“The Tri-Man Lives” (November, 1966) Released: September 1, 1966 Written by Stan Lee Drawn by Gene Colan Inked by Frank Giacoia and Dick Ayers Lettered by Sam Rosen Cover drawn by Gene Colan
The only thing more annoying than the idiotic storyline of the last two installments is the fact that Stan and Gene can’t even be bothered to give it a proper conclusion. Instead, they slapdash together a pointless ending and thrust us headlong into the midst of the story they interrupted to present the nonsensical garbage they’ve unsuccessfully passed off as “narrative” for two consecutive issues.
That’s right! Masked Marauder and Gladiator are back! With them, are Mangler, Dancer, and Brain, three low-level criminals whose unique abilities will be combined through confusing technology to form Voltron. Understand that by “Voltron” we mean “The Tri-Man”, but we’re not fooled. It’s Voltron.
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Check behind the cut to see our individual grades and Gene Colan’s incredible design for Voltron! Dammit. The Tri-Man. Gene Colan’s incredible design for The Tri-Man!
We are oddly in total agreement this time. General consensus: compelling idea with lackluster execution and better-than-average art. All three of us give it a C-.
Things were going pretty well at first. We’ve pulled no punches about how dumb we think this Owl storyline is, but at least the story is continued. We have an idea of what’s going on here. This is, after all, where the last issue ended: Daredevil and Judge Lewis have escaped from Owl on his mechanical owl.
This is page 3. Six panels into the comic. Owl uses a remote detonator to blow up his invention. Daredevil and Judge Lewis escape just in the nick of time. Immediately, we cut to Karen and Foggy in the law offices of Nelson & Murdock.
Page 4. The next time we see Daredevil. Judge Lewis is nowhere in sight. Owl is nowhere in sight. The wreckage of his idiotic mechanical owl is nowhere in sight. We’re right smack dab in the middle of Daredevil’s next adventure! Take a moment to appreciate Gene Colan’s stellar artwork because this whole thing just gets more frustrating from here.
The plot of the remaining pages centers around the team-up between Masked Marauder and Gladiator. After events in the pages of X-Men, it seems that Marvel Universe mafia stand-ins The Maggia are in search of new leadership. Masked Marauder wants the job and he believes that he has the perfect way to convince his potential new employees that he is worthy of the job: his new invention, an Android referred to as Tri-Man! Masked Marauder plans to use this invention to defeat Daredevil, a ploy sure to impress The Maggia!
In the midst of all of this, we are introduced to a washed-up wrestler named The Mangler. We don’t get to see him long, though, before he is whisked away through a light in the hallway of his gym.
We are also briefly introduced to a cat burglar named Dancer and a super-smart criminal mastermind named Brain. They, too, are whisked away by overhead light fixtures. Inherently, we really like this idea of light fixtures being used as teleportation devices, but there’s an entire metric fuckton of information that we need before it actually makes any sense.
Why have these three men been kidnapped? Because Tri-Man is just an empty android shell. Masked Marauder has absconded with three lowlife criminals so that he can connect their brains to his Tri-Man Activation Machine (we guess?) and use their individual abilities to bring his creation to life. Again, this is a really neat idea on paper that doesn’t really make sense in theory.
The newly-animated Tri-Man heads to Madison Square Garden where there is a boxing tournament in progress. He climbs into the ring, makes short work of the two competitors, and then challenges Daredevil to a fight!
Matt hears the challenge on the radio. Knowing that he can’t accept the challenge without revealing to Karen that he is Daredevil, Matt concocts the most ludicrous scheme we’ve seen in 22 issues of this comic. His plan? Use the Daredevil costume that Foggy purchased back in issue 18, put it on, and pretend to be Daredevil so that the human race can buy time before the “real” Daredevil shows up. This presents all kinds of questions for us: Why are we assuming that the real Daredevil won’t show up? How is Foggy’s Daredevil costume going to look believable on Matt, given the obvious difference in their physiques? Why doesn’t Karen figure out as soon as she sees Matt in the Daredevil costume that maybe Matt and Daredevil one and the same? Why is Karen even going along with this dunderheaded plan?
Holy crap, though. Gene Colan’s drawings of Daredevil fighting Tri-Man are pretty glorious to behold!
While Daredevil fights Tri-Man, Karen becomes concerned that she’s lost Matt in the crowd. Her concern for Matt only leads credence to our theory that Karen would have never gone along with this ridiculous plan in the first place.
With Daredevil now in the ring with Tri-Man, Masked Marauder moves forward with the next phase of his plan: demand that Daredevil surrender to him! Otherwise, Karen and Foggy are going to die!
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March 24, 2023 March 24, 2023