Thursday, January 13, 2022

A Tale Of Two Origins


Name This Marvel Villain??

We'll learn more of the man named Marcus Daniels in a moment. But right now, he's in a hurry to save his life, and the best thing we can do is to stay out of his way so that he can find the device he's looking for. And if he can get his hands on the man whose experiment made him this way, so much the better.

So far, our raging villain hasn't dropped his villain handle--but he's shown us enough to demonstrate that his powers are somehow tapping into "black light" (aka ultraviolet light), which you and I know to be harmless (except to a villain named Dr. Spectrum).  But hold that thought for a minute.

Since he's free to take off with the device he came for, let's hear what he has to say about his origin:

So what this Dr. Croit has actually done is to give Daniels the ability to harness the energy of a black star (or so the good doctor believes), though Daniels obviously prefers to refer to it as his black light power (probably ignoring or not even realizing its reference to the violet-filtered light we illuminated our posters with back in the day, man). Suffice to say that Daniels is now dangerous enough to call his power whatever he wants.

Having already had one successful encounter with the young hero Nova, Daniels has another run-in with him at just the time when he's going to use Croit's device to save himself. By now, we've learned the name that writer Marv Wolfman has given him, which seems a good choice in "light" of what we've seen of his abilities.

Regrettably, the clash between Nova and Blackout results in a tragic accident (and just in time, where Nova's own life was concerned)--and Blackout departs this mortal coil in classic villain style.

We don't see Blackout again until 5½ years later, when the Avengers are dealing with a crisis at Project Pegasus and an inadvertent brush with Captain Marvel's power results in his return. As luck (and writer Roger Stern) would have it, he then crosses paths with another resident of the Project--someone who knows opportunity when she sees it, especially after the pair go on to free the Rhino and Electro. (No, I don't know why the Rhino would be carted to Project Pegasus--what sort of energies would he have to interest the scientists there?)

Once she has some moments alone with Blackout, Moonstone decides to use her skills as a psychoanalyst to coerce a more clear picture from him as to how he gained his power--thereby giving Stern the means to revise Wolfman's origin for him, while Moonstone fills in the gaps in regard to the true nature of Blackout's power.

Blackout and Moonstone didn't do so well against the Avengers when they clashed at Pegasus, his power "backfiring" on him following an attack by the Scarlet Witch to the point that the Darkforce swallowed both of the villains and they disappeared--finally showing up on the moon, where they were overcome by the Inhumans and afterward transported to Project Pegasus.

Moonstone would later use Blackout when they become part of Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil in a plot to destroy the Avengers. By now, Moonstone's influence over Blackout has grown to the point of having almost complete control of his actions (which isn't surprising from a former associate of the infamous Dr. Faustus), thereby giving the Masters a potent weapon against the power of Captain Marvel.

But with Moonstone beginning to undermine Zemo's postion as leader of the Masters, Zemo feels it prudent to take precautions where Blackout is concerned--and with the help of the Fixer, Blackout's usefulness to Moonstone as a stepping stone to leadership is brought to an end.

The siege of Avengers Mansion quickly puts Zemo and the Masters within arm's reach of the team's destruction--and, true to Zemo's expectations, Blackout is able to deprive them of the power of Captain Marvel, just when she's most needed.

Later, however, as the Wasp acts to gather enough help to strike back against the Masters, we have the mysterious Shroud to thank for unwittingly providing the means for Captain Marvel to extricate herself from Blackout's trap.

In the interim, things have turned against the Masters. The arrival of Dr. Druid has allowed him to reach Blackout on a telepathic level and influence him to remove the darkforce barrier he had erected around the mansion to keep the military from gaining access--while, inside, the Black Knight has freed himself and Captain America from captivity and the two have begun to move against their captors. With Captain Marvel's return, the Wasp, Ant-Man, and Thor re-enter the mansion from a makeshift tunnel--and from there, the Avengers begin to make headway against their foes.

Meanwhile, Zemo has decided his only option at this point is to flee while he can, making his way to the roof and managing to paralyze Druid after taking him by surprise. Now alone with Blackout, he sees one last chance to turn things around--but he's not as alone as he believes, and Blackout, whom Druid has helped to regain his faculties, fights for his very life against the man who struggles to again bring him under his influence.

Though he doesn't yet realize it, Zemo's reckoning is imminent. As for Blackout, well, one man's corpse is another man's tool--and from what I understand, Blackout's body was used by Zemo to trap another villain (the Smuggler) in order to gain leverage against the Smuggler's brother, Atlas. Since then, Blackout (whoever he now is) would turn up here and there, at times a pawn of both Zemo and the Hood.


Big Murr said...

There are so many silly power sets in comic books, but one that I've never been able to suspend belief on is "darkness". The mighty ability that can be defeated by a security guard with a flashlight. Or so it feels, anyway.

"NO, no! This is darkness with extra deep darkness mixed in!" Yeah, no.

All the convoluted argle-bargle of "darkness dimensions" fails to sway me. Somehow making the absence of light into an impenetrable forcefield risks eye roll sprain.

This may be hypocritical of me, since, as I said, there are so many silly powers I will accept.

Comicsfan said...

And let's not even think how the Black Galaxy or the Black Stars fit into the picture, Murray. ;)