Issue(s): Daredevil #73
This issue begins with Nick Fury being forced to use the Zodiac Key by a disembodied voice, and he uses it to transfer the good guys along with the Zodiac to another dimension, where... well... I'm afraid i'm going to have to start using some Dungeons and Dragons terminology here, people. I'm sorry. It's not my fault. We were having a nice espionage story. But we've shifted gears and now we're deeply into some mystical stuff.
The dimension is run by High Priests, who are, in D&D terms, True Neutral Druids. Their Zodiac Key, which they call an Ankh because, well, it is one, helped the Priests maintain the balance between Order and Chaos. But then, in the "fourth generation of the Century of the Leopard", the Ankh began to lose its strength, and so they sent it to Earth. See, once the struggle between order and chaos "has found its level" the key loses its power.
So now the Priests want the good guys and bad guys to fight, so that the key will get recharged.
When Kevin O'Brian points out that the Priests are a bunch of manipulative jerks, they send him back to Earth.
Whoever wins the fight will get to join the Priests, which Daredevil correctly says is "like making a free ticket to Bellevue first prize in a dance contest".
So the fight happens...
...but Daredevil's heart isn't in it...
...so the Priests decide that they'll send everyone back to Earth after all. "Perhaps, in this way... Ankh will be served."
Ok, look. I don't mind a mystical origin for the Zodiac Key, clearly. But what the hell are these guys talking about? Century of the Leopard? Identifying some events in the world that represented some sort of balance between Order and Chaos would have been nice; it's pretty hard to believe that anyone in 1971 felt like the world was settling down into a nice balance between law and chaos. And having super-heroes and villains fight each other to charge things up again? As if that hasn't been happening for years now. And what exactly did Daredevil do to mess things up? He was still fighting; he just was a bit reluctant about it. It's all really unclear. And how does any of this enhance or explain past appearances of the Zodiac Key? How is this a useful origin?
Maybe Century of the Leopard could have been the Age of Leo or something else related to the Zodiac?
Anyway, back to Earth for a conclusion to this mess in Iron Man #36.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place directly in between Iron Man #35-36.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAquarius, Capricorn, Daredevil, Guardsman (Kevin O'Brien), Iron Man, Lawholder, Madame Masque, Nick Fury, Sagittarius, Spymaster
Sometimes I wonder if Gerry Conway wrote certain comics while drunk.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | February 23, 2013 10:01 AM
Conway was only 17 when he wrote this story, so I would rule out intoxication.
Posted by: haydn | February 25, 2014 9:56 PM
Except that the drinking age in New York (and, I think, the whole country) was 18 at the time, and it's not as though they were terribly strict with the carding; some of us (ahem) who looked older than our age could buy beer from the supermarket at 15.
And stronger substances than beer were available, if you knew where to look. This is the issue where Merry Gerry uses, ahem, somewhat overblown language to describe the interdimensional journey, right? I remember in West Coast Avengers 28, the WCA make the same trip and Englehart just quotes Conway's description and goes "we're not sure exactly what that means, but..." Now, Steve, the kid was on his first acid trip, have some sympathy, k?
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 1, 2014 11:51 AM
Englehart has had, uh, issues with Conway ever since Conway's brief EIC term in 1976. And people think complaints about Shooter had been going on way too long...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 1, 2014 8:25 PM
In limited defense of Conway, by all account she was about 19 when he wrote these issues. Granted that the works of Young Jim Shooter are miles better by comparison, Shooter also had Mort Weisinger's heavy-handed editorial guidance and the more formalized scripting and plotting methods used at DC. Their product was blander, but also more "on-model" compared to Marvel's. (Infamously, many of DC's editors in this era couldn't understand why people liked Marvel's books, which they saw as visibly rough, first-draft kinds of affairs.)
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 18, 2015 9:47 AM
Whoops, sorry, somehow misread Dan Spector's comment saying the same thing with the correct age for Conway. Also, Conway identifies as a "he" despite my typo.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 18, 2015 9:48 AM
Comments are now closed.
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