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Slade Murdock (Earth-9602)

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Slade Murdock left the world of high-powered international law when the rules would not allow justice. Trained at first by her failed fighter father and later by the elderly woman known as Winterstick, she learned to outfight men twice her size and think her way around the smaller ones. Taking the name Dare, she became an assassin operating out of New Gotham. [2]

Dare was captured by corrupt New Gotham mayor/crimelord the Big Question who subjected her to a "government" experiment. Calling her a "daredevil," the Big Question had his surgeons implant two horns on Dare's head so that she could look more like a true devil. The radioactive chemicals used in the experiment caused Dare to permanently lose her eyesight, but enhanced her strength, reflexes and senses of hearing and smell.

Dare battled the expert marksman/assassin known as Deadeye in the villain's first appearance. [3]

Dare was forced to kill her daughter Jericha during the finale of the "MUTANT HUNT" storyline. [4]

In another altercation with Dare, Deadeye severely damaged her right eye (resulting in her having to wear a patch), although Dare had already lost her sight in an experiment involving radioactive chemicals before this incident. [5]

When Tombstone the Ravager found that having two new mercenaries in town was too much trouble, he thought he had found a unique way to take care of this nuisance: hire Dare to kill rival assassin Catsai and hire Catsai to kill Dare. Then, with the survivor wounded, his personal guards could complete the job. But instead of hurling taunts upon their first meeting, the two female assassins shared information and took the job back to their mutual employer, deciding to kill their client instead; the start of a long and beautiful friendship. [6]

Dare was unable to help when Catsai was "killed" by rival assassin Deadeye after a climactic battle. But Catsai, who proved to have as many lives as her namesake, returned to the world of the living soon after. [7]

Both Dare and her partner Catsai were transported to Apokolips by Dr. Strangefate to assist in preventing the evil Thanoseid's plan to warp reality by using the Infinity Links. Both assassins were present when American Girl (Carol Barnes), the former sidekick of Super-Soldier, heroically sacrificed her life to further the heroes' cause. [8]

Facing mounting rumors that he was under the influence of the mysterious mystic known as Doctor Strangefate (who also resided within New Gotham's Arkham Tower), the Big Question devised a brilliant plan to rid himself of Dare and Catsai while at the same time save his tarnished reputation. Keeping his identity a secret, he hired Dare and Catsai to come to Arkham Tower and assassinate the Big Question. He would then have Dare and Catsai killed and claim that Dr. Strangefate enchanted them to murder the Big Question. By butchering Dare and Catsai, the Big Question would thus cause his reputation to be reborn and prove to New Gotham's public that he was New Gotham's true power, and even if Dare and Catsai did manage to kill him, then at least the Big Question would be killed in a fight and not as some magician's stooge. [1]

Dare and her partner entered Arkham Tower, a giant skyskraper, and started making their way across floors. Their target lived on the top floor. On they way up they faced mercenaries hired by Big Question. The 12th of them was Deadeye. [1] Dare looked on as Catsai killed him. When she heard how right this killing felt to Catsai, Dare chastised her partner for supposedly "getting off" on murder. Catsai responded that Dare was sounding self-righteous. Catsai alluded to having wanted to hit "the bull's eye" with their deceased opponent for quite some time, and believed Dare had similar thoughts about the man. Dare denied having any feelings about Deadeye, though she once lost an eye to him. [1]

Dare then stood guard as Catsai attempted to pry the elevator doors open with one of her sais. But as Dare used her hypersenses to "read" the surroundings, she heard the faint grunt of high-pitched breath in the elevator shaft and smelled the chemical stink of heavy explosives -- sure signs that the elevator was rigged to explode. Dare pulled Catsai away to safety just as a violent explosion engulfed the elevator doors. [1]

When the smoke cleared, the feral assassin known as Lethal was ready to pounce on his prey. He threw four blades at them. Dare used her "internal radar" sense to track and catch his throwing blades in midair, then threw them back at him. She then stood back and allowed Catsai to handle their opponent. When Catsai immobilized her opponent, Dare delivered the deathstroke with her sword. [1]

The assassins next faced Arkham's mental patients. Both women killed several of them, though Dare took the lead in the fight. Dare was also in the lead when they started climbing up. Catsai pointed that Dare seemed a bit too eager to get to the Mayor and questioned whether this mission was personal for Dare. Dare denied it.[1]

They were next faced by the 14th mercenary, Wired. Wired was soon killed, though it was left unclear if he was killed by Catsai or Dare. [1] The assassins used Wired's thrown corpse to open up a metal door. They were finally face-to-face with Big Question. Their target complimented them on their appearance. Dare was silent while Big Question revealed that he was their mysterious employer and that the two of them were mere pawns in his plot. [1]

After hearing that this was a win-win situation for her enemy, Dare lost her temper and charged forward with her sword drawn. She fell right into a trap. A metal door separated her from Catsai and trapped her in a one-on-one fight with Big Question. Catsai realized too late what was going on and was left trying to open the door. [1]

Big Question easily outclassed his opponent, successfully facing all of Dare's attacks and removing her weapons one by one. Finally he got a hold of the little horns on Dare's head. He pointed out that the surgically added horns were a gift from him, and Dare has failed to thank him for his generosity. Now it was time for him to get the gift back. He used brute strength to pull out both horns. The removed horns left behind gaping wounds on her head, from which a mix of blood, bone, and bodily fluids flowed. Soon Dare died from blood loss and Big Question jokingly asked if he should call for a doctor. He commented that she has all eternity to decide and answer him.[1]

The information on the unpublished Assassins #2 mentioned that Dr. Strangefate would visit Catsai and reveal the fate of Dare.[1] While it was hinted that Dare could be resurrected, this was never depicted.

Powers

  • Presumably most of the powers of both Daredevil and Deathstroke.
    • Dare is a mutate. The experiment (or experiments) she underwent left her blind but enhanced her strength, reflexes, and senses of hearing and smell. She refers to these as her hypersenses and uses them to scan her surroundings in ways impossible for normal humans.
      • Dare's mutation has added to her an internal "radar" sense. She can sense the proximity and arrangements of objects, allowing her to react as if actually seeing them.

Abilities

  • All the abilities of both Daredevil and Deathstroke.
  • Dare can catch thrown weapons in midair and throw them back at her opponent.
  • Dare can handle a sword with deadly accuracy.
  • Dare is very agile and apparently has acrobatic skills.

Strength level

She was mentioned as having the strength of ten men.

Weaknesses

  • While Dare has super senses and an internal radar, she remains blind. She does not have an actual visual sense of persons and objects, only their depictions in her radar.
  • Once stripped of her weapons, Dare does not seem to be much of a fighter.
  • Dare does not seem to have a Healing Factor. Her wounds do not heal faster than a normal human being and blood loss kills her.


Equipment

All the equipment of Daredevil and Deathstroke.

Weapons

  • All the weapons of Daredevil and Deathstroke.
  • A personal sword serves as her favorite weapon.
  • While her codename is supposed to be "Dare the Terminator", the only issue she appears in consistently calls her either "Dare" or "the Dare". The terms "Terminator" or "the Terminator" are not included. [1]
  • In a flashback, Big Question calls Dare "Daredevil". His surgical addition of horns to her was supposed to make her look more like a real devil. [1]
  • Dare may be a skilled fighter but she is clearly outclassed by Big Question, and she failed to harm him in any way. Her partner Catsai both defeated him and left him bleeding, implying that she is also inferior to Catsai.
  • Dare presents herself as more level-headed than Catsai, less likely to enjoy killing, and claims to not hold grudges over past encounters with her foes. However her reactions towards Big Question do not really reflect any of these traits. She loses her temper, desperately tries to kill him with any weapon available to her, and it seems to be personal.
  • The issue is clear that Dare's horns were added by surgery arranged by Big Question. It is much less clear if this is the same experiment which granted her powers in the first place. She is stated to already have had a long-standing feud with Big Question by the time he chose to experiment on her. [1]
  • The issues' letter page offered additional background to Dare. There she is mentioned as the mother of two "mutant" daughters: Jericha and Terra-X. Dare reportedly was forced to kill Jericha, though Terra survived her mother. [1]
  • It is unclear how old Dare is supposed to be, though she has at least two children. Her DC template Deathstroke the Terminator ages at a slower rate than normal humans and is considerably older than many of his opponents. According to his origin story, Deathstroke is a veteran of the Korean War (1950-1953).
  • The idea that Dare received her powers from an intentional experiment derives from the origin of Deathstroke. According to his origin story, he volunteered for a medical experiment that would increase a soldier's ability to resist truth serums. The experiment went further than that, and the process served as a DC version of the Super-Soldier Serum. It enhanced both his mind and body in several ways.
  • Dare is missing one eye, because Deathstroke also has only one eye. He reportedly lost his right eye when his former wife Adeline Kane shot it out. The eye never regenerated.
  • It is uncertain whether Dare has inherited all the powers of Deathstroke. They include an enhanced intellect (having 9 times the thinking capacity of a normal human), enhanced reflexes, enhanced speed, enhanced stamina, enhanced strength, and enhanced senses of hearing, smell, and vision. She obviously lacks the Healing Factor which allows Deathstroke to regenerate from all injuries except the loss of an eye, and slows down his aging process.
  • The use of a sword by Dare derives from Deathstroke. While he is trained in various martial arts and is highly efficient in hand-to-hand combat, Deathstroke favors using a sword in combat. His sword is made out of promethium, a highly durable metal which is capable of generating and absorbing near-limitless amounts of energy.
  • The identity of Dare as an assassin derives from Deathstroke, not Daredevil. Deathstroke is a professional mercenary and assassin.
  • The idea of Dare as a parent likely derives from Deathstroke. Deathstroke/Slade Wilson is the father of at least three children: Grant Wilson (the original Ravager), Joseph Wilson (Jericho), and Rose Wilson (a successor to the Ravager identity). All three have undergone similar enhancements to their father and have powers of their own.
  • Various commentaries on the Dare concept point out that she is based on two male characters, Daredevil and Deathstroke, leaving her female identity somewhat questionable. There is a theory that she is partly based on Rose Wilson, Deathstroke's white-haired daughter. She was introduced in 1992 as a teenager and has since developed into a a younger, female version of her father.
  • Of the two mentioned daughters of Dare, one is actually based on a child of Deathstroke and the other on a closely related character. Jericha is partly based on Joseph Wilson (Jericho), a son of Deathstroke. Terra-X is partly based on Tara Markov (Terra). Terra was a teenaged partner of Deathstroke and implied to be his lover, though he was much older than her. She was introduced in 1982 and died in 1984. At least two other characters have since appeared as clones and successors of her, one calling herself Tara and the other one calling herself Atlee.
  • Winterstick, the unseen mentor of Dare, seems to be an amalgam of Stick and Wintergreen. Stick was the mysterious mentor of Daredevil and Elektra. Wintergreen was for a longtime Deathroke's right-hand-man , moral conscience, and chronicler of his adventures. He was killed by a mentally possessed Deathstroke in 2003.
  • Due to her DC template, Deathstroke, Dare has some similarities with another Marvel assassin:Deadpool. Deathstroke was created in 1980. Deadpool was co-created by Fabian Nicieza, and Rob Liefeld in 1991 and closely resembled DC's Deathstroke in codename, assassin training and skills, and superhuman powers, particularly his healing factor. They even have similar civilian identities. Deathstroke is named Slade Wilson and Deadpool is named Wade Wilson. However they are remarkably different in personality.
    • Rob Liefeld, co-creator of Deadpool, has repeatedly denied consciously copying Deathstroke, though Fabian Nicieza noted the similarities. Liefield has replied to accusations that Deadpool is not an original character by pointing out that Deathstroke is not all that original either. He observed that the concept of a soldier who gets medically enhanced by the military and becomes a super-soldier, like Deathstroke, was already done in the 1940s. The original being Captain America.
  • There is a theory that Dare is indirectly based on Taskmaster. In this view Deathstroke himself is a version of the Taskmaster. Both Marvel's Taskmaster and DC's Deathstroke (on which Dare is based) were co-created by George Pérez and debuted in 1980, though Taskmaster was published first. Their costume designs were very similar, including the buccaneer-style boots and the style of sword they use. The concept that they are mercenaries, master strategists and tacticians, and can adapt to any situation applies to both of them. However the similarities seem to stop there, as they otherwise have different skills, powers, and favored methods.
  • There is a theory that Dare receiving her powers from an experiment by Big Question, is indirectly based on a storyline of the Black Cat. The Cat received genuine "bad luck" powers from an experiment financed by the Kingpin.

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