INSOMNIA

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Mutated human; technology user

Occupation: Professional criminal; former radio station manager; professional criminal

Group Membership: Former manager of WFSK radio station

Affiliations: Agent of Mr. Fear (Cranston); employer of Dom and Renny; former employer of Karen Page

Enemies: Daredevil; Karen Page; Misty Knight

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: WFSK radio station in New York City

First Appearance: Daredevil I#363 (April, 1997)

Powers/Abilities: Insomnia possesses superhuman vision. Her eyesight is sufficiently keen and ranged that she can make out nearly invisible physical details, see thousands of feet away even in darkness, and track others with ease. In addition, her body almost continually produces adrenaline, effectively granting her enhanced human strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, and resistance to injury. She is a skilled acrobat and hand-to-hand combatant. As an agent of Mr. Fear, she has also used technology wielded by holders of that identity, including a small flying platform like those used by Larry Cranston and Starr Saxon, and fear gas pellets and gas guns common to all the various Mister Fears (Misters Fear?)

Limitations: Her enhanced sight requires her to wear deep-tinted goggles or sunglasses in normal light to protect herself from flash-blindness. Insomnia is also unable to sleep, and has a slight psychological aversion to daylight and daytime in general.

History: (Daredevil I#363 (fb) - BTS) - According to Insomnia herself, her parents were killed in a "freak accident" of some kind that also exposed her to unknown chemicals. These chemicals mutated her, leaving her unable to sleep but heightening her senses and leaving her in a permanent state of adrenaline-fueled physical and mental overactivity. Gaining a great sum of money through a legal settlement after the accident, she somehow became owner of WFSK radio station after one of the Kingpin's falls from power. Either before or after becoming owner of the station, she became an ally or agent of Larry Cranston, also called Mister Fear. To win listeners (and thus increase the number of people affected by Fear's plans), she or Fear hired Karen Page to act as the station's popular night announcer, "Paige Angel."

(Daredevil I#354-362 -BTS) - Insomnia managed WFSK on behalf of Mr. Fear, also posing as its owner, and transmitted low-frequency sonics along with normal radio broadcasts. These frequencies, over many weeks, rendered listeners unable to sleep; presumably, this was designed to reduce people's resistance to Fear's emotion-inducing gas. Insomnia may have also acted as Fear's representative in hiring the Grey Gargoyle to steal chemicals used in the manufacture of his fear gas.

(Daredevil I#363) - Insomnia lured Misty Knight, who had been investigating WFSK, to her office under the pretense of offering her anonymous information about the station's true ownership and goals. After telling Knight a version of her origin, she exposed the detective to fear gas, thereby allowing her henchmen Dom and Renny to take Knight as a hostage. Later, when Daredevil interrupted two of Fear's agents in the midst of a chemical theft, Insomnia, who had been their rendezvous, appeared to destroy their getaway vehicle. Daredevil initially mistook her for a vigilante like himself, but soon found himself in a running battle with Insomnia when she stole the chemicals herself. Daredevil chased Insomnia into Central Park and caused her flying platform to crash into the park's lagoon. Insomnia escaped back to WFSK without the chemicals and contacted Fear. On his orders, she then attempted to take Karen Page hostage.

(Daredevil I#364) - While Daredevil invaded WFSK to rescue Karen, Insomnia chased Page to the roof of the station and tied her to an antenna, dangling her above the street. She then interrogated Page using fear gas. Before she could learn anything, Daredevil appeared and engaged her in combat, knocking her into the special transmitter and destroying it. In the combat that ensued, Insomnia managed to catch Daredevil's billy club. Seeking to end their fight, Insomnia leapt from the building's edge, knocking Page loose, forcing Daredevil to save Karen; in the process, she used the club's grappling hook to save herself and escape. Later, Insomnia presented Mr. Fear with the captured billy club at his lair.

Comments: Created by Karl Kesel, Gene "the Dean" Colan, Cam Smith, and Paul Neary

Another victim of changing writer syndrome, Insomnia never appeared again despite Joe Kelly's extensive use of the Mr. Fear character and subplot in his subsequent run on the title. Too bad, as she was an interesting character, clearly set up as a sort of opposite number to Daredevil, with a similar origin (accident enhances senses) and opposing power (enhanced sight to his blindness and other enhanced senses). Kesel portrayed her as someone who could match and perhaps defeat Daredevil one-on-one, and gave her a nicely jittery, irresponsible personality as well. She's certainly more fun than the similarly-conceived, but differently-executed Echo. I should note, however, that Insomnia might easily have been lying about her origin, especially given the circumstances in which she reveals it.

I highly recommend Kesel's Daredevil, by the way. A nice, lighthearted take on the character after years of grim post-Miller angst. While I like Bendis's crime-drama approach, at the time it was very refreshing to see Kesel take the character back to his 1960s conception and have some good classic Marvel fun. It's a pity that the writers after Kesel and Kelly deliberately wrote out the supporting cast and plotlines from that period.

Profile by Omar Karindu

Clarifications: Mister Fear (Larry Cranston), should be distinguished from:

  • Mister Fear, Zoltan Drago, originator of the Mr. Fear identity and fear gas, @ Daredevil I#6
  • Mister Fear, Starr Saxon, later Machinesmith, @ Daredevil I#49, 55
  • Mister Fear, Alan Fagan, Cranston's nephew, @ Marvel Team-Up I#92
  • The Dweller in Darkness, aka the Great Fear, who inspired Drago subconsciously, @ Thor I#229; Dr. Strange I#30
  • Fearmaster 2099, agent of Alchemax, @ Punisher 2099#4
  • Any of the dozens of other "Fear" characters out there

Dom and Renny

They were Insomnia's henchmen at WFSK. As Daredevil pointed out, they tried quite hard to behave like hardened gangsters but proved incompetent on most occasions. They attempted to intimidate Matt Murdock when he asked a few pointed questions about WFSK, and later held Misty Knight hostage on Insomnia's behalf. However, while they cowered before Daredevil's assault on the station, Knight freed herself and captured them with ease.

--Daredevil I#357 (Daredevil I#357-358, #363-364

Created by Karl Kesel, Cary Nord, and Michael Ryan

 


Appearances:
Daredevil I#357 (October, 1996) - Karl Kesel (writer), Cary Nord (pencils), Matt Ryan (inks), James Felder (editor)
Daredevil I#358 (November, 1996) - Joe Kelly (writer), Pascual Ferry (pencils), Art Thibert, Jamkie Mendoza & Pascual Ferry (inks), James Felder (editor)
Daredevil I#363 (April, 1997) - Karl Kesel (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Cam Smith & Paul Neary (inks), James Felder (editor)
Daredevil I#364 (May, 1997) - Karl Kesel (writer), Cary Nord (pencils), Matt Ryan (inks), Jaye Gardner (editor)


Last updated: 01/15/04

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