Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Profile: Karen Page

Karen Page
First appearance: Daredevil #1 Vol. 1, 1964

Current status: deceased

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: she descended into working as a porn actress, and she became a drug addict, even going so far as to sell information on Matt Murdock’s secret ID as Daredevil to the dealer she’d been buying from, later became tricked into thinking she'd become ill with HIV, and was murdered at the hands of Hornhead’s leading nemesis, Bullseye, in Daredevil #5 Vol. 2, 1999.

What’s wrong with how this was done? The fall from grace she took, descending into drugs and pornography may have been handled well and was essential to the development of Daredevil's rivalry with the Kingpin, who'd gotten hold of the info and used it to his advantage against Hornhead, but Karen’s dying not from an HIV illness but rather, at the hands of Bullseye, is decidedly super-cheap. It seems pretty rushed, like as if she had to die ASAP, rather than to write a story in which she could go to the great reward via natural death. And this points to a leading problem that’s been cropping up in recent years in comics: death by murder, not by natural causes.

So what could’ve been a masterpiece in story development instead turned into a disastrous case of resorting to a classic cliché.

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