In case you missed it, I’m thrilled to announce the creation of a new column called The Devil’s Double.
My plan is to review Daredevil both past and present stories simultaneously starting with Stan Lee’s issue #1 (1964) and Chip Zdarsky’s issue #1 (2022).
Devil’s Double Review Archive – CLICK HERE
The initial issue of Daredevil had me eager to jump into issue two despite the overall levels of camp, such as the Scooby Doo-like action scenes or even the brawl in which all parties involved narrated the battle. Unfortunately, for me, Daredevil issue two jumps the shark.
The story is grounded enough, as Daredevil takes down a ring of car thieves. The ringleader turns out to be Electro, and the story escalates from there all the way into Earth’s atmosphere. I know comics back in their heyday were schlocky stories of good versus evil, but this story crossed a line. Even the Fast and the Furious franchise waited nine movies before going into space. Stan Lee and co. do it in two issues.
Other ridiculous moments in this issue include (but aren’t limited to) a tire being used as a rubber band in order slingshot a car engine into an oncoming truck, and Daredevil’s memorization of a helicopter tour route that allows him to literally drop into the Baxter Building. Daredevil not only pilots a rocket back to Earth but his ears are so sensitive that he is able to listen for heartbeats outside of the ship in order to land it safely in Central Park.
For me though, the most ridiculous situation is that Matt Murdock is supposed to go to the Baxter Building and evaluate the shack atop the building as well as the rest of the property before the Fantastic Four renew their lease without any assistance from either Foggy, Karen, or anyone else for that matter.
Electro in this issue is as mustache-twirling as a villain can get. He constantly refers to himself as the master of electricity, reveals his plans to an unconscious Daredevil, and at times narrates his plans to himself – not via thought bubbles – but speech bubbles and exclamations. The story also has him stay at the Baxter Building long enough for Daredevil to get back in time (from space and taking a helicopter tour over the city). Electro’s arrest is both predictable and corny.
I look forward to when the stories are less fantastical because this issue is comparable to the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon, in which Mister Fantastic takes down Magneto with a wooden gun – bad dialogue and insane leaps in logic, and overall, a goofy time. I will say that the idea of Ben Grimm showing up to Nelson and Murdock for legal advice is a great way to unveil the character’s redesign on Daredevil: Born Again.
Daredevil #650 (in legacy numbering) is a giant-sized milestone mark for the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. However, although the issue fails to propel the story forward, it does feature a fairly ambitious rewrite of Daredevil’s entire career.
The story goes back to Matt’s college days and suggests a friend Robert “Goldy” Goldman is the mouthpiece for capital G- God. His power set is interesting since the voice that tells him to do things causes “bad things” to happen to continually forge Daredevil into a better hero. Goldy admits he’s not sure how it all works since there were times he was convinced the voice was trying to kill Matt/Daredevil. However, the result was always for Matt’s benefit.
God works in mysterious ways, but Zdarsky stretching this story is just as annoying. There’s a lot of real estate here and it’s all used to highlight Daredevil’s history. Again, it’s fascinating that Goldy might have been pulling the strings all along. He even suggests taking responsibility for bringing Typhoid Mary and Wilson Fisk together.
The artwork is fantastic in this issue as Daredevil hunts down Goldy in the rain but the change in the artistry comes off as fan service-y rather than serving the larger story. The other odd images are Goldy’s close calls. They’re supposed to show you how untouchable he is but at times it reminds me more of an Animaniacs/Button’s and Mindy episode than anything else.
Ann Nocetti is a big part of Daredevil’s history, but her back-up story left a lot to be desired. It didn’t connect to either of the previous issues, making it feel like either an anthology story or possibly it connects to one of her previous stories from back in the day. Everything in this story seems to be a bit more like a tongue in cheek reference to The Hand, especially the title.
I had way more fun with Chris Giarrusso’s Mini Marvels which was a cute way to show how complicated a history all the characters have with one another and how there’s a tendency for the characters – in this case, it’s Daredevil, Elektra, Bullseye and Lady Electro – to copy one another’s story and plot details. One thing that had me scratching my head was whether Bullseye and Lady Electro had a romantic relationship. If so let me know where I can find that story.
The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511