Friday, January 13, 2006

"White Messiah"
Marvel Comics Presents #49 When: 1990
Writer: John Fligueroa Artist: Ron Wilson

The story so far...
This is probably a particularly obscure choice, considering it's only an eight page short story from an issue of Marvel Comics Presents. That's probably largely the appeal of it, because I've been focusing on fairly recent stories.

It's a hot time in the old town, as Daredevil pursues a tip from his good friend, Tony.

Very little about this case is any different than others. Men who deal in drugs and money, meeting at a remote dock location, where they believe themselves to be unseen. This time, however, it's Daredevil who is mistaken, as his stealth is challenged by the man called Scope, nicknamed so for his escape from everyone from the NYPD, to Interpol.

Tale of the tape...
I don't pretend to be any kind of Daredevil afficianado, but I've always liked the character, and with Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev on the title, I've grown to be a fan. That being the case, and Daredevil being one of the better fighters in the Marvel universe, this is the first chance to list a character who will probably show up on Secret Earths more than once.

Daredevil's prowess as a fighter is, of course, quite well documented, which directly contrasts his opponent on this particular occasion. As far as I know Scope had never appeared prior to this short, and has never appeared since, which is probably part of the appeal of discussing this story.

Stamina: 5 (Marathon Runner)
Agility: 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: 5 (Martial Artist)

DD's greatest skill as a super hero is his martial arts training, and condiitioning that allows him to execute his attack to the fullest extent. That, coupled with his keen radar senses, make for a stealthy and effective fighter, greater than perhaps even the Batman.

Being a somewhat mysterious threat, Scope can be assessed only superficially as a large, presumably powerful man, with a lotta henchmen, who have a lotta guns. Nothing DD hasn't tackled before, so you'd have to think Daredevil, lurking in the shadows, would have overwhelming odds in his favour...

What went down...
"Gentlemen, before we proceed, there's someone behind those boxes..."

The mysterious criminal called Scope tips his boys off to Daredevil's presence, as he lurks behind some crates, surveying the situation with his radar senses.
As the villains turn their machine guns toward his hiding place, Daredevil is forced to spring into action.

Daredevil is swift and confident, knocking at least six nameless goons down with various strikes, and pressure point attacks. The high-caliber weaponry forces him to be precise, and efficient.
With the pawns flattened, Daredevil gives Scope a chance to make his move.

The gangster opens his trenchcoat, revealing two metallic baseball bats - his weapons of choice.

Daredevil senses the metal by the heat they emit in the summer's night, as Scope twirls them in anticipation. DD tosses his billy club, striking one of the bats dead centre in mid-twirl. Scope mocks the statement.

As DD retrieves his club, Scope makes his attack, nailing him with both bats.
The Daredevil recognises the threat, "This guy is too big -- too powerful!" and acts on it accordingly. He throws his legs out from his grounded position, and turns it around, his boots finding jaw.

He holds nothing back, taking Scope out with old fashioned fists. Nothing fancy.
Then Scope fights back with another weapon. His words cut deep, as he draws parallels between he and Daredevil. He calls them brothers, and reveals himself to possess a radar sense similar to DD's own, even though Scope is sighted.

Though the battle is over, the war rages on as the police arrive to take Scope away. Daredevil's justice is served, but Scope's words stay with him.

"You, The Punisher, all of you white messiahs can think about something... the harder you push, the harder the streets push back. The image of the future isa child of the streets, rising and spitting in your masked face."

The hammer...
This might not be as obscure an issue as I think it is, but it's got a dear place in my heart. This is actually one of the few comics to survive my childhood through poor treatment (despite many good intentions), moving, and just unfortunate accidents. The latest chapter in the life of this comic has seen the tattered cover slip away from the staples that bind the book's pages together.

Even though I enjoyed this rendition, I've never been a huge Wolverine fan, although I was a very big fan of Erik Larsen's Spider-man through the late eighties, and early nineties. As a younger reader I actually remember being attracted to this comic purely because of the cover, which is very similar to another old favourite, with Punisher in-tow (an issue of Amazing).

As far as the fight goes, I think we can forego the moral victories and safely award the win to Daredevil. Though Scope put up a good fight, and could potentially do it again, this was a short story, and Daredevil put him down quick.

I don't really know if Scope ever appeared again, even though he threatened as much. A quick glance at turns up no mention of the character, and I can't say I ever remember hearing from him again. Of course, as I said previously, I'm no Daredevil afficianado.
If anyone knows more about Scope, drop a comment and fill me in!

Assuming he didn't ever show up again, and no one resurrects him any time soon, he's definitely a character I'll keep in my back pocket as I climb towards the goal of writing. I think he's a superb character, and really sticks in my mind, as part of this obscure, but memorable story.

The Fight: 3.5
The Issue: 4

NEXT WEEK: Magneto faces perhaps the greatest threat to mutant supremacy, ever! Be here Friday!

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