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|First appearance||Daredevil #1 (April 1964)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Full name||Karen Page|
|Supporting character of||Daredevil|
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, Page 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 Page returned in the award-winning Daredevil #227 (February 1986), in a story 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 Page 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).
Page 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, Doctor 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 goes on to beat the Kingpin to death for his part in Mysterio's scheme, and is subsequently arrested.
In a one-off book of the Secret Wars storyline called Secret Wars: Secret Lovers, a universe 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 was aware of. Karen followed the two only to discover that Mary was actually Mephisto, who wanted 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 Netflix TV series Daredevil, Karen Page is played by Deborah Ann Woll. Karen discovers corruption in her place of employment Union Allied, prompting members of Wilson Fisk's gang to frame her for murder. Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson intervene and are able to exonerate her. Joining Nelson & Murdock as the secretary, Karen is determined to take down the corruption in Hell's Kitchen and works with New York Bulletin reporter Ben Urich to expose Wilson Fisk. When James Wesley discovers that Karen and Urich have visited Fisk's mother, he kidnaps her outside her apartment, drives her to a warehouse, and attempts to blackmail her. Karen kills Wesley with his own gun in self-defense and escapes. She becomes traumatized by the incident, even 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 she is still haunted by her shooting Wesley. When the Punisher targets Grotto, the sole survivor of one of his massacres at a hospital, Karen helps him flee despite being shot at by the Punisher. She briefly dates Matt before he falters on contributing to Frank Castle's trial and finds Elektra 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 Urich's former boss Mitchell Ellison. Her efforts land her a job at the office Ben worked at as a journalist after the falling out of Nelson and Murdock. In the season ending, Murdock reveals that he is Daredevil to Karen on Christmas Eve.
- Woll will return as Karen Page in another Netflix series, The Punisher, scheduled to premiere in 2017.
- 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 #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) #7
- Daredevil (vol. 2) #8
- "What if Karen Page Had Lived? (2004)". Marvel Comics. December 29, 2004. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
- Secret Wars: Secret Love #1
- "'True Blood' actress to star in Marvel's 'Daredevil'". Entertainment Weekly. July 17, 2014. Archived from the original on July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
- Damore, Meagan (October 8, 2016). "NYCC: Iron Fist Cast Makes First-Ever Live Appearance". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.