Blind Alley by Roger McKenzie and Frank Miller
One Sentence Overview: Hulk smash puny crimson face
Frank Miller may have been on board for a few issues but it's clear things weren't immediately successful, sales wise. Daredevil remains a bi-monthly title at this point in time and this issue's tie-in with the Hulk may be another example of drafting in a big name guest star to boost sales. And I think it's only partially effective.
When you have the jolly jade giant on board, there's only two real storylines the writer can go down. Number one, "Why doesn't everyone leave Hulk alone?" Number two, "Where's puny Banner? Hulk must smash puny Banner." And, in this instance, we're in the territory of storyline number two.
I wasn't aware of Matt's history with the Hulk, though we're told on the first page of the story that he'd previously defended him. I don't know if this storyline occurred in Hulk's own title or, perhaps more likely, in the book that claimed both as regular cast members, the Defenders. But it's clear early on that the two are superhero chums - Bruce staying over at Matt's (though Bruce is unaware of Matt's alter ego).
However, even Matt cannot save Bruce from the unyielding terror of... the New York Subway System! It's great that the Daredevil writers are uninterested in bringing in a third element - a supervillain - to spice things up. Instead, Bruce is on a subway tram a mere couple of minutes and he's being shoved, becoming appalled at passive smoking and asking other patrons to turn the music down on. Of course, no-one's particular helpful in this highly anonymised setting and soon Bruce is seeing green. This is a probably unintentional comment on the weediness of our Dr Banner, unable to cope with the daily commute in the city. No wonder Hulk likes hanging out in deserts.
This leads to a fine confrontation between Hulk and DD, who's merely trying to calm the green giant down. I think it's clever that the writers don't even try to have the two heavily outclassed heroes attempt to fight - Daredevil just tries to dodge and talk sense to Banner's alter ego. And when the Hulk, finally, inevitably, lands a blow, Daredevil is nearly killed. It feels, as with all of Daredevil at present, brilliantly realistic.
One more comment. Whenever Roger was writing for Gene Colan, he left lots of room for big drawings, splash pages etc. With Frank Miller, he's happy to let stories breathe, to give lots of room to develop the scripts. So we end up with lots of frames per page with plenty to read - a great contrast with stories of today. A typical example is page two with nine panels of character development that would probably be spread over two or three pages in today's books. You really feel at the moment you're getting your money's worth.
200th blog post, folks - thanks to everyone's who's taken the time to read or comment - I really appreciate it!
J Jonah Jameson
Iron Man/Tony Stark
Rating: 6 out of 10