Daredevil #136

Title:"A Hanging For A Hero!"
Writer:Marv Wolfman
Penciler:John Buscema
Inker:Jim Mooney
Cover:John Buscema
Colours:Michele Wolfman
Letters:Joe Rosen
Editor:Marv Wolfman
Assistant Editor:None
Date:Aug. 1976
Cover Price:0.25

Characters

Blake Tower
Daredevil
Fletcher
Heather Glenn
Jester
Matt Murdock
Maxwell Glenn
Mr. Stone
President Ford

Daredevil #135


Daredevil #137

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
John Buscema
Volume 1 - 136 137 142 219
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

Issue Summary

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

Summary: Already the Jester has the entire city convinced that Daredevil is a murderer, and now he unleashes the most shocking newscast of all: President Gerald Ford announcing that the police force and all superheroes have banded together to murder and rob innocent citizens! Immediately vigilantes take to the streets, aiming to gun down any police officers or superheroes on sight. Only Daredevil and the authorities realize that it's all a blind for the Jester's cronies to sweep New York clean, setting the stage for one night on which crime will run rampant and unhindered.
Even with the aid of Blake Tower and the city's police force, can Daredevil abate this tide of madness? Or will the Jester and the enraged citizens of New York serve up a hanging for this hero?

Review: One would never expect the continuing chapters of Marv's epic masterpiece to match the drama and surprises of #135, but that's what they do. What at first seemed to be both unoriginal(see the Jester's frame-up in #44-6) and unplausible(a villain ruling New York solely by TV) becomes both one of the most novel superhero tales and utterly believable. And it's to Marv's credit that he doesn't overdramatize the story by making it seem like all New Yorkers are mob crazy and gullible(see pg.15, panel 4).
The Jester practically steals the show: never has he been more insane, more powerful, or more deliciously sadistic. It's good to at last learn how and why he designed his grand scheme, and the match-up between him, a madman corrupting an entire city for his own end, and Daredevil, a bold hero striving to keep that same city from insanity, is a perfect rivalry. The added subplot with Heather and Stone builds the drama of that thread without dampening the current one.
John Buscema brilliantly fills in for Bob Brown, bringing a gritty touch that is ideal for this tale. His rendering of the Jester is perhaps even better than Colan's. Jim Mooney, Joe Rosen, and Michelle Wolfman all add to the grim and intense feel of the art.
In short, this tale has it all: brilliant art, original plot, tons of surprises, loads of action, a great villain, a hero who blindly dives into the melee despite the odds, a dose of subplot, and even some powerful social commentary brewed in. A classic issue.

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