Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dark Streets and Mysterious Science

Daredevil #70 (Marvel, November 1970, 15 cents)
"The Tribune" Presenter: Stan Lee, Story: Gary Friedrich, Illustrators: Gene Colan and Syd Shores, Letterer: Sam Rosen.

On Hollywood Boulevard, movie star Buck Ralston gives a political speech that takes patriotism to an extreme before suggesting that now actress Karen is a communist—and that he and his friends need to "get rid" of "pinko crumbs." Back in New York, Daredevil goes to a protest at the Hilton, where the vice president becomes the target of a bombing.

Ralston reveals himself as the Tribune, a "new kind of judge... to decide who's a good American... and who's a rotten red." He sentences a draft dodger to "the living death" just before Daredevil—back in New York—almost stops another bombing, which leads to a young passerby being falsely accused. The Tribune's comments to his gang suggest that the coast-hopping will end next issue when the two plot lines are expected to intersect.

All in all, a solid issue. In the letter column, Martin Pasko writes in to say that Marvel's dialogue is more natural than DC's, and that he supports multi-issue story arcs. Neat to see his letter of comment!

Daredevil #78 (Marvel, July 1971, 15 cents)
"The Horns of the Bull!" Editor: Stan Lee, Writer: Gerry Conway, Artist: Gene Colan, Inker: Tom Palmer, Letterer: Sam Rosen.

Matt Murdock continues to pine over actress Karen Page, now in her first movie, A Tender Affair. He answers a cry for help and saves a young couple from being abducted for "an experiment of some sort," "for guinea pigs." At least he does the first time!

This is quite an issue. Dark streets, mysterious science, the introduction of a new villain, relationship challenges with Foggy and Karen, and innocents in danger. Where will it go?

Daredevil #85 (Marvel, March 1972, 20 cents)
"Night Flight!" Editor: Stan Lee, Scripter: Gerry Conway, Artist: Gene Colan, Inker: Syd Shores, Letterer: Jon Costa.

Another excellent issue! Murdock is on a 747 from London with Natasha, the Black Widow, and her chauffeur Ivan, when "an unfriendly seeming trio" conspires to hijack the plane. Daredevil, Black Widow, and Ivan intervene with the help of Milwaukee businessman Nathaniel Taggart, only to discover their leader is the Gladiator. Now out of prison and a ruthless killer, he plans to direct the plane to Mexico—or blow it up trying.

Meanwhile, Karen't therapist has proposed to her, and Foggy Nelson regrets his mistakes that led to blackmail. Gerry Conway coming on the book as writer has worked really well, and Gene Colan's art seems to be solidifying. Good stuff! An awesome issue.

Read Also: Daredevil #63 and #84.

Daredevil # 91 (Marvel, September 1972, 20 cents)
"Fear Is the Key!" Editor: Roy Thomas, Writer: Gerry Conway, Artist: Gene Colan, Inker: Tom Palmer, Letterer: Artie Simek.

Conway and Colan's solid teamwork continues. Daredevil and the Black Widow have moved to San Francisco together, taking DD out of the Big Apple, but their partnership isn't working smoothly, and the Widow has had it. Mercenary Danny French is selling something to a client, but it isn't what Natasha thinks it is. Meanwhile, Murdock meets with Larry Garrison and Jason Sloan about joining their law firm. Later, Daredevil encounters Mr. Fear, whom we last saw in #54.

Similar to almost identifying the Gladiator by his heartbeat in #85 and the Stunt-Master in #64, Daredevil determines the new identify of Mr. Fear before encountering him. Their battle is challenging, and the issue serves as a welcome return for a promising villain.

Read Also: Daredevil #54 and #88.

Daredevil #98 (Marvel, April 1973, 20 cents)
"Let There Be—Death" Editor: Roy Thomas, Plot: Gerry Conway, Script: Steve Gerber, Pencils: Gene Colan, Lettering: Shelby Leferman, Coloring: George Roussos.

Now sharing the title banner with the Black Widow—suggesting that their partnership wasn't as rocky as suggested in #91—Daredevil fights the three Disciples of Doom, lackeys of Mordecai Jones, the Dark Messiah, who has "claimed Golden Gate Park as my Holy Land."

The disciples try to disrupt a cable car line—seems like awfully small beer for villains who can control sound, the earth, and reality itself—and face Daredevil and the Black Widow.

He then identifies the Dark Messiah, from his heartbeat, naturally: a power that's become a bit of an assumption in this run of issues. That leads to a dangerous self-awareness for the Messiah. A good issue continuing Conway and Colan's partnership.

Read Also: Daredevil #97.

Availability: Daredevil #70 was collected in Essential Daredevil, Vol. 3. Daredevil #75-101 were collected in Essential Daredevil, Vol. 4.

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