Issue(s): Daredevil #196, Daredevil #197, Daredevil #198, Daredevil #199, Daredevil #200
The credits are a little confusing for those two issues. Issue #196 says Larra Hama does "Breakdowns" but Klaus Janson is "Artist". Issue #197 says "Introducing William Johnson - Penciler" and "Mike Mignola - Inker" which is straightforward enough but also says "Klaus Jason assisted by Larry Hama - art pages 2-6". I'm assuming Hama does breakdowns and Janson does finishes for both #196 and their part of #197.
Lara Hama gets a "special thanks" on issue #198. Dan Bulanadi inks issue #198 onward.
After a couple of single-issue stories, Denny O'Neil does a five part 'Return of Bullseye' story.
Wolverine fails to prevent a group of "cuties" from taking Bullseye from the hospital that he's been in since his spine was shattered in a fight with Daredevil.
DD shows up in the aftermath.
Wolverine was tracking the group, which came from Japan, because he got a tip that they might be connected with the people that gave him his adamantium bones ("an' they might not.") Wolverine surprisingly suggests that he and Daredevil team-up to recover Bullseye.
Daredevil takes Wolverine to Josie's, where poor Turk is brandishing some mace for the next time Daredevil gives him trouble.
It doesn't work out well for him.
Meanwhile, a hooded man negotiates with the Kingpin.
Daredevil and Wolverine have some nice banter going. O'Neil writes a good Wolverine.
It turns out that Wolverine's contact is Tarkington Brown. When Brown hears that Wolvie is working with Daredevil, he shows up to kill him. Wolverine puts a stop to it.
Daredevil is left with the choice of pursuing Bullseye's rescuers or taking Brown to a hospital. Even though Brown is dying of a terminal illness anyway, Daredevil chooses Brown. We don't see Wolverine again, and later Daredevil buys a plane ticket to Japan.
Before he leaves, however, he stops back in the office to write his last will and testament (just in case!) and say goodbye to Foggy. Something's going on with Foggy's wife Debbie. O'Neil seems to be setting her up to be very, ummm... uncaring? 'Should i go tell Matt that someone who wanted to kill him is out of jail?' 'Absolutely not; i'm tired.'
Matt winds up with a concussion thanks to that.
Despite the injury, Matt heads to Japan anyway. After an obligatory fight with a street gang, he investigates the ship Bullseye was brought in, but he's already gone. Instead, he finds a woman chained to a bed. We'll later learn she's the daughter of Dark Wind, the hooded man who has taken Bullseye. And later, she'll become Lady Deathstrike.
Dark Wind replaces Bullseye's broken spine with an adamantium one, in return for Bullseye's future service.
Dark Wind was a Kamikaze pilot whose plane failed to explode on impact, and the rest of his life has been spent trying to atone for that dishonor.
It's also shown that Daredevil and Bullseye have somehow established a psychic link.
Dark Wind attributes it to the great hate they have for each other. No one else offers a better explanation.
Daredevil and Lady Deathstrike (really just "Yuriko" at this point; Daredevil doesn't even know that she's Dark Wind's daughter yet) fight their way to Dark Wind's home, and William Johnson gets to demonstrate the chops he developed on the three issues of Master of Kung Fu that he drew.
He's pretty good! He didn't do much for Marvel, and much of what he did was licensed stuff (G.I. Joe, Conan, Transformers). Even his Daredevil run will be pretty short. It's too bad he didn't do more.
In addition to fighting swordsmen, Daredevil and Yuriko also sleep together. Because that's how Daredevil rolls.
It turns out Bullseye has no intention of working for Dark Wind.
The other guy in that scene above is Kiro, Yuriko's boyfriend. They're at odds because he's a loyal follower of her father.
With Bullseye out of the picture, the only big boss to fight is Dark Wind himself. Daredevil's arm is broken. But Yuriko takes him out herself.
Yuriko walks away with Kiro, leaving Daredevil to pursue Bullseye.
Bullseye makes it all the way back to New York and goes to the Kingpin to ask for his old job. The deal is that he has to kill Daredevil.
When Daredevil gets back to New York, he has every intention of killing Bullseye. The Black Widow shows up.
She doesn't offer to help, and doesn't seem too concerned that DD intends to kill. She can't make him wait until his arm has recovered, however.
The final fight takes place in a gym where Matt's father once performed as a pro-wrestler, dressed in a devil suit.
After a long fight...
...Daredevil nearly kills Bullseye but thanks to the memory of his father he chooses not to.
It's mentioned in issue #200 that Tarkington Brown is dead.
Meanwhile, and much more importantly, Foggy Nelson is sporting a fashionable new 'stache.
I'm not sure if this issue gives Matt any more closure over Elektra's death than his previous confrontation with Bullseye, but it's a fun arc, taking Daredevil out of New York for a while and more directly into a world of martial arts. It seems that comics can't get away from bringing in concepts like "dishonor" whenever writing Japanese characters, and Dark Wind is no exception. And the ending, with the kind of sappy "lessons from father" bit and the too convenient fact that Matt's dad wore a devil's mask as a pro-wrestler, could have been better. But the writing is economical and enjoyable throughout, and the art is nice, even in the transition issues. The Wolverine appearance was especially fun (this being a period where Wolverine guest-starring wasn't a groan inducing event yet).
A letter in issue #197 levies the charge of racism against Frank Miller's issues, and cites a number of examples where black men are depicted poorly, usually as criminals, and getting attacked or killed without the plot calling for any sympathy (unlike, say, when Ben Urich was stabbed by Bullseye). Several of the examples are about Turk. I'm at least somewhat sympathetic to the argument, and i've been uncomfortable about Turk specifically for similar reasons. On the one hand, Marvel gangs are almost always multiracial, which is unrealistic but it's clearly an attempt to avoid focusing any any one ethnic group (although it always reminds me of Michael Jackson's video for Beat It). And in all of the examples that the writer cites (at least the ones we can see; the letter is excerpted), you can always find examples of white people who are victims of the same adversary as the black people the writer refers to. Even Turk is partnered with Grotto, an equally incompetent white goon used for comedic effect.
But Turk is the most prominent black character in the Daredevil book. And he's used much more than Grotto (Using the MCP, 32 appearances, not counting his retroactive first appearance, to Grotto's 13, and much more panel time than Grotto besides). And clearly Turk isn't a positive character. He's a low level thug villain, and an incompetent one at that, used for comedic effect. There's nothing wrong with that in isolation. I enjoy the Turk scenes. They're funny. But when Turk is the only prominent black character and all of the other black characters in the book are "tall, muscular black men" that are depicted as scary or criminal "negative images of African Americans", it's possible the writer has a point (his quotes).
And the response, which is basically, "but if we went out of our way to do something about it, we'd be guilty of reverse-racism", isn't really acceptable, and it reminds me of something that Christopher Priest has said on occasion:
Comics are run by liberals who stupidly think they are beyond racism. That is the institutionalized nature of racism in this country. The most racist people are typically those intellectuals who believe they have risen above it.
I think Marvel has been relatively progressive about race all along and this time period in comics is one where a decent amount of positive effort was being put into increasing the prominence of black (i was going to write non-white but it really is just black) characters further, so regardless of the immediate reaction i think criticism like this was getting through (current writer Denny O'Neil is in the process of replacing Tony Stark with James Rhodes as Iron Man at the same time these issues are being published, for example).
Sorry to end on such a heavy note! It was a good arc!
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Wolverine's appearance has to take place after he returns from Japan in Uncanny X-Men #176. If need be, issues #196 and #200 could be separated from this main entry, as those issues don't continue directly to/from the rest of the arc. But thematically it works better together and Daredevil doesn't have any obligations elsewhere.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBen Urich, Black Widow, Bullseye, Daredevil, Dark Wind, Debbie Harris, Foggy Nelson, Grotto, Kingpin, Lady Deathstrike, Tarkington Brown, Turk, Wolverine
William Johnson was primarily known as the last artist on Doug Moench's reign on Master of Kung Fu; I don't know anything else about him.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 26, 2011 10:41 AM
Wolverine was originally announced to appear in all these issues, and #200 was supposed to be double-sized. I guess Claremont vetoed that.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 16, 2013 5:15 PM
Don't know if it's stated explicitly in the books, but "Lord Dark Wind" isn't as silly a name as I first thought. Kamikazes were the "divine wind," so presumably Lord DW in his shame has just changed "divine" (kami) to "dark" (whatever that word might be).
Although the "honor" stuff is usually a Western stereotype, Lord DW does seem to be based in part on Japanese right-wing thinkers like Yukio Mishima--and Mishima did, in fact, make such a big deal out of honor that after he failed in a rather bizarre coup attempt he killed himself by traditional seppuku.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 10, 2014 11:08 PM
It might not be too bold to infer that Larry Hama may have helped with some authentic touches. I'll bet those kanji on Yuriko's face are correctly meaningful, for example.
Not that all the authenticity would have to come from Hama: I can well believe this kind of story would have interested O'Nell more that standard superhero stuff and elicited thoughtful work as a result.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 10, 2014 11:34 PM
I agree. So much of the time, Marvel's presentation of Japan is eye-rolling stereotypes. Still in feudal times, everyone obsessed with honour, tons of ninjas running around....
What I liked best about the story was the scene where he just believed Bulls eye, because he thought he was an honourable man, and Bullseye just basically laughs at him.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | February 10, 2014 11:38 PM
O'Neil had interest in "Eastern" philosophy and culture. He had written Richard Dragon before this at DC, and would go on to incorporate elements into The Question.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | February 10, 2014 11:39 PM
O'Neil seems to have some interest in/knowledge of Asian cultures. His writing on The Question for DC, some of his best, was loaded with it, and it got into ethics and philosophy, not just the superficial gloss you get in any number of comics (black masks and throwing stars, etc.). I also remember an interview in which he discussed how much it pained him, in retrospect, that as a young writer he had literally named an elderly mentor character in Wonder Woman (her de-powered/feminist period) "I Ching," because he later came to understand how significant that book is.
Posted by: Todd | February 10, 2014 11:43 PM
We were writing at the same time, ChrisKafka. "Jinx," as they say.
Posted by: Todd | February 10, 2014 11:44 PM
I pointed out the wind reference earlier.
Posted by: PB210 | February 12, 2014 8:01 PM
Is this the fist time ANY X-Men appeared in Daredevil? I am hard-pressed to remember any previous encounter (although DD met the originals back in Avengers 111).
Posted by: Jeff | September 8, 2014 5:34 PM
Using my character intersection search, it seems you're correct, this is the first time an X-Man appeared in the Daredevil book.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 8, 2014 5:41 PM
I remember getting this when I was younger and later getting UNCANNY X-MEN #205, and when I read Wolverine calling Lady Deathstrike "Yuriko", I immediately thought, "That's the girl from DAREDEVIL!" It's interesting how a Daredevil character became a huge X-Men villain.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 3, 2016 2:21 PM
Has Yuriko ever encountered Daredevil since basically going mad?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | June 3, 2016 4:04 PM
I don't think she has. I'm not sure he even knows she's been turned into a cyborg. Someone should really touch upon this.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 3, 2016 4:27 PM
Alpha Flight may be interested, too.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 3, 2016 4:27 PM
Not sure if it was O'Neil's or Hama's intention but, as alluded to by Walter Lawson above, 'dark wind' in Japanese would be 'yamikaze'. Phonetically similar enough for the kamikaze connection to work, and perhaps not coincidental given Hama's background.
Posted by: Mojonuts | December 9, 2016 10:51 AM
Comments are now closed.
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