Issue(s): Daredevil #3
Review/plot: The Owl (his legal name is "long since forgotten") is a businessman who is also a criminal mastermind. Due to an unfortunate turn of events, evidence of his illegal business dealings falls into the police's hands and the Owl arrogantly chooses a lawyer at random to represent him. The lawyer is of course Matt Murdock. Matt gets the Owl out of jail until the trial but the Owl abandons his civilian identity and heads out to a secret headquarters in Jersey. Although i don't know how you keep this thing a secret:
He recruits two thugs, Sad Sam...
...and Ape Horgan...
...and tries to acquire Matt Murdock as his permanent lawyer.
Meanwhile Daredevil is designing a backpack for himself so he can carry his civilian clothes around...
...which works better than his previous method, which is to roll up all his clothes into a ball, apparently tight enough to make it bounce-able.
He's also wondering if Karen Page could truly love a blind man.
The thugs attack and DD kicks their butts but Karen gets held hostage so he surrenders. DD escapes and defeats the Owl.
Ape Horgan and Sad Sam never appear again, which is surprising. They'd make fine second-tier Enforcers.
These early issues of Daredevil depict him as a jolly swashbuckler in his super-hero identity and a melodramatic milksop as a civilian. There's really nothing here yet to support the psychologically damaged character that Frank Miller introduced in the Man Without Fear miniseries. But of course Stan Lee was just beginning to find his way with this character at this time.
The Owl, Daredevil's first original super-villain, will become a mainstay villain in the Marvel Universe.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I picked up the Daredevil Masterworks #1 TPB on a whim on Amazon (a mint copy was selling for like 3 bucks, had to do it) and this is the issue I haven't been able to get past. It's weird because I know how Stan Lee writes, and I loved it with the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man - but he's killing me in these opening Daredevil issues. It's just really not interesting. You can kind of understand, reading them, why the character was second (or third) tier before Miller's run. Just lackluster in all respects, and not interesting or fun reading. A new artist every couple of issues probably didn't help, either.
Posted by: Paul | May 9, 2012 11:09 AM
Paul, it's good evidence that Lee without Kirby or Ditko (or even Heck) wasn't exactly the House of Ideas.
Posted by: Chris | May 11, 2012 11:34 PM
The Owl is a lame version of the kingpin and Daredevil is a lame version
Posted by: doomsday | September 9, 2013 9:54 PM
Daredevil is a lame version of Spiderman
Posted by: doomsday | September 9, 2013 9:55 PM
The Owl actually came before the Kingpin. Regardless, sort of think he's a bit of an underrated villain, being more or less a crime boss who still feels like a super-villain than a crime boss and who could have either side played up. For the period he was created, he did fit in even if he wasn't something you could get Frank Miller behind. (maybe if he was someone at DC like a crime boss who faced the Flash...)
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 10, 2013 9:00 AM
If he had fought the Flash back then, he would have been issued a poorly explained scientific super weapon, plus a better looking villain costume.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2013 8:10 PM
The Owl strikes me more like a lame version of Batman's Penguin.
Lov the sequence where DD plays parkour basketball with his rolled-up civvies-ball. I like Joe Orlando's art overall but DD doesn't really get good IMO until Wally Wood redesigns the character a few issues hence. Arguably Stan Lee can't create good characters unless he has a highly creative design artist like Kirby, Ditko, or Wood to polish up their looks. Lee might say the same thing in a weaker moment. Wood does for Bill Everett's Daredevil what Ditko did for Don Heck's Iron Man... gives the character his iconic look.
Posted by: James Holt | August 16, 2016 11:27 PM
I love Miller's work of Daredevil but don't forget that he was around for almost twenty years when Miller got ahold of him. I've never thought he was a lame character and Lee did just fine without Kirby or Ditko but of course was always better with them. Wally Wood of course was genius on the same lever as Kirby and Ditko.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 29, 2016 7:28 PM
Looking at the Owl's headquarters made me think that could have been used by Nite-Owl from WATCHMEN.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 14, 2017 12:13 AM
Wasn't Daredevil's creation influenced by DC's Golden Age hero Dr. Midnight? Both were blind with compensating senses (or sense in Midnight's case, with the ability to see in the dark), both were fair-haired professionals in their civilian ID's (redhead Matt Murdock an attorney, blonde Dr. Charles McNider a physician), and both had an association with an owl (Here a member of DD's rogues' gallery, Dr. Midnight had a pet owl named Hootie). Come to think of it, considering the good doctor's trained avian sidekick, perhaps he influenced the Falcon more indirectly.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 19, 2017 11:08 PM
Spelling error on my part: Doctor MIDNITE.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 20, 2017 9:05 AM
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