Darkdevil #2

 Posted: 6 Jul 2021
 Staff: Jeremy Roby (E-Mail)

Background

Darkdevil originally appeared in Spider-Girl #2 and became a semi-regular supporting character in that series. He has Daredevil's general outfit but with darker tones and flaming, glowing batons instead of a billy club. He also sports fanged teeth, a bluish-white skin tone, and shoulder pads big enough to stretch back all the way to the nineties. Oh, and he can teleport!

In the first dozen or so issues of Spider-Girl he acts as a superhero mentor of sorts, alternating between handing out disparaging comments and inspiring speeches to our protagonist. Along the way, he's also dropped cryptic remarks about his connection to Daredevil (and that hero's death), and even hints at a connection to the original Spider-Man. So, let's see who he really is and what he's really about. And if all this mysteriousness is warranted...

Story Details

  Darkdevil #2
Summary: Kaine, Scrier Prime (Zarathos), Darkdevil Origin
Editor: Matt Hicks
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Al Milgrom

Kaine is now a free man as he walks away from Ryker's Island sporting a green trenchcoat, crotchless leather chaps and a button-down shirt. (Quite an ensemble for the fashionable assassin these days.) He wonders who really arranged for his release (his lawyer got him off on a technicality last issue) and is expecting an ambush any minute. He wanders into the nearest alleyway and guess who shows up? No, not ninjas this time, but a gang of Scriers! He quickly tears into them and seems to have the upper hand until one of them pulls out a cattle prod and zaps him in the back. Down he goes.

While his body is paralyzed, his mind begins to wander back to the time when was working for the Kingpin and his final confrontation with the original Daredevil. Initially, Kaine doesn't mind trying to kill the hero, but when Kingpin gets impatient and instructs his men to shoot both of them down Kaine decides to switch sides. They make a pretty good team, until one of the Kingpin's goons finally hits Daredevil and kills him. The Kingpin quickly rushes off while Kaine is left holding the dead hero in his arms. Returning to the present, Kaine finds himself strung up in cell and being interrogated by the Scriers.

Meanwhile, DD is recuperating in his Resurrection Tube and reminiscing about himself. And do try to keep track because things are about to get complicated... You see, after the original Daredevil was gunned down by the Kingpin's men, Kaine tried to use the equipment in his secret lab to resuscitate the fallen hero. After that effort fails, he decides to forgo science and skips right on to sorcery. Demon summoning to be exact. And guess which devil shows up - Zarathos (yes, the same entity that used to possess Johnny Blaze and turn him into Ghost Rider)! Apparently, Kaine has a history with the Spirit of Vengeance. (Who hasn't Kaine ticked off? This guy gets around!) Zarathos says he has no interest in saving a goody-goody like Daredevil but he does see something else that interests him – the teen-aged Reilly, who is still in suspended animation and oblivious to the drama unfolding in front of him. Zarathos attempts to possess the boy's body but is stopped by the spirit of Daredevil! And thus the two supernatural entities begin their fight on the ethereal plane over the soul of a innocent.

We switch scenes to a large auditorium where the mayoral candidates are meeting prior to the evening's debate. McKenzie is backstage, too, and is worried that Darkdevil won't be in time to stop the assassination. Speaking of which, one of the Scrier's and Kingpin's goon meet up in the balcony. They both confirm everything is going according to the plan. This place must have lousy security.

Meanwhile, Scrier Prime is on the hunt for Darkdevil. He tracks the hero back to his secret lab via an arcane spell. Also, meanwhile, Kaine is strung up by chains and being smacked around by more Scriers. They interrogate him about the “package” he stole from them years ago (actually baby May in this reality – see Spider-Girl #14 for details).

In flashback, we see the final outcome of the Spirit of Vengeance versus the spirit of Daredevil battle. Zarathos is overwhelmed by DD's goodness, but before he disappears he uses one last trick to change Reilly's appearance do that of an actual demon.

So, the last we saw of our titular hero he was resting in the Resurrection Tube in an attempt to recover from last issue's Scrier attack. Now, we see Scrier Prime just outside the chamber, with his sword raised for a killing blow. Darkdevil isn't going out that easily, however, as he bursts forth from the chamber (what no teleportation this time?) ready to rumble.

They seem to be evenly matched as they trade blows. SP declares that he and Darkdevil “share a most sacred bond,” but DD is skeptical. Our hero tries to pump Scrier Prime for information, asking why an international order of assassins is messing around with NY politics. SP says they were hired to kill one of the candidates. Before he can reveal which one, however, a kick from Darkdevil sends him onto a convenient spike and kills him. DD is aghast, as he was planning on defeating Scrier Prime and sending him to jail. But the fight wasn't a total waste, as Darkdevil also found out that Kaine is on the loose again and has been captured by the Scriers.

DD decides he going to both rescue Kaine and prevent the mayoral assassination. But how? He teleports away to come up with a plan. After he disappears, Scrier Prime rises once again. We see flaming skulls in his eye sockets and he reveals that he is actually Zarathos and is still set on claiming Reilly's soul. Like, duh.

General Comments

This is sorta the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup approach to an origin – “Hey, you got Zarathos in my Daredevil! No, you got Daredevil in my Spider-Clone!” Man, now I'm hungry...

Overall Rating

Coincidences abound, but at least DeFalco follows through with all the hints he's dropped. Darkdevil really does have a connection with both Spider-Man and Daredevil, convoluted as that sounds.

Footnote

Did Kaine ever work for the Kingpin in the 616 universe? Or is that an embellishment introduced just for this story?

 Posted: 6 Jul 2021
 Staff: Jeremy Roby (E-Mail)