Death-Stalker

Real Name: Phillip Wallace Sterling
AKA: The Exterminator. Death's-Head. Dr. Thatcher.
First Appearance: As the Exterminator, DareDevil 39. As Death-Stalker, DareDevil 113.
Died In: DareDevil 157, when he partially materialized in a tombstone. Gotta be something ironic there...
Sorta Showed Up In: Captain America 439, where the super-villain Dead Ringer turned into Death Stalker after absconding with a finger from Phillip's corpse. How Dead Ringer was able to duplicate Death Stalker's touch of death is something of a mystery, since said touch of death was based on technology and not an organic quality Sterling himself possessed...but I'm going to try not to think about it too much...
What's His Problem? Your basic bored-socialite-who-turned-to-crime-to-relieve-his-ennui, Sterling developed a "Time Displacement Ray" ("T-Ray" for short) that shunted his victims to a nearby dimension for a limited period of time. When DareDevil destroyed the ray Sterling was caught in the radioactive shock wave and found himself semi-permanantly trapped out-of-phase with Earth's dimension. If that weren't bad enough, the radiation he absorbed began to decay his body, and may have affected his mind. He developed an intense hatred for DareDevil, blaming the Scarlet Swashbuckler for his condition and exile.
Powers: Death-Stalker could partially materialize in this dimension, appearing solid to the onlooker (and to DD's hyper-senses, although he lacked a heartbeat), but just out of phase enough to be untouchable. If he concentrated hard enough, he could even assume the physical appearance of others. Death-Stalker was at his most dangerous when he was completely in synch with Earth, since he possessed a "Death Grip" that could damage or kill his opponents on contact. When touched, victims experienced a sensation of intense cold. This ability was eventually revealed to be non-organic, the result of stolen microwave-based A.I.M. technology that Death-Stalker built into his gauntlets. Now, why microwaves would make somebody numb with cold is one of those great puzzles of Marvel physics; all I can figure is that the victim's molecules were somehow slowed down in the affected area giving the illusion of "cold," although microwaves actually should speed molecules up...but there I go again, trying to make sense of a comic book...
Favorite Quote, the Exterminator: "You fool! I can keep her within displaced time for as long as I wish! All we need to do is adjust the dial on our infallible weapons!" (DareDevil 39; the future Death-Stalker explains the point of having a T-Ray to a muddled Cat-Man)
Favorite Quote, Death-Stalker: "Now you've felt it, DareDevil, just as the monster did. My power...the power of death. I am death, DareDevil. Your death!" (DareDevil 114; Death-Stalker, having just turned away the Man-Thing, gloats over Daredevil's looming defeat.)
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: His first brushes with DareDevil as the Exterminator and as Death-Stalker were simply accidents of proximity; later, determining on revenge, he deliberately sought DD out (and Matt Murdock, whose little secret he knew). His forays into the world of semi-supernatural crime also brought him into contact with Man-Thing, Ghost Rider and Dr. Strange (whose astral form, oddly enough, Sterling could see, although he did not understand what it was).
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: When he was the Exterminator, Sterling employed the Unholy Three (Cat-Man, Ape-Man and Bird-Man) as hired muscle; later hirelings included the Gladiator and the Smasher. Death-Stalker was not particularly fond of any of his cronies. DareDevil let the Smasher go after defeating him, knowing that Death-Stalker would simply materialize in the jail cell and execute Smasher for his failure; Death-Stalker did kill the members of the second group calling itself the Unholy Three. In the end, the only person who cared about Sterling was his aged mother, who after his fatal collision with the tombstone set up a mansion rigged with death-traps in an attempt to destroy DareDevil, the man she blamed for the death of her son.
Most Despicable Act: Death-Stalker killed numerous hirelings and bystanders, both deliberately and accidentally when they came into contact with his deadly heads. In addition, he terrorized those close to DareDevil many times during his attempts to gain the technology he needed to remain in the Earth dimension.


Some Deathly Mug Shots!

Look, but don't touch!


DareDevil 115
1974

DareDevil 148
1977

Dr. Strange 29
1979


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