Monday, January 9, 2017


From time to time, a truly great new artist will explode upon
the Marvel scene like a bombshell!
Ramblin’ Roger McKenzie, Kinky Klaus Janson, Joe Rosen,
Geo. Rouses, Amiable Al Milgrom, and Jim (Trouble) Shooter
confidently predict newcomer -- Lanky Frank Miller is just such an artist!

The Plot: Attorney Matt Murdock is kidnapped from his legal offices by the Unholy Trio: Cat-Man, Bird-Man, and Gorilla-Man. Matt’s friend, Natasha Romanoff — the Black Widow — defeats Bird-Man before he can escape, but the others get away with Matt.

Gorilla-Man and Cat-Man bring Matt to a graveyard where he's confronted by the villainous Death-Stalker. Death-Stalker reveals he was previously known as the Exterminator, a villain once defeated by Daredevil, and now he wants revenge. He kills both Cat-Man and Gorilla-Man while Matt changes into his alter ego, Daredevil. DD and Death-Stalker fight, but the villain becomes careless and his intangibility power ultimately kills him when he materializes inside a solid tombstone.

Later, Matt returns to the law offices to find Black Widow gone.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Before we get to the continuity notes proper, I'll mention that this issue features appearances by pretty much the entire DAREDEVIL cast of this era. In addition to Black Widow, mentioned above, there's also (left to right): Matt “Daredevil” Murdock, his girlfriend Heather Glenn, legal secretary Becky Blake, Debbie Harris, girlfriend to Matt’s legal partner Foggy Nelson, and Foggy himself.

(Though it should also be noted that Roger McKenzie apparently doesn't want readers to know who some of these characters are. Neither Debbie nor Becky is called by name at any point in the issue!

Black Widow recalls the days when she and Daredevil were a team, and considers that she possibly returned to New York to try and rekindle that relationship. But Matt is seeing Heather right now, and Heather intimates to the Widow that she's aware of Matt’s dual identity.

Death-Stalker recaps his backstory, a peculiar instance of time travel in the otherwise generally grounded world of Daredevil.

He also recalls that his original Unholy Trio were killed in IRON MAN #116. Per my review of that issue a few years ago, his story checks out.

Becky overhears Matt wondering where Natasha has vanished to, and we learn that she apparently carries a torch for her boss.

My Thoughts: Okay, does anybody else find it funny that the IRON MAN BY DAVID MICHELINIE, BOB LAYTON, AND JOHN ROMITA, JR. OMNIBUS begins with IRON MAN 115, a story featuring Tony Stark kidnapped by the Unholy Trio (a.k.a. the Ani-Men), and the DAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER AND KLAUS JANSON OMNIBUS also starts with an appearance by the Trio kidnapping the title character? That's two legendary Marvel runs kicked off by these nutty characters! (And heck, while we're at it, let's not forget that Chris Claremont’s very first issue of X-MEN also featured the Trio!! They seem to be a lucky charm for anyone looking to begin a long and beloved Marvel run.)

Other than that unusual note, there's not really anything in this issue — aside from the dramatically written credits reproduced above — which identifies it as the milestone it would turn out to be. Most classic runs begin as “just another issue” with very few such creators even getting so much as a blank slate on which to begin their tenure. That's certainly the case here, as Frank Miller comes aboard to illustrate the conclusion of a two-part story begun by another artist.

But from this inauspicious beginning, greatness will emerge. Miller is already shaking things up artistically, with the occasional dramatic moment featuring elements breaking panel borders. Before long, he'll shake up Daredevil’s tone, style, status quo, and very life to match.


  1. If Man-Beast counts as an Ani-Man (if we go by the Ani-Men Wikipedia page), then he too is there for the very first Adam Warlock story by Jim Starlin.

  2. He shouldn't be counted as a member of the Ani-Men. Man Beast was one of the High Evolutionary's New Men.
    They're not the same.

    1. Anonymous would be correct -- the New Men (a.k.a. the Knights of Wundagore) are not the Ani-Men. Honestly, I'm not sure what the origin of the Unholy Trio/Ani-Men even is! I've literally only read their appearances in X-MEN, IRON MAN, and this DAREDEVIL, none of which offer a recap on where they came from.

    2. It's been a long time since I read the issue in question, and I don't seem to recall there being an origin story even in that issue, but their first appearance was in Daredevil #10.

      I remember that the story concerned a corrupt politician attempting to delegitimize the current governor by hiring the Ani-Men to create crimes.
      It seemed like the Ani-Men just came out of nowhere though. There was no hint given that some small-time politician would have been able to create them.

    3. Oh I don't disagree the slightest, it's just that Ani-Men Wikipedia page for some reason (faultily) lists Evolutionary's New-Men as one iteration but apparently they have never even gone by the name of Ani-Men on the comics. The Man-Beast bit was a one-panel flashback anyway so I have only managed to waste everyone's time with this one.

  3. One has to appreciate the title of the story and it's relation to how things work out in the end.

    1. You know, I am old enough to have actually purchased this issue off a newsstand, and I completely missed the pun that is the title.