Emerging wounded but victorious from the television studios after his battle with Bullseye, DD is mobbed by a crowd of onlookers who want to congratulate him after witnessing the battle over the airwaves. As he is hustled and jostled by a large mob, his injured shoulder almost causes him to black out and he heads for the rooftops and to safety. He knows, despite his pain and weariness, that he has to persevere in his search for Debbie Harris's kidnappers.
After getting his injured shoulder attended to, and armed with the information he managed to glean from Bullseye, DD breaks into the office of Maxwell Glenn, father of his lover, accusing Glenn of corruption and the kidnapping of Harris. Glenn seems to confess to the charges and DD tells him to call the police and hand himself in. DD is amazed however, at the calmness of a man who has just confessed to very serious crimes and whose life now lays in ruins.
It becomes clear after DD has left that Glenn is under the control of Killgrave the Purple Man, who appears from behind a hidden partition and adjacent room. With his irresistible mind control he has managed to get Glenn to commit these crimes and now orders him to forget ever seeing him and continue to take full blame.
Daredevil manages to rescue Debbie Harris and reunites her with Foggy at police headquarters, just as a distraught Heather, also in attendance, sees her father being marched in and formally charged with corruption and kidnapping charges. From the rooftops above, DD witnesses Heather confront her father, and realises that his claim of not remembering anything must be true, as his pulse remains steady. Hoping to find a clue as to what is really going on, Daredevil heads back to Glenn's office and manages to find the soundproofed hidden room, with Killgrave holding audience and about to seize the assets of a group of other wealthy industrialists.
Upon entering, DD is almost overcome by Killgrave.s mind control but is able to resist. However, the attendant businessmen whose minds are more malleable, are ordered to attack and kill him -- Killgrave makes to escape in the confusion and DD is about to give chase but a chair is swung at him by a hapless hypnotised industrialist, who manages by pure chance to strike DD on his already injured arm. The overwhelming pain distracts DD's concentration and his foe eludes him.
DD ruminates on the fact that he needs to find and bring Killgrave to justice, otherwise there will be no way to prove that Heather's father is really just an innocent pawn.
"The Shooter stuff" is the run that I read, the work that I most have common with. I think during the Shooter period, he (Matt Murdock) was coming to grips with the world and trying to exert the control he hadn't in the earlier years -- no longer a child.
Frank Miller, 1981, from "The Frank Miller /Klaus Janson Interview" conducted by Peter Sanderson, published in "The Daredevil Chronicles" FantaCo, 1982
How ironic that right at the moment when this book reaches some kind of artistic high, actual sales are so low. Between this issue and the next, Marvel dictated Daredevil, The Man Without Fear should return to the bi-monthly status that originally begat it, (and where it will remain until well into the initial Miller run.) And I guess it's also ironic that this issue and the next remain, many years later, two of my all time favorite DD issues.
Hindsight shows that Shooter/Kane/Janson were some kind of Divine Trinity, made to work with each other. Yet as far as DD is concerned, they met up in #147 for the first and (almost) only time. This is so good, so groundbreaking, such a different take on a long standing "B list" Marvel character, that even if Shooter hadn't gotten whisked away to become the new EIC, they surely would have been moved en masse to a more mainstream, popular book. That's just the way Marvel worked. For regular readers however, with this issue came the sudden realisation that the book hadn't looked and read so good in a long, long time, and it was hoped the creative team were in for the long haul. If sales were so low, (certainly no reflection on their own newly formed partnerships but more likely a loss of direction after the highs of the Wolfman "Jester trilogy" of #135 - #137), surely Shooter / Kane/ Janson could remain our secret, away from the radar of more mainstream Marvel books and the fan press and allowed to continue to weave their newly formed magic every two months undisturbed.
Well, it wasn't to be. But it was good while it lasted.
At least one other person took note. His name was Frank Miller and if you're reading this chances are you may have heard of him. Yes that's right, he's the guy I quoted in the intro to this review, but what some of you might not know (heh) is he went on to become a revered writer/pencilled on this book, changed the perception of this character forever and helped comic books gain mainstream popularity and respect in the 1980's along with the likes of Alan Moore and Art Spiegelman. But it was on "Daredevil" that he made his name, a character of whom he had very little knowledge of when he was handed the regular assignment following a two part art chore guest staring DD in Spectacular Spiderman. ("I didn't really remember which one he was at first." Miller, FantaCo,1982). Upon taking on the assignment, no doubt Miller would have been furnished not just with a writer in the form of then scribe Roger McKenzie, but a whole batch of back issues in which to get a grasp of the character. And it was these issues which quite obviously enamoured Miller to DD, which made him see the potential for this mainstream Marvel superhero character to fit into the gritty, hard-boiled detective genre that was already his first love. His tastes in Japanese comic books and martial arts were to come almost immediately after becoming a regular at Marvel. Where he was at as he began DD was street level, hard boiled, detective fiction and it was these issues that proved what could be done with this character. Despite the usual "Marvel Super-villianary one bad ass an issue" agenda with the likes of Bullseye, Killgrave and Death Stalker, it is an approach that is made to fit this book like a glove.
Like the previous issue, Shooter sees the main protagonist caught up in a deadly pursuit, with time running out, and by the end has him sunk further into deeper despair and dismay. Sure, he manages to rescue the damsel in distress but its his one victory amid a whole host of failures. He badly handles his exit from the studio, turning members of the public against him. He fails to detect the nearby Killgrave after forcing a (what turns out to be false) confession from Glenn. After his subsequent finding of the true villain of the piece, he manages to let him escape. By the end of the story DD realises that the man in the dock for these crimes, the father of his lover, the man he forced a confession from and helped on his way to be charged by the police, is innocent. He realises he has to find the elusive Killgrave or this innocent pawn in Killgraves game will be sent down for crimes he did not commit. Put into perspective against the rest of the contemporary Marvel Universe, what we have here is serious, gritty realism, and as with the last issue not many smiles or light relief. (Sure there's relief when Harris is rescued from Mort, along with a nice touch of humanism and even gentle compassion displayed between kidnapper and hostage) but it's a grim pursuit and the clock is still ticking come the end of the issue.
Just as in his previous effort with the character of Bullseye, so his depiction of Killgrave, here in only the briefest of appearances, is quite simply the best yet. From somewhere in between the almost camp cheesy sixties bad guy in Lee's #4 to the loudmouth megalomaniac that he has previously (and subsequently) been portrayed, here we see a cold, chilling aspect to the character on display, possibly the roots of later portrayals by the likes of Bendis. His exchange with Maxwell Glenn, in the sure knowledge that this "fool" is completely under his control, makes for an explicit display in power relations and the exploitation of a weaker mind.
However, it is the look of the book that heralds what was really only around the corner with Miller. Straight away, Janson gives a darker edge to proceedings after the ultra bright look of the last issue. Just as he had done earlier with the likes of Bob Brown (check those darkened sky backdrops beginning in #125) Janson, here in control of inking and coloring, gives the whole book a noir look that is at times quite stunning. Like his later work with Miller, the hazy street lighting from the lamps outside police headquarters, the battles in darkened buildings, the reflections of light on DD.s mask, the shadows on the rooftops, are all here. And it's the rooftops that give the biggest clue to what is to come in this book. There may not be a water tower in sight, but Kane depicts a myriad world of chimney stacks, vents, pipes, advertising hoardings and brickwork that offer both quiet solace for the injured DD and a dramatic backdrop as he swings into action. But when I say "swing into action" I actually only count two panels. Whereas countless artists in the past have DD swinging umpteen times per issue, here Kane has him predominantly using the city and its architecture just as a gymnast does, and just as Miller would go on to do almost exclusively.
In today's world of delayed shipping and irregular publication, to wait
sixty whole days between issues doesn't actually feel like a long time.
But when you're used to regular monthly publication and the quality of
the book was this good, as a kid it felt a lot longer between this and
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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