Saturday, October 31, 2009
Daredevil the Early Years Part 2
Originally posted January 20, 2009
Maybe it’s coincidence, but something very special happened in this the first issue in which Daredevil dons the red suit that he would wear from that point on, everything started to click!
The art by Wally Wood is Fantastic, Tremendous, Stupendous, and Spectacular. (I’m running out of adjectives.) This issue was hyped by fans as one of the best comics ever, and well, it lives up to that title.
The story involves Namor coming to the surface to seek legal rights to land. Of course he ends up at the law offices of Nelson and Murdock.
The battles in this issue are excellent. Daredevil is clearly not in Namor’s class in terms of strength and endurance, but Namor can’t help but admire Daredevil’s courage.
Another great issue. It begins with Daredevil saving a woman about to be run over by an
out-of-control driver-less car.
“Keep screaming! Don’t Stop! Don’t Stop Screaming!” Daredevil yells at her as he swings towards her. I couldn’t help but wonder what she must have thought. She must have thought he was nuts.
After saving her he throws her onto an awning and thinks “Lucky I knew that the corner store always has its awning down at this hour.” Why has this guy memorized helicopter schedules (issue 2) and awning schedules for the whole city? Doesn’t the outline of an awning show up on his radar sense?
Then Daredevil drives the driver-less car with his radar sense, the car turns out to have a bomb on it, but Daredevil manages to get it out of harm’s way. Lucky teenage Matt Murdock learned how to drive a car before he went blind I guess.
I know that the Stilt Man is portrayed as kind of ridiculous in modern appearances, but in this appearance I thought he managed to seem like a real threat. When he robs a helicopter, the men try and shoot him and the bullets just bounce off his armor. So you can’t shoot him, even from the air, and on the ground all you can do is try and grab his fast moving legs, plus it seems that he can go from 40 stories to normal sized in the blink of an eye.
Daredevil finds himself climbing up Stilt Man’s long legs in order to try and actually fight him at all. But it’s a task that is easier said than done.
This issue is more evidence of Stan’s struggles to give Daredevil problems seeming extremely inorganic (Rip Jagger’s word).
At the start of the comic Daredevil is fighting some boat hijackers and he gets shot in the arm. He treats the wound at home himself. Now I remember issues where Spider-man gets his arm hurt and has it in a sling. I remember these issues being awesome and the injury adding a lot to the drama, but Daredevil just kind of plods along for the whole issue. Wood and Powell keep the continuity, Daredevil doesn’t use his bad arm, but it doesn’t seem to slow him down, in fact Daredevil fights a robot army one handed. It sounds remarkable here, but on the page it’s kind of ho-hum.
Daredevil’s just a guy that does what he can to fight crime in Hell’s Kitchen. To have him battling robots in a Latveria-like eastern-block dictatorship just seems very out of his wheelhouse.
Nowhere is this more evident than when the dictator launches a radioactive attack and Daredevil just kind of leaves it for somebody else to figure out.
Billed as a mystery thriller, this two-parter fails to be anything remarkable IMHO.
I love a good mystery, there were some good ones around this time in Amazing Spider-Man: Who was the Big Man, the Crime Master, and of course the Green Goblin? All three were interesting, suspenseful and ultimately satisfying.
The way the mystery is presented is just kind of dull. No one knows who the Crime lord the Organizer is, but we know he has some connection to the Reform Party. So he has to be Politician A, B, or C. But who cares, none of them are significant characters in the Daredevil comic. That's not dramatic! Why didn’t Wally and Stan make it seem like anyone could have been the Organizer: the Police Chief, Spider-Man, Foggy Nelson. That would have been interesting. Nelson is Matt’s best friend, it would have been interesting to explore what it would take for Matt to begin to doubt his friend.
The henchmen in this tale are another oddity. Each one is recruited for possessing some kind of unique ability. The Cat Man has good eyesight even in the dark? Why? Is he a mutant? Do his goggles do it?
The Frog Man was trained by the military to perform task underwater, the Ape Man is strong, the Bird Man, I’m completely stumped, maybe he was just the right height and weight for the suit. (Is it the same technology as the Vultures’?) And how are these guys still good enough fighters in these suits to take on Daredevil? Other then Bird Man and Frog Man who have equipment in their suits, why do they need suits? It’s all kind of silly.
(Plus, I have no idea how Cat Man gets Ape Man out of prison and later appears to get his Cat Suit for the first time with everyone else.)