Issue(s): Daredevil #118
But it's a real goofball story, starting off with some really corny dialogue as Daredevil fights some costumed goons (and i'm not being disparaging by calling them goons; that's actually how they refer to themselves).
You have to love a guy wearing a bright blue welding mask talking about how he don't believe in rappin' with a punk.
The costumes also don't seem to bestow any powers, so the fact that goon #1 thought of them all by himself doesn't really say much.
Daredevil's momentous triumph over two guys in welding suits makes it to the Ringmaster, who worries that Daredevil will interfere with the latest plans of the Circus of Crime. So he sends the Gambonno brothers and Princess Python to track Daredevil down, and they wind up attacking at Foggy Nelson's District Attorney's office.
I didn't realize that Princess Python trained her snakes with an electro-prod (although Michael tells us in the comments that we've seen this before, in her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #22), but i was prepared for her to be overly emotionally attached to her snakes.
Of course, attacking Daredevil was Stupid Villain Move #1 since it just alerts Daredevil to the fact that the Circus of Crime was up to something. The Circus have actually been released from jail and they've somehow managed to get themselves booked at a huge televised event at Shea Stadium (i have to assume a certain hypnotizing hat was involved in all of this, although that's never stated. Otherwise, who on Earth is dumb enough to ok all of this?). The Ringmaster was feeling good about attacking Daredevil because of a new member of the Circus, named Blackwing, whose schtick is trained bats.
But he didn't actually send Blackwing after Daredevil, and even when Daredevil shows up at Shea stadium, the new villain is busy sending his bats out to steal stuff.
So it's hardly a significant introduction to the character.
The other Circus members are positively ecstatic about their riches...
...which are depicted as a literal mound of treasure.
After the fight, which is stiffly depicted by Don Heck...
...Daredevil tells us that despite Blackwing's non-participation, he expects big things from him in the future.
Somehow despite this (lack of a?) debut, Blackwing will eventually go on to bigger things. Tony Isabella will kindly use him again pretty soon, but it's actually during Mark Gruenwald's Captain America run that he returns, and he goes on to be in the Thunderbolts and then a villain in a later iteration of the New Warriors, and he even spawns legacy versions. Looking at his origins here, it's hard to fathom.
Gerry Conway's actual Daredevil run was borderline incomprehensible, but it did strive for complexity. By contrast, this story feels like a throwback to the early Silver Age.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: A footnote says, "Marvel Time paradox dept: this story takes place before the Princess' misadventure in recent issues of Captain America and the Falcon". That would be Captain America #180-181. That pushes this back in publication time a bit due to dependencies for Captain America during his Nomad period. Daredevil appears in Giant-Size Defenders #3 before next issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBlackwing, Daredevil, Ernesto Gambonno, Foggy Nelson, Human Cannonball, Luigi Gambonno, Princess Python, Ringmaster
Princess Python used her electro-prod before, in Amazing Spider-Man 22.
Posted by: Michael | February 8, 2015 11:31 PM
Ah, thanks. Seems mean! I always thought she just had a special rapport with her snakes.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 9, 2015 7:30 AM
How fast did Conway write this? So fast that he mashed up Benny Goodman and Henny Youngman and gave us "Henny Goodman"!
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 9, 2015 11:53 AM
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