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

Well... if you mean you're looking for a "Daredevil Year 1" type story, I guess you could go with Miller/Romita Jr's  Daredevil: The Man Without Fear from 1993.  I think I read a couple issues but don't remember much about it.

I am interested in this discussion though.  I started reading Miller's run right around the time he introduced Elektra and I've been looking for an excuse to go back and read those stories again.  I am a little worried they might not be as good as I remember though.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

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. 

I read that as the writer trying to explain away a plot hole: Why do something as dumb as carrying radioactive isotopes through Manhattan traffic? I take it as Tony Stark lamenting that whomever wanted the stuff moved wouldn't wait. That doesn't make him liable.

Ironically, I started re-reading Born Again last night. It's word-laden, but it's still really, really good.

"I guess you could go with Miller/Romita Jr's Daredevil: The Man Without Fear from 1993. I think I read a couple issues but don't remember much about it."

Oh, let me remind you! I have been seeking such a story not only as a rejection of MMW DD v1 but also of The Man Without Fear. (Honestly, though, that one's shaping up to be the lesser of multiple evils.) 

"I am a little worried they might not be as good as I remember though."

Let me be your guide, then. FM's Daredevil is a series I have read many, many times. Often, though, I cannot remember how long it has been since I last re-read a series. but I can usually remember whether or not it as "B.T." or "A.T.: (i.e, before moving to Texas or after). I moved to Texas in 2001, and I can positively guarantee I have not read FM's DD since then. One thing I do remember being impressed by B.T. is Miller's choreography. More than in any comic book I had read up until that time. Miller;s fight scenes were performed on a three-dimensional stage, so that if Daredevil kicked a guy "stage left," his body would stay there, even when the "camera angle" changed.

"I read that as the writer trying to explain away a plot hole."

Man, I don't know.

"That doesn't make him liable."

Man, I don't know. Stark was the head of Stark Industries. He could have stopped it. It's on him.

"I started re-reading Born Again last night. It's word-laden, but it's still really, really good."

I'll get there soon. Keep it in mind and keep reading.

DAREDEVIL #159:

SYNOPSIS: A man named Pondexter takes out a contract on Daredevil with Mr. Slaughter. Matt Murdock deals with the fallout from events of the previous issue as reporter Ben Urich looks on. Slaughter's men Turk and Leach follow Nelson and Murdock with the intention of threatening them in order to draw daredevil into a trap. Daredevil takes the bait and walks into an ambush. He gets the better of Slaughter's men, but Pondexter films the entire altercation. "Pondexter" is revealed to be Bullseye, and he has set his sights next on the Black Widow.

COMMENTARY: When Gene Colan expressed a desire to leave Daredevil, newcomer Frank Miller lobbied for the job and got it. (The title was in danger of cancellation at the time, anyway, so EiC Jim Shooter figured, "What the hell?") Although Roger McKenzie was the writer at the time, it's not hard to imagine that the guy who would later go on to do Sin City was step up to do what was essentially, at the time, a "crime comic."



Jeff of Earth-J said:

"I read that as the writer trying to explain away a plot hole."

Man, I don't know.

"That doesn't make him liable."

Man, I don't know. Stark was the head of Stark Industries. He could have stopped it. It's on him.

IIRC, the Netflix show has the truck with the "radioactive isotope" being owned by Rand Industries. I think I like that better. In fact, maybe the Netflix show is the best Daredevil origin story.

Also if Tony Stark is already an adult when Murdock gets blinded, doesn't that make Iron Man around 10-15 years older than DD? That doesn't work for me either.

And yes, AFAIAC, DD should always be done as a crime/noir comic.

DAREDEVIL #160:

SYNOPSIS: For no reason I can figure, the prologue to this story is labeled "epilogue." In any case, it deals with Bullseye attacking and kidnapping the black widow in her penthouse apartment. He leaves a "note" that is simply her picture with a red "bullseye" painted on it using her blood.

The story proper begins with Matt and Heather visiting the gravesite of her father, Maxwell Glenn. Also in attendance (but standing at a respectful distance) are Foggy, Debbie and Becky Blake, Nelson & Murdock's new receptionist. It is also clear that Heather now knows that Matt Murdock is Daredevil... and doesn't like it. (Don't worry... I'll deal with all of these new developments in January when MMW DD v14 is released.) For now, though, Matt decides to seek a bit of comfort in the arms of his old girlfriend, who "understands" him better.

Once he gets to her apartment, he uses his sense to analyse the crime scene. Let me just say now, I've always had to take with a grain of salt that Daredevil can read print with his fingers... especially through his gloves. (Seems to me all he'd be able to "read" would be the inside of his glove.) I find it even harder to believe that he can discern colors with his sense of touch, as he has sometimes been shown to do. In this case, though, I can buy that he can smell the scent of blood and feel the bullseye on the photo. Beyonf that, it doesn't take dick tracy to figure out the rest.

From there, Daredevil goes to the Daily Bugle where he meets up with reporter Ben Urich (another new character we'll meet in MMW DD v14) in search of information on Bullseye. Daredevil learns that Bullseye broke jail four days ago. It is also clear that Urich is curious about Daredevil's relationship with Matt Murdock.

Daredevil's next stop is Josie's Bar & Grill, a location we'll see more of in the future. He beats up some stoolies and, in a two-panel "prologue" on the last page, gives them a message for Bullseye: "Daredevil is coming!"

COMMENTARY: These stories are already better than the DD stories I've been reading lately, credit to new writer roger McKenzie. In addition to the characters and situations mentioned above, he has also introduced Eric Slaughter and his gang, notably Turk, Mississippi, Decker and others, as well as Judge Coffin (introduced last issue). NOTE: Turk might be the same "turk" who led the Thunderbolts in issue #69, but he doesn't really look like him.

DAREDEVIL #161:

SYNOPSIS: The cover pretty much says it all: “Hero confronts villain at an amusement park” (a trope Miller would use again). Not revealed by the cover is Ben Urich’s further investigation of the link between Matt Murdock and Daredevil.

Not to  photo deadhorse.gif, but ... 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"I read that as the writer trying to explain away a plot hole."

Man, I don't know.

"That doesn't make him liable."

Man, I don't know. Stark was the head of Stark Industries. He could have stopped it. It's on him.


Detective 445 said:

IIRC, the Netflix show has the truck with the "radioactive isotope" being owned by Rand Industries. I think I like that better. In fact, maybe the Netflix show is the best Daredevil origin story.

Going back to the original origin story* in Daredevil (Volume 1) #1 (April 1964), the truck bore the legend of "AJAX ATOMIC LABS -- RADIO-ACTIVE MATERIALS" (see here). So as I see it, Tony Stark still isn't liable.

*Not too many places can you say that.

I'm surprised the truck wasn't from Roxxon, the go-to evil corporation at Marvel. I don't think Roxxon was a thing at the time of DD #1, however.

Roxxon definitely wasn't a thing at the time of DD #1, but the Stark Industries thing is what is often incorrectly referred to as a "retcon" (a "continuity implant" actually), so as I see it, Stark is still liable... the the What If story.

DAREDEVIL #163:

This is the only issue of Daredevil that I acquired before Frank Miller became the next “Big Thing.” I bought it because of the Hulk (right around the same time Hulk appeared in Iron Man, IIRC). I wasn’t too impressed at the time, but what did I know? I was, like, 16 years old. Looking at it today (for the first time in many years), I am quite impressed with the pacing as well as the panel-to-panel continuity. I should mention that this issue is inked by Josef Rubinstein, who embellishments add quite a bit to the overall effect. Another thing, then and now, I love that cover! The Hulk’s threat is truly menacing.

Plot-wise, the story begins at a fundraiser for DA Blake Towerwhich New York’s movers and shakers have attended: J. Jonah Jameson, Tony Stark, Judge Coffin (what a Dickensian name!), etc. Later in the story, after months of researching DD’s connection to Matt Murdock, Ben Urich overhears Heather Glenn call out to Daredevil as “Matt!”

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