What If... The World Knew Daredevil Was Blind?

You get your turning points where you can get them.

Though What If mostly took on origin stories or pivotal, character-changing events, there are examples where the most innocuous story can become a career changer. This next What If does just that.

What if the pivotal event was a second issue nobody really remembered?

What If Vol.1 #8 (April 1978)
Based on: Daredevil #2
The true history: While the FF are out "getting a medal" (wow, busy), Electro breaks into the Baxter Building. He's noticed by Daredevil and they fight. At some point, Electro gets him from behind, but DD eventually recovers and hauls Electro to jail.
Turning point: What if Spider-Man had noticed Electro going into the Baxter Building too?
Story type: Happily ever after.
Watcher's mood: Misshapen.
Altered history: When Spider-Man also follows Electro into the building, Daredevil turns around and avoids the electric bolt heading for him. Once Electro is captured, he correctly deduces that DD is blind, or else he would have reacted to the bright flash. His proof: DD can't tell what color his costume is, mwahaha! And Daredevil, never the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to keeping his identity a secret, never thinks to counter with "I'm color-blind, yes!" That pose says it all, really.
Electro blows the whistle on him. Media shitstorm. The usual story. One change is that DD gets his red costume from his third issue after being told he was a fashion nightmare by Spidey. Daredevil #3 features a confrontation with the Owl, as before, but this time the master criminal has come prepared with a hooting machine meant to befuddle anyone with the heightened senses associated with blindness.
Like I was saying. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, and so secret identity blown to Karen Page well ahead of schedule. Moving ahead to DD #9, Matt Murdock goes to a foreign country with no A.M.A. to get an experimental operation for his eyes. Curious to find out how the local despot controls the people, the Daredevil of our world put the operation on hold in case he lost his powers along with his blindness. But with his secret out, Karen is better able to convince him to put off his investigation and just get it over with. He doesn't lose his powers, and still with a bandage on his eyes, he fights the Duke as he did, though the difference is that the Duke gloats about his opportunity to hit a blind man upside the head. After all, what's the harm?
He obviously doesn't understand how DD's powers work, so Matt shouldn't have bothered worrying about his rep. Not being knocked out gives him the extra seconds needed to beat the Duke without having him fall off the castle walls AND save the poor old doctor who operated on him from a lethal dose of radiation (but put another name on the list of people who've put 2 and 2 together). In a wonderful turn of events, the operation works!
She's beautiful! What a relief! And it didn't cost him his powers. But you know that dose of lethal radiation? THAT did the trick. What can a powerless sighted Daredevil do? Hang up his costume, apparently. DD isn't seen again until issue #20 (which means that the Ani-Men, Plunder and the Gladiator get away with stuff), when the Owl kidnaps Murdock for a mock trial. Witness for the defense: Daredevil (so Matt was carrying the costume with him regardless, this is an odd parallel). But this time, the Owl's hearing-disruptors don't have the intended effect! It's heavy going without the powers he's used to, but DD does pretty well for himself. Hey, he could be like a red Captain America, he thinks.

Yeah, Cap doesn't do red, pinko!

In events mirroring the original comics, Daredevil has to crash (rather than land) the Owl's robot bird, and the Owl this time appears to die in the ensuing explosion. DD follows that up with a press conference:
No, really, he is VERY BAD AT KEEPING A SECRET IDENTITY. He quits the superhero game and is elected District Attorney, marrying the lovely Karen Page and living happily ever after. I'm sure she says no to drugs and everything.
Books canceled as a result: Unless people are willing to buy Matt Murdock, Attorney-at-Law (and I would be), that's the end of Daredevil. And that cancellation makes Elektra pretty unlikely.
These things happen: Every other month with Daredevil. It's hard enough keeping a secret identity unless you have a good strong pair of glasses without being blind as well. Daredevil's been found out so often that his handicap is more or less common knowledge. The real What If is that he loses his powers, because otherwise, the minute changes to his story are just that, minute.

There's another What If in this issue, but I'm keeping it for next week!


rob! said...

So...if Daredevil regained his sight, then he would've given up being a superhero.

Which means the young Frank Miller never would've gotten a chance to show his mad writing and drawing skills.

Which means no Ronin, no Dark Knight Returns, certainly no Daredevil: Born Again, no Sin City.

A pretty terrible outcome.

But then again...we'd also have no Dark Knight Strikes Again, All-Star Batman and Robin, or Spirit movie, so...its kind of a wash, I guess.

Siskoid said...

Most certainly he'd work on another comic instead. Not sure what else Marvel had in the pipeline at the time where someone could have had free reign.

elektra could have been someone else's girlfriend!

rob! said...

Well, sure, Miller would've been assigned another book, but would he have made such a splash if he had been the writer/artist of, say, Shogun Warriors? Marvel Two-In-One?


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