Issue(s): Daredevil #258
The US soldier going crazy is part of Willie Lincoln's unit. Lincoln is a character that we've seen in Daredevil #47 through Daredevil #59 as a blinded Vietnam vet. He's dreaming the events that led up to his blinding. While he was debating how to stop his squadmate from shooting the old villager, someone threw a grenade and Willie leaped for it, and was blinded in the explosion. When he wakes up, he calls another of his former companions, only to hear him get assassinated.
Willie goes to Matt Murdock to ask Daredevil for help.
The assassin, Bengal, is hiding in Chinatown. We learn that he was a child the day that Willie's squad attacked his village.
Daredevil stakes out Willie's house, despite the fact that he's "neglecting other responsibilities", and eventually encounters Bengal. He's distracted by the fact that the character uses a sai, like Elektra used to.
Daredevil decides that the guy is "too quick" and "too angry" and decides that he needs to end the fight and get the guy to talk. Bengal removes his mask (which does Daredevil no good, since he's blind) and says "Did the jungle breath?" in broken English. He had said the same thing in Vietnamese on the phone to Willie after killing his friend. And then he leaves. Daredevil goes to Willie for some answers. Willie tells the rest of what happened after the grenade took his eyesight.
It turns out that Will Talltrees (later Red Wolf) was part of Willie's unit, and helicopter pilot James Rhodes (later War Machine) was called in to evac the unit after Willie was injured.
The young Bengal also charged the helicopter, and the crazed member of their unit that was shooting up the village kicked the kid off (some other members of the unit tried to stop him, some tried to help).
Daredevil next waits for Bengal to contact him, which he knows he will. And Bengal does shoot an arrow at him with a map of Central Park attached. They meet there and continue their fight.
...and brings Bengal back to Willie.
When Bengal comes to, Daredevil forces him to look at Willie's face. When Bengal realizes that Willie wasn't one of the guys that shot up his village and kicked him off the helicopter, he jumps out of a window to his death.
I hadn't read this before, but i know that Bengal will be a repeat character (thanks in no small part to Nicieza's continued usage). So i was pretty surprised with that ending. It's meant to be a kind of tragic nobility but the speed at which it happens causes it to just be ridiculous and funny. I also don't love that Willie Lincoln, Will Talltrees, and James Rhodes all met in Vietnam. A lot of people were in Vietnam! The chances of three unrelated Marvel characters, two of whom become super-heroes, all being in the same unit (ok, Rhodes wasn't part of the unit, but still) are pretty low. I could see if there was some thematic reason for it, but in this issue at least (Nicieza will at least use Red Wolf in Bengal's next appearance in Marvel Comics Presents), it's just really meant as an Easter egg for readers. But this sort of thing has the potential of making the Marvel universe feel too small. All that said, it's a minor point for this issue which is just a one-off fill-in; it seems from the ending Nicieza didn't really intend to revisit Bengal again.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Daredevil's appearance in Thor #392-395 takes place before Daredevil #259.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): show
Janes in the flashback also becomes the priest of Silhouette of the New Warriors to make it even more coincidental.
Posted by: Michael | June 26, 2014 8:22 PM
Ron Lim at this time was known for the Ex-Mutants b&w independent; his style was still a bit amateurish.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 28, 2014 5:15 PM
This is one of those Marvel fill-ins that I really wish were non-canonical, because it's jarring and out-of-place. See also: Cleopatra and the Chariot of time; cross-reference with: alien Frankenstein robot.
Although it's still more believable than "Red 9 and Red Tape."
Posted by: Jeff | October 7, 2014 4:32 PM
I think the "thematic reason" is basically so that Nicieza can justify reusing the character with other Marvel heroes.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 23, 2017 1:56 PM
The Sam who dies is probably the Sam escorting Willie in Daredevil #47 for what it’s worth.
Posted by: Jeff | November 11, 2017 4:19 PM
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