Monday, January 30, 2017


A: Roger McKenzie * Frank Miller * Klaus Janson Spectacular
Letterer: Diana Albers | Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editors: Allen Milgrom & Mary Jo Duffy| Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: A panicked Turk visits Eric Slaughter on Coney Island, informing him that Daredevil is coming to find Black Widow. But unknown to Turk, Daredevil has followed him and is already there. DD battles Slaughter’s men and makes his way into the amusement park, where Bullseye is waiting with the Widow and an army of assassins.

Soon, Black Widow frees herself while Daredevil overcomes Bullseye’s traps. As the Widow fights Bullseye’s men, DD challenges the villain himself and emerges victorious when Bullseye suffers a nervous breakdown after being beaten up. Slaughter and his men show up, but Slaughter lets Daredevil and the Black Widow depart, so disappointed is in Bullseye that he chooses not to fulfill the assassination contract he had previously accepted.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Ben Urich continues his investigation into the connection between Daredevil and Matt Murdock, visiting Fogwell’s Gym, where Matt’s father, “Battlin’” Jack Murdock, trained as a boxer. Urich learns that as a child, Matt’s ironic nickname from his peers was “Daredevil”.

As noted above, Bullseye suffers a full-blown nervous breakdown, retreating into babbling catatonia, when Daredevil overcomes him.

My Thoughts: Daredevil is, or at least has been for as long as I've been familiar with him, a rare superhero who wears his heart on his sleeve. It's kind of odd, really: he's this mysterious, brooding crimefighter, intimidating stoolpigeons and villains alike, and in that way I guess he's kind of similar to someone like Batman. But at the same time, it's hard to imagine the unflappable Darknight Detective wading into battle as he declares that he wants to find a villain “…so badly I can taste it!” And this isn't a DD trait unique to Roger McKenzie, either, as we’ll see going forward. Maybe it's that whole "repressed Catholic" thing, but whatever the cause, Daredevil, in nearly every incarnation, is a hero governed often by his more visceral emotions.

Speaking of McKenzie, I'm unsure what I make of his Bullseye. I noticed last issue, but didn't mention it, that his speech was a little flowery. That carries over here as well, where he says, for example, “Excellent, Daredevil I rather thought you would manage to save yourself. But I rather doubt you will be able to save your woman! A pity. She is really quite beautiful!”

Now to me this sounds more like a master schemer than a blunt instrument. I don't believe ever seen Bullseye use such formal speech patterns in any other story. It makes me wonder if this was his original characterization and McKenzie is following what was previously portrayed, meaning later writers — beginning, I believe, with Frank Miller himself — flubbed the correct depiction, or if McKenzie is just doing his own thing here and his Bullseye is an anomaly compared with all others. Perhaps someday I'll ready Bullseye’s first appearance and get to the bottom of this!

NOTE: DAREDEVIL #162 is a fill-in by Michael Fleisher and Steve Ditko, so we'll be skipping it as part of this DAREDEVIL by Frank Miller retrospective (it's not included in the Miller Omnibus or Visionaries books). Next week, we jump ahead to issue 163, featuring the Hulk! (Which, interestingly, is the advertised next issue in this installment. Someone must have dropped a deadline, and this isn't the only time a story will be teased but not published as part of the McKenzie/Miller run. But we'll cover that when we get there.)


  1. Bullseye was certainly not the cold-blooded psychopath he was portrayed as under Miller during his initial appearances.
    Marv Wolfman wrote the character as sort of a goofy villain.
    I think the mentally unstable elements were always meant to be part of his character, as Wilfman introduced him as a Vietnam veteran, so you got the idea he might have had some psychological issues.
    He seemed more cartoony to me though, more like a Silver Age DC villain.

    I got the impression that Bullseye was originally supposed to be similar to DD's version of the Joker.

  2. My first memory of Bullseye was a cliffhanger in a mid-70s Daredevil where he strapped DD to...a giant crossbow and launched him off a skyscraper to die.

    Yeah, Miller's characterization was the exception to the rule before then.

    (Google tells me this happened in Daredevil 141-142, and that DD was rescued from the deathtrap with a hand from Nova. Ahh, comics.)

  3. Thanks for the info on Bullseye, guys! I've never actually read any stories with him prior to this one, so the only Bullseye I know is the Frank Miller version, which strongly influenced pretty much all subsequent characterizations.


  4. I just read Bullseye's first appearance in DD #131 and it's about what you'd expect from a slice of mid-'70s Marvel — not that I'm knocking that; heck, we're talkin' my personal Golden Age. So it would appear that Miller was taking the character in a new direction, not entirely unlike (as has been discussed often at Teebore's) Claremont did with Magneto. But the world of comics is full of would-be definitive versions of a given character established years after said character's introduction. Your reaction to Bullseye's speech here is evidence of exactly that — which I know you (Matt) know; I'm just sayin'. Bullseye's change of tone could be chalked up to his mental breakdown if we want an in-continuity explanation, I suppose.