Saturday, June 14, 2014

Laugh With Me, Not At Me


Name This Marvel Villain??

It isn't often you hear a villain start off their career with a declaration like this:

But you'd better take him at least halfway seriously, because the Jester--yes, the Jester, what else were you expecting?--made himself a serious four-issue threat to Daredevil. The case has been made before concerning Daredevil's rather laughable stable of foes in his first one-hundred issues; with the Jester's appearance, it doesn't seem there's any room left for doubt, does there? The Jester makes his debut with the bold caption, "Nobody Laughs at the Jester!" Au contraire, mon amis--it's difficult not to roll your eyes at this clown--er, jester.

And we're not the only ones. Even before our villain made his debut, he was getting laughs as failed actor Jonathan Powers. And not in the good way:

Give Powers credit, he was no quitter. He worked hard afterward to overcome the rejection and to make it as an actor. Unfortunately, it was his subsequent stage appearances which set him on the road to his criminal future:

Get enough pies in the face while being the constant butt of jokes, and you start taking it personally. Eventually, Powers gave up his struggling career on the stage--and a villain was born.

I hate to put it this way, but Powers actually found his calling as a villain. His criminal career pulling heists was running rings around law enforcement, and his methods using toys as tools was not only something of a calling card but also ingenious. Soon, he came to the attention of Richard Raleigh (you remember him, don't you?), who could make use of the Jester in eliminating a rival:

Yes, that Franklin Nelson--"Foggy" to his friends, and to his partner, Matt Murdock. And so it was only a matter of time before the Jester met Daredevil--and proceeded to clean his clock:

In time, Raleigh would meet an untimely death, and the Jester found himself squaring off against Daredevil for no reason. Though one might argue that humiliating a super-hero was reason enough:

The Jester would go on to successfully frame Daredevil for murder--but that plot was eventually revealed, and Powers was carted off to jail, where he's rumored to be putting on special one-man performances for his fellow inmates. Heh heh, I jest, of course. But let's hope we haven't seen the last of the Jester, because let's face it: not everyone can take down Daredevil with a yo-yo.


Anonymous said...

The Punisher kinda did everyone a favor when he finally got around to clipping this guy.

Murray said...

The only reason I can fathom that Jester is getting no respect is because he's a copy of a copy of a copy. Joker, Prankster, Toyman and such all came first, so certainly he gets a "Yawn" rating on the Originality Meter. If you manage to put that aside, however, then what's to scoff? Batman and Superman have been flummoxed and bedevilled by cream pies, marbles and yo-yos. Why not Daredevil?

Wow, though. Gene Colan obviously was not the artist of choice for this particular story. That has to be the feeblest attempt at a jester's motley costume ever. Bleh!

Murray said...

Anon's comment scratched a memory. Jonathan Powers tackled Daredevil just last year. He had a much sharper motley costume and no toy weapon motif at all. The Sons of the Serpent hired him to run a sneaky media manipulation campaign against DD. The story has Jester monologuing about the "power of the narrative" and other whackadoodle twists that someone who fancies himself to be a Great Actor might spew.

He doesn't get any sort of big confrontation with DD. Our Hero puts the Sons of the Serpent into a corner and demands they hand over the Jester gift wrapped. They do.

The googles tell us Jester #2, named "Jody Putt", was the victim of the Punisher.

Comicsfan said...

Murray, not the best costume for our jesting villain, I agree.