Brian C. Saunders:
Issue(s): Daredevil #18
This issue introduces the Gladiator, a longtime Daredevil villain and one of the better ones. In his civilian identity, Gladiator works at a costume shop, which is always an opportunity to sneak in some non-appearances of other Marvel characters, and in this case it may have been designed as a continued try out (after the past two issue's Spider-Man guest appearance) for John Romita to confirm that he's ready to move on from Daredevil to bigger and better things. Next month will be his debut on Amazing Spider-Man.
The story here plays directly off the fact that Spider-Man accused Foggy Nelson of being Daredevil in the previous story. Foggy has since taken the opportunity to drop not-so-subtle hints that this is the case.
This is all for the purpose of getting into Karen's pants. Pretty sleazy.
To extend the subterfuge, he's looking to buy a Daredevil costume. The idea is really just to have the costume in his desk drawer so that he can ask Karen to grab a document for him and notice the costume, but the creepy costume store owner will lead Foggy down a more dangerous path.
It's worth noticing that the Gladiator is being depicted as a pretty crazy guy in his first appearance here (his fanatical eyes). He'll quickly become a more generic villain, but the insanity angle will eventually come back.
Gladiator is of the opinion that it's the costume, and only the costume, that makes a super-person super, and to that end he's designed his own, superior costume. In fact, the boots alone would be enough to assure him of victory.
Having read a lot of later Gladiator appearances before reading this one, i never realized the extent to which the costume was designed in the spirit of Iron Man's, with transistorized components and an oxygen regeneration in the helmet. I always figured it to be a more straightforward suit of armor. It's a pretty impressive display of technology for a costume designer.
Gladiator convinces Foggy that it's a good idea to take Karen to the dangerous city docks at night where they can stage a fight, allowing Foggy to change into his Daredevil suit and defeat the Gladiator, impressing Karen.
But Gladiator actually has no intention of throwing the fight. Luckily, a jealous Matt Murdock shadows Foggy and Karen on their date, and when Foggy gets knocked out, the real Daredevil jumps in.
Gladiator's sanity comes up again during the fight.
After Gladiator is knocked out, the real Daredevil pulls back to allow Foggy to take credit. Matt is not happy to hear that Foggy continues to pretend to be Daredevil.
Meanwhile, Karen ran to the police, who took her back to the law office, where she runs into the building manager.
The building manager will turn out to be the Masked Marauder in his civilian identity. Both he and the Gladiator will return next issue, when Matt Murdock attempts to solve "the problem of Foggy".
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I don't remember if they ever explained how the Masked Marauder's real name went from Mr. Dunn to Frank Farnum.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 13, 2014 12:46 AM
While this is obviously the same guy as Farnum the Masked Marauder, is there anything that necessarily precludes Farnum being the guy who buys the building from Dunn (i.e., is this scene specifically referenced by Farnum, etc.)?
Posted by: MikeCheyne | December 13, 2014 8:42 PM
I'm actually not convinced it's the same guy myself. Aside from the obvious name difference, Dunn's face looks older than Farnum's, and I think Dunn's hair has more gray in it. I think MikeCheyne's comment about Farnum buying the building from Dunn makes sense. There was no scene explaining the differences, but we can chalk that up to Stan Lee's famously bad memory.
Posted by: mikrolik | May 3, 2015 9:34 AM
I´ve always thought that the Gladiator was a pretty scary character... imagine all the physical damage he could do with those wrist saws....
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | July 22, 2016 6:46 PM
Stan Lee suddenly had to leave for vacation before finishing this issue? Hm, maybe he was having a meltdown, since this was about the same time that Steve Ditko quit.
Foggy doesn't just want to get in Karen's pants, he wants to trick her into MARRYING him! Wow. Sure 'n' THAT would turn out well. Suddenly I'm losing what little sympathy I might have previously had for Foggy. There must be a good lawyer joke here somewhere...
Posted by: James Holt | September 3, 2016 9:12 AM
The Gladiator as a costume designer reminds me of Peter Gambi in the Flash and Black Lightning in DC who designs costumes for villains.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 7, 2016 10:46 PM
All the super powers lay in the costumes?
To quote don cheadle:
Posted by: Roy Mattson | July 10, 2017 7:42 PM
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