As Knull tightens his grip during King in Black, two of the dark god’s latest symbiote recruits break free of his insidious control.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Daredevil #27, by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto, Marcio Menyz & VC’s Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
As Knull’s army of ravenous symbiotes have swept across the Marvel Universe during the crossover event King in Black, many hapless heroes and villains have been horrifically recruited into the dark god’s forces after being bonded to a symbiote of their own. Among the most recent draftees into Knull’s unstoppable invasion are Typhoid Mary and Daredevil, both overwhelmed by symbiotes as they attempted to protect those around them from Knull’s grasp.
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And while the villainous demigod’s control over his army appeared to be absolute, linked to each of his soldier’s telepathically through their collective hive mind, Mary and Matt Murdock have shown themselves to be strong enough to break through Knull’s conditioning.
For Mary, the reason is relatively straightforward: The supervillain has grown accustomed to multiple voices inside her head competing for control of her body all her life. While Knull is a prominent addition to her psyche, to be sure, Mary is more than ready to resist his commands to indulge herself and enjoy the perks that come with her symbiote upgrade. And when Mary crosses paths with Elektra, with the master assassin now serving as Hell’s Kitchen’s new Daredevil while Matt is in prison, Mary goes as far as to attack other symbiotes nearby to ensure that the opportunity to kill Elektra remains hers and hers alone in open defiance of Knull’s orders.
Despite being locked up in a maximum-security prison, Matt similarly was bonded to one of Knull’s symbiotes while fighting to keep those around him safe. Transformed into a monstrous version of the Man Without Fear, Matt’s own immense willpower, deep-seated faith and previous experience being possessed by dark forces grant him a degree of lucidity through Knull’s control. During the crossover event Shadowland, Matt had been possessed by the patron demon of the ancient ninja cult The Hand, known as the Beast. The entity would progressively make Matt a considerably darker, more violent figure, taking on the New York City superhero community after brutally murdering Bullseye and targeting those that opposed him and The Hand’s sinister agenda.
While the Beast was eventually purged from Matt and the Scarlet Swashbuckler regained his full faculties, Matt was visibly shaken by the ordeal and has battled with the darker side of his psyche for years. Fueled by his epic sense of guilt and propensity of self-punishment, Matt is able to break free from Knull’s telepathic control long enough to find the prison’s functional electric chair and blast himself with enough electricity to fry the symbiote bonded to him. Now evidently back in full control of himself, Matt takes the opportunity to flee from the prison in the chaos caused by the attacking symbiotes and subsequent jailbreak.
Knull has used his symbiotes to take over Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, turning even the most stoic, powerful superheroes into his mindless pawns as he steadily conquers the planet. In short order, both Typhoid Mary and Daredevil have shown that they each possess enough willpower, hardened by their own respective past experiences, to break through Knull’s telepathic control and subvert the monstrous symbiotes bonded to them for themselves.
While this has proven a minor setback, at best, to Knull’s overall conquest of the Marvel Universe, the Man Without Fear is a relatively free man once again, prepared to do his part to defend his hometown.
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