I read a lot of comic books as a kid. This series of posts is about the comics I read, and, occasionally, the comics that I should have read.
Marvel’s man without fear, the costumed do-gooder known as Daredevil, went through his first couple decades of publication amassing one of the more laughable rogues‘ galleries in all of comics. Frank Miller rectified the situation somewhat during his storied run on the title as writer and artist, partially by giving Daredevil an arch enemy borrowed from another title. But ol’ hornhead apparently couldn’t escape disastrous fools with malevolent intent forever. Not long after Miller first stepped away from the character, Daredevil found himself trading punches with a fiend called Trump.
Even in the Marvel Universe, where the sides of good and evil are clearly delineated, Trump was notably horrid and duplicitous. In his first encounter with our hero, Trump feigns surrender only to lure his more upstanding adversary in for a sucker shot.
Luckily, Daredevil’s well-honed reflexes allow him to evade the bullet, but his safety doesn’t diminish the blatant immorality of Trump’s actions.
Written by Steven Grant and penciled by Geof Isherwood, Daredevil #203 fits solidly into the model of the series in the mid–nineteen-eighties. It has a noir-ish commitment to the low-level crime happening in the inner city, a preoccupation with the slippery nature of justice (mostly realized in the portions of the story that follow the exploits of Daredevil’s alter ego, attorney Matt Murdock), and our protagonist is forever haunted by memories of his bullied childhood before and after a freak accident left him blind. In keeping with the scummy, street-level milieu, Trump is small and pathetic, bullying those around him as he mounts a poorly thought out scheme to run illegal guns. “Me, I don’t like doing anything I don’t get paid for,” he declares while being pummeled, further proving himself to be a man with no moral code whatsoever.
Trump operates with a few cheap tricks that briefly keep any fine, upstanding person who opposes him slightly discombobulated. He’s fundamentally oafish, though, and there’s little question that he won’t be able to keep up his charade for long. At some point, Trump is bound to fall and fall hard. The scam will collapse.
In the end, Trump overestimates his own power and is so wrapped up in his toxic confidence that he doesn’t really understand the person he’s trying to best. In this instance, he tries to use a stage flash to temporarily blind Daredevil, unaware that it’s a trick doomed to failure.
Daredevil didn’t fling quips around like Spider-Man, that other hero dressed in red who swung around Manhattan. Being a jabbering jokester isn’t everything. Sometimes a simple message does the job just as well. Yelling “Trump, shut up!” while delivering a final blow? That strikes me as deeply satisfying.
Previous entries in this series (and there are a LOT of them) can be found by clicking on the “My Misspent Youth” tag.