Thursday, November 6, 2014

Evil's Stepchildren--The Emissaries of Evil!

The Emissaries of Evil weren't quite as cool as the Masters of Evil--I mean, would you rather be an emissary of evil or a master of evil? You'd rather have "Master of Evil" on your calling card, admit it. The Emissaries of Evil sounded like they should be fetching coffee for the Masters of Evil, or heralding the Masters' approach to their targets. "Fantastic Four, prepare for the arrival of the Masters of Evil! So say we, their emissaries!"

That said, the Emissaries had more sound strategy than their Spider-Man counterparts, the Sinister Six--who decided to battle Spidey one at a time instead of as a group, and got soundly thrashed for their blunder. The Emissaries, on the other hand, under the direction of Electro, spread out to scour the city for Daredevil--and when they were ready, drew him in and ganged up on him all at once. And as the Masters of Evil will tell you, ganging up on your victim is like catnip to a group of super-villains:

At the time of the Emissaries' premiere in the first Daredevil Annual in late 1967, there were only a handful of DD villains to choose from. Sadly, the Ox and the Owl didn't make the cut, nor did the Cobra and Mr. Hyde who had just been dealt with in DD's regular mag. That left a rather motley group whose members had a common goal of taking vengeance on DD but who might be ill-suited to function as teammates:

So, when the Emissaries finally make their move, you have to wonder how the Sinister Six would do in their place when the time came for the showdown:

It's either going to be a slaughter at the hands of these five fiends--or Daredevil's finest moment. Will these villains be able to pool their might and come out on top?

If we were to picture the Sandman, the Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Dr. Octopus, Electro, and Mysterio (well, maybe not Mysterio) ganging up on Spider-Man, Spidey might have ended up like Hercules. In DD's case, most of these villains want the bragging rights of taking him out solo, even though at first they try to play it smart (with the exception of Electro, who, given his part in the Sinister Six debacle, should know better than to again go one-on-one):

Daredevil's radar sense isn't exactly like the early warning system of Spidey's spider-sense, but it has compensatory strengths in allowing him to track his opponents and anticipate their movements. And by initially scattering his foes, he can skillfully deal them in and pretty much call the shots and dictate the flow of the battle.

The Gladiator is by far the toughest opponent in this group as far as hand-to-hand combat, which is why he turns out to be DD's most persistent foe in the battle. But DD only has to make sure the advantage stays his when Gladiator closes on him:

The Leap-Frog is mostly a nuisance who, as we've seen, can be used against the others. As for the Stilt-Man, I don't know why he gets lost in the shuffle in this final confrontation--perhaps because we've already seen him in solo battle with DD earlier in the story, though the same can be said for the Leap-Frog, Electro, and the Matador. And speaking of the Matador, he doesn't seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed:

Before these dolts can regroup, though, Daredevil puts the wrap on all of them:

Nearly ten years later, Egghead puts together a new grouping of the Emissaries, though they fail to distinguish themselves--probably because they mostly served as Egghead's hirelings:

It seems that the Emissaries segue into becoming the Emissaries of Egghead, since he later drafts another group (including again Solarr and the Rhino) that meets a quick defeat from Alpha Flight. At some point, the Kingpin also forms his own Emissaries group (with Stilt-Man again a member), to which Daredevil hands another defeat.  It's a fair bet that the Masters of Evil have little to worry about in terms of this sister evil group stealing their thunder.


david_b said...

GREAT idea on the column.., both the Siege on Avenger's Mansion and the DD Annual gang-up are particular favorites of mine.

Nice insight.

Anonymous said...

The Matador!
I kinda forgot about that guy.
Thanks for reminding me. Yeesh. mp

Anonymous said...

My introduction to Daredevil was Marvel's Amazing Adventures Starring Daredevil. I forgot where they started in his run. I did not have this one but I had the Giant Size Daredevil which was the reprint. Oh, those halcyon days of youth.....

The Prowler (Whatever happened to Randolph Scott ridin' the range alone whatever happened to Gene and Tex and Roy and Rex, the Durango Kid whatever happened to Randolph Scott his horse, plain as can be whatever happened to Randolph Scott has happened to the best of me).

Anonymous said...

Me too, Prowler! My introduction to Daredevil was an issue of Amazing Adventures where Daredevil faced the Masked Marauder and Stiltman! (guest appearance by Spider-Man).
Great minds think alike!
I've always been a Stiltman fan since then. Ah, well, I can't help it. MP

Comicsfan said...

mp, sorry about foisting the Matador on you. My pain is your pain, buddy. :)