The Transparent Fox:
Issue(s): Daredevil #260, Daredevil #261
It's time to start tearing down poor Matt Murdock again. Let's start by reminding us that why he's currently happy.
From there, he gets attacked by all of the villains that Typhoid Mary was recruiting last issue, starting with Bullet.
And then Bushwacker.
The fight with Bushwacker results in an explosion that disorients Daredevil and has him threatening a blind beggar, thinking it's Bushwacker. Daredevil was supposed to march in an anti-nuke parade, and someone from the crowd stops him and helps him walk away.
But then he's attacked by Ammo.
There's also a July 4th parade full of people that don't get along with the anti-nuke protesters. The Human Torch wanders by, but doesn't get involved. Dick.
Ammo beats Daredevil bad, leaving him to hallucinate about his father...
...and then his previous, more colorful, enemies.
And it's in that state that the Wildboys find him.
They nearly kill him by dropping him off a bridge, but that's why Typhoid Mary shows up.
So it's actually her that drops him off the bridge.
It's a nice gauntlet, sort of reminiscent of Spider-Man's first annual against the Sinister Six. Or to make a rare DC reference, a mini-version of the story that led up to Bane breaking Batman's back. Romita makes heavy use of splash panels, but it's a double-length book and there's still room for the individual fights.
The Human Torch's FF emergency must have been a false alarm, because in issue #261 he's showing off at Murdock's legal clinic.
Karen isn't happy about that, and is soon reduced to pure Nocentian dialogue ("All my thoughts are so ominous, so dark, so morbid").
The Torch is actually there to help find Daredevil. I guess he came back after his FF alert turned out to be nothing, so i guess he's not that much of a dick. His idea of playing a street level tough is pretty funny, though.
He ultimately fails to help find Daredevil.
We scan around the city and see a life without Daredevil, which includes a Kingpin getting ready to expand heavily into Hell's Kitchen. But he's not happy that Typhoid actually (seemingly) killed Daredevil.
But their fighting just turns out to be elaborate foreplay.
At the end of the issue, back in her Mary persona, she returns to the bridge that Daredevil got dropped from, but she doesn't look for Daredevil.
We'll pause there for now to let Inferno build up.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: By issue #261, we're in the middle of a heatwave, which is related to Inferno (the next two issues are crossovers). We're leaving things here for now and will pick up on Daredevil when we get further into Inferno. Daredevil is still unconscious at the end of this story and shouldn't appear anywhere else. The MCP has the Human Torch here between Fantastic Four #321-322 (FF #322 is an Inferno tie-in).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
Nocenti's writing is definitely overdone at times, but if her run didn't so closely follow and pale in comparison to Frank Miller's runs, I think it would definitely be considered pretty classic. The Typhoid Mary stuff is great, but I really did love the Blackheart and Bullseye stories later in her run. The Bullseye story was my first look at Daredevil (and one of my first comics) and I think is very underrated.
Of course, she did have the benefit of playing off of the incredible foundation Miller laid in his runs, so I guess you can't have one without the other.
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | August 4, 2014 5:18 PM
I picked up #261 in real time and thought it was the coolest (no pun intended) portrayal of Johnny's that I'd yet to see. And this is coming from someone who's never cared much for the character.
Nocenti balances humor and drama nicely in that story. The Kingpin/Typhoid Mary "courting" sequence alone is awesome.
Posted by: Clutch | August 4, 2014 5:35 PM
The weird thing about this story is that Ammo gets away and is never seen again. Bullet appears again in a few issues and Bushwacker and the Wildboys appear in next year's Annual but Ammo is never heard of again and Matt never gets to witness him get any sort of comeuppance.
Posted by: Michael | August 4, 2014 7:52 PM
The heat wave mentioned here should probably place these issues after X-terminators #1 when N'astirh arrives on Earth and begins casting his spells.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 5, 2014 2:05 AM
Fnord, the "someone from the crowd [who] stops him and helps him walk away" is Nocenti herself, isn't it? Not that she introduces herself or wears a nametag, but it's usually interpreted that way, based on the way the woman is drawn and the views she expresses. It's the one thing I didn't like about this generally strong Typhoid Mary story. It's both indulgent and weird (the writer inserting herself as a liberal comforting figure to tell the battered hero he's better than this, and then vanishing).
Posted by: Todd | August 11, 2014 5:20 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 11, 2014 6:39 PM
Yes, those others ones look more like the photos I can find of her, too. So, unless she was doing something different with her hair in 1988 that is reflected in Romita's art, maybe not. The dialogue does sound "authorial," though, and the issue's write-up at Matt Murdock Chronicles goes that way with it.
Posted by: Todd | August 11, 2014 7:10 PM
Johnny's "Bad!" look resembles Johnny Bravo a little bit.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | August 11, 2014 10:53 PM
I just love what you're doing with this site. It really takes me back, and your effort is truly impressive. I've enjoyed reading these so much! Can't wait to see what you do with the immense continuity mess after Inferno, though -- best of luck. The next two years are have a lot of problems.
Also, I don't know where else to raise this as an issue, but the only thing that bothers me -- and I don't know that it makes much difference overall, just a nagging concern -- is that the cover dates are not the release dates. From the beginning of its Silver Age titles (and prior to that for at least some time), Marvel used a four-months-ahead cover date scheme. This was to tell newsstands to keep the book out on the rack until no later than some time that month. So a cover date of "Nov" (as Fantastic Four #1) could remain on the stands until November of that year, but it actually came out back in July. Similarly, a cover date of "Apr" (as will be seen with the concluding Inferno issues) came out in December of the prior year.
I only raise this as an issue, because in the year after Inferno, Marvel changed its cover date policy. In order to make room for more and more titles (the 90's were just around the corner, after all...), Marvel shortened the cover date discrepancy to two months, right around the time that Acts of Vengeance was beginning. Hence it looks like there was some crazy explosion of twice-monthly publication across the entire line -- but that's not what happened. They cut one month off first (around September, I think), and then the next month they cut another (October). The result: in January of 1989, everything was cover dated "May," but eleven months later in December of 89, the cover dates were "Feb." (The other result is that Acts of Vengeance issues spent less time on the stands, thank goodness -- but I'll save the editorializing for another time.)
Like I said, it's not a huge deal. I'm just anal retentive about my comic book timing, and this does make certain events easier to place. Christmas issues, for example, almost always have an Apr cover date if they're monthly, or Mar or May for bi-monthly books (there are exceptions, of course). Plus, the way you've got it set up, both Inferno and Acts of Vengeance will be happening in the same year, despite the fact that they were fall crossovers in consecutive years.
Just a thought, no reason why, this far in, you should necessarily change anything. It would be a lot of work! And you've already put in scads of work already, of a very high caliber. Keep it up! I love your site.
Posted by: Matt | August 13, 2014 1:06 PM
Matt, thanks for the feedback. I do briefly mention the cover vs. realtime date gap on the Q&A and Rules pages, but i could probably make it more prominent. I will note the cover date shifts on the 1989 category page and in maybe a few of the issue entries (or please remind me if i don't). The cover dates will also become interesting in more recent years when really they stop being "cover" dates (maybe i should refer to them as indicia dates) and between scheduling problems and then random double-shipping they almost become meaningless. But we'll see how it goes. It's just a way to broadly organize things.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 13, 2014 3:46 PM
You wrote: "His idea of playing a street level though is pretty funny, though."
I think that first "though" was meant to be "tough". ;)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 24, 2014 6:33 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 24, 2014 6:54 PM
I feel like Johnny Storm's street though (sic) look might be the first time JRJR drew a regular (i.e. non Kingpin/Bullet size) character with the Klaus Janson 5' x 4' proportions. It would not be the last.
Posted by: Alex F | September 4, 2014 2:28 PM
Torch trying to be a thug reminds me of the classic Justice League Unlimited cartoon when Flash and Lex Luthor switched bodies.
Flash in Lex Luthor's body: *starts to leave bathroom.*
Posted by: david banes | September 4, 2014 4:02 PM
I just finished reading Inferno as part of my long, looooong readthrough, and this issue and the FF tie-in gave me newfound interest in Johnny Storm. Looks like this event made writers find creative ways to use him, the thug charade doubling as a funny moment in Inferno's darkness. (and the infernal flame/Mercury/Kang thing is a rare epic moment in Englehart's average work, but more on that when I comment on the FF entry)
Posted by: Nate Wolf | March 19, 2017 3:29 PM
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