Marvel Database

Due to recent developments, please be aware that the use of large language model or generative AIs in writing article content is strictly forbidden. This caveat has now been added to the Manual of Style and Blocking Policy.


Marvel Database

Appearing in "Power Play!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:

Races and Species:



Synopsis for "Power Play!"

One evening, Spider-Man is hanging upside-down from a cornice taking pictures of an automobile accident. As usual, his rent is late and he needs to sell something to the Daily Bugle. The rammed car is a purple Rolls-Royce, and the other is driven by two unsavory characters who emerge and start to threaten the Rolls driver. Suddenly interested, Spider-Man watches the Rolls driver, clad in purple, order the thugs to unhand him and to beat each other into unconsciousness. As they start battling, Spider-Man swoops down to investigate and grabs the Rolls driver Then he discovers to his surprise that the driver's skin as well as his clothes is purple. The purple man suggests that Spider-Man climb a lamppost, and he does so without hesitation. Then he tells him to recite some Shakespeare. But Spider-Man does not remember much Shakespeare, so the purple man allows him to sing some Elvis Costello. With the crimefighter hanging from the street lamp warbling "Oliver's Army" and Scudd and his partner pummeling each other, the purple-man calmly walks to their car and finds several packages of heroin scattered about. Evidently the criminals were making a narcotics delivery worth perhaps thousands of dollars, he muses. Another man might steal the stuff, he continues, but money means nothing to Killgrave, the Purple Man. Then, after telling the battling thugs and Spider-Man to forget he was ever there, the Purple Man walks away. Sometime later, Hildy, a secretary, tells her boss, the Kingpin, about the lost heroin shipment. The police confiscated it before his men could get there, she says.

Annoyed, because the shipment was worth six million dollars, he decides to learn more about the owner of the purple Rolls-Royce. So he orders one of his henchmen, a white-haired man named Heinrich, to bring him in. Meanwhile, the two thugs cannot explain to a mystified Lt. Nick Manolis at the local police station why they were beating each other up for two hours on Fifth Avenue. Daredevil enters through a window and says that it is the work of the Purple Man, one of his old foes. Just then Delany, a police officer, interrupts to tell Manolis that the purple Rolls is registered to a Zebediah Killgrave. The address on the registration is phony, he says, but Killgrave has been traced to the most expensive suite at the Plaza Hotel. By the time Manolis turns to reply to Daredevil, the crimefighter is gone. As he swings away on his billy-club cable, he muses that the police do not stand a chance against Killgrave. Only he, who is for some reason unaffected by the Purple Man's power, can bring him in. His thoughts are interrupted when he passes over a dimly lit street and spies two muggers attempting to rob a victim. In seconds he knocks the thieves out, and then he tells the man, whom the muggers called "Pop," to report the incident to the police. It was only a common, everyday mugging, he thinks as he swings away, but he could not ignore it, and it cost him precious time. Peter Parker and Aunt May are at Peter's Chelsea apartment when a television newscaster relates the story of the purple Rolls-Royce colliding with the car loaded with heroin. Peter's spider-sense starts to tingle, but for the life of him he cannot understand why. When the bulletin mentions that Spider-Man was seen hanging from a lamppost, he racks his brain trying to remember the incident. Aunt May sees that the program is disturbing him, so she turns off the television and puts on one of his records—which just happens to be Elvis Costello's "Oliver's Army."

Again his spider-sense tingles fiercely, and he realizes that something strange must have happened to him that evening. Thinking that he may have taken pictures of the incident, he runs, much to May's astonishment, out of the room with his camera and heads for the Daily Bugle, where he develops the film. When he sees a shot of the Rolls-Royce and the Purple Man, his memory returns. Then he changes into his Spider-Man costume and web-swings out over the city, hoping that his spider-sense will find the Purple Man for him. The next day, Heinrich Von Schnickel-Schnapp, the Kingpin's agent, climbs the wall of the Plaza Hotel with suction cups to the Purple Man's suite. When he peers through the window, he sees two policemen standing on their heads. What a strange country, the German marvels to himself. When he sees the Purple Man exit through the door, he cautiously follows him through Central Park. Unaware of the assassin, Killgrave muses that a few hours on their heads should teach those rude policemen some manners. Then he stops a man and a woman for some conversation. He quickly tells the man to jump in the Hudson River, but he tells the woman, who is quite pretty, to accompany him into a carriage. It is already occupied, but this presents no problem, for he simply tells the occupants —Sue and her boyfriend—to get out. As the carriage rattles through the park, Killgrave compels the woman to kiss him, but he is disappointed and tells her to leave.

As Killgrave muses on how boring his power has become, Heinrich suddenly drops down into the carriage, aims a gun at him, and tells him not to move. Killgrave simply tells Heinrich to shoot himself, but before the assassin can do so, Killgrave changes his mind and asks him to explain why he is there. Perhaps, he says, it will prove interesting. Back at the Piaza Hotel, Spider-Man, guided by his spider-sense, crashes through the window of Killgrave's suite and finds the two officers. Daredevil is also present, and he quickly explains who Killgrave is and whose narcotics shipment Killgrave detoured. Once the Kingpin finds Killgrave, says Daredevil, he will surely understand the awesome potential of his power. Then Daredevil douses the two policemen with water, and they snap out of their trance. He guessed that a sudden shock might jar them out of Killgrave's control. Soon Spider-Man and Daredevil are crisscrossing the city searching for Killgrave. Suddenly Spider-Man's spider-sense tingles, and he spots the Purple Man in the carriage far below. Swooping down, he grabs Heinrich's gun and collars him and Killgrave, and then he orders the driver to take them to a police station. But Killgrave simply tells Spider-Man to "take a flying leap," so Spider-Man clambers up a nearby building and jumps off. Fortunately, Daredevil catches him before he hits the pavement. Spider-Man tells Daredevil that the man told him to jump and he did. What is wrong with that? Heinrich soon introduces the Purple Man to the Kingpin.

The master criminal is amazed to learn that the accounts of the Purple Man's strange power are true. He asks Killgrave about the rumors that he died while attempting to escape from Ryker's Island Prison, and Killgrave replies that he simply planted them as a cover. It would take far more than a fall into the ocean to damage his chemically altered body, he declares. He had but one thought as he sank into the brine, he says. Revenge, interrupts the Kingpin. No, replies the Purple Man, it was, "Who needs the grief?" After involving himself in battle after battle, he says, he just decided to retire to the life of leisure that his power could provide. Then Killgrave turns to leave, but the Kingpin fires a blast from his Obliterator Cane and orders him to halt. Killgrave responds by telling the Kingpin to blow his brains out. At first the Kingpin raises his weapon to his forehead, but then, after a minute, he lowers it. He will give the orders now, he declares smugly. Killgrave is astonished that the Kingpin could resist him. Only Daredevil has been able to do that, he says. The Kingpin replies that Daredevil and all the others who have stood in his way will die. Elsewhere. Luke Cage and Iron Fist leave the Victoria Theater after a showing of the martial-arts movie, Image of El Jefe. Disappointed, Iron Fist says that kung fu is a religion, not a pack of cheap fighting tricks as portrayed in the movie. Suddenly a young woman chased by a gunman runs into the street nearby. Cage uses his bulletproof body to shield her as Iron Fist runs after the criminals' limousine and kicks in its window. After the car crashes into a traffic island, he pulls out the men inside and turns them over to the police. Later, at the offices of, Heroes for Hire, Cage, Iron Fist, Colleen Wing, and Misty Knight question the woman. She says that she overheard two men planning a killing, and when they saw her, they sent the gunmen after her. She does not know who the target is, but the murder will occur tonight at the charity show in the Convention Center. Colleen senses a trap, but Cage does not care. The woman will remain with her and Misty, and he and Iron Fist will visit the center themselves. At nightfall, as an informant nicknamed "Pigeon" feeds his pet pigeons on a rooftop, Moon Knight glides silently down and asks him whether he has any information. Pigeon replies that he has nothing. Suddenly Moon Knight says that they are being watched, and he hurls a crescent-shaped scarab dart down the barrel of the hidden sniper's weapon.

A sharp punch to the jaw knocks the man out. Pigeon explains that he was afraid to say anything because he knew the man was there, but now that he is safe, he can say that someone will be killed at the charity show tonight. After Moon Knight glides away. Pigeon removes the sniper from the pole that Moon Knight hung him from, and they congratulate each other on leading the crimefighter into the Kingpin's trap. Two hours later at the Daily Bugle building, J. Jonah Jameson dresses for his part as master of ceremonies at the charity show. As he bids Gloria Grant good night, he passes an office where Joe Robertson and other Bugle staff members are conferring with Spider-Man and Daredevil. Jameson is furious at seeing the two crimefighters—particularly Spider-Man—in his building and orders them out at once. At the same time in the Kingpin's office, the Kingpin gloats that fate has at last delivered Spider-Man, Daredevil, Moon Knight, Power Man. and Iron Fist into his hands, to be destroyed by the power of the Purple Man. But to prevent Killgrave from turning against him. he must be killed as well. So the Kingpin summons Heinrich. hands him a pair of earplugs so that Killgrave's speech will not affect him as he hides behind the podium, and instructs him to destroy the Purple Man when he finishes his talk. Soon Jameson begins his long-winded, self-aggrandizing opening speech at the charity show. In the audience are Peter Parker and Debra Whitman, Matt Murdock, Luke Cage and Dan Rand, and Moon Knight—as Steven Grant—and Marlene Alraune. After boring the audience to death, the publisher introduces the shows first guest, Killgrave. The people, expecting Steve Martin, begin to boo, but the Purple Man orders them to be quiet.

They immediately settle down, and then he singles out Matt Murdock as someone who is concealing something. Realizing that his secret identity is about to be exposed. Matt grabs his neighbors cigar and throws it onto the empty seat in front of him. The vinyl cover starts to smolder, and Matt yells, "Fire!" The crowd panics, and the crimefighters use the confusion to change into their respective costumes. Moon Knight sees Spider-Man climbing down a wall. Thinking he might be the killer and Jameson his intended victim, he glides swiftly toward him, but Daredevil grabs Moon Knight in mid-air and they fall onto the stage. Then Luke Cage and Iron Fist enter, believing Moon Knight to be the criminal, but Spider-Man drops down among them and calls a truce Jameson imagines they have come to ruin his moment of glory and calls for someone in the audience to catch them. Then Killgrave shouts "Kill the heroes!" into the microphone, and the audience rushes on stage to murder the five crimefighters. Daredevil calls for a strategy to deal with the crowd, but Cage simply shatters the wall and the five men run out into the street Daredevil and Moon Knight hide behind a building, letting the crowd pursue Spider-Man. Power Man, and Iron Fist. As they return to the convention center. Daredevil explains Killgrave's power to Moon Knight. Back on the stage, as Killgrave challenges Daredevil to come out of his hiding place, Heinrich Von Schnickel-Schnapp aims his weapon at the back of the Purple Man's head. But before he can fire, Moon Knight knocks him out with a throwing iron. Then he carefully examines Heinrich's body, trying to find out how the assassin resisted Killgrave's will, and he soon finds the earplugs and inserts them into his own ears.

Meanwhile, Killgrave asks for the house lights to be turned off and then orders a spotlight turned on. Illuminated by the light as he stands at the lectern, he tells Daredevil to reveal himself. Ordinarily, Daredevil can resist Killgrave's voice, but now it is amplified by the microphones, and he is forced to step out of concealment. Then Killgrave orders "Murdock" to strangle himself, and as Daredevil's fingers wrap around his own throat, he gasps for breath and sinks to the floor. Killgrave barely starts gloating when Moon Knight walks out of the shadows and orders him to release Daredevil. The Purple Man tells him to eat his cape, but Moon Knight—much to Killgrave's surprise—knocks him out with a punch to the jaw. As Moon Knight helps Daredevil to his feet, Daredevil asks that he keep his Matt Murdock identity, which Killgrave just revealed, a secret. But much .to Daredevil's relief, Moon Knight can hear nothing with his ears plugged, so Daredevil simply thanks him for saving his life. The audience, meanwhile, continues to chase Spider-Man. Luke Cage, and Iron Fist down the city street. Suddenly Spider-Man web-swings up a wall. Cage thinks he is deserting them, but instead Spider-Man spins a web-net and drops it onto the crowd to slow them down. As the people struggle, he swings down, picks up Cage and Iron Fist, and swings up to a rooftop. Then he runs to a nearby water tank, explaining how Daredevil brought the two policemen out of Killgrave's trance before. Cage tears the tank off its mount, and Iron Fist shatters it with his "iron fist" blow. Hundreds of gallons of water spill onto the crowd, and soon they are all back to normal, though soaking wet. Jameson starts to splutter insults at Spider-Man, but Spider-Man tells him to be quiet. He just saved this town, he continues, and he will go on saving it—and Jameson will continue to print lies about him in his newspaper. But whenever he gets angry with the publisher, he says as he departs, he will remember this moment, and it will make it all worthwhile.

Soon a gagged Killgrave is led away into a police van under the watchful eyes of Moon Knight, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil. Hildy brings the Kingpin the bad news that his plan backfired. Both Killgrave and Heinrich have been jailed, she says. The Kingpin is furious, and he says through clenched teeth that although he may be beaten time after time, he only has to win but once.


  • It is implied in this story that Killgrave's power works through vocalization, rather than pheromones, as people are compelled to do his bidding within the sound of his (amplified) voice, and Moon Knight is able to keep Killgrave from controlling him by simply wearing earplugs. On the other hand, one could argue that if Moon Knight could not hear Killgrave speak, then he would not be compelled to follow his commands regardless of the source of the compulsion.
  • Daredevil recounts his previous battle with the Purple Man. That happened in Daredevil #154.

See Also

Links and References