MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3/DAREDEVIL #110-112 (1974): 1st Silver Samurai

hitler kills himselfGerber was pretty misaligned with the street-level fisticuffs of Daredevil, so he Steve Gerber crossed Daredevil over with the other book–a far superior book–he was writing at the time: Marvel  Two-In-One.

It’s a wild-and-wacky story in which an actor playing Hitler kills himself, and it kind of is a non-event.  Anyway, what made Gerber’s work so good was the way he’d create these elaborate small characters with depth and detail, and then he’d just let them go and they’d disappear.

In these issues, the Black Spectre criminal organization is Daredevil’s target.  In Marvel Two-In-One #3, DD and The Thing break into Spectre’s base.  Then, DD learns that they’re a group of black women in masks.  An interesting use of DD’s sight limitation: We the readers see that the women have facial tattoos that look like Mandrill’s face, but of course Daredevil can’t see that.  Nevertheless, he learns that they’re being led by The Mandrill, who gains mental control over Black Widow.  Oh, and Nekra, also from the Shanna comic, is part of this whole thing too.  Yes, it’s a big, sprawling, crazy mess.

And you can’t be doing too bad with Mandrill getting into a taxi and going to the West Village.

You have to admire Steve Gerber’s perseverance.  He comes up with his Shanna of the Jungle character and creates this whole world of ideas in his head, and then the book gets prematurely cancelled.  So now he’s stuck with this ideas in his head, so he has to get them out somewhere…

The origins of Mandrill and Nekra are told, and they’re as bizarre as most Gerber origins: Mandrill’s father was a white nuclear physicist, Nekra’s was a black cleaning lady.  Both worked at the same facility, where they were infected by radiation that led Mandrill’s dad to give birth to a gorilla baby and Nekra’s mom to an albino, skinny vampire.  The idea being that gorillas look black and yellowy-pale witches look white.  Yes, that’s unsettling.  They both were abandoned by their parents and befriended each other.  Together, they were attacked by an angry mob and their mutant abilities were unleashed.  Now, they’re mad at the world and want to get revenge.

Silver Samurai is the most enduring character to come out of all this, but he’s really also just an offensive stereotype: A giant Japanese guy who yells “die” a lot.

Just as DD is losing, Shanna shows up with a bunch of jungle animals to save the day.

Needless to say, Samurai bears little resemblance to the complex character he’d become in the hands of Chris Claremont and in the pages of The X-Men.

Mandrill comes close to taking over the U.S., signified by this shot of the White House lawn…

But in the end, the two females take on Nekra and Daredevil kills Mandrill by throwing him off the roof of the White House.  A lot of people tend to die around DD by falling from great heights.  I should make a tag of that, maybe?

Turns out he’s not dead, though, because no body is found.

Two-in-One:

Creators: Steve Gerber, Gene Colan (#110, 112), Bob Brown (#111

Grade: D

Daredevil:

Creators: Steve Gerber and Gene Colan (DD#110) and Sal Buscema (2in1#3)

Grade: B

Related Posts

About The Author