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|First appearance||Daredevil #1 (April 1964)|
|Full name||Karen Page|
Nelson & Murdock |
New York Bulletin
|Supporting character of||
|Notable aliases||Paige Angel|
Karen Page is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character has been a regular cast member of Marvel's Daredevil series, and is the longest-running love interest for the title character.
Karen Page is played by Deborah Ann Woll in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first as a main character in Daredevil, and later as a main cast member in The Punisher and a recurring character in The Defenders.
In her first appearances, Karen is the secretary for the law firm of Daredevil's alter ego Matt Murdock, and the mutual love interest of both Murdock and his partner Foggy Nelson. Her relationship with Murdock hits a downward spiral when he reveals his secret identity to her in Daredevil #57 (October 1969), setting off a long break-up which concluded with her departure from the series in issue #86 (April 1972). Within these final stories, she trades her profession of secretary to become a film actress.
After three years absence from published stories, Karen returned for a considerable stint as a supporting character in Ghost Rider, starting with vol. 2 #13 (August 1975) and continuing through to #26 (October 1977). During this time, a crossover with Daredevil #138 afforded her a brief return appearance in the series where she got her start. A 1978 appearance in Marvel Two-in-One would prove the character's last showing for over seven years.
Karen returned in Born Again, the award-winning storyline beginning in Daredevil #227 (February 1986) that would ultimately restore her earlier role as Daredevil's love interest. Writer Ann Nocenti gave considerably more development to their relationship, and even had Karen acting as a sidekick to Daredevil for the first time in issue #259, in which she goes undercover to help take down a child pornography ring. She was again dropped from the series in issue #263 (February 1989) for another long-term breakup from Murdock, but this time was brought back just two years later, for Daredevil #294 (July 1991).
Karen is killed by Daredevil's adversary Bullseye in Daredevil vol. 2 #5, (March 10, 1999).
Fictional character biography
Foggy Nelson hires Karen Page to be the secretary for the new law firm Nelson and Murdock. She is infatuated with Matt Murdock from the moment they meet. When he introduces her to the adventuring, wisecracking aspect of his personality, in the guise of his "twin brother" Mike, she finds herself equally charmed by this side of him.
Karen's father, Dr. Paxton Page, fakes his own kidnapping and death so that he can assume the guise of the villain Death's-Head. Karen returns to her parents' home in Fagan Corners, Vermont to investigate her father's disappearance. Daredevil follows her. In the ensuing battle between Daredevil and Death's Head, Death's Head spills a vat of molten cobalt over Daredevil, but realizes that Karen is endangered. This brings him back to his senses, and he pushes Daredevil and Karen to safety. He appears to die in this act of self-sacrifice, when he is coated in the molten cobalt. After the battle with Death's Head, Daredevil reveals his true identity to Karen. She constantly fears for Matt's safety, but he cannot give up fighting crime. Karen eventually leaves him and moves to California to pursue an acting career. She finds work as an actress in a daytime soap opera.[volume & issue needed]
Karen appears alongside Johnny Blaze in a film. After a scene is interrupted by The Uncanny Orb, Karen's stuntwoman, Katy Milner, confides in Johnny about Karen's history of "unhappy romances" including the ones with Matt Murdock and Phil Hickock. Later on, Karen herself falls under the Orb's control.[volume & issue needed]
Karen Page is offered a role on The Incredible Hulk TV show which was on its first season at the time. She is kidnapped by three ex-stuntmen on the show, but is saved by the Thing, who is looking for his own TV show, and the Hulk, who is annoyed at having a show about him.
Karen becomes addicted to heroin and starts making pornographic movies. In need of a fix, she sells Daredevil's secret identity to a drug dealer, who in turn sells it to the Kingpin. Karen is forced to return to New York, where she meets up again with Matt. He helps Karen beat her addiction, and they resume their relationship and begin sharing an apartment.
Realizing that Matt is incomplete without his work as a lawyer, Karen founds a free drug and legal clinic, where she counsels drug addicts and Matt provides legal advice and "ghost lawyering". The clinic is destroyed during a demonic invasion of Manhattan, and hours later Karen discovers that Matt has been having an affair with Typhoid Mary. These combined blows leave her psychologically lost, and she runs away.
She becomes an anti-pornography activist, assists Daredevil and the Black Widow in fighting crime on separate occasions, and reluctantly begins dating Matt. At this point she becomes a radio show host under the name "Paige Angel." She eventually realizes that she is too dependent on Matt and that her past is a constant barrier between them. Karen leaves Matt to accept a talk show host position in Los Angeles.
While in California, Karen has a routine blood test as part of an insurance policy application. The supervillain Mysterio - as part of his plan to psychologically destroy Daredevil for his last scheme disguises himself as a doctor, performs the blood test, and tells her that she is HIV positive as part of his plan to destroy Daredevil before he himself dies of a brain tumor. Devastated, Karen returns to New York and tells Matt that she is HIV positive. Later, during a fight between Daredevil and Bullseye, Karen is murdered by Bullseye when she moves to intercept a billy-club thrown at Daredevil's head and is impaled in the heart.
Matt is so devastated by Karen's death that he briefly contemplates suicide, but is given new strength to keep going when he remembers some of their times together, such as when she convinced him to take a night off on his birthday and when she told him that she didn't want him to quit as Daredevil as she always felt safer knowing he was out there. After Mysterio's role in the scheme is revealed and he commits suicide, Matt attempts and fails to give Karen's eulogy, finding himself overwhelmed at the memory of her loss. Initially bitter at Karen dying simply so that Mysterio could feel better about himself, a later conversation with Spider-Man helps Daredevil realize that the infant he's saved represents something positive that has come of the whole affair. He gives the baby up for adoption to a couple in New Jersey. Before he leaves, Matt names the baby after Karen and hopes that her new parents will allow the occasional visit from her "Uncle Matt."
In the What If comic 'What If Karen Page Had Lived?", Karen is narrowly saved from death when Bullseye hits her in the shoulder rather than the head. However, driven by his rage at the fear of losing her rather than his focused grief when he actually lost her, Matt beats the Kingpin to death for his part in Mysterio's scheme, and is subsequently arrested. When Matt is sentenced to 44 years in the Raft for the crime, Karen leaves town and disappears. Matt assumes that she had become severely depressed and may have killed herself. He never sees her again.
In a one-off book of the Secret Wars storyline called Secret Wars: Secret Lovers, a universe that became the Battleworld domain of Limbo is shown where Matt and Karen have grown close to the point of living with each other. Daredevil finds himself in a battle with Typhoid Mary after having nightmares about her prior that Karen is aware of. Karen follows the two only to discover that Mary is actually Mephisto, who wants to spend the final evening before Inferno psychologically and physically torturing Matt. Karen saves Matt by cutting off Mephisto's head with Mary's sword and the two embrace one last time as the world burns around them.
In other media
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe Netflix series, Karen Page is portrayed by Deborah Ann Woll. This version of the character is the female lead and co-protagonist of Daredevil. Prior to season 3, little is known about Karen's past. In season 1, Ben Urich implies that Karen's past activities make her an unreliable source, while Karen implies before shooting James Wesley to death that she has shot someone else in her past. In season 2, Matt is genuinely surprised to learn that Karen has a brother, who is revealed in an article in Ellison's files on Karen to have been killed in a car accident. She also implies in several conversations to have had an unhappy, and possibly abusive childhood. Like her comics counterpart, this version of Karen hails from Fagan Corners, Vermont.
- Karen makes her debut in the first season of Daredevil. When she discovers evidence of criminal activity at Union Allied Construction, Wilson Fisk has Karen framed for stabbing a coworker to death in her apartment. After two further failed attempts on her life, Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson intervene and are able to exonerate her, and hire her on as their secretary. After a failed attempt by Fisk's lackeys to bribe Karen into silence about her findings, she begins her own crusade to expose Fisk's criminal activities with the help of New York Bulletin reporter Ben Urich. When James Wesley discovers that Karen and Ben have visited Fisk's mother, he kidnaps her outside her apartment, drives her to a warehouse, and attempts to blackmail her into silence. Karen grabs Wesley's gun and shoots him to death as he receives a call from Fisk. She becomes traumatized by the incident, having nightmares of Fisk coming to seek revenge on her.
- In season 2, Karen continues to work with Nelson & Murdock as their secretary and legal advocate, although the trauma of Wesley's death still haunts her. When Frank Castle targets Grotto, the sole survivor of one of his massacres at a hospital, Karen helps him flee while under fire from Frank. After Frank is arrested, Matt and Karen begin dating, before his double-life as Daredevil causes him to falter in contributing to Frank's trial and Karen finds Elektra Natchios in his bed when she tells him about it. Karen is one of the few understanding and sympathetic towards Frank's actions, and tries to uncover the truth about what happened with the backing of Ben's editor Mitchell Ellison. Her efforts land her a job at the Bulletin and she takes over Ben's office, after Nelson & Murdock closes as the result of infighting between Matt and Foggy in the fallout of Frank's trial. She is later kidnapped by the Hand as bait for Matt and Elektra, but manages to use Turk Barrett's parole bracelet to summon the cops. Matt manages to rescue Karen and the other hostages, but Elektra is killed in the process. A few days later, Matt reveals his secret identity to Karen.
- Although Karen does not appear in Iron Fist, she is mentioned by Danny Rand in "Felling Tree With Roots" to have published the news of his decision to shut down a Rand chemical plant alleged to be linked an outbreak of cancer patients before he informs Rand Enterprise's board of directors about the decision. In an earlier episode, Jennifer Many, the Bulletin reporter interviewing Ward Meachum about Danny's return, is seen on the phone telling Ellison to boot one of Karen's stories from the front page as she leaves Ward's office.
- At the start of The Defenders, Matt and Karen are back on speaking terms. She is first shown approaching Matt after he wins an $11 million lawsuit for a paraplegic boy, and offering to interview him over lunch. When Sowande threatens the heroes' loved ones, Matt personally visits Karen at her office to move her to Misty Knight's precinct. Karen is annoyed that Matt is going back to Daredevil activities after having given her the impression he had given up his night life, but reluctantly agrees to the police protection when he persists. Cooped up in the precinct, Karen bonds with Trish Walker and they connect over their complicated relationships with Matt and Jessica Jones. After Matt is seemingly killed when Midland Circle is imploded to eliminate the Hand, Karen is devastated, but confides to Foggy that she has a gut feeling Matt is alive.
- Karen is a recurring character in season 1 of The Punisher. While Karen is in the midst of mourning Matt, Frank approaches her to get information on David Lieberman, an NSA analyst who is trying to establish contact with him. The information Karen digs up allows Frank to identify and kill Dinah Madani's boss Carson Wolf as one of the conspirators in the death of his family. After Frank interrupts one of Madani's sting operations to acquire weaponry for his crusade, Karen investigates, interviewing Madani and later meeting with Frank to ask him for his side of the story. Later on, Lewis Wilson, a disillusioned ex-Army veteran in a support group run by Frank's friend Curtis Hoyle, sets off a string of bombings in government buildings, and then sends a manifesto to Karen at the Bulletin, believing she'll champion his cause just like she supported Frank. Karen is incensed, and writes an Op-Ed expressing her side of things. She later provokes Lewis by calling him a coward while having a debate on a radio show with pro-gun control Senator Stan Ori. Later, Lewis tries to assassinate Karen and Senator Ori at a hotel. Lewis takes Karen hostage in the confusion, but Frank manages to corner them in the hotel's kitchen. Karen frees herself after Frank gives her a cue to cut one of the wires on Lewis's suicide vest, and then shoots Lewis in the foot with a gun she took from one of Billy Russo's men. After Lewis blows himself up in the meat locker, Karen helps Frank escape the police by posing as his hostage.
- Karen is mentioned late in season 2 of Luke Cage, when Deputy Chief Ridley tells Misty that Karen has been trying to contact her to get a statement about the Rum Punch Massacre, having heard from a leak (implied to be Tomas Ciancio) about there being a survivor to the shooting. Later, a TV reporter at a press conference held by Misty mentions having heard from Karen about there being a survivor of the Rum Punch Massacre, which tips Mariah and Shades off to Ingrid Mackintosh's survival.
- During the promotional tour for The Punisher, Deborah Ann Woll teased that season 3 of Daredevil would delve into Karen's mysterious past, saying that "We've been hinting at it, and I hope that we eventually unwrap that candy." She said that in talks with season 3 showrunner Erik Oleson, one of her terms was that "if we ever do delve into Karen's past, please don't make it that she shot someone while saving a busload of children. You know? I wanted to encourage him to make this difficult, make it something hard for her to get over, and so we can hopefully pull off something pretty interesting. I like the idea of compromising the character in some way, but I just don't know that it has to be sexual, or that it has to be in a way that causes her to lose her strength."
- In the film adaptation of Daredevil, Karen Page is portrayed by Ellen Pompeo. Most of her scenes were deleted from the final theatrical cut, but they can be seen in the Daredevil Director's Cut DVD. In the film, she is visibly attracted to Matt Murdock, shown when she presents him with two invitations to Wilson Fisk's business party and demonstrates visible disappointment when Foggy Nelson promptly takes the second invitation for himself. When Matt is tracking Kingpin's forces, Karen helps Foggy determine the meaning of a key piece of evidence in a current case.
- Daredevil #1
- Daredevil #25–26
- Daredevil #56–57
- Marvel Two-in-One #46
- Daredevil #227
- Daredevil #232
- Daredevil #248
- Daredevil #262
- Daredevil #263
- Daredevil #294
- Daredevil (vol. 2) #1
- Daredevil (vol. 2) #7
- Daredevil (vol. 2) #5
- Daredevil (vol. 2) #6
- Daredevil (vol. 2) #8
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- Secret Wars: Secret Love #1
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