Daredevil #139

Title:"A Night In The Life"
Writer:Marv Wolfman
Penciler:Sal Buscema
Inker:Jim Mooney
Cover:Gil Kane
Colours:Michele Wolfman
Letters:John Costanza
Editor:Marv Wolfman
Assistant Editor:None
Date:Nov. 1976
Cover Price:0.30

Characters

Archer Emmet
Daredevil
Dr. Barret
Joyce Hillary
Matt Murdock
Slate

Daredevil #138


Daredevil #140

Gil Kane
Volume 1 - 80 81 82 84 85 88 90 91 94 95 96 97 104 109 112 114 115 116 117 119 120 121 122 124 125 126 127 128 133 134 139 141 146 147 148 150 151 152
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
Sal Buscema
Volume 1 - 69 77 78 79 86 87 89 100 102 107 123 139 140 144 218 238 356
Volume 2 - None
Volume 3 - None
Volume 4 - None
Volume 5 - None

Issue Summary

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

Summary: A mad bomber is on the loose, blowing up a building ever half hour until his wife, a runaway drug addict, is found. It's up to Daredevil to find her, so he must take a desperate dive into the grim world of the drug trade! And meanwhile, a young boy with a case of hemophilia lies on a sidewalk with a cut on his arm, slowly bleeding to death!
Welcome to a typical night in the life of Daredevil!

Review: Every fan of Daredevil should have a copy of "A Night in the Life". There's no questioning it. Stories like these, rather than the man without fear fighting the villain of the month, are the essence of Daredevil. In some ways this is comparable to the famed #304("34 Hours"), but in fact it's much better. While #304 was essentially a collection of simple quickies, with everything wrapped up neatly at the end, #139 presents a much more brutal and realistic New York. While Daredevil does a lot of good, at the same time this issue reveals that he can't save everyone, and he can't make sure they'll be happy for the rest of their lives. No saving the universe, saving the planet, or even stopping four minor crimes in quick sucession. Just one man trying to keep a city from going completely mad. There's even a sense of struggle in this issue, a sense that Daredevil is giving something of himself to save his city. In #304 it often seems like he's just showing off.
This issue is also comparable in ways to McKenzie and Miller's "Child's Play"(#183); but again, it's much better. Rather than a long spiel from a doctor on the harms of drugs and one girl's perspective of being overdosed, we see the filth and misery of drug users. We see a woman who was once a loving mother and wife turn to threatening a shop keeper with a knife and shooting a man right in front of an innocent child, just to get the next fix. In short, the kid gloves are off. We're not just hearing horror stories about drugs; we're seeing the ruination in its wake.
I never would have thought Marv could have outdone #130, but he has. A pity that the art doesn't do the same; guest penciler Sal Buscema is occassionally inappropriate for the gritty feel of this issue, and Jim Mooney's inks do little to improve his work. The art is good for the most part, but doesn't always have the right feel.
There's plenty of other minor points about this issue that I could rave about, but why spoil the surprise when you can just pick up the issue yourself and relish every wonderful detail of this irreproachable classic? Marv Wolfman and Sal Buscema have pulled together a fine tribute to everything Daredevil is.
Plot/Underlying Themes:5
Portrayal and development of Daredevil as a character:4
Art:3
Overall:5

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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