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'He Can Brutalize Me Any Old Time He Wants' - The Sketchy Micah Synn Saga

In Remember to Forget, we spotlight comic book stories that I wish I could forget, but I can’t, so I instead share them with you all!

Today, we look at the weird devolution of Debbie Nelson during Denny O'Neil's run on Daredevil, as part of some weird "women just want to be brutalized sometimes" angle in the book.

Debbie Harris was a supporting character in the Daredevil comics from the early years. She had some sketchy stuff at the start, but soon settled into being a nice, fairly generic girlfriend and later fiancee for Foggy Nelson. Their engagement lasted for yeeeears of our time...

They were eventually married in one of the last issue of Daredevil before Frank Miller took over writing duties...

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She was basically just a background character. However, soon after Denny O'Neil took over the series, he began to have her become more of a jerk behind the scenes, like insisting that Foggy have his name increased in size to show how much more important he was to Nelson and Murdock than Matt...

Anyhow, Foggy and Matt then gained a new client, a man named Micah Synn, who came from a "lost" civilization of English settlers who were lost for hundreds of years and returned to "savagery"...

When Micah gets arrested, we get the "yikes" piece of dialogue from a passer-by that she would be fine being brutalized by Synn any old time...

If it was just some passer-by, it'd be one thing, but obviously, O'Neil was pushing this with Debbie Nelson, as well.

First, she pushes Fogy to throw a big part for Synn so that she could get her names in the society pages...

Then, at the party, Synn forces himself upon her...

She, of course, is turned on by his savagery, and goes to bring him a Christmas present and he forces himself on her again...

He ends up attacking Daredevil and ol' Hornhead beats him pretty soundly, but Debbie is upset about it...

In the next issue, she backs up Synn's lies that Daredevil attacked HIM!

Debbie continues to be unpleasant, putting down her husband in the next issue...

Suggesting that Synn should win a Nobel Peace Prize in the next issue...

And complain about negative (i.e. accurate) newspaper coverage of Synn in the next issue...

Synn then kidnaps Matt and Foggy's assistant, Becky Blake, and tries to kill her.

When she escapes, she comes forward about the truth, only for Foggy to call her and Matt liars!

We see Debbie with Syn, looking for approval for getting Foggy to lie...

Foggy comes clean with his reasons later and Matt forgives him...

Debbie is now fully with Synn, but, well, guess what? Not a good idea...

In the next issue, she is now serving as a slave for Slynn, while the scientist who "discovered" Synn looks the other way...

Eventually, Daredevil shames the scientist and he frees Debbie (before he is himself killed by Synn)...

She returns to Foggy and begs forgiveness...

She goes on TV to tell her story...

But she still leaves Foggy and in Daredevil #222, she's found another man...

Man, O'Neil really tore that character apart and it was in such a sketchy way, too. The whole "women secretly want to be brutalized" deal. Debbie Nelson just becomes this completely different character. It was a shame. But, hey, she was a love interest in Daredevil who got out of the book alive, that's something, right?

If anyone has suggestion for a future Remember to Forget, feel free to drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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