Monday, July 24, 2017


Writer/Storyteller: Frank Miller | Penciler/Inker/Colorist: Klaus Janson
Letters: Joe Rosen | Editor: Denny O’Neil | Supervisor : Jim Shooter

The Plot: While Daredevil deals with his increasingly erratic hypersenses, the Black Widow fights a contingent of Hand ninjas in the New York City Morgue, but they escape with a corpse. Meanwhile, Daredevil begins a search for Stick in order to get help managing his senses. But the Hand find Stick first and attack him, though he manages to fight them off.

Daredevil is assaulted by a group of thugs looking to take advantage of his weakened state, but a cab driver rescues him and chauffeurs him to Josie’s. There, he learns Stick failed to show up for a pool game. Finally, DD staggers home to find Stick and three shadowy men conferring inside his brownstone.

Elsewhere, the Hand ninjas return to their lair with the corpse they recovered, and perform a ceremony to bring it back to life. The process is a success and Kirigi lives once more.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: After two issues featuring a new corner box (which seems to show Daredevil stumbling like he just tripped over the ottoman), this issue returns to the old one. The stumbly corner box will be back next month.

This issue features the debut of a new costume for Black Widow, though for some reason it’s never glimpsed in color — only illuminated by the red lights of the morgue or seen in shadow.

The Widow states that she’s working for “…a certain United Nations intelligence agency” and later is seen reporting to, and conferring with Nick Fury, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Widow steps on some foot spikes during her fight with the Hand, which a doctor later says injected her with advanced cancer (which doesn’t seem possible, but hey, it’s the Hand).

Daredevil visits both Duke’s and Josie’s in his quest for Stick, and both dives lose their plate glass windows in the process (with a weakened DD himself tossed through Josie’s). Josie notes that she’s already gone through three windows this week.

The plot thickens with regards to Stick: the Hand is after him for some reason, so he calls a meeting of “The Seven” — but only four of them make it.

Just how long was Kirigi's corpse lying around the City Morgue, anyway? He was killed in issue 176, and some months, or at the very least weeks, seem to have passed since then!

My Thoughts: It occurs to me that in all this time, I’ve said very little, if anything, about Joe Rosen, the unsung hero of Frank Miller’s DAREDEVIL -- and since we're almost to the end of this retrospective, I'd better speak up now.

The bulk of the work on this series is done by Miller (writing, pencils/later layouts) and Klaus Janson (inks, later pencils and finishes) with Glynis Wein providing colors early on, before Janson takes over that task as well. But lettering isn’t touched by either Miller or Janson; they leave that task to the veteran Joe Rosen.

Rosen lettered Miller’s first DAREDEVIL, issue 158, and then traded off lettering tasks with a few others (Jim Novak, John Costanza, and Diana Albers) until coming aboard permanently with #165. And I do mean permanently. Rosen will go on to outlast Miller and Janson, will letter the title through Denny O’Neil’s run, Miller’s second run, and most of Ann Nocencti’s run, missing -- by my quick count -- only five issues between #165 and #279. I don't know if that's any sort of a record, but it's impressive in any case.

Thus, Rosen’s letters are as much a part of the artistic consistency of the Miller DAREDEVIL as Miller’s pencils or Janson’s inks and colors. And Rosen was a terrific letterer, too. I mainly associate him with the Roger Stern/John Romita, Jr. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, where he contributed to twenty-one of their twenty-six issues together, but his work on DAREDEVIL is even more impressive as, presumably at Miller’s urging, he often integrates his sound effects into the artwork for an incredibly seamless whole.

So here's to Joe Rosen. He may have been overshadowed in the eighties by the likes of Tom Orzechowski, but he was an outstanding letterer in his own right and should be remembered as such.


  1. One might say that one place where the 90's begins at its earnests is the X-MEN #4, where a total of 20 Hand ninjas are needed to bring Omega Red back in the opening page instead of the pesky four here that's enough for Kirigi.

    1. Huh, I never really thought about that. A case of Jim Lee trying to build up his new character, making him a bigger deal than Kirigi by requiring more life forces to reanimate? Omega Red wasn't even dead, only in suspended animation! These four Hands literally resurrected Kirigi.


  2. I’m always happy to see what’s arguably comics’ least discussed tradecraft acknowledged. Rosen’s style is much less showy than most celebrated letterers’ — and to be honest when I see his work on Marvel stuff from the later ’80s into the ’90s that I wasn’t reading at the time I usually find it underwhelming at best, although that could be due to his maintaining a portfolio of what at a glance seems to be at least four or five books a month into his 60s and even 70s — but you’re absolutely right that the simple, solid feel of his letterforms meshed well with the art on this Daredevil run, which is particularly important given the power set of the main character.

    1. I don't think I've read much Rosen from the latest point in his career. I mainly know him from this DAREDEVIL run, the Stern/Romita Jr. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN mentioned above, and, I think, early X-FACTOR -- and even that, I haven't read a lot of. Besides those, I just know he used to pop here and there on various Marvel comics, and I really liked his style, especially the "default" way he tended to do credits, which pops up in some DDs and most of ASM.