Characters Appearing: Becky Blake, Betsy Beatty Potter, Daredevil, Foggy Nelson, Gladiator, Glorianna O'Breen
Issue(s): Daredevil #226
The plot features Gladiator, and isn't too different than Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #77, except that Daredevil isn't in much better shape mentally than Gladiator at this point (largely thanks to Heather Glenn's suicide) so he doesn't immediately recognize that Gladiator is being exploited the way that Spider-Man did.
Interesting touch in that since Gladiator is being forced into committing crimes (for a group that has kidnapped Gladiator's love interest, the social worker Betsy Potter), he can't bring himself to wear his real costume, so he wears a different gladiator outfit.
Gladiator eventually makes Daredevil understand what's going on, and the two team-up to take down Betsy's kidnappers.
Parallel to all of this, Glorianna O'Breen meets with Foggy Nelson, and she tells him that she's tired of Matt's weird behavior. The tipping point for this was when Matt temporarily had his sight back thanks to the Beyonder.
Glorianna and Foggy develop a connection during their time together this issue.
Also during that conversation, Foggy tells Glorianna that while Matt is the "inspiration", he is the "perspiration".
Maybe this distinction was only meant to be in Foggy's mind, but it's good to show Foggy as being a competent part of the law partnership in a way that doesn't step on Matt Murdock being the star of this book. I'm not sure how often this distinction is made in Daredevil going forward, but it's something Mark Waid will use in his much more recent run on the title.
Even if the plot is similar to the Peter Parker issue, which has the unfortunate effect of having the Gladiator in this perpetual state of relapse, it's a better told story. More natural, and taking more time to explore the characters behind the actions. And with nice art by David Mazzucchelli, who will be staying on for Frank Miller's return run.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The bit with Glori shredding the napkin is the kind of detail that makes great art in this medium. I don't know whether it was O'Neil/Miller or Mazz for the credit, but those two panels lift the whole scene. Ordinary, competent storytelling would just be close-ups of faces and maybe a "medium shot" of the diner until the hands touched.
Posted by: Todd | October 26, 2013 11:00 PM
Denny O'Neil did have a proposed storyline before he left that had Daredevil abandoning his Matt Murdock identity for a while and being costumed full-time, and the involvement of a character called Silver Crow(inspired by Carlos Castenada's "Journey To Ixtlan").
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 16, 2014 6:00 PM
Assuming the book was written Marvel-style [plot-pencils-script] I would assume the bit with the napkins was Mazzuchelli's doing. We'll never know how much Denny O'Neill did before being fired, but the scripting mostly reads like Miller. I'd always assumed it was Miller's idea to use Gladiator, since he'd used the character and Betsy in his run, but those are to this day the only uses of the character I'd ever read and it was only today that I found that Gladiator was a DD villain anyway.
Shooter's not always the best source for recounting events during his era, but he describes firing O'Neil in the comments section here, and trustworthy or not, his blog is very entertaining for all the behind-the-scenes gossip he dishes out.
On the other hand, O'Neil says he prefers to write full script and doesn't make exceptions for too many artists, although Mazzuchelli could very well have become one of them at this point. So he might have done put it in the script, knowing that he was working with an artist capable of drawing that kind of detail.
Marvel method or full script, I'm pretty sure it's wasn't Miller's credit, and he was probably hired to re-write the issue and set up "Born Again."
Posted by: ChrisW | March 15, 2014 6:44 PM
Forgot to include the whole reason I wanted to post, that it's a very good story with a very strong ending. DD's narration has been putting Melvin down the whole issue, and thinks Gladiator's going to snap when he sees his wife, but instead "He walks like a big man, a strong man, to the woman he loves" and it's quite touching, in ways we don't really associate with this era of "Daredevil."
Posted by: ChrisW | March 15, 2014 6:47 PM
"I like little girls, Glori."
So stunned that I've never seen that panel out of context.
But, on a more serious note, seeing this and the preceding few issues, it's clear that one of the most important decisions that happened going into "Born Again" was the decision to have Mazzucchelli do his own inking. I would never guess it's the same artist - the art here I think is passable. The art in "Born Again" is simply amazing.
One of the things I have definitely learned from reading this site is a much bigger respect and interest in the inking. Maybe I'll have a new appreciation for Jason Lee in Chasing Amy now.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 5, 2015 11:52 AM
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