Issue(s): Daredevil #20, Daredevil #21, Daredevil #22, Daredevil #23
Review/plot: The Owl has Matt Murdock captured and brought to his island hideout so he can run a mock trial on the judge that put him in jail. Murdock manages to change into Daredevil without arousing anyone's suspicions, and he defeats the Owl and his goons.
This is basically a two-issue fight scene with some Adam West style death traps.
The Owl himself escapes and doesn't go looking for a rematch. Daredevil returns to his office and resolves to tell Karen he loves her, but nothing ever comes of this.
Meanwhile the Masked Marauder and the Gladiator are plotting against Daredevil as an audition for the role of head of the Maggia.
I get the impression that the Maggia are basically humoring these guys; i don't see why a defeat of a minor tier super-hero like Daredevil would be impressive to them. The Marauder has created a Tri-Android that he powers with the life essence of three men: a strong wrestler, a burglar, and a criminal strategist. He snags them all with his levitation ray, which he absolutely loves; he uses it every chance he gets.
The Tri-Man is sent to Madison Square Garden where it climbs in the ring and challenges Daredevil. Matt is in the office with Karen when the announcement is made on the radio. Instead of the usual "Oh I don't feel well, guess I'll go home" type of excuse, Matt comes up with the most insane secret identity covering scheme yet. He puts on a fake Daredevil costume, and has Karen drive him to the MSG, telling her that someone has to show up pretending to be Daredevil in case the real Daredevil doesn't show up, so that the Tri-Man doesn't get mad. Then he gets "lost in the crowd" just as the "real" Daredevil shows up. Karen already has suspicions that Matt is DD...
...but she seems to buy this nonsense, even when both Matt and Daredevil disappear after the fight.
The Marauder and the Gladiator see Karen show up to the Garden with Daredevil, and they start to put two and two together.
DD beats the Tri-Man...
...and then fights the individual members who were lending it their essence. They don't seem at all perturbed by the fact that the Masked Marauder kidnapped them and put them in tubes.
The Gladiator will eventually be depicted as having mental problems. However, he seems to be the more rational member of the Marauder/Gladiator duo. When he sees that things aren't working out, the Marauder 'levitates' DD and the Gladiator to an arena in Rome so that the Maggia can watch them finish each other off. After DD saves the Gladiator from a lion, the Gladiator refuses to fight Daredevil any more. The poor Marauder is disgraced and the Maggia tell him to get lost.
In #22, Murdock receives a letter. It will turn out to be a letter from Spider-Man, saying that he knows that Matt is DD, but the letter isn't opened in these issues.
This is the debut of Gene Colan art on Daredevil which is very nice. Colan is best doing atmospheric or personal scenes, not big fights, but the fights aren't bad either.
Most of these issues have multiple inkers which may indicate that Colan was slow or that he got the DD assignment on short notice. The art looks good regardless.
Stan Lee makes one of his bizarre sloppy seconds comments (Daredevil says to the goons trying to kidnap Matt: "I've got business with Murdock, too -- and I hate to take sloppy seconds!").
'So big, so fast' alert: The Owl's giant robot owl: "How can anything so big -- and so heavy -- swoop down so fast?"
Despite the title of #23, Daredevil does not take his shirt off the entire issue. Incredibly, mycomicshop.com refuses to give me a refund.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Moved up to coincide with Amazing Spider-Man #43 since Matt Murdock is unavailable to take the Rhino's case due to the events happening here. Issue #22 begins with Daredevil returning to New York with the rescued judge and avoiding one final death trap from the Owl. The rest of the issue focuses on a completely unrelated plot, but because of that overlap these four issues all need to be kept together.
Daredevil ends this arc stuck in Europe.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Giant-Size Marvel Triple Action #1, Giant-Size Marvel Triple Action #2, Marvel Adventure #1, Marvel Adventure #2
Inbound References (6): show
Gene Colan probably was brought in on short notice. At the time, Daredevil had a hard time keeping any artist around for a while--and in the 1970s, it couldn't keep writers around either. And then there's the "book of death" factor to it that started around 1969...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 6, 2011 12:09 AM
According to the splash page of DD 20, Gene Colan helped out in a pinch while John Romita was working on the Spider-man annual. Of course, he ended up staying on the title awhile...
Posted by: Haydn | July 24, 2012 2:07 AM
They say the Maggia is leaderless due to Nefaria's defeat at the hands of the X-Men in X-Men #23
Posted by: Time Travelilng Bunny | February 18, 2013 11:38 AM
Thanks, TTB. I've updated the reference.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 18, 2013 12:22 PM
I liked this sequence of stories as the Owl and the Masked Marauder were both early contenders to be DD's arch foe and of course the Gladiator is always good. More Lee soap opera stuff but I have to agree that was a lame story on Matt's part.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 8, 2016 9:44 PM
There's a continuity glitch here: at the end of his prior appearance, the Owl had only just been exposed, was frantically trying to stay out of jail, and got away at the end. Here, he's trying to get revenge on a judge. The only way this works is that he was captured and convicted in between issues somewhere.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 26, 2016 4:29 PM
Also, the original printing of DD #22 does have a footnote to ASM #43. It seems to have been removed in later reprints.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 30, 2016 5:00 PM
Comments are now closed.
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