Death-Stalker was a fictional character, a supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. An enemy of Daredevil, he first appeared as the Exterminator in Daredevil Vol. 1, #39 (April 1968).

Fictional character biography

Philip Wallace Sterling was born in Riverdale, Bronx, New York. He was a wealthy man prior to embarking on a career as a professional criminal. When he first appeared as the Exterminator he recruited the Unholy Three. He constructed a "time displacer ray" ("t-ray") which could teleport its target into another dimension (possibly the Limbo from which Immortus hails). The Exterminator led the Unholy Three in a series of criminal activities and battled Daredevil. When Daredevil defeated the Exterminator and his agents, he also destroyed the t-ray, accidentally bombarding the Exterminator with its strange energy, and seemingly killing him.

Sterling actually found himself trapped between two dimensions, able to return to Earth at will but only for a few hours at a time; furthermore, the mutation caused his skin to become chalk-white. He stole a pair of gloves from AIM that gave him a "death-grip," and began calling himself the Death-Stalker. He tried several times to kill Daredevil and build a new t-ray machine, but was each time beaten by Daredevil.

He allied with Gladiator against Daredevil. Death-Stalker traveled to the Florida Everglades in search of papers relating to Ted Sallis's experiments, and encountered the Man-Thing. He stole a set of ancient Lemurian crystal lenses from the Museum of Modern Art, and battled Daredevil. He masqueraded as Death's-Head (Karen Page's father), and battled Daredevil and the Ghost Rider. Death-Stalker next assembled a large gathering of criminals to take part in an undisclosed plan, and battled Daredevil yet again. He stole a scientific apparatus from Stark International.

Finally, Death-Stalker plotted his ultimate destruction of Daredevil. He attempted to kill Daredevil while the crime-fighter was hospitalized. He battled the Avengers. He created a new Unholy Three as a new group of Ani-Men and had them kidnap Matt Murdock, whose secret identity as Daredevil he had learned by observation from between dimensions. Daredevil was taken to St. Stephens Cemetery, and there Death-Stalker killed the Ani-Men and attacked Daredevil. He materialized from his other dimension while in mid-leap through a gravestone; the trauma killed him instantly.

Powers and abilities

Accidental exposure to "T-radiation" altered Sterling's physiology, making it so that he normally existed in a dimension congruent to Earth. While in this realm, he could watch and listen to events on Earth without being observed from Earth by any means. By willing himself to do so, he could shift into the Earth dimension to varying degrees. He could become visible, but intangible, or visible and tangible as he desired. He could shift from one state to the other instantaneously. Also, while completely in his interdimensional state, he could cover distances more rapidly, enabling him to disappear from one Earth location and reappear at another far sooner than if he had traversed that same distance on Earth. Death-Stalker could not continuously manifest in the dimension of Earth for more than several hours at a time.

His "cybernetic death-grip" device, stolen from AIM, was worn in his gloves, which emitted a dose of microwave radiation when activated by mental command, killing any living creature in contact with it. Death-Stalker had to fully materialize on Earth for the device to be effective. This energy has been described as microwaves, but seems to have properties of both lightning and truly intense cold.

Philip Wallace Sterling was a brilliant criminal mastermind, in addition to being an accomplished inventor and scientist with extensive knowledge of advance scientific apparatus.


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