Monday, January 16, 2017


Writer: Roger McKenzie | Penciler: Frank Miller | Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Jim Novak| Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editors: Mary Jo Duffy & Allen Milgrom | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: A mystery man named Pondexter hires aging gangster Eric Slaughter to assassinate Daredevil. Slaughter’s men rough up Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson for a line on DD, which leads Matt to change into his alter ego and seek the assassins out. He fights off their best attempts to kill him while Pondexter secretly videotapes the entire altercation.

Later, in his home, Pondexter reveals that he's actually Daredevil’s enemy, Bullseye, and makes plans to study the tape of Daredevil’s fighting style and then go after Black Widow to use against the Scarlet Swashbuckler.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: This issue features the debut appearance of Eric Slaughter, who will go on to be a minor recurring character throughout Frank Miller’s DAREDEVIL run.

We also get the first appearance of Judge Coffin, who will pop up once or twice over the next few years as well, though here he seems to harbor some sort of dark secret (he believes criminals are guilty and must be punished "one way or another") which I don't believe ever pans out into anything.

Also notable are appearances from Turk Barrett and Ben Urich, both characters whose creation predates Miller (Turk debuted in 1970’s DD #69 while Urich appeared just a few months prior to this installment, in #153), but both of whom will become major players in the upcoming Miller run.

Urich suspects a connection between Matt Murdock and Daredevil, which narration informs us will shortly become “…the most astounding story of his career…”

The events of the previous issue happened “last night,” according to dialogue.

The issue ends with a one-page featurette on Daredevil’s famous billy club. (Why does my spell-checker not like the word “featurette”? It is a word, isn't it??)

My Thoughts: These aren't the most compressed issues, I've gotta say. We're in the era of the seventeen-page story at the moment, and this issue features a nine-page fight scene with Slaghter’s men, while the previous installment’s battle with Death-Stalker came in at ten out of seventeen pages. Mind you, I don't object to wall-to-wall action by any means, but such drawn-out skirmishes should theoretically be in service of a dense plot and a bunch of sub-plots. So far we have very little in the way of the latter, but at least the former is represented in Bullseye’s secret campaign against Daredevil.

But Miller draws the heck out of all of it, at least. His characters have great body language and the fight scene is a ton of fun to look at, with a bunch of big panels allowing the action to breathe. The Omnibus collection is specifically called DAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER AND KLAUS JANSON, and I know that by the end of his run, Miller is basically doing breakdowns for Janson to finish, but at this point I think there's still a lot of Miller in the art and it looks great.

Lastly, at one point a reporter refers to Matt Murdock as “…one of the nation’s best known and most respected public defenders” while at this point Foggy had served as New York City’s district attorney for a term. So why do they run a little rinky dink free legal clinic? I seem to recall an era, perhaps post-Miller, where Murdock & Nelson operate out of a palatial office suite on an upper level of a skyscraper. That's always been my favorite status quo for these guys. I've never been big on Matt Murdock living among the “common man”. That works great for Peter Parker, Steve Rogers, etc., but for whatever reason I don't like it for Murdock.


  1. // I've never been big on Matt Murdock living among the “common man”. //

    Works pretty well for me. The free legal clinic is emblematic of the pair’s altruism, I think (and recently got an interesting spin in Mark Waid’s run when Murdock assisted clients in representing themselves because the supposition of his Daredevil identity left him functionally unable to practice in court). Plus, Matt certainly comes from common-man roots, despite like Spider-Man having seen — or experienced, anyway 8^) — things uncommon to most men even in the Marvel Universe, so I appreciate his desire to return to that world as a protector of its people in both his guises.

    Also: “Featurette” is definitely a word. Oddly, I’m getting a red dotted line underneath when I type it even though tapping on it brings up a definition from the built-in dictionary. That definition, for the record, is “a single female, blond-haired Feature who lives among dozens of male Features”.

    Also also: You have Klaus Janson tagged as “Krause Janson” in your labels.

    1. Uh oh. He's "Krause" on both of the issues I've posted so far. I bet I had that error in my template and it copied over to every issue. This'll be fun to fix... Thanks for letting me know!

      I'm glad I'm not the only one whose spell-checker doesn't like "featurette". Nice definition!

      Good point about Matt returning to his roots with the free clinic. I never though about it that way. I think for me, my reasons for liking him in the skyscraper are twofold: one, I'm pretty sure the first DAREDEVIL issue I ever saw was from the Denny O'Neil run, which had Nelson & Murdock headquartered there, and two: I just find it odd that one of the biggest, most successful and respected lawyers in the country (according to this narration) works out of a little storefront legal office.


    2. // This'll be fun to fix... //

      Go to your blog’s dashboard, call up all posts with the label “Krause Janson” from the drop-down menu at top right (you’ll get both published and unpublished posts), select them all with the check box, add “Klaus Janson” to their labels, then remove “Krause Janson” from their labels. I can get even more specific if you need. Unless my giving you advice somehow infects you with the unholy Blogger curse that’s plagued me for years, in which case you’ll never want to talk to me again.

    3. Worked like a charm. Thank you!!


  2. I hear what you’re saying about his notoriety, which is why I can’t give a full-throated defense of the clinic situation — but maybe when I have more time I can tell you more of how I see it.

    1. Why do I miss the nested reply box so danged often? Sorry.

  3. Blam is right, the only part that's unrealistic is that Matt is somehow famous while being a public defender running a legal clinic. But even ignoring that there really aren't famous state public defenders, it's an area of law where your starting salary out of law school is equal to a starting teacher. Matt goes private pretty quickly in Miller's run though, I believe, joining up with Rosalind Sharpe's firm.

    Don't get me started on Mark Waid's inability to so much as watch a re-run of the Good Wife to figure out how the very basics of court work.

    1. Wait, Sharpe was later. I think he at least diversified into doing more paid work in Miller's run, because I remember them being in a high-rise at some point.

  4. I didn't remember Rosalind Sharpe's name from Miller's run on DD, so I looked online. It says Rosalind Sharpe didn't debut until DD #353, long after Miller left the book.

    1. Yes, Sharpe came later. I think Karl Kesel created her during his very short but enjoyable run with Cary Nord on art.

      It is during Miller's run that Nelson & Murdock move into the high-rise building and start taking bigger cases, though. Miller reveals that all their pro bono work isn't paying the bills and they get evicted as a result, so when Jonah Jameson comes to them to defend the Daily Bugle from slander, Foggy convinces him to pay a retainer which will afford to move them into a new office space.

      Though really, the legal stuff is pretty minimal during Miller's run as writer. They hang out in the office a lot, but you don't see them working on many cases.


    2. // I think Karl Kesel created her during his very short but enjoyable run with Cary Nord on art. //

      Yeah. That was a short but sweet run, although I recall that Sharpe herself wasn’t exactly my favorite part. Nice return to relative lightness nestled amidst decades of grit and despair.

    3. I think I had seen occasional DAREDEVIL issues over the years from the runs of Denny O'Neill and Ann Nocenti, and I believe I read a bit of D.G. Chichester too, but much as the character interested me, I could never get into the stories since the were so gritty (or just weird, in Nocenti's case).

      Then I read an interview with Kesel, I think in WIZARD, where he pointed out DD had originally been a light-hearted swashbuckler, and he was returning to that in his stories. I believe he was speaking specifically about a Spider-Man guest spot and likened their relationship to that of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, and I was sold. I started reading DAREDEVIL regularly for the first time ever.

      Then, for whatever reason, Kesel was off the series less than a year later. I tried to stick it out with Joe Kelly, since I was a fan of his DEADPOOL, but at the time I just couldn't get into the artwork of the returning Gene Colan. I've since learned to appreciate Colan's work, but I've never gone back to look at those Kelly issues again.

  5. I've been looking, and I think everyone is thinking about the Denny O'Neil run, when Matt Murdoch loses his license to practice law, after being framed.
    The Kingpin offers Foggy Nelson a job at a front law office, without Nelson or Murdoch realizing that the law firm is a front for Fisk.
    Nelson uses his new job to get Murdoch reinstated as an attorney, but then Foggy takes a highly unethical case on behalf of the two.
    Murdoch figures out that the law firm they're working for is corrupt and with ties to Kingpin, so he gets Foggy to quit.
    Then, I think that's when they reopen the free clinic, during the Anne Nocenti run.