Mister Fear

Mister Fear is the name of four fictional characters, all supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. These character have all fought with superhero Daredevil on numerous occasions.

Publication history

Mr. Fear is the identity of multiple supervillains that have fought Daredevil on numerous occasions using a special 'fear gas' fired from a gas pellet gun; the original was Zoltan Drago who first appeared in Daredevil #6 (February 1965) and was created by Stan Lee and Wally Wood. The second was Samuel "Star" Saxon who also goes by Machinesmith; he temporarily took up the mantle when he murdered Zoltan Drago. The 3rd is Larry Cranston, an ex-law graduate who blames Matt Murdock (Daredevil) for his failures in life. The fourth is Larry Cranston's nephew Alan Fagan who used the identity to go after Spider-Man.

Fictional character biographies

Zoltan Drago

Mister Fear
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Daredevil #6 (Feb 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
Wally Wood
In-story information
Alter ego Zoltan Drago
Team affiliations Fellowship of Fear
Partnerships Lucia von Bardas
Abilities Accomplished wax sculptor
Talented amateur chemist
Gifted intellect
Fear pheromone administered primarily by gas pellets, occasionally by syringe, most recently by an aerosol sprayer

Zoltan Drago was the proprietor of a financially ailing wax museum who attempted to use his knowledge of chemistry to create an elixir which would turn his wax statues into living creatures, with which he would create a private army. The chemical failed to create life in wax, but Drago discovered the brew he had created could evoke fear in those who inhaled it. Designing a frightening costume for himself, Drago became Mister Fear.

Fear used his fear-gas to make terrified slaves of the brutish Ox of the Enforcers and the Eel. Naming his triumvirate the Fellowship of Fear, Drago ran afoul of, and was soundly defeated by Daredevil and imprisoned.[1] He was later killed by Machinesmith (Samuel 'Starr' Saxon) in New York City.[2]

Starr Saxon

Main article: Machinesmith

Criminal engineer Samuel "Starr" Saxon temporarily assumed the guise of Mister Fear. Daredevil had defeated Saxon's robotic assassins, and desiring the means to confront Daredevil directly, Saxon gunned down Drago and stole his gear. As the second Mister Fear, Saxon humiliated Daredevil in televised battles, casting himself as the hero in a series of charity-funding battles against the superhero. In the final battle with Daredevil, Saxon was unmasked, and plunged to his death. Saxon's robots would use his mind as the template for the Machinesmith's central consciousness.[3]

Larry Cranston

Mister Fear

Larry Cranston as Mister Fear.
Art by Michael Lark.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Daredevil I #89 (Jul 1972)
Created by Gerry Conway
Gene Colan
In-story information
Alter ego Lawrence "Larry" Cranston
Partnerships Lucia von Bardas
Abilities Skilled lawyer
Extensively trained hand to hand combatant
Fear pheromone administered primarily by gas pellets, occasionally by syringe, most recently by an aerosol sprayer
Use of a perfume that made him able to influence other people

Lawrence "Larry" Cranston was a law school classmate of Matt Murdock who also became his employer for a while.[4] Cranston was staying in a hotel room across the hall from Zoltan Drago, the original Mr. Fear. Cranston happened to overhear Saxon killing Drago, and after learning that Saxon himself had died, he decided to take on the guise of Mister Fear himself.[5]

Cranston went mad during his first effort against Daredevil in San Francisco, jumping off a building, assuming that he was wearing a rocket pack which he had previously worn in battle with the hero, and seemingly died due to injuries sustained in a fall.[6]

Cranston survived the fall and returned years later.[7] He masterminded a series of campaigns meant to discredit Daredevil with the aid of the current Enforcers, the Eel, and a sleepless woman named Insomnia. Daredevil defeated them and Cranston abandoned the Mister Fear identity.[8]

Cranston later resurfaced, along with the Enforcers at his side, providing the criminals of Hell's Kitchen a drug that causes the user to become psychotic and completely unafraid of death, in the "Without Fear" storyline. He also made an attempt to overthrow the Hood, as the main crime boss of New York. In an attempt to make Daredevil's life miserable, Cranston also secretly gave an overdose of the drug to Milla Donovan, the Daredevil's wife; the result led to the murder of an innocent man by Milla. The two fought but Mr. Fear, having murdered the creator of the drug and destroyed all known samples of the antidote, forced Daredevil to spare his life due to the fact that he was the only one who's testimony could save Milla from being sentenced to death for the murder she committed. However, before he was sent to prison, Cranston had one of his henchmen provide him with a new chemical compound he had created: one that made everyone worship him. With this new power, Cranston entered jail as "king" of the prison, surrounded by bodyguards, saluted by prison guards, and entering a lavish cell with a female officer waiting to greet him. [9]

Alan Fagan

Mister Fear
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Marvel Team-Up #92 (April, 1980)
Created by Steven Grant
Carmine Infantino
In-story information
Alter ego Alan Fagan
Partnerships Lucia von Bardas
Abilities Highly adept businessman
Fear pheromone administered primarily by gas pellets, occasionally by syringe, most recently by an aerosol sprayer

Alan Fagan was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He was the nephew of the third Mister Fear, Larry Cranston and the father of Ariel Tremmore. When Larry seemingly died, Alan came into possession of the fear gas and other equipment.[10] Unlike the other Mister Fears, Fagan's primary adversary was Spider-Man, not Daredevil.[11][12]

Fagan attempted to use his fear-gas in blackmail schemes which were stymied by Spider-Man, with the aid of Hawkeye.[13] Fagan was brutally attacked in prison, much of the skin carved from his face by men in the employ of his daughter Ariel, who used the skin to draw out fear-gas residue she used to turn herself into the villain Shock.[14]

Fagan recovered from these injuries and received improved weaponry from the interim ruler of Latveria, Lucia Von Bardas. The weaponry, including a suit of body armor resembling a metallic version of the traditional Mister Fear costume, was destroyed at the climax of the Secret War miniseries.[15]

Fagan was one of the many criminals to escape from the Raft prison facility, becoming a thrall of the villain Crossfire. During his efforts in service to Crossfire, Fagan was again defeated by Spider-Man.[16]

As opposed to Cranston, Fagan has been hired by the Hood to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act.[17]

During the Fear Itself storyline, Mister Fear discovers that the Serpent and the Worthy are outdoing his talents of inducing fear in people.[18]

Powers and abilities

Mister Fear employs a compound based on the flight scent pheromone—chemicals produced by most animals, used to communicate a variety of simple messages over distances. This flight-scent pheromone stimulates fear reactions in herd animals. The drug is tailored for human beings, whose reactions to pheromones are not completely understood. It induces severe anxiety, fear, and panic, and sometimes nightmarish hallucinations in his victims, rendering them incapable of fighting or resisting his will. The drug is most commonly used in the form of gas pellets shot from a gun. The pellets rupture on contact, releasing the flight scent, which is inhaled by the victim. The dosage contained in one pellet is enough to incapacitate a normal adult male for about 15 minutes, or an exceptionally fit male, such as Daredevil, for about five minutes. The side effects of anxiety, edginess, and mild nausea can persist for several days.

Zoltan Drago had a gifted intellect and was an accomplished sculptor of wax figures. He was also a talented amateur chemist, and invented the fear pellets that he and the others used as Mister Fear.

Larry Cranston had a law degree, and a fair amount of legal expertise. He sometimes employed one-man jet devices, as Mister Fear. When Larry came after Matt Murdock in an attempt to ruin his life, he displayed the ability to influence the minds of other people into doing whatever he wanted them to do. Using a drug he created, he also made himself fearless. He also trained extensively in hand-to-hand combat for his confrontation with Daredevil.

Alan Fagan discovered that the flight scent can be administered in other ways: Fagan has used a miniature hypodermic needle mounted on his ring to inject a large dose of the liquid directly into his victim's bloodstream. He has also used a hand-held weapon that fires capsules of the fear gas. Small but effective doses of the flight scent can be absorbed through the pores in the skin within an enclosed space, but the length of time it takes limits its usefulness. Working with an unidentified chemist, Fagan has also adapted other pheromones to his use, including one that makes a man sexually irresistible to women.

Alan Fagan is a highly adept businessman. He briefly wore a suit of armor, which presumably at least provided protection from injury. Chronic exposure to his various chemicals has resulted in accumulation of his fear drug within Fagan' skin. Though he has not proven able to utilize this himself, samples of his skin were used by Ariel Tremmore to gain superhuman powers as Shock.


  1. Daredevil #6
  2. Daredevil #55
  3. Daredevil #54-55
  4. Daredevil #88
  5. Daredevil #91
  6. Daredevil #90-91
  7. Over the Edge #1
  8. Daredevil #361-375
  9. Daredevil vol. 2 #95-103
  10. Marvel Team-Up #92
  11. Web of Spider-Man #63
  12. Web of Spider-Man #98-100
  13. Marvel Team-Up #92
  14. Daredevil #314-315
  15. Secret War #3-5
  16. Spider-Man: Breakout #1-5
  17. New Avengers #35
  18. Fear Itself: The Home Front #5
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