Daredevil #6 (1964)
Stan Lee’s sixth issue of Daredevil pits three supervillains against our swashbuckling superhero, which sounds way more fun than it is. We’re introduced to the “Fellowship of Fear” – Ox, the Eel, and Mr. Fear. Although this is reminiscent of the Owl hiring two henchmen (“Ape” Horgon and “Sad Sam” Simms) to carry out his bidding in issue three, this is the first time Lee cobbles together a team of recognizable villains in Daredevil, like how issue two brought in Electro.
This gang hires a camera crew and director to cordon off a bank and rob it, and the issue carries on with Daredevil being interested in what the public thinks of him. During his battle with the Ox and Eel, Mr. Fear fires a gas pellet that causes Daredevil to be filled with fear and run from the trio of villains. Daredevil attempts to clear his reputation and takes on the trio for a second time, but Foggy gets injured in the process of rescuing Daredevil. In the hospital, the gang infiltrates Foggy’s room disguised as doctors to assassinate the injured lawyer. Daredevil saves the day and even gives Mr. Fear a taste of his own medicine.
It’s interesting that this issue comes out two years prior to Batman ’66, because this story has all the pieces required to construct a formulaic template for a campy superhero serial. The villains have colorful costumes, a wax museum lair and plenty of humorous action sequences. For example, the Eel’s costume is supposed to be coated in grease, yet he’s able to grab and hold on to Daredevil only for Daredevil to use it to his advantage to escape from his captor’s grasp. Even Mr. Fear seems to be the analogue to DC Comics Scarecrow using pellets that cause his victims to be overcome with a sense of fear. His wordy plans and exclamations lend themselves to onscreen villains monologuing long enough to give our heroes just enough time to concoct a plan of escape.
This maybe one of the more forgettable issues, but this is probably the beginning of Daredevil interacting with a larger number of villains from other titles, which is interesting in itself.
Daredevil #6 (2022)
I loved Chip Zdarsky’s last issue; it was full of tension, action, and drama. The issue ended with Daredevil questioning everything when he finally came face to face with Robert Goldman “Goldy”, a character whose powers seem to be handed down from God himself to guide Daredevil’s entire career. Unfortunately, Zdarsky seems to have hit a wall in issue six.
This issue has Daredevil reflecting inwardly and questioning everything he’s ever done. Slower stories are fine, but Zdarsky’s last issue did everything in a snappier manner and showed readers pretty much the same thing, albeit through actions rather than words. Simply put, this issue is an exposition dump. Even the fight between Elektra and Iron Man matched the lethargy of this issue. I don’t need action in every chapter, but the juxtapositions between Daredevil and U.S. Agent’s ideologies and fighting styles were so clearly defined in the last issue that they didn’t need any dialogue during that fight. Here it feels like a recap in a far less dramatic or interesting way.
The magic of The Fist has given everyone abilities, and even heightened Daredevil’s own senses. With empath-like levels of feeling, Daredevil can now detect how people truly feel. Bullet and Daredevil have a candid conversation about the rehabilitation process. Bullet is convinced that there is more to the Devil’s benevolent offering; some of the former prisoners take to it while others have a more difficult time. Daredevil finds himself at a crossroads to not only convince this army to follow him but that what he is doing is right. Issue six wants ask the deep questions, but Zdarsky must be working with a shallow pool since he has pretty much asking the same questions for six issues.
The issue ends with Frank Castle taking up arms against The Fist, but I’m confused since he seems to be talking to Aka and mentions how she betrayed the cause. So, I’m not sure if this is supposed to be Aka or if she has a twin sister or if this character is simply drawn to look a lot like her?
This comic is the definition of a middling issue, and the Red Fist Saga has been a less than satisfying story. I can’t tell if Zdarsky’s fixation on this internal conflict has turned into obsession, that he’s dealing with concepts so big that he can’t answer any of the questions he’s posing, or if it’s proof that the man who’s been writing Daredevil needs a break.
The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511