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The Living Prison!

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It looks like we have an item to add to the long list of Things I Was Wrong About Aged 10: Gene Colan is NOT "weird and a bit wonky" as Young Me believed, he is in fact FAB - I mean, just look at that gorgeous cover!

` The story inside picks up a couple of minutes after where we left off last time, with Daredevil in a prison cell beneath the Latverian Embassy, trapped inside the body of Doctor Doom. He's pleased to find that this means he can finally see again, at last, but one thing he CAN'T see (clever phrasing, thanks) is a way out of this mess.

Well, he can't see it for about 10 seconds, and then realises that he's in the Latverian Embassy, inside the body of the leader of Latveria, so he simply calls some guards in and gets them to let him out. This seems a bit of an oversight in Doctor Doom's plan, but then this curious mix of haste and prevarication does seem to be part of his personality. When he's got The Power Cosmic, for instance, he puts of doing anything with it for ages, but at other times he'll dash off to carry out a plan without really doing any of the necessary preparation.

Daredevil does an excellent impersonation of Doom, who we then see swinging along in Daredevil's body, strolling through the park towards The Baxter Building. This is a beautiful piece of work by Colan, capturing Doom's swagger and delight in the body he's stolen. Last time I commented on what a big deal it was that nobody knew Daredevil was blind, and expected it to be immediately discovered by Doom as soon as the body swap was complete. Incredibly, this does not happen! Doom notices that his vision is different, but deduces that this is because of the filters on Daredevil's mask! At no point does he try taking it off, instead believing that it is this "filter" that gives him the other enhanced senses he's noticed. This dogged persistence with whatever his first idea about something is is definitely part of Doom's character - it fits with his arrogant belief in his own intellectual supremacy, despite the fact that it constantly leads to him jumping to entirely the wrong concluson. Back at the Embassy Daredevil is being much more sensible, and decides to radio the Fantastic Four to tell them what's happened. They do not believe him at first - why would they? I mean, who's ever heard of body transferral? HANG ON A MINUTE - I'll tell you who's heard of body transferral! The Fantastic Four! Especially Reed Richards whose body was swapped with... DOCTOR DOOM, way back in Fantastic Four #10. How on earth can he have forgotten THAT?

They are eventually persuaded that this is Daredevil, because he knows their emergency frequency and Doom, they believe, doesn't, something which will prove to be incorrect later. Meanwhile, out in the street, Doom himself proves to be much better at this sort of thing. His guards, sent out by Daredevil, find and attack him, and he proceeds to duff them all up in no uncertain terms while calling them complete idiots for not realising who he is. This seems a bit unfair to me, as the whole point of the body transferral is to look like someone else, but they appear to be fine with it. Also of note here is that he deals with the whole gang of them pretty easily, while Daredevil was apprehended by just two of them. For someone who claims not to sully himself with hand to hand combat "like a peasant" Doom is pretty good at it!

Further evidence of this come when the thugs dash back and bump into Daredevil, who has a much harder time fighting them. He thinks to himself that this is because he's not used to having no powers or being inside suit of armour, but Doom did all right and he's now blind! In the end the police turn up and save him, choosing to believe a national ruler over a bunch of yobboes. Daredevil leaves the scene and bumps into Doom, totally by coincidence. The two men chat, from inside each other's body, and if you think this might get a little confusing then you're right. Stan Lee recognises this throughout the story, providing helpful notes every few pages. Daredevil tells Doom that he's got a brilliant plan to stop him, and that he should listen in to the radio to find out what it is. "You're MAD!" says Doom as they part, so secure in his own brilliance that he can't be bothered to even give chase.

This seems a bit nuts to me, but then, as we've seen time and time again, one of Doom's many flaws is his inability to recognise that other people may have schemes of their own, especially those who he's left free to wander around looking and sounding exactly like him.

Being in Doom's body seems to have worn off on Daredevil, as his brilliant plan is so badly thought out that it's worthy of the Latverian monarch himself. He stomps back to the Embassy and declares war on EVERY country that borders Latveria. Note that he does this via a TV screen, a perfect impersonation of one of Doom's favourite modus operandi!

Luckily Doom hear this and realised precisely how MAD it is - "One of our neighbors is allied with Red China!" he thinks. "We'll be over-run in hours!" This demonstrates that Doom genuinely does care about his country. He's stolen a new, super-powered, body and is thousands of miles away from danger, but chooses to rush back to the embassy and immediately reverse the body swap, so he can call off the war.

Daredevil's plan worked, which is handy because otherwise it would probablly have instigated a nuclear war, and once returned to his own body his swiftly smashes up the machine. He prepares himself for another fight, but Doom he tells him not to worry. "I have so rarely been defeated... that I am amused by the novelty," he says, and tells Daredevil he is free to go. Having read all of his adventures so far I'd say that it's probably not THAT much of a novelty, but Daredevil takes him at his word and heads off to tell the Fantastic Four what's been going on. It's here that Doom finally does exhibit some cunning - knowing what's gone before, he radios the Fantastic Four (using their radio frequency, which he did know after all) and tells them that Doctor Doom is heading their way, DISGUISED as Daredevil! That's genuinely pretty clever if you ask me! And thus the issues ends, with Daredevil swinging through the city towards the Baxter Building, unaware of what awaits him. This story, which had its roots in an issue of Fantastic Four, is now heading back there for its conclusion, but before we get there we've got a couple of other, very very different, Doom appearances to look at!



link to information about this issue

posted 27/6/2018 by Mark Hibbett

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DOOMBOT FILTER: an animal that says 'woof' (3)

(e.g. for an animal that says 'cluck' type 'hen')

An examination of Doctor Doom in The Marvel Age written by Mark Hibbett