Eric Nelson's father was the last of the big-time gamblers. A get-rich-quick wheeler-dealer, a daredevil. By the time Eric was twelve, his father had come close to bankrupting the Nelson family fortune through a dizzying combination of reckless investments and sucker sports bets.
Desperate to maintain her place in society, Eric's mother remarried within her class and raised Eric to never, never, never be like his father. Following in his new stepfather's footsteps, Eric Nelson (he kept his father's last name) became a corporate lawyer. Soon, Eric was on the fast track. He became engaged to the daughter of one of Alchemax's executives.
One day, a seedy old man carrying a big carton under his arm wandered into Eric's office. This man, Dr. Gunderson, was one of the last true pioneers--a downtown research scientist who worked on his own. He'd survived by patenting his small, low-profile breakthroughs and selling his patents to the corporations.
Years of non-interference had made Gunderson just a shade too cocky when it came to avoiding the "attention" of the corporations. Once Gunderson filed a patent application for his ultimate discovery--a device developed to enhance the human senses--Alchemax came knocking. Their electronic mole in the patent office flagged them to something potentially very interesting, and they decided to get it from Gunderson one way or another.
Eric's father was a friend of Gunderson's and had recommended his son's services to Gunderson. In desperation, Gunderson pulled a crude helmet--his sensory-enhancement prototype--out of its big box and almost force Eric to try it out before pleading with Eric to take his case and protect him. Eric advised the old man to accept Alchemax's bid and relinquish the technology. Gunderson, tempted to spit on Eric's shoes, mutters, "Thanks a million, daredevil," and left.
The next day, two things happened. First, Eric heard the news of Gunderson's sudden suicide. Second, a big package arrived for Eric. He opened it in the privacy of his office. It was empty... except for a taunting note from Gunderson promising to teach Eric that the safe life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Eric accidentally pricked his finger on a sharp corner inside the empty box. And that was the last normal day Eric Nelson ever had.
Suddenly, Eric began experiencing intermittent dizzy, almost hallucinatory spells. In addition, a flurry of Alchemax corporate goons began to crawl all over his life. Eric was now under full Alchemax surveillance as a result of receiving a box big enough to carry Gunderson's now-missing prototype.
Eric realized that the symptoms he'd been experienceing had something to do with Gunderson's sensory enhancements. And as Alchemax started to close in on him, endangering him and everything he'd worked for, trashing his personal and professional life--Eric went probing and found out just how much he'd been physically affected.
Trolling the downtown area, Eric met Gunderson's fairly hostile, fairly stunning former lab assistant, Carol Takagawa. Carol was actually amused that Alchemax was looking for a big, clunky prototype. The true technology was microscopic "nanomite" technology that flew through the bloodstream to the brain, permanently enhancing the sensory nodes. Specifically, Eric's sensory nodes. They were augmenting his sensory systems in an extraordinary way. Gunderson had hid his technology in a place no one would ever look, and in doing so, stripped the safe life away from Eric.
Temporarily refuged in the downtown area, his senses mutating, Eric--through Carol--was introduced to the Maverick Underground, a downtown network of scientists and free thinkers just like Gunderson. Eric's brief journey through their lives, through their personal tales of being crushed by the system, opened his eyes for the first time to the villainy of the corporations that plague the 2090s. Using his new sensory abilities... dubbed, mockingly, "Daredevil" by Carol... Eric rose from the underworld of downtown to bedevil the megacorps and impose justice where the law fails.
In bringing Gunderson's killers to justice, Eric managed to restore his professional life... even though it's one he no longer always believes in. Still, maintaining it as a "front" allows him to stay plugged in to the system and be increasingly vigilant to the crimes of the megacorps. He devoted the first half of his life to defending them... now he spends the rest of it bringing them down.
- 2 Appearances of Eric Nelson (Earth-928)
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