Issue(s): Daredevil #294, Daredevil #295, Daredevil #296
We saw in the previous Daredevil arc that the Hand had arranged a contest of murder between Tombstone and Taskmaster. In this issue the Hand starts acting directly.
Before that, though, Matt Murdock comes across Karen Page, who is working as an anti-pornography activist
She's not really interested in talking to him.
Often i get frustrated about secret identities because of just these types of situations. You always figure the hero can go, "Look, Karen, that thing with Typhoid Mary? It was mind control. She works for the Kingpin!" and that would be the end of it. But Karen knows that Matt is Daredevil and she's still not willing to hear him out, so i guess it's not that easy.
Later, Daredevil is listening in on a conversation between reporter Ben Urich and Christine Harris, the woman that was the target of the Tombstone's final assassination attempt last arc. After Ben leaves, Christine is kidnapped, and Daredevil follows. He finds the Hand.
I think it's ironic that there's a sort of defensive joke about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the introduction to the Hand above. The Turtles were initially a parody of Frank Miller's ninja stories in Daredevil (the villain organization that the Turtles fought was called the Foot). But by this point the Turtles were so popular that Marvel had to be like these are real ninjas, not that turtle stuff.
The big lady with the boils has a special kind of cold disease power. She's called Izanami.
The leader of the Hand is called Jonin.
So it's Daredevil against a bunch of ninjas, at least one of which is super-powered. The good news is that Daredevil hasn't had his requisite Ghost Rider crossover yet, and it's time.
Ghost Rider isn't too happy about the way ninjas disappear when you hit them.
Daredevil gets cut by a ninja that is wielding a blade made from whatever it is that Izanami emits.
Another stabs Ghost Rider in the eyesockets with more Izanami-blades, but it doesn't quite work out for her. Although it does seem to have some sort of effect on Ghost Rider too.
When Daredevil tries to get between them, he has a mind-meld with the ninja and sees a flashback from the days when Baron von Strucker took over the Japanese proto-version of Hydra.
That ends with the disintegration of the ninja, and then Ghost Rider passes out.
Daredevil takes Danny Ketch to the convent where Daredevil's mom works (although his mom is out of town). Before Daredevil leaves, Danny tells him that the Ghost Rider won't be joining him again because "I have a feeling he knows you're taking care of things".
Meanwhile, a few other people are kidnapped by the Hand. Two of note are Derek Tully, an obvious Donald Trump stand-in, and Jerry 'The Whale' Sabini, who also appeared in this year's Punisher annual #4, although his first name was Jimmy there.
The Hand are purportedly trying to move operations out of Hong Kong in advance of the 1997 turnover of the island to China, but they are also working in the service of their "Beast".
Daredevil locates the Hand again by leaning on the same stoolie that he tortured in the previous arc (Larry 'Mad Dog' Cass). This time Daredevil doesn't even have Ghost Rider with him, but he's aided by a return of the Chaste, the group of good ninjas that used to work with Daredevil's mentor, Stick.
During the fight, the Chaste member called Spear confronts Izanami, and when he gets knocked down, Daredevil notes that Spear's heart rate is remarkably calm. Daredevil then confronts Izanami and she runs out of the building they are fighting in, where the police are waiting, and they shoot her, seemingly to death.
During all of this, the Kingpin has been occupied with getting his news network off the ground, including breaking a child's legs in order to get the father, a news anchor to work for him. But when Jimmy 'The Whale' Sabini comes to him to complain that the Kingpin didn't protect him from the Hand, the Kingpin starts to wonder what the Hand is up to. He also has his current Arranger-like figure, Maltese, pop out one of Sabini's eyes for complaining.
The next day, Matt has gotten Karen agree to meet him. But he's met on the way by Stone, who says that the Hand are on the move again. Matt doesn't even ask for a second to go over to Karen and say, "Sorry, but I can't meet right now. Daredevil stuff." He just leaves, even though she's just down the street. I mean it would have taken all of 30 seconds. Another incident that i would have blamed on secret identities if Karen didn't know Matt's.
It turns out that Izanami isn't really dead. Or she's alive again, anyway.
And that incident with Spear earlier means that he's under her control.
So Daredevil winds up fighting them. But in the course of the fight, Daredevil's crucifix winds up caught on Spear's spear.
And he winds up stabbing Izanami with that spear.
And it kills her. It's not specifically said that the cross was the reason she died, but she was imbued with the Hand's Beast and all.
Stone (or one of the Chaste; it's hard to tell them apart) tells Daredevil not to feel guilty about killing Izanami, since "she wasn't even human". Daredevil is impacted by the killing, but possibly in the opposite way that you may think. He starts thinking about the "finality" of the Punisher's way of doing things. And also Ghost Rider's more violent methods. And from that he pivots directly to deciding that it's time to take down the Kingpin once and for all.
I have the upcoming Last Rites arc in a Fall of the Kingpin trade, and i read it a while ago, prior to starting this project. This is the first time i'm reading the issues that led up to it. And while it was always clear how much the popularity of the more violent 90s characters permeated all Marvel books at this time, what amazes me now is how explicit that was. The above scan basically says, "Daredevil is going to be more like the Punisher and Ghost Rider.". Granted he'll struggle with it and won't ever really become such a character, but you can feel the pressure going in that direction.
Beyond that, these are decent issues, with nice art by Ron Garney and (especially) Lee Weeks. But the debt to Frank Miller is obvious and huge. I find this run to be much more readable than Ann Nocenti's run, but no one can say Nocenti didn't have her own voice on the book. In both plot and tone, Chichester is bringing things back to what Miller already did.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Izanami doesn't exactly appear again, but she's kind of reincarnate, and i'll be using the same tag for both characters.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBen Urich, Christine Harris, Daredevil, Flame (Chaste), Foggy Nelson, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Izanami, Jerry 'The Whale' Sabini, Jonin, Karen Page, Kingpin, Larry 'Mad Dog' Cass, Maltese, Noble Kale, Peter Scott, Star (Chaste), Stone (Chaste), Typhoid Mary, Wing (Chaste)
I genuinely went "Oh for #@!$ sake, really?!" when the Ghost Rider showed up. He really was everywhere in this year, wasn't he? I never realized it was this bad.
Posted by: Berend | October 20, 2015 5:01 PM
Fnord, jonin is a title, not a name:
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2015 8:58 PM
It is a title but the MCP, at least, lists it as the guy's name as well. And that's not that unusual in a universe where there was also a character named Ninja.
Regarding the flashback, i'm sure you remember more from issues i haven't reviewed yet. But looking at this flashback, Strucker talks about his "newborn Hydra" and dismisses the idea of a Beast except as the animal side of man and then tells the guy he's fighting to "watch well the example of my beast -- my Hydra and learn your lessons there". There's little indication yet that he's taking over a faction of the Hand (granted after saying that the beast is his animal side, he says that the rebels are only fit to wait at its hand), and it sure fits with what we know from the Captain Savage story. If these Hand operatives are following Strucker, they're not taking his lesson about the beast properly because they are clearly still worshiping it as a supernatural entity. But more to come wih the next arc, i guess.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 20, 2015 9:21 PM
Wow. The gratuitous Ghost Rider thing is far worse than I remember.
Posted by: Bob | October 21, 2015 7:03 AM
Stone being here doesn't make any sense. At the end of the Miller run Daredevil finds Stone's empty outfit, the implication being that Stone (who was "weary" of his war with the Hand) gave his life up to resurrect Elektra instead of destroying her body after Daredevil purified her spirit or whatever.
Posted by: Red Comet | April 10, 2016 11:57 PM
Such sour grapes from Marvel there, griping about Eastman and Laird's Turtles.
Posted by: Oliver_C | April 11, 2016 4:44 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|