Issue(s): Daredevil #124, Daredevil #125
Let's start with some important developments. As we saw last issue, Black Widow is not happy with her status as Daredevil's sidekick, and at the beginning of issue #124 she decides not to stay.
The Widow has been in and out of the series a couple times already, but this time is for real (issue #125 is the first where she does not appear on the cover since issue #92, although she stopped getting co-billing with issue #107), and she'll get a chance to elevate her status when she joins and leads the Champions.
Our second development is the introduction of Blake Tower, a longstanding supporting character in the Marvel universe. He's challenging Foggy Nelson for the position of District Attorney.
At a time when Marvel was making some effort to diversify their characters by race and ethnicity, it's odd that they chose the whitest male-est looking guy possible for this role. Unlike, say, Black Goliath or Brother Voodoo, Blake Tower would never have to try to support his own book, so he could have been a lasting non-white or non-male character, like Joe Robertson or Jean DeWolff. I guess the idea is to make him seem so "perfect" that it sets off our alarm bells, even though he really turns out to be a decent guy.
Foggy's campaign isn't helped by his own manager.
Foggy is also funding the building of a super-computer that will help identify suspects. The computer is being run by a Dr. Armstrong Smith.
This computer will eventually gain sentience, and i'm tagging it as WHO (the Worldwide Habitual Offenders supercomputer) in the Characters Appearing.
Now for our villain of the story. It's a guy named Copperhead, and he's set up to be a pulp fiction type hero like, explicitly, Doc Savage, except with a copper head instead of a bronze one.
But a Copperhead is also a kind of snake, so he's got a snake thing going with the way he pronouncessss hisss Sssss, and his snake venom darts.
In fact, i feel like someone needed to tell him to either go with the snake theme or the copper theme. Put together it's a bit too muddled.
But i guess it wouldn't have done any good, since Copperhead is nuts. He's clearly at the Punisher/Bolan/Deathwish level of vigilante (and note the "Justice is served" line above which is later popularized by Scourge), and that's said to be different than the 1930s fictional pulp hero version.
Copperhead initially starts off killing random pickpockets, but eventually he starts targeting people that have something to do with the old pulp stories. Daredevil tries to stop him...
Daredevil survives only by faking his own death, holding his breath and hoping Copperhead will go away soon.
It turns out that Copperhead is the son of a guy that used to pose for the pictures that appeared on the old pulp novels. The father died thinking that he wasn't paid what he should have been for his work, and the son is just nuts.
We did see in Daredevil's first fight that it's not just his head that's copper. He's completely covered. Here's what he looks like without the trench coat and hat.
The good news for Daredevil is that he doesn't have to fight him again because Copperhead gets struck by lightning.
What a weird ending, after a weird revelation about his origin. Do you think Wolfman just didn't know what the hell to do with the set-up he got from Wein?
This Copperhead will appear again posthumously in a 2001 Daredevil/Spider-Man book, and he'll also inspire a copycat that will appear in the Human Fly series.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after Black Widow's appearance in Marvel Two-In-One #10. Avengers #137, which shows the Black Widow still with Daredevil, should take place prior to this.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showArmstrong Smith, Black Widow, Blake Tower, Copperhead, Daredevil, Foggy Nelson, Ivan Petrovitch, WHO
Len Wein would later do a Batman story with a killer leaving gold coins in his victims' eyes.
Posted by: Michael | February 9, 2015 10:36 PM
Giant-Size Spider-Man #5 is cover-dated July 1975 (presumably right before #124 here) and has Doc Savage and the Fab Five as guest stars.
Curiously, Marvel's last Doc Savage issue was #8, cover dated January 1974, so this is not plugging for that series. Maybe Marvel just wanted to make some use of the character (in this case as some color for Cooperhead's origin) while they were still sitting over publishing rights that they could not otherwise make a profit from?
I'm a bit surprised to find out that they stopped regularly featuring the character in early 1974 and yet could still guest star him as late as in November 1976's Marvel Two-In-One #21, but apparently such was the case.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | February 11, 2015 2:10 AM
After Doc Savage's color comic was cancelled, Marvel published a b&w magazine that ran from 1975-1977:
Posted by: fnord12 | February 11, 2015 7:26 AM
Turns out Republic pictures was going to do a Superman movie in 1940 until they found out they couldn't get the rights, so they reworked the plot with a goofy hero called Copperhead, who was just a guy with a copper chainmail mask, and called it The Mysterious Doctor Satan, Return of the Copperhead. I always assume Copperhead was based on Doc Savage, but maybe this was what inspired (if that's the word) Marv Wolfman here.
Posted by: Andrew | May 21, 2018 2:59 PM
Copperhead (the pulp character the crazy guy bases himself on) seems to be an amalgam of three pulp heroes: the copper bit is a Doc Savage reference,a s Doc was "the Man of Bronze;" the facial injury is a reference to the Avenger, whose face was paralyzed by a weird accident; and the two-guns approach is, of course, the Shadow.
Blake Tower's resemblance to Robert Redford is probably a reference to Redford's star turn in the film The Candidate.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 21, 2018 9:45 PM
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