Monday, May 15, 2017

DAREDEVIL #177

"WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD"
Story & Art : Frank Miller | Finished Art : Klaus Janson
Colors: Glynis Wein | Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Denny O’Neil | Supervisor : Jim Shooter

The Plot: Over the course of a week, Matt Murdock is retrained in the use of his radar sense by Stick. Meanwhile, Ben Urich writes an exposé on mayoral candidate Randolph Cherryh’s connections to the mob, leading to Cherryh suing the Bugle, and publisher J. Jonah Jameson enlisting Nelson & Murdock to defend the paper. Eventually, Matt’s radar returns while the Kingpin makes plans to deal with Ben.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: This is about the closest Miller’s DAREDEVIL gets to a “quiet issue”. The main plot is Matt battling his inner demons with Stick’s aid, but elsewhere, sub-plots abound.

As mentioned above, Jonah Jameson hires Nelson & Murdock — or, more specifically, Nelson, as Matt is out of the picture for the moment — to defend the Daily Bugle. Playing hardball (and reminding Jameson and readers once more that Nelson & Murdock are the best attorneys in the country), Foggy requires an up-front retainer in the amount necessary to rent and furnish a new office for the currently homeless firm.

With Matt occupied, Heather re-enters the New York night life with her friend Rico, last seen back when Roger McKenzie was still writing the series. She flirts with a number of men at a little soiree, but when Rico disparages Matt, Heather storms out of the party without him.


On the story’s final page, the Kingpin’s men identify Elektra as the killer of several Hand operatives, and ask if he has interest in acquiring her services in Bullseye’s absence. Kingpin is on board with this proposal.


It should also be noted that Miller ret-cons Daredevil's radar sense here. Previously, it was a mutation bestowed upon him by the same radioactive canister that robbed him of his sight. Now, per Stick, it's an ability everyone has, but which most of us can't access since we have our eyesight. Stick simply re-trains Matt in utilizing the power once more. Kind of makes Daredevil a bit less special, if you ask me.

My Thoughts: It’s interesting—and I know this has been observed elsewhere by those smarter than me, but it bears repeating—that Jonah Jameson pretty much always comes off better in other characters’ titles than in the Spider-Man comics he inhabits as a supporting cast member. Don’t get me wrong; Jameson has his moments in the Spider-titles as well, but they’re very few and far between. Mostly he just comes off as a blustery blowhard with a huge irrational hatred for Spider-Man (and other vigilantes).

But in the pages of X-MEN, for example, he’s a civil rights crusader (though that kernel was planted decades back by Stan Lee himself). And in Frank Miller’s DAREDEVIL, he’s a hard-boiled old guard journalist with the integrity and courage to print a story which could result in the end of his newspaper and possibly even his life.


I have no real point to make with this, and like I said, Jameson has had moments like this in Spider-Man comics as well — but nearly any time he shows up anywhere else, it’s as the best version of himself rather than the raving sociopath we typically see.

In other news, I’m not a fan of Miller’s look at Jack Murdock here. A while back I noted that, once upon a time, Matt Murdock idolized and worshipped his father, and his father completely lived up to that canonization. He was a role model and a nurturing, encouraging father for young Matt. But in the gritty eighties, that simply won’t do — so Miller has decided that Matt resents his dad for forcing him to hit the books nonstop.


I don’t like this one bit, and this isn’t the end of it. When we get to Miller’s final issue of DAREDEVIL, we’ll see Jack Murdock’s image defamed even more, for no good reason other than, apparently, to "bring him down to Earth." Can't some characters just have really awesome parents and let that be the end of it?

5 comments:

  1. At least Pater Parker had saintly old Aunt May and Uncle Ben to raise him.
    The retcon where Uncle Ben was really a paedophile, or something, was thankfully never dreamt up to ruin Parker's childhood memories and send him down a dark path of destructive self-hatred.

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  2. Except for that incident when pre-teen Peter was sexually abused by a teenager named Skip (SPIDER-MAN AND POWER PACK one-shot).

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    1. Well, at least Skip was a classmate or whatever, and not a relative! Though I must admit I've never actually read that one-shot, preferring to write it off as non-canonical. Likewise, Jim Shooter's Hulk story where Bruce Banner was sexually assaulted at the YMCA.

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  3. The line “I promised your momma before she… before she died” stuck out at me. Even though it’s spoken by Matt’s reverie/memory of his father, and not necessarily meant to be a verbatim recollection, I wonder if the hesitation on Jack’s part was written in by Miller with an eye towards his eventual revelation of Maggie as alive in Born Again. I admit that, especially without benefit of hindsight, it could just as easily (or more easily) be read simply as Jack’s emotion over his wife’s death.

    // Now, per Stick, it's an ability everyone has, but which most of us can't access since we have our eyesight. //

    While I do like the idea that the radar sense plays off of the human body’s own extant bioelectric field, yeah, I feel like it shouldn’t be something that anybody could learn how to use (not with anywhere near Daredevil's acuity, for sure) without benefit of a catalyst such as Matt’s exposure to radioactive material enhancing it.

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    1. Interesting -- it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Miller was planting seeds for things that he never got to (at least in this initial run). Plenty of other writers have done the same! At least in this case (if that is indeed what happened here), Miller got to come back later and follow it up himself.

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