Sunday, 15 November 2009

Daredevil 127

You Killed That Man, Torpedo, And Now You're Going To Pay by Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown and Klaus Janson

One Sentence Overview: Daredevil attempts to track down the Torpedo convinced he's a killer but the new Torpedo believes that Daredevil is blind to a conspiracy against the city.

Wow! Slightly overstated title alert! As you might imagine, it's all encased in a speech bubble Daredevil's hurling in the direction of the 'new' Torpedo. And, incidentally, DD's got it all wrong. For reasons not terribly well thought out (but basically linked to low self esteem), Brock Jones has just helped himself to the costume of a dead supervillain he's just stumbled across. Naturally, though, Daredevil doesn't know this. As our hero was battling the original Torpedo last issue, Jones quite logically points out, "He has gray hair, I've got blonde! Can't you see the difference..."

Well, obviously Matt can't. Though, this is an interesting point for Daredevil anoraks as Matt has previously (issue 60, I think) dyed his hair at a moment's notice to disguise himself and also issue 106 reveals he can 'see' colours with his fingertips. Okay, that last point's moot - after all he hasn't time to ruffle Brock's luxorious locks. On this occasion, he's unable to tell that the new Torpedo is a different guy. Even though he's patently got a different voice from the last guy. C'mon, Matt. Pay attention.

I've mentioned previously that Matt's developed some very sarcastic one liners since Marv Wolfman arrived. But I'm not the only one who's noticed. Turning up to the scene of carnage that Daredevil and the Torpedo have wreaked, our fearless DA, Foggy Nelson, lets rip. "Not so quick with the flippancy, hornhead," he quips. It's nice to see him have a go, even if it does lead to a snooty response from his partner, who bemoans that Foggy's interference in his supervillain boffing means that he's more interested in re-election than justice. Perhaps I'm not quick to condemn this new quick witted Daredevil as not consistent with Matt Murdock, the lawyer. This is the guy who mutated into the buffoonish Mike Murdock, after all. No, it's just another of Matt's multiple personalities coming to the surface...

So if the Wolfman's busy morphing moody Daredevil into quipping Spider-man, it makes perfect sense that he should introduce a love interest who's as feisty and forward as early party going Mary Jane. And, yes, that appears to be exactly what's going on with Heather Glenn. Last review, I facetiously remarked that one sight of Matt Murdock appears to be enough for Heather to want to jump his bones. However, it still surprised me to learn that I seemed to have hit the nail on the head. This issue, Marv continues to realise Heather as outlandishly predatory and more than a little creepy.

We'd learned in the last story that Heather had a key to Matt's apartment due to it previously belonging to Heather's boyfriend, Franky (who's oddly become Freddy this issue, though maybe hot hot hot Heather's got more than one ex on the go...). This issue she's made herself at home, watching TV whilst Matt's out swinging around town. (Thankfully, Daredevil comes back through the bedroom window, not the living room or there might have been some awkward explaining to do.) Upon Matt's appearance, her overenthusiasm is positively suffocating. She reveals that her ex has gotten married - leading her to announce that there's nothing to stop the two of them making whoopee. Best of all is a very odd panel with Matt on the phone to Foggy whilst Heather is practically smothering him. "I know you probably think I'm pushy," she says. Sheesh. There's an understatement.

Eventually Matt's had enough and roughly pushes her away (almost earning DD another entry to the Hank Pym Domestic Violence Hall of Fame). Oddly this is accompanied by what I thought was quite a crude aside. "I just haven't the patience to put up with a leech," Matt complains. "Even one built like you!" I must confess that I found this quite a salacious comment for a Seventies comic - and proof of Matt' ability to interpret the shapeliness of a woman's figure with his radar senses!

Later on in the issue as Daredevil goes hunting for the Torpedo, there's a really odd aside. Now it's quite possible that this is just Marv overdoing the quipping but Matt makes an intriguing remark about his mother. "I could've been in aluminium siding like my mother always wanted," he states. At first I had no idea what this meant. However in the States aluminium siding was often used, particularly after World War II on the outside of wooden houses to stop rot - therefore hinting at affluence and the American Dream. In other words, Matt's telling us his mum wanted him to be a successful regular guy. Is this at odds, I wonder, with what we later learn about Matt's mother? Of course, Marv Wolfman would have had no idea about how later writers would introduce this character. Still. It's an odd juxtaposition that doesn't quite work from the perspective of latter days Daredevil.

A huge battle between Torpedo and Daredevil unsurprisingly ensues. On this occasion, though, Marv does something very distinctive - and worthwhile. The Torpedo seems blinded by rage that Daredevil won't believe he's an honourable man undertaking an honourable task (Brock reveals that he's attempting to clear the name of the original Torpedo who died at the end of the last issue). Their fight soon spills over into the apartment of an innocent family and the two superdudes are soon tearing up the place, whilst the poor family within try to defend themselves. It's a brilliant little inclusion of ordinary life being destroyed by the battling of ignorant superpowers. And the first time I've really warmed to Marv as a writer since he took over the book.

Daredevil/Matt Murdock
Foggy Nelson
Heather Glenn

Dr Armstrong Smith
Torpedo/Brock Jones
Torpedo 1/Michael Stivak

Rating: 5 out of 10


David H. said...

i used to have this issue and the one before as well as the one where The Torpedo and Daredevil go up against The Chameleon. they were a read and the art work was great i'm sorry i don't have em anymore. thanks for having had this posting at least.

Robert said...

Glad to be of service, David!

David H. said...

by the way this was a really good brawl. one of my favorite panels from the was of Daredevil kicking Torpedo in the face right up into these cupboards.