist series, I'm sure he would say things like:

"With these powerful adamantium blades, our amazing handless villain can type faster than any man normal man. He can knit his own sweaters and manipulate micro-circuitry with amazing speed!"

Francesco said...

Sorry for my lateness in responding to your response, I only saw it just now.

Hey, it's okay. Besides, I know that you're a little more busy by now ;)

"With these powerful adamantium blades, our amazing handless villain can type faster than any man normal man. He can knit his own sweaters and manipulate micro-circuitry with amazing speed!"

LOL! Amazing handless villain!
Manipulate micro-circuitry!
My goodness, you rock.

Gloria said...

Gee, I've just got that mental image of Razor Fist trying to wipe his @ss while suffering hemorroids! fffffff!

On the other hand, as I was reading, I coldn't keep "Fancy Danielle" out of my head... Darn, ye shouldn't haveta mentioned it in the MWF board!

A last question popping is... do comic book authors get extra pay from Chris Sims each time a character kicks another's face?

Francesco said...

Oh, man! How on earth do you get those mental images? It has got to be with all these comics you read.

I'd never imagine that "Fancy Danielle" would have tickled the fantasy of so many, I would've bet on "the cow". Seems that midget porn is more popular than one would think.