Characters Appearing: Daredevil, Karen Page, Mr. Hyde
Issue(s): Daredevil #235
We have here Mr. Hyde, at his Steve Ditko wildly ranting best...
...trying to turn back into his Calvin Zabo form to hide from the police after robbing an armored vehicle. But the transformation potion isn't working.
Hyde still manages to escape (although he drops his loot) and heads back to his laboratory where he does his best to summon Zabo's intelligence and work on a new potion.
But (perhaps due to the Zabo side's influence?) he finds that the potion he's developed will permanently turn him back into Zabo. After some thought, he decides that he'll do it. He'll give up being the incredibly dangerous Mr. Hyde forever.
Meanwhile, Daredevil is looking for Hyde, and right before Hyde drinks the potion that would end his murderous rampages forever, Daredevil bursts into the room and stops him. With that, Hyde decides to give up on his Zabo persona forever.
Now, in Daredevil's defense, Mr. Hyde is uncharacteristically thinking to himself instead of ranting aloud when he makes the decision. So we can't really blame Daredevil. But hey, Henry Pym didn't mean for Ultron to be an invulnerable murderous robot, either. I'll also note that the story makes a point to emphasize Daredevil's keen senses...
...and you can see above that he's lurking right above Hyde's skylight when Hyde shouts that his potion has transformed the platelets. Now i don't expect Daredevil to be a mind-reader, but you'd think that a guy that can tell when people are lying might have been able to determine from Hyde's mood that he wasn't using the potion to transform into an even bigger monster or something. Even if Daredevil didn't know that the transformation was going to be permanent, you'd think he'd rather face Hyde as Zabo. Anyway, i concede, you can't really fault Daredevil for what happened here, but it really is the sort of thing you expect Daredevil would get a lot of ribbing for from his super-hero buddies if it ever got out.
After a long fight...
...Daredevil eventually gets Hyde into the subway and pulls him onto the third rail, which knocks him out.
But Hyde will soon escape the police and go on to help put Hercules in a coma and badly injure Jarvis as well.
Appropriate for a story using a character inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the other theme running through this issue is the question of Matt's identity - is he truly Daredevil or lawyer Matt Murdock. This part of the story begins when Daredevil comes across some thugs stealing Picasso paintings, which Daredevil identifies by rubbing his gloved hands over the canvas.
Why did it have to be paintings? Why not statues or just money? Because now not only do we have to accept that Daredevil can "see" paintings by rubbing his grubby hands all over the paint (which is probably damaging those masterpieces. Quit it, Matt!) but that he's done this already enough times with these paintings that he can recognize them.
Anyway, while fighting the thugs, a narration capsule says "not long ago, he forgot that there was anything in life but being Daredevil". And then one of the thugs, who has apparently been keeping up with his Psychology Today subscription, tells Matt that he's trapped in his Daredevil identity.
This really hits home.
While having his minor identity crisis, Daredevil thinks back to his origin. The scene shows Daredevil being bullied, possibly a character that appears at the end of this story, but also by Jughead...
...and also makes reference to the death of his mother.
We know from the recent Born Again storyline, which is clearly an influence on Matt's identity crisis here, that Matt's mother did not in fact die. You could argue that from the perspective of Matt at the time of the flashback, he believed his father that his mother was dead, but it's a stretch.
Later, during the fight with Hyde, there's a line about Daredevil being driven not just to see justice done, but to prove that he can beat bullies.
And the fight also takes Daredevil and Hyde into the Manhattan courthouses, where the destruction "is laying waste to all the things that gave meaning to Matthew Murdock and his alter-ego", so that's when Daredevil takes the fight back outside and into the subway.
Then when the fight's all over and Matt is walking through Hell's Kitchen with Karen Page, he runs into a Stinky McQuade, another of the endless number of kids that used to pick on Daredevil as a child (see Daredevil #203 and Daredevil #209 and Mark Waid's more recent Daredevil #28. Stinky claims to the be the one that coined the "Daredevil" taunt.
While this story definitely doesn't try to hide that it's laying some psychology on us, it doesn't really seem to come to any conclusions and ends with Matt awkwardly telling Karen that re-encountering Stinky didn't bother him.
It's only a fill-in, so i wouldn't expect to find a grand conclusion or change of direction in this, but it's interesting to see Matt making a big mistake in his Daredevil persona while struggling with whether or not he's "trapped" in it.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Mr. Hyde is defeated here and taken by the police, so this must take place before Avengers #271, where it's said that he escaped while being transported to a maximum security prison.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
#235-236 were originally announced as a 2-parter by Miller & Walt Simonson, but I'm guessing Miller yanked it due to his anger over Jack Kirby's art being withheld.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 1, 2014 5:30 PM
Not quite. This article has a good summary of what happened:
Posted by: Michael | March 1, 2014 5:36 PM
At the time of the 2-parter's announcement, it was stated that John Buscema was Miller's first choice as artist.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 8, 2014 5:52 PM
The link is about Neil Gaimen and Sandman, not Daredevil.
Posted by: OrangeDuke | January 13, 2018 10:34 PM
Posted by: Michael | January 13, 2018 11:03 PM
Comments are now closed.
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