Supervillain Origins: The Purple Man

Script written by Craig Butler Is watching this video really your choice? This villain can compel anyone to do anything, and the scariest part is they may not even know why. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origin of the Purple Man. As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character's past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1964's Daredevil #4, which was expanded upon in 1985's Alpha Flight #41, 2003's Alias #24, and 2014’s Daredevil #8. Special thanks to our user ibriers 1 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Craig Butler

Supervillain Origins: The Purple Man


Is watching this video really your choice? This villain can compel anyone to do anything, and the scariest part is they may not even know why. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of the Purple Man.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1964’s Daredevil #4, which was expanded upon in 1985’s Alpha Flight #41, 2003’s Alias #24, and 2014’s Daredevil #8.

Most comic book metahumans have a name that describes their power. The Purple Man’s moniker just describes his appearance. His power is far more formidable than his name indicates -- he can make almost anyone do whatever he tells them to.

Although the Purple Man has fought many different heroes, he has a long association with Daredevil, dating back to his debut in a 1964 issue of the Man without Fear. In that issue, a purple-hued man calmly walked into a bank and asked a teller to load up his suitcase with money. The employee happily complied. It was only after the Purple Man left the bank that the teller realized what he had done and alertedthe police.

The Purple Man was seized by officers and didn’t resist arrest at all. Matt Murdock, who in costume was known as Daredevil, was appointed his attorney. Murdock and his assistant, Karen Page, visited the Purple Man, whose real name is Zebediah Killgrave, in jail. Killgrave asserted that he had no need for a lawyer, as he was leaving jail now. The guard immediately let him out, and he left, taking Karen quite willingly along.

Murdock was confused at how this has happened. He seemed to be immune to Killgrave’s ability to control people, perhaps because he is blind or perhaps because of the heightened senses which compensate for his blindness.

Changing into his Daredevil outfit, Murdoch set off in pursuit of Killgrave. Finding daredevil resistant to his ability to control, Killgrave commanded the crowd of people to fight Daredevil while he escaped with Karen. The Purple Man then rounded up a gang of musclemen to act as his unwitting henchmen and selected a luxurious apartment building for his headquarters. Settled in, he meditated on Daredevil’s immunity to his control and decided it was his destiny to conquer the superhero.

Later on, Daredevil found and confronted the Purple Man on the rooftop of his high-rise headquarters. He kept Daredevil at bay by commanding Karen stand on the ledge and threatening to send her to her doom.

Killgrave then took this opportunity to reveal how he came by his special abilities. Some months ago, Killgrave had been an ordinary spy sent to steal a top secret experimental nerve gas. During his attempt, a guard accidentally released the gas on Killgrave. The gas turned him purple and also somehow altered his body chemistry so that he now had the ability to make people do what he told them to.

Daredevil had been recording all that Killgrave said and now had evidence which could convict the villain of treason. He then jumped offthe roof, taking Karen with him. When the Purple Man followed him and tried to rile the crowd against him again, Daredevil covered him with sheeting so that his control power was muted.

The Purple Man’s origin was later expanded on in Marvel Max’s 2003 series ‘Alias’. Killgrave was an especially disturbing foe for theheroine known as Jessica Jones, forcing her to be his bodyguard and sexual slave for months. In this run we also learn about how his powers really work. He doesn’t hypnotize people as many had originally assumed, instead, his body secretes psychoactive chemicals. Other people absorb them through smell or through their skin, and this enables him to control them.

In subsequent years, it became apparent that the nerve gas had somehow affected Killgrave on a genetic level. Several children that he fathered on unsuspecting women showed up, each with his ability, although it varied by degree. One, a girl named Kara, turned purplewhen she was a teen-ager. She simultaneously found that when she ordered someone to do something, they turned purple and did it. Kara eventually joined the mutant group Alpha Flight as Purple Girl.

In 2014, Killgrave rounded up several of his children, hoping to use them as a new force so that he could conquer the world. Unfortunately, he discovered that when his children banded together, they could control him. More than just rebellious kids, Killgrave was no match for his own offspring.

With his ability to bend the will of others to achieve virtually anything, the Purple Man is the ultimate puppet master. The nature of his power makes him extremely dangerous and difficult to stop. His appearances, therefore, are not as numerous as some other villains – but he makes an impression whenever he appears.

Are you a fan of the Purple Man? For more comic book origins and top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.

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