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DD Book Club - If There Should Be a Thunder God!
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Dimetre
Child's Play


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 964
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
Huh, I remember the Plunderer, but mostly because his last name is Plunder and he's Ka-Zar's brother or something. I don't remember DD losing his senses.

How could you forget? Ka-Zar foraged for ju-ju berries and tossed them into Daredevil's cage. Apparently ju-ju berries cure everything!

Anyway, on to issue #32 from September 1967.

The first thing about which I want to comment is Hyde's refusal to finish Daredevil off immediately. That is a trope from time immemorial, and it had to be a cliche even fifty years ago. I get why writers used this -- even if in reality it would make perfect sense to kill the hero when you had the chance, in fiction it prevents further stories. Still, you expect someone like Stan Lee to be able to find a new way around this old cliche.

The best thing about this issue is Daredevil himself. He operates at the peak of his intelligence this issue. While Lee and Colan have had Matt plunge a villain's lair into darkness countless times, this is the first time he's done it without his heightened senses. I have to admit, I found it inspirational when he mused, "Even though I've lost my super powers, so long as the lights stay out, the odds are in my favor... I've had a lifetime of learning to maneuver in the dark!"

Sure enough, Hyde and Cobra become even more idiotic in the dark. Even before the lights were turned off, they were insulting and sniping at each other. Once they were off, they were yelling about holding the antidote, and then dropping the antidote.

I didn't buy the first time Daredevil freed himself from Cobra's grip. All he did was whirl around a bunch of times. I would imagine that Cobra's grip is like a constrictor's, so I don't even know why Colan bothered drawing those panels. That should have finished Daredevil, but it didn't. On the other hand, I found it so clever when Matt yelled out while being held above Hyde's head. He was helpless and was out of moves, so he threw out some taunts, and sure enough it pitted both villains against each other.

Moments like this prove that it's not his powers that make Matt who he is. It's his wits, his risk-taking nature and his "never give up" attitude. Daredevil is at his best in this issue, even if Hyde does get away. But he got Cobra, didn't he?

It's the villains that hold this issue back. Their back and forth sniping comes off as somewhat infantile. As stated earlier, Matt is operating at the peak of his intelligence. While that helps elevate a good story into a great one, villains who act stupid can take a good story and make it merely adequate.

So, in the end, this issue is good, not great. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
Paradiso


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1099

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw a discussion about Stan Lee in the Fantastic Four about how he didn't like anyone getting caught by surprise for anything so he would write over the art in a way that contradicts it. I wonder if there is a bit of that here as the issue starts with Daredevil commenting about how he thought he heard someone attacking Foggy, which makes no sense based on the end of last issue. Regardless, Matt's kidnapping leads to one of the strangest leaps of logic ever. If Hyde created a blinding thing, he created an antidote. If he created an antidote it'll be at his lab. If it's at his lab, it's at his new lab and not the one that got raided by the police last issue. Luckily, the fact that they don't want to kill him cheaply keeps things going.

Foggy wakes up and tries to warn the police that DD has been captured. Of course, he has to bring up that the guy is blind and who would believe a yarn like that? This book is definitely deliberately silly at times (I'd argue more so than other Stan Lee silver age books), but it also does a good job reinforcing Matt's secret identity. The fact that no one could think Daredevil is blind is important.

The thing I appreciate about this story is it forces everyone to think through how a blind superhero can fight. Sometimes they're good with it, sometimes radar sense papers over things. Here, he's listening for the sound of a generator, feels his way to a door, opens the door, and finds a switch. I feel like Stan Lee didn't necessarily describe exactly what Gene Colan is drawing, but that's the style of the time. I also like how he continues to fight no matter the odds. Granted, everything seems to depend on dumb luck as much as anything else, but DD does get cured and to save the day.

Three and a Half Stars. Not as good as last issue, but some of the same stuff I liked from that issue appeal here. There's just too much coincidence and luck to rely on.
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