Daredevil #135

Title:"What's Happening?"
Writer:Marv Wolfman
Penciler:Bob Brown
Inker:Jim Mooney
Cover:Rich Buckler
Colours:Michele Wolfman
Letters:Joe Rosen
Editor:Marv Wolfman
Assistant Editor:None
Date:July 1976
Cover Price:0.25

Characters

Blake Tower
Daredevil
Foggy Nelson
Heather Glenn
Jester
Lieutenant Bert Rose
Matt Murdock
Peter Parker

Daredevil #134


Daredevil #136

Bob Brown
Volume 1 - 107 108 109 111 113 114 115 117 119 120 121 122 123 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 141 142 143
Volume 2 - None
Volume 3 - None
Volume 4 - None
Volume 5 - None
Jim Mooney
Volume 1 - 111 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 141 142 145 146
Volume 2 - None
Volume 3 - None
Volume 4 - None
Volume 5 - None
Marv Wolfman
Volume 1 - 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 141 142 143
Volume 2 - None
Volume 3 - None
Volume 4 - None
Volume 5 - None
Rich Buckler
Volume 1 - 101 129 130 131 132 134 135 140 148
Volume 2 - None
Volume 3 - None
Volume 4 - None
Volume 5 - None

Issue Summary

Summary/Review by Robert Orme (orme@stolaf.edu)

Summary: The Jester final reveals himself, claiming that Daredevil framed him for his past "crimes"! Meanwhile, Foggy still struggles to uncover the secret behind the corruption of Glen Industries, ever hindered by the mysterious man known only as Stone.
Deducing that the Jester is the one behind the phony newscasts, pulling the same stunt he did years ago, DD tracks him down to his warehouse...only to find his dead body! Convinced that Daredevil is the murderer, the police sucessfully capture him and bring him into prison. Daredevil senses tell him that the dead man is not even the Jester at all, but how can he prove his innocence?
Or...is Daredevil really so innocent after all...?

Review: "What is Happening?" Truly an appropriate title. At last the Jester epic, which began as a subplot in #125(virtually the beginning of Marv's stint on the title), blooms into a lengthy story arc starting this issue. As the plot progressed through its early stages, that indeed was the question on everyone's mind: What on Earth is happening? In the last two issues, we found out a large part of the answer, and it almost seems as though Marv had ruined the mystery of his tale before it even truly began. By the end of #135, however, we all once more find ourselves asking: What on Earth is going on?
Marv pulls so many bizarre tricks in this issue that it borders on the avant garde. The newspaper format of the first three pages is quite a shock, and it works brilliantly(Marv even sticks some cute bits of humor into it). The plot itself takes so many twists and turns, it feels like a roller coaster. Better still, Marv has done the remarkable with this story arc: he has actually improved on Stan Lee's Jester, making him more looney and evil than ever.
Bob Brown and Jim Mooney even do one of the better performances with this issue. The work is still far from genius, but it's far more striking than usual: from the Jester's ragged costume to Lieutenant Rose's determined stance to Blake Tower's brief moment of joviality, it's subtle but respectable art.
This is, in all, the first part of what is perhaps both the centerpiece of Marv Wolfman's brilliant run on the book and the most riveting Jester story ever told. Highly recommended.

Plot/Underlying Themes:4
Portrayal and development of Daredevil as a character:3
Art:3
Overall:4

My rating system:
1 = Poor. Plot is hackneyed, simplistic, nonsensical, or some combination of the three. Underlying themes, if they exist, are completely sick and twisted. Daredevil is mis-portrayed, and the issue either shows no development of his character or develops him in a way that makes little sense. Art is terrible, actually afflicting the comic. Should be avoided, unless it serves as a link between plotlines.
2 = Weak. Plot is hackneyed, simplistic, or nonsensical. Underlying themes are absent. Daredevil is not portrayed as a unique or striking character, and the issue shows no development of his character. Art is undistinguished, adding nothing to the comic. A generally bad comic, but with a few redeeming qualities.
3 = Satisfying. The plot may or may not be simplistic, but it works. Underlying themes are either mild or absent entirely. Daredevil is portrayed convincingly, and strongly enough that you care about what happens to him. His character is not developed, but you find out something about him that you may not have known before. Art is roughly average, with little or no weak points and a few strong panels. Worth buying, but not worth seeking out.
3+ = Excellent. Similar to 3, but better.
4 = Classic. The plot is original and multi-layered, but it is the strong underlying themes that make it a great story. Daredevil is portrayed intriguingly, and his character is either fleshed-out strongly or develops in a way that adds to the story rather than to the shock value. Art is strong and unique, with the characters portrayed passionately. A highly recommended comic.
5 = Essential. The plot is original, multi-layered, and engaging. The underlying themes are shocking and unusual, seeming to blind you with truth. Daredevil is portrayed as a complex, multi-faceted character; the comic is worth buying solely for a chance to truly see Daredevil. His personality is fleshed out and develops in a way that adds to the story rather than to the shock value. Art is powerful without being glossy, leaning towards the realistic touch that is the mark of a good DD comic. If you are a true DD fan, the only excuse for not buying this comic is not being able to find it.

Daredevil (and other related characters appearing) and the distinctive likenesses are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used WITHOUT permission.
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