Issue(s): Daredevil #158, Daredevil #159, Daredevil #160, Daredevil #161, Daredevil #163, Daredevil #164, Daredevil #165, Daredevil #166, Daredevil #167
This picks up with the Ani-Men, still calling themselves the Unholy Three, attacking Nelson & Murdock's law offices. They are working for Death-Stalker, and they manage to kidnap Matt despite Natasha's efforts.
It turns out this is a new group of Ani-Men, and we also get the Death-Stalker's origin. He's the villain from Daredevil #41 called the Exterminator that died fighting Daredevil. But he was reborn in his new shadowy form and he stole some technology from AIM. Daredevil tricks him into half-materializing into a gravestone, killing him again.
Meanwhile, Heather Glenn hints that she knows Daredevil's secret ID.
Next Bullseye hires a group of assassins (including perpetual henchman Turk, in his first appearance)(although see Daredevil #69) led by a Mr. Eric Slaughter to kill Daredevil.
Failing that, Bullseye kidnaps the Black Widow.
Daredevil starts an investigation into Bullseye leading him to a visit with Ben Urich at the Daily Bugle (note Ulrich is already probing DD/Matt's ID as well)...
...and a fight with stool pigeons at Josie's Bar & Grill (in its first appearance).
It eventually leads into a big fight at an amusement park.
The Widow escapes to participate in the fight, so it's not a total damsel-in-distress thing.
Bullseye is a lot more psychotic than his Adam Westian first appearance.
Next, the Hulk appears in New York City. Matt leaves a fancy cocktail party (party goers beyond the regular DD cast include D.A. Tower, Tony Stark, and J.J. Jameson) and talks the Hulk down.
He transforms back into Banner and Matt takes him to his apartment, lending him a pair of purple pants (Hey, at least Matt has the excuse of being blind).
With a change of clothes and some borrowed money, Bruce tries to head out of the city, but the stress of the subway is too much for him and he transforms back into the Hulk. The police say the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are out of town, so it's up to DD to fight him.
He of course gets his ass handed to him, but DD tries to appeal to the Hulk's human side during the fight, and the Hulk eventually jumps away (out of the city) crying.
Watching from the sidelines, Heather Glenn exclaims Matt's name within earshot of Ben Urich, confirming his investigation.
Daredevil spends the next few days? weeks? in a coma at the hospital (they keep his mask on). He's visited by the Avengers (Cap, Thor, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Beast, and the Black Widow), the Fantastic Four, and the Heroes for Hire.
When he wakes up, Urich comes to confront him with his story. We get a recap of DD's origin, and then Urich decides to burn his notes.
Out of the hospital, DD investigates a case of stolen adamantium. He winds up in another fight at Josie's...
...and learns that the metal is headed for Glenn Industries. Daredevil confronts Heather at a board meeting and she throws a crying fit...
...but later investigates his claim (In between, there's a cute scene with Foggy bringing home an awful tuxedo for his wedding. Actually, it's not so cute, as Matt completely brushes Foggy off, in a scene very typical of their 'friendship').
While looking at the records, Heather is captured by Dr. Octopus.
Doc Ock damaged one of his arms in his last fight with Spidey, and instead of just replacing them, he's decided to go for an upgrade, which is a good idea.
Daredevil tricks Octavius into throwing his arms into some high voltage wires, but while the electricity knocks him out, the arms still carry him away. Daredevil opts to stay to comfort Heather instead of making chase. The Black Widow sees Heather in Matt's arms and realizes there's no reason for her to stay in town, so she leaves NYC and heads back to Russia.
Next, Daredevil fights a clearly crazy Gladiator.
It's also Foggy and Debbie Harris' wedding issue.
Lastly, Daredevil gets mixed up in a situation with a corrupt CEO Edwin Cord...
...and a former employee with a stolen battle suit that wants vengeance.
Overall, the stories are a bit of an improvement over what Daredevil usually has, but of course the real draw here is Frank Miller's art.
The stories are vastly improved by good art, and great artistic storytelling and pacing. Miller also brings a noir style and those great action sequences that use multiple washed-out images to indicate speed and movement.
So big, so fast alert: Black Widow, upon being thrown by Ape Man: "Unghh--! Never dreamed that lumbering brute... could move so fast..."
There's a quick cameo by Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson (with Matt thinking "I wish Heather and I could be more like that couple. They don't seem to have a care in the world.").
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the note for Daredevil #155-157; i've broken issue #157 into parts, essentially. The full Ani-Men story takes place here but the rest of issue #157 takes place much earlier and Daredevil has other appearances in between. The appearances by the Avengers and other heroes while Daredevil is in the hospital are context free. We know from Hulk #243 that the Hulk appearance occurs after Hulk #243 and Defenders #74 (and i've actually got this after Defenders #76-77). The Avengers and especially the Scarlet Witch's appearance in Daredevil #164 has to take place after Avengers #188 (she's been away from the team since #182, and the whole team returns after #188). Must take place after Doctor Octopus' appearance in Amazing Spider-Man annual #13 and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man annual #1. Daredevil #162 was not included in this entry (or the trade) because it was an out-of-sequence fill-in.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Daredevil Visionaries TPB: Frank Miller vol. 1
Inbound References (13): show
Jeez, what is it with suits in Marvel Comics?
First you've got Slim "Cyclops" Summers wearing a hideous mulberry-plaid suit in the early issues of Uncanny X-Men. Then "Mike" Murdock wears atrocious suits around Daredevil 25 or so. Now Foggy, and Porkchop Peterson.
I mean what the hell? Do the artists hate people who have to wear suits?
Or maybe there is some super-tailor in the Marvel Universe, who is responsible for all those crazy green-and-purple villain costumes and the unstable molecule clothes, and as his cover identity he sells hideous yellow-and-green-polka-dot suit jackets.
Wow, Porkchop Peterson! You are lucky you are friends with Daredevil's friend, because that suit is against the law.
Posted by: James Nostack | September 15, 2011 11:35 AM
The "Angel Dust" story was supposed to appear in #167 but was rejected by the Comics Code.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 2, 2012 7:01 PM
According to Denny O'Neil, Frank Miller drew a maurijuana pipe wrong in the Angel Dust story, and Denny actually took him to a NY head shop to get the details right. O'Neil and Shooter actually did intend to run the Angel Dust story intact in #167 without code approval, but Marvel president Jim Galton overruled them. Miller's original cover to #167 got published in the July 1980 Comics Journal.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 11, 2012 4:40 PM
The title to #163 was supposed to be just "Requiem", but was changed due to similarity to Michael Fleisher's fill-in. Miller lated admitted that he preferred to treat Fleisher's story as if it never happened.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 21, 2012 8:08 PM
"I'm doing some educating guessing here, but i think Dr. Octopus' arm was damaged in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man annual #1."
Looks like it was actually Amazing Spider-Man Annual 13 (Same time frame). Which you have after this, which I would guess is so as to not break up the trade?
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 10, 2013 8:36 PM
No, that was just a miss on my part. Thanks for catching it. I have shuffled a few things around.
Having these issues in a trade does cause some problems for me, though. With my new placement of this entry, there's a minor discrepancy with the Hulk; he doesn't appear here directly after Defenders #74 per the placement in Hulk #243 anymore. But i think i'm still honoring the sequence of events; it just happens that there were additional Defenders appearances as well.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 10, 2013 9:26 PM
Klaus Janson stated in Amazing Heroes #155 that the replacement story in #167(due to the Angel Dust problem) had to be completed really fast, but Jim Shooter, despite knowing this, proceeded to loudly criticize Janson's efforts in front of the entire Marvel office, thoroughly pissing Janson off.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 10, 2015 12:36 AM
You know, it's one thing to have Damage Control come in and pick up the rubble after a super-hero fight. But who would want to clean up that mess made by Death-Stalker's death? A truly gruesome scene.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 18, 2015 7:21 AM
Speaking of Death-Stalker's death, I see we have the good ol' "Good Lord... *choke!*" trope popping up here.
Posted by: Oliver_C | May 7, 2016 9:49 AM
At least there's some logic to having the hirelings called the Unholy Three here. That's what they were when the then-Exterminator used them back in #41, and it makes sense that Death-Stalker would use the same moniker for the replacements. I think the Ani-Men handle was more a feature of their Nefaria period.
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | October 15, 2016 10:29 AM
So, is this the first time Gladiator gets his Roman gladiator delusions added onto his already present inane beliefs about how the real power is in the costume?
Posted by: D09 | July 11, 2017 1:00 AM
Not terribly significant a fact, but the trio is called "Ani-Men" in #157 and "Unholly Three" in #158. Frog-Man goes entirely unmentioned; even the morgue scene in #158 that is supposed to show the dead bodies from Iron Man #116 only shows three corpses.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 24, 2017 2:22 PM
A more interesting fact, that surprisingly for this time period goes without a footnote, is that #163 is not the first time Hulk and Matt Murdock interact face to face. That was back in Incredible Hulk #152, when Matt was hired to represent the Hulk. The story mentions it, but does not footnote it at all.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 24, 2017 2:25 PM
I've added the Hulk story as a reference. Thanks Luis.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 25, 2017 5:15 PM
Why does Bullseye seem to remove Black Widow's footware when he captures her. Is he a weirdo?
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 17, 2017 8:31 AM
Not sure. Perhaps he thought Widow could loose her socks in an attempt to escape?
Posted by: Luis Dantas | December 17, 2017 8:50 AM
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