Issue(s): Daredevil #309
The meeting between the crimelords divvying up the Kingpin's empire continues. As a premise for this Dead Man's Hand crossover, it was interesting, but it gets increasingly frustrating because the group never make any progress. Literally nothing has happened since they first started meeting. Fenris keep throwing their fit. The fact that Tombstone has sown trouble with the Yakuza and the Hand continues to be an issue, but at the same time it doesn't cause the meeting to break down. They've just been stuck in perpetual limbo for the first six parts of this crossover.
The talks do finally break down at this point though.
Meanwhile, due to some publishing quirks, we're right back to where we were at the end of last issue.
Punisher and Daredevil get into a little fight, but the Punisher satisfies himself with cutting Daredevil's hand, and then they agree to join forces. Kind of petty for him.
Then we learn that Werner von Strucker's henchman Snakeskin is really his father.
Baron Strucker is happy that the talks have broken down.
He's also happy that his son shows a little spine and tries to blackmail him for a higher position in the ranks of Hydra, in return for not giving away the fact that he is alive to Nick Fury. But he doesn't express his happiness in a way that Werner appreciates. This is the end of Werner.
I've mentioned already that i found it odd that Hydra was just one of several factions at the table for the meeting that was being facilitated by the Red Skull (through his minion, the Word). If indeed Strucker and the Red Skull were playing some kind of ruse, it's not reflected here, when Strucker is talking out loud about how great it is that he was able to sow discord among the other groups.
Werner does live on in a certain sense, for a little while longer. Because Terror shows up to claim his eye and ear.
Nomad has also apparently caught up with Daredevil and Punisher again (although we don't actually see that happening), and all three focus on tracking down the Hand, who are about to initiate some kind of apocalyptic ritual, which Daredevil learned about from Terror.
But Tombstone is still pursuing his personal vendetta against the Hand, so he's the first to show up and stop Izanami from killing herself to initiate the ritual.
Daredevil shows up to stop Tombstone from killing her, and he manages to convince Tombstone to get a hold of himself. A subtheme in the Daredevil chapters of this crossover has been about how Tombstone is supposed to be a stone cold (pun acknowledged) killer, but he's let personal issues get the best of him. So Daredevil is able to convince him to back off. In the meantime, the delay means that the "witching hour" has passed, so Izanami's ritual can no longer be performed. The Izanami spirit leaves the body of the tourist that it possessed at the start of this story.
In a subplot, the Kingpin continues to work his way back up. If you can call stealing bottles from other homeless people and selling them working his way up.
D.G. Chichester is currently writing this book, Terror Inc., Nightstalkers, the Punisher/Captain America Blood and Glory mini-series, and several projects for Clive Barker. So we're told that the next two issues will be fill-ins to give Chichester a break.
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part seven of Dead Man's Hand. Part eight is in Nomad #6.
Crossover: Dead Man's Hand
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAndrea Strucker, Andreas Strucker, Baron Von Strucker, Daredevil, Hammerhead, Izanami, Jonin, Justin Hammer, Kingpin, Nomad, Punisher, Secret Empire Agent Number Six, Slug (Crimelord), Terror (Shreck), Tombstone, Werner Von Strucker, Word (Red Skull minon)
With all these criminal mastermind type guys hanging around this story really should've been much more intriguing and much more important than it was...
Posted by: Berend Boer | March 17, 2016 8:32 PM
I assumed the Skull WAS in on Strucker's plan.
Posted by: Michael | March 17, 2016 8:54 PM
So what *was* the purpose of the Red Skull organizing this conference anyway? Was it actually to get a whole bunch of organized crime and subversive figures together (under the pretext of divvying up the Kingpin's empire) knowing that inevitably they would end up at each other's throats, especially with an incognito Strucker stirring up suspicion among the different parties?
I guess that makes a certain amount of sense, since it would result in a number of organizations that are rivals to both the Skull and Strucker being weakened, if not outright destroyed. If so, perhaps "Dead Man's Hand" would have been better served if there had been a scene that more clearly articulated that. The best we get is Strucker's rambling monologue about creating discord and anarchy.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 17, 2016 11:39 PM
It depends on how you interpret the "slaughtering these leaders for me" line- did Strucker tell the Hand to kill everyone, and if so, did he and the Skull plan on doing this from the start?
Posted by: Michael | March 17, 2016 11:53 PM
It's hard for me to see that the Red Skull and Baron Strucker are meant to be working together for this story. Strucker seems pleased about having derailed the meeting. Why call the meeting in the first place if the goal was to derail it. Wouldn't it be easier to go after these groups individually? And it's not like there was any indication prior to this that these groups were engaged in some kind of rivalry with Hydra or the Skull. In fact, a Secret Empire leader was seen acting as one of the Skull's division chiefs in Captain America #394.
Granted, it's possible that the idea was to get the leaders all together so that the Hand could take them all out with their ritual. But they only start acting after the conference falls apart. Why derail the meeting and wait until everyone is fleeing (and after Tolliver left, for example), instead of letting everyone get comfortable and having the Hand (which is secretly working for Strucker) do it during the meeting, while everyone is unsuspecting and in one place? Why go through the motions of pressuring Justin Hammer into an alliance with Hydra, and getting the Yakuza into an alliance with the Hand, if the goal is to wipe them all out with the ritual?
We also have the fact that the Word is under the impression that she failed in her mission, while Strucker talks like it was a success. So if this was a joint Red Skull/Strucker effort, the Word wasn't in on it. One can assume that she was a sacrificial lamb, but there's never any indication in this story that anything deeper is going on. It reads more to me like Chichester wasn't aware of the Red Skull/Strucker alliance. In the context of this story only, it makes more sense to me that the Red Skull tried to get a number of organizations under his control, but that his scheme failed because of the machinations of Strucker (whose own plans were then disrupted by the heroes).
The story is pretty incoherent, and i suppose that means it's wide open to various interpretations. And ultimately we do have to assume that Strucker and the Red Skull are coordinating behind the scenes, based on what we know from other books. Maybe part of the scheme was to eliminate elements of the Secret Empire that weren't under the Skull's control. But this is all us making up our own stories.
I know that Chichester writes Strucker again in Daredevil's 1994 Tree of Knowledge story. Maybe he makes things clearer there. But i agree with Ben that the payoff should have been part of this story.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 18, 2016 9:09 AM
fnord, I agree, "incoherent" is the perfect description. If you take the events of "Dead Man's Hand" at face value, it does seem that the Red Skull really intended the crime conference to succeed, since in the next chapter in Nomad #6 the Word is ready to commit suicide for failing him. But at the same time most readers would have recognized that the Skull and Strucker were supposed to be allies, so having the later sabotage the conference then leads you to wonder if that was what the former also wanted. Readers are then left trying to connect a bunch of random dots into a semi-coherent picture, which is really a sign if poor plotting on the writers' part.
The relationship between the Red Skull and Strucker was sort of unclear in any case. Over in the Nick Fury series, Chichester initially had them acting pretty chummy, what with the Skull having been the one to arrange Strucker's resurrection in the first place, and then providing him with the location of the missing Soviet nuclear sub. On the other hand, in Captain America # 387, when Gruenwald showed the Skull learning that someone had bombed Arnim Zola's lab, destroying all his cloned bodies, the Skull immediately suspects Strucker. That was a bit of an odd reaction. Why would the Skull have ever caused Strucker to be revived if he was so concerned that Strucker would betray him at the drop of a hat. But only a few issues later in #394, we see Strucker referred to as one of the Skull's "division chiefs," which seems to imply that Strucker was in a subservient position to the Skull, which I can't se Strucker going along with for a second. And then we get "Dead Man's Hand" with Strucker seemingly undermining the conference organized by the Skull.
Maybe it sounds like I'm quibbling over minutiae, and perhaps I am. But if the writers had worked out these back-story details more coherently, then perhaps "Dead Man's Hand" would have made more sense.
Or maybe no on really cared, and the editors were just looking to find any excuse to throw together Marvel's main "street level" heroes to fight a whole bunch of mob-themed villains in Las Vegas.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 19, 2016 11:07 AM
I don't know that any explanation is required other than the Skull being so in the habit of screwing over anyone dumb enough to work with him - but it's dubious to assume that was the authorial intent, admittedly. It IS, however, just the way the Red Skull is, very consistently always.
The backstabbing aspect of the character gets a little lost in all the murder -including some literal backstabbing of 'partners'- but betray he always does to everyone who ever trusts him in any way for a split second.
Posted by: BU | March 19, 2016 1:49 PM
The Punisher isn't petty. He's hardcore, man. It's the 90's! It's mandatory for "real" guys to act tough and be all grim and gritty.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | December 30, 2017 5:14 AM
As I recall, Chichester's take on Strucker is that his larger goal is to produce enough chaos that social systems break down and people turn on their leaders, opening the way for a fascist takeover by HYDRA. So that might explain why he's so happy to set up what could be a worldwide gang war.
The problem is that this is, in practice, a nebulous motivation for a villain and takes Strucker from scheming mastermind to a troll who shows up to whatever the plot needs him to. And the leader of HYDRA should really be doing more than executing random terror attacks and trolling other super-villains.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 30, 2017 10:00 AM
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