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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If you think that gun is heavy, get a load of this one!

I remember a moment in the Elektra: Assassin series in which the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Garrett gets ready to go after Elektra, so he cocks his big gun* and thinks to himself, "If I point this at your side of the planet, you're history!"

*No sexual metaphor intended, at least not by me.

ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #2:

Issue #2 introduces SHIELD agent Garrett (and his sadistic partner Perry) and sets him up against Elektra: “SCKAAK—a sound that belongs in a butcher shop—I tell my fingers to pull the trigger again—but my gun just falls to the floor—THUNK—and even though I’m still standing—the gun is still in my hand—Oh, Jesus—Somewhere below my elbow my arm’s become a hose—jerking in time with my heart—Jesus, I’m painting the room…”

And so on.
ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #3:

Every issue begins with a newspaper clipping inside the front cover which adds detail to or provides commentary on the events depicted within. Garret is repaired by SHIELD’s extechop (or “cyborg”) division with synthetic parts. It’s not made clear what exactly “extechop” stands for, but the plays on “ex-tech-op” and “exte-chop” and the like are obvious and intended. This issue introduces liberal Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Ken Wind (“Not wind like a watch, but wind like the air”).

Garrett is debriefed by Beaker. Miller suggests that Elektra is mind-controlling Garrett. Ken wind accepts Ambassador’s Reich’s invitation to San Conception. Elektra escapes SHIELD custody (with Garrett’s unwitting help) and Garrett pursues her. Garrett stakes out the airport; Elektra steals his gun. Elektra assassinates Reich, but not before the “Beast” has transferred its consciousness from Reich into Wind. Elektra returns to America (using Garrett’s ticket) while Garrett is detained at the airport.

The President of the United States, a parody of Richard Nixon, is also introduced.
ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #4:

Garrett meets Fury. Elektra mystically assumes the identity of a 19-year-old girl who is in a coma. Garrett is assigned to protect Ken Wind. Garrett knows Wind is the Beast and inadvertently lets Wind/Beast read his mind, where he also learns about Elektra’s disguise. Unexpectedly, Elektra’s personality is subsumed by that of Sandy, the comatose girl. Elektra must sacrifice Sandy’s life to save Garrett. At the end of the issue, Elektra is giving Garrett oxygen from her own lungs while underwater.

This issue starts printing letters with no editorial response from Archie Goodwin.
ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #5:

A newspaper article tells us Ken Wind’s wife collapsed upon his return. She has since disappeared from the public eye; her location is being kept secret for reasons of privacy.

Chastity McBryde (a Dolly Parton-esque SHIELD agent with a history with Garrett) is introduced. The JHand attacks Garrett and Elektra (still underwater) physically, while the Beast attacks her mentally. Garrett saves Elektra. A dozen SHILED agents attack. Elektra uses a ninja trick to switch psyches with Chastity, and she and Garrett escape.
ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #6:

The Wind/Beast takes mental control of a general capable of bypassing the President to enter the nuclear codes himself. Garrett’s history with Chastity is revealed. Extechop is shut down and Arthur Perry escapes. The General is stopped at the last from pushing the button and setting off a nuclear war.
Honestly, I see now that it was a mistake to include Elektra: Assassin in my discussion of Frank Miller’s Daredevil. Views as well as comments have dropped precipitously. Although I appreciate this story, I really wasn’t in the mood to re-read it, and that attitude came through in my pace and my posts. To the end of getting this discussion back on track, I’m going to bat #7 and #8 out today.

ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #7:

The Beast’s plan is, as Ken Wind, to launch a nuclear attack against Russia as soon as he is elected President. The issue ends on Election Day with Ken Wind on the verge of winning. ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #8:

It is four months after Election Day. Elektra and Garrett are in custody. When the smoke clears, Garrett’s mind is in Ken Wind’s body and he is the President of the United States. A later story tried to fold this turn of events into continuity, but it doesn’t really matter. It stands on its own merits. Earlier I identified the previous President as Nixon, but he’s really a Nixon/Regan hybrid.

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