Monday, September 10, 2012

If Looks Could Zat


Name This Marvel Villain??

It's amazing how far this villain actually got in his career--even giving a couple of Marvel's heavy hitters a fair deal of trouble, when basically all he had to work with was a good supply of henchmen and some well-laid plans. But the Masked Marauder was also an engineering genius; his weaponry was varied and powerful, and he later rigged his costume to absorb a foe's physical attack and siphon its energy for his own use.  A pretty handy thing to have when you're power-dived by Iron Man.

Calculating and diabolical, and usually managing to stay one step ahead of his foes, the Marauder could have eventually made a pretty good rep for himself. But I think his reach often exceeded his grasp. Once you waded through his lackeys, and foiled his plans, he was still vulnerable to a good ol' sock in the jaw. But he made for a good change of pace, and his grandiose speaking style easily allowed him to take center stage in practically any book he ended up in.

Of course, the Marauder's flashiest piece of technology was in that intriguing-looking mask of his, which fired his "opti-blast"--a ray which paralyzed the victim's optic nerves for a short period of time (and which letterers had great fun captioning "ZAT!"s to).  It usually gave him enough time to either escape or lower the boom on his foe.  But mostly it was intimidating as hell, usually having the element of surprise.  (Good thing he never said "Prepare to be hit by my opti-blast!", otherwise the unlucky recipient would have had time to just look away.)  So it worked on just about everybody.  Like unruly henchmen the Marauder had outfitted as Daredevil:

And security guards:

And it worked on Spider-Man:

I don't know what Spidey's spider-sense had to do with his optic nerves, but it was neutralized along with his sight.  Funny how his spider-sense can be "handled" when it becomes inconvenient. Though you might get the impression that Marvel's left hand doesn't talk to its right:

Maybe if Spider-Man had read his own first annual, written two years earlier, he would have gotten right up and wiped the floor with the Marauder.

Still, it's good to know an opti-blast doesn't do squat against radar sense:

But it does just fine against armor with eye slits:

So whenever the Marauder gets the upper hand on his opponents, you have to give him his props.  Because if you don't, well, he'll just give them to himself:


Anonymous said...

I don't remember the Marvel handbook description of the Marauder, but isn't his power psychic, so that it shuts down the sight centers of the brain rather than affecting the actual eyes? That would explain why he could affect Iron Man despite lens protections that stop snow blindness and looking directly into the sun and stop Spider-Man's spider sense yet couldn't affect Daredevil.

Or am I remembering some unsuccessful "no prize" candidate from a letters column I once read all those years ago?

Comicsfan said...

To my knowledge, the Marauder's "opti-blast" involves a temporary paralysis of the optic nerves, which allowed him to incapacitate Spidey but which of course gave the already-blind Daredevil an edge over him.