Issue(s): Daredevil #126, Daredevil #127
The guy that becomes the Torpedo is Brock Jones, onetime football hero and now suffocating as an insurance executive at Delmar Insurance.
At least they tolerate his endless oration as he paces the halls of the office building.
Brock almost gets a minor opportunity to be a hero, but Daredevil steals his thunder, and is kind of dickish about it.
Meanwhile, there is already someone going around as the Torpedo.
Daredevil hears about the safety deposit box robbery but declines to do anything about it until the chase with the police brings the Torpedo to his doorstep. And then he's delayed by the first appearance of a character that will be more important to Daredevil than the Torpedo: Heather Glenn.
Kissing a perfect stranger after busting into his apartment is pretty weird, but Heather will get much weirder really quick.
After Heather leaves, Matt is finally able to get into costume and investigate the explosion. He first goes to the police to find out where the action is. And DD? Drop the banter, huh? Leave that sort of thing to Spider-Man. You are terrible at it.
Daredevil and the Torpedo's fight brings them to Brock's office building, where he is working late...
...and he gets mixed up in the fight.
A wall collapses and Daredevil gets separated from them. In the meantime, Torpedo tells Brock a secret...
...and by the time Daredevil gets back, Brock has swapped clothes with the guy. The original Torpedo had grey hair while Brock is blond, but of course Daredevil is blind, and it's also said that the jet engine built into the Torpedo's suit blocks Daredevil's other senses. Daredevil is nonetheless 100% confident that the Torpedo is lying about the clothes switch.
Torpedo is in a hurry because of his secret mission and doesn't have time for Daredevil. And Daredevil has to deal with the fact that Foggy Nelson shows up with the police and tries to arrest DD.
The other thread that continues in these issues is Foggy's failing re-election campaign. We saw in the previous arc that someone was running ridiculous campaign ads supposedly on his behalf, and in this issue he gets what he considers to be a planted question during a rally.
It's actually a perfectly legitimate question, but to be honest, i don't know how Foggy doesn't have a pat answer to that one already. "I believe in the justice system, and if someone has served their time, they've paid their debt to society" seems like a pretty obvious response. Foggy's not exactly a neophyte politician at this point; he's running for re-election, after all.
So Daredevil sees Foggy's attempt to arrest him as a desperate attempt to turn the poll numbers around, and doesn't go along with it. He instead returns home to find that Heather is back in his apartment.
And Heather is insanely clingy and aggressively amorous. I mean literally insanely. If she was a guy there's no way we wouldn't be seeing this as sexual assault. She broke into his house and is groping and kissing him.
Of course Matt isn't too put off by it. "You can stay, leave, whatever".
When Matt goes to help Foggy, he hears the latest about the Torpedo.
We also happen to be near the WHO computer and there's mention of Dr. Bradley Bolton, a character that will figure into the plot of Amazing Spider-Man #153.
But the important info for now is that the original Torpedo was a Soviet scientist, and the safety box he raised belonged to his brother. The police now have a report that the Torpedo (the current one, but no one knows that the Soviet scientist was the original) is raiding a mansion in Westchester. The Manhattan cops have been asked to help out since they have been provided weapons by Stark Industries to deal with super-threats, and Foggy goes along for the PR. Matt goes separately as Daredevil.
As Daredevil moves in to fight Torpedo again, we get interspersed scenes from a nearby suburban family.
Notice that Daredevil hears Brock's heartbeat this time, but i guess it's because the suit wasn't active at that moment.
Daredevil continues to not allow for the possibility that Torpedo isn't really a bad guy.
In fact, Daredevil is a real douche, more concerned with making awful quips than listening to Brock.
It was said earlier in the story that Daredevil is exhausted from lack of sleep, so maybe that's the explanation.
Daredevil also says that he almost believed Torpedo's story until he realized whose mansion they were fighting in.
This is a bit of information that is never clarified in this issue, or at all until much later. More on that below.
Daredevil's stupid fight with Torpedo continues into the home of the suburban family we saw earlier. The best part is when Daredevil complains that he's tired of being a target for costumed nuts. Uh, DD? You started this fight.
The wreckage that they cause in the suburban home finally gets Daredevil and the Torpedo to stop fighting, and Brock hands Daredevil the info he got from the original. We don't get to see what was in the note and we don't learn whose mansion they were fighting in.
I don't know what Wolfman had in mind for this story. I don't know if the mansion in Westchester was one that we were supposed to recognize as belonging to someone in real life, or if Wolfman intended to follow up on this plot (although he uses Torpedo again in DD #134 and doesn't use it as an opportunity to clarify anything from this arc). Or maybe it was his plan all along to just plant some seeds and let things develop as they may. His introduction of the super crime computer, which results in some stories that play out in Amazing Spider-Man, is an example of him doing that. But that's on a much smaller scale than the way the Torpedo thing plays out.
It will turn out that this is actually the first chapter in the Corporation saga that runs across multiple books in the mid to late 70s. The mansion belongs to Senator Eugene "Kligger" Stivak, and the original Torpedo, Michael Stivak, was his nephew. Kligger wanted Michael to develop a suit of armor, ostensibly to help with national defense, but it was really to help the Corporation take over America and/or for the Dire Wraiths to defeat ROM. When Stivak learned some of this, he rebelled and his raids in these issues were designed to get rid of all the schematics of his Torpedo suit. We'll learn a lot of this in Torpedo's one shot at a solo story in Marvel Premiere #39-40, which is by Wolfman. I don't know if Wolfman had all of this in mind at this time, though; the Corporation plot is actually an interesting case of various characters and plot threads getting consolidated rather than being a planned storyline.
But all of that does retroactively make the Torpedo a more interesting character, and as of this exact moment i would vote to replace him as the lead character of this book after the way Daredevil behaved here. However, Wolfman doesn't really do much else with Torpedo and the character's later appearances don't serve him any better, and he eventually dies in ignominy in ROM.
Daredevil makes a rare comment about his mother in issue #127. Daredevil is all alone at this point so there's no reason for him to be making random quips, but this doesn't seem to fit well with what we know of Matt's mother, even just from what we've seen so far.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Daredevil is still recovering from his fight with Copperhead and says that he has been "fighting almost non-stop for days". I've therefore placed this arc soon after the previous one.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Its sort of sad thinking it over that the Torpedo ends up being the depiction in comics of "a hero who doesn't make it" in the same way the Grizzly gets to be "a villain who doesn't make it" (though at least the Grizzly gets to ride off into the sunset). Just the idea of someone who gets into this, has some adventures, never really becomes that notable or important in the long run but keeps trying, and then gets into a situation way beyond his control leading to his death...its amazing it was never really planned like this but it just sort of happened. Something like this really feels more like an actual tragedy than some random hero who appears, languishes in obscurity, then only comes back to be killed off in some massive crisis.
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 10, 2015 12:22 PM
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2015 9:08 PM
One of those rare times when Matt's blindness is an actual "handicap".
Torpedo is interesting. I mean in that he continues as a minor hero through Machine man then Rom magazines. I like that there are "weak" heroes who get beat up a lot just like the way we have minor villains who are on the losing end.
Posted by: kveto | July 25, 2016 11:31 AM
he Torpedo also bears some similarities to Wolfman's other new hero at Marvel, Nova. They share similar powers -- flight, strength -- and like the Torpedo., Rich Ryder becomes Nova after the previous one dies and spontaneously recruits a semi-loser type to finish a mission for him.
I actually like the Torpedo powers better than Nova's more generic "flying brick" setup, but neither character (in the original form) works all that well as a solo star.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 10, 2018 7:35 PM
"Score one for the man in the gray flannels!" Did Daredevil hear the color of Brock's suit? This is especially weird in a story where, as mentioned in the review, Matt's inability to perceive color means he can't tell the Torpedos apart.
Posted by: Mortificator | April 21, 2018 6:38 PM
"The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" is a reference to The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, a novel from 1955 about a WWII veteran turned middle-class family man struggling with ennui and with his new responsibilities. After the release of the film version in 1956, the title quickly became a standard slang term for discontented businesspeople and office workers.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 21, 2018 8:14 PM
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