I recently completed a discussion of 13 volumes of Marvel Masterworks - Daredevil over in the "What Comics Have You Read Today?" thread. While I'm waiting for the 14th, I thought I'd skip ahead to Frank Miller's celebrated run. I didn't start read Daredevil until nearly the end of Miller's tenure (I'll point it out when we get there), but I almost immediately began collecting backissues and, before too long, had acquired a nigh-complete set. I never did get an original copy of #158, Miller's fist, though. While it was readily available, it was simply too expensive. When I finally got to read it I realized it fit better as the conclusion of the previous storyline rather than as the beginning of a new one, so that's how I'm going to handle it. The question remains, then: with which issue should I begin this discussion?

I've never been a big fan of What If...?... except 1) when the stories were actually part of the MU proper (such as #4, "What if the Invaders Had Stayed Together After World war II?" or 2) when the stories were told by the regular title's creative team (such as #32, John Byrne's "What If the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Powers?). Issue #28, "What If Daredevil Became an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D?" (co-plotted and drawn by Frank Miller) seemed to fit that bill, but although a acquired this issue many years ago, I did not read it until today.

It's honestly not very good.

Oh, the story itself is okay, but the continuity (for those of use who care about such things) is way off. Teenage Matt Murdock is struck across the eyes and blinded by a radioactive isotope as per usual, but in this version, Tony Stark is following behind. "Blast it. I told them not to take that stuff through Manhatten! Given five minutes, i could have arranged for air transport!" Well, why didn't you? setting aside that this revelation makes no sense, it opens up the question of Tony Stark's liability in the blinding of Matt Murdock. 

But that's not my problem with this scenario. the next thing stark does is load Murdock into his flying car and go zooming off to the S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier. Daredevil #1 was published in 1964.Strange Tales #135 (the first appearance of S.H.I.E.L.D.) was published in 1965. Even given the sliding nature of "Marvel Time," the accident which triggered Matt Murdock's heightened senses was a flashback. After that happened, he still had to attend college/law school, all of which would have taken place years before S.H.I.E.L.D was created. 

I've been looking for an "alternate" beginning to Daredevil besides MMW V1, but this isn't it. 

NEXT: "Marked for Murder!"

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Jeff of Earth-J said:

“I wasn't a fan of the ‘no radar sense’ explanation myself. It made Daredevil less special, not to mention making a lot of his feats utterly ridiculous.”

To be fair, a lot of his feats were utterly ridiculous anyway. I don’t see Miller’s revision as “no radar sense” so much as it is “something everyone has yet remains undeveloped.”

If "radar sense" is “something everyone has yet remains undeveloped,” that means it isn't special. But the selling point of Daredevil is that he is special, that he can be a superhero -- particularly, an acrobatic fighter -- despite the handcap of being blind. And the radar sense is a power that doesn't enhance him physically; it doesn't make Daredevil stronger or invulnerable or make him able to blast things.

Miller's revision was fixing something that wasn't broken. 

I guess anyone can learn to read a newspaper with fingertips, with or without gloves.

Or fly a plane. 

Richard Willis said:

I guess anyone can learn to read a newspaper with fingertips, with or without gloves.

Or discern colors.



ClarkKent_DC said:

Richard Willis said:

...when I see this flag I can't help but think it is a white supremacy thing.

It is, Richard. It is.

I drive by a house displaying one of these flags every day on my way to work.

I'll never be able to look at it the same way again.
#183:

Remember the Punisher story promised for #167 but postponed due to the CCA? This is it. Roger McKenzie still gets co-plotter credit.

12 year old Mary Elizabeth O’Koren O.D.s on angel dust and jumps out of a schoolroom window to her death. Matt Murdock had been speaking to her class at the time, so Daredevil was able to get her to the hospital in a timely manner. She dies anyway, the drugs in her system a contributing factor. The ER doctor imparts some of the facts surrounding angel dust to Daredevil (and the readers). Mary’s brother Billy swears revenge on the pusher Peter “Hogman” Grunter and his partner John “Flapper” Phillips. When he gets home, his parents have not yet been notified. He takes his father’s handgun from a drawer and leaves with it.

Meanwhile, Daredevil is seeking the pushers. In disguise, he is accosted by a gang. They fight until one of the gang members is stabbed from behind by the Punisher. The Punisher at first sees Daredevil as a potential ally. Suddenly, a shot from a nearby rooftop kills Flapper. Daredevil rushes to the rooftop, where he finds Billy with the smoking gun in his hand. But Billy says he couldn’t do it, that he fired over Flapper’s head. Daredevil knows he’s telling the truth and resolves that Matt Murdock will defend him in court.

Coach Patrick Donohue, from the school, is also on the scene. Daredevil notes forensic evidence which would tend to implicate someone other than Billy. He tacks down an informant and saves him from the Punisher. The informant leads Daredevil to Hogman, who is implicated in the murder. Matt prosecutes him and he is found guilty, but he protests that he is innocent and his hearbeat doesn’t jump, leading Matt to believe he is innocent. Despite the fact that his defense of Billy led to Hogman’s arrest, Matt resolves to defend Hogman. (I’m no expert, but is that ethical? Even legal? Seems like a clear conflict of interest to me. What would bob Ingersoll say?)

On the sub-plot front, Matt advises Heather not to fight the board of directors who want to take over Glenn Industries. On the last page, a full-page panel, Matt proposes marriage.



ClarkKent_DC said:

Richard Willis said:

...when I see this flag I can't help but think it is a white supremacy thing...

It is, Richard. It is.

Go ahead and read the linked article, but if you do, here's a caveat: don't read the comments (unless you want to feel unclean).

Richard Willis said:

...when I see this flag I can't help but think it is a white supremacy thing...

ClarkKent_DC said:

It is, Richard. It is.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Go ahead and read the linked article, but if you do, here's a caveat: don't read the comments (unless you want to feel unclean).

I didn't read the comments; I just posted the link.

#184:

I had been collecting three titles only, for three years, via subscription. When those subscriptions ran out, I ventured into a comic book shop for the very first time. My first time in the door, the guy behind the counter (the owner, it turned out) informed me, “We got the new Daredevil in today.” I thanked him, but thought to myself, “Ooh, Daredevil.” Obviously the guy didn’t have a clue what he was doing, otherwise he would have recommended a character who wasn’t so… lame. He must have just named a title that shipped that week at random. Then I walked over to the rack and looked at it. “No More Mister Nice Guy”? And Daredevil pointing a gun at the reader? Obviously Marvel didn’t have a clue what they were doing, either. I bought several Marvels that day, but Daredevil #184 was not one of them. But I digress.

The story opens with Daredevil thwarting the Punisher’s sniper attack on Hogman. Acting on a tip, Daredevil accuses coach Donahue of pushing drugs to his students with no real evidence. He finds the coach in the midst of a “whack attack.” Someone had force fed him drugs to keep him quiet. Then the only material witness against Hogman is killed and the case is dismissed. Once the trial is over and Hogman is safe, he admits to Matt Murdock that he is guilty. Daredevil then finds out that Hogman uses a pacemaker which kept his hearbeat steady when he lied about his innocence.

Billy overhears, though, and arranges a meeting with Hogman. Somehow, Billy got his hands on his father’s gun again, the Punisher stops Billy from killing Hogman, then Daredevil stops the Punisher from killing Hogman by shooting him in the shoulder. Billy has Hogman in his sites, but Daredevil talks him down. Hogman is later indicted.

Meanwhile, Heather unearths some shady munitions deals at Glenn Industries. This issue was jam-packed with action and had a straightforward plot.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The story opens with Daredevil thwarting the Punisher’s sniper attack on Hogman. Acting on a tip, Daredevil accuses coach Donahue of pushing drugs to his students with no real evidence. He finds the coach in the midst of a “whack attack.” Someone had force fed him drugs to keep him quiet. Then the only material witness against Hogman is killed and the case is dismissed. Once the trial is over and Hogman is safe, he admits to Matt Murdock that he is guilty. Daredevil then finds out that Hogman uses a pacemaker which kept his hearbeat steady when he lied about his innocence.

I remember being dazzled by the story in #183-184 back when it was fresh, but re-reading it years later, the glaring plot hole hit me right between the eyes:

Matt Murdock decides to defend Hogman the pusher on the murder charge because Hogman declared his innocence and Matt didn't hear Hogman's heartbeat jump, and concluded Hogman was telling the truth.

But if Matt could hear Hogman's heartbeat, why didn't he also detect the pacemaker

"But if Matt could hear Hogman's heartbeat, why didn't he also detect the pacemaker?"

There was an issue of X-Men in which Wolverine fought Dr. Doom for the first time. [SPOILERS for X-Men #145] It was later revealed that this particular "Dr. Doom" was a robot. when a fan asked how it was Wolverine's senses didn't detect it wasn't real, the editor replied that it may have smelled like an oil can, but for all Wolverine knew, Dr. Doom always smelled like an oil can. 

Maybe Daredevil didn't know what a pacemaker sounds like...?

I dunno, that's all I got.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

There was an issue of X-Men in which Wolverine fought Dr. Doom for the first time. [SPOILERS for X-Men #145] It was later revealed that this particular "Dr. Doom" was a robot. when a fan asked how it was Wolverine's senses didn't detect it wasn't real, the editor replied that it may have smelled like an oil can, but for all Wolverine knew, Dr. Doom always smelled like an oil can. 

Maybe Daredevil didn't know what a pacemaker sounds like...?

I dunno, that's all I got.

That explanation for X-Men #145 makes sense. But for Daredevil #183-184 ...? No.

Sure, Daredevil might not know specifically what a pacemaker sounds like. But it would sound like a machine in the guy's chest -- a machine most other people don't have inside their own chests. 

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