Daredevil #137

Title:"The Murder Maze Strikes Twice!"
Writer:Marv Wolfman
Penciler:John Buscema
Inker:Jim Mooney
Cover:John Buscema
Colours:Don Warfield
Letters:Joe Rosen
Editor:Marv Wolfman
Assistant Editor:None
Date:Sept. 1976
Cover Price:0.30


Blake Tower
Foggy Nelson
Heather Glenn
Matt Murdock
Mr. Carpenter

Daredevil #136

Daredevil #138

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
Volume 6 - None
John Buscema
Volume 1 - 136 137 142 219
Volume 2 - None
Volume 3 - None
Volume 4 - None
Volume 5 - None
Volume 6 - 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
Volume 6 - None

Issue Summary

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

Summary: Daredevil escapes from the mob screaming for his blood-barely. But when he tracks down the Jester's hideout, he's getting himself into more than he expects...for the Jester's 10-floor murder maze awaits him. It's Daredevil vs.the Jester and all his minions, with the fate of all New York City hanging in the balance!

Review: A satisfying climax to the saga of the phony newscasts. I've said enough about it in the last two reviews, so here's a quick line-up of the issue's pros and cons: pros:
-Marv's usual brilliant handling of the Jester.
-The little conflict between Daredevil and Blake Tower. The tension between them restores some three-dimensionality to the plot and reminds us of the fact that DD does, in fact, work outside of the law.
-A great battle between DD and the Jester, with one of the niftier death mazes. Marv highlights both Daredevil's hightened senses and his blindness in this scene; a nice touch which most DD writers don't bother with.
-The social commentary, including the flip side of the coin. As Matt says, explaining why the Jester's plan failed: "...the Jester was banking on everyone being as corruptible as he is. Fortunately, most people are good and honest..." Mostly true, and a subtle example of Matt's almost childlike faith in the worthwhileness of his work as Daredevil. cons:
-Don Warfield's colors. Much, much weaker than Michelle Wolfman's. They are the main cause of the art being relatively unimpressive in this ish, also thanks to:
-John Buscema's occasionally and surprisingly sloppy layouts. The splash page is particularly muddled.
-An almost complete lack of subplots. The only exception is a brief appearance from Heather and the rather abrupt lead-in to the next issue.
In all, a fine conclusion to this masterful saga. I think the subtler points can be best appreciated if you've been following it from the beginning(back in #125), but this is mainly a fun action ish which even a fan buying it right out of the blue will enjoy.
Plot/Underlying Themes:4
Portrayal and development of Daredevil as a character:3

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.

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