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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A few of Marv Wolfman's stories and Jim Shooter's had been taking DD in that direction in the years prior to Miller coming onboard, but of course Miller steered the title that much more into crime/noir stories, with ninjas and some super-natural elements added.  Shooter also, as I recall, amped up the emotional turmoil in DD's life, with Erik Killgrave's manipulations of Heather's father, leading to his suicide and then Heather discovering that Matt is DD while believing that Matt was somehow responsible for her father's legal problems and his death.  Miller amplified those aspects also, although he also added some comedic elements, primarily with poor ol' Turk.  More importantly, I think, was that Miller's art style was uniquely suited to transforming Daredevil into a much more noir/crime comic and he took advantage of the many elements that were already present in the title, from the very first issue as drawn by Bill Everett.  Trying to make the same sort of change in even Spider-Man wouldn't have worked so well, never mind in Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor or Iron Man.

Detective 445 said:

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

Jeff of Earth-J said:

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!”

I cited this one in the thread "Covers That MADE You Buy the Comic!"  As I said over there, "When you see this image, you can only think: How dead and mangled is Daredevil going to be when this match is over?"

As noted above, the Hulk appeared in Iron Man about the same time, in a much goofier story. I like to think that appearance followed the Daredevil episode.

DAREDEVIL #164:

Daredevil recuperates in the hospital after his encounter with the Hulk last issue, where he is visited in turn by the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Power-Man and Iron Fist. Then Ben Urich arrives and asks the Black Widow if he can speak to Daredevil alone. Like the journalist he is, he gets right to the point. Daredevil denies that he is Matt Murdock, but when Urich holds up a photo (of “Battlin’” Jack Murdock) and asks DD to identify it, he breaks down and admits it. The he goes about relating his origin with new details added. (Incidentally, in this version, it is the U.S. Army transporting the radioactive waste through Manhattan; the driver experiences a heart attack.)

It has been so long since I last read this story I had forgotten it was a retelling of Daredevil’s origin (quite literally because it is Matt who relates the tale to Ben). Consequently, this sequence of stories doesn’t really need an origin to kick it off (as I tried to shoe-horn What If? #28 to fill that purpose.

DD #164  was one of the first American Marvel Original Comics that I came noon on the British Spinner Racks and if felt like I was watching a movie and a quality grown up movie at that. Wonderful writing and powerful art work. 

A favourite still.

DAREDEVIL #164:

(Frank Miller is credited as co-plotter this issue.) A shipment of adamantium headed for Glenn Industries has been stolen. (Uh, oh!) Heather is now chairman. the company has been operating in the red since her father's death. she "interrupts" a board meeting being held behind her back. then daredevil does. Heather seeks "comfort" from one of the executives. she investigates the theft on her own, but is caught by Doctor Octopus.

Matt refuses the Black Widow's help. (He's going with Heather, but still hangs out at his ex-girlfriend's penthouse while she is wearing nothing but a bathrobe. this is part of the reason for the trouble between them.) Doc Ock has used the stolen metal to construct a set of adamantium arms. DD confronts him and barely survives. Heather cuts her bonds with a shard of glass, then stabs Ock in the face. DD tricks Ock into electrocuting himself into unconsciousness. the black widow leaves the country at the end of the story.

DAREDEVIL #166:

It is Foggy's wedding day. Heather interrupts Matt's workout so they can get dressed. Meanwhile, social worker Betsy Beatty leads a group of underprivileged children through the "Disney Museum of Human History" where costumes of Daredevil's foes are on exibit. One of her clients is Melvin Potter, the Gladiator (name revealed for the first time). He has convinced himself that she loves him and has followed her to the museum, where he dons his costume and takes the children hostage.

Back at the church, as friends and family arrive for the wedding, Foggy discovers he has left the ring behind at the storefront office. Stuck in traffic in a cab to retrieve the ring, Matt hears a news report of the hostage situation and ditches. Betsy rejects Gladiator's advances, which he interprets that he must fight a champion to win her favor. Just then Daredevil arrives. Their fight takes them into a replica of an ancient
Roman areana, where Gladiator begins to halucinate. Daredevil defeats the Gladiator. Betsy vows to continue to help him and Matt (silently) vows to represent him.

Matt contunues to the storefront but cannot find the ring. Concluding that someone else must have retrieved it, he returns to the church where Foggy discovers it was on his own finger the whole time.

The blurb for the next issue reads: "In our very special next issue, DAREDEVIL and the PUNISHER in the most daring story of the decade!"

Oh, so?

DAREDEVIL #167:

I never noticed before, but #167 issue is written by David Michelinie. That only makes sense as it features the Mauler. I also never noticed that this is the Mauler’s first appearance. If you would have asked me yesterday I would have said it was Iron Man #156, but that’s another series I haven’t read in a long time. I wonder who designed the Mauler’s costume? I always thought Romita, Jr. did a better job with tech, but given that it’s the character’s first appearance, it might have been Miller.

According to DD #167, “MAULER” is an acronym for “Mobile Armor UtiLity Emitter, Revised,” but by IM #156 it had been revised to stand for “Mobile Armored Utility Laser-guided E-beam, Revised,” still not perfect, but better. why not "Mobile Armored Utility Laser Emitter, Revised"?

 "In our very special next issue, DAREDEVIL and the PUNISHER in the most daring story of the decade!"

“So what happened to that Punisher?” you may ask. Turns out the story was a bit too “daring” for the Comics Code Authority to approve. A revised version would run in issues #183-184.

I still get headaches just thinking about that hideous tuxedo Foggy was going to wear at the wedding. Good thing Matt couldn't see it.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

DAREDEVIL #166:

It is Foggy's wedding day. Heather interrupts Matt's workout so they can get dressed. Meanwhile, social worker Betsy Beatty leads a group of underprivileged children through the "Disney Museum of Human History" where costumes of Daredevil's foes are on exibit. One of her clients is Melvin Potter, the Gladiator (name revealed for the first time). He has convinced himself that she loves him and has followed her to the museum, where he dons his costume and takes the children hostage.

Back at the church, as friends and family arrive for the wedding, Foggy discovers he has left the ring behind at the storefront office. Stuck in traffic in a cab to retrieve the ring, Matt hears a news report of the hostage situation and ditches. Betsy rejects Gladiator's advances, which he interprets that he must fight a champion to win her favor. Just then Daredevil arrives. Their fight takes them into a replica of an ancient
Roman areana, where Gladiator begins to halucinate. Daredevil defeats the Gladiator. Betsy vows to continue to help him and Matt (silently) vows to represent him.

Matt contunues to the storefront but cannot find the ring. Concluding that someone else must have retrieved it, he returns to the church where Foggy discovers it was on his own finger the whole time.

The blurb for the next issue reads: "In our very special next issue, DAREDEVIL and the PUNISHER in the most daring story of the decade!"

Oh, so?

"I still get headaches just thinking about that hideous tuxedo Foggy was going to wear at the wedding."

"Was going to wear"? Did wear. For those of you who may not know (or who have supressed the memory), it had a pink and green diamond pattern. It looked like something Ghaham Norton might wear (although Graham Norton could make it work).

ClarkKent_DC said:

"I still get headaches just thinking about that hideous tuxedo Foggy was going to wear at the wedding."


Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Was going to wear"? Did wear. For those of you who may not know (or who have supressed the memory), it had a pink and green diamond pattern. It looked like something Ghaham Norton might wear (although Graham Norton could make it work).

A purple-and-green diamond pattern with a white ruffled shirt and purple vestbarf photo barf.gif (See here and here.) It was an outfit even The Prankster wouldn't wear!

We have more malfunctioning emojis

These guys could be henchmen for the Joker or Toyman.

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